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Daily Devotional

Latest Blog Posts in August 2016

Culture Shock: Homesick and Happy - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Aug 31, 2016

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.  1 Peter 1:6-7
Gold doesn’t come out of the ground gold, you know. It’s mixed in with rock and other metals. A refining process is necessary to isolate and extract the gold. Once the rock is broken, pulverized and washed, it’s poured into a heated smelter registering over 1,600 degrees. 
Because gold is a heavy metal, it sinks to the bottom, and the impurities (known as “dross”) rise to the surface to be skimmed off by the goldsmith. What is left is tested against an international standard. Until that standard is met, the gold keeps going back into the fire. Until at last it’s determined that what remains is pure. Gold is one of the few metals unaffected by water or oxygen, so it never rusts or tarnishes. It can be molded and shaped into something truly beautiful. 
Getting to gold is an ordeal, right? Friends, getting to gold in our faith lives is just as rigorous.
We start out a little rough around the edges. We are weak and broken, and life may have tried to beat the livin’ daylights out of us. But Jesus finds us and washes us. Now we’re golden, right? Yes. And no. 
There will be heat applied throughout our lives. We will be tested. And tested again. Until what emerges at the end is something truly beautiful. And strong. Something that doesn’t bend and break in the rain and wind. Something that shines, regardless of circumstances. 
Friend, I don’t know what your trial is. Or what is being purified out of your life by the fire of suffering. What I do know is this: the Good Goldsmith has a plan to make you pure. There may be a test… or a hundred tests. Let Him pour you out, remove the dross, and purify your heart. Choose to become shiny at any cost.
  • Today, take a moment and thank God for the trial(s) in your life. Ask Him to teach you whatever He chooses, even through the “fire.” 

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

Culture Shock: Homesick and Happy - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Aug 30, 2016

… Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
Nobody is more expectant than a Christ-follower. Living life to the fullest here on Earth, and we have Jesus waiting for us when we open our eyes on the “other” side. 
Heaven looks different to me now that people who are precious to me live there. People like my sweet Little Mama, the godliest woman I’ve ever known. I can’t even imagine what she’s like now after sitting at the feet of her Jesus for 17 years! And my Daddy, whose spiritual journey began later in life, but whose brilliance and voracious love of learning has only been amplified in the presence of the Almighty Teacher. 
Oh, I can’t wait to see them there, “beyond the reach of change and decay”! But the one I most want to clap eyes on is my Jesus. Face to face. No ceiling, no cloud between us. Then I, too, will have that real life. Then, and only then, will I be… home. 
With heaven comes fulfillment. We’ll even be given a new name (Revelation 2:17). It will match our own unique gifts and reflect the Father’s love for us. We’ll be put to our ultimate proper use -- once and for all.
In that light, there are no troubles this world inflicts that can shake the Truth. Jesus conquered them all, suffering unimaginable torment and anguish, so that someday you and I could experience what some of those we love are already enjoying. The end product of faith: “God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”
Until my “last day,” I will look forward. I will lean forward. Homesick, but happy. 
  • How about you? What needs to be shaken off, removed or pulled apart so that your life can be a cohesive force for Christ? Ask God today to reveal anything that hinders you in your race toward Him, and for courage to act. 

