Adam’s Devotional – December 24-30, 2020

From Adam (the author of the Advent Devotional):

December 24th – JOY

John 1: 1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

The light of Christ pierces any darkness we can throw at it. What darkness do you believe is too much for you right now? Today is Christmas Eve. Like it or not, ready or not, believe it or not, Christ is coming. On the first Christmas, there was no room for Jesus and his family. They had to be in a barn. Where is the place in your life where you would most like for Jesus to be born?

Pray: I need your light to shine in this part of my life, oh God. I’m not sure how well I’ve done preparing a place for you, but please be born there anyway. In the name of the light that shines in the darkness. Amen

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

Adam’s Devotional – December 10-16, 2020

From Adam (the author of the Advent Devotional)…

December 10th – HOPE

Isaiah 11:1-2
“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”

If you know your Bible, then you know Isaiah comes way before Jesus. The shoot out of the stump of Jesse is Jesus. This was God’s plan from the beginning. And it’s still God’s plan today. Like it or not, believe it or not, ready or not, God plans on loving us in Jesus Christ. Can you think of a time when Jesus was present without you even knowing it? Take a few moments of prayerful silence and become aware of God’s presence with and for you in Jesus.

Pray:
Continue to grow more in my life, even from the places that I think are just dead stumps. In the Name of the resurrection and the life. Amen.

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

Adam’s Devotional – December 3-9, 2020

From Adam…

Are you tired of waiting? Tired of masks? Tired of quarantines? Tired of waiting for this pandemic to be over only to watch it get worse? Our culture hates to wait in general. Throw a pandemic at it, and we’re in real trouble. And it’s in this season, this time of waiting fatigue that the season of Advent begins. Advent is all about waiting. We wait for the coming of Christ. We are invited to celebrate the very thing we are exhausted by. In Spanish the word esperar means to hope. It also means to wait. In Spanish you cannot hope without waiting. Advent is the season when our waiting is transformed in hoping as we anticipate the coming of Christ. Honestly, we need Christ to come more than we need covid to leave. What if this Advent, every time you wear a mask, every time you are annoyed or terrified by the pandemic getting worse, and every time you experience pandemic fatigue, you pray this prayer: Be born in my life, Lord Jesus.  Teach me to place all my hope in you. As we begin this season of Advent, celebrate and practice hope and wait for the coming of Christ in your life and in our world. God’s up to something . . . wait for it.

Adam’s Devotional- November 26- December 2, 2020

From Adam

Thanksgiving is the most Christian holiday. No, it’s not the Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a meal together part. It’s the gratitude part. Cue the quote from theologian Karl Barth (according to Pope Pius the XII, Barth was the greatest theologian since Aquinas):

Grace evokes gratitude like the voice and echo.

Gratitude follows grace like thunder follows lightning.

Only gratitude can correspond to grace.

Gratitude is our most basic response to God’s love. Thanksgiving. As followers of Christ, we are called by the Holy Spirit to gratitude for Who Christ is and for what Christ has done. We come to worship; we enter into prayer; we go out and join in God’s work in the world– all from gratitude. That’s why Thanksgiving is the most Christian holiday. Christian gratitude is generative. The more we come to know God’s love for us, the more cause we have for gratitude. As our capacity to receive God’s love increases, so does our capacity for thanksgiving. 2020 may have been a year when gratitude hasn’t come as easily as in years past. But no pandemic, no national division, nothing in the past, present, or future can separate us from God’s love for us in Jesus Christ (thanks, Romans 8:37-39). That’s the source of our gratitude. It’s not everything going our way. It’s not our side winning. It’s not even life going back to normal. The source of our gratitude is the immeasurable power of God’s love.

God’s up to something . . . practice thanksgiving.

Adam’s Devotional – November 19-25, 2020

From Adam:

Remember that time Jesus calmed the storm? It sure would be nice if Jesus would calm the storm of anxiety, division, and the complete lack of “normal” going on in our world today. Did you know Jesus was actually asleep on the boat in the middle of the storm? The disciples, many of whom were fisherman and knew their way around a boat, were terrified they were going to drown in the storm. In the midst of their fear and anxiety, Jesus was sleeping. They went to him. They didn’t ask for help. They didn’t think he could do anything about it. They just wanted him to wake up and freak out with them. Ever heard the phrase misery loves company? When you are annoyed and frustrated, you just want to find someone who will be annoyed and frustrated with you and tell you that you are right and whoever/whatever is annoying you is wrong. But that is not what Jesus does. He does not get sucked in by the gravitational pull of their anxiety. He wakes up and shouts, “Peace! Be still!” Then all of a sudden, the wind and waves settle, and there is complete calm. Ever wonder to whom he was saying, “Peace! Be still!”? Maybe it wasn’t just the wind and waves but also his disciples. Jesus doesn’t just calm the storm on the sea; he also calms the storm in the hearts of the disciples. Do you need to hear Jesus say, “peace, be still” in your life? Do you feel like you are in the midst of a storm, and Jesus is sleeping? What if instead of waking him up as if he didn’t already know what was going on, you sat down next to him and shared in the rest he offers in the middle of the storm? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional for November 5-11, 2020

