This is the beginning of a devotional book focused on helping you grow in your walk with Christ. I am calling it The Feast. I'm excited you are here in the infant stages of this adventure. I am not a good writer. It does not come naturally for me. There will be typos and poor grammar. We will fix it together as we go along. I hope and pray it is helpful for you. -Jason Curry
“What you feel, think, say, and do is directly
influenced by what you watch, hear, and read.
The input impacts the output.”
Every athlete, nutritionist, doctor, and coach knows this irrevocable truth: The input impacts the output! What we allow into our lives influences what is produced in our lives. That is true in our faith as well. In Christ, we can plug into what is good, profitable, and lasting, and the Holy Spirit produces the Fruit of Faith! But Satan doesn’t want us to do that. He would love us to lower our guard and allow him complete access to our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. He wants us to plug into anything that keeps us from following Jesus. We are going to fight that over the next few days.
I want you to think about what you need to unplug. What input have you allowed that will never produce your desired output? It could be multiple things that need to be removed. Think about all that is unhelpful, unholy, or unhealthy. Now, we will replace those things with intentional time with Jesus. If we unplug the wrong and plug into what's right, it will change our output.
Hebrews 12:1 puts it like this; “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith.” Did you notice that? We are to remove all things that keep us from going where God wants us to go, doing what God wants us to do, and becoming who God wants us to be. Those things could be unholy. They also could just be unhelpful or unhealthy. Satan is perfectly fine with you filling your life with things that don’t last, matter, or get in the way of what does matter and lasts forever.
So, let’s write it down. Over the next few days, what do you need to remove from your life? What do you need to unplug? What do you need to fast from so you can feast on what God has for you? Perhaps it is your social media, a playlist, a relationship, a habit, or an addiction. What could you remove from your life and replace it with what is best, time with God?
Now, we will replace those things, relationships, activities, and distractions with time pursuing God. This journal is intended to help you spend time with Jesus every day. If you do that over the next few days with a sincere heart, I believe you will leave changed. Don’t think about just getting through each day. Focus more on each day getting through you and getting to you!
Last challenge. You have never met and never will meet, someone who pursued Jesus with all their heart and regretted that. You won’t either. If you can find someone to keep you accountable, that will help you even more. I am so excited about what God is going to do in your life over the next few days.
Day 1 - Enough
Do you ever feel let down? You know that feeling; like everyone else has a perfect life and you, well, it’s not perfect at all. Sometimes, it’s easy to feel like life just doesn’t work out for us.
I’m an 80’s kid, so I grew up in an era where something new seemed to come out every season! As soon as we got a Nintendo with Super Mario Brothers 1, it wasn’t long until someone else got Super Mario 2, and then 3… you get the idea. Nowadays, something new arrives every day.
That’s how life can be, and before you know it, we start to realize that there will always be something else we don’t have! Eventually, we know that the stuff in life isn’t going to fill us up, so we start to lose all our joy.
What is it inside us that believes the next thing will do it? Why do we believe the next thing we get is going to be that moment when everything works out for us? And, it doesn’t even have to be a thing! It can be the next relationship, next promotion, next feeling, and before you know it, we’ve spent our whole life believing the next “whatever” is going to somehow make things… work out for us. The truth is it is never enough. But I’ve got good news for you. There is someone who can fill our lives.
There’s a story in the Bible of Jesus talking to a woman who, by all indications, wanted to be left alone… but Jesus was waiting for her. It’s one of my favorite things about Jesus. He always noticed the people everyone else forgot, or those hoping to be unnoticed.
It was the middle of the day, everyone was gone, and she had come to draw water. After a short conversation, Jesus begins to ask her about the relationships. It was probably the one thing she didn’t want to talk about. To put it nicely, she would say that relationships “just didn’t work out for her, and they never have.”
As they continue to talk, she begins to understand that she’s been trying to fill her life with the wrong thing! She realizes that there is only one thing, one relationship, and one person that can fill the void in her life... Jesus.
The truth is this; nothing but Jesus will ever fill our life, bring us peace, contentment, purpose, joy, forgiveness… all the things we need are only found in Jesus.
You can search your whole life, and it doesn’t matter what pleasure you feel, power or position or gain, possession you have, or person you meet… you were made to have your life filled with Jesus, and He would love to have a relationship with you!
