Through the New Testament In One Year Reading Plan

 

 



  



APRIL

2019:


Rev. JT Overby

April 1st—April 5th
Luke 21—Luke 24

John 1


Gary Reynolds

April 8th—April 12th
John 2—John 6

 

Dr. Craig Bowers

April  15th—April 19th
John 7—John 11

 

Dr. Kevin Calhoun

April 22nd—April 26th
John 12—John 16

 

Jonathan Norton

April 29th—30th

May 1st—May 3rd
John 17—John 21

 

 

 


  • April 1st, 2019

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 21

     

    It is fitting, I think, that the wise people who divided chapter and verse for us in Scripture, have included the widow’s offering with Jesus’ warning to his followers about the coming destruction of Jerusalem. The same teaching and warning should instruct us today.


    Jesus warned his followers not to believe it when people come claiming to be the Christ, the Savior and Deliverer of God’s people. Don’t believe them, Jesus says, because the Christ is already here.


    We are tempted to believe in functional Christs today. Meaning, we can look for our salvation, our peace, our comfort, and joy in this world through things or people in the world. Only in Christ is true life and salvation found. Will we devote our attention, allegiance, and affections to things or people of this world?  Or will we seek to love Jesus with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength?


    The only way to do this is to give all we have in service to God, just as the widow. We so often give God only what we want, what we are okay with giving him. Jesus demands our all, though. He alone is Christ, Savior, and Deliverer. Will we look to Him and trust Him to be that for us, or look to what we have or who we have in this world?


    Application:
    What functional Christs are you serving to find joy and happiness, peace and comfort in this life? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________


    What are you holding back from giving to the Lord—money, time, energy, emotions, thoughts, relationships?  ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:
    God, give us grace to submit all we are in service to you. Give us grace to love you with all we are, knowing that you alone are God.

     


  • April 2nd, 2019

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 22

     

    Judas betrayed Jesus for money. The twelve argued over who was the greatest among them. Peter denies being a follower of Jesus three times as Jesus stands trial in the secret of the night, so that no crowds could see the injustice and turn against the Jewish leaders. Soldiers blindfold Jesus and strike him. They tell him to prophecy, who was it that struck you!


    Jesus was aware of Judas’ betrayal. He stopped the argument of the twelve. Verse 61 tells us that when Peter denied him the third time, Jesus turned and looked at him. He would know every hand that struck him as he was blindfolded.


    At the first Passover, the Israelites were to stay in their houses, under the protection God had given them, the blood of the lamb over the doorposts. If they were to leave that protection they would surely be killed by God’s wrath.


    In this Passover we see Jesus leave. He prays that if it be God’s will, that the cup would pass, yet Jesus submits to the Father and drinks the full cup of God’s wrath.


    Jesus goes to the cross for us—we who betrayed him, chose sin and idols over him. He goes to the cross for our sake so that we won’t taste God’s wrath, but rather know his blessing. He despises the shame of the cross, yet goes in loving obedience to the Father, to save and deliver us.

     

    Application:

    Spend a few moments recounting the Exodus story and the Passover. How is what Jesus did, the better Exodus, so much greater for all who would believe in him?

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    God, thank you for giving us the wrath we deserve. Thank you for giving us life in Jesus. Give us grace to know that life more.

     

     


  • April 3rd, 2019


    by JT Overby


    Read Luke 23


    Jesus is taken by the religious leaders to Pilate and accused of stirring up the people against Rome. The Romans mock the claim of Jesus’ kingship. Over his head they hang the inscription detailing why he was being put to death—king of the Jews.


    Yet, we see Barabbas who was a murderer and one who stirred up the people against Rome, be released and set free. We see Jesus crucified in between two criminals who shared the same charge of Jesus. Pilate and Herod become friends the day they send this “king” to the cross. They bond over putting this man to death.


    The land is covered in darkness from noon to 3pm. The curtain of the temple is torn in two. Jesus cries out with a loud voice, giving up his spirit. This Jesus couldn’t have his life taken from him (John 10:18). There was something different about him. He is the true King, not just of Israel, but of all the world, and the moment he is exalted is not on a white horse ascending a huge throne, but on the cross with criminals. Why?


