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Inspiring Generations

The Right Stuff

August 3, 2015

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I shared this with the kids we did Backyard Bible Club with in Kenner, Louisiana. We went out and played a game of basketball with a group of eight kids. Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest games I have ever played. After the game was over, I sat everybody down and I showed them a hammer that we found in the yard - and asked them what it was. Everyone answered that it was a hammer, and I asked them, ”What would happen if I tried to play basketball with this hammer? Would it make a good ball?”   They all said, “NO!”  Why? Because it wouldn’t bounce.  I then grabbed the basketball and asked, “How about this? Would it work?”  Of course, they all responded, ”YES!”  I asked them why the hammer wouldn’t work but the ball would, and one of the kids explained it was because the ball was round.  I said, “That’s what you’d think, but the truth is this:  I can’t play basketball with a hammer because it doesn’t have the right stuff, but the ball does.”

The basketball is made to bounce back, just like we are. God gave us the ability to bounce back from any situation. When things aren’t going well for us, we can either be a basketball or a hammer. We can choose to hit the floor and stay there, or we can bounce back to where we were before. We can do that because we are made with the right stuff. God gives us the strength to overcome that which brings us down. He gives us courage when we are afraid. He gives us the ability to bounce back! Remember that the next time you are feeling down, the next time you are sad, angry or lonely. You can bounce back. You can do it! God can help you!

Personal Application: Are you filling yourself up with the right stuff? Your quiet time? Your prayer time?

Home Application: Not only should you be filled with the right stuff, but show those around you as well. Talk to them about their prayer life, their quiet time, and share what you are doing.

In what ways are you filling up with the Right Stuff?

Devotional written by Luis Holguin

Imitating Our Father

July 31, 2015

Ephesians 5:1-2 - ”Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

Paul is simply arguing that children are like their parents, a fact that can be both encouraging and embarrassing to those of us who have children. Have you ever seen a child sitting in the front seat of an automobile, trying to drive like his father! Or walking behind him, pretending  to mow the lawn? Or, sad to say, imitating a dad smoking a cigarette or taking a drink of alcohol? Children probably learn more by watching and imitating than any other way. If we are the children of God, then we ought to imitate our Father in heaven.  So what does that look like?  Well, the Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, we need to walk in love, not in anything else.  God is light (Ephesians 5:1-2), and we are called to be the light to this darkened world.  Everywhere we go we are to shine light. God is truth (1 John 5:6).  Therefore, we are to walk in wisdom. Of course, each of these “walks” are part of Paul’s exhortation to walk in peace.

To ” walk as children of light ” means to live before the eyes of God, not hiding anything. It is relatively easy to hide things from other people because they cannot see our hearts and minds, but “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). To imitate our Father is like when you go through the inspection at the airport. You have to surrender yourself and your luggage to a special inspection.  We all do it and are happy to do so, because the inspection helps to detect bombs and anything else that is not good. We are never afraid to walk past the X-Ray equipment, because we have nothing to hide. Yet, we are afraid to imitate our Father because its make us different, and the world does not like different. An author once asked Charles Spurgeon for permission to write his life story, and the great preacher replied, “You may write my life in the skies because I have nothing to hide!”

Personal Application: Decide who you are going to imitate, your Father in heaven or mere man.

Home Application: Share with someone your desire to follow God and walk as a child of light.

Are you imitating God in every aspect of your life – or what are you hiding?

Devotional written by Luis Holguin

Be Kind To One Another And Forgive One Another

July 30, 2015

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness ,and  wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

I remember  a story that Pastor Woods once told me, about a woman who had died and went to heaven. When she got there she was greeted by the gate keeper. She was asked this question , “what is the password?” She looked lost and said “no one told me that there is a password to get in”, the gatekeeper said I will make it easy for you I will tell you the password and all you have to do is spell it. The woman became very happy ,”so what it is she asked?” The password is LOVE , well that too easy she thought but she spelled it and the keeper said” welcome to heaven.” As you know there is no time in heaven and it was in a blink of an eye that it was her turn to stand at the gate and be the keeper. The very first person she got was her husband. She said to him I am so happy you made it you are going to love it here! You see her husband was a grumpy old man and didn’t like anything. So the lady told her husband before you come in you have to know the password which I will tell you. But before I do, I want you to tell what happened between the time I died and you got here.

