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Daily Devotional

Latest Blog Posts in October 2016

Alive and Free - Monday

Posted on Mon, Oct 31, 2016

Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10
As the Halloween season is upon us, I’m reminded of my own social quirks when it comes to being performance driven. The whole experience makes me uncomfortable. And it’s not just because the neighborhood is filled with ninja turtles and Disney princesses. I’m not a fan of walking around our neighborhood, knocking on our neighbors’ doors and expecting that everyone gives us a handout. That’s bizarre to me. It makes me so uncomfortable. I feel like I should pay them for that Fun Size Snickers bar. “Trick or Treat! Here’s 50¢ for your troubles!” Like, it seriously makes me feel weird. So I walk around every Halloween feeling like I owe my neighbors. 
That’s how my brain works. My brain says things should be earned not just given. But Jesus’ brain wasn’t like that. Jesus gives things away. And what He gives can’t be earned.  I love Galatians 6:14-16 in the Message translation. It says “For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do... It is what God is doing, and He is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—His chosen people.” Do you realize how huge that is?! We’ve got to change the way we think. It’s not about what we do. It’s about what God is doing. To begin the conversation about people pleasing, we have to back up and start with God first. And setting our sights on God will be the most freeing feeling ever. 
  • Let’s start the week in gratitude. Thank God for what He’s done in your life. Spend two or three minutes thinking through the ways God has blessed you and what’s He’s given to you that couldn’t be earned. 

Derrick Purvis
Harrodsburg Road Campus Leader / Formation Pastor

Fixer Upper Life: Invitation - Letting People See The New You - Friday

Posted on Fri, Oct 28, 2016

For the dedication of the new wall of Jerusalem, the Levites throughout the land were asked to come to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies. They were to take part in the joyous occasion with their songs of thanksgiving and with the music of cymbals, harps, and lyres. The singers were brought together from the region around Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites. They also came from Beth-gilgal and the rural areas near Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built their own settlements around Jerusalem.  Nehemiah 12:27-29
When Ked and I were newly married we had a box we kept on our mantle. It had all kinds of memorable things inside so we could remember the way God provided. I remember working for some good, long years paying off our student loans from college. I will never forget the letter we received in the mail saying we were done with good ole’ Sallie Mae! It felt so good to toss that letter in our box. 
As we close out the Book of Nehemiah, we wrap up with the ceremony for the dedication of the wall. So much had occurred throughout Jerusalem during this time and there was a lot to celebrate. Their gratitude led to worship. They wanted their worship to express their joy for God’s faithfulness. 
I love that their worship was not just singing and making music. Their worship actually began with pursuing purity -- they knew that purity was essential to authentic worship. Next, they focused on giving. Giving was a natural response to a God who had given them so much. Finally, their worship was founded on being set apart. This act of consecrating brought glory to God. 
As we wrap us this week, let’s be mindful of the movement of God in our lives and celebrate His work. 
Next Step:
  • Jot down ways you have seen the faithfulness of God in your life recently.
  • Take some time to praise Him for His provision.
  • Share with someone in your community -- you may be an encouragement to their walk in the process!

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Fixer Upper Life: Invitation - Letting People See The New You - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2016

The leaders of the people were living in Jerusalem, the holy city. A tenth of the people from the other towns of Judah and Benjamin were chosen by sacred lots to live there, too, while the rest stayed where they were.  Nehemiah 11:1
Our family recently moved across town. We had a strong relationship with our friends where we were and also were looking to build relationships with our new community. We had created space for our son and his friends to do a Bible Study with our existing community. 
When we moved he came to us and asked us if we could expand that to include the new friends. He felt led to gather around the topic of Unity. We kicked off this study with both groups this past week and it was incredible to see students from two schools come together!
We see this in Nehemiah 11, as well. So far in Nehemiah we’ve seen city walls rebuilt, a spiritual reboot of the people of Jerusalem, and now they are looking to populate the city with more people. Nehemiah knew that the bigger the city, the greater resources they would have -- and the stronger they would be in battle. The walls were strengthened and adding a stronger team would help fortify the city.
I love the zeal and pioneer spirit Nehemiah and the people had. They had a grit about them to endure hardship and trial in order to accomplish a greater Kingdom work. They were resilient to take ground and maintain the land -- as a community. 
Being made new affects everything in our lives. It has an incredible impact on those around us. We see the value of ensuring a large population of people being enlisted to accomplish the mission. There really is greater strength in numbers. All of the leaders in Nehemiah 11 chose to settle in Jerusalem. They were living in their community and allowing God to move through them for a great work. 
Next Step:
  • Have you considered where you live a place for God to do Kingdom work?
  • Who could you enlist to come together and expand Kingdom impact?
  • Pray today and ask the Spirit to show you how this applies to you and those around you. 