    Luke wants us to see our King exalted on the cross, because on the cross as he looks defeated, he is victorious, as we shall see. For now, we see that it is the Sabbath (v. 56). The people rest. We can rest in our King’s nail-pierced hands, trusting his work was finished on the cross. We rest in his salvation.

     

     

    Application:

    Are you resting in Jesus, or working for life, satisfaction, and salvation?________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

     

    Prayer:

    God, give me grace to see Jesus as my true King. Give me grace to submit to his  authority, knowing that in him alone is life found.

     


     


  • April 4th, 2019

     

    by JT Overby

     

    Read Luke 24


    The Son of Man (v. 7) from Daniel 7 would rise to sit on the throne, but only after he was trampled by the beast. The serpent struck the heel of the offspring (Gen. 3). But the serpent was crushed, and the beasts were defeated as Jesus was raised from the dead!


    Now the Good News of our King must be shared. How and why? Notice how Jesus opens the hearts of his followers— the word. He takes the Law, Psalms, and Prophets and shows how all of them point to himself. The Bible is a unified story all leading to Jesus. The Bible isn’t simply a manual or roadmap! It is the living and active word of God that testifies about Jesus!


    God brings salvation through the word (Ro. 1:16). The Spirit gives life through the speaking of the word (Ezekiel 37). We don’t have to be fancy with our words! We just have to faithfully tell of Jesus, who came to take our sin upon himself, so that what separated us from God would be removed, and as he took that sin he was nailed to the cross, paying the penalty for our sin, but rose victoriously from the grave and now is seated on the throne! When we place our faith in him and repent of our sin, we can know that life too.


    What a gospel we have to share!

     

    Application:

    When you read the Scriptures, do you see Jesus in them? What are some things you could do to help? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    How does knowing we don’t have to save people by our words, but that God saves people through his word, give us confidence to share the gospel? 

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer: 
    God, give me grace to rely on you and your power as I seek to share the gospel with others, and not rely on my own strength. 

     


  • April 5th , 2019


    by JT Overby

    Read John 1


    It is hard to find a chapter in the Bible that is denser than John 1. John 1 mentions  almost every theme that gets brought up in the book. You can spend a lifetime in John 1 and notice something new at every read. But what makes John so enjoyable is how accessible it is at the same time. Let’s look at one theme from John 1—temple.


    In Exodus, God brought Israel out of slavery to Egypt. He redeemed his people and made them his own. He saved them and promised to bring them to the Promised Land and dwell with them there. In Exodus 40 the tabernacle is completed, and the glory of the LORD fills the tabernacle. God dwelt with his people.


    John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh and “dwelt” among us, and that we have seen his glory. That word “dwelt” means “to fix one’s tabernacle”. Jesus, our God-in-flesh, was dwelling with his people once again, and making his glory known.


    What does it look like when Jesus dwells with his people? John will go on to show us that the poor, broken, needy, outcasts, rebels, and sinners find rest and salvation in Jesus when he draws near. Those who don’t think they need Jesus are the ones typically in trouble. What happens to us when Jesus draws near?

     

    Application:

    Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Ephesians 2:21-22. Notice how you as an individual and we as the body of Christ are the temple of God, the place where God makes his glory known to the world. What does the world see when it sees you?  

    ________________________________________________________________
    ________________________________________________________________


    When it sees us? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

    Prayer:
    God, give us grace to glorify you in all things knowing that you have saved us through Jesus, and he now lives inside of us.

     



  • April 8th, 2019


    by Gary Reynolds


    Read John 2


    I love to read the story of the wedding at Cana. There are so many truths in this passage.

     

    I think the thing that stands out to most of us is the actual miracle or turning water into wine at the wedding. Jesus’ first miracle, His first chance at disclosing who He truly was. It’s about a wedding and a tremendous shortage of wine or maybe even poor planning on the grooms part and Jesus coming through to save the day.

     

    However, if we look closer to the others in this story, we see a great truth.

     

    Mary, the mother of Jesus, told the servants “do whatever he tells you!” And we see that they did and I believe that their example of obedience is of much greater value than water changing to wine. Think about it… DO Whatever HE tells you…. There was no question, no buts, no quarreling or negotiating. The servants just DID what Jesus told them to do. Filled the pots with water and then drew from the pot and took it to the host.

