Truth Springs Up From The Earth

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READ:

“Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the LORD pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭85:10-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What a beautiful Psalm for the week of Easter. This weekend we celebrate the death of Death. The Great Deceiver assumed he had won as our Savior lay in his tomb, but little did he know that Christ would undo his greatest trick and rise from the dead. Death was not the end—not even close. All things are being made new!

The Psalmist looks to the future, to the coming of Christ, in this Psalm of praise about the Lord’s goodness. Our hearts declare the same praises as we look back to Christ’s coming and ahead to his return. Christ ushered in his Kingdom during his time on Earth, beginning God’s good mission of renewing all things. And wonder of wonders, he not only makes us new, but invites and empowers us by his spirit to join in this holy work. What joy!

So our devotion will have a simple, but important conclusion. This week—especially this week—take time to rejoice! “Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven.” Oh, what goodness and love God has for us! Let Easter be a reminder and the beginning of a daily celebration of God’s love, shown to us through his Son. Let us not be solemn and contemplative when it comes to his resurrection. He has defeated Sin & Death, and he has rescued us from their grip. So again I say, “Rejoice!”

PRAY:

Father,
We thank you and give you praise. Your heart towards us is goodness and kindness and love. You have rescued us, saved us, renewed us, and gifted us. Thank you. We are blessed by your love, and honored by the invitation to join you in what you are doing. Lord, we celebrate you. We celebrate your Son. We celebrate the Holy Spirit. We give you praise and gratitude for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We give you praise and gratitude for our life, death, and resurrection through Christ. We love you! This Easter we give you our gratitude, thanksgiving, and appreciation. We love you Father and rejoice in you, your Son, and your Spirit! [Offer a prayer of rejoice in your own words.]
In the name of the one who has risen, Amen.

A Deep Sense of Awe

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READ:

“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper ), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders… all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭2:43, 45, 47‬ ‭NLT‬‬

REFLECT:

This passage from the New Testament gives us a picture of the early Church’s ministry, after the Spirit’s outpouring at Pentecost. What was it about God’s Spirit that caused the believers to dive deeply into such devoted life as a community?

What is the relationship between the “deep sense of awe” that overwhelmed Christ’s followers and their devotion to acting as the Church? How do the two, the awe of expectation and the committed devotion to Jesus’ new way of life, build upon each other?

How do you think Jesus was adding to the church each day? What was it about the way the Body of Christ lived that drew people and let the Church enjoy the “goodwill of all the people”?

Are there parts of the life of a disciple that you need to devote yourself to anew? What would look different about your praise, your service, and the other ways you worship if you asked God to continually fill you with this transformative awe and wonder?

PRAY:

Father, will you fill me afresh with your Spirit? I want to be overcome by the majesty of your love, let me not be numb or stagnant. Help me, Jesus, to devote myself to your teachings, to your compassion, and to your calling. Please build up kingdom expectation in my heart each morning, I want miraculous faith and love to overflow from what you’re doing in my heart. I ask that people would come to know you, to join your family because of the way my whole community lives in resurrection life together. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Treasures of Wisdom

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This week’s devotional is by Taylor Hall. Check it out!

READ:
“I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Colossians 2:2-3 NLT

Paul wrote this letter to the believers in the city of Colossae. He was encouraging them to explore the mystery that is Jesus and the knowledge and wisdom that He brings. He’s talking about people who are joined together in love—the Body of Christ.

Just like this scripture instructed those early Christians, Paul is calling us to encourage each other and unite in love.

Our nation and world is full of the pain and chaos caused by disunity. Many are looking for answers where there is no understanding of God’s mysterious plan. But the truest thing about each of us is Christ in us. As believers, we can offer one another Christ himself.

It can be really confusing to know what Godly love is. 1 John 4:8 says that, “God is love.” We are called to love as He loves, and the only way to know God’s love is to know God. As we hear him in scripture and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, we are taught how to love in miraculous ways. Through us, God’s love brings hope where there was only hurt and joy where there had only been mourning. He gives us freedom from fear and fills us with love, power, and self-control. When love is expressed this way, we get to see the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ.

REFLECT:

Set aside a couple minutes to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you.  Ask the Lord to teach you how to bring unity, ask him to reveal “treasures of wisdom” in Christ.  What comes to your mind?