(Read John 4:1-26)
Day 2 - Feelings
You and I were created in the image of God, and a big part of who we are is our feelings and emotions! What we feel and the emotions in our lives are important and can align with who God has called us to be.
Think about it. When we see someone baptized, we should be excited! When we see someone hurting, we should be compassionate. When we experience kindness, we should be thankful. God created us with feeling and emotion.
But, when sin entered the world, it brought with it a constant struggle. Sometimes, our feelings and emotions are not in alignment with who God has called us to be. Sometimes, our feelings and emotions can lead us in a direction that is not what God wants in our life.
I think you would agree that our feelings and emotions can be quickly impacted… like sand, easily influenced by people and circumstances. Our feelings are often unpredictable and unreliable, even when what we are feeling is real… so how do we handle that?
Well, Scripture teaches that allowing our emotions to control us is not godly. But, denying or vilifying our emotions is not godly, either. I would summarize it like this, our feelings are like children in a car. We can’t throw them in the trunk and act like they are not there, but we can’t let them drive either!
Our feelings matter. But God's truth should always prevail upon our feelings, not the other way around. That's how we make sure Jesus is our center, not ourselves. But, that can be challenging!
One of the ways we navigate this path is by being intentional about where we fix our thoughts! In Philippians, Paul has just finished teaching the Philippians how to respond when they are anxious and then he writes this:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
What you feel is real. However, everything you feel is not true, right, or best. If we are going to think about what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy then we are going to be thinking about God’s Word. When my feelings, emotions, or desires are not in alignment with God’s Word, it is me who needs to change!
Here is a prayer for you to pray today:
“God, will you help me navigate my emotions today? I want you to lead me. Give me the strength to be obedient when my emotions, feelings, or desires are not in alignment with who you have called me to be.”
Day 3 - Drifting
If you’ve ever been swimming on the gulf coast, you know that it doesn’t take long to drift. Even something as simple as jumping waves for a few minutes can leave you wondering how you ended up so far from where you started. It is easy to drift, you just have to pick up your feet and it happens.
I bet you already get the point. However, there is a difference between getting it and applying it. I want you to think about your life right now. Where have you drifted? What are you watching right now that you would not have been watching a year ago? What are you listening to? What are you allowing? What are you defending? What are you ignoring?
The only way we can tell that we have drifted is when we look toward something that doesn’t move. In our life, that is God’s Word! We sure can’t look around at this culture because it is drifting with us. We can’t compare ourselves to those around us, they drift too. It is God’s Word that provides a standard in our life that doesn’t change.
I want to encourage you to do two things.
- Look at The Word.
- Look in the mirror.
Be honest about God’s instruction and be honest about where you are. Then, ask God to give you the strength to make the changes in the areas of your life where you have drifted. Don't defend, justify, or excuse what needs to change. Ask God to help you change it.
Fix your eyes on His Word, plant your feet in obedience, and be done drifting!
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
(Read James 1:22-25)
Day 4 - Busy
Do you ever wish life would slow down? I mean, doesn’t it seem like it just gets busier and busier and sometimes completely out of control? I think all of us have felt like that at some point, but for others, it seems to be a regular part of our life. It’s so easy to be consumed by all you have to do, the places you have to go, things to experience, social media, and before you know it… you’re completely worn out by everything in life.
I want to tell you a story. It was Christmas morning a few years ago, and we were opening presents. I have two daughters, and they were young. I think these are some of the best moments in parenting. I mean, my kids are smiling so big, jumping up and down, and I’m even getting hugs. It’s great!
As I sat there watching my children, I realized that my mind was beginning to drift toward what was next and everything coming up in my schedule. I couldn’t believe it. I completely zoned out for a few minutes as I began to think about my to-do list and all that needed to be accomplished. I was completely missing the present. I had let the urgent things of life get in the way of the important things. When that happens, it is almost always at the expense of our closest relationships.
That can happen in your relationship with Jesus too. You just get too busy, and before you know it, it’s been a long time since you went to church, read your Bible, prayed, or talked with Him. You didn’t mean for that to happen; you just kind of drifted there.
When life seems overwhelming, many times, it is our relationship with Jesus that suffers first and the most. Isn’t that crazy? The one relationship we need most, often when we are busy, is the one we neglect the most.