     

    …And as you read the rest of the story, their obedience displayed the       abundant Glory of God.

     

    When we do what Jesus tells us, even if we don’t understand why, we will get to experience in that same Glory of God.

     

    Application:

    What is Jesus telling you to do? Are you listening to Him? Are you questioning Him? Are you waiting to have a greater understanding of why He is asking you to do this? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________


    Today be like the servants at the wedding in Cana… just Do what He tells you to do!

     


  • April 9th, 2019

    by Gary Reynolds

     

    Read John 3

     

     

    For GOD….

          (Holy, Omnipotent, Creator)

     

                    .…SO LOVED

                                        (Agape)

     

                                                .…The WORLD

                                                                  (everyone)

     

                                                                              .…That HE GAVE

                                                                                          (provided a way, free)

     

                                                                                             .…His ONLY SON

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (Jesus)

     

       .…That WHOEVER

                              (anyone, you, me)

     

                                                  .…BELIEVES in Him…

                                                               (trusts, faith, receives)

     

                                                                                           .…Shall NOT perish…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                               (hell,separation)

     

     

                                                                   .…but have ETERNAL LIFE.

                                                                           (forever, LIFE, Heaven)

     

     

     


     


  • April 10th, 2019


    by Gary Reynolds


    Read John 4


    Jesus is traveling from Judea back to Galilee and decided to walk through Samaria. He is resting by a well as his disciples go into town for food. As Jesus is sitting there, a woman comes to draw water from the well and they begin to talk. Wait!  A woman...a Samaritan woman...a Samaritan woman with a bad history....in public!!

     

    The conversation began with asking for a drink of water and ended with the woman going and telling everyone who Jesus was.

     

    Jesus broke all social norms to talk with this person.

     

    First he broke the gender norm, then the racial and cultural norm, the religious norm and finally the lifestyle norm. A Rabi would never have talked to a woman. A Jew would not speak to a Samaritan. And probably no one, not living the same lifestyle would have ever spoken to her.

     

    Yet Jesus’ love and care, and His desire to be her savior, was more deeply moving than keeping any “social norm” of his day.

     

    His desire to be Savior to all is no less different today, however we are his vessel to share that wonderful news.

     

    Probably most of us cross paths with people of different norms every day of our lives. We meet and see people who are gender different, racially different, culturally different and live a totally different lifestyle than us. What holds us back from telling them who our Savior is?

     

    APPLICATION:
    Don’t let the “social norms” dictate who you share Christ with. Take every  opportunity you are given.

     

    Who is sitting at your well? ________________________________________

     

     

     


  • April 11th, 2019


    by Gary Reynolds


    Read John  5


    Hopeless, Desperate, Paralyzed and Helpless! What a description of the man at the pool of Bethesda.

     

    The belief was that when the water of the pool was stirred, supposedly by an angel, the first person in the water would be healed…

     

    Obviously healing did occur at this place because there were many there waiting to get into the water for that very purpose.

     

    The man, sick, lame for 38 years, unable to move enough to even put himself into the pool, yet stayed there waiting day after day. How helpless must he have felt. How much he desperately wanted to be healed, yet it was Hopeless for him.

     

    Jesus goes to this man and asks “do you want to be healed?” The man’s  response is “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is  troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.” (v7)

     

    In other words, Yes, I want to be healed, but I cannot be, I’ve tried, I’ve done everything I know how. I want to get into that water, I want to be healed, but I am unable, have no one to help, I’ve given up. I have no hope!

     

    How many times have we found ourselves in situations where we have done everything we can, we have no one to help, we don’t have the ability ourselves, we have given up hope, we allow ourselves to be paralyzed and helpless….HOPELESS!

     

    Jesus told the man, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk” and at once the man was healed, took up his pallet and walked.

     

    When you are helpless, paralyzed or hopeless. Jesus is your hope.

