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When war is declared! Do not be afraid!

October 24, 2014

He said, “Listen , all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid.”  2 Chronicles 20:15-17

Chapter 20 begins with several armies declaring war on King Jehoshaphat. He was terrified by the news and begged God for guidance. He ordered all the people to fast and pray. Jehoshaphat stood before the community and prayed. He  proclaimed who God is:  The ONE who alone is in heaven,  ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth, powerful and mighty.  He confessed “We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” That’s when, the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, and he spoke telling them not to be afraid or discouraged because the battle belonged to God. They would not even need to fight, just to stand still and watch the LORD’s victory.  King Jehoshaphat and all the people bowed down and worshipped the LORD.  The next morning on their way out Jehoshaphat stopped and told the people, “Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm.” They went out singing to the LORD and praising him for his holy splendor. They sang, “Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever.” At that very moment the armies turned against each other and were all killed. All the men returned to Jerusalem overjoyed that the LORD had given them victory.

What to do when war is declared: by Wendy Pope, writer for Proverbs 31.

  • Beg the Lord for guidance (v3)
  • Pray and fast (v6-7)
  • Acknowledge you are powerless (v12)
  • Listen for a word from God (v13-17)
  • Believe the Lord your God (v20b)
  • Praise Him…before the victory  (v21)

I don’t know what war you are facing but REMEMBER:

  • Jehoshaphat’s prayer
  • The word of God can come thru a scripture, a person, a song, a devotion, a message, a husband or a wife. Wherever and however God chooses to speak to you He will.
  • Invite people to pray with and for you
  • Stand on His faithfulness
  • Praise Him for who He is regardless of what He does even if you don’t understand…PRAISE HIM. Praise confuses the enemy and it is one of our greatest defenses against him!

Personal Application: What “war” are you facing?

Home Application: Is your family feeling under attack? Wage war on the enemy!

Are you ready?

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

Courage

October 23, 2014

Go gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish. Esther 4:16 ESV

For the next few days we will be talking about courage. Courage is defined as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain etc., without fear; bravery. Synonyms include words like fearlessness, bravery, valor. Courage permits one to face extreme dangers and difficulties without fear; to take (or lose) courage. Bravery implies true courage. Bravery implies true courage with daring and an intrepid boldness; bravery in battle. Valor implies heroic courage: valor in fighting for the right.

One of my favorite examples of courage in the Old Testament is Esther. Many of you know the story of Esther but here is a quick summary. Esther is an orphaned Jewish girl who was raised by her uncle, Mordecai. Esther becomes the Queen of Persia, after King Ahasuerus banished his first wife and chooses Esther through a contest. A crucial part of the story is that the king doesn’t know she is Jewish. Mordecai refuses to bow down to Haman, one of the kings high officials. Haman is furious and plots to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom. Mordecai find out and tells Esther. Esther outwits Haman and goes before the king and begs for the protection for her Jewish people from Haman’s wicked scheme. The king becomes furious and has Haman hung on the very gallows he has built to destroy all the Jews.

Esther showed bravery and courage as she faced a seemingly impossible decision. Death seemed certain regardless of what she decided. In the midst of her turmoil, Esther realized she could not allow fear to paralyze her. Instead she left the outcome to God. She knew where to go to get the courage to make the decision: to God in fasting and prayer. Placing her life in God’s hands, she let Him decide the outcome for her and her people! Wow what extraordinary courage!

Personal Application: Are you paralyzed by fear? Go to God in fasting and prayer.

Home Application: Ask family members to talk about a time they have been courageous.

Where do you need to be courageous?

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

Important Survey from the Pastor Search Team

October 22, 2014

Dear BBC Family,

Below is the link to participate in a church-wide survey related to our search for the next Senior Pastor. Your responses will remain anonymous and confidential.
The deadline to complete this survey is Sunday, October 26 at 11:59PM

bbcfamily.com/pstsurvey

If for some reason, you are unable to complete the survey online, hard-copies are available at each church campus.

We greatly appreciate your participation!

“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go.’” Isaiah 30:21

In Christ,
Pastor Search Team

Love Never Fails

October 22, 2014

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight with evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Love never fails. I’ve wondered sometimes if love never fails because of the source of the love or if it is because of the action list before this bold statement. If we can be patient, kind, non-envious, not prideful…will that help love succeed? How about if our attitude is not rude and self seeking…will love succeed? What if we are forgiving, even tempered and rejoice with truth…will love succeed? Then after the actions of love come four bold ALWAYS statements. Love ALWAYS Protects, Trusts, Hopes and Perseveres. Wow! Those are huge!!