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

Culture Shock: Homesick & Happy - Monday

Posted on Mon, Aug 29, 2016

… I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.  1 Peter 1:1-2

Be forewarned, friends. We’ll start dark this week, then race toward the light. 
I once saw a grown man pass out upon seeing some blood. Eyes rolled back in his head, limbs buckled, and down he went. He lost consciousness and his Man Card in one fell swoop! Sorry, buddy. Trouble was, he had just started nursing school! I remember thinking, “You might want to reconsider your chosen field of endeavor, friend.” It turns out that actually seeing something is much more traumatic than reading about it. 
I cannot imagine what our brothers and sisters in the early Church witnessed, day after interminable day. They were the hunted, the enslaved, the persecuted. Used as human torches, lighting the way to community events at night; as food for lions and tigers in the Arena. The ancients of our faith suffered unimaginable indignities and terror. 
You and I cannot begin to understand what it means to live out our faith against the backdrop of hatred and persecution. Yet, there are Christians in our time who count the cost of their faith daily. 
In 2014, we watched, horrified, as brutal savages known as ISIS began a systematic genocide of the Yazidis, chasing thousands to hide and starve at the top of a mountain in Iraq. In places like Uganda, China, Iraq and Syria, Christians live with the constant awareness of danger because of their beliefs. How do they do it? 
One thing is true. When the Church faces persecution, it invariably strengthens and grows. Anyone know what is happening to Churches in the West, particularly American churches? Decline. 
Meanwhile, persecution of the Church in this world is on the rise. We can faint dead away, friends, or we can pray and act. Don’t just read about it. 
  • Would you spend some time today praying for your persecuted brothers and sisters around the globe? Ask our God for protection and provision, for grace and peace. 

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

Fill in the _____: Stop _______ - Friday

Posted on Fri, Aug 26, 2016

“Go, and sin no more.”  John 8:11b
This scene in John 8 is punctuated with five short words: “Go, and sin no more.” After piercing the souls of the Pharisees and calling out their scheming, finger-pointing, and comparing, Jesus extends an unexpected offer of grace to a humilated woman by removing her shame. 
Though this gift of new life is given freely to her, it does not come without a cost. This woman receives the promise of forgiveness through no effort of her own. But, like all of us who hear and listen to the voice of Jesus, her response will cost everything. 
Inextricably connected to our assurance of justification by grace through faith is the high calling to live a life following in the footsteps of Jesus. We receive a new life so that we can lay it down. As Paul says to the church in Philippi, “above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:27). All who are in Christ must embrace this high calling: live in a manner worthy of the Gospel!
Jesus says, simply, “Go, and sin no more.”
STOP SINNING! Jesus does not ignore our sin. He does not overlook it. Jesus does not treat our sin as “no big deal,” and He does not gloss over the severity of it. On the contrary, He knows well the full cost of our sin - that is, death - and He is willing to pay that price so that we don’t have to. If anyone can look us in the eye and tell us how damaging our sin is, it’s Jesus. If there is anyone who can set our feet on the right path and tell us in the same breath, “Go,” and, “Sin no more,” it’s Jesus. 
  • We often need help to shake sin in our lives. Support is available through our Care Team or in a Life Group. Reach out today!

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

Fill in the _____: Stop _______ - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Aug 25, 2016

“Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I...”  John 8:10-11
Watching Aly Raisman and Simone Biles tear up the Olympic gym mat as I write this, I’m reminded that the best coaches have a way of calling excellence out of their athletes long before any records are broken. Often we need someone to speak a future into our lives before we can see it or believe it for ourselves.
If you have been stuck in a particular sin or way of life for long enough, the easiest thing is to believe that you can never be better. After failing so many times, victory may not feel like a possibility. If you identify with a certain circumstance or pattern for long enough, you start to believe that it’s actually who you are. 
Jesus quietly and gently speaks hope into that kind of hopelessness. Caught in the act of adultery, this woman is dragged outside - probably in some state of undress -  where she is tossed in front of a crowd and set to face immediate execution for her transgressions. Shame, humiliation, judgement, accusation, anger, and violence rage around her. It’s all she can do to close her eyes and wait for the first crack of stone on bone.
Instead, quiet. The faint sound of a finger drawn across the sand. Shuffling feet and whispers. Compassion. “Neither do I condemn you.”
STOP SHAMING! You are not your sin. You may feel as though you are face down in the dirt, naked and ashamed of your past; you may feel surrounded by stares of quiet condemnation, but know this: there are eyes that see you as beloved. There is a voice that firmly says, “Get up. Brush off. Go again.” 
  • Fill in the blank with this prayer today: “Jesus, I know that I have _______ more times than I can count. Thank You that You don’t condemn me. Help me see You today, and not the stones thrown my way. Help me hear Your voice today, and not the voice of my accusers.”