     


  • April 12th, 2019

     

    by Gary Reynolds

     

    Read John 6

     

    This is one of my favorite stories in the New Testament... look at it from a different perspective with me:

     

    You are 8 or 9 years old, Simon is your name, your friends are begging you to come with them to the valley, where a tremendous crowd has gathered. Your curiosity is killing you. As you run out the door, your mom calls and stops you. She says make sure you are home before lunch. You are dying to dash out the door to meet your friends. You promise your mom, but she knows how you are and says “wait..  I know how you are when you get with those boys. Let me fix you a snack because I know you’ll lose track of time and not get back home.” Mom puts a few things in a small bag and out the door you go, running and yelling to catch up with your buddies. You find them in the crowd and you are in awe of how many people are sitting on the hillside.

     

    In the midst of playing and having fun, a tall, strong looking stranger taps you on the shoulder and asks what do you have in the bag?  It’s just a snack, you open the bag and look to see what mom put in... 2 fish and a few small pieces of bread... Simon, can Jesus share your snack?

     

    Simon was willing to give what little he had and Jesus blessed and fed 5,000 people!

     

    Application:

    What do you have, that if you would just give it to Jesus, might be a blessing to others? Jesus is not looking for abundance...He’s looking for a willingness to give it!  ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     


  • April 15th, 2019


    by Craig Bowers


    Read John 7


    Jesus wrestled with some of the same issues we face! Jesus’ half-brothers mocked Him. “For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” verse 5. They challenged Him to declare Himself publically. We do not know what motivated their contempt. He had NEVER wronged them. Maybe they were jealous because He was always right about everything. Maybe they were embarrassed by His claims to be the Messiah. Maybe those things and more. But, there was family tension!


    Imagine that. Jesus experienced serious family tension. His brothers and mother thought He was crazy (see Mark 3). What do we learn about handling family tension from this?


    We learn that Jesus never wavered in His commitment to His life mission. You may have family members who slightly resist your walk with Christ. Others may openly challenge you. Do not allow their pushback to distract you.


    Jesus left the door open with His family. While He did not compromise the truth, He gave them room to come around. The first group to visit the empty tomb included His mother. Strong evidence points that James, as well as his other half-brothers, became followers of Christ Jesus. Why? Our Lord gave them room to walk back into His life. Do you give people that kind of room?


    We also learn that everyone faces family tension. It is natural since we are all sinful. However, you can stand on truth and avoid lighting the match to burn bridges. It can be a precarious situation and one that requires a lot of prayer, grace, and wisdom. But remember, when there is family tension, you are not alone.

     

    Application:
    How do I contribute to tension in my family? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    What can I do to remove my “contribution”? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:
    Jesus you are my model. Show me how I am contributing to tension in my family. I commit to join your work of Grace in changing!

     


  • April 16th, 2019


    by Craig Bowers                                                                                                          

    Read John 8


    Carrying stones in your pocket seems to be very popular and may I add very human. Casting stones is even more popular. We live in a crass and often compassionless culture. The legalistic people of Jesus’ day were no different than what we see in our day. People today can hide behind a keyboard and say the meanest things! 


    There are two extremes in dealing with verses 1-11. On one hand there are those who say that if you declare truth about an act being sinful, you are casting stones. The other extreme are those who readily condemn others. Wow. Let’s look at some clear truths based on this passage. First, Jesus did not come to condemn people. When people refuse to surrender to Him, they condemn themselves. We are not called to condemn people. Second, Jesus does not condone sin. The lady caught in adultery was sinning. Jesus said to her, “Go and sin no more.” He did not whitewash her sin. He called on her to repent. True repentance always involves turning away from sin. Third, people who are quick to condemn others need to recognize the sinfulness in their own lives. 


    So, when someone is “caught” in sin, how should we respond? First, avoid condemning. That means give them time to repent. Don’t give up on them. That does not mean pretending nothing happened. That is foolish! If someone sins (I’m talking about professing Christians), they need to hear what the Scriptures teach about it. The goal is redemption. The motive must be love. 


    Second, even if you have very strong convictions and emotions about a particular sin, realize that you have not been appointed Lord over all. Third, grace does not mean we simply “overlook” or “ignore” sin in our own lives or in the lives of other Christ followers with whom you are in fellowship. 

