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Inspiring Generations

An Easy Choice

November 21, 2014

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

This is my very favorite time of year! I love Thanksgiving!

I love friends and family all gathered around the table together! I love the smells of all the amazing foods cooking in the kitchen!

I love pumpkin! I love the sweet spirit that is present in everyone!

I love that the whole reason for this holiday is to remind us to be THANKFUL!  Kind of sad isn’t it?  Do we really need a holiday to remind us to be thankful for all our abundant blessings?

Paul tells us in Philippians 4 that we are not to be anxious or worried about ANYTHING, but that in EVERYTHING we are to pray with THANKSGIVING!  Can you do that?  Can I? Guess it’s easy to be thankful when all is going well, but God really calls us to be thankful even when things aren’t going so well.

Wonder why that’ so important to Him? Could it be because He knows how much good it will do for us?  Of course we know He and He alone is worthy to be thanked, but have we thought about how thanking Him helps us?  For me, it reminds me of how much I have to be thankful for.  A wonderful husband, a beautiful family, an amazing church, a job I love and every possible need met on a ridiculously generous basis.  And every time I spend time Thanking Him I am filled with a sense of peace and blessing.  Of course the opposite is also true….when I’m complaining and griping, my spirit is troubled and worried….It should be an easy choice shouldn’t it?  Thank God for who He is and all He has blessed us with or gripe, complain and worry about the little we don’t have?

I believe we ‘ve been given a choice…..Which will you choose today?

Personal Application: Ask God to open your eyes to all of your many blessings and focus on them in thanksgiving to Him.

Home Application: Begin tonight at the dinner table going around the table sharing what each family member is most thankful for.  Make this a habit.

Which will you choose today?  Thanksgiving or griping?

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

Are You Breathing?

November 20, 2014

Praise the Lord, Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in his mighty heavens.

Praise Him for His acts of power; Praise Him for His surpassing greatness.

Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, Praise Him with the harp and lyre,

Praise Him with timbrel and dancing, Praise Him with the strings and pipe,

Praise Him with the clash of cymbals, Praise Him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.  Psalm 150

Why yes!  I’m breathing.  Why?  Because Psalm 150:6 clearly says “Let EVERYTHING that has breath praise the Lord.”

Sounds so simple but is truly so very profound!

Who do we praise?  The Lord of all the earth

Why do we praise Him?  Because there is NO ONE like HIM!

When do we praise Him?  Morning, noon and night

How do we praise Him?  With the sounding trumpet, with the harp and lyre, with timbrel and dancing, with strings and pipe, with clashing and resounding cymbals

I can’t speak for you, but I can’t live without my Lord!  From the morning my eyes open until they close at night, He is always on my mind.  Everything I am, everything I have, all that I get to do and am able to do, is because of Him!  He is My LORD!  HE IS my EVERYTHING!

And I know this….when I stop to praise Him and my focus is on Him, all the cares of the world fade away.  He is all I see, He is all I need, He is all I want.  My heart soars with joy when I praise Him.  He inhabits our praise!  What a beautiful reciprocal relationship!  When was the last time you truly praised Him? My challenge to you especially this season is to stop and take time to praise the Lord!  It will change your day.  It will change your perspective. It will change your life.

There is no one like our God   We will praise You, praise You

There’s no one like our God     We will sing, we will sing

There is no one like our God    We will praise You, praise You

Jesus, You are God, we will say

Lord of all the earth

We shout Your Name, shout Your Name Filling up the skies

With endless praise, endless praise

Yahweh, Yahweh  We love to shout Your Name, Oh Lord

Personal Application: Stop for a minute and think about your praise life.  When was the last time you simply spent time praising your Lord?  Praise Him right now.

Home Application: Make your home a house of praise!  Turn on your favorite praise music and sing at the top of your lungs.

What’s keeping you from praising the Lord?

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

Kodak Moments

November 19, 2014

“Even when I am old and gray do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” (Psalm 71:18).

