Author Archives: Pastor Tommy Youngquist

When Things Spoil

Leftovers | Devotion #1: When Things Spoil
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

“Do you think this is bad?” my wife said to me as I started to watch the first inning of the Tigers’ game. She was prepping lunches for the week and had some left-over chicken from a previous lunch. “Give it the smell test!” I exclaimed. “I’m not smelling this; you smell it.” I reluctantly got up from my comfortable spot on the couch, walked over to the fridge, and cracked the lid. “Yep, it’s bad!”

When food spoils, it smells really bad. You know it, I know it. When family relationships spoil though, it is not so easily detectable. There is this feeling of awkwardness, all of the time. There is a sense of obligation because after all, they are family. There is sensitivity that develops into bitterness. That bitterness develops into anger and hate. Then that hate develops into malice! Before you know it, you actually wish bad on the people you are supposed to love the most. When is enough, enough? When do you cut the cord?

The answer to those questions is never! Need I remind you of two principles found in God’s Word. First, nothing anyone has done to you is worse than what you did to God, and God forgave you.

Colossians 3:12-13 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” 

You cannot miss the word “must” in verse 13. We do not have another option besides forgiveness. Why? It is because the Lord has forgiven you. Second, no matter how many times someone offends you, you still find it in your heart to forgive them.

Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

You should read the parable after these verses. It is pretty incredible. Here is the point: Enough is never enough when it comes to forgiveness. God also gave you common sense for a reason. If a family relationship has spoiled to the point of continual emotional, psychological, or physical abuse, maybe it is time to distance yourself from that family member. Forgive them, but remove that sin from your life. Pray to God for opportunities to fix it and wait patiently. Pray that God humbles them and brings them back to you. Always be eager to receive them back.

Baby Napping

More Than Baby Food | Devotion #6: Baby Napping
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

I will never forget the second night I spent with our daughter, Heidi. Ashley was a new, 24-hour old mother and she was exhausted. I, being an incredible husband and father (yeah right), offered to take Heidi out of the room so Ashley could get some uninterrupted sleep. After all, how hard could this whole dad thing be, right? I proceeded to take Heidi to the NICU waiting room on the 5th floor of St. Joseph Hospital. Everything was great! The Pistons replay was on Fox Sports Detroit. Heidi was quiet. However, then it happened. Heidi started to cry. Her cry eventually became a wail. She was inconsolable. Nurses would pass by the waiting room, feel sorry for me, and offer help, but nothing worked. Her incessant crying continued for four hours. It was horrible. I will never forget the feelings of frustration, anxiety, and utter panic.

Despite the crying, that moment bonded my daughter and me. I remember thinking to myself that no matter how frustrated I was with her, my love for her would always outweigh any negative feelings I have toward her. I felt a change happening in my mind. The change was so deep that I started to feel it in my soul. This little girl could never do anything that would weaken the love I had for her. She eventually learned how to sleep. Before too long, she was sleeping through the night. She was, how the old saying goes, sleeping like a baby.

You can sleep like a baby too. You can be at peace. Nothing you do separates you from the love of God. So many times, we live our lives substantiated by this formula: Who I Am = What I Do.

This formula is false. It is a lie straight from the mouth of Satan and the pit of Hell. The Bible says in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

So how has Christ loved you? He values you for your inherent worth and offers grace freely to you without exception. God knows the real truth about you – that you were created in His image – and that truth allows Him to separate your person from your performance. He loves despite the things you do. I do not know about you, but that motivates me to want to love Him more and more. It motivates me enough to “put off childish ways” and love people as He does. How about you? Will you respond the same way? 

Baby Diet

More Than Baby Food | Devotion #4: Baby Diet
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

All week long, we have been using 1 Corinthians 13:11 to illustrate spiritual progression in our lives. We are going to switch gears today and turn to a very well-known Scripture concerning spiritual maturity.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, “But I, brothers [and sisters], could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 

When my daughter Heidi was about 6 months old, she started eyeing everything that Ashley and I ate. It was hilarious. Her eyes would follow the food on our forks from plate to mouth. We got excited about the prospect of feeding Heidi solid food, so we started the transition from milk to real food. Every time we sat down for dinner, we would give her little bits and pieces of whatever we were eating, and Heidi loved it! It was great until she could not go number two anymore. Our poor baby went ten days one time without defecating. She was miserable! It got so bad we had to use an enema on her as she writhed in pain. We felt like the world’s worst parents. She was not ready for solid food. We will not be making the same mistake with Uriah when he starts ogling the dinner goods.

