Adam’s Devotional – August 16-22, 2018

From Adam…

Spoiler alert: high school is not the best time in your life. That might sound strange coming at the beginning of the school year, but it’s not. So whether you are loving it right now or hating it, life gets so much better, fuller, and richer. Scripture tells us that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” So whether you’re dreading school or psyched out of your mind about it, the expectation faith invites us into is hope. We hope that one day we will experience acceptance and belonging.  We hope that one day what we have to offer will be celebrated and valued. And we hope that one day we’ll discover who in the world we really are. The good news is that God responds to each of those hopes right now. When it comes to God, one day is always today. God already accepts us, God already values and celebrates our gifts, and God is always reminding us who we already are: God’s beloved children. So as this school year begins, may we all experience the hopeful expectation of faith that God is up to something, and we are invited to be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – August 2-8, 2018

From Adam…

Remember how Alexander Roberts challenged our church to be a church of action when he preached at Youth Sunday this past year.  Here’s what he said:

“I challenge everyone to ask themselves these questions. How can we find time in our busy lives to take 5 minutes and pray each day? How can we better improve our relationships with those close to us? Has God been calling you to do something that your emotions have kept you from saying yes to? The good news is that we all have the ability to make a difference in the world, whether it be big or small, and Jesus will still love each and everyone of us the same no matter what we decide to do. After all, we have God’s everlasting love. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. We can all go out and have an impact on the community by being doers and not thinkers. We have to listen. We have to see. God is putting opportunities in front of me. God is putting opportunities in front of you.”

Adam’s Devotional – July 26 – August 1, 2018

From Adam…

Some people say that fear is the opposite of faith.  Here’s what Maggie McConnell said about that in her Youth Sunday sermon this past May:
“One constant we cling to is the feeling of uncertainty that [fear] foster[s] in all of us. Sometimes it really just feels easier to want to stay at the top of the [rappelling] wall and to not even consider turning around and taking the plunge. Sometimes, it feels easier to cling to our ever-present fear than to trust that God will fight every battle for us. But, we must understand that God isn’t necessarily going to fight our battles the way we would. In fact, most times, the fight is going to look totally different than what we expect. And truthfully, all sorts of walls loom over our hearts and minds every day with the fear based [uncertainty], but the best news of all​ is that the Lord is going to be there every time, saying “fall on” truly and endlessly, and we must only promise to trust and keep still.” God’s up to something.  Be a part of it!

Adam’s Devotional – July 19-25, 2018

From Adam…

“Knock and the door will be opened. Seek and you will find.”  What in the world does that mean?  Here’s a knocking and seeking story from Mary Caroline Funk’s sermon from this past Youth Sunday–
“Over and over in my quiet times I told God I believed and I have seen Him working in different ways, but I wanted a sign. Although I had no clue what this sign would actually looked like, I just wanted a clear sign that I knew was from Him. During my 24 hour solo time in the woods alone with my Bible, and in constant conversation with the Lord, I read the verse in Psalms 42:1 saying, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.” I read this verse over and over and journaled about it for a long time because I related to it so much. I related to this Psalm. It spoke to me. It put words to how I was feeling, and it put into words the way I had been feeling as I longed for a relationship with God. A few hours later, I had my head down praying. When looked up, I saw a deer is staring straight into my eyes. After a few long seconds, the deer continued to walk to the rushing stream behind me. I immediately remembered the verse, which said, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”  I burst into tears because the Lord had given me a sign of His existence.” God’s up to something.  Be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – July 12-18, 2018

From Adam…

Remember when the responsible adult in your life first taught you the difference between wanting and needing? “Do you need it, or do you just really want it?” To which we all replied, YES! Number 10 of 10 is Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife . . . No this is not one of those commandments that only applies to those neighbors who are married.  “Wife” can be replaced with any possession. (#women’ssuffrage) What in the world does “covet” mean?  Basically, coveting is everything that modern day marketing is trying to get you to do.  When you see an advertisement, you see someone else with a certain product. You covet that product, see that it’s only $9.99, and you go out and buy it if you can. If you can’t, you go into debt to get it. If credit card debt has any connecting with coveting, then it is safe to say that the developed world may have a coveting problem. What do your friends, family, and neighbors have that you want?  When’s the last time you heard yourself say,  “I wish I had their phone, car, house, life, job, or significant other?”  Yes, the song, “Jesse’s Girl” is a song about coveting.  Coveting takes the place of gratitude. Coveting replaces a thankful spirit with entitlement and ingratitude.  Coveting atrophies our grateful hearts and convinces us that something will satisfy us. The good news is that someone will satisfy us, and we have been given that someone in Jesus Christ. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – July 5-11, 2018