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Fixer Upper Life: Invitation - Letting People See The New You - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Oct 26, 2016

“We promise together not to neglect the Temple of our God.”  Nehemiah 10:39
Ked and I had the privilege of teaching at our Pre-Marriage class a couple of weeks ago with some friends. We love this environment -- a room full of couples getting ready to begin their new life in marriage together! It is always a place that, as we teach, we are also growing. And it is always good to reflect on the promise and commitment we made to one another as a couple. 
We see the Book of Nehemiah kick off with a rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. Then, we see a recommitment to the Lord through the teaching of His Word. And a confession of sin. Now in Chapter 10, we see a sincere resolve to change, so the Israelites make a covenant with God. 
We see a lot of names in this chapter -- people committing to obey God’s Word and live lives that uphold their promise. Obedience leads to promise -- promise of God’s blessing. And, making that commitment corporately really does strengthen the entire community. 
As we go about our day today, let’s take some time to reflect on our commitment to God’s Word and God’s Way. As we pray this prayer together today, let’s remember the power in God’s Word and how we will be strengthened corporately as we unite together. 
Let’s pray together:
“God please find us trustworthy in keeping our commitment to obey Your Word. You are faithful to keep your promise to us; help us to be faithful to keep our promise to You. Help us to do the right and honorable thing today in whatever You bring to our path. May others see You in us today in all of our dealings with people and projects. We deeply desire to do things Your way. In Jesus Name, Amen”
Next Step:
  • Think about a time in your life when a difficult circumstance moved you to recommit yourself to the Lord.
  • What is the commitment you made or are going to make? Ask a trusted friend to hold you accountable. 

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Fixer Upper Life: Invitation - Letting People See The New You - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Oct 25, 2016

They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the lord their God. Nehemiah 9:3
Our daughter loves to leave notes for us. I remember one day when she was really young she had gotten in trouble for something; I cannot remember what for. But, we found on our night stand a note from her. It was a whole page in her cute handwriting sharing how sorry she was for what she did. I loved her heart-felt confession!
We see in Nehemiah 9, a long confession coming on the coattails of a great teaching on the power of God’s Word. In this prayer we see a deep sense of humility, adoration for God’s mercy, forgiveness for their sin, delivering them from judgement, protection, and blessing. 
This prayer is a heart-wrenching expression to God about God. We see how this lengthy confession leads to worship. As the Word says, “It is His kindness that leads us to repentance.” 
Probably one of the most amazing pieces of this passage is expressed in verse 38, “we are making a solemn promise and putting it in writing”. We know a covenant is a binding agreement between two parties and here we see the long-standing faithfulness of God in spite of our unfaithfulness. 
I love how this prayer exposes the character and nature of God. This is a foundational layer to our own prayer life and how it changes us to look like Him and love like Him. It challenges us to not bend to stubborn pride, but yield ourselves to faithful humility and relentless dependency on God. 
Today, may God find us faithful to surrender our wills for His. May that change in us reflect Him to those in our path today. 
Next Step:
  • Take some time today to do a personal inventory. Invite a trusted friend to process with you. Thank God for His faithfulness, His love, and His mercy toward you.