The Psalmist declares the cry of his heart to bear significance in the lives of those who follow him. There is a profound acknowledgement that significance must be born through the continuing presence of God.  Occasionally God pulls back the curtain to allow us to see His hand moving in the lives of those we care for most deeply–our family. I have dubbed such moments as God’s Kodak moments. Snapshots of the affect of lives dedicated to Him.

Like many families I know, my family has members that follow after God’s heart fully and those over whom we seem to agonize before the Lord until Christ is formed in them. Learning to celebrate each step toward God in their lives is intoxicating. Recently I stood on the shore of the San Marcos River next to my 85-year-old father watching my eldest son baptize my grandson. My heart was overwhelmed as I realized all that God had done to bring us to this Kodak moment. Tears of joy flowed as together we recalled many faithful men and women that had been used by God to make this picture possible. I also am preparing prayerfully a frame that will hold the journeys home of those prodigals I long to see running to their heavenly Father’s embrace. It is a picture not yet fully developed but one by faith I will one day see. I rest in God’s promise , “That He who began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Personal Application: What are some of God’s Kodak moments in your life’s journey?.

Home Application: Share with each other some of the Kodak moments in your family’s spiritual journey. Share also some that you still await by faith to occur in the one’s you love. .

How are you allowing God to use you in creating the spiritual Kodak moments for the people you love?

Devotional written by Chuck Davis

Forever Focused

November 18, 2014

“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”(IICorinthians 4:17-18).

Two words unexpectantly coexist in the purposes of God–troubles and glory. When confronted with troubles in our lives the focus is most usually on what is troubling us. This scripture reminds us that there are eternal hands at work in every difficulty we face. The apostle Paul encourages us to look deeper and discover how God can receive glory in and through that difficulty. Is he leading us to a place of deeper trust? Is there a redemptive purpose in it? It is difficult to see the hand of God at times and we are lead to simply trust Him in the midst of it confident He will accomplish His desired purpose.

Several members of our church have experienced traumatic physical events in recent weeks. Unexpected strokes, beginning the journey toward heart or liver transplants, embarking on the rollercoaster ride of chemo treatments  are but a few of the difficulties confronting people we love and know. As together we become encouragers on their difficult journey, we come not with hollow words but rather we share the presence of the one who is eternal. We may not have all the answers now but we can trust the Lord who is with us in the midst of the difficulty. We can rest assured that he can and will receive glory as we fix our eyes on Him.

Personal Application: What is troubling your heart today? In what ways is God asking you to focus on eternal things rather than temporary things?

Home Application: Share times when God has helped you to see his eternal purposes in the midst of your troubles.

How does focusing on the eternal purposes of God relieve the stress of a current temporary trouble?

Devotional written by Chuck Davis

Who Cares

November 17, 2014

“For I know no man like-minded who will naturally care for your state.” (Philippians 2:20)

Timothy was a young man who’s caring quotient was very high. Paul was imprisoned for the gospel and in the caring of his young disciple, Timothy, he found comfort. Timothy was likeminded. This meant he cared enough to know the heartbeat of the aging apostle. He was willing to listen and learn the truths of Christ displayed in his mentor’s life. I would imagine that someone that could find joy in sacrificing on the behalf of Christ would grab my full attentions as well. As a result Paul could commend his disciple, Timothy, to the Philippian people confident that it was Timothy’s natural inclination to care for their wellbeing. Timothy would go on to become one of the pastors of the Ephesian church. The Ephesian church had the Apostle Paul, the Apostle John , and Timothy as their legacy of leaders. Are you ready to join that church?

I have heard often that “caring” is something that we do well as a church. I attribute it largely to the fact that Bannockburn was born out of tragedy that cost the lives of members. Those who were left behind learned to care through the fires of adversity. In turn we we have learned the compassion and comfort that only Christ can give.  Such is the heartbeat of our Savior. To have a naturally caring heart is to take to heart the passion of Christ for others. Don’t let the apathy of the world dishearten you. Instead let the passion of Christ spur you on to love and good works. Don’t let caring become a thing of the past. May it never be said of us, “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s”(Philippians 2:21).