What do we do? Run to Jesus with your whole heart! That’s right! You can turn to Jesus right now, and He will welcome you with open arms. If you’ve been busy, neglectful, or distracted, it doesn’t matter. If you will turn to Jesus, he will welcome you!
Jesus was speaking one day, and He said this, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
You see, Jesus wants you to turn to him; that is why He said, “all”! He can give you what nobody else can give you, the gift of rest. This rest comes from His love and leaves us forgiven, accepted, and living with His strength! If you are worn out, stressed out, burned out, or maybe you feel like your life choices have resulted in you being left out… Jesus loves you and would love nothing more than to give you rest this week.
(Find some time today to go on a walk, listen to some worship, take a nap, read a passage, and rest)
Day 5 - Lonely
Do you ever feel lonely? There is a good chance you have at some point in your life. I think almost everyone goes through a season of at least feeling lonely.. and for others, it can be a significant part of their life for good reason. You know, if you battle loneliness, social media can be difficult.
We tend to scroll through our phones, tablets, and computers, comparing our real everyday life, with all its flaws, imperfections, and issues, to the edited, filtered, and many times, manufactured highlights of thousands of people at the same time. Nobody’s life can measure up to that! And when we do that to ourselves, among many other feelings, we can feel lonely.
If you are in a season of loneliness right now, I have some good news. If you have faith in Christ, no matter how you feel, you are never alone. It’s true! That is one of my favorite truths about a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus came down from heaven to be with you and with me! God did not abandon us. He didn't just leave us alone! Gabriel, the angel, even told Mary that Jesus, God’s son, was to be called Emmanuel.. which means God with us.
Think about that. God is with us. Because God sent Jesus to earth and Jesus gave his life for us, we have been invited to have a relationship with Him. It’s the closest, most important, life-changing, and life-giving relationship in the world.
Our faith in Christ brings with it something that we sometimes forget. A constant relationship with God! It brings a friendship that is always there with us, no matter where we go in life and what we face. If we have placed our trust and faith in Jesus… we are never alone because the very presence of God lives inside our hearts… God is always with us!
There’s even more good news! Our relationship with God also brings with it something else, family! When we place our faith in Jesus, we become brothers and sisters in Christ. That is what the church is, a family! You see, because of Jesus, we are never alone, and we have a family.
I want to leave you today with one of the best and most encouraging verses to remember when we are in the fight with loneliness. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
God knew we needed to hear those words. He knew we needed to be reminded, we don’t have to be afraid, and because of Jesus… we are never alone.
(Read Psalm 34)
Day 6 - Storms
The disciples couldn't fathom how Jesus could be sleeping! Didn’t he understand the situation? Was Jesus not aware of what they were going through? Didn’t he care for them?
The storm on The Sea of Galilee was severe, and the disciples were afraid. Amid the overwhelming circumstances, they forgot the most essential truth about their situation; They were with Jesus.
A friend once told me you are either in a storm, coming out of one, or going into one. That’s life on earth because this isn’t Heaven! I laughed, but then I realized there was much truth in that statement. Perhaps you are going through a storm right now, and there’s a chance you have forgotten that Jesus is also with you.
When the storms of life arrive, sometimes we feel alone and abandoned. In Christ, we are neither! God is for us, and He goes through the storm with us.
Jesus stopped the storm, but that wasn’t what was most important to Him at the moment. He looked at the disciples and asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” He didn’t want them to trust him after the storm. He wanted them to live their faith during it. He knew more storms were coming, and they weren’t ready. If they didn’t trust Him today, they wouldn’t be prepared for what was coming tomorrow.
When we trust God during difficult times, our faith is deepened, our impact becomes more significant, and our walk is strengthened for future adversity. If we are going to live our faith, we must live it during the storms too! The same storm that Satan wants to destroy you, God can leverage for His glory and your good!
What if you and I decided to live our faith no matter life circumstances? What if we decided that our faith in Jesus would be our foundation in all situations? What if we chose to focus on who is in the boat instead of what’s going on around it?
The storms are coming, but we don’t have to be afraid. Jesus loves us, He is with us, and He is for us.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7
Day 7 - Forgiveness
I loved my first truck as much as you can love a vehicle. I still remember that incredible feeling of cruising on a Friday night with a spotless truck. Well, it wasn’t long until that feeling was gone. On the way home from school one day, I was waving at some girls, and I plowed straight into the back of the car in front of me. I was devastated and unsure what the response would be when I got home that night. I will never forget what happened next.