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Fixer Upper Life: Invitation - Letting People See The New You -Monday

Posted on Mon, Oct 24, 2016

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the lord is your strength!”  Nehemiah 8:10
I was recently driving through Texas with my dad, from Houston towards Austin. We were not very comfortable driving in these massive cities -- one, we had never been there before and two, we were a little too apprehensive to be aggressive drivers. I was driving and my dad was my co-pilot. Thankfully we had our navigation system which told us exactly where to go, when to turn, where there was construction, and how to get around. I was really thankful for direction!
I find God’s Word brings the same kind of peace. We see in the Book of Nehemiah some amazing victories -- including rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in only 52 days. But, even more amazing is the spiritual renewal of the people through the public reading of God’s Word. Each listener was reminded of how great God is. 
We see in this chapter that God’s people were convicted and compelled to keep God’s law; His standard. Not just a new wall, but a new spirit among the people; a new passion to live out God’s Word. 
I know in my own life that reading, hearing, studying, and obeying God’s Word really does bring renewed celebration and gratitude. His Word tells us that we are blessed when we keep His commands, we are strengthened by His Word, we gain understanding through His Word, we are revived by His Word, and we are ultimately transformed by His Word. May His Word breathe life into your heart today. For today, what would God be calling us to in the way of His Word? How can His Word change us to reflect Him? 
  • Pray this prayer we pray over our children…”Lord, may your Word fill their minds, rule their hearts, and guide their feet”
  • Read Psalm 119 and reflect on the power of God’s Word.
  • Sign up today for Right Now Media or our Daily Devos.

Michelle Frank
Staff Development

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Friday

Posted on Fri, Oct 21, 2016

On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work.  Genesis 2:2
Recently a buddy of mine with a cold was helping his kids with their homework. The next thing he knew he woke up at the table in a pool of his own drool. Ever been there? Sleep takes over and we wake up wondering what just happened. We all need rest. It’s woven so deeply into who we are God included it in the creation of the world.
So, when we’re working with God as He renovates our hearts we have to rest. In Nehemiah 8 the exiles have returned and the work of rebuilding is being enjoyed. In verse 10 of that chapter it’s described that they all eat and eat well. The smoker is filled up, billowing the best smells you can imagine and it’s time to eat. God works, we work, and He also commands rest. 
Home renovation shows take on and complete a 3,000 square foot project in an hour, but the reality is it took 30, 40, or more days to go from run-down to renewed. Renovation work takes time and so we have to rest along the way.
The second half of verse 10 in Nehemiah 8 says that the day of rest was “holy” (set apart) to the Lord and that it was the joy of the Lord that is your strength. Heading into the weekend it’s important to consider how we will rest. If we don’t rest our work will wear us out and we’ll never complete the job. 
  • Happy Friday! Rest well.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2016

Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.  Nehemiah 2:18
There comes a time when you roll up your sleeves and get to work. Building your life on Jesus is as simple a concept as there can be. Simply follow Jesus every day, in every circumstance, and repeat the next day. There was even a handy bracelet created for us to be reminded of this. Following Jesus is simple but hard. Jesus said the road to following Him is narrow. He also said we WILL HAVE TROUBLE when we follow Him. Following Jesus, building our lives on Him, is just plain work. Yet, He also said that the work fits us well and blesses us.
The work of rebuilding and renovating isn’t easy. In Nehemiah’s case they had to deal with a real enemy. It got to the point where they essentially had a shovel in one hand and a sword in the other. This vigilance slows things down, but it keeps the Enemy away. It’s true for us too. When The Enemy, Satan, has hurt us and we’re renovating, he isn’t going to give up easily. He is going to fight back. That is going to slow us down. So, let’s commit today to joining God in the rebuilding of our lives. Whether you are in the middle of massive renovation of the heart or simply some touching up, let’s get the Sword of the Spirit, the Bible, in our hands. Better yet, let’s get it in our hearts.
  • Pick a scripture to memorize. If you don’t have one in mind, google a scripture that speaks to your specific struggles. Print it out, put it in your pocket (or pocket book), and recite it every time you think of it or see it. Any time you reach for a pen, your cell phone, or your chap stick recite the scripture that’s in there.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2016

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8
When I get into a home repair project, it will take me longer than I assume and will involve multiple trips to Lowe’s. I’m as average as they come at it. I watch a six-minute YouTube video, think, “That’s simple enough,” scratch out a list of supplies, travel to Lowe’s, purchase the supplies, watch the YouTube video again, start, get stuck, cue YouTube again, screw it up, go back to Lowe’s, watch YouTube again, fix my last mistake, make another mistake, say angry things, go to Lowe’s for the thing to fix that mistake, whine to my wife about this stupid thing, fix my last mistake, and repeat until I finish the project. This may play out in a day, weekend or entire week.
All that said, if I don’t have the right materials, the entire thing is a non-starter. You can’t patch drywall with potting soil, and you can’t pot a plant with spackling. The same is true for our lives. If we aren’t building things with the right materials, we are going to end up in the same place we started or worse. Einstein is typically attributed with the loose definition of insanity being, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” 
In our lives we want to see change, but we keep building with the same materials. In our story from Nehemiah he had access to the king’s lumber yard. He had access to the best materials to rebuild the walls. In Christ we have access to the same. What materials in our lives are from Him and which aren’t? 
  • Take time today to ask him to show you what is in your life consistently that isn’t of Him, from Him, and is ultimately hurting you. Since many of us have addressed this during our series, let’s select new materials and tools to build our lives. What spiritual practices can we choose that will help us build our lives with the materials of a Godly life?

