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Inspiring Generations

Just Believe

September 3, 2015

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31 (ESV)

John the Apostle, one of the original twelve disciples, wrote  this book with one main purpose.  He wanted us to know, without a doubt, that Jesus is the Son of God and all who believe in Him we will have eternal life. John’s faith was based on his reality. Is your faith based on your reality? He was an eyewitness to Jesus’ life. We aren’t eyewitnesses like John was to Jesus’s life but we have God’s word that gives us eyewitness accounts. John spent three years listening, observing and being personally taught by Jesus, based on all this we can totally trust John’s word on who Jesus is and what He can do. Are you spending time reading, pondering, studying God’s word?John knew without a doubt that Jesus loved him and wrote a great deal about that love. John even refers to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved.” We too can know without doubt that Jesus loves us. We can be known as “the one Jesus loves.” What is stopping you today from just believing?

We all struggle with things in life that are difficult; doubt, fear, grief, but when we encounter the Risen Savior we are transformed. Even those closest to Jesus struggle with doubt, fear and grief. Mary Magdalene was transformed from a woman stricken with grief to one who “announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” The disciples went from hiding in fear to boldly proclaiming the gospel. Thomas went from doubt to confidence assurance when he encountered Jesus. Do you doubt you are loved? Are you living in fear? Has grief consumed you? Jesus, the Risen Savior, can transform you today.

Personal Application: Take a step of faith today and believe God. Believe Him with your heart, soul and mind. Believe that He can take your doubt, fear, grief or whatever you are struggling with and transform you today.

Home Application: Spend some time talking about what you are having trouble believing God for and why? Discuss specific strategies you can put in place to encourage each other to just believe!

What transformation do you want Jesus to make in your life today?

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

Nothing Ever Changes

September 2, 2015

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Cor.5:17)

Change. The one constant in life seems to be that everything changes. Ask an old timer what Austin/Dripping Springs/Manor was like in 1990. You know already that our area has changed dramatically. And it will continue to do so. Whether we like it or not, things change. Styles change, thankfully. Country music has changed, unfortunately! Change is not always a good thing, nor is it bad. Sometimes things are just different.

Spiritually speaking, have you changed since meeting Christ? Scripture teaches us repeatedly that surrender to Jesus results in a changed man. Never again are we the way we once were before Christ. Our attitudes are different. Although we once were full of anger, now we are kind and compassionate. Fear has been replaced with confidence in an all powerful God. What we once enjoyed doing on a Saturday night now seems unthinkable. You are not the same. From the inside out, you are a new creation. Paul tells us that we once were darkness; now, in Christ, we are light. Our personality hasn’t changed. Rather, we have moved from death to life. From being blind to now seeing. His grace transformed you into an entirely new creation. You don’t do the things you used to do because of some set of rules… but because that’s not who you are anymore!

Personal Application: Do others notice a change in you as a result of your decision to follow Christ?

What is the biggest change in you since Christ saved you?

Devotional written by Clay Barton

Whose Idea?

September 1, 2015

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)

I often wonder who first had an idea. Like eating an oyster. Who was the first person to closely examine that bizarre looking bivalved mollusk and conclude that swallowing it was a good idea? Or eating a mushroom? Anyone with any hiking experience at all can tell you where they typically grow. Or bungee jumping. Someone had to be the first to wrap some lengthy ropes around their ankles and jump off of a bridge. Who was it?

Too often we take for granted that someone had to be the first to come up with a brilliant idea. Someone started it all. Someone was the first to create. Like you and me. As people. See, as Pastor Ky recently said, “you are not your own idea.” As much as we would like to take credit for everything about us… we are his creation. I was made. You were too. By one so great that we can’t even see his face. God put us here. It was his amazing idea in the first place. And he had a purpose in mind. God wasn’t simply showing off as he created mankind. Rather, he put us here to know him. To have fellowship with him. To glorify him and give him all the credit, forever. That may be a humbling thought for you. Or it might be very encouraging to realize that we are his masterpiece. Regardless, it’s true. He made you. And he loves you beyond your wildest imagination.

Personal Application: Knowing that we were made for fellowship with God should change our outlook today.

We are quick to blame God when things go badly; why do we often fail to give God the credit for his amazing good works?

Devotional written by Clay Barton

Overwhelmed?

