We’re Believing the Message of Christ: Day 1

Week 3 Banner

     Day 1: What Do You Believe? 

There are many questions that require a great deal of reflection, but there are two questions that really get to the heart of a person. Those two questions are:

  • What do I believe? 
  • Why do I believe what I believe? 

More than ever before in history, there is a growing trend of teachers, professors, and students who will answer the first question by saying, “I only believe what I can see, taste, touch, hear, or smell.” Similarly, they’ll answer the second question by saying, “That’s what I believe, because it’s tangible. I know something exists if I can experience it with one or more of my senses.” 

Yet people, in general, have very firm beliefs that do not fall into this definition. For example, love is impossible to be defined. Similarly, it’s very challenging to have a basis for human rights, because the basis for human rights isn’t something that can be created in a lab. As you read today, consider this: For just a few minutes, take an inventory of your own beliefs. How would you respond to somebody who asked you, “What do you believe? And why do you believe that?”

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11

How would you respond to somebody who asked you, “What do you believe? And why do you believe that?” 

Write it down: What do you believe about God? Jesus? The purpose God has for your life?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 13

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that the questions presented today are very difficult questions for me to answer. I confess that I sometimes don’t know exactly what I believe, or why I believe it. This week, as I continue to wrestle through these questions, I pray that You will lead me to better recognize what I believe, why I believe it, and how I can grow in allowing these truths to impact how I live my life. I pray for insight and understanding about You, Jesus, Your Word, and the purpose You have for my life. I pray all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 5

Week 2 Banner

     Day 5: Reflection

READING: COLOSSIANS 3:1-3

Have you ever experienced anything that wasn’t done in a “fitting and orderly way?” What was that experience like?

What, if any, questions do you have about the Scripture readings from this week? Where will you go find the answers to these questions?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 12

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 4

Week 2 Banner

     Day 4: Good Order in Worship

Think about the first time you traveled to a foreign country, or perhaps heard somebody speak in a foreign language? What was that experience like? 

Chances are, you needed somebody to help you translate the conversation. You may have been able to pick out certain words that had a familiar sound to them, but for the most part you just weren’t able to understand what was being said.

In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul encourages the people of Corinth to think the same way about their church services. We can safely assume that Paul would have been thrilled that people of faith were coming together, singing together, praying together, reading together, and listening to a teaching from the Scriptures together. But he had one more desire in mind as well: he wanted the people to understand what was being taught, and also to ensure that their gatherings were done in an orderly way. As such, he finishes this section of his letter by writing, “But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:40).” 

As you read today, consider this: Have you ever experienced anything that wasn’t done in a “fitting and orderly way?” What was that experience like?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:26-40

Have you ever experienced anything that wasn’t done in a “fitting and orderly way?” What was that experience like?

What, if any, questions do you have about the Scripture readings from this week? Where will you go find the answers to these questions?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 11

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that there are times when I read something within the Bible that doesn’t initially make sense to me. I also confess that in these moments, I would sometimes rather not read the Scriptures and do something else instead. But I know that You have provided Your Word for a reason, and that understanding Your Word is one way I can better get to know You. So today, I pray that You will lead and guide me as I seek out answers to my questions about You and/or Your Word, and that the truths I learn will help me to grow in ways I never expected or imagined. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 3

Week 2 Banner

     Day 3: Come Together Part 3

Have you ever walked into a party or gathering and it was completely different than what you anticipated? Of course you have. And admittedly, this is what it would be like for us to walk into a church gathering in the city of Corinth. What we know is that Paul encouraged them to gather together and to experience the presence of God among them. But we also know that Paul did something that very progressive for the time and culture: he encouraged women to participate in their gatherings. 

On a quick reading, there may be some verbiage in 1 Corinthians 14 that may not meet our current understanding of the word progressive. But for the people of Corinth, Paul’s inclusion of women in their gatherings was a huge leap forward. Within Greek society, many women were uneducated and were not permitted to sit under any kind of teaching, including private education. But Paul encouraging women to be part of their public gatherings was more or less unheard of in that day and age. The takeaway for us is that Paul encouraged everyone to come together, and for everyone to experience the presence of God, and for everyone to continue to discuss and ponder the wonders of God on their own. As you read today, consider this: How regularly do you discuss and ponder the wonders of God on your own, outside of a church gathering?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:26-40

How regularly do you discuss and ponder the wonders of God on your own, outside of a church gathering?

