Adam’s Devotional – July 2-8, 2020

From Adam…

We need to wash our hands, or we’ll die. (According to Exodus 30:20, kind of)–maybe that’s where the CDC got the idea. God instructs the priests to wash their hands and their feet (in the same bowl!!!) before entering into the tabernacle, so they won’t die. Exodus 30 is actually chock full of instructions for the right way to worship as well as the right way to be the people of God. The instructions are so specific, ranging from materials to smells. Seriously, look in Exodus 30, and you’ll find two recipes: one for oil and one for incense that are only to be used for worshipping God. All of this points to the simple and profound reality that there is something special and unique about our relationship with God. This is true in different human relationships as well. We don’t relate or interact with all people the same way. We walk around our house and families in clothing (or lack of clothing) that we would never wear in public. Why?  Because our relationship with our family is different. Like the Hebrews in Exodus, we are a people of God and more specifically because of Christ, we are people with God. There is something special and unique about our relationship with Christ. In a word, it’s intimate. We can share things with God, we can interact with God, and we can love God in a way that we can no one else. What is so unique about our relationship with Christ? Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans. “Who is in a position to condemn us, only Jesus Christ.”  [What does Christ do?]  “It is Christ Jesus who died for us, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.” What would it look like if you said, “yes” to the special, unique, and gracious nature of a relationship with Christ? When’s the last time you sat still in God’s presence? When’s the last time you offered God all your fear, doubt, and anxiety?  When’s the last time you laughed with God from joy overflowing? In a time and season that feels out of control, the one constant is the unique, intimate love of God we experience in Christ Jesus. Say “yes” to God’s “yes” to you today. Say “yes” to the unique intimacy offered you from the One who has been with you from the beginning. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

God’s up to something . . . be a part of it. 

Adam’s Devotional – June 25-July 2, 2020

From Adam…

If you’re looking for a place in the Bible that says peer pressure and gossip are bad, you may be surprised to find exactly what you’re looking for in the first 9 verses of Exodus 23. Read it and see for yourself. How familiar is this conversation: “But mom!  Everybody’s doing it!” To which the mom replies, “If everyone were jumping off a cliff, would you?”

If we’re honest we’d respond with resounding, “If it was trending, maybe!” Exodus 23 points to the type of people the Hebrews are called to be. God’s people are called to practice justice for all: not just when it’s convenient, not just when it’s advantageous, not just when it’s popular, not just for the people who look, act, and believe the way they do, but justice for all, always. Sounds simple enough, but justice for all, always can be pretty inconvenient. This impartial justice will set apart the people of God from the people of the world.  Think about where we are as a nation and world today. The governments and powers of the world have not been able to provide justice for all no matter how lofty their ideals and founding documents. Look no further than recent and current news cycles to see that justice for all and always has yet to take place. Better yet, flip back and forth between news outlets or social media to see opposing sides, stories, and accounts of who justice is for and what it is. Sometimes, the price of practicing God’s justice is inconvenient, unpopular, uncomfortable, lonely, and may even involve a cross.

The good news is that Christ has paid that price, has shown us the way, and has invited us to take up our cross follow as disciples, apostles, ambassadors of God’s just mercy and grace. In what ways have you preferred your own comfort instead of offering God’s justice? Who are people that you don’t like that you have intentionally allowed to fail when you could have helped them succeed?  Who are people who don’t like you that God could be calling you to pray for? What would it look like if you started to love others like Christ does?

God’s up to something . . . be a part of it. 

Adam’s Garage Talk – 6/25/20

Adam’s Devotional – June 18-24, 2020

From Adam…

Manna! The mysterious bread that God feeds the runaway Hebrew slaves when they are wandering in the desert. It’s so mysterious that the Hebrews actually call the bread, “what is it?”  That’s what the word “manna” means. Here’s how it worked. Every morning a thin flaky substance appeared on the surface of the ground. The Hebrews went out every day to collect it. If they tried to save some for the next day, it would go bad. Every seven days, God gave them a double portion, and the extra wouldn’t go bad. Manna taught the Hebrews how to depend more on who God is and what God does. Before Covid-19, it was easy to depend on our schedule; we could count on going to school, practice, or work every day. We could count on seeing people, hugging people, and high-fiving people. Covid-19 took all those things away. Now that things are opening up, we’re hanging out with friends, starting jobs, and even going to practices again. It’s easy to start depending on those things again. Who or what are you depending on? Who or what are you looking to for hope and joy? Manna taught the Hebrews how to start with what God provides every day. Are you gathering what God has given, or are you looking to something else? What would it look like if you started every day with gathering manna? God’s provision is mysterious.  Remember it’s called, “what is it?” This week try to begin every day with prayer. Offer God whatever thoughts and feelings are on your heart. Even if those thoughts are complaints. Then, open yourself up for what God has for you.  If you don’t hear anything, God is probably simply sitting there with you. That’s what our closest friends do. They know when the best thing is simply to sit and to be with us. God doesn’t solve the Hebrews’ problems for them. God makes a way for them to be in relationship every day. Maybe God’s doing the same with you. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

God’s up to something . . . be a part of it. 

