April 15 Devotional

Happy hump day! That means today is Wednesday, for those of you who haven’t seen all the same movies as me! It’s called hump day because if you can get over the hump of Wednesday, the rest of the week is downhill, but right now it kind of feels like every day is hump day!
 
Today we’ll be looking at the first 5 verses of Romans 5:
 
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
 
We first notice that everything following the first verse comes because of the fact that we’ve been saved. This is a continuation of Paul’s argument in Romans 4, where he’s reminding his readers that everything is dependent on faith. That faith means we have been justified (been put in right standing) before God. And what comes with that is peace. Where we were once at enmity with God, and even His enemies, we now have peace and reconciliation. All of this happens through Christ. Apart from Him and His atoning death on the cross, we had no chance of ever making restitution to God. We had no reason to hope for anything! But because of Christ, we now hope with an unending hope no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. But what is it we hope in? Paul says “the glory of God.” See our hope isn’t in ourselves, isn’t in our circumstances, isn’t even in our faith. No, our hope is in the glory of God. As long as God is glorious (and He has been forever and and always will be), we have a every reason to hope. 
 
Paul continues with a great chain beginning with rejoicing in our sufferings. One of the pastors I used to listen to said “for Christians, this is as close to hell as they’ll ever get.” See this world is a life of suffering. D.A. Carson says that suffering is guaranteed, all you have to do is live long enough! So we are commanded to rejoice in the midst of our sufferings, because they’re temporary. But that’s just the first link in this chain. Suffering – endurance – character, hope. The end of suffering is the reminder that we can hope in God and His promises. When we stand on the last day, marked by the Holy Spirit, sealed as His children, we will have no shame! We have been forgiven, the blood of the Lamb has paid for our sins! What a great thing to hope for in the midst of suffering!
 
SONG:
Today’s song is by one of my favorite bands I’ve listened to since high school and seen live more times than I can keep track of! It’s called ‘Joy Invincible’ and you can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 14 Devotional

Today we’ll be taking a look at Hebrews 6:13-20:
 
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
 
The author to the Hebrews begins with a story his hearers would remember: father Abraham (who at this time did NOT have many sons). This promise takes place before God’s promise that they would have a son the following year was given to Abram and Sarai. Yet even then God promises to bless and multiply them, which meant they had to trust God with everything. And the reason they could trust God is because He is the ultimate being where there is nothing or no one greater. He is the end to everything! Which means when He makes an oath, the only thing He has to swear by is Himself! But because He has sworn by Himself, we can trust that He is working all things our for our good. Because He is good we can hold fast to the hope we have coming, a hope that never needs to fade. Now I don’t know about you, but I often lose heart and hope and forget God’s promises! I’m so fickle I can be amazed by God’s provision one hour and start to worry about it the next. This is where I love the imagery given in the last 2 verses.
 
Our hope is not based on circumstances or fleeting feelings, but on the fact of the resurrection. As we just celebrated Sunday, the tomb is empty! And that fact serves as the anchor of our souls. An anchor is one of the most vital pieces of a ship (at least it was during this era of human history). If the ship has a good anchor that can grab a hold of the ground beneath the sea, then the ship can withstand anything nature wants to throw at it! No matter how big the waves or dark the sea, as long as the anchor remains secure, the boat’s not going anywhere! But our anchor, instead of borrowing into the ground, has ascended into heaven! The author mentioned the curtain. In the temple there was a 4” curtain separating the holy of holies from the rest of the temple. It was so thick no one could see behind it! But when Jesus died, that curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom reminding people that God was now out among his people. He could not be contained by anything, much less a curtain. Yet that’s where Jesus has now gone: to the Holy of Holies on our behalf! He now sits at God’s right hand until He returns to judge the living and the dead. And as long as He’s sitting on His throne, we can hope, we can trust, and we can weather any storm that is thrown against us!
 