Think of at least 3 benefits to discussing, pondering, or even journaling about the wonders of God on your own.

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 10

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that much of the time, I break my life into different chunks. When I am with my family, I think about family. When I am at work or school, I think about work or school. When I am at church, I think about You. But today’s reading is a great reminder that I can be thinking about You and pondering Your love, Your grace, and every other wonderful attribute of Yours any time. And I recognize that the more I think about You, the more I get to know You. Today, may I get to know You more. I worship You today in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 2

Week 2 Banner

     Day 2: Come Together Part 2

Think about a time in your life when you felt safe enough to share everything you were thinking and feeling? Chances are, it isn’t something that happens often. There’s this thought of, “I don’t want others to judge me or think less of me for what I’m thinking or feeling.” 

But interestingly, in Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth, he was hopeful that non-Christians attending a worship gathering would lay their hearts bare, would be convicted of their sins, and would ultimately worship God as a result. He writes, “But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you (1 Corinthians 14:24-25)!” 

Admittedly, our culture is different from the culture of ancient Corinth. Nevertheless, there is still something about a Christian gathering that hopefully leads to Christians and non-Christians alike to exclaim, “God is really among us!”

As you read today, consider this: In what ways have you experienced the presence of God? How may God be inviting you to help others experience His presence?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1-25

Be specific: In what ways have you experienced the presence of God? 

How may God be inviting you to experience His presence more often? How may God be inviting you to help others experience His presence?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 9

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I’m grateful that Paul has reminded us that You are present at all times and in all situations. Even though there are times in which I am not aware of Your presence, You are with me. When I am at work, You are with me. When I am preparing dinner, You are with me. When I am feeling broken and discontent, You are with me. When I am feeling completely at peace, You are with me. Today, I simply want to rest in this truth, that You are with me at all times, in all situations, no matter what. May I rest in You today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Planning to Minister to All: Day 1

Week 2 Banner

     Day 1: Come Together Part 1

Have you ever heard of Nigel Richards? That’s OK, you’re not alone. He’s apparently one of the most accomplished Scrabble players of all time. According to Wikipedia, he won the French National Championship in 2015, despite the fact that he didn’t speak French. He simply studied the French dictionary for 9 weeks, and won. He then did it again in 2018!

Word Games like Scrabble are incredibly complex, because languages are incredibly complex. And admittedly, there are words that regularly show up in the Scriptures that we don’t use within our own language on a regular basis. One of those words comes up several times in 1 Corinthians 14. It’s the word, prophecy.

Some may immediately think of, “predicting the future” when they hear or read the word prophecy. This is because movies and television have communicated that prophecy is predicting the future. But the Chronological Life Application Study Bible notes that the main purpose of prophecy, “…is to communicate God’s message to people, providing insight, warning, correction, and encouragement.” That sounds a lot like a sermon during a church service, doesn’t it? As you read today, consider this: How does the above definition of prophecy ensure that Christian gatherings can be used to minister to all who attend?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 14:1-25

How does the definition of prophecy in today’s devotional ensure that Christian gatherings can be used to minister to all who attend?

How may God be inviting you to partner with SRC in ministering to all who attend, and all within our community?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 7 & 8

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I simply want to thank You that for the freedom within our culture for me to attend a Christian church regularly, and have unlimited access to Your Word. I confess there are times when I am more focused on work, family, or other activities than I am focused on getting to know You better. As I begin this week, I want You to know that my desire is to know You better, and to better know the purpose in which You have called me to live. Finally, I pray for wisdom to better know and understand how You may use me to help minister to all within our community. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Preparing for Future Ministry: Day 5

Week 1 Banner

     Day 5: Reflection

READING: COLOSSIANS 1:3-14

What did the Scripture readings this week reveal to you about the grace and love of God?         

What did you learn about yourself this week, and/or your role in partnering with SRC for future ministry?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 5 & 6

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Preparing for Future Ministry: Day 4

Week 1 Banner

     Day 4: Changed Lives Part 3

As I (Pastor Justin) mentioned earlier in the week, years ago my lovely wife and I were able to participate in an 8-week mission trip to Burkina Faso, West Africa. Between our flights, lodging, and food, we needed about $6,000 to make this trip a reality. Dozens of people offered us donations of $50, $100, or more in order for us to go. 

