Adam’s Devotional – February 14-20, 2019

From Adam…

The Bible begins with God present in the “formless void and darkness”. And the first thing God says is, “Let there be light!” The first thing God does is to create light out of darkness. God creates possibility where there was nothing.  God creates hope where there was none before.  The first thing we see God do and the first action we see God take, is to create light and hope where there was only darkness and void.  Where are the places in your life right now where there is no light? What are the situations in your life where you feel stuck and could use a little divinely created possibility? What are the relationships in your life where you could use a little possibility?  How is God calling you to be a part of that Divine creativity? Who are the people in your life who could use a little hope, and how could God be calling you to bear and to bring that hope? The good news is that if you find yourself in a tight spot, if you find yourself in place where there is little possibility and no sign of hope, God is comfortable working there.  That’s actually the first thing God does in scripture.  Maybe God could do the same thing in your life.  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – February 7-13, 2019

From Adam…

You know what’s crazy?  When you’re born, you don’t know your name. You have to learn, discover, and figure out what your name is as well as where it came from and what it means.  Even if you woke up one day and pronounced to everyone, “From now on you will call me Morty, for my true name is Mortimer Finetooth Livingston,” it really wouldn’t be your true name. Unless you go to the trouble of legally changing your name, the name your family gives you is the name you keep. God also gives us a name. We didn’t ask for this name; it was just given to us, and we get to figure out what it means.  God calls us Beloved, and there is no form we can fill out to change it.  Like it or not, believe it or not, ready or not, God calls us Beloved. Do you know your name?  Do you know what God calls you?  What would change in your life if you believed that who you were deep down was God’s beloved?  What would happen if you believe what St. Augustine wrote, that “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us”? God has gone to great lengths to teach us our true name. God calls our name through scripture, in worship, and fully and completely through Jesus Christ. How much time have you spent listening to God call you “the beloved? God has named you. Learn your name. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – January 31 – February 6, 2019

From Adam…

What catalyzes creativity and creates community?  What disarms hate and destroys prejudice? What mutes gossip and turns up joy? What inspires vulnerability and eclipses shame?  This may sound crazy, but the answer is real, true, genuine, and authentic play. Play does all that. That’s why play is one of our youth ministry’s core values. Play gives us permission to be who we are together without fear of judgment. The generative and permissive nature of play creates an intimate community where vulnerability meets acceptance, and we stumble into belonging together. When was the last time you really played?  Were you worried what you looked like? Where you afraid of what people would say? Were you judging those around you? No! You were lost in the moment of joy and content in the “newness” of play. Maybe that’s what God invites us into. Maybe God wants to be so close with us that we play together. Maybe God knocks on the door of your heart like a little child knocking on her neighbor’s door and says, you want to come and play with me? Who could God be calling you to play with like that? How can you say ye, to Christ’s invitation to a joyfully deep and delightfully intimate relationship with God? What would it look like you you said yes?  Maybe it looks like play? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – January 24-30, 2019

From Adam…


If someone was to look at your life for the past week, what would they say you value?  We reveal what we value, what matters to us, by the way we live. The youth ministry at FPC seeks to be a Christ centered community that values compassion, brokenness, grace, worship, mission, andplay. There is a flow to these values, maybe even a story line. We start with compassion because that’s the way God starts with us.  Compassion happens when we are truly “with” each other, and the One who is an expert at being with is the “with us” God, Emmanuel. Then we go to brokenness.  Spend enough time with anyone long enough, and you’ll eventually see that neither of you are perfect.  We are all broken; we bounce back and forth between arrogance and shame returning again and again to entitlement and ingratitude. It’s pretty easy to get stuck there, but then grace.  Grace won’t leave us alone. Grace says, “I love you anyway.”  Grace says, “You are my beloved, and I am yours.”  Grace says, “I am dying to love you, dying on a cross.” The romantic forgiveness of God’s grace woos us to worship. We say, “I love you too,” in worship.  And in worship, we encounter a God who says, “Love with me and love like me.”  So from worship, we go to mission.  We wake up to what God is up to in the world– God’s radical compassion and God’s pervasive and persistent grace in the midst of brokenness, and we join in. That’s what mission is.  It’s the joining in. It’s the place where God’s action and our action intersect.  Mission is the incarnation and result of God’s grace dancing with our gratitude. And finally, in the midst of it all, we play. We express our joy through playful, authentic, and vulnerable relationships. If someone were to look at your life, would they see these values?  If someone were to look at our church, would they recognize compassion, brokenness, grace, worship, mission, andplayGod’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – January 17-23, 2019

From Adam…


This Sunday is Todd Jones’ last Sunday as the Pastor at First Pres. One quote he returns to again and again is from John Calvin.  Here’s how Todd says it, “Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. Which comes first, who can say?” When we encounter God, we remember who God is and who we really are.  Think of it like this. Have you ever tried to plug something in when it’s really dark.  You feel around on the wall until you find the wall socket. With the other hand, you find the plug.  You twist and turn it until the prongs line up right. You try several times feeling with the tips of your fingers where the socket holes are, and you hope and pray you don’t get electrocuted.  But if someone turns on the light, even if just for a moment, it’s much easier. That’s kind of how worship is. When we authentically encounter God, we can see clearly who God is and who we are called to be. For second, a moment, or a season our soul is aligned and plugged into the source of light and life, and what really matters to God really matters with us.  That’s what worship is all about. In worship, we anticipate that genuine encounter with God that we might remember who God is and who we are–that we might be reminded what true and solid wisdom is. When’s the last time you did that? When’s the last time you offered yourself up to encounter God in worship? Are you feeling around in the dark to see who you really are?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – January 10-16, 2019