Personal Application: In what ways do you express care for others in the church and in the world?

Home Application: What are some ways you can express the care and compassion of Christ to those in your home, neighborhood, and community. How can you team with others in this endeavor?

Could someone confidently commend you as a “caring” person?

Devotional written by Chuck Davis

Beginning With Nothing

November 14, 2014

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:3).

As a young youth pastor, one of my youth sponsors gave me a calligraphied copy of this verse. The word “nothing” was done in gold ink to make it stand out. The message was clear. My effectiveness as a pastor would forever be connected to my reliance on God’s resources. My talents and giftedness  would be insufficient for effectiveness in God’s work. This framed reminder remains in my office forty years later and is my focal point as I approach each day.

Beginning with the knowledge that apart from Him I have nothing valuable in my life, is the pathway to fruitfulness in God’s kingdom work. God is the source of all of who I am– my personality, my giftedness, my talents. He is the one who directs my path and causes me to know His shaping me through every experience and encounter of my journey here on planet earth. As I yield daily to His leading nothing lies beyond His shaping it for my good and His glory. The key is daily to remain fully connected to the Vine and draw my subsistence from Him alone.  I cherish this written reminder in my office every day. When tempted to rest in my own strength and resources I lose the energy and vitality intended to flow through me as His child. Beginning with a clear assessment of “nothing” is a great place to start.

Personal Application: Do you have something to remind you where your faith and effectiveness come from? Your spiritual fruit is an indicator of your connectedness to Him. Where do you observe God’s work in you?

Home Application: Discuss ways to remind yourself and each other of your need to fully depend on the Lord.

In what ways have you observed the difference in things done in your own strength and those things done in total reliance upon God?

Devotional written by Chuck Davis

Pastor Search Team Update (November 13, 2014)

November 13, 2014

Dear BBC Family,

As we continue to receive resumes from interested parties, and numerous recommendations from the church congregation, we have progressed towards directly soliciting potential candidates for the Senior Pastor position.

Thank you for the many notes of encouragement and your continued faithfulness and prayers.

This week, we ask that you please pray with us that we as a team will be given supernatural wisdom to discern the unique characteristics and traits most needed for God’s people at BBC.

  • “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.” Ephesians 1:18
  • “Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

Additionally, we ask that you continue to lift up our committed church staff and pastors:

  • That they will continue to be gifted “sufficiently to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6) and that,
  • “The ministry of the Spirit through them would bring righteousness. May they be constantly transformed into Your likeness with ever-increasing glory which comes from You, the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:8, 18)

Thank you for praying with us. He hears and answers our pleas! Psalm 116:1

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

Saying Goodbye

November 13, 2014

“It is to your advantage that I go away,” he said, “for if I do not go away the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go , I will send Him unto you.”(John 16:7)

In the final conversation between Jesus and His disciples, He announces His departure as a thing of promise In these words departure has lost its fatality. The disciples will no longer see Jesus but will experience the even more constant presence of the Holy Spirit.

In recent weeks “saying goodbye” has become a frequent event in my life. Relatives coming and going. Friends graduating to heaven. The longer I live life the more I find “saying goodbye” as a promise of a hopeful reunion rather than a painful loss. This is made possible because even in the loss of what is dearest, God comes alongside us and becomes our closest companion. Departing comes as a condition of life, a condition for Christian growth. Jesus farewell brings a quiet invitation to understand our life as a constant departure from the familiar to the eternal, from what we enjoy in temporary ways to what we will one day enjoy forever.  To be assured of God’s constant presence in the person of the Holy Spirit (Counselor) is to be mindful that every movement of my is life hidden in Him. Every movement in my life has eternal impact.