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2016

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have - Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11
One day Jesus gets up in front of a crowd and preaches a masterpiece. In what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays out the depth, breadth, width, and height of life in God’s Kingdom which has now come. It’s the greatest sermon ever spoken and volumes are written about each line. If you haven’t read it lately it’s worth your time.  It’s the end that I want to draw our attention to. At the end of ushering the foundational vision for God’s Kingdom come to earth, he challenges the audience to consider their next step. 
He calls the audience to choose the foundation on which they will build their lives. In our renovation process we’ve got to ask the same question. On what foundation will we build our lives? The easy answer is Jesus, but is that the honest and truthful answer? If you are like me, my life is built on Jesus AND… I want it to be only Jesus, but if I’m honest it’s too often:
  • Jesus AND financial security
  • Jesus AND fitting in
  • Jesus AND feeling good
  • Jesus AND being entertained
  • Jesus AND getting what I want
  • Jesus AND forward-moving life trajectory
As we start to carry out the renovation plans God has for us, let’s get the foundation right.
  • Take some time today to list anything you’ve built your life on aside from Jesus.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Renovation - Repairing The Damaged Areas - Monday

Posted on Mon, Oct 17, 2016

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
You are entering into the third week in our series called “Fixer Upper Life.” The theme of the first two weeks was inspection and demolition. This week we focus on renovation. Through the prism of the book of Nehemiah, we’ve seen God working to rebuild something big that had been destroyed. This is the step where forward-moving actions take place. So today we discuss the plans. After demolition from last week, what is it that God will build new in your life?
I love the step in home renovation television shows where the plan is revealed. The design idea and picture of what’s possible is breathtaking. So, let’s dream a bit about what is possible. What new thing is possible in your life? Can God reuse something from your past to do a new thing in you, your family, and/or future generations? What beautiful thing is possible in you that brings new beauty, hope, and purpose? What would you plan for your life if you knew it wouldn’t fail?
  • As we get a vision for all of this possible renovation, let’s take time to ask God to reveal the path forward. The next few days we’ll look at practical steps to take together. For now, spend time in prayer and ask God to help you see His plan for your newly renovated life.

Nathan Head
Executive Pastor of Ministries

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Friday

Posted on Fri, Oct 14, 2016

“I’m doing a great work; I can’t come down. Why should the work come to a standstill just so I can come down to see you?” Nehemiah 6:3
The reality is, life is not like reality TV. While so satisfying, the broken things in our lives are not going to come down and be made new in a one hour time slot on a Tuesday night. The truth about me is God has been working for the past two years to pull fear and people pleasing out of my life. And the process has been sloooowwww. Some days I take a step backward, and other days I experience huge victory in sweeping leaps. Some days I fight the enemy and others I believe his lies. The key in the whole process is to not give up. Nehemiah knew this better than most. I love his line when people were trying to distract him from his work on the wall. “I am doing a great work; I can’t come down.” When the enemy tried to intimidate Nehemiah, he just worked with greater determination. Hopefully this week, you have gotten some new tools in your tool belt to help you tear down the broken things in your life. Maybe you are finally starting to admit that addiction. Maybe you have found some old hurts and hangups underneath the tough exterior you’ve built. Maybe you’ve reached out to some friends and finally asked for help. Whatever it is, don’t give up. Get the right people around you, do the hard work, and remember that the Lord is fighting for you! With His help we can move into the next part of our healing process - Renovation. We’ll talk more about that next week, but for today remember, “I am doing a great work; I can’t come down!”
  • If you need help in the healing process we are here for you! Reach out to our Care Team if you need more guidance and help processing next steps.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Oct 13, 2016

