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Inspiring Generations

Lose the Dross

September 19, 2014

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

When a metallurgist works on a piece, the tradesman’s aim is to produce a product that is pure.  The process for purifying precious metals involves applying extreme heat to melt the metal.  When the metal is melted, all of the impurities, known as “dross”, surfaces to the top. The metallurgist then skims away the dross so the remainder is pure metal.  Sometimes God puts us through heated battles or situations to clear the dross in our own lives and clear away the trash.

In this passage, Jesus is speaking and equates us to branches on a vine. It is not clear what kind of specific fruit we are to be producing, but what is important is that we are to be producing. Many people point towards Galatians 5 to reveal what fruit we are to be producing, “the Fruit of the Spirit.”

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

What is clear is that in the areas we are not producing he prunes or cuts away. In the same way that extreme heat is added, God will put us through situations or trials to teach us. We will be challenged to rid ourselves of something in our lives that is blocking us from producing the fruit that God desires.

In my own life, Christ had to take away something from me so that I would be a better Christ follower because of it. My first year of school at the University of Texas I had planned on being in the Longhorn Marching Band. The week before school began was band tryouts. I had attended the seminars over the summer, I had practiced my music, and I made sure to be the best I could be. The morning of the final cuts, I took off toward the band hall on a bicycle. About 10 feet down the road, I hit a rock, tumbling down the paved hill. I was carrying a backpack with various drumsticks and a pair of cymbals under my arms, which of course alerted everyone in the vicinity that someone had gone down. I rush up and ignore the pain while picking up all of my belongings. I get to the school of music and head strait to the restroom to examine the damage. My face was covered in blood, my hands were covered in blood, and the pain-blocking adrenaline had began to wear off. I had a huge gash on my right check and both of my hands were skinned badly. After cleaning up I headed toward the tryout and found it extremely difficult to be a successful drummer with damaged hands. That day I was cut and would not be marching with the Longhorn Band.

I did not realize it then, but later I realized the impact not being in band afforded me. I became very involved with the Baptist Student Ministry where I made a few lifelong friends who would challenge me in my walk with Christ. I now see that the plans I had for my life can be very different from what God plans for my life if I do not have my focus on Jesus.

Personal Application: Examine your life and find where God may need to prune you so that you can be a better follower of Christ.

Home Application: Take a look at your family schedules and see if there is something that is preventing your family from seeking God whole heartedly or maybe there is something you need to replace on your schedule.

Do you think God wants us to know His plan for our life or does He just want us to figure it out as it happens?

Devotional written by Travis Hogg

Genuine Leather

September 18, 2014

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7

When I closed my Bible the other day I noticed the small embossed letters on the back that read, “Genuine Leather.” I started to think about our lifestyles as Christians. Are we who we say we are?  In a culture that constantly tosses around phrases like “contains no artificial flavors” or “100% real fruit with no preservatives”, we can catch ourselves second-guessing the veracity of these claims. In our Christian walk, do we make claims that we are real or authentic with a heart that does not mirror the same?

In this passage, Samuel is identifying the next king of Israel and he has the sons of Jesse lined up for inspection.  Samuel hears a word from the Lord that He is not interested in outward skills, appearance or resume.  Instead, it’s the state of the heart that matters.   Some of the “outward” could be disguised as Christian literature, commentaries, or movies when they take the place of the original truth: God’s Word.

I am always up for a refreshing glass of Coca-Cola, branded to be “Classic” soft drink. In the 80s, Coca-Cola decided to change their formula and rebrand their famous soft drink. After it was released, it was met with great distaste. They quickly made the decision (thank you Jesus) to return back to the classic formula. When life gets in the way and our hearts are clouded by  imitation, we need to be reminded to return to the “Real Thing.”  Jesus says in John 14:6 that “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…” That message is the Real Deal.

Personal Application: Since God already knows and sees our hearts, we need to be completely authentic in our devotion to Him.

Home Application: Take steps to make sure your home is not a church on Sunday only kind of home. Does your Bible gather dust during the week or is it being worn out by sharing the exciting truths within?

If people see the broken me, would they still be interested in the Jesus I follow? How can people know that our outward appearance matches our heart?