From Adam…

The unknown. It feels like there is a whole lot in that category these days. It can be scary. If it goes on or we dwell on it for a long time, it can become debilitating.  What’s going to happen in this relationship? What am I going to do? Where am I going to college? If scripture is any indication, then we never have to worry or wonder about what God is going to do. From Genesis to the Gospels and beyond, we learn to count on what God is going to do. The writer of Ephesians says that “from the foundations of the earth,” from the very beginning, God’s plan has been and continues to be to love us in Jesus Christ. What is God going to do? God is going to choose us. God is going to claim us as beloved family. God is going to call us to receive, enjoy and share Christ’s love with the world. While there may be many unknowns we are living with, God’s choice for us in Jesus Christ is not one of them. Remember that this week in prayer. Try praying one of these prayers. I don’t know _____ (whatever your particular unknown is), but I do know that you love me. Or, God I don’t know what to do about this decision, but I do know that you have decided to love me. Or an even simpler one, God I don’t know, but I want to know your love. In the midst of the unknown, may you know God’s love more and more.

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

Adam’s Devotional – October 29-November 4, 2020

From Adam…

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This idea is repeated over and over again throughout Proverbs. If you look closely, this teaching is paired with wisdom about arrogance. Arrogance fools us into thinking that we can do this thing called life and faith all by ourselves. Secondly, it convinces us into believing our identity and worth come from our performance. If we succeed in our work, we are a success. If we fail in our work, we are a failure. The fear of the Lord pushes against arrogance. The wisdom that begins in the fear of the Lord is all about being in right relationship with God and in right relationship with ourselves. Jesus Christ invites us into reconciled, loving, relationship with God. We need God, and we need one another. Fortunately, God has given us all of God’s self in Christ. What does it mean to be in right relationship with ourselves? This is a big question. But, as it relates to the fear of the Lord, we were not made to get our identity and value from our performance, success, or failure. The fear of the Lord invites us to realize that our identity comes from God’s love for us. What would it look like for you to lean into this wisdom? What would it look like if you were in right relationship with God and yourself? What if you asked the Holy Spirit to draw you further away from arrogance and further into relationship? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – October 22-28, 2020

From Adam…

You’re all talk! Proverbs 14:3 goes like this. In all toil there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Jesus says this, too, in the gospels of both Matthew and Luke. Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them, will be like a wise man… and then at the last supper in John’s gospel, Jesus says this: If I, your teacher and Lord have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. … if you know these things you are blessed if you do them. It is not enough merely to talk about God, simply to ponder about what God is like. The Holy Spirit invites us into communion with God, into a passionate relationship with Christ. Have you ever confused an intimate faith life with mere talk about God? God loves us, not so we can just talk about God’s grace and mercy but so we can experience, receive, and share it. What would it look like this week, if you put the truth of God’s love for us into action? What would it look like if you acted on Christ’s calling and teaching? The good news is this, it doesn’t matter what you do, in all toil there is profit. Do one thing this week out of a desire to live and actively practice your faith more fully. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it!

Adam’s Devotional – October 1-6, 2020

From Adam…

In this season of intense elections, a persistent pandemic, and racial tension, our nation needs a big dose of wisdom. There is an entire book all about wisdom smack dab in the middle of the Bible . . . you guessed it, Proverbs. The opening chapter teaches that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Wait a second, isn’t the most repeated command in all of scripture fear not? Isn’t God love? And doesn’t perfect love cast out fear? How can fear be the beginning of wisdom? It’s not, but the fear of the Lord is. The fear of the Lord is different from being afraid of God. Fear of the Lord means we know that God is God, and we are not. Adam and Eve forgot that in the garden, and look where that got us. The fear of the Lord is kind of like fire. If people don’t have a healthy fear of fire, someone is going to get burned. Fire can cook, purify, and sustain life through the cold, but it can also burn, kill, and destroy. This analogy breaks down immediately, God is obviously not fire. However, if we misunderstand our relationship with fire or our relationship with God, it can lead to disastrous results. Have you forgotten that you are not God? Are you trying to live your life without God – trying to get your identity and worth from something other than God’s judgment and grace? We cannot do this life without God. The first step toward wisdom is a step towards admitting your need for God. What if this week you did just that? Slow down, be still, and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you about the fear of the Lord. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

Adam’s Devotional – September 24-30, 2020

From Adam…

Proverbs 30:8-9 goes like this:

Remove from me falsehood and lying,
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that I need,
or I shall be full, and deny you,
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or I shall be poor, and steal,
and profane the name of God.

The truth is that we can’t do this life of faith alone. The idea that we can do it by ourselves or that we are supposed to is a lie. It’s a lie. It’s a falsehood. The lie is that there is something wrong with us if we can’t go it alone. Our culture encourages us to get more than we need – to get more than enough – more likes, followers, friends, money, popularity, and power. If we have more than we need, then we fool ourselves into thinking we won’t need anyone, and we won’t need God. On the other end of the spectrum, if we never get any needs met, we experience a poverty of loneliness that leads us to cut corners in relationships. We gossip about others or tear down and dismiss those around us. We avoid asking for what we need and steal belonging and acceptance instead. Proverbs is reminding us of the truth. God is the One who provides. Where are you on this falsehood spectrum right now? Are you desperately trying to get more likes, followers, friends, money, popularity, and power than you need?  Or are you experiencing poverty and trying to steal the belonging God has already given you in Christ? God’s up to something . . . be a part of it. 

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