The Apostle Paul summarizes this blessed truth in Philippians 1: 21-25, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.” In “saying goodbye” we embrace the promise that our reunion awaits but our ministry goes on enabled by the ever-present Spirit of God. His promise breathes life in the face of death. His promise holds each goodbye in the arms of hope.

Personal Application: When was the last time you said goodbye? Did you think of it through the lens of God’s hope-filled promise?

Home Application: What are some of God’s promises that that give you hope in the midst of saying goodbye?

Where have you observed the promises of God bringing hope to you today?

Devotional by Chuck Davis

 

 

Bringing H2E!

November 12, 2014

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:10

Have you ever thought about what Heaven is going to be like? I’m sure we all have on some level. It’s fun and exciting to think about what our eternity with Jesus will actually look like. Is there football in heaven? Are there movies? Does Netflix have every great movie ever made in heaven? And what about the food? Is everywhere an all-you-can-eat buffet, even Maudies and Whataburger? Does Whataburger make it to heaven?! I’m sure a few of you hope it does!

 

The truth is, we don’t exactly know what Heaven is going to look like. We aren’t sure what kind of food is served there. We aren’t really sure what the the sports scene will look like either. We do know that Heaven is a place where there’s no pain or hurt. It’s a place with no death or sickness or brokeness. Heaven is a place full of true joy and love and happiness and acceptance. All the time!

 

When Jesus says in his prayer, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”, he is giving us a mission. He’s saying: Bring Heaven to Earth.Bring Heaven to the People around you today here in Austin. What’s that mean? Welp, if Heaven is a place of true joy and love and happiness and acceptance, then it’s your job to bring those things to the world around you.

 

The best way to help bring earth to heaven is to bring heaven to earth!

 

Personal Application: Who do you need to help show acceptance towards today? Every person in some way feels unaccepted by someone. Be on the lookout today for peers around you that could really use a friend or encouraging word. You might be surprised how many people around you could really use your loving acceptance today.

 

Home Application: Challenge your family members with this question. Then tomorrow, follow up and see if there were any cool stories of one of you bringing a little bit of Heaven to someone today.

 

Who do you need to help show acceptance towards today?

 

Devotional written by Stephen!

Football Montage Jesus!

November 11, 2014

“Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”  Luke 2:51-52

It’s football season! Nothing compares to the fall weather and all the football that goes with it. There’s high school football on Friday, college football on Saturday, and pro after Growth Groups on Sunday! Whether you’re a sports fan or not, it’s hard to resist the pigskin bug living here in Austin! I don’t know about you, but I  also love football movies too. Remember the TitansFriday Night LightsRadio…all classics in my book! It seems like each one follows a similar formula. It starts out with the team being bad or somewhat good (but not great). They start to get better. They win a few games. Then…in every one of these movies…there’s a montage of them winning a bunch of games in a row. During this montage, you see the team scoring a ton of touchdowns, fans cheering, them practicing harder, and the team growing stronger. From the beginning of the montage to the end, the team grows into a great team. It takes several weeks, countless practice plays, and a ton of time. But they get there.

 

This passage you just read is kind of like a sampling of Jesus’ growing montage through his teenage years. It’s just a little snippet of all the growing and maturing he did between 12-30 years old. He spent a lot of time at the temple learning the scriptures. He spent a lot of time seeking out spiritual leaders to mentor him. He grew closer with is family. And slowly over time, he grew into the Jesus that we see when he performed all of his miracles.

 

How did he get to be that Jesus? He spent a lot of time growing in his relationship with God.

 

Personal Application: How have you grown closer to Christ in the past few months? Growing in our relationship with God usually happens slowly over time. It’s not something that comes all at once. Take a minute or two and think about all the ways that you are closer to Christ than you may have been a few months ago.

 

Home Application: Ask your family the same question. Encourage honest answers.

 

How have you grown closer to Christ in the past few months? 

 

Devotional written by Stephen!

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