     

    Application:
    Where do I tend to fall on the extremes?  ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Do I need to empty the rocks from my pockets?________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

    Prayer:
    My King, thank you for your grace and patience with me. Thank you that you give everyone an opportunity to repent. May I also give others the same grace. 

     


  • April 17th, 2019


    by Craig Bowers                                                                                          


    Read John 9


    “Don’t miss the beauty of the forest for the trees.” We can miss the point of a passage if we become consumed by the details. What is the point of this passage? We are all born blind to the truth but the truth in Christ Jesus heals our blindness. That is the beauty of the Gospel. 

     

    The problem with spiritual blindness is unawareness. Like the expression goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know!” Ha. While that has some humor in it, spiritual blindness is no laughing matter. The Pharisees believed they could see. In the light of the truth, they were blind and were totally unaware of it. That is the danger ALL of us face in our pilgrimage of faith. 

     

    The “god of this world”, who is satan, blinds the minds of the unbelieving. Our intelligent arguments and elaborate plans to reach those who are blind will never work without the movement of the Holy Spirit. Only He can open our eyes. He illuminates the mind. He draws people to Christ. We must be desperate in asking Him to move in our own lives as well as the lives of those who are blind. 

     

    Getting frustrated with people who are spiritually blind is rather amazing. Yet, I’ve been guilty of it. We get frustrated with people who are spiritually blind when they wreck the culture. Yet, we are being silly. They don’t even know what they are doing! They are blind. To expect them to see what we see is like expecting a physically blind person to see what you see. Foolishness!!!

     

    Application:
    What has the Lord opened your eyes to lately? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________


    Do you see the blindness around you? What is the solution? 

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:
    King Jesus, help me to see that the spiritually blind will never be healed unless your  followers get in the battle by getting on our knees. 

     


  • April 18th, 2019     


    by Craig Bowers                                                                         


    Read John 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” (10:10) The thief, satan, has one ambition - to take from you whatever he can, to kill you, and destroy your life. He does not play fair. He watches for any vulnerability and then exploits it. He also looks for unguarded strengths and uses them against you. He will kick you when you are down. He will use whatever situation to take advantage of you. He has had thousands of years practicing his deceptive lies and shrewd ways. He cares nothing about you. It isn’t that he hates you. He hates God and since you are the object of God’s love, he wants to hurt God by hurting you!


    Why do we let satan rob from us, kill us, and destroy our lives? We would never open the door for anyone planning to rob and kill us. Yet too often we open the door to the forces of darkness. Part of the problem is that we are too often under the misguided illusion that simply cracking the door open to him isn’t too bad. We think that we will be able to overcome him and push him out the door anytime we want. But, If he can ever get only part of his foot in the door of your life, that’s all he wants. He forces his way in. He is not a gentleman and he will not leave even when you ask. 


    Then the opposite is true of Jesus Christ. He brings real life. Not some fantasy world that is void of the realities of life. Actually, Jesus Christ offers true life. But first, you must embrace the truth about yourself and Him. The life He offers does not plunder you. He seeks to restore what we lost in the Garden. We were made in His image and His desire is for that image to be restored. As He remolds your life into the original purpose, you experience true life. 

     

    Application:
    Think about all the lies satan has told you. Now, think about how faithful Jesus Christ has been to you. 


    In what ways have you “cracked the door open” to satan? Will you commit to slam the door shut and keep it closed? ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:
    My Lord and my God, your perfect hand formed man in the Garden. Because man listened to the deceitful lies of satan we became deformed. Thank you that as the Good Shepherd you are transforming me into the original purpose from the beginning of creation. 

     

     


  • April 19th, 2019                                                                                                                            

    by Craig Bowers


    Read John 11


    During the incredible story of Lazarus’ resurrection, we read Jesus’ words to Martha, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  


    Some areas of the world have higher life expectancy rates but their mortality rate is the same as every other place on earth, 100%.  Death is a topic we often avoid. Jesus had a difficult conversation with the sisters of Lazarus. Here we find the greatest truth humanity will ever know - death is not the end but a doorway into an even greater life for those who believe in Jesus Christ. 