Adam’s Garage Talk – 6/18/20

Adam’s Devotional – June 11-17, 2020

From Adam…

Here’s the lie: some lives matter more than others. That’s the lie that Pharaoh tells himself throughout the plagues in Exodus 9. In verse 17, God says to Pharoah, “you are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go.” Pharaoh isn’t just exalting the Egyptians over the Hebrews; he’s exalting himself and his will over God and God’s will. Again and again, God commands, and Pharaoh disobeys. Pharaoh practices hardening his heart toward the Hebrews and toward God. In chapter 9 we see Moses’ habit of obedience right alongside Pharaoh’s habit of hardening his heart. Pharaoh practices no empathy for the Hebrew people, no respect or recognition of their God, and he stubbornly holds tightly to his way of doing things as well as his worldview. God offers us opportunities to obey just like Moses offers Pharaoh. God offers us chances to let the Hebrew people go. If we practice obedience to God’s will, if we make a habit of saying “yes” to God’s invitations, then we will not be led by our preferences, norms, or worldview. Instead, we will be led by the living God. We will join in Christ’s continuing ministry of reconciliation in the world. We will be ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven rather than citizens of this one. God will use us to destroy the lie that some lives matter more than others. Pharaoh’s practice of saying “no” to God forms a habit that’s hard for Pharaoh to break. Even when his heart softens for a moment, his habit of selfish disobedience hardens his heart again. What has God been calling you to do again and again? How have you been practicing disobedience? What would it look like to practice saying “yes”? What would it look like for you to make a habit of saying “yes” to God’s love, God’s call, and God’s grace for you and those around you?

God’s up to something . . . be a part of it. 

Adam’s Garage Talk – 6/11/20

Adam’s Garage Talk – 6/6/20

Adam’s Devotional – June 4-10, 2020

From Adam…

Systemic racism, racial violence, and racial injustice are all over Exodus 2. Seriously. Perhaps the most obvious and egregious system of racial injustice is slavery. That’s the system Exodus describes in Egypt. Chapter 2 opens with Pharaoh’s sister who pities and adopts a Hebrew baby boy she finds in a basket on the riverbank. It’s no secret why that baby is there. His mother would rather put him in a basket on the Nile than have him fall victim to Pharaoh’s racial infanticide committed in chapter 1. The chapter fast-forwards to a young adult Moses. He sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. The system of racial inequality, injustice, and oppression is still in place. Moses’ response to witnessing the oppression of a fellow Hebrew is to murder the Egyptian. The next day Moses sees a Hebrew beating another Hebrew, and he doesn’t kill anyone; he asks why. Moses is just as racist as the Egyptians. Pharaoh finds out about Moses’ crime and seeks to kill him, so Moses flees. He stumbles upon a conflict between a group of shepherds and Midianite sisters–another conflict between two different groups of people. Even though the women mistake Moses for an Egyptian (racial profiling), he protects them from the shepherds. The sisters’ father rewards Moses, giving him the eldest daughter in marriage (which is topic for a different devotional). Racial injustice and inequality drive this chapter. It is racism that allows slavery to exist. It is racism that drives Moses to kill the Egyptian. It is racism that proclaims the lie that some lives matter more than others. And it is freedom from that racism that God will bring, but it won’t be the way Moses expects. Right now, we live in a country where racism is part of our past and present, but it does not have to be a part of our future. As seen in this chapter, freedom and equality do not come for the Hebrews when Moses takes matters into his own hands. It is not until Moses joins in what God wants that the Hebrews experience freedom. The same is true for us today. In Christ we are reconciled to God, and we are entrusted with Christ’s ministry of reconciliation. We are called to be ambassadors of Christ’s reconciling love in the world. Have you tried to take the issues of racism into your own hands? Have you run away from it when it got too hard like Moses did? Where do you see God moving us toward reconciliation today? What would it look like for you to be an ambassador of the reconciling love of Jesus Christ?

God’s up to something . . . be a part of it. 

Adam’s Garage Talk – 5/30/20

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