Are you in relationships that are able to encourage and challenge you spiritually? Do you provide that for others?

What does it look like to show the world God’s mysterious plan in Christ?  How do we unite and love each other in a way that is contagious and impossible to ignore?

PRAY:

Lord, thank you for making yourself known to us. Help us to know your wisdom and to have a desire for knowledge. Thank you for setting up people in our lives to encourage and challenge us in our walk with you. Give us wisdom to discern your perfect love. Help us to seek truth, to seek you, above all else.

Starting Right Now

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Hey friends!  This week’s worship devo is brought to us by our very own, Vance Davis  (worship leader, keys player, songwriter, bro).

READ:

“God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.”
‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:11-14‬ ‭MSG‬

God is always here for you. The Lord is not like that “friend” who says “I’m here for you” then leaves at the first opportunity. He promises that he will never leave you nor forsake you. He’s our faithful Father. God knows what you’ve been through, and he loves you even through your failures and falls. He doesn’t require you to be spotless when you come to him, because he’s already been with you in your trials. All he asks is that you don’t wait to draw closer to him to look for him. He wants you to jump in, right now. No landmark moments are required to get started. He just wants us to be “energetic in goodness” and hunger for the Spirit’s presence. God wants us to actively seek him, to not be ashamed or “wait for the right moment.” God knows who we are, and he refused to hesitate in his offer of love and life.

REFLECT:

What events might be holding me back from pursuing God?

What can I do to be more energetic in following God?

What can I do to show others that salvation is available, not just for the composed, but for those in chaos?

What does a God-filled, God-honoring life look like? What are my next steps to live that life?

How does this passage affect my view of God, myself, and our relationship?

New Song / Devo: “Since Your Love”

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Hello Church family!!!

This month our new song might not seem so new to you, especially if you’ve been around House Worship or the Youth ministry. Throughout March, we will be singing “Since Your Love” by United Pursuit.

I have a lot of excitement for this song to be sung on Sunday mornings. There is a lot of truth woven throughout this song, but I keep coming back to the chorus:

I was made by You
I was made for you
I am unfulfilled without full communion

Every Sunday as we worship our Lord, we take time in our service to prepare our hearts for communion. We ask for forgiveness for when we try to do life alone. At a bible study, I once heard that sin in our lives takes place when we arrange for life to happen without God. But we were made for God, to live in response to his loving pursuit. Every Sunday, in remembrance of the Cross, we take communion. We look to Jesus and what He has done for us, dying on the Cross, paying the debt of sin so that we are made clean…. so that we can be in communion with our Heavenly Father.

There is forgiveness. There is grace that accepts us even after we arrange for life to happen without God. There is a gift of a new life in communion with God our Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit! There is love, endless love. Once we come to know this love, our lives will never be the same again.

Reflect on these lyrics and on your walk with God.

You are the light
Song of my life
You always lead me
You are the voice inside

You are my love
No one before you
All that I am
Points to You

I was made by you
I was made for you
I am unfulfilled without full communion

Since your love got a hold of me
Since your love got a hold of me
I’m a new creation
I’m forever changed

I was made by you
I was made for you
I am unfulfilled without full communion

In you, is all I need
You’re my breath, you’re my life, you’re my everything

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, we thank you. You loved us enough to die for us, to make a way for us to be with You and the Father. Lord we ask for the patience and discipline to abide with You. Help us live in Your love, for it has changed us forever. Continue to change us Lord, make us more like You! Lord, your love covers us, it breathes life into us, we only come alive when we are with You. In you, is all we need, You’re our breath, our life, our everything. Amen.

Chord Chart available on Planning Center

Where They Meet

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This week’s reflection comes to us from Kelsi Walker, one of our venue worship pastors.

“Sin and grace, absence and presence, tragedy and comedy, they divide the world between them and where they meet head on, the gospel happens.”
– Frederick Buechner

There are these moments in our walk with the Lord here on earth that seem paradoxical. They are the moments that we can’t wrap our minds around because they are beyond this world and closer to Kingdom than to earth. My friend, Lindsay Mizell, talks about thin places, where the veil between heaven and earth is not as wide…. I think this is what that quote is talking about. I think of moments when heaven and earth collide and the goodness and power of God cannot be overlooked. I look at this quote above and think of a dozen stories in the Gospel when Jesus meets people or enters a new town. Jesus comes into the picture and turns the story upside down and brings what is lacking.