    Remember that Jesus’ words to Martha were before His resurrection. But, His power was not confined to an event. in other words, the resurrection was going to happen but the fact that it hadn’t happened in time did not change the fact that Jesus Christ had the power over death before He experienced death. Jesus is the resurrection because Jesus is the Lord of the living, not the dead. 


    Jesus said, “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die...” How can that be? Because death for the believer is simply a doorway into life in the very  presence of God. However, death in the life of an unbeliever leads to a greater death. How can one experience greater death? Because death is simply separation. To die physically is the separation of your body from your soul and spirit. But when an unbeliever dies, they not only experience that separation but they experience the ultimate separation from God. 


    Jesus said about those of us who trust in Him, “whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” What does that mean? It means when you trust in Jesus Christ, you will never be separated from God, ever! For us, the physical death only moves us into closer proximity to God.

     

    Application:
    Do you believe this?________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:
    Risen Savior, may I share this good news with others

     


  • April 22nd, 2019 


    by Kevin Calhoun                                                                                                                    

    Read John 12


    Yesterday, we celebrated Resurrection Sunday in our church.  What a glorious time we shared together.  Every aspect of our worship focused on the resurrection of Jesus from the grave and the hope we now have through faith in Him.

     

    John 12 reveals to us some of the events leading up to the crucifixion: the anointing of Jesus by Mary in Bethany, the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, and Jesus foretelling of His death to the disciples.  Each of these events helps us understand what Jesus experienced during that week.  Furthermore, each of these events speaks to us in our walk with Jesus today.


    As I read this passage, there is one verse that both excites me and convicts me.  John 12:13 tells us the people began to cry out, “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”  What a thrill it must have been to watch Jesus enter the city of Jerusalem!  A few days later, however, many who were in the crowd shouting Hosanna began to cry out “Crucify Him” instead. 

     

    What do you suppose prompted their change in attitude? More importantly, what do you suppose causes us to sing praises to our Lord on Easter Sunday but remain silent the next week when we hear His name ridiculed?  Will we be bold with our faith in the days to come?   

     

    Application:

    When are you most likely to shout praise to our Lord Jesus?

    ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________ 


    When do you find yourself staying silent when others criticize the Christian faith? Why?

    _______________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Lord, forgive me for not speaking up when the name of our Lord is demeaned.  Fill me with your Spirit that I might live and speak with boldness for You! Amen!

     

     


  • April 23rd, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 13


    The image will be forever ingrained in my mind. Several participants in a Special Olympics event are involved in a race. As they approach the finish line, however, one of the participants stumbles and falls. The girl beside her is assured a victory. At this point, however, the young girl does something amazing – she stops and goes back to help the fallen runner, and they cross the finish line together – well behind those who passed them by. I still tear up thinking about the scene.

     

    That is why the image of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:5-20) is so personally moving to me. Jesus, the King of glory, girds His waist with a towel and washes the feet of those who are gathered with Him around the table. He then tells the disciples, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you,” (Vss. 14 - 15). 

     

    Serving others is a true calling. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.  The young girl in the Special Olympics stopped to help another who had fallen. We are called to be servants of others as we live our faith each day.

     

     

    Application:

    List some ways you can serve others who are in need.

    ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    List some people you know who could benefit from your ministry today.

    ________________________________________________________________

    ________________________________________________________________

     

    Prayer:

    Dear Lord, thank You for the many blessings You have bestowed upon me. As I enjoy these blessings each day, I pray I will seek out ways to serve others and care for those in need. Give me a heart to care, eyes to see, and hands to serve.

     


  • April 24th, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 14


    As a child, one of my greatest thrills was working on a project with my father.  I knew he was there to help me with the tasks I was not able to do alone. As I became a father myself, I found great joy assisting my children with various tasks and projects they needed to complete.  Working together with my dad and then with my children was always a source of encouragement.

     

    That is one of many reasons why John 14:16-18 is so important to me.  In these verses Jesus tells His disciples (and us), “And I will ask the     Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; . . . I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”  Living the Christian life is a struggle in many ways. Although we have been redeemed through faith in Jesus, we still face numerous difficulties each day. I find great comfort in knowing the Holy Spirit is with me in every circumstance I encounter.

