Adam’s Devotional- June 22-28, 2017

From Adam…

I handed them sheets of paper and asked them to write down a question that they wanted to ask God.  They all thought for a moment and then silently wrote their question at the top of their paper.  I told them to take the paper home, look at it every day, and pray the question to God every day.  . . . A week later we gathered back together and they all brought their questions with them.  We spent a few moments in prayer and then I asked them to write down what they thought God was saying. One student who was intimately acquainted with death in his life asked this question: What happens when you die? This was the response he got from God: I meet you in the darkness and walk you into the light.  I’m not making this stuff up people.  God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it

Adam’s Devotional – June 15-21, 2017

From Adam

You should do as I have done.  That’s what Jesus tells his disciples after he washes their feet in the 13th chapter of John’s gospel.  Christ calls us to love one another the way Christ has loved us.  We just got back from the West Virginia mission trip, and as happens every time, we all feel like there is something special about West Virginia because of the closeness we feel with God and one another.  But West Virginia isn’t special.  Jesus is.  He tells his disciples later in chapter 13, “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.”  If we love one another the way Christ loves us- if we actually do it- then we are blessed with a closeness to God and a closeness to each other.  That’s what happens in West Virginia, and it can happen here, too.  How are you loving others like Christ loves you? What are you doing to learn more about the way Christ loves?  What can you do to love with the love of Christ? Is there a place that you are already doing it? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- June 8-14, 2017

From Adam

We long to belong.  Arguably behind almost everything we do there is a core desire to be known, accepted, and belong. We want to belong to a community that knows and wants us for who we really are.  It’s why peer pressure is so strong.  We give in because we are afraid we won’t belong if we don’t do, say, or profess x,y, or z.  Sometimes we want to belong so badly that we change who we are so that we will be included. The funny thing is, as we go to ridiculous and sometimes painful lengths to belong to friend groups, teams, or cliques, we don’t realize that we actually already belong. God has already made up God’s mind about us. The birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ reveals that God loves us. The Holy Spirit invites us to be in loving intimae friendship with God.  Jesus teaches that God loves us like a parent loves a child. Good parents have already decided how they feel about their kiddos.  They love them.  When was the last time you truly accepted God’s love for you? How often do you give in to the social pressures around you so that you will belong? What would be different about your life if your identity was anchored in the reality that you already belong you are already accepted by God? God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it

 

Adam’s Devotional- June 1-6, 2017

From Adam

Frist Allen preached at Youth Sunday three weeks ago.  He read Isaiah 60, and he challenged the congregation to wake up to God’s calling.  Read what Frist said to us. “Your calling as a follower of Christ is action. Your calling is here.”  According to Frist, the church is meant to function as a kind of spiritual alarm clock.  Through Worship, Mission, and Bible Study, First Pres has been Frist’s spiritual alarm clock.  Is your soul sleeping? Have you woken up to God’s calling rising upon your life like the morning sun?  When was the last time you felt awake to God’s call in your life?  When was the last time you heard the spiritual alarm clock going off, and you decided to get up? When was the last time you hit the snooze button?  Frist reminded us that our faith is not passive. It is active.  God doesn’t merely offer us grace and love and belonging.  God invites us to join in.  May the Holy Spirit use Frist’s words to wake up your soul. “I’ve seen God show up in the most unexpected places.  What does God’s calling look like in your life? Isaiah would say it has already risen upon you. Your alarm is ringing. You’ve just gotta get up.”  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – May 25-31, 2017

From Adam

Hannah Hayes preached on Philippians 3 a few weeks ago at Youth Sunday.  She shared with the congregation that we “can’t take shortcuts when it comes to deep relationship with God.” Paul uses the word strain in reference to the way we pursue deep personal connection with God. Hannah pointed out the shortcuts and straining are pretty much polar opposites. When you think about the way you pursue intimacy with God, does the word strain come to mind?  Prayer, Bible Study, and participation in the church were three ways that Hannah offered for us to strain toward God.  What is your prayer life like right now?  When was the last time you strained toward God in prayer?  Are you a part of a Bible study?  When was the last time you strained toward God through wrestling with scripture? Hannah said that being part of a community that strains toward God together has had the biggest impact on her faith life.  Who are you straining with? Hannah pointed out that when we avoid shortcuts and strain to take hold of God for ourselves, we realize that God has already taken hold of us.  That’s good news.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – May 18-24, 2017