As I counsel young couples before they get married, I advise them to stay away from ALWAYS and NEVER statements. For example…He never puts the toilet seat down. Or…she always leaves the lights on. While there is usually an element of truth in those statements the likelihood of them being completely true is not high. But with God we can use always and never statements because He is constant. In 1 John the Bible tells us that God IS love. So as we read the verse above one more time we can see the character of God. As believers, we are to be imitators of God so I pray that I can live up to the love statements. How about you?

Personal Application: What kind of ALWAYS and NEVER statements are you using these days? Are they related to God or based on your opinion or strength? Take some time to listen to yourself talk this week and see what you might need to change.

Home Application:  Take some time this week to discuss the never changing character of God. Look at each love statement and talk about how you can live this out on a daily basis.

Is God’s love a constant in your life? If not, lets talk.

Devotional written by Chris King

Love is…

October 21, 2014

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight with evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

If you were asked to finish the phrase “Love is” what would be your answer? I asked some folks on the street this question today and the responses were interesting. One finished the phrase with “cruel”, another said “all you need” (another song lyric comes to mind), and still another said “fleeting.” Of the fifteen or so people I asked, I received fifteen different responses. It’s no wonder that the world is lost when it comes to love. I followed up my first question with a question about their faith life. Of the fifteen, nine claimed to be a believer yet no one talked about love from a biblical perspective. Maybe this is why the church misses the mark on love as well.

As a young believer at age 25 or 26, I had someone tell me to try substituting my name where is says love in the verse we are exploring today and see how I line up with the scripture. For example, Chris is patient, Chris is kind. Then stop when the character trait is not true and see how far in the verses you get. Well, I had to stop at the first. Not very good! I hope I have improved some over the years. But if we are supposed to take on the nature of Christ and the Bible tells us that God is love…then shouldn’t we understand the standard that has been set? Love is….

Personal Application: Try the example of placing your name in the place of love. How far do you get? Where do you need to improve on your love quotient? Pray and ask God to help you love like Him.

Home Application: As a parent, spouse or friend how would your family/friends rate you on your love quotient? Have a conversation and find out. Many times those closest to us can give us insight as to where we fall short.

How do your actions reflect Christ to the world around you?

Devotional written by Chris King

The Power of Love

October 20, 2014

If I speak in the tounges of men and of angels But have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I posess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.   1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Huey Lewis and The News had a song called The Power of Love. In the song it tells us:

It don’t take money and it don’t take fame
Don’t need no credit card to ride this train
Tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel
You won’t feel nothin’ till you feel
You feel the power, just the power of love
That’s the power, that’s the power of love

The power of love says if we don’t posess love we are clanging cymbals, nothing. Thats powerful. That we gain nothing from our “doing” if we don’t do it in love. That should be something to make you go “Hmmmm.”

In many ways this tells us that our “doing” lovely things doesn’t matter if our “being” is not centered in love. So what do we do? Do we stop doing? Doesn’t our doing do good even if our being is not good? OK, now my brain hurts! I would contend that our doing out of wrong motives can still do good but I have to wonder how much more good could be done if our motives were centered in love. I don’t know about you but I ahve heard way too many gongs and cymbals. I have seen too many people left empty from doing out of self vs love. They gained nothing and felt nothing after the initial “fuzzies” wore off.

Love….it’s powerful. It;s tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel.

Personal Application: Are you so busy “doing” that you have forgotten how to just “be?” It is in our “being” that we learn how to “do.” How are you practicing being with God to learn how to truly love?

Home Application: Take time with your family to slow down and be with God. Help your children slow down from so many activities and look at how Jesus did things in love and the impact that it had.

Based on the concept of being vs doing, what changes do you need to make? What has been motivating you in your “doing?”

Devotional written by Chris King

Pastor Search Team Update (October 17, 2014)

October 17, 2014

Dear BBC Family,

Last Sunday we verbally communicated that we would be rolling out a survey for church members. Please join us this upcoming Sunday for information related to taking the survey next week.

As a reminder, the purpose of this survey is to give the church members an opportunity to provide input regarding the ‘qualities and attributes’ of our next senior pastor as a requirement of our bylaws. Since this survey will also be asking for your views of BBC and your own spiritual walk, we are also encouraging non-church members to participate.
The survey will be confidential and anonymous and will take about 15 minutes. Please make every effort to participate. We want to hear your input.