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

Fill in the _____: Stop _______ - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Aug 24, 2016

“Teacher,” they said, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” John 8:4-5
Do you ever wonder what Jesus’s voice sounded like? There are some really distinct voices out there: James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Morgan Freeman (every documentary ever) to name a few. Jesus tosses out so many game changing one-liners; I just love to imagine that He has a really cool and unmistakable voice to help punctuate His truth bombs. Jesus responds to the adulterous woman’s accusers with an insightful and convicting statement that pairs perfectly with a Sean Connery tone: “Let the man without shin casht the firsht shtone.” 
Regardless of timbre, Jesus was calling out the Pharisees for their failure to look inwardly at their own sin. Hand in hand with the call to be slow in judging others is the reminder to take our own sin - all of it - seriously. Jesus didn’t rank sins on some kind of “severity scale.” He wasn’t first and foremost after the adulterers and murderers, and then - only when the “really bad sinners” were taken care of - after the liars, gossipers, and gluttons. Sin is sin is sin. 
STOP COMPARING! Jesus is saying (in Samuel L. Jackson’s voice), “Quit judging people for sinning differently than you!” We are all woeful sinners in desperate need of a savior. Pursuing Jesus means that we have to learn not only to recognize and listen to His voice, but also to let His voice transform us from the inside out. The first and continuous message Jesus speaks is that we are to repent of our sins.
As long as we are comparing ourselves to others whose sin we are more disapproving of, we may have more in common with the Pharisees than with Jesus. Comparison, as the saying goes, is the thief of joy. It is also the voice of death. 
Read Luke 18:9-14, then pray the simple, humble prayer of the tax collector: “O God, have mercy on me, for I am a sinner.” 

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

Fill in the _____: Stop _______ - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Aug 23, 2016

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. John 8:7-9
An old saying goes something like this: “Whenever you point one finger at someone, there are three more fingers pointing back at you.” Go ahead and try it. No one is looking right now, so give it a shot. (If you really want to blow your mind, point at yourself in a mirror. You’ll have eight fingers pointing at yourself and miss the point of this imagery completely!)
The point (pun intended) is this: it is always wise to examine your own heart before condemning someone else’s. Or, as Jesus put it, “first get rid of the log in your own eye, then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”
The religious leaders were accusing a woman caught in obvious sin. They cared not for her salvation or restoration, only their own pious standing in the community. They wanted to publicly condemn - and even kill - this woman to validate their own self-righteousness and, hopefully, manipulate Jesus into admitting that they were, indeed, experts of the Law. 
Jesus’s response is curt and it cuts these accusers to the core. “Let the one without sin be the first to condemn.” Time and time again we see Jesus issue similar excoriations to those who attempt to elevate their own righteousness (Luke 7:47, Matthew 7:2, etc).
STOP POINTING! We must practice the art of confession and deal with our own sin. Only then can we experience the life that comes from a transformational relationship with Jesus.
Psalm 139 is an honest prayer that helps point us back to our own hearts. Read through this Psalm slowly today, especially verses 23-24, and allow God to search you, forgive you, and fill you. 