Unfortunately, most Christians are in the same spot spiritually speaking that Heidi was in physically. They are not ready for the transition from milk to meat. They are not mature enough in their spiritual lives to digest deep, theological issues found in God’s Word. They are not mature enough for God to trust them with spiritual responsibility. Why? We again find the answer in our 1 Corinthians passage, “And even now you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?”

Why are most Christians not ready? It is because they are still consumed with everything this world has to offer instead of what the next world offers. They care more about the big house, cars, clothes, and money than the things of God. They are jealous of everyone who has what they do not have. Because of that jealousy, their life is filled with strife. It is time to grow up and get ready for solid food. God wants so badly to start feeding you the good stuff, but you have to be ready. You get ready by changing your focus from earthly to eternal. When you do that, get ready and open wide because here comes the airplane.

Baby Reasoning

More Than Baby Food | Devotion #3: Baby Reasoning
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

It is incredible the change that happens in children when they start to realize there is wrong and right. You can see the hesitation in my daughter when she is about to do something that she knows is wrong. Heidi will try and be real sneaky, she will look left and right to make sure mommy or daddy are not watching, and she will contemplate whether or not she can get away with it. I have watched this contemplation process. It is comical to me. But it also has taught me an important lesson: Left or right does not matter; up matters.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

When I read that phrase “reasoned like a child,” I thought of that left or right illustration. Children reason or contemplate based on the reward or punishment of their parents. They want to know if they are going to get caught if they do something wrong. On the other hand, they want to know what reward awaits them if they do something right. As we mature in our spiritual lives, this left or right reasoning should start to change. We should not care so much who knows what we do to the right or the left, but up. Ultimately, what God thinks of us is what should matter most.

The best example of this is Joseph in Genesis chapter 39. Joseph has been put in charge of Potiphar’s house because he trusts him and in verses 6-9, Scripture says, “Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time, his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, ‘Lie with me.’ But he refused and said to his master’s wife, ‘Behold, because of me, my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’”

Lives would change if we could be a people that care more about what God thinks of us than others. Do not reason and contemplate like a child — reason like an adult, but more importantly, reason like a Christian. Look up; left and right is not as important.

Baby Thoughts

More Than Baby Food | Devotion #2: Baby Thoughts
Tommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor 

Have you ever wondered what a baby dreams about? I have. There is no telling what goes on inside their head and what they think about. What are even the possibilities? Are they swinging in a giant baby swing? Maybe they are being held by grandma, but grandpa’s face is really on grandma’s body? Are they discovering they are covered in poop? Oh wait, that is a reality! Any parent out there knows this to be fact. Today, we are going to discuss the same Scripture that we did yesterday, 1 Corinthians 13:11, but from a different perspective. 

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

Can we all agree that children and adults think differently? Our dreams are different than their dreams. The goals and systems for accomplishing those goals are different between the two. Problems that seem so monumental as a child pales in comparison to the problems you face as an adult. Our thought process matures, and that process starts to embrace life as it truly is. The same maturation process should occur in our spiritual lives. When you have that moment of belief and acceptance in Jesus and what He did for humanity, specifically you, you start the process of change. The change does not happen overnight; it takes time. It primarily occurs from discovering God’s guidelines and rules in the Bible.

For example, Scripture tells us in Hebrews 6:1-3, “Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.”

What on Earth is this verse saying? Mature yourself spiritually by going deeper into God’s Word. Find out what lies beyond your redemption and find out how you can help others become redeemed. Put away childish, “all about me,” selfish thoughts and start considering the needs of others. This is what true love is. This is God’s hope for your life that you will learn to love as He loves. He wants you to reciprocate His love and then show that love to others. Put away childish thoughts. Those are the thoughts that only consider your wants and needs. Mature, and start thinking in a way that is unselfish.

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