Waco, TX – Spring Break Mission Trip 2017

Adam’s Devo- March 23-29, 2017

From Adam

The first time I picked up a lacrosse stick was two weeks ago.  I still can’t catch or cradle the ball.  Maybe it has something to do with never playing the game.  If you never get on the field, you’ll never get any better. That’s why we’re going through the HABITS of godliness acronym.  These habits are great ways to get on the field of our faith.  Hang time with God, Accountability, Bible memorization, Involvement in the church, Tithing, and Sabbath. Let’s talk about Sabbath.  I have to be honest, Sabbath is my favorite.  Not because it’s a day off.  A day off is something you take.  Sabbath is something you receive.  A day off is something you’ve earned because you get your work done.  Sabbath is a gift of rest from God that comes even if you haven’t finished your work. The very first Sabbath happens all the way back in Genesis 2.  It is actually humanity’s first day on the job. At the end of chapter 1, we read a job description of what it means to be human. On the sabbath, our first full day, when we have done nothing to deserve it, . . . God says rest.  It’s a gift.  It’s grace.  Our first full day we receive God’s grace.  Sabbath shows us God’s grace precedes and permeates our very existence.  Receiving the sabbath once every seven days is one of the 10 commandments. How do you do receiving the gift of sabbath?  Do you feel like you can’t rest unless everything is done?  What’s one thing you could do this week to rest in God’s gracious gift of life?  Go on a hike?  Turn off your cell phone, sit on the porch, and read a psalm with a cup of tea?  My favorite way to receive the sabbath is on my bicycle.  It’s not something you deserve; it’s something you’re given.  Receive it!  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- March 16-22, 2017

From Adam…

I’ve recently been introduced to 8 ball pool on my phone.  It’s a game you play via text.  I’ve been playing a lot of middle and high school students, and the more I play, the better I get. Typically the more you play anything the better you get at it.  That’s why we’re going through the HABITS of godliness acronym.  Hang time with God, Accountability, Bible memorization, Involvement in the church, Tithing, and Sabbath. These six practices are ways to play better in our faith.  Let’s talk about tithing. Traditionally, tithing is giving 10% of your earnings.  I met with someone recently who told me that he was already giving 10% but he wanted to give more.  When I suggested 11% he looked shocked and then . . . he did it.  Now he regularly tithes 11% of his monthly earnings.  Let’s be honest, 10% is a lot.  It’s the difference between hitting that next financial goal or missing it. I confess, 10% stings a little bit.  I find myself saying, but that’s my hard earned money.  Tithing reminds us that it’s actually not ours.  Tithing reminds us that it’s God’s in the first place.  And there are few things that inspire gratitude so much as generosity does.  You also don’t just have to tithe with your money.  You can tithe with your time, your talent, as well as your treasure.  Tithing is how we courageously and boldly join in the generosity of God.   If 10% feels like too much start small and increase it.  Here’s the deal.  God does not just want 10% of ourselves.  God wants 100% of ourselves.  Giving a tithe reminds us that we are called offer 100% of ourselves to the God who has offered us 100% of the divine life to us.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- March 9-15, 2017

From Adam

I’m terrible at darts, but I’m amazing at Star Wars Trivia.  Why?  Because I have wasted (invested) thousands of hours of Star Wars focused time, and I have never once practiced darts. It’s hard to get great at anything unless you practice.  That’s why we’re going through the HABITS of godliness acronym.  Hang time with God, Accountability, Bible Memorization, Involvement in the Church, Tithing, and Sabbath. Let’s talk about Involvement in the Church.  In my opinion, the church has two primary practices: Worship and Mission.  The church is called to go about worship and mission with a spirit of Compassion. Worship is not a place where we go to get spiritually fed (although that is a nice bonus); it’s an invitation to offer ourselves to and anticipate encountering God. Mission is not community service and volunteering (although it’s good to do those things); it’s an invitation to join in what God is already doing in the world.  Compassion is not feeling sad when bad things happen to other people (although empathy is a good thing); it’s an invitation to allow your heart to break for the pain and burst for the joy in the gift of this life. Todd Jones often quotes St. Irenaeus, “the glory of God is a human being fully alive.”  Involvement in the Church through worship, mission, and compassion lead us in the direction of increasingly becoming fully alive. How are you responding to those three invitations?  What is God stirring in you when it comes to involvement in the church?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional- March 2-8, 2017