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

Fill in the _____: Stop _______ - Monday

Posted on Mon, Aug 22, 2016

As [Jesus] was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery...“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “...the law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him. John 8:3-6
On Sunday, Jon walked through John 5 and looked at a guy who made excuses instead of making changes. In this week’s devos, we’re going to look at John 8 and see how this passage can bring us the same challenge to STOP doing certain things in order to pursue a transforming relationship with Jesus. 
As this scene unfolds, the focus lands first on a group of self-righteous religious leaders. Interrupting Jesus’s teaching, they come looking for a fight. Their intention is to trap Jesus, to find some way to manipulate him, to gain some sort of theological upper hand on him. 
Of course, these religious elitists had it all wrong. Jesus was already present at the Temple, making himself available, teaching to a crowd of people who were curious, or desperate, enough to hear what he had to say. But the Pharisees had no interest in actually listening to Jesus. They wanted to challenge him, to quiet him, even to control him. Yet by the end of this encounter every single one of these men walked away from Jesus quite literally empty-handed. 
It can be easy for us to shake our heads disapprovingly at the Pharisees and criticize their selfish ambition. But, just for a moment, pause to ask yourself if you have ever been in a similar situation. Have you ever approached Jesus with an agenda? Have you ever come at God with your own expectations of how He should operate or what He should do for you? Have you ever dulled or ignored His word (the Bible) or His voice (the Spirit) to make Christianity more palatable and acceptable to your preferences and lifestyle? 
STOP SCHEMING! Cast aside your agendas, lay down your daggers of accusation, stop the selfish manipulation you do with God and his word. Instead, learn to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. 
  • How have you imposed your expectations on God? Write out a prayer of confession today, and ask for His forgiveness.

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

Fill in the _____: Start _______ - Friday

Posted on Fri, Aug 19, 2016

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus’ last words in the Gospel of Matthew are often called “The Great Commission.” And the Great Commission represents Jesus’ command for His followers to make disciples of all the nations. Interestingly, several writers have looked at the disparity that exists between Jesus’ last words and what His followers have actually done and called it, “The Great Omission.”
When people talk about “The Great Omission” the idea is that many people have been taught to believe in Jesus and trust Him with their eternal security, but not many people have actually been taught to follow Jesus and obey all the things He commanded us. In the world today, 2.2 billion people believe in Jesus, but how many are actually following Him? How many have become disciples?
Many of the mature Christians I know want to become more like Jesus, and one of the truths I try to remind them of is that, unless they are making disciples, they can’t actually become like Jesus. At first that sounds like too encompassing of a statement, but it actually follows rather logically:
  • Jesus made disciples. 
  • If you want to be like Jesus, you have to make disciples, too. 
I want to encourage you to grow in your relationship with Jesus by helping other people learn how to follow Jesus and obey His commands. You don’t have to be perfect to help someone become a disciple. You simply have to be humble, loving, and available. Let’s not omit anything from Jesus’ commission!
  • Ask God who in your life you might be able to invest in and help grow in their walk with Christ.

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Fill in the _____: Start _______ - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Aug 18, 2016

 “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.”  Acts 1:8
When I was young in my faith, one of the things I knew I was “supposed to do” was share my faith with others. But even though I knew it was important, I was incredibly intimidated to actually do it and kept putting it off. Have you ever felt that way?
Over time, as I’ve grown in my love for Jesus as well as my self-confidence, I’ve had the opportunity to share about Christ on many occasions. And I’ve even learned to do it without sweating through my shirt or stuttering over seemingly every word. And do you know what? Not only have I become really passionate about telling people about Jesus, I’ve actually grown closer to Jesus in the process. 
Jesus commanded his people to tell others about Him. And Jesus promised that when we tell others about Him, we’ll experience His hand at work in our lives in incredible ways. 
One of the most encouraging stories about evangelism I’ve heard recently describes the importance of prayer in sharing your faith. The book Dangerous Intersections tells about a church in Phoenix that asked their members to randomly choose 80 people from the telephone book and pray for them every day for 90 days. At the same time, they asked members to choose another 80 names from the telephone book, but the second list was simply laid aside and nobody prayed for those people. After 90 days, church members called all 160 people on the lists, and the results were amazing. Only one person on the list of people who did not receive prayer was willing to meet with a Christian, whereas 69 of the 80 people who were prayed for were willing to meet with a Christian, and 45 even invited them into their houses.
  • Check out this short video series on sharing your faith. 
  • Spend time praying for one person you’d like to share your faith with. Pray for them daily, and then take the risk and initiate a conversation about the impact Jesus has made in your life. 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Fill in the _____: Start _______ - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Aug 17, 2016