While we didn’t know it at the time, God used that experience to begin preparing us for new ministry opportunities. Later in life we were clearly able to see that the finances others provided us didn’t just provide us with flights, lodging, and food. Instead, they provided us with an experience that forever changed our lives. And that experience drew us closer to God, and ultimately prepared us for future ministry. 

In the same way that these finances prepared us for future ministry, the tithes and offerings SRC receives prepare our church for future ministry. SRC is moving forward with our vision to provide people the opportunity to experience Real Life, Real Relationships, and Real Purpose through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. We’re excited about what’s to come, and we’re excited to have you with us. As you read today, consider this: What are you most excited about when it comes to the future of SRC?

READING: PHILIPPIANS 4:10-20

What are you most excited about when it comes to the future ministry of SRC? 

Is there somebody you can share that excitement with?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 3 & 4

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I confess that there are times when I’m not necessarily excited for future ministry, or at the very least, there are times when I don’t actually pause to consider what it is I’m excited about. But when it comes to the future ministry of SRC, I want you to know that I really am excited about ____________. I’m excited to think about SRC’s vision to provide people with the opportunity to experience Real Life, Real Relationships, and Real Purpose through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and I’m excited about my part in that. I thank You for this, and much, much more. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Preparing for Future Ministry: Day 3

Week 1 Banner

     Day 3: Changed Lives Part 2

How often do you pause to think about the life change that is happening in others around you? For example, what are some of the positives you see in your spouse, your children, your roommates, or others in your Community Group, etc.? Why is it we sometimes shy away from thinking about the life change that is happening in others, or sharing with others the life change that is happening within us? 

Within the holistic ministry of SRC, there are lives being changed each and every day. There are some who have just recently professed faith in Jesus. There are others who have decided to express this decision in being baptized. There are still others who are reconciling with their spouse when it seemed that reconciliation was impossible. Changed lives are all around us. And changed lives are all around you. 

Here’s a challenge for you. Today, take the opportunity to get in touch with three people you know pretty well (family, friends, colleagues, Community Group members, etc.) and ask them how God has been growing them and having an impact in their life. Similarly, consider sharing with them about the life change God has done (and is doing) in and through you. 

READING: PHILIPPIANS 1:3-11

What three people did you talk with today? How has God been growing them and having an impact in their life? 

Did you find this hard to do? If so, why do you think it’s hard to ask others to share about what God is doing in and through them?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Nehemiah 1 & 2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, today I want to confess that there are times when I recognize the negative behaviors or what I believe are unwise decisions others make, as opposed to the positive life change that is evident within their lives. I recognize that if I am to be somebody who regularly encourages others, it’s important for me to see the many aspects of positive life change happening within them. So today I celebrate how others are growing in Christ, and I continue to pray for opportunities to share with others the many ways in which You have impacted me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.

We’re Preparing for Future Ministry: Day 2

Week 1 Banner

     Day 2: Changed Lives Part 1

Years ago, my lovely wife and I (Pastor Justin) participated in a short-term mission trip to Burkina Faso, West Africa. While we have many memories from this experience, one that has stuck with me is a time we attended a local church service. During the service, when there was an announcement for the tithes and offerings, those in attendance jumped out of their seats, began to play instruments, and sang praises to God at the top of their lungs. They then started dancing down the aisle as they placed their tithes and offerings in a small bucket in the front of the room. It was quite an experience. The people were truly excited to give some of their finances to the church. And from our experience, it was apparent that the majority of them had very little to give. But what they had, they gave with a joyful heart. 

What was their motivation for giving in such a way? Jesus. The people knew that, as the hymn says, “Jesus Paid it All.” God had transformed each and every one of their lives, and because of that, they were excited to invest in future ministry. They were excited to think about how their small church could be used by God to create life change in others. As you read today, consider this: How excited are you about the life change God has done (and is doing) in and through you? How is God inviting you to respond to Him? 

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 16:1-24

How excited are you about the life change God has done (and is doing) in and through you?

Think about a time in your life when you gave a gift cheerfully? What was the gift? Why were you so excited to give it?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Esther 8, 9, & 10

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, when I think about my life five, ten, even twenty years ago, it’s amazing to think about just how much I’ve changed and grown through the years. While some of the life lessons have been very challenging, I recognize that through these challenges, You were preparing me for future ministry.

Today, I simply want to be intentional in taking opportunities to thank You for the many ways in which You’ve impacted my life. Additionally, I pray for opportunities to share these things with others. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Click here if you would like to provide feedback to help us make the daily devotional and scripture reading guide even better.