SONG:
This song is one of my favorites on this theme of Christ being the anchor for our souls by Josh Carrels called ‘Anchor for My Soul’ you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 13 Devotional

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter yesterday, even though we weren’t able to meet together! I will confess it was really weird to sit down and eat an Easter meal with my family without having just spent the morning celebrating with our church family! Today we’re going to take a look at the end of John 17:
 
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
 
These are the last words Jesus said to his disciples while they were in the upper room celebrating Passover together. This is one of the most beautiful things Jesus could have ever prayed, because he takes time to pray for us! He intentionally prays for every person who will ever put their faith in Him. So it’s not a stretch at all to say that as Jesus was preparing to go to the cross and bear the punishment for the sins of the world from the Fall until He comes back again, He was thinking about us. He was praying for us. He was intentionally about reminding his disciples then, and his disciples today, that nothing will be able to stand against His kingdom. But notice specifically what He prays for: “That they may all be one.” That’s impossible, right? I have trouble enough being “one” with the people I really like, much less with the people I struggle to like! And the church is often FULL of people we wouldn’t naturally associate with! That means this unity takes work, it takes effort, it takes intentionality. We don’t drift toward unity, we drift toward division. I was listening to a podcast this past week with a musician and producer in Nashville who was sharing why he needed to quit touring. He shared that after being on the road for 2+ weeks and not being with his church family he started questioning his faith, his commitment, and even the truth of what he believed. After he got back from the road he drove up to his small group and the moment he walked in a peace permeated everything. He was reminded of the truths of the gospel made manifest through his brothers and sister in the church. That’s the reason the author of Hebrews reminds us to not neglect meeting together! We need to continue encouraging and edifying each other so that we can be united!
 
Now, that unity does not mean uniformity! Jesus goes on and grounds the reasoning for this unity in a theological point “just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you.” This is referring to the Trinity. God is completely unified, yet there are distinctions in the Godhead, with different roles within the Trinity. In the same way, for those in Christ, we are all given gifts of the Spirit that we are to use to the best of our abilities. If we all had the same gifts we would never be able to function in full health! We’d be very strong in one area and weak in the other. It would be like one of those body builders who focuses exclusively on the top half of his body and neglects the bottom half, so his toothpick legs look like they can’t support the monstrosity on top! No, all of us are commanded to use our gifts to the best of our ability, and to continue growing in our gifts for the sake of the body. And the application of this is the unity we show in the midst of diversity is the best evangelistic witness we can show to the world. Jesus even says the world can judge whether or not we are Christians by how unified we are! So I’d encourage you to be thinking and praying about how you can better utilize your unique gifts and talents for the sake of the body when we can finally come back together. 
 
SONG:
Today’s song is by Citizens, a fun band that came out of Mars Hill in Seattle. Their most recent project was recorded using just a phone in an empty church, with a piano and guitar, and they’re sending out chord charts for people to arrange them however they want! The first song off the album is all about Jesus, and it’s called ‘Only Jesus Christ’ you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 10 Devotional

Today is generally referred to as Good Friday in the church calendar, and the reason it’s good is because our sins were paid for! We no long need to bear the penalty for them. I’ll be working on editing a Good Friday video that Pastor Jeff and I recorded yesterday, so that will be going live on our website at 6 PM tonight, you’ll be able to watch it on the front page of our WEBSITE.
 
Today we’re going to be reading from Romans 5:6-11:
 
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
 
This is a beautiful picture of what Christ has accomplished for us in His death on the cross. Paul begins by calling all of us weak. So weak that in other places of the Bible we’re referred to as dead! (See Ezekiel 37 for the most graphic depiction of this) Yet even when we were at our weakest point, God considered that the be the right time. Have you ever had a conversation with someone where they said the right thing but at completely the wrong time? Or maybe you’ve been in that situation: you ask someone how they are, they say they’re good and how are you, and you reply I’m good how are you again? You’re saying the socially acceptable thing, but you said it at the wrong time! What this text is telling us is God sent Jesus to die for us in the right way at exactly the right time! And not only were we weak and helpless, God did this while we were still at enmity with Him. Opposed to everything He stands for. Disobeying Him in thought, word, and in deed. So because of our disobedience and sin, Jesus had to die for us. Can you imagine the weight that Jesus felt as He was carrying His cross? Yes, the physical weight of the cross itself, but the spiritual and emotional weight of dying for those who were in the process of killing them. And then in the midst of his suffering and grief, He shouts to His Father: “Forgive them! For they know not what they do!” Even in His death He was looking for the interests of others.
 