August 31, 2015

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:35)

Feeling overwhelmed? Even though it’s only Monday, do you already have the sensation that this week is going to bring more than you can bear? Every one of us knows what it is like to be overwhelmed. The stack of bills is too high. The pain is too great. Waves of loneliness never seem to stop. While we slept, our “to do” list seemingly doubled in length. It never seems to end.

Being overwhelmed is almost always a bad thing. But not always. For Christ himself loves to overwhelm you with his love. He thinks about you constantly. He knows every detail of your life. Everything. And he still is passionately in love with you. He tells us that no tribulation, distress, or persecution can ever separate us from his overwhelming love. Can you imagine? A Niagra Falls like outpouring of perfect love… falling on your head. His love never fails. He never gives up on you.  Nothing can stop his love.

Personal Application: Knowing that Jesus loves you is one thing; living as one overwhelmed by him is another. Which will you choose today?

What was it like the first time you were overwhelmed by the goodness of God?

Devotional written by Clay Barton

The Perfect Helper

August 28, 2015

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever… (John 14:16)

Few need convincing that life is tough. Getting through a single week without hurts, scars or hardship is rare. And this is true regardless of your geography, age or the size of your savings account. Since sin entered the world, it has been a place easily categorized as ruthless and cruel. We all need a little help; sometimes a lot of help is required to just make it through the day. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a perfect helper by your side at all times? One who is always available, always understands your situation and always provides just exactly what is needed? Only in your dreams, right? Wrong.

Shortly before his death, Jesus made many promises, not the least of which was that he would send a Helper to his followers. Sometimes he referred to him as the Spirit of truth. Other times he called him our Advocate, Counselor or Comforter. We usually know him as the Holy Spirit. And he is God. Which means he is perfect. He is all knowing. He is all powerful. And he wants to help you and me in every facet of our lives. Are you desperate for wise advice? Ask your perfect Helper. Are you unsure as to what is true? He will help you see through the lies and deception. Simply exhausted and in need of a fresh boost? He will encourage and strengthen you better than any other source. He is here for you. And he is eager to help.

Personal Application: Rather than resorting to your friends for advice, today first try your perfect Helper.

Do Christians seem to have a hard time believing Jesus’ promises about the Holy Spirit? Why?

Devotional written by Clay Barton

You Are Welcome Here

August 27, 2015

But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. (John 15:26)

These past weeks have been exciting. A new school year began. Some students entered strange surroundings filled with unfamiliar faces. A new senior pastor arrived. Many new faces filled the seats at all three of our campuses. And, in true Bannockburn form, all were welcome. For that is who we are, and who we have been, for many years. Bannockburn welcomes people. Really, really well. We make room for them. We slide over so our guests can have a great seat. We speak to them, shake their hands and show them around our facilities.

Shortly before Jesus was killed, he promised his followers that he would not leave them like orphans. More specifically, he promised that the Father would send a Helper, the Counselor, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit. God himself, found in the person of the Holy Spirit, would come in the name of Jesus to comfort, teach, testify and convict. What an amazing promise and gift! Yet would he be welcomed in? Would his followers receive him warmly, or would they push him aside? Would they drown out his voice with the noises of their busy days?  Or would they listen to his comforting words of life?

Personal Application: We all know that it is very hard to listen when we are not still. The Holy Spirit’s words of conviction and comfort are easiest to hear when we get quite and dial in to his voice.

How have you welcomed the Holy Spirit?

Devotional written by Clay Barton

The Power and Privilege of PRAYER

August 26, 2015

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of Him.  1 John 5:14-15

PRAYER.  Dictionary.com says it’s a devout petition to God, a spiritual communion with God. Prayer is certainly about asking God for something, but it’s also about spending time with Him in relationship.  Praising Him, Worshipping Him, Acknowledging our great desperate need for Him!  Our key verse says that if we ask according to His will, HE HEARS US.  How in  the world do we know if we are asking according to His will?  We don’t really. However, if we’ve trusted Jesus as our Savior, His promised Holy Spirit lives inside us guiding and directing us in every way. So we can trust Him to help us pray according to His will.

And that comes in handy when our prayers become super personal.  That’s also when we’re so glad our prayers are super powerful!  Remember what Pastor Ky told us a few weeks ago?  A little prayer….A little power.  A LOT OF PRAYER.  A LOT OF POWER!  So whatever is on your heart, whatever you’re praying about, remember HE HEARS YOU!  Whether it’s about your little ones you just sent off to school. Or about a medical test you’re awaiting results on.  Or if it’s about your prodigal son or daughter.  Or how your going to pay that bill.  James remind us in chapter 5 verse 16 of this

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

So please share your prayer needs with your brothers and sisters in Christ.  They would love the privilege to pray for you! You have the privilege of praying for them!  Then as God answers those prayers as He always does, all of you can rejoice together in His goodness, and His provision, giving Him all the Glory!