Well said the man you remember the lady that took care of you in your last days I married her and do you remember how I said I would never play the lottery. Well I bought a ticket and I won it was the power ball. And do you remember how we said if we ever struck it we would buy the house by the lake, I did and do you remember how we said we would get a boat well I got that boat. Well the first time I took the boat out on the lake with my new wife as she was pulling me around the lake. I hit a bump out on the lake and hit my head and here I am. Now the lady was getting very upset with the man. So the man ask so what is the password and she said well all you have to do is spell it and you’re in, so what is it said the man. And she said spell Czechoslovakia!!

She had some anger issues doesn’t she. As funny as that story , is most of us do just what the lady did, we hold grudges and don’t forgive those that have hurts us. We are called to forgive and to love just like Christ did for us on the cross. So the question is this, are you holding something against someone, it may be your boss at work, or a family member or your neighbor. Whoever it is you need to find them and ask forgiveness of the sin that you have towards them.

Personal Application: Pray and Ask God to Reveal to you who you might be holding a Grudge or Anger toward.

Home Application: Be an example of Christ love and show forgiveness and grace toward others.

How Can You Show Forgiveness to Those Who Have Hurt Us?

Devotional written by Luis Holguin

Wash What?

July 29, 2015

Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal. Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron.  John 13:1-6 (The Message)

In this passage Jesus shows the disciples the full extent of His love. He humbled Himself and did the work of the lowest servant as He washed their feet. This not only revealed His true character, but the character all believers should develop. Jesus’ act of humility teaches us so much, and we should follow His example. There should not be anything we feel we are “too good” to do to promote God’s glory and serve others.

The last night of the Middle School mission trip, Pastor Stephen always sets aside as a time of encouragement. THis is an opportunity for students and adults to pour into each other after a week of serving. This time includes a foot washing ceremony. It is one of the highlights of the week. It is a special time where we sit in a circle, lights dim, soft music, basins of water and towels. It is a time of prayer, reflection and service to others. If you have never had the opportunity to be a part of a foot washing ceremony, you are missing one of the most life-changing experiences. It’s not about the washing of the feet, it’s about humbling yourself and being willing to do WHATEVER God asks!

Personal Application:  Is there someone God is calling you to serve? It may not be in a foot washing ceremony. He may simply be asking you to humble yourself and serve that person in a way that glorifies God.

Home Application: Have your own foot washing ceremony at home with your family.

Who or How is God calling you to humble yourself and serve?

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

The Key Lies in Being an Example

July 28, 2015

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Lesson two from the Dallas Mission trip. The students at Bannockburn exemplified the second part of this passage. They were a great example not only to each other and the leaders, but to the hotel staff, the guests at the hotel, the employees at the Boys and Girls Club, the children they encountered and the volunteers at City Square. They modeled Jesus by the words they spoke, their behavior, the way they treated and loved each other, as well as every adult and child they came in contact with. They are an amazing group! Let me give you some specific examples.

In speech, I constantly witnessed them doing exactly what  Ephesians 4:29 says. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Numerous times during the week I was encouraged by their words. In conduct, I was so impressed with the way they behaved, the way they conducted themselves no matter where we were… the mall for lunch, the pizza place for dinner. In both of those places people stopped me to ask where we were from and what we doing. They also commented on what a good group they were. One lady even stopped and prayed right there in the middle of the pizza place for us. In love, they love each other and love serving. It was so obvious as I watched them interact with each other and those around them. As far as in faith, each morning the students were given a devotion. What joy to walk in for breakfast every morning to see them with their Bible, pens and paper. On the ride to our first stop each morning, my team would tell what God had revealed to them that morning. One of my favorite times of the trip. God is at work in and thru our students!