But that’s not all! Paul goes on to remind us that not only did Jesus die in our place, but now because of that we have an even better reason to hope and rejoice: we have now been saved from God’s wrath. Instead of His wrath being poured out on us, He poured it out on His Son on the cross. And what that means is God has reconciled His enemies to himself. He has brought everyone He’s saved into eternal life with Him! So because of that, as Paul says, we now can rejoice! We can celebrate! We can dance! John Stott, a pastor and theologian who lived last century said, “We should be the most positive people in the world. We cannot mooch round the place with a dropping, hang-dog expression. We cannot drag our way through life, moaning and groaning. We cannot always be looking on the dark side of everything, as negative prophets of doom. No, “we exult in God.” Then every part of our life becomes suffused with glory. Christian worship becomes a joyful celebration of God and Christian living a joyful service of God. So come, let us exult in God together!
SONG:
Today’s song is titled ‘Magnificent, Marvelous, Matchless Love’ by the Gettys. You can listen to it on YOUTUBEor SPOTIFY. And don’t forget! I’ve still been updating the playlist including all the songs I’ve sent out! You can listen to it HERE.

April 9 Devotional

Happy Maundy Thursday! This has become one of my favorite Easter traditions, remembering Jesus reenacting the Passover with His disciples and converting it to a way to remember Him. So because of that, today we’ll be looking at Matthew 26:17-29:
 
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
 
Jesus (who is God and thus omniscient) knew the end was coming. We’ll come to a point in Luke’s Gospel later on where it says Jesus “turned his face to Jerusalem” signifying a major shift in his ministry focus. All HIs life had been leading to His death on the cross, but His disciples hadn’t noticed how much Jesus had talked about it during His earthly ministry, but something changes during this meeting. There’s some things that always make my chuckle as I’m reading the Bible, and this is one of them! Jesus tells his disciples to go find random dude and tell him that “The Teacher” needs your room. That’s it. Almost like a magical spell where the guy will automatically do whatever they need! (I would not suggest trying this with the family members you’re currently quarantined with, I can’t guarantee the same results!) Another thing to note is the faithfulness of Jesus. He said He did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament), but to fulfill it. Despite many of the religious leaders of the day getting upset with Him, Jesus was a living demonstration of what the Old Testament commanded. Everything He did was how God had intended His people to live, but they all missed it! Even one of His disciples.
And during the time they were celebrating the Passover, Jesus announced to His disciples that one of them would betray Him. I always see this as one of the most encouraging aspects of Scripture for anyone who’s a leader! If even Jesus can’t bat 1.000 with HIs disciples, what hope do the rest of us have?
The last thing I want to point out today is we’re currently experiencing some of the waiting Jesus has been experiencing for 2 millennium. The last line here says Jesus won’t celebrate communion again until He returns. We’re in a bit of a weird time where we can’t celebrate communion with each other right now either. Despite being Holy Week right now, we’re not even able to meet together, so I hope there’s a sense of longing in all of us! I can’t wait to get back together and encourage each other and remember Jesus’ death on our behalf. I’d encourage you to take some time today to read through the various accounts of Maundy Thursday!
 
SONG:
Today’s song is a brand new one by Vertical Worship called ‘Faithful Now’ You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 8 Devotional

Just a reminder that today is WEDNESDAY 🙂 
Today we’ll be looking at John 1:1-18:
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
 
One of the commentaries I was reading on this section today reminded me of one of my favorite stories from The Chronicles of Narnia series. In the second book, Prince Caspian, the children are back in Narnia and are looking for Aslan. Lucy, the youngest, has claimed to see him during their journey and eventually is awoken from sleep by him calling to her. She obediently follows him and when she finally sees him they have this exchange:
“Welcome, child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
The way Lewis could capture deep theological truths with his quips never ceases to astound me! You see, every year as we grow closer to God we will begin to grasp more of him, and understand the depths of his wisdom a little more. Obviously, we’ll never see all of it, but that’s ok, we’ll have eternity with Him to continue learning more and more about Him! The way that ties in to this passage is the bigness of Christ. Everything was made through Him, everything is held together by Him, and He continues working everything out for his good int he midst of everything going on. We know that any darkness we experience or witness in our world cannot overcome the light from Him. He is the true light (or truth) by which we find and discern all other lights (or truths). If we don’t know Him we have no hope of knowing the reality of why we’re here.
 