Devotional written by Travis Hogg

Ceaseless Prayer

September 17, 2014

 

Pray without ceasing 1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

Three little words.  Pray. Without. Ceasing.  Doesn’t get any clearer.  Our Heavenly Father, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, the Lord of Angels Armies, asks me and you to pray without stopping.  And we know that if we love Him we show Him by keeping His commandments.  So we must always pray. In Luke 18 Jesus gave his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  Have you ever grown weary in prayer?  For the lost? A family member?  A job situation? A struggling marriage? So how long is too long to pray for them?  7 weeks, 7 months, 7 years?  Paul says without ceasing…..sometimes that is so hard….

 

I’m encouraged to pray constantly when I first remember to whom I pray!  Our God Hears!  Our God Commands Us to Pray! Our God Answers Prayer!  He tells us through James in chapter 5 verse 16 “Therefore 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.” He reminds us that when Elijah prayed it didn’t rain for 3 ½ years and he was a man much like us.  Pray without Ceasing.  Pray Specifically.  Pray Consistently. Pray Persistently. Pray Fervently. Pray Expectantly.  Pray. Pray. Pray.

Personal Application: Write down every attribute of God you can think of.  Begin your prayer time with worship of who He is and then fervently pray.

Home Application: Share with your family the prayers you’ve been praying the longest.  Add each family member’s longest prayer to your prayer list.  Share His answers to your prayers with them and celebrate His faithfulness.

How is God working in you through your prayer life?

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

If Not Us, Then Who?

September 16, 2014

 

Brothers,  my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. Romans 10:1

 

God is so good!  He knows that even though we are but dust, we are still very capable of accomplishing much through His strength! He also knows that we are much like sheep and need things spelled out for us, so He does.  He makes it very clear that His desire is that ALL be saved!  Simple.  Our job is to love others and point them to Jesus.  Their Only Hope! So then why is it so easy for us to simply not do?  When was the last time we shared the Gospel?  When was the last time we invited someone to church?  Do we think it’s someone else’s job?  I dare you to read the words of this Matthew West song.

 

I woke up this morning, Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down, How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven,  I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who, If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when, Will we see an end To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be,  Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire, I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

Personal & Home Application:  Light a candle… Stare at its flame and ask God to light a fire in you to fervently pray for every lost person you know.  Write it down in your Bible that today is the day you take your prayers for the lost to a new passionate level of urgency.

Can you say today…If not us, then who? And that Who is ME!

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

Praying for the Lost

September 15, 2014

 

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people  for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

 

Praying for the lost is our duty.  What if you were lost and no one was praying for you? What a hopeless feeling! There are so many reasons we should be fervently praying for the lost! Out of love-for them and for our Savior.  Out of concern-we want their eternity to be secure. Out of our knowledge of the nature of God-whose desire is that none should be lost. Out of sincere gratitude-we were lost in our sin when someone prayed for us.

 

Our love for the lost flows out of our love for our Savior!  In fact He tells us in John 14:15 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.  He commands us to  share the Gospel and make disciples in Matthew 28:19-20.  And if those 2 reasons weren’t enough He also tell us the greatest commandments are to Love Him and Love Others.  Is there a better way to love someone than to pray for them and their salvation?  I think not.

Personal Application: Pull out your list of your lost friends and pray for their salvation today.  If you don’t have a list, make one.

Home Application: Have each family member share the names of those they are praying for and pray for all of them as a family.

Whose salvation are you praying for today?

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

From the Pastor Search Team (September 12, 2014)

September 12, 2014

Dear BBC Family,

Last week we communicated that our first milestone will be to “solicit Church Members for the attributes and qualities of a new Pastor”. This effort is now in progress. In parallel, we are also detailing the major process steps that will be adhered throughout the search process (see Bylaws).

While we work to be “diligent in our planning” (Proverbs 21:5), we ask that you join us in worshipping God and trusting in His promises. That we will “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplications, with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God, so the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Phil 4:6).

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

Prayer is Personal

September 12, 2014

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

The Bible commands us to pray.  We know we should pray.  But the truth is….WE NEED TO PRAY!  It is for our very life we need to pray.  Prayer is and should be personal.  Matt Maher says it so beautifully in his song, Lord I Need You.