As I walked into the house, waiting for my punishment, my father looked at me and said, “It is just a piece of metal, son. I am glad that you are ok. We can fix trucks.” I was confused. I deserved much worse than I was getting. Although it was an accident, I had been careless. My father was very strict. If I missed an oil change or neglected to wash it, he was the first to be all over me. His response was the complete opposite of what I was expecting. I thought my life was ending, but it hadn’t. Instead I was forgiven.
Forgiveness can be confusing and difficult for us to comprehend. We live in a “you get what you get” world. But that is not how things operate in The Kingdom of God. Yes, a price must be paid for the “wreck” of our sin. But Jesus has already paid for it. He endured on The Cross what we deserved so that we could be forgiven and saved. You and I are offered the free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus. God sent Jesus because He loves us and wants us to have a relationship with Him.
Perhaps you believe that God is so angry at you that He would never forgive the wreck of your life. You’re mistaken. He has already seen you on your worst day, and He still loves you. I think today would be the perfect day for you to stop pushing the forgiveness of God away in your life and receive His forgiveness with all your heart. He is a father who is rich in love, grace, and forgiveness.
“7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,” Ephesians 1:7-8
Day 8 - Bilbo and Gandalf
An angry, defensive, bitter Bilbo Baggins; "Why shouldn't I keep it? It's mine, my precious. What business is it of yours what I do with my own things? You want it for yourself!"
Gandalf replies, “Bilbo Baggins, do not take me as some conjurer of cheap tricks. I am not trying to rob you; I am trying to help you."
You can see the warmth and care in Gandalf’s eyes as he looks at a very beat-down, guarded, defeated Bilbo. What Bilbo believes is giving him life is taking it from him.
I know what it feels like to be Bilbo.
In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Satan wants us to believe that God is trying to rob us, hold out on us, or take from us. He is lying. He wants to entice us into holding onto the sin in our life. The evil that Satan promises will fill our lives only leads us to death. Many times, we respond to the loving conviction of The Holy Spirit in the same defensive manner:
It is just the way I am.
Everyone is struggling.
It is not that big of a deal.
I am not perfect.
God is not trying to rob us of life, freedom, or peace. He is trying to help us. He wants to save us. If we believed that God wants what is best for our lives, it would allow us to walk away from some things we think are “precious.”
Today, reflect on the interaction between Gandalf and Bilbo and your relationship with Jesus. What are you holding onto in your life? What has become precious? What do you need to lay in the hands of Jesus? Remember, God is not trying to rob you; He wants to help you.
(Read Romans 6)
Day 9 - Just a Freshman
When I arrived at Mississippi College in the fall of 2000, I discovered my roommate would not be staying, and I had the room to myself. I had no computer or cell phone, just a TV and VCR with some old movies. I decided at that moment that I wouldn’t waste the semester. I sat down and made a list of all I wanted to accomplish and the investment I wanted to make in my walk with Christ.
It was life-changing for me.
I learned so quickly that my daily time alone with God, studying His Word, only developed more of an appetite for His Word. The more organized and intentional I became with my time, the more I became who God wanted me to be.
All of this was happening because of The Holy Spirit in my life. The Holy Spirit arrives in our hearts with the desire and ability for us to live the godly lives that God intended. The more sensitive I was to the voice of God and the more submissive I was to the direction He was leading me, the stronger I grew in my faith.
That is exactly what Paul wanted for the young Christians in Colossae. They believed and received The Gospel and put their faith in Jesus, and now they were growing in their faith. However, they were only at the beginning of their journey, and Paul wanted them to grow into mature followers of Jesus. Paul knew that was going to require an intentional pursuit of God!
In Colossians 2 6-7, Paul writes, 6 So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to walk in him, 7 being rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7.
We have been invited into a relationship with Christ, given all we need to live the godly life He has called us to live, and then we are commanded to grow in Him and build our life on Him overflowing with gratitude.
That only happens when we are investing time in our relationship with Jesus.
(Read 2 Peter 1:3-11)
Day 10 - Refocus your Life
There is a God-given and Christ-Centered mission and purpose for your life. God wants us to go where he has called us to go, do what he has called us to do, and be who he has called us to be. Sometimes, we can lose focus and become distracted by earthy things, and other times we can live in complete rebellion. Satan will use anything unholy, unhelpful, and unhealthy to keep us from running the race God has called us to!
