Your Campus...
Inspiring Generations

Life change

April 16, 2014

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.   Colossians 1:6 (NLT)

In April of 2009, we began to hear about something called the swine flu outbreak.  What is believed to have started in Mexico spread around the world.  In a report given by the World Health Organization, by July 2009 the confirmed cases of swine flu had reached 94,512 including 429 deaths.

Paul saw an epidemic during his time on planet earth, but it wasn’t one related to disease or viruses.  In a letter he wrote to the people of Colossi, he let them know that a Jesus epidemic was spreading throughout the world.  The Good News that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins was spreading like a pandemic.

Health officials were diligent about letting people know the symptoms of swine flu, so folks could know if they had contracted the disease.  In today’s passage, Paul talks about the main symptom of those who are infected with the grace of God and are truly believers… they are experiencing a changed life.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to excuse our current lifestyle but to forgive it and change it.  Our life in Christ should be a consistent and ongoing process of our lives changing from what we desire to what God desires.  Our actions, our attitudes, our goals, our dreams, our desires… all these will continue to change because Jesus has changed our hearts on the inside.

Personal Application- What about you?  Are you showing the symptoms of change?  Have you really been infected with the Good News?  Is the Good News spreading around the world because of you, or are you in quarantine? God wants his Good News to change lives all over the world… and you and I are called to be its carriers.

Home Application-  How are you helping family members to spread the Good News about Jesus?  If you have kids, are you encouraging them to invite a friend to church by offering to drive them?  Are you willing to help host a block party at your home with your spouse?  Talk to those in your home about teaming up to spread the Good News about Jesus.

Today’s devo written by Jeff Humphrey

Who has your changing life impacted lately?

 

Remembering Jesus

April 15, 2014

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  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 of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.    Matthew 26:26-30 (NIV)

 

The Lord’s Supper is our opportunity to remember the incredible price Jesus paid to take away our sins.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (NLT)

 The free gift of God, which takes away our sin and gives us eternal life wasn’t free for Christ.  He paid the price with everything He had…

  • We remember Him by eating a piece of broken bread.  The broken bread reminds us of the body of Jesus, broken by the beatings with sticks, fists, and whips which He had to endure just so He could get to the cross.
  • We remember Him by drinking a cup of grape juice, or new wine.  The wine reminds us of the blood of Jesus that flowed from His wounds until there was no more to sustain his life.

Jesus said that all this was done so humanity could experience the forgiveness of sins.  Though the gift is available to all, not all will believe and not all will trust Christ alone for life eternal and abundant.

Application-  This week, you have been encouraged to share the Lord Supper in your home with family or maybe some close friends.  Prepare yourself, so that through it you are inspired to give all you have in this life for Him, since He gave all He had for you…

  • Read through John chapter 19 as a reminder of what He went through…
  • Spend some time reflecting on what your life might be like if Christ hadn’t saved you or changed you.  Thank Him and worship Him for the salvation you have experienced…
  • Talk with your family about the Lord’s Supper and lead them to make the most of this remembering…
  • If you are wrestling with sin, confess it to God and ask Him to forgive you because of Jesus death on the cross…
  • In reflecting on Christ giving His all, is there something that He has wanted you to do for Him, but you have held back?  Why not commit to take that step now, expressing to Christ you want to start giving your all for Him?

Today’s devo written by Jeff Humphrey

How has a relationship with the Lord changed your life?

Deep love adds up

April 14, 2014

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.  Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.  Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back.  Do to others as you would like them to do to you.  “If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that?  Even sinners love those who love them!”    Luke 6:27-32 (NLT) 

Are you serious, Lord?  The person who hates me, curses me, hurts me, slaps me, and takes from me is a person I am supposed to love, do good for, bless, pray for, allow to slap more and on top of that I am supposed to not try to retrieve what they have taken?  Doesn’t that just reward their bad behavior?

Love is much like math.  When you start learning about it, it seems simple to add and subtract.  Things get a little more complicated as you learn to multiply and divide, but when it really gets tough is when you go beyond the basics to algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus.  How does someone become successful in calculus?  The answer is one problem at a time.  First you add, then subtract.  Next you multiply, then divide.  Pretty soon you learn to do all of them together with whole numbers, then you learn to do them with fractions.  Next are variables.  No one goes from learning addition one day to multiplying variables the next.