Yet God did not remain far off and removed. The last section reminds us this Word, this light, this God, took on flesh and dwelt among us. The phrase in Greek is literally “tabernacled” or “pitched his tent” (I thought that would fit better in Colorado, to remind you of when we could go pitch our tents!) Jesus, the one and only God-Man descended to us. That’s what we’re celebrating this Easter season, and what we celebrate every Sunday. God Himself, the author of the story of everything, the Creator of everything, wrote Himself into the story, the Creature became the created, to identify with us in every way. So everything we experience we can look back to Christ. Because of Him we have received “grace upon grace.” As I’ve thought and meditated over that phrase the past couple years, I’ve been continually reminded that we get grace heaped on top of grace! We can’t out sin God’s grace. God knew every sin we would commit before we commit them, but He still died on our behalf. Think about it, every single sin you and I have ever committed was in the future when He bore the penalty for it. But He still died for us. What an amazing God we serve!
 
SONG:
This is another oldie but a goodie that I sang as I was growing up! It’s called ‘You Are My King (Amazing Love)’ You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 7 Devotional

Today we’re going to be looking at Philippians 2:1-11:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The short version of this passage is: be like Jesus, or as ‘In His Steps taught us: What Would Jesus Do? I used to wear out those bracelets as I was growing up! They were the trendy thing to wear! Little did I know the actual implications of what I was wearing! See the point for all of us is to be a clone, or a copy of Christ. We are commanded to represent him to the world. And what that means for us is (similarly to Christ, although not in the same way) to die! I love the way Deitrich Bonhoeffer says it in his book ‘Life Together’: “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” This is a daily death, as Jesus says we are to DAILY take up our cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23).
 
Yet we don’t do that perfectly, do we? I find myself right now increasingly agitated, increasingly worried about what the future looks like, increasingly anxious about what I can’t control! But God knows all of those feelings. God has experienced all of these feelings when He sent His Son to the cross. He experienced all these feelings and more. His closest friends betrayed Him. They couldn’t even stay away one night to pray with him! His world that He created crucified Him on the cross. The tree that is held together in Him bore his body and dripped His blood. But because of that obedience and humility, God has now exalted Him. And everything will one day bay bow down to that name! That’s what we’re celebrating this week! We no longer see Jesus in his humble form, nor do we clearly see Him in His exalted form, but we long for that day! And until then we remain faithful!
 
SONG:
Today’s song is by Jon Foreman, better known as the lead singer of Switchfoot, singing his version of Psalm 23! It’s called ‘The House of God Forever, and you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 6 Devotional

Today (thanks to my wife!) we’ll be reading Psalm 16:
 
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
 
Little did I know when I chose this passage today, this is an Easter Psalm! This is one of the Psalms used by the early disciples in the book of Acts as they started to evangelize the world. Peter quotes from it in Acts 2:25-28, Paul quotes from it in Acts 13:32-37, and in response thousands came to faith in Jesus! The disciples (and us today!) know that David couldn’t have been speaking of himself, because his body DID see decay, he’s still dead today! But because he was a prophet, David was pointing to the greater King, his son Jesus.
 
David begins by reminding us where we can find our source of comfort: in God. He says the we should take our refuge in him. All of us seek refuge on a regular basis. I think for me, my home is the place I look for refuge! It keeps me dry when it’s raining, warm when it’s cold, it holds the things I hold most dear (apart from my family, but it often holds them too!). Yet if I only look to the gifts God has given instead of the giver of those good gifts, I’m missing the point. The point for all of us is to use what God has given as a way to honor and worship Him. David goes on to remind us of that fact: “the sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.” None of those other things we put in place of God can be a true source of refuge for us.
 
David goes on and says “I have put the Lord always before me.” What kinds of things do you to to ensure your focus is always on God? What kinds of things have you needed to get rid of so could better focus on God and not be distracted by the things of this world? Because doing so is the only way we can find full joy! And right now is a great time for us to be thinking of what things we’re looking to for our comfort and strength instead of God, because many of those are being stripped away! I’d encourage you to use some time during this Easter week to think through what God is teaching you during this crazy time! 
 