One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?” Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”  Matthew 9:14-15
The phrase “spiritual disciplines” is commonly used to describe pathways people take in order to draw closer to God and become more like Jesus. The most common disciplines are activities like praying, reading, meditating, giving, serving, etc. Though many Christians have certain disciplines or pathways that they enjoy or resonate with more than others, one pathway that many people simply avoid altogether is fasting. 
Strictly defined, fasting is abstaining from food and beverages for a season of time (one day, three days, seven days, or more). Fasting is written about regularly in Scripture and has been practiced consistently throughout church history. People fast for a variety of reasons: 
  • To feel less enslavement to the cravings of the body.
  • To seek wisdom for an important decision.
  • To spend more devoted time in prayer.
  • To obey the Scriptures.
  • To express grief over sin.
  • To give food to others in greater need.
Because the thought of abstaining from food is so challenging, many Christians never try it. In fact, I remember a time when one of the churches I worked at called the leaders to a several day fast, and many of the pastors shared that it was their very first time ever doing it!
Though fasting can be intimidating and is rather uncommon today, Jesus said that His disciples would fast, and the benefits that come from fasting are incredible. Because of that, I want to encourage you to find a time in the near future and commit to fasting--even if it’s your very first time. It might seem hard, and no doubt parts of the experience will be hard, but the payoff is worth it. 
  • Watch this Disciplines and Drive-Thrus video on fasting. 
  • Devote 1-3 days to drawing near to Jesus through fasting. 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Fill in the _____: Start _______ - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Aug 16, 2016

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2
It was during my freshmen year of college that I first made the effort to really incorporate prayer into the rhythm and pattern of my life. Since I didn’t have a lot of experience or practice praying I went to older, godly people I knew and asked them questions about their prayer life and their daily prayer routine. After learning a lot from others, I started carving out longer stretches of time nearly every day to spend time alone with God. And from personal testimony I can say that learning to pray changed my life. 
Prayer can take many different expressions in a person’s life. Prayer can take the form of gratitude and thanksgiving, of confessing sin, of requests based upon urgent needs, etc. We can do so many different things in prayer, but one of the best things we can do is simply delight in God’s presence and respond to His goodness and glory with awe-filled wonder. 
True beauty always captivates us. Whether it’s the expanse of the ocean, the splendor of a star-filled night, the majesty of the Sistine Chapel, or the brilliance of Beethoven’s ninth symphony, when we behold true beauty, it’s impossible to suppress the amazement and wonder--praise and adoration flow instinctively from inside us. That’s what happens when we enter into the presence of God, only to an infinitely greater degree. God is the epitome of beauty. God is the ultimate superlative. And God delights in us as we delight in Him. The more we spend time in God’s presence, the more God will reveal Himself to us. And the more God reveals Himself to us, the more we will come to appreciate and adore God for all He is. 
Learning to pray will take time and effort and will undoubtedly be filled with countless distractions, but the worth and beauty of a deep prayer life is truly indescribable. Every second is worth it’s weight in gold. 
  • Watch this Disciplines and Drive-Thrus video on prayer. 
  • Take another step in your prayer life and commit to spending more time in God’s presence. 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