In John chapter 6, there is a field of hungry people, there is no food and people’s stomachs and souls are hungry. He feeds them and then in the same chapter tends to their souls in teaching them of His ways, the ways of God. Where there is hunger, Jesus provides food.

In Mark chapter 5 there is a man with an unclean spirit that Jesus meets. Men and women are afraid of the man and they have purposefully stayed away from the man. Jesus went to him and confronted the spirit. Where there is captivity, Jesus provides rescue.

In the same chapter there is a woman who had been sick for 12 years. She was seen as unclean as well. She had spent all of her money and time trying to be healed. She had the faith to touch Jesus’s hem as He walked by her and she was instantly healed. Where there is brokenness, Jesus provides healing.

Following this, still in Mark 5, Jesus goes to a man’s house because His daughter is sick and dying. By the time they get there, the little girl is dead. Jesus goes to her and says “little girl, I say to you get up,” and she wakes up. Where there is death, Jesus provides life!

Today, we are hungry and need rescue. We are broken and need real life. We are still sinners, yet loved and living in Grace! We are living in a fallen world, but because of Jesus we can experience the presence of God. Our lives somehow seems too bad to be true and too good to be true all at the same time. This Sunday, we sinners will sit in a church, or middle school, or theater and find grace after grace as the Spirit enters into the picture and turns our stories upside down and brings what is lacking. We experience the “already and the not yet” as the gospel is happening in our lives, fighting for us, as sin and grace, absence and presence, and tragedy and comedy meet head on.

Reflect:

When was the last time you had a moment that seemed closer to Kingdom than to earth? Was it a big event, or maybe just your morning quiet time? Do you look for these moments often enough?

Do you relate to one of these gospel stories more than another? Why is that? What is lacking in your life that Jesus can provide?

Do you feel the gospel happening in your life today?

Prayer:

Spirit come. This is confusing at times, it is easy to doubt if you are here and working. We are needy and the world hurts and longs for You. Let us be mindful of the ways you are working, mindful of the ways that You reach into our lives and bring us closer to You. You bring healing, You bring rescue, You bring life! May we understand You and Your love more and may we love others the same. Let our hearts be devoted to you today and every day. We love you Lord. Amen.

There Is A Rescue

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Peace be with you guys on this Christmas week!  Today’s devotional comes to us from one of the church’s fantastic worship leaders, Kelsi Walker.  Take some time to dig into the scripture, reflection, questions, and prayer.  May your week be full of God’s presence and have a Merry Christmas!

READ:

“Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days. The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses. Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon, as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon. There the LORD will display his glory, the splendor of our God. With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. “The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭35:1-7 ‭NLT‬‬

This year has been tough. I feel like humanity hasn’t caught a break and I feel weighed down and tired. Maybe you feel that same. As I have been reading through my advent devotionals the last several weeks I feel like what I have seen in the world has been highlighted. We desperately need a rescue. It seems as though the constant cry of the world has gotten louder and louder over the last months of the year and we can’t ignore it. We desperately need a rescue.

I read this passage and I feel lighter. I feel the peace of a promise that God has not forgotten us and that He is on His way, that He will save us! Be strong and do not fear, for God is coming. Eyes will be opened, ears will hear, the deserts will become green. Everything will change and nothing will stay the same… all things will be redeemed.

We as the Church believe this. It is our strongest and most daring hope, that the world can be and will be restored. And it has already begun! Christ has come, no longer must we live separated from God. We have a savior. There is a rescue! We can now live in communion with our Father and see how He works mightily in our lives and the world around us! Restoration is real and it is happening. Like He makes the deserts flourish and become green with life, God is bringing our world and the people in it back to life.

REFLECT:

In what ways has this year been challenging? Take some time to lay these trials at the feet of Jesus.

In what ways have you seen restoration in your life, in the world?

The passage says that God is coming to make things right and when this happens that “the voiceless break into song.” What does this mean to you as a member of the worship team? What songs are you singing? Take some time to think about the significance of being able to sing to our God because He came to rescue us.