Personal Application: No matter your age, are you living a life that points to Jesus by your words, actions, the way you love and live? If so, keep on keeping on. If not, what do you need to change?

Home Application: Spend some time discussing this verse, then talk about specific things you can intentionally put into your daily schedule to be a good example.

What is your key to being an example?

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

Own Your Faith

July 27, 2015

Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him.                    2 Kings 12:2 (NIV)

So my original plan in writing the devotions this time was to talk about the lessons that I learned from our students while on the Dallas Mission trip. I started on Thursday and was planning on doing a different lesson each day. However, as God does so many times in my life, He had a different plan. Friday during my quiet time I read about Joash. So I believe God wants me to spend one more day talking about mentors. By definition a mentor is a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. The purpose of the wise and trusted counselor or teacher is to lead the mentee to a place of maturity in which they are ready to spread their wings to fly solo, to walk the walk of faith on their own. Joash had such a mentor in Jehoiada. Joash was seven years old when he began to rule over Judah. He reigned in Jerusalem for forty years. As a seven- year old he had no idea how to rule, the three kings prior to him had done evil in the Lord’s sight. Had Jehoiada not taken Joash under his wing and taught him the ways of the Lord, Joash would not have known how to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord.  Joash was responsible for restoring the Temple of God according to its original design and strengthened it. (2 Chronicles 24:13)  Joash did what was pleasing to the Lord because of his relationship with Jehoiada.

A mentor has such an important role in each of our lives. But eventually your faith has to be your own. One of my early mentors was Beth Moore, I did every Bible study she wrote. I learned so much from her. I still enjoy doing her Bible studies but I had to get to the place of spreading my wings and owning my faith. I still have mentors today, those people who pray for me, pour into me and hold me accountable. We all need them!

Personal Application: Pause to think about that one person who has mentored you in your growth and relationship with the Lord. Call, text or write them a note and tell them the influence they have had on your life.

Home Application: Talk about what a mentor is and the importance of having them in your life. Have each person name one mentor and what they have learned from them.

Why is it important to have mentors?

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

Elijah or Elisha?

July 24, 2015

So he departed from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant. 1 Kings 19:19-21 (NIV)

Yesterday I told you one of the lessons I learned from my time with the students on the mission trip was passing the torch. My focus was more on mentoring those here on campus. Today I want to take it a step further. The importance of passing the torch is clearly seen throughout the Bible.  A few examples of this is Moses to Joshua, David to Solomon, Elijah to Elisha, Jesus to His disciples and Paul to Timothy. The stories of the prophet Elijah and his faithful disciple, Elisha, are found in First and Second Kings. Elisha followed Elijah from the moment they met. Elijah and Elisha walked and talked together., they did life together. Elijah passed his faith onto his protégé.

The challenge for each believer is to successfully pass his or her faith on. No generation is independent from the one that has come before or the one that follows. Generations overlap. God intentionally created and equipped you and me for this generation. Daniel Deck in his sermon, “Generation to Generation” said, “When the younger full of strength and energy joins forces with the elder full of experience and wisdom the results can be powerful and long-term.”

 

Personal Application: Are you Elijah and need to place “a cloak” around someone - or Elisha where “a cloak” has been put around you? Either way you have the opportunity to make a difference. Will you step out in faith today and do what God is calling you to do?

Home Application: Take the time to read in 1 and 2 Kings the story of Elijah and Elisha. Talk about the importance of being both an Elijah and an Elisha and having both in your life.

What has your “Elijah” or “Elisha” taught you?

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

Passing the Torch

July 23, 2015

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

Here at Bannockburn we have an amazing group of students. I had the privilege of going with them to Dallas on their mission trip a few weeks ago. Fifty-five middle school and high school students along with eleven leaders went to participate in a variety of serving opportunities. In the mornings, students led Backyard Bible Clubs at a Boys and Girls Club, then in the afternoons we teamed up with a group called City Square. City Square has a mobile feeding program that delivers meals and provides enrichment activities to thousands of children that reside in apartment communities. One afternoon we had the privilege of serving at a homeless shelter. Part of the group sorted clothing to get it ready for distribution while the other group served dinner. The student choir then presented their musical to the guests and Stephen followed with the gospel presentation.