From Adam

It’s hard to get great at anything unless you practice.  That’s why we’re going through the HABITS of godliness acronym.  Hang time with God, Accountability, Bible memorization, Involvement in the church, Tithing, and Sabbath. Let’s talk about Bible memorization. What are the things you have memorized?  The ABCs and 123s, the pledge of allegiance, the lyrics to your favorite songs . . . any scripture?  Memorizing is kind of like eating.  If all you did was just look at food, you’d die of hunger.  If all you do is just look at scripture and never really meditate on it and think about, you might become spiritually emaciated. So here’s the challenge.  Memorize one verse this week.  It can be as short or as long as you want.  Ask someone who loves you and who loves God what their favorite Bible verse is and consider memorizing that.  Here’s one of my favorite verses 1st Thessalonians 5: 9-10. When we look at something long enough, we start to see things we never noticed before.  That’s what happens when you memorize scripture.  Take the shortest verse in the Bible– John 11:35– “Jesus wept.”  At first glance it’s just the shortest verse. Second glance Jesus is crying. Third glance, Jesus Christ, God incarnate knows what it’s like to weep.  Fourth, God is not beyond weeping with us. You could go on and on, but you will never know what’s under the surface if you never dig through memorization. Sandra Randleman said something the other day that has stuck with me.  “When the heart breaks, the words that are placed upon it fall in.” This week, place something on your heart that you hope falls in. God’s up to something.  Be a part of it.

11th Grade Retreat- North Georgia Mountains

We had a great time in Georgia last weekend with a group of our 11th Graders! We had a sweet time of slowing down from our normal fast pace lives through fellowship, hiking, devotionals, and a cell phone free zone!

Adam’s Devotional- February 23- March 1, 2017

From Adam … 

We’re going through the HABITS acronym these next few weeks.  Hang time with God, Accountability, Bible memorization, Involvement in the church, Tithing, and Sabbath.  Let’s talk about Accountability.   I sat down with a high school student the other day, and he shared a desire to grow deeper in his faith with others. “I want people to join me, people to keep me accountable.”  He basically said he had been doing this faith thing solo and he wanted someone to believe with.  Chew on this for a second.  Our faith is personal, but it’s not individual.  One more time, Our faith is personal, but it’s not individual.  I heard Todd Jones say this the other day, and it has just stuck with me. It’s personal in the fact that God calls us by name, we have a personal connection and friendship with God, and God has a unique and particular call on our lives.  But it’s not individual.  It is communal.  We are meant to be a community of faith.  We are called personally together.  We can’t do this faith thing alone. Accountability is one of the ways we practice believing together.  This particular high school student’s longing for people to do this faith thing with is important.  Even Jesus had three friends that he shared life and faith with in a deep and intimate way.  If Jesus needed others, then it would make sense that we do to.  Who are the people in your life that you believe with?  Who are the people in your life who challenge you to grow deeper in your knowledge of who God is and of who God has called you to be?  If you don’t have anyone, who could you ask?
God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – February 16-22, 2017

From Adam … 

HANG TIME WITH GOD
You never get better at something unless you practice it. But often we expect to be good at faith without practicing.  The HABITS are a way we practice faith. “H” stands for hang time with God.  “A” stands for accountability. “B” stands for Bible memorization. “I” stands for Involvement in the church.  “T” stands for Tithing.  “S” stands for Sabbath. Let’s talk about “H”.  Jesus had regular hang out time with God.  He spent time alone with God before he called the disciples, after he heard John the Baptist was killed, and before he was arrested and eventually taken to the cross.  In times of preparation, in times of great sadness, and in times requiring great courage, Jesus hung out with God.  When was the last time you simply hung out with God?  When was the last time you spent free agenda-less time . . . hanging out for the sake of hanging out with God?   Throughout scripture God is revealed as the God who is WITH us.  That means it is faithful for us to hang WITH God.  God is with us, and we’re called to be with God. This week I challenge you to spend 5 minutes, just 5 minutes, sitting in God’s presence with your cell phone off.  Not a deep-spiritual-I-gotta-have-real-serious-God-time 5 minutes.  Just a simple, non-anxious, hanging with God.  Close your eyes or don’t, do it outside or inside, go on a walk or sit still, do it in your car with the radio turned off or the windows rolled down, whatever you need to do to spend time with God. Do it.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – February 9-15, 2017

From Adam … 

What makes you a basketball player? Is it your knowledge of the rules?  Is it because you know everything about the history of the game? Maybe it is because the accuracy of your March Madness bracket is a force to be reckoned with every year? Is it that you have a basketball goal at your house? Maybe you wear one of those shirts that reads, “basketball is life”?  The truth is that none of those things make you a basketball player.  What makes you a basketball player is that you play the game.  You practice basketball.  How often do we think what makes us a Christian is our knowledge, the clothes we wear, and the big cross we have?  How often do we forget that what makes us a follower of the way of Christ is that we actually follow?  Do we forget that to practice Christianity we actually have to practice it?  It’s not hard for us to understand that you don’t get better at your layups unless you practice them.  Why is it so hard for us to think that we don’t get good at receiving and offering the love of God unless we practice it? For the next six weeks, we’ll be going over a Christian Practice acronym that may help us in receiving and offering God’s love.  It’s called the HABITS of Godliness.  Until next week, think about what you have been practicing.  What are the motions your soul goes through on a regular basis?  Are they movements of self-compassion and Christ-like love, or have you choreographed something else for your soul?
God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

9th Grade Ski Trip 2017

We had such a fun group of 9th Graders join us at Paoli Peaks in IN this past weekend! We skied, had great time of fellowship, time hearing God’s Word, and got to share our stories!

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