In Hebrews 12, we are encouraged to “run the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” If we don’t fix our eyes on Jesus, it impacts our walk with Him. Think about it this way; where you fix your eyes, your feet will follow. Where would you say your eyes are fixed today? What race are you running? It is so easy to be distracted by circumstances around us or the emotion within us. When that happens, we drift away from what is right, best, wise, and true.
When my oldest daughter Carson was born, I sold my XBOX online. Looking back, it was one of the most important decisions in my life. I know that may seem silly to you, but it es
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 4:25-26: “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.”
As you begin today, reflect on your current focus, thoughts, direction, and discipline. Have you allowed yourself to become distracted by the temporary things of this world and taken your eyes off of Jesus? Perhaps it is time to refocus your life on what is eternal!
Day 11 - Don’t Delay
Courtney and I had just spent a wonderful week together celebrating our 20th Anniversary, and we were excited about returning home to see our girls. We just had one flight left. Taking off from Atlanta, we heard a loud sound from the back. At first, I thought something terrible had happened, but those who fly know airplanes can make unusual noises at takeoff. Since there wasn’t an announcement and we began to fly home, I assumed everything was okay. I was wrong. As we neared the airport in Little Rock, The Captain informed us that the noise was a tire exploding at takeoff, and we would be returning to Atlanta as the runway in Little Rock was not the length we needed for our situation. Things began to get serious very quickly. As we started the flight back to Atlanta, the flight attendants checked all the aisles and seats to make sure we could make a quick exit if needed. Next, The Captain told us there would be many emergency personnel on the runway for our landing just in case something went wrong. He was most concerned that the other tire would not hold as we landed. He was right. Just a few moments after touchdown, the other tire exploded, followed by the sound of metal screeching down the runway. Finally, we came to a stop, and everyone began to cheer. Our plane had safely landed without both right rear tires.
As soon as The Captain informed us of our situation, I began to pray. As I was praying, there was a sense of calm that filled my heart and thankfulness. I was thankful that because of my faith in Jesus, I knew I would go to Heaven if the plane crashed. I was also thankful that I couldn’t think of anything that I had left unsaid to the people that I love most in life. I didn’t need to tell anyone; I love you I’m sorry, I forgive you, or I miss you. I knew my faith in Jesus, and I have said the things that need to be said.
That is not true for everyone. Many people delay the most important things in life. I want to challenge you today. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” When we realize the brevity of life, we begin to focus on what matters most. That journey will always lead us to look at our relationship with God, and our relationships with others. My advice would be this: Don’t delay!
As you start today, I want you to invest some time answering these two questions and then respond accordingly:
- Do I know that I have put my faith in Jesus?
- Do I have something I need to say to someone in my life?
Day 12 - The Rescue
It was not a typical cry through the baby monitor. You may not know this yet, but parents can tell the difference between a real cry and a fake one. I could tell something was wrong with Carson. I moved quickly through the house, opened the door to her room, and it became obvious that she was very sick. She had a fever, crying, and throwing up all over herself. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives.
She was just a baby and could not help herself; all she could do was lift her arms and call for Dad. I’ve never hesitated. I didn’t give it a second thought. I couldn’t have cared less about the mess she had made. I picked her up as quickly as possible, held her tighter than ever, and told her everything would be all right. Then I took her and did what she couldn’t do: clean her up. What is inside us that believes God our Father will treat us any differently?
So many believe that God could never love them with the sickness in their hearts, the grossness of their sin, and the complete mess in their life. But God is not afraid of those things. He is more than willing to embrace us, rescue us, change us, and clean up our lives.
Do you remember when you were rescued? Do you remember how glorious it was? Do you remember that feeling of being made new, on the other side of repentance and grace? I hope you have not forgotten that rescue. Perhaps you long for a Father like that but don’t think you deserve that love. You believe you have gone too far and done too much, and there’s no possible way that God can love you. It’s not true.
God has already seen our worst day and still loves us wholeheartedly. He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins on The Cross so we could be made new! He would love to pick you up in His arms, heal your heart, clean you up, and rescue you. The question you must answer today is, are you willing to cry out to The Father and be saved?
