Devotions

Monthly Archives: January, 2017

Duplication

Back to Reach • Devotion #2: Duplication
Jared Bruder | Growth Intern

To this point, if you have been keeping up with this devotional book as well as the sermons being preached, you have covered reach, gather, and grow. Now is the time to understand that being a Christian does not end there. The process must be duplicated. We call this step, “Back to reach.” This is not simply starting the process over again but, “back to reach” is a step all its own.

“Back to reach” is teaching Christians how to reach others. In the Bible, Paul taught young Timothy, and one of the last instructions Paul gave him was, “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). The final instruction was not only to apply what he had been taught, but it also was to teach others what he had been taught. As Christians, we are to do the same.

Many at times feel they are unqualified to teach others. They say that they do not know the Bible well enough, or they do not know what to say. You might be in that mindset right now. Know this; we have all been there at some point. If you do not know where to start, simply start with Salvation. Think back to when you first became a believer. Can you explain to someone how to know for sure that he or she is going to Heaven? If not, here is your first lesson on how to reach others.

THE PLAN OF SALVATION

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Sin is anything we think say or do that breaks God’s law. This means we are separated from God.

Romans 6:23  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Because of sin, we have broken God’s law and the penalty (wages) of sin is death. However, Jesus paid that penalty for us, and we are told it is a free gift.

Romans 10:9-10 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

Simply and truthfully believe that Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection has paid for your sins, confesses that He is Lord, and you will be saved.

“Lord I believe that you died for me. And I believe that you rose again. I pray right here and now that you would save me from my sins and come into my life and be my God. In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen!”

That is how one is saved, and this is how it can be explained. Use this model to reach others and thus complete the process of reach, gather, grow, and then back to reach.

Teaching How to Teach

Back to Reach • Devotion #1: Teaching How to Teach
Jared Bruder | Growth Intern

There are people that go to college and major in teaching. This basically means that they go to college to be taught how to teach. I am one of those people. Teaching was my minor in college. In my teaching classes, the goal was to teach me how to teach others. Parents have the same goal when raising their children. They teach them, hopefully, how to be good parents so that they can one day teach their children how to be good parents and so the process will continue.

The Christian life brings with it the same purpose. We reach the lost, they gather with the believers, they grow spiritually, and then they are taught how to go back and start the process over again. I had a professor in college that explained this concept by saying we were not to make disciples, but we are to make disciple makers. Jesus did this with His disciples. The final command Jesus gave here on earth was, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus commanded His disciples to go make disciples. Jesus had taught them and then He wanted them to teach others.

This process continued down to Paul teaching Timothy and continues even today with you and me. We are to learn the Bible, and we, as Jesus’ followers, are to go and teach others. Reaching others with the Gospel and then teaching them how they can reach more is vital to the Christian life. We live in a world dying without God. The more Christians we have that will reach the world, the more people can come to know God just as you and I do. This process does not end: reach, gather, grow, and go back to reach. Let us join to reach this world with the love of Christ.

A Lion Tamer

Grow • Devotion #6: A Lion Tamer
Brett Eberle | Tech Intern

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”    1 Peter 5:8

As I dug through my Bible looking for a verse that perfectly fit into this devotional, 1 Peter 5:8 kept popping into my head. The Devil hates you and would like nothing more than to rip your life to shreds. This is especially true once you become a follower of Christ. What I forgot as a young believer was this idea of the Devil prowling. It means the Devil is waiting for you to make a mistake, no matter how small, so that he can pounce on and use against you.

I was in a relationship as I began my college career and the Devil used that relationship to very nearly destroy my bond with my parents and ultimately my life. Looking back at the mistakes that I made, I realized that there was a single moment that the Devil grabbed. That moment was when I took my eyes off what God wanted me to do, and I put them on what she wanted. The story only goes downhill from there. I rarely attended church, I was not growing in the Word, and I had almost no relationship with my parents. When we broke up, I was left broken, and I felt that I had nowhere to turn. However, with the help of some of my Pastors, I ran to the Bible, and I ran back to God.

As I truly began to grow in God’s Word, I learned how to deal with my brokenness. I learned how to fight the loneliness, the bitterness, and the resentment that I had in my life. This has become one of the biggest parts of growing in the Word for me. Every time that I slip up and the Devil tries to exploit a weakness, I run to the Word, and I get a new tool to fight back against this beast who wants nothing more than to destroy me. I will not be destroyed because I have an amazing God who has given me His Word as a tool and a guideline for everything that I have and will go through in life.

Wave Runner

Grow • Devotion #5: Wave Runner
Michael Young | Student Ministry Intern

I do not recall when I learned how to do many things whether it was riding a bike, whistling, tying my shoes, etc. Most people can usually remember when they finally discovered the trick in how to do these things. All of those to me have become a blur besides swimming. Swimming was important in hot summer days, and I needed to learn. I recall being at a hotel with my family and standing by the pool by myself while my parents helped my brother. This pool was beautiful; at the end of the pool, the wall edged with rocks and was topped with a waterfall trickling down into a wavy deep end. The shallow part of the pool had jets here and there scattered about. Just a beautiful indoor pool with all the toys needed to make a child go crazy. For some reason, I had the wild idea that the time to learn how to swim is right now. I jumped in, not thinking I should start slow, maybe in the shallow end first, no just jumped in. I am told my father heard me screaming and drowning way further from the edge of the pool where I had jumped, rather he found me under the waterfall at the complete opposite end. What happened was where I had jumped there was a jet that pushed my small three or four-year-old body way out to the deep end. It is funny looking back at it now, yet it is very similar to our Christian lives.

Sad truth is we live in a broken world of confusion and pain. It is always trying to hurt and trick us in every possible way.  It will try to throw us around and deceive us. Ephesians 4:14 says, “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

This passage warns us of the world’s schemes to hurt us. However, instead of just drowning like infants, we are to grow and train in Christ. We need to be studying His Word, growing, and developing our lives for Christ. You need to ask yourself if you are growing in the Word.  I told that story because it is the state of new believers in the world we live. They will be thrown around and tossed by the waves or tricks of the enemy.

Walk Forward

Grow • Devotion #4: Walk Forward
Michael Young | Student Ministry Intern

Growing up in a church, I was very fortunate to have seen many crazy things happen in my few years. I have seen amazing things such as loads of people being saved, baptized, and giving their lives to Christ.  I have witnessed weird things like cheesy, lame, skits causing kids to chant Jesus from the top of their lungs. Even seeing a few youth leaders go into ministry in a completely different state or country for the sake of Christ. Being able to serve people in other countries, God can do some awesome and powerful things.

However, a sadness and brokenness can be found as well. In high school, I was a witness to one of the saddest things you will find in a church.  An event that shook the youth group and caused a lot of distress. A friend of mine decided to leave the faith. He just walked away from everything he was a part of and hated God. I know what you are thinking, “What would cause someone to do such a thing?”  It was something I personally could not wrap my head around. It was the question all of us had at the time while this was happening. The answer is brutal.  He was an infant believer and never grew in his faith since being saved.

Ephesians 4:14 says, “So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”

The warning is here; the world is trying to hurt us and is trying to destroy every one of us no matter what. We live in a broken, messed up world. It wants to trick us and deceive us; that is the warning in Ephesians. Yet, how we combat this issue is growing and maturing in the Word. We should be taking steps in the right direction in our walk towards Christ. If we do nothing from the time we are saved, we are infant believers, never growing spiritually.  So the question becomes are you taking your walk seriously? Are you working to grow in your walk with Christ? Are you growing in His Word? This is not meant to scare but instead encourage believers to equip themselves for what is to come.



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