From Adam…


Do you ever talk to yourself negatively in a way that you would never talk to anyone else? If we speak with anger, judgment and resentment to others, we can do a whole lot of damage and even destroy entire relationships. Is it crazy to think that when we speak to ourselves with that same kind of resentment, we cause similar damage? The good news is that God never speaks to us that way. God never speaks to us from a place of resentment.  Think about it. When Christ was on the cross, being killed by the Romans at the request of his own tribe, do you remember what he prayed? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Even in the moment when Jesus had the greatest cause for judgment, resentment, and disappointment, he chooses grace. That’s why grace is one of the main values of our youth ministry and core to the DNA of our faith. How do you think God feels when we speak to ourselves with ruthless resentment and harsh judgement? Have you ever realized the only other person who hears the way we speak to ourselves is God. What do you think God says in response to our internal verbal abuse? Perhaps if we slow down enough, we can hear God say, I forgive you, for you do not know what it is you are saying. Would the way you speak to yourself change if you remembered God was a part of the conversation?  Would the way you think about yourself change if your received God’s relentless grace? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.  

Adam’s Devotional – December 20-26, 2018


From Adam…


We mourn together. It’s a communal act, but no one can do your grief work for you. No one can cry in your place; you get to do that. Exams are similar.  Everyone in the whole school has to take exams, but no one can take your test for you. DANG IT! Part of the reason that exams are so hard is they remind us that we’re not perfect. It’s nearly impossible to make 100’s on every exam. Perhaps the lie of exams is that we could be perfect. The reality is, even if we get straight A’s, even if we get 100’s on everything, we’re still not perfect.  We still make mistakes, we still compare ourselves with others, we still struggle with shame, and we still wrestle with arrogance. That’s why one of our youth ministry values is brokenness. Because there is no prerequisite, no test we have to pass, no grade we have to get when it comes to God’s love. God wants who we are right now, today . . . not who we will become or who we used to be. God wants who we already are right now. What are the imperfections that stop you from receiving God’s love?  What are the unspoken social tests other people have to pass before you’ll offer God’s love to them? What would it be like if you received and offered love the way Christ offers it to us? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – December 13-19, 2018

From Adam…


Exams are the worst! The idea that people assign a numerical grade to your performance is incredibly anxiety inducing to say the least. The word compassion means, suffering together. Exam season is one of those times where we really understand what that means. Everybody is going through the same stress, the same exhaustion, the same suffering. What would it look like for you to adopt a spirit of Christ-like compassion during exams? How can you support those struggling near you? In what ways can you offer Christ to those near you studying at home, cramming in the hallway beforehand, freaking out in the desk next to you, and collapsing from exhaustion afterwards? Christ became human to be with us in our suffering. It would be like parents and other adults in your life going back to high school so they could take exams with you. CRAZY! Christ endured the cross, endured life and death and everything that goes with it to be able to be with us in the midst of it all– to be Emmanuel. Christ offers us genuine compassion and something else . . . hope! This is the promise of Christmas: like it or not, ready or not, believe it or not, Jesus is coming. This Baby is going to be born. Life, hope, faith, love are all coming in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Exam season is upon us, but have hope. It will come to an end, and the results do not define you. The grace, hope, and love of Jesus Christ do. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – December 6-12, 2018

From Adam…

Over and over again . . . more than just consistently . . . God chooses us.  When God wonders about the how, the who, and the what of God’s most exciting work, God chooses us.  Think about it. When God, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen wanted to do the greatest Divine work, do you know what God did?  God put on flesh! When God wanted to offer us the complete, whole, full revelation of Who God is, God took on human form to do it. God loves for us, prefers for us, hopes for us to be a part of what God is doing in the world.  Advent and Christmas are reminders of that miraculous and grace filled reality– the reality that the most powerful, creative, and loving Being chooses to reveal that love creatively and powerfully through us! That’s why the second half of our ministry motto is: Be a part of it.  How has God called you to reveal God’s love to the world?  How has God called you to reveal God’s love where you work?  How has God called you to reveal God’s love at your school? How has God called you to reveal God’s love at church?  How has God called you to reveal God’s love to your friends? How has God called you to reveal God’s love to your family? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – November 29-December 5, 2018

From Adam…

It really is easier to believe that God’s not up to something.  It’s easier to believe that there are God forsaken places, times, and experiences. We can make sense of a God who is absent in suffering.  But a God who is with us in suffering– that’s downright offensive. The idea that God is present in the fires of California, in children dying from famine in Yemen, and in the moments when people we know and love say “no” to the gift of this life is offensive and inconvenient. How dare God be present in our pain.  How dare God offer us love in spaces when all we feel is hate. How dare God invade our raging chaos with hope-filled peace. But that’s what God does. God is born into the loneliness of a manger– born into the sadness of a mother and a father without a home. God doesn’t wait for us to be ready. God doesn’t wait for it to be appropriate or convenient.  God doesn’t show up just when we want it.  God shows up now. That’s what we mean when we say God’s up to something. We mean God is Emmanuel, God with us. Where are the places in your life that you believe are God forsaken? What are the spaces or relationships in your life where you believe God is absent? What would happen if you believed God was actually showing up in those spaces, waiting for you to notice the divine presence with you, hoping you’ll hear the Holy Spirit’s invitation to love, joy, and peace whether you’re ready or not?  God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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