We are learning to love from the Master teacher, Jesus.  He had solved every love problem He has ever encountered with perfection, even the problems that you and I have caused for Him.  He is teaching us to love correctly.  He is the best teacher because he didn’t love theoretically but in real flesh and blood.  When they hated Him, cursed Him, slapped Him, hurt Him, and even stole His clothes on the day of His crucifixion His love for his enemies was heard as He said, “Forgive them Father, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Personal Application-  Learning how to love may start with the teacher unlearning the things in you where you have been loving wrong.   Let the Master teacher do His great work.  He will teach you the lesson through His words and through real life problems to apply those lessons in.  And He will also give you His strength to accomplish this amazing kind of loving He calls us to do.

Home Application-  When a family member is wrongfully attacked in some way, are you as interested in them learning to love those who attacked them as you are them getting justice?  Ask God to help you go after both, but realize that learning to love in difficult situations is much better than getting justice.

Today’s devo written by Jeff Humphrey

 

Who is most difficult for you to love?

Love extravagantly

April 11, 2014

Mark 12:41-44 (NLT)
Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts.  Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.  Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.  For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

 

When you really love someone, you are willing to sacrifice.

As Jesus was at the temple one day, he noticed a woman who put in a very small offering.  Though the value of the offering was less than most, Jesus declared her offering to be the most extravagant because in giving it, she gave all she had.

This woman’s offering to God is a great example of what love looks like.  When you really love someone, what you are willing to give to them is not based on convenience.  True love is willing to take a loss and do without because you value the object of your love, and you want the best for them.

Jesus set that example for us…

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself

as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2 (NLT)

Jesus loved us with a love that was not convenient but with a love that cost Him everything.  Knowing that the only way you and I could be put in a right eternal relationship with God was through his death and resurrection; He laid down His life and suffered through all the humiliation and pain of the crucifixion.  He gave His all that we might have life eternal and abundant.

And Christ’s call on our lives is to love him and love others with that same kind of love.  There are people we will be with today that desperately need to be loved, and if we choose to love them it is going to cost us time, emotional energy, and maybe even something tangible.  If you look at what it will cost you, you probably won’t do it.  But if through Christ’s eyes you look at the person who needs to be loved, you will find yourself giving extravagantly.

Personal Application-  Put a five dollar bill in your pocket as you leave the house today.  Ask God to show you someone who could use it, and give it to them.  When they ask you why, tell them about your prayer and let them know God loves them.  See if the conversation leads to more opportunity to help them know about the love of God.

Home Application-  Do  you know of a family that is going through a tough time and could use a meal or benefit from some lawn care?  Why not plan to prepare that meal as a family and deliver it or spend time doing their lawn as a family.  Not only will the family in need benefit but your family will grow in their love for each other and love for the Lord too!

Today’s devo written by Jeff Humphrey

When is the last time you gave an extravagant gift of love to someone?

 

Life to the max

April 10, 2014

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.  All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.   Isaiah 53:5-6 (NLT)

The Lord’s Supper was established that we might remember what Jesus did to make life possible for us.

There are three kinds of life we can experience on planet earth.

  • There is physical life that happens when a man, a woman and God converge to bring into the world a living, breathing human.
  • There is spiritual life that happens when a person realizes 1) they are a sinner, 2) Jesus Christ died on a cross to take away their sin, and 3) they ask Jesus to remove their sin and establish a relationship with God.
  • There is abundant life that happens when a person pursues a relationship with God on earth whereby what God desires for their life is constantly replacing what the person has desired for themselves.

Jesus died on the cross to make spiritual life and abundant life possible.  When we think about the crucifixion of Jesus as described in today’s passage, we realize that Jesus died the hard way.  The death He experienced was a “death to the max.”  Jesus didn’t die a “death to the max” so that we might life an “anemic” spiritual life.  His “death to the max” should inspire us to pursue “life to the max.”