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

I don’t know about you, but I’m nothing without my God!  I need HIM!  And just like our key verse says, when I indeed devote myself to prayer I am more watchful and thankful!  Because as I spend time with my Heavenly Father in prayer my focus is on Him!  Not me or my problems!  And then I’m also reminded, I was bought at a price!  The next verse in Matt’s song goes like this.

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, Thank you!  I need you, OH I NEED YOU!

 

Personal Application: Take minute and think what your life would be without prayer.

Home Application: Share as a family, how and why you each need prayer.

What’s your most personal prayer right now?

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

The Privilege of Prayer

September 11, 2014

“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!  Recently, we had a serious health scare with my husband.  A biopsy and lots of waiting. James reminds us in chapter 5 verse 16

“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.” James 5:16

So we shared our need for prayer with quite a few  brothers and sisters in Christ.  They prayed for us, checked on us, lifted us up daily.  Prayer changes us.  There is nothing more humbling than knowing God’s people are lifting you up to the Heavenly Father. Then waiting and resting in His Sovereign Will.   Then the day arrived and we got the pathology reports back.  And the sweetest words ever….ALL CLEAR!  The continued blessing of prayer is sharing with all those brothers and sisters the beautiful answer to all of our prayers. We are so very grateful for the privilege of prayer!

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 of prayer.

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

How is your Prayer Life?

Devotional written by Carla Dillard

Glory Be

September 10, 2014

But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…(Galatians 6:14)

Let’s face it. A cross is a strange thing to glory in. The cross was a horribly cruel way to die and produced incredible suffering. It was reserved for convicted criminals of heinous crimes. Were it not for the fact that the innocent Son of God died on a cross to pay sins penalty, we would not ever utilize the cross as a symbol of hope. Paul recognizes the supremacy of the cross as the focus of anything that we would brag about. “Glory” literally means to give weight or high value to someone or something. Leave it to God to transform what is cursed by the world into something that is the focus of the greatest act of love the world has ever seen.

Like most  boys I loved playing the role of or reading about heroes. Courage and power were the things I admired in my heroes. Never did I imagine that suffering and death were the pathway to true heroism. There is a saying written on a Scottish war memorial that reads: “Love’s strength stands in love’s sacrifice”. Glory in a cross? Yes ! A thousand times yes! The cross is where my sins were paid for. The cross is where my sins were forgiven. The cross is where my new life as God’s child was made possible. The cross is what I am called daily to take up and lift high. The cross is where I found peace with God. THE CROSS……you fill in the rest. In the cross of Christ I will glory–nothing else and nothing less.

Personal Application: What makes the cross of Christ valuable to you?

Home Application: Discuss the difference the cross of Jesus has made in your lives and then thank God for it.

What do you value most in your life and how does it compare to the value of the cross?

Devotional written by Chuck Davis______

Passion

September 9, 2014

To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs…Acts 1:3

“Passion” has always intrigued me when used in explaining the death of Jesus. The dictionary defines it as “a strong and barely controllable emotion”. I believe that this truth is best expressed in the familiar verse in John 3:16 where we read that “God so  loved the world…”. Jesus was so passionate about saving sinners like you and me that he endured the cross. Passion drives us to purposes greater than ourselves. This is why Jesus desired the Father’s will above all else regardless of the cost. Writing these devotionals has forced me to dwell on Christ’s death for my sins far beyond the moments spent taking the Lord’s supper. His death for me was no mere bowing to the Father’s will. It was accepting the passion of the Father’s heart as His own.

I read in my devotional time today a prayer written by a favorite author of mine, Ken Gire. In the prayer he stated the following: “Help me to unearth the passions of my heart that lay buried in my youth. And help me to go over that ground again and again until I can hold in my hands, hold and treasure, Your calling on my life…” This prayer drew me again to reflect on the passion God had placed in my heart as a young man. What a blessing it is to be able to live from the fullness of your heavenly Father’s heart. Thank you Jesus for the passion with which you chose to live out the Father’s will in living, dying, and rising again. Thank you for indelibly proving the supreme value of following the Father’s will with passion.

Personal Application: How has God shaped and directed you in the things that capture your heart passionately?

Home Application: Discuss ways in which God has revealed both His passion for you and His passion through you.

What does the Passion of Christ for you teach you about your God-given passion?

_written by: Chuck Davis___

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