In the meantime, we ask that you to join us this week as we pray for God’s clear direction in completing the surveys:

“Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” Psalms 25:4-5

 

“For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead and guide me.” Psalms 31:3

Finally, the daily devotional books that the Pastor Search Team is committed to using during this journey (Face to Face, Vol 2: Praying the Scriptures for Spiritual Growth, by Kenneth Boa) will be available for sale at all BBC campuses. Cost is $8.

Should you have any questions, concerns, or encouragements, please feel free to drop us an email at pst@bbcfamily.com.

In Christ,
Pastor Search Team

What’s Love Got to do With It?

October 17, 2014

And now I will show you the most excellent way. 1 Corinthians 12:31

In Tina Turner’s hit song “What’s Love Got to do With It?” it says “What’s love got to do, got to do with it?
What’s love but a second hand emotion?” What do you think about this? Is love just an emotion or as a DC Talk song says…”Love is a verb.”

The word “love” gets thrown around very casually these days. As friends we often say “love ya” but do we really? As spouses we should be saying “I love you” but do our actions reflect this? And in our world today love is often confused and interchanged with lust. Love has lost it’s meaning and purpose in this world. It has taken a turn toward the casual and lost its serious side. So how do we, as the church, reclaim love in its original design? Is it too late….have we missed the boat?

At the end of chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians we begin the “love” chapter. It starts with a bold yet simple statement…”And now I will show you the most excellent way.” WOW!!! Not just any old way but the MOST EXCELLENT way. Makes me wonder if there is a connection to Jesus saying He is the way. Hmmm. The rest of the chapter…which we will explore over the next few days…shows us (another verb) what love should look like.

Personal Application: How do you define love? Is it casual or serious? How do you express love towards others?

Home Application: What are you teaching your children about love and how do you model it for them? Our children are watching to see how we love one another.

What is one way you are expressing love these days? Let us know.

Devotional written by Chris King

Give Me Jesus

October 15, 2014

“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6)

One day while heading to the temple for prayer, Peter and John came across a man begging for money. This beggar had a real need: his life long handicap prevented him from earning a living any other way. I suspect he had deeper needs as well. Since birth, he was different. His broken body separated him from others. Certainly he wondered why. Why me? Why can’t I just be like everyone else? Does anyone care? Will I ever experience true love? And where is God anyway? For over forty years, this lame man thought he just needed money. I’m sure he had long given up on being healed. But Peter and John knew better. They knew he needed Jesus.

Aaron Ivey’s song “Jesus is Better” sums it up nicely. In all my sorrows? Jesus is better. Every victory, every comfort? Jesus is better. Riches? Jesus is better. In case you missed it: Jesus is better!  I’m sure Peter and John felt sympathy for a man lame since birth. But, wisely, they were able to move beyond the outer appearance to his heart and soul. He needed to meet the one who could heal him eternally. Don’t we all? And once we know Christ, shouldn’t we too share the goodness of His love with those around us?

Personal & Home Application: Do you often get distracted by physical needs such that you fail to introduce Jesus to hurting and broken people?

Would you rather help solve a friend’s problem, or introduce them to Jesus?

Devotional written by Clay Barton

Come and See

October 14, 2014

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29)

Those familiar with the Bible may know her as “the woman at the well.” Others refer to her as “the Samaritan woman.” Both accurately label her, for she was both a woman from Samaria and Jesus met her at a well. Yet many only recall that she was “one of those kinds of people.” You know they type. Full of sin. Living a life that was most disgraceful. After going through five different husbands, she was now living with a sixth man. We think of her as a prime example of a life full of mud and dirt, yet redeemed by a loving savior. She deserves a better label: extraordinary evangelist.

After meeting Jesus, she said to anyone who will listen “come and see.” For she had experienced love like no other. Living water was offered to her at the well. Spiritually speaking, she would never thirst again. Eternal life was found in Jesus. How could she keep it a secret? She couldn’t, and scripture tells us that many Samaritans from her town believed in Jesus because of her words. Her words weren’t fancy. She lacked a seminary degree. But she could tell others about her encounter with the Messiah. And it all started with “come and see….”

 

Personal Application: Consider the simplicity of this woman’s approach. All she asked was that her friends consider Jesus for themselves. Does it have to be more complicated than that?

Home Application: Discuss with your family the boldness of the woman at the well and how many came to Christ because of her words.

Is it possible to be a follower of Christ and yet never tell others to “come and see?”.

Devotional written by Clay Barton.

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