Author Archives: Richie Henson

A Monumental Shift

Birth | Devotion 1: A Monumental Shift
Richie Henson

The life of Moses cannot be totally understood unless we take a moment to grasp the context prior to his birth. As we begin reading Exodus, there is a serious transition taking place. Joseph and the sons of Israel have all moved to Egypt, and their families have become quite large in number. At this point, Joseph and all the other people of his generation have died, and a new Pharaoh takes control in Egypt. Along with this generational transition, there is a cultural shift in Egypt.

Exodus 1:8-10 says, “Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, ‘Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.’”

The new Pharaoh determines the massive number of Israelites is a threat to the security of Egypt. Pharaoh decides to deal with this threat by subjugating to slavery the entirety of the Israelites. In spite of these poor conditions, the people of God continued to multiply thereby increasing the fear of Egypt. In turn, the Egyptians begin to work the Israelites even harder in an attempt to keep them from rising up and escaping. This is such a jarring change. One generation previous, Joseph was a man of high stature within the government, and now, the entire nation has been lowered to slavery.

As I read this account in Exodus, I cannot help but think of our own nation. As the church, we, at times, put too much importance on our “Christian nation.” We allow ourselves to believe that our government is devoutly Christian. We get sucked into the false sense of security that our nation and government will always support our freedom as Jesus followers.

However, I believe Exodus teaches us that things can change quickly and we must continue to put our faith, not in our worldly government, but in the Kingdom we are eagerly working to build by the power of the Holy Spirit until the coming of our Lord Jesus. Do not get me wrong, if you love to vote or engage in politics, by all means, that is your prerogative. However, I would beg us as a church, as members of God’s kingdom, to focus our attention on the importance of the eternal government that will come at the return of Jesus. That we would put our hope and trust, not in our government, that could be as fickle as Egypt in Exodus chapter 1, but instead to put our hope and trust in a great and mighty King who will one day come again to rule and reign.

Make a Name for Ourselves

Sequel | Devotion #3: Make a Name for Ourselves
Richie Henson

It seems like the greatest allure of the current generation is fame. I do not know many young people who would not like to be internet famous, myself included. I mean, who would not want a million strangers to watch videos about your life?

These desires for grandeur are not new to the current generation. In fact, they go all the way back to Babel. As civilization began to push East, a group of people came together to build a tower to the heavens. It seems strange to think that anyone might attempt to build a tower to heaven, but these people had convinced themselves the status of God was attainable.

As they began building the tower, an interesting statement is made in Genesis 11:4, “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.’”

These people were looking to set themselves apart as important on the earth. I am not sure I could ever understand building a tower to heaven, but the feeling of wanting to be important is hard to shake. Beginning with Satan, the allure of being like God has led to destruction. For the people in Babel, they desired to be famous like God. They desired to have a name as known as God’s. In what ways do we try to gain equality with God? Is it by accumulating wealth or possessions? Maybe we try to be equal with God by handling all of our problems or playing a large role in our community.

Whatever the case may be, we must always remember that no matter how tall we build our tower, God will always be bigger. No matter how famous we make our names, God’s name will always be infinitely more famous.

Thankfully for us, we do not have to strive for equality with God. Instead, we can live in the grace of our Messiah, Jesus and have favor as God’s children.

Obedience in Love

Commit | Devotion #6: Obedience in Love
Richie Henson | Production Director

When considering the life and death of Jesus, I believe we can take the immeasurable significance of each moment for granted. In my own life, I know that to be true concerning the crucifixion. I think of the gruesome nature and purpose of the event, but I rarely consider the lessons that Jesus taught us even in His death. Jesus’ final moments on the cross are recorded in Luke 23:46, “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.”

As I consider the purpose of Luke’s recording of Jesus’ final words, I am baffled that even unto the point of death, Jesus was willingly laying down His life. His final breath seems to come of His own volition, not coaxed from Him or ripped from Him, but given freely not unlike the rest of His life. 

I think Jesus wants us to understand that free will means obedience is of our own will. God does not desire servants who grumble and complain. The Father does not want us to obey because we have to or are forced. Instead, God desires for us to obey out of love. However, many of us go through our lives complaining and frustrated by our sufferings and difficulties. We fail to see that God finds purpose through sacrifice. I think Peter was aware of this truth in 1 Peter 5:10, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Jesus suffered and died for us willingly. He was not compelled by duty or responsibility but truly loved us enough to suffer on our behalf. As the Father calls on us to suffer for the Gospel, we must submit and obey in love maintaining, until the end, our desire to see God’s will accomplished.

The Weight of Sin

Forsaken | Devotion #2: The Weight of Sin
Richie Henson | Production Director

Often times, when writing about or discussing the Bible, there are clear and obvious parallels that help us relate. For instance, in Romans chapter 7, when Paul discusses his struggle to do what he knows is right, we get exactly what he means. We have all lived this experience. It is truly shared by all believers who seek after Jesus. However, there are other passages of Scripture that feel substantial to the point of excluding themselves from our personal experience. I believe Matthew 27:46 to be such a one. 

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” 

What an excruciating moment. How deeply painful to think of our Savior taking on the full weight and consequence of our sin. A weight was so heavy that Jesus, for the first time in all of eternity, feels the separation of intimacy with the Father that is the ultimate consequence of sin. What unbearable pain Jesus took on Himself that He might save wretched people like us. 

I do not think I will ever understand how awful this was for Jesus. I do not think I will ever be able to express in words how horrible the death of Jesus was. That being said, I am forever grateful that Jesus would take my place. I am so full of joy that Jesus would sacrifice His own intimacy with the Father that I might have intimacy through His blood. 

Reading this passage reminds me of how powerful the Gospel really is. Jesus gave up everything to save us. Jesus willingly laid down all He cared about to bring us out of death and into life. As we ponder this glorious truth, may we all express the joy of the Gospel to each other and everyone we know so that the name of Jesus will continually be exalted.

Christmas Choke Artist

The Gift of Eternal Life | Devotion #2: Christmas Choke Artist
Richie Henson | Production Director

My wife is a wonderful gift giver. She always seems to know exactly what to get. Each Christmas, I open my gift, and I fist pump like Tiger Woods while crying tears of contentment and joy. I, however, am a terrible gift giver. It is not that my wife does not drop great subtle hints (literally sending me texts with photos), but I am, to coin a phrase, a Christmas choke artist. It is so bad that one year I may have given her an electric toothbrush as part of her gift. Before you boo and hiss or try to key my car, let me say, I am improving. I know that I am no expert like my wife, but each year, I get a little closer to buying a good gift.

When I think about my lack of gift skills, it reminds me of my relationship to God. Many times, I feel like I have some great idea of how I can give a gift to God. I feel as though when I do these great acts of service, or give of my resources to help another, that in some way, I am giving a good gift to God. However, I am reminded by Romans chapter 6, that my wages, my works, have earned me nothing but death. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” How quickly I forget that before I knew Jesus, the only thing I had to offer was sin and destruction, but because our Father is such a magnificent gift giver, I now have the ability through salvation in Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit to offer my life not as a gift, but a sacrifice. 

Serving God is not about giving gifts to God. Instead, it is all about the gift that our Father has given us through the Son, Jesus Christ. I could never earn it or repay it. So, I give my life in thanks for it. My prayer for us this holiday season is that we be a light in the world to show the vastness of our Father’s gift of eternal life.

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