SONG:
Today’s song is one of my favorite Easter songs of all time, called ‘Is He Worthy?’ By Andrew Peterson. You can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 3 Devotional

Today’s passage is John 20:19-23
 
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
I’m reading a book right now looking at the doctrine of the church, so it’s asking the question what makes up the church, how do we define the church, what markers are there of that true church (following what we recite in the Nicene Creed: one, holy, catholic, apostolic), and the two of the markers are found in this passage: confessional and missional. 
 
So first a little background to the passage. This takes place right after the disciples have found the empty tomb. Mary has seen Jesus, talked to him, and now she’s served as the first eyewitness of his resurrection, and told all the other disciples. Then, later that night on a Sunday night, the disciples are gathered together, in what may be described as the first church service (again, depending on how you define the word church!). 
 
Then we see the confessional nature of God’s people. A popular mantra today is: no creed but the Bible, which dismisses the way God works in history. Creeds were formed as a response to various heresies that were threatening the church, and are thus a helpful reminder for us to not go back to those exact same tempting ways. And this confession is how we can ultimately have peace with God, which is how Jesus greets his disciples: “Peace be with you.” If we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raise him from the dead you will be saved (Rom. 10:9) and have peace with God.
 
This then leads to the second nature of the church: missional. So often when we talk about the church we think of a building, when in reality it is God’s people. That means we often get the order of things mixed up! Theologians refer to this idea as the missio de or the mission of God. God’s mission has a church, the church does not have a mission. The mission is primary, the gathering is secondary because the church is temporary. Someday we will be with God personally, and we won’t need to set aside time weekly to gather because we’ll always be gathered and worshipping him perfectly! But this is all contingent upon the confession, which is why that must come first. But this mission means that all of us are seeking to tell the world what Jesus has done for us! Jesus describes us as a light on a hill that guides and points people to the truth. So I’d encourage you to think and pray through what it means for us to be on mission as the church, both corporately and individually. How do you think we’re doing as an example to the world of a life fully surrendered to God? What does that practically look like?
 
SONG:
Today’s song is titled ‘Christ Is Mine Forevermore’ which is getting to this very idea we studied today! Christ will ensure that we will make it to the end, so let’s trust in Him! You can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 2 Devotional

Today we’ll be looking at Psalm 1:
 
Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.
 
This Psalm sets the stage for the rest of this book, which means it’s crucial that we get this Psalm right to correctly interpret the rest of the book! This Psalm paints a picture of 2 men, one who is blessed, and one who is “wicked.” We begin with a look at the blessed man.
 
This man has nothing to do with sin! He runs the other direction. Just as Joseph fled the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, the blessed man won’t even stay in the same room as temptation. Notice the trajectory of this fall into sin. You begin by walking with the wicked, then your walk slows down as you become enticed by their rhetoric so you stand there with the sinners, then you finally take a lot off and sit down with the scoffers. It’s a slow but natural progression. Instead, the blessed man focuses all his attention and energy on the law of the Lord. Instead of being tempted he fixates on how he can be obedient to God and follow in his path. Because of this, he is like a tree that is planted by water. Notice the intentionality of that! It’s not like the Amazon jungle where trees are haphazardly scattered about, this is intentional. God ensures that the blessed man will have rich soil and deep roots so that he will have what he needs (think of Job!). Because of this foundation, everything this blessed man does prospers. Once again, this is not material blessing, this is God’s economy at work! We serve a different king and a different kingdom than the world! 
 
On the other hand is the wicked. The wicked are tossed to and fro by the wind, unable to have their roots sinking deep into the soil in which they find themselves. This is the person who chases after all the latest trends and ideologies of the day. They are always chasing after the latest and greatest ideas and are thus changing their opinions as often as they change their clothes! But we know the outcome of this kind of person: perishing. Apart from God miraculously intervening and bringing their dead souls to life, they will continue down the path of wickedness. And it’s true for all of us as well! So we need to do our best to cling tightly to Christ! Then we will be blessed and prosper in all we do!
 
SONG:
Today’s song is from one of my wife’s favorite singers Audrey Assad! The song is called ‘Even Unto Death.’ You can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.
 
FREE STUFF:
One of my favorite authors has just released a new book on church history, and released one of the video episodes for free! You can watch it HERE.