From Adam…

The truth revealed in Christ, risen and crucified, is that we now know that God is way too busy loving us to be disappointed (see Father Gregory Boyle). How often do we believe that truth and how often do we believe the terrible lie that God doesn’t love us or that we have to earn God’s favor?  Number 9 of 10 is thou shall not bear false witness. Again, it is another one that is straight forward.  Tell the truth. Don’t lie. But even though it sounds simple, it’s so hard to do.  What lies do we tell about ourselves?  What lies do we tell about one another?  Why do we lie?  Is it because we don’t want to wait to discern the truth?  Do we lie because the truth about who God is and who God says we are is so unbelievable?  Or maybe we lie because it’s just easier, and we don’t have to deal with the anxiety of feeling ourselves in suspense and incomplete (see Pierre Tielhard de Chardin).  Whatever the reason, God calls us to the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient, and unbelievably hope-filled.
God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – June 28-July 4, 2018

From Adam…

When’s the last time you robbed, cheated, or stole form someone?  Number 8 of 10 is thou shall not steal. This is pretty straight forward. Don’t take what does not belong to you. Don’t shoplift. Don’t cheat to get ahead. But have you ever stolen someone’s answers to a test?  What about presenting someone else’s homework as your own?  What about stealing from each other figuratively?  God has given to us our identity as beloved children of God. How do we try to steal our identity? — taking it instead of receiving it.  How do we take it from others?   – -stealing their stories and gossiping about them as if they were our stories to tell.  The good news of the Gospel is that we can never steal from God because God has already given us everything.  What would it look like if we stole less and received more? God’s up to something.  Be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – June 21-27, 2018

From Adam… 

What if you’re not married?  Do the 10 commandments assume that everybody is married?  Number 7 of 10 is Thou shall not commit adultery. So, is it 10 commandments for married people and 9 for those with no legal life partner? Again, Jesus takes it a step further in the Sermon on the Mount, saying that even if you look at another person lustfully you commit adultery in your heart. It seems like Jesus is saying that when a person shifts from being a person to an object or a thing, then we are committing adultery. When someone is seen not for who they are but what they can do or provide . . . when they become a product to be consumed, could that be adultery? Could it be that we a committing adultery whenever we are using people? Are we committing adultery when we refuse to be in faithful person to person relationships with other people? When is the last time you looked at someone as a product rather than a person? When is the last time you forgot that those around you are made in the image of God? What would it look like if you interacted with those around you as opportunities to encounter the image of God?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – June 14-20, 2018

From Adam… 

Rip, roast, burn, and tear down are just a few of the words we use to describe making fun of each other.  In some groups it’s a sport: the better you rip, the better you are.  The fact that we use these words means we intuitively know that we are breaking others down rather than building them up when we have fun at another’s expense.  Even that phrase, “another’s expense” is significant. The ripping victim is the one paying for it, and the ripping perpetrator is the one enjoying it. Number 6 of 10 is thou shall not murder. When we hear that, we think, “easy . . . not often tempted to kill someone.”   In the Sermon on the Mount,  Jesus takes it a step further and calls us to not even call each other cruel names like “Raca.”(Matthew) How often are we killing others with our words?  How often are we killing others by what we text or send?  We have a choice in every relationship we are a part of.  We can be a part of life, or we can be a part of death. We can be a part of building people up or tearing others down.  Which one do you think God is up to?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – June 7-13, 2018

From Adam…

The 10 commandments don’t say, “Obey thy father and mother.” Number 5 of 10 is “Honor thy father and mother.” It’s true, honor and respect can often times take the shape of obedience, but they are not the same thing. We honor our parents by taking care of them when they can’t take care of themselves. It’s easy to imagine what this looks like when our parents get very old. Visit them, maybe let them live with us, bathe them if necessary, help them get dressed, be a part letting them live the final chapters of life with dignity and joy, etc. But how do we honor our parents when they are still raising us? For starters, we can be in relationship with them. Parents have a story, they have hopes and fears, successes and failures, pet peeves and favorites, and they have it to share with us if we will honor them by asking. When was the last time you asked one of your guardians the first time they experienced God?  What about their favorite band or song? How about their first kiss (gross maybe)?  Part of honoring thy father and mother means being in relationship with them.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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