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
Day 13 - Flush It
Skip Bertman is one of the most successful college baseball coaches in history. In His tenure at LSU, he won five national championships and reached the College World Series 11 times.
Known in the baseball world as a master motivator, Bertman would do anything to get his players to be their best. Baseball is a game of failure. If you can hit safely 30% of the time throughout your career, you will end your career in The Hall of Fame. To succeed, you must learn from failure, adjust, and move on quickly.
One year, Bertman had a team of players who were extremely hard on themselves when they failed. He knew that if they carried the mistakes from their past into the present, it would cost them in the future. They needed to learn to “flush” failure to move on. So, he had a little miniature toilet in the dugout! When a player needed to erase something, they would go over and pull the handle. Flush it and move forward.
For a Christian, the forgiveness of God offered through Christ allows us to move forward in life with freedom from the sin, failure, and mistakes in our past! When Jesus went to The Cross, he bore the full wrath of God and took the punishment for our sins. If we have put our faith in Jesus, we are not guilty. He paid the price so we could live free.
Is there something in your life that you need to let go of? Is there sin that you need to lay at the feet of Jesus? Is there a failure in your past that you have asked God to forgive, but you still carry the guilt with you today? You can let it go into the hands of Jesus today. We don’t have to carry the guilt and shame anymore. In Christ, we can be released from the prison of our past and walk in the freedom of forgiveness and grace
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and
remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25
Day 14 - Grace For A Waitress
I sat and griped like a typical teenager as I impatiently waited for our waitress. “What is she doing? How could it take so long?” We waited ten minutes to get our drink orders, another ten minutes to bring them, and now we were out of chips and salsa. What a crisis!
My entire family watched an older man behind us give the waitress an earful of disapproval. My Dad’s eyes changed as he looked at her with compassion. We sat and ate, and she continued to mess up our order and all the tables around us! But what happened at the end of the dinner could have never been predicted.
As she apologized for the last time and left the ticket on the table, I told my father not to leave her a dime. Then, he reached into his wallet, pulled out a fifty-dollar bill, asked my mom for a pen, and wrote a simple word: Grace. I couldn’t believe it! How could he? I thought about grabbing it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. We didn’t stay to see her reaction, and he didn’t say something to her. He walked out, and we drove away.
Who wouldn’t want to be treated like that? Yes, you messed up. Yes, you didn’t get the job done. Yes, you didn’t do what was required. But, here is something you don’t deserve: grace. What a picture of The Gospel!
Today, reflect on The Grace of God and all it means in your life. God has made a way through Christ for our sins not to count against us. He has brought us back into a relationship with Him. We don’t deserve it. We couldn’t earn it. It’s grace.
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind but now I see"
For by Grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
Day 15 - Cokes and The Kingdom
I walked into Phil Newberry’s Bellevue office to ensure he understood my frustration. At 19 years old, I already knew everything; all you had to do was ask me! I wanted to know when I would preach, and I wanted him to see that he was mismanaging my gifts. Can you imagine the arrogance?
The conversation did not go how I intended. That was a blessing.
My job at Bellevue was what you would imagine for an intern. I sat in meetings, went on trips, helped set up, loaded and unloaded things, spent time with students, and iced down Cokes. I was frustrated because I wanted to preach. As Phil sat and listened, I could see that he would not “react” to my complaint, but instead, he would “respond.” He had a way of always being in control, no matter the situation.
He got up from his desk and then sat beside me and said, “Jason, until you understand that setting up, icing down Cokes, and spending time with students is just as important to God as being on a stage, you won’t be preaching for me.” Full Truth. Full love. I needed both.
There is no gifting in The Kingdom that doesn’t involve serving others. When you find yourself above serving, you will soon find yourself unhelpful in The Kingdom. Jesus modeled this for us when He washed The Disciple's feet.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:12-17
We are called to serve as we imitate Christ. So, I want you to think about your walk with Christ. Are you serving? Have you believed the lie that you are too important to serve? Perhaps you are too busy or distracted and need to refocus.
I’m so thankful for Phil, and I can’t wait to see him again in Heaven. What a gift he gave me that day. Over the past 23 years, there have been very few times that I have prepared to preach without remembering that conversation. Today, ensure your motive and action align; serve others as you imitate Christ. Maybe, ice down some Cokes for some students and then tell them about Jesus.
“Students don’t care what you know until they know you care.” Phil Newberry