Personal Application:  Stop and look back on your recent times in prayer.  Were they a spiritual communion with God or just a devout petition? Stop and thank God for the privilege and the power of prayer!

Home Application:  Share at dinner recent prayers and how God answered them. Thank Him for His goodness and faithfulness to answer our prayers and then celebrate who He is!

How is your Prayer Life?

 

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

Do Not Fear

August 25, 2015

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

This is a lesson to be learned as we get ready to start school. Summer
is over and a new year is ahead of us!! A new teacher, meeting new
people, a new place, a new start…that can be scary. But God says, do not fear, I am with you.

He equips us when we face something new. As I send my kids off to a
new place I ask them to be bold and do not fear for The Lord is with
you. To have that security and to know He is by your side makes the
journey easier.  It can give you strength to face hard things at school or at home.

I remember when I was growing up that old hymn: …Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living, Just because He lives!

Personal & Home Application: Share and discuss with your family how they can rely
on the Lord to direct their path when facing something new and remind them,
that God will be with them every step of the way.

How will you let God equip you for the new things you will face?

Devotional written by Amy Louis

Back to School

August 24, 2015

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Well, it’s here!  The first day of school for most of our kiddos.  Still can’t believe that summer is almost over!?! Wow!  Pretty sure this is one of the most important times for all of you parents and grandparents to practice and perfect your trusting skills . . . here’s why . . . when those precious children you love and care for head back to school, I’m confident there are a few things that run through your mind like a broken record.

Is their school a good one? The right one for them?

Will their teacher do a good job and really understand my child?

Will my child make good friends in their class?

Will my child be safe?

Will they learn at a good pace this year?

And probably many more . . .

What a fabulous time to STOP!  And say, “God, I Trust my children into Your Care! I TRUST my grandchildren into your CARE!”

He is Trustworthy and loves your child and/or grandchild even more than you do!

And He alone can . . .

Make every school a great school

Equip every teacher to be the best for each child in their classroom

Help your child make great friends

Keep your child safe and secure

Help your child learn and learn well

HE ALONE CAN _______You fill in the blank . . .

So, before your child or grandchild heads back to school, Trust God with them for an amazing school year!  And then, THANK HIM!  Because He’s Worthy and Faithful!  And HE CARES for YOU!

Personal Application:  Take a self-examination and see what your trust quotient is.  Then, get on your knees and ask God to give you more faith so you can trust Him more!

Home Application:  Parents and Grandparents, be honest with the children in your lives.  Confess to them that sometimes there are things that bother you where they are concerned.  And then share with them your testimony of how God is giving you the strength and faith to trust Him for them and their future.  Families sharing stories of God’s activity in their lives is useful and uplifting for all who hear.

Can you let go of your fears and Trust God for your children and/or grandchildren this school year?

Devotion written by Carla Dillard

The Full Armor

August 21, 2015

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11

So, parents, the time has arrived! It’s time for our precious children to go back to school.  It has been a long time since Steve and I sent children back to school. We completely forgot all that was involved.  We’ll send them off with new clothes, new shoes, a backpack full of school supplies, and a new lunch box – but what else do we need to equip them with?  We need to equip them to stand strong as they are out in this world.  We need to help them put on the full armor of God!  Look at this powerful promise!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17

They are probably going to think I’m crazy, but I plan to put on the armor for them.  Really!  I will have them stand up, and I’ll buckle the belt of truth around their waist.  I’ll put on their breastplate of righteousness, and next I’ll put on their shoes of the gospel of peace.  Then I’ll help them put on the helmet of salvation, take up the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit.  Now they will be ready to stand firm! And I’ll know that God will protect them from the enemy because I’m claiming His promise!

Personal Application:  Try putting on the armor of God on yourself.   Actually act it out.  Then ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit and stand firm!

Home Application:  Share this simple, effective technique with your family.  You will be amazed at how much it will help all of you.  And buckle up those kids before you send them off to school!

Will you send your children off without completely equipping them?

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

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Inspiring GenerationsInspiring Generations.

Guiding generations to become passionate followers of Jesus Christ, one home at a time.