The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon. All the builders had a sword belted to their side. The trumpeter stayed with me to sound the alarm. Then I explained to the nobles and officials and all the people, “The work is very spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah 4:17-20
There is one thing that is a part of every single episode of Fixer Upper, and that is Chip’s sweat. That might sound gross, but don’t be fooled. In one hour you get to see the beginning, middle, and culmination of what actually took months. Transforming a house in real time is plain hard work. Transforming your heart is no different. In Nehemiah, we see the Jews working day and night. We see the enemy come against them, taunt them, try to get them to quit. We see them take turns working and standing guard. And eventually Nehemiah says all the men worked with a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other. The Jews are in a “whatever it takes” kind of season. Removing bad habits and rotten experiences can turn into a serious battle. Not only do you have to deal with the issue, but you also have to fight the enemy! This can seem totally overwhelming at times, but I love the promise in the end of today’s verse. “Then our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah knew his men had to be prepared to do the hard work and to fight the good fight. But he also knew he had the ultimate trump card. The Lord. Remember, you have to be prepared to deal with your issues, and fight the enemy, but never forget that the Lord is your rear guard. He is fighting for you, and with Him on your side, the battle has already been won. 
  • In the midst of all of your hard work God has promised to do His part. He is fighting for and with you. Don’t give up. Read Ephesians 6:10-18 today.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Oct 12, 2016

So I placed armed guards behind the lowest parts of the wall in the exposed areas. I stationed the people to stand guard by families, armed with swords, spears, and bows...I called together the nobles and the rest of the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!”  Nehemiah 4:13-14
Chip and Jo are the stars of Fixer Upper, but the truth is, it takes a whole army of people to get a house done. I love the montage scenes of rooms transforming within a single moment. They are able to take weeks of work and show you the results in seconds. And you see so many people in and out in those few seconds. When it comes to discovering the broken things in our lives, the truth is, we can’t do it alone. Take a look at Nehemiah. His workers were getting tired. There was too much rubble to be moved and they wanted to give up. (Sound familiar?) He knew there were weak places in the wall. And if he didn’t put guards in those exposed areas, it was inevitable that the enemy would come and destroy all of their hard work. When it comes to admitting and discovering our weaknesses, we can’t just leave them completely unmanned. As we are processing the pain and brokenness, we have to have people around us. Healthy conversation, the ability to get out of your own head, is a huge part of your demolition process. Do you have people in your life who are willing to stand guard as your weak places are exposed? People you can tell the truth to? People who are praying for you as you go? People who are saying, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord who is great and glorious!”
  • Who are your people? It’s ok if you can’t think of anybody. Celebrate Recovery is a great place to start. There you’ll meet some of the most honest, real, and authentic people who want to help you find healing and restoration.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

Fixer Upper Life: Demolition - Removing The Damaged Areas - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Oct 11, 2016

Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?”  Nehemiah 4:1-2
In almost every episode of Fixer Upper, when demolition begins, they discover something they didn’t see in the initial inspection. There’s water damage under the floor or old lead piping that has to be removed. There’s always something that couldn’t be seen when all the walls and floors were intact. This is true for me and you. When we start to peel back the paint in our own lives we can quickly discover pain that’s hiding underneath. Many of us have spent years trying to cover up and just move on. Maybe you were misunderstood or abused as a child, and you cover it up by keeping people at arm's length. If you don’t have close relationships, you can’t get hurt again, right? Maybe you were made fun of or ignored. So you’ve spent a lifetime comparing yourself to others, and you feel like you’ll never measure up. To cover up you buy nice clothes and do your best to fit in. I don’t know what it is for you but chances are, when you begin to tear down the exterior, you might find some not so pretty truth. The reality about facing the truth is - it’s hard work! And we have a very real enemy that doesn’t want us to face it. Just like Sanballat mocked Nehemiah and the Jews when they wanted to rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, you may experience mocking from the enemy. “You can’t do it! Just quit!” Nehemiah responded to the mockery by praying. We can’t tackle demolition on our own, but with God’s guidance and protection, we are sure to find healing and restoration.
  • Is the enemy mocking you today? Pray! Ask the Lord for protection and don’t stop fighting to find the truth.

Hanna Wahlbrink
Creative Director

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