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION-  Would you consider your life an abundant one?  Would Jesus consider your life an abundant one?  Talk to the Lord about the desires you are pursuing that are yours and not His.  Confess them and ask Jesus Christ to give you the passion and power to live life abundantly.

HOME APPLICATION-  Our families are incredibly influenced by the things they see us value.  Does your family see you as a passionate follower of Jesus?  Are they being inspired to live life to the MAX because of what they see in you?  Ask God to help you be an inspiration to your family toward living passionately for Jesus Christ.

Today’s devo written by Jeff Humphrey

What is holding you back from living life to the MAX for Jesus Christ?

Opportunity Knocking

April 9, 2014

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”(Colossians 4:5-6).

I am amazed at the grace exhibited by one member of my family who works with high-risk teens in an environment that does not affirm her beliefs. Compassion has won her the opportunity to share Christ not only in acts of kindness but also through words of encouragement. Many times we short circuit the ministry of grace by demanding our opinion be heard on things that have very little to do with the gospel. Such topics could include politics, our particular brand of religion, or ethnic bias. No opinion should preempt our concern for another’s eternal destiny. No personal opinion is worth sacrificing someones openness to spiritual matters. Divisive words and actions can greatly limit the sphere of influence we may have in which to share the most valuable gift we have received–our salvation. This scripture clarifies the need for action and words to be that which leads others to Jesus. Making the most of every opportunity demands that we not limit the scope of those to whom we minister Christ. God has placed us in our neighborhood, our workplace, and our families that we may bear witness to His life-changing work. The opportunities are all around us. Time to care and share the grace of the gospel we have been entrusted with.

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Carefully consider what opinions you hold that limit the scope of your influence for Christ. Ask the Lord to help you be more aware of the opportunities to draw others to Him.

HOME APPLICATION: Make a list of things that can hinder others seeing the work of Christ in us. Pray that God would help you to make sharing Jesus a priority in your lives.

QUESTION TO PONDER: Am I willing to set personal opinions aside in order to share Jesus?

Today’s devotional written by Chuck Davis

Distraction Free

April 8, 2014

“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God’”Luke 9:62.

As a sixteen-year-old I was working on my grandfather’s farm. On the day we harvested our oats, my grandfather would deliver a wagon full of oats to the barn for me to shovel into the granary. It was long hard dirty work. About mid afternoon one of my city friends arrived to insist I go swimming with him. His Father even pleaded with my grandfather that as a young man I needed to have some fun.  Needless to say I didn’t go swimming. The harvest needed to be in a dry and safe environment. The value of the harvest’s success far outweighed my need for a swim.

Jesus warned that those distracted from fully following Him  are unfit for service in his kingdom. We can be so easily distracted trading the seemingly urgent for that which is truly needful. If we are too busy to engage our neighbors in acts of service or conversation about Jesus then we have our priorities messed up. Uncluttering our lives of our preoccupation with ourselves and focusing on a neighbor for whom Christ died is a good place to start. By the way you can’t plow straight when looking back. Any good farmer focuses on some marker at the end of the field. He does this because when focused the plow goes straight and the soil is prepared for maximum yield. Do you want to be effective for God.s kingdom? Be free of distractions.

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Make an honest assessment of how you spend your time. How much time is devoted to connecting to others in God’s name? What are some things you can intentionally eliminate from your schedule and replace with God’s Kingdom in focus.

HOME APPLICATION:  As a family or with friends plan an event to share with another family in your neighborhood. A picnic, hike, or a day trip. Be creative. Be intentional. Be friendly for Jesus sake.

QUESTION TO PONDER: What is distracting you from intentionally investing in others so that they might discover the difference Jesus makes in your life?

What a Partner

April 7, 2014

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes it grow…..For we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:7,9a).

Often when pastoring in a rural farming community, I would ride along in the tractor as sections of land were plowed and planted. Inevitably the conversation would revolve around the need to totally depend on God’s blessing the crop with the right amount of rain and warmth for the soil to produce a great result.  There would be no crop if the seeds were not planted. The farmer takes all the steps necessary to give the seed opportunity for maximum yield. He plows, removes impediments like rocks, fertilizes but he is only preparing the soil.