Over the next few days I want to share with you the invaluable lessons I learned from our students. In case you have not had the opportunity be around this group, I want you to know they are phenomenal! I have spent most of my adult life teaching children and students everything from Sunday School (Growth Group) to TeamKids, Vacation Bible School and Girls in Action just to name a few. I am a teacher! The first lesson I learned is that it is time for me to pass the torch. Don’t take this the wrong way, it doesn’t mean I get to stop serving. It simply means my role has changed. I am no longer the one doing the teaching.  I am supporting, encouraging, mentoring and cheering on this next generation.  So here is the deal, if you are twenty years to ninety years old, you are not through serving! Your role is to pass on what you know to someone younger. There are many opportunities here at Bannockburn to do just that. It’s time to pass the torch!

Personal Application: Take the time today to ponder and pray about where you can serve at Bannockburn.  Promotion is  August 23 and I know there are places in preschool, children and student ministry where you can serve and help pass the torch to the next generation.

Home Application: Brainstorm with your family about ways to connect with younger and older generations. If you don’t have children in the home, connect with a family with young children or students and do life with them. Have them over for dinner, watch their children so they can have a date night.

Name a person in your life that took the time to pass the torch to you and one lesson you learned that you still use today.

Devotional written by Kathy Spade

It’s not what you know, but Who you know

July 22, 2015

The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram left, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. Genesis 12:1-5 (NIV)

How much information do you need to make your commitment?

Abram was 75 years old when he made his commitment to follow after God. Here’s what he knew when he made his commitment…

  • He was to leave his country
  • He was to leave his people
  • He was to leave his extended family
  • He was to go to a place that eventually God would reveal
  • God was calling him to this commitment and if he would do it, he would be blessed by God

Abram didn’t know very much, but He knew God was calling him to this commitment and that was enough for him. God knew where He wanted to take Abram, and God knows where He wants to lead you. God blessed Abram for his willingness to make and keep commitments, and God will bless you as well.

Who you know is more important than what you know when committing to follow God’s calling in your life.

Personal Application: Are there commitments to which God has called you? Maybe you have yet to commit to them because you are waiting for more information or complete assurance that everything will work out the way you envision it? Talk to the Lord today about your lack of faith. If God is calling you to a commitment, step out in faith and watch God do amazing things.

Home Application: Sometimes we choose to not make a commitment because of the impact it will have on our home. Instead of calling our family together to pray about it, we think the worst and make a decision for them so they won’t have to go through something that might be tough. You will impact your home greatly by asking them to pray about doing things for God that are difficult and take sacrifice, if the Lord is in it. The blessings that come from tough commitments are never forgotten.

What is God calling you to do?

Are We There Yet?

July 21, 2015

“Being confident of this , that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.”(Philippians 1:6)

Summer is a time for trips and imbedded in my mind are adventures in a Suburban with seven kids packed like sardines. Inevitably between the Veggietales  and protests of “he touched me” a question would be offered for the umpteenth time: “Are we there yet? On our Journey to find a Senior Pastor much prayer has been offered and our expectations are heightened because we have an opportunity to finally meet him. Such expectation and prayerfulness should be a daily anticipation of our journey with Christ. Each day brings new understandings of his faithfulness and experiences of his grace.

Enveloped in our daily experience with Christ is the truth that the growth in my spiritual life was initiated by God and is progressively nurtured by God. Our growth in Christ is a work that will not be finished until the day of Christ. We are not there yet but we are well on our way. The destination is clear as we grow up in Him. Christlikeness is being worked out daily because we are in relationship with Christ. This breeds confidence that God will finish what he started in us.

Personal Application: In what ways has God grown your faith in the last year?

Home Application: Share examples of how God has nurtured your faith in Him.

What ways has God deepened your faith in Him today?

Devotional written by Chuck Davis

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