Gray’s Devotional – 7/17/20

Adam’s Devotional – July 16-22, 2020

From Adam…

Would you rather always get what you want or always have someone who gets you? Seriously, what would you prefer?  If you had to choose between having the things you want, OR having a someone who really loves, understands, and gets you, what would you choose? It’s hard to decide. Think of all the anxiety that you wouldn’t have because you’d never be concerned with getting what you want. It’s tempting, isn’t it? Perhaps that’s what Adam and Eve were tempted by in the garden. They could have a God that gets them, or they could have the knowledge of good and evil. They, and we, often choose separation from God (sin) rather than saying “yes” to the God who gets us (communion). That “getting” is true in multiple ways. In Jesus Christ, God has come to get us. The Son has come to save us. We can say with Paul in the letter to the Philippians, “Christ has made me his own.” And there’s a second “getting” God has for us. In Christ, we encounter a God who is dying to love us. In Christ, God knows us, knows our needs, our hopes, joys, fears, doubts, and loves us still. What’s so amazing about grace is that God “gets” us in both ways. When we say “yes” to God’s getting, when we say “yes” to being got by God, inevitably we go where God goes. We are moved with the Holy Spirit to join in Christ’s continuing ministry in the world. What is stopping you from saying “yes” to a God who gets you? What if every time you felt frustrated or anxious for not getting what you want or need, you said “yes” to God in prayer?  When you’re in those places of worry or frustration or loneliness this week, try one of these prayers: Christ Jesus has made me his own, or God gets me. God’s up to something . . . be a part of it.

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

Ben’s Devotional – 7/15/20

Gracie Devotional – 7/13/20

Adam’s Devotional – July 9-15, 2020

From Adam…

How do we go back to school? How do we go back to church? And what about when? Wouldn’t it be nice if God just told us exactly what to do in this pandemic? In Exodus 37, Bezalel gives us a rare glimpse into what that’s like. That’s right, Bezalel.  Bet you didn’t learn that name is Sunday school. God gave him specific instructions to make the ark and everything inside the tabernacle. What’s amazing is that Bezalel does it. It’s rare to find a story in scripture where God instructs, and humanity responds with complete obedience. Bezalel offers us that rare example in this chapter. Could God have just created the tabernacle and everything in it? Sure. God did not need Bezalel but instructs him through Moses just the same. From the Garden of Eden to the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness to today, God continues to pursue partnership with us. Have you ever felt like God was calling you to do something?  Has God ever given you specific and direct instruction like Bezalel?  If God did, how would you respond?  Do you think you’d follow the instructions to the letter? Would you ignore them, or would you tweak them just a little bit to suite your needs?  What would it look like for you to say “yes” to God’s call on your life? Jesus is pretty direct and clear when he teaches his disciples; “Love one another the way I have loved you.”  In order to follow that instruction, we need to do two things.  First, say “yes” to the love of God extended to us in Christ Jesus.  And second, offer that love to others. God’s up to something… be a part of it.

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

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