PRAY:

Lord, You know our hearts. You know how they ache. You know how they race with excitement and hope for something more, something only You can give. Lord help us to not be fearful, but to believe that You will come and make things new, that You will come to rescue us. God, we pray that we find peace in your promise, that our hope guides the way we see the world. We pray that we trust you as we watch the world turn, from the desert wasteland, into green pasture, abundant with life! Thank you for Your love and rescue through Your Son.
Amen.

The Wholeness of Christ’s Reign

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READ:

“A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump, from his roots a budding Branch. The life-giving Spirit of GOD will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-GOD. Fear-of-GOD will be all his joy and delight. He won’t judge by appearances, won’t decide on the basis of hearsay. He’ll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth’s poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention. A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked. Each morning he’ll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land. The wolf will romp with the lamb, the leopard sleep with the baby goat. Calf and lion will eat from the same trough, and a little child will tend them. Cow and bear will graze the same pasture, their calves and cubs grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens, the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent. Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain. The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭11:1-9‬ ‭MSG‬‬

REFLECT:

This passage from Isaiah’s prophecy fills me with so much fantastical hope, Advent hope. What a beautiful picture of Christ’s eternal reign, I would think it difficult to read these words without feeling a hum of warmth. It’s the kind of expectant hum one experiences when they first read Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”, in which an evil winter’s grasp is melted away by the very presence of the Lion, the true King.

I was listening to a sermon just recently by Campbellsville Vineyard’s Senior Pastor, Adam Russell. In the sermon, Adam made a striking observation about the peaceful, almost paradoxical relationships presented in Isaiah’s 11th chapter.

Wolves and lambs, lions and calves, these are not animals that live together, they do not sleep peacefully near one another in the current state of things. The lamb is afraid and the wolf is hungry. And we, humans, are both of these creatures. We have been preyed upon and we have been starved. Some of us have even identified as extremes of these natures, feeling as if the whole world is out to destroy us, or living with insatiable, ravenous appetites that are never satisfied. And it is to the heart of both of these natures that the Christ comes with His remedy: the remedy of peace, the remedy of wholeness.

In Jesus’ Kingdom, there is no need to be afraid, no need to consume one another. The deepest needs of calf and cub are met in the Lord’s very presence. The overflow of Christ’s wholeness is all-sustaining and never-ending.

With that promise, we come to this season of waiting. Waiting in the tension of Advent, the tangible electricity of the “already and the not yet”. We repeat the Master’s prayer saying, “on earth as it is in heaven,” looking for the magic glimpses of Spring: the tastes and smells of the coming, eternal Summer. As wolves and sheep, we long for the wholeness of Emmanuel.

PRAY:
In the love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
We pray this mystery:
Christ has died
Christ is Risen
Christ will come again
Come, O Come, Emmanuel, God With Us
On earth as it is in heaven
Amen, Amen, and Amen

“…before our inner eyes.”

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READ:

“God and the spiritual world are real. We can reckon upon them with as much assurance as we reckon upon the familiar world around us. Spiritual things are there (or rather we should say here), inviting our attention and challenging our trust.”

“And this not by any trick of the imagination, but in downright actuality. The soul has eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear. Feeble they may be from long disuse, but by the life-giving touch of Christ alive now and capable of sharpest sight and most sensitive hearing. As we begin to focus upon God, the things of the spirit will take shape before our inner eyes. Obedience to the Word of Christ will bring an inward revelation of the Godhead (John 14: 21-23).

“If we would rise into that region of light and power plainly beckoning us through the Scriptures of truth, we must break the evil habit of ignoring the spiritual. We must shift our interest from the seen to the unseen.”

“More and more, as our faculties grow sharper and more sure, God will become to us the great “all,” and His presence the glory and wonder of our lives.”
A W Tozer

REFLECT:

What can these words from Tozer teach us about Kingdom Expectation? What can we be doing to intentionally turn our attention to the Spirit’s work around us? What do obedience and consistency do for our spiritual senses?

PRAY:

Father, you spoke and creation was. You speak and we are.

Jesus, you call us by name. You are the Word that saves.

Holy Spirit, will you teach us to hear what you hear, to speak what you’re speaking.

Amen. Amen. Amen.