Fill in the _____: Start _______ - Monday

Posted on Mon, Aug 15, 2016

“People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4
Whether it is working out, eating right, or reading a good book, whenever we make the healthy decision to start doing something new, it can impact the quality of our life in a major way. And of all the things we could “start doing,” perhaps the most important thing is to spend time with Jesus. Because Jesus is so dynamic, compelling, and powerful, spending time with Him always leaves us changed for the better. And one of the most practical ways we can spend time with Him is by reading the Bible. 
The Bible represents the actual words of God. In 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul taught, “All Scripture is God-breathed,” literally meaning that God exhaled the Word. 
One of the most life changing things a person can do is to start reading the Bible on a regular basis. A few years ago, a long-time Southland attender began to make a change in their life by reading the Bible more often, and this is their testimony about the impact it made on their life:
“In the past 10 years prior to last fall, the only time I read the Bible was when it came on the big screen in church on Sunday. It was an important foundation but it had little impact. I tried to live differently but my life was mostly the same. Last fall I began actively reading the Bible and it has made a huge difference in my life. Instead of trying to be different, I actually became different. I am a better husband, father, friend and son because I have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ because I am in his Word.” 
Let me encourage you to start reading the Bible on a regular basis. If you’d like to sign up for a Bible-reading plan, click here.
  • What would be the best way for you to start increasing your daily interaction with God’s Word? 

Dan Hamel
Teaching Pastor

A Playlist For Our Lives - 2 Samuel 6 - Friday

Posted on Fri, Aug 12, 2016

“I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family. He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord.”  II Samuel 6:21
I love people who are totally decked out at ball games -- who do not care what they look like -- they are fans through and through. The way they cheer, dance, yell, and go crazy for their home team! WOW!
David was willing to look undignified to show His joy in the Lord and display his worship. I was processing this week in preparing for devo writing -- just how undignified we may look to the world as Christ-followers. Following Christ and displaying our worship toward Him may look a little crazy to those watching our lives. 
As Christ-followers, we express our worship to God and are called to:
  • Forgive -- even when we have been hurt
  • Give -- even when our bank account may be less than ideal
  • Love -- even when we do not get that in return
  • Serve -- even when we may think we do not have the margin
  • Sing -- even when we are in our lowest pit of despair
  • Trust -- even when we are riddled with anxiety
  • Believe -- even when we do not see an answer in sight
  • Stand -- even when we are weak
  • Confess -- even when we are struggling
  • Walk in Truth -- even when the enemy is speaking lies
Today, as we close out the week with our emphasis on having the heart of a worshipper, let’s take the remainder of the day to reflect and resolve to be undignified. As it says in the Word, Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
When the object of our affection and attention is our Heavenly Father, we are truly capturing the heart of a worshipper. A heart that the Lord delights in and finds His presence welcomed. May you continue to be encouraged and challenged to have this heart!
Next Steps: 
  • Reflect over the past week and process any areas God wants to grow you.
  • Resolve to ask the Spirit for His strength in those areas to help you produce fruit.
  • Share with a trusted friend how you have made progress this week.

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

A Playlist For Our Lives - 2 Samuel 6 - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Aug 11, 2016

“...he gave to every Israelite man and woman in the crowd a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins.”  II Samuel 6:19
Our family loves to host students. We have a blast having students over and welcoming them into our home. Over Christmas we chatted with some of these students about doing something for someone else. We came up with the idea to bake cookies, package them up, and then deliver them to about four families. It was so much fun! With cookie debris everywhere, we finished up and loaded the cars to head out. When we regrouped back at the house, one student said, “It was so fun to see other people smile.” And I thought to myself, That is what it is all about - sharing with others. 
David wanted to bless the crowd by sharing good things with them. I love how an expression of joy can simply be sharing good things with others. We always find more joy in giving than in receiving. And, isn’t that what worship is all about? Giving to a God who gave His all to us. 
The early church in Acts displayed this type of worship in their communities. They were taught together, enjoyed fellowship together, shared meals together, shared money with those in need together, and worshipped together. As we love and live into this today, may all of us encounter God in richer and fuller ways. 
As you go about your day today, be extra mindful and prayerful about sharing good things -- with a spouse, a child, a boss, a coworker, a friend, or a stranger. Live into this day as one focused on worshipping God through sharing. I know you will be blessed in return. It could be just what the recipient needed to receive from you. 
Next Steps:
  • Get with your Life Group to brainstorm some ways to share with others as an expression of worship.
  • Think about a time you were on the receiving end of a blessing -- how did that make you feel?
  • Who in your life right now could use a touch of goodness? Take some time this week to bless them. 

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

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