In Pastor Ryan’s sermon yesterday, he mentioned that in preparing the way for Jesus in the hearts of those we meet, prayer is essential. Prayer is what brings focus and attentiveness to the opportunities to share Jesus. God has given you and I who have trusted in Him the incredible privilege of working with Him in preparing people to receive Him as Savior. “God’s fellow workers”… what a job description. We have the honor of participating in His eternal life-changing work in others. Prayerfully go and share. God is partnering with you and He will bring a bumper crop if you prayerfully participate and follow His lead.

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Pray that God would help you to see clearly the ways you can build relationships with neighbors, acquaintances, and relatives preparing their hearts to be receptive to Him. Ask God to put someone on your mind that you can do an act of kindness for or share a word of encouragement with today.

HOME APPLICATION: Surprise someone who does not know Jesus with a word or act of kindness. Then share the result with a family member. Make it a conversation at your dinner table. Pray together for those God has led you to bless.

What prevents you from cooperating with God’s work in you and through you?

Today’s devotional written by Chuck Davis

You Don’t Know Me

April 4, 2014

Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would  have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

How often have you heard someone say, “If you knew what I’ve done in my life……”? So many think their past behaviors or choices have left them beyond the reach of God’s love for them.

In John 4 Jesus encounters the woman at the well in Samaria. Her past included the stigma of five husbands and that she was living with a man who was not her husband. The Bible is full of characters whose lives were less than stellar. So how do we respond to this perceived “too bad for God to love” status? Jesus offers two responses.

The first is “the gift of God.”What is the gift he offers? The gifts are numerous: forgiveness, his righteousness…. The list goes on and on. The second thing he offered was Himself. To know the love of God is to study and know the heart of Jesus. In another scripture Jesus declares that “he came not for the righteous but for sinners”(Matthew 9:13). Jesus meets people right where they are and provides all they need in Him to start life anew.

Jesus alone is the one who can restore our relationship with God. It is not what we have done but rather what Jesus has done on our behalf. “For the wages of sin is death BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”(Romans 3:23). The woman at the well was offered something that would satisfy her heart forever. This is God’s gift to all who will trust that Jesus died for us absorbing the penalty for our sin.

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask God to bring into your life someone who thinks themselves beyond the reach of God’s love.Persistently pray that God would remove the walls of guilt that prevent them froom reciving His grace and forgiveness.

HOME APPLICATION: Make a list of the gifts that Jesus brings to our lives. Which one do you appreciate most? Pray for family or friends you know caught in the grip of their past mistakes and sin.

Do your friendships include people who need to know how Jesus can change their lives?

 

Lost Art Of Listening

April 3, 2014

“As they talked and discussed these things with each other Jesus himself came up and walked with them.” Luke 24:15

The account of Jesus walk with the disciples on the Emmaus road serves as a good model for God-initiated conversations with others. He first came alongside and listened to what was important to them. He then facilitated them telling their story by asking questions. It was only following their disclosure that he shared the movement of God’s participation in their story. The result was an invitation to sharing time together which brought a new awareness of who Jesus was. So often we come to people we don’t know with an agenda without first making the effort to hear the concerns of their heart. Dr.Michael Nichols in his book, The Lost Art of Listening, notes, “An empathetic response is restrained,largely silent; following not leading, it encourages the speaker to go deeper into his or her experience.” When seeking to introduce Jesus take time to know the other person’s heart. Listen and care. The old adage is still true that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

PERSONAL APPLICATION:  On a scale of one to ten:  How good a listener are you? Be brave and ask a close friend how you can improve your listening skills.

HOME APPLICATION: Ask each other what event in their lives is most memorable and how it impacted them. Careful listening is not about you but rather the one being heard. Perhaps as you listen you will discover the work of God in their story.

QUESTION TO PONDER:  Do I approach people with my agenda in mind or truly listening to what matters to them?

Todays devotional written by Chuck Davis

 

Page 1 of 4312345...102030...Last »

Inspiring GenerationsInspiring Generations.

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