From Adam…

When is the last time you heard someone say something like, “man, they are so wild”? Who are the people in your life you call wild?  What kind of things do wild people do?  When is the last time you saw the way someone was loving God and loving others and said, “they are so wild”? On youth sunday, Baker Blevins charged the congregation to be wild and adventurous in their faith. He assured the congregation that there’s a reason we long for full, passionate, sometimes wild and adventurous lives.  He reminded us that we are made in the image of God and God is wild.  We long for passionate relationships because God is passion.  We long for full life because God is full life.  How often do we think of God as tame?  Have you been trying to tame God or are you being transformed into a wild participant in God’s adventurous mission in the world?  What’s one wild thing you could do for you faith this week.  How wild would it be if you defended someone that people were ripping on?  How wild would it be if you got your family to be hosts for a refugee family in Nashville?  How wild would it be if you spent 5 minutes every morning talking with God? How wild would it be if you read a Psalm a day in the lunchroom or courtyard of your school? How wild would it be if you asked your parents, friends, teachers, or pastor how you could be praying for them?  Baker charged the congregation to bold as lions in their faith. What would it look like if you lived out your faith in way that other people would see it and say, “man, you’re wild.” God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – May 11-17, 2017

From Adam…

On Youth Sunday this past week,  Helen Riley Lazenby preached on Philippians 3. She invited the congregation to think about what it means to be an enemy of God.  Paul writes “For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”  Helen Riley asked, “What would it mean for us to be enemies of God?  As if God were Alabama, and we were Auburn?”  She shared Paul’s description of Christ’s enemies, “their God is their belly.”  She interpreted this wisely, saying, “When God is in our bellies, we are serving ourselves, not the Lord . . . They delight in things they should be ashamed of.” Helen challenged all of us, pointing out that when we idolize things like success, possessions, and influence, we become enemies of God.  She argued that we will be enemies of Christ so long as we think we do not need God.  Using Paul’s language, she shared that we need to be transformed from enemies of Christ to citizens of Christ’s kingdom. “We alone are not enough. All power rests in God, and nothing on earth can come close to matching it. As soon as we realize these things, our transformation has begun.”  Have you made that first step?  Have you recognized that you can’t do this life and faith thing on your own? Have you put that realization into practice?  Are you living as an enemy, or are you being transformed into citizens of Christ’s Kingdom?  Helen Riley shared, “The good news is that God has the power to transform us.”  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- May 4- May 10, 2017

From Adam

I handed them sheets of paper and asked them to write down a question that they wanted to ask God.  They all thought for a moment and then silently wrote their question at the top of their paper.  I told them to take the paper home, look at it every day, and pray the question to God every day.  . . . A week later, we gathered back together, and they all brought their questions with them.  We spent a few moments in prayer, and then I asked them to write down what they thought God was saying.  This was my question: “God, are you really there?”  This was the response I got: “No. . . . I’m right here– with you.  Stop looking for me out there, and see me right here with you.”  The students had equally if not more profound responses from God.  Do you recognize, do you remember, that God is with us? Where are you looking for God? Have you looked right there with you?
God’s up to something . . . Be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- April 27-May 3, 2017

From Adam

According to Matthew, on the first Easter, a few female followers of Jesus don’t find him in the tomb and are told by an angel that He is risen. Upon hearing the news and seeing the empty tomb, they are terrified and filled with joy.  They run to tell the disciples.  As they sprint back to town, the risen Jesus shows up.  Jesus says, “Greetings.”  Imagine the women running past him at first, hearing him, doing a double take, almost crashing because they turn around so fast, and then falling to their knees in delightful disbelief and worship.  If you think about it, when the women left the tomb, they were on completely new faith footing.  The world had literally been rocked by the unbelievable reality of the resurrection.  That’s why they are filled with fear as well as joy.  They are afraid of this new reality.  The women encounter Jesus on the way when they are apprehensively, but courageously, rushing out on this new faith footing. Jesus isn’t waiting for them in the tomb, but he surprises them on the road. Could it be that when we venture out into territory that is unfamiliar, into territory that we may be apprehensive to enter, that we find ourselves bumping right into the risen Savior?  Where is the place in your life that is new territory in your faith– the place that you might even be afraid of?  What would it look like for you to venture out into the reality of the resurrection there?  How might you take steps in the direction of new faith footing this week?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devo- April 20-26, 2017

From Adam

In the 28th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, we read an account of the first Easter morning.  Women (that’s right not men) went to the tomb.  They were, as we can imagine, grief stricken.  They wanted to go to the tomb to mourn . . . to find Jesus where they left him.  But they are in for an earth shaking surprise.  Jesus is not where they left him.  When they arrive at the tomb the earth shakes and an angel comes and rolls away the stone revealing an empty tomb. The angel tells them that Jesus is risen and on the move!  Jesus doesn’t wait around for them in the place of the dead, he’s on the move in the land of the living.  How often do you think you can just leave Jesus somewhere and he’ll stay put? You ever think you can keep Jesus safely sealed away in places like church on Christmas and Easter, or just on Sundays, or just with other christians?  The scary good news is that Jesus reveals a wild untamable God that won’t stay put.  Where are the places in your life that you’ve left Jesus?  Where are the places you don’t expect to run into him? Do you ever find yourself wishing you could go back to the way things were?  Could it be that God has something better for us than what used to be? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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