     

    When I struggle with temptation, He is there beside me. When I face a task I cannot accomplish alone, He is there to give me strength. When I am overcome with fear and anxiety, He is there to provide peace and calmness. When I am filled with sadness and grief, He is there to     comfort me. What a wonderful promise from our Lord. He will not leave us!  He will come to us! Thanks be to God!

     

    Application:


    Describe a time you knew the Holy Spirit was walking beside you. 

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    Write a prayer giving thanks for His constant presence. 

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    Prayer:

    Lord, thank You for Your presence in my life each day. Draw me close to You today! Amen

     

     


  • April 25th, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 15


    In the movie Tombstone, starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, one of the

    characters asks Doc Holiday why he is constantly helping Wyatt Earp.  Doc Holiday responds, “Because Wyatt Earp is my friend.”  When the man replies, “I have lots of friends,” Doc Holiday simply says, “I don’t.” 

     

    I believe we all understand the value of true friends. They know all of our faults, yet they are always there for us. That is why John 15:15 is my favorite verse in all of scripture.  In this verse, Jesus says, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father, I have made known to you.” Wow! Can you believe it? Jesus calls us His friend.

     

    I read that verse and I am reminded of two other passages of scripture.  In John 5, we read about a man who had no friends to help him into the water for healing. In Mark 2 and Luke 5, we read about a man who had four friends who would not stop helping until they got him in the presence of Jesus – even when it meant digging a hole in a rooftop and lowering him down through the roof. 

     

    I am truly grateful for every one of my friends. They (you) all mean so much to me. But greater still is the joy of knowing Jesus calls me His friend.  I never walk alone.

     

    Application:

    List some of your closest friends.

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    Why do they mean so much to you?

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    Prayer:

    Lord, thank You for the gift of Your friendship. As You are a friend to me, may I be a friend to others.  Amen!



  • April 26th, 2019


    by Kevin Calhoun


    Read John 16


    Our reading today finds Jesus telling the disciples of his coming death and resurrection. I once heard a preacher say, “In the cross of Christ we see humanity at our absolute worst because we killed the sinless Son of God. But, in the cross of Christ we see God at His absolute best because He did for us what we could never do for ourselves. He provided redemption through faith in His Son.”

     

    This past Sunday, we shared together in our Easter services. The worship was wonderful in every way. Together we gave praise to our God for the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. What an amazing gift of love we have received!

     

    Furthermore, we understand that our Easter celebration is not simply something we do one Sunday in the year. Through faith in Christ we can celebrate resurrection joy every single day. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, “(1 Corinthians 15:57); and, "thanks to God for His indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15).  

     

    My prayer today is that each of us will realize the marvelous gift we have received through faith in Christ!  I also pray we will seek to share that gift with every one we meet! What greater way to celebrate our Easter faith than by sharing God’s love with others?

     

    Application:

    Make a list of people who have shared Christ with you through their words and their example.

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    Consider writing them a thank you note for the gift they have shared with you.

     

    Write the names of two or three people you can tell about Jesus today. _______________________________________________________________

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    Activity:

    Sing (or read the words to) the hymn, “Christ the Lord is risen today.”

     


  • April 29th, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 17


    In this chapter Jesus prays three things for His disciples: That they would be Unified, Protected and Holy. If you take time to study the disciples you will see that they, like us, were very individualistic people. They were not always cooperative and in fact they could be stubborn. They were proud and at times unteachable. Sound familiar? Yet the Lord still prayed in verse 11 “Protect them by the power of your name so that they will be unified.”   

     

    In verses 15 Jesus prays “that God not take them out of the world, but to  protect them from the evil one”. This verse reminds us that we cannot shelter ourselves from the world, but rather He wants us to go be the light for the dark world to see. For believers we are not to be isolated, we are to pray to be insulated by Jesus Christ.

     

    In verse 17 Jesus prayed for “Holiness”. How can we live holy? Verse 17 tells us “through His Word which is truth”. We must stay in the Word if we want to live a life set apart from the world. Charles Swindoll says “If you’re living your life apart from regular contact with the Word of God, the world is on its way to moving in”.

     

    All of us who believe in Jesus today are included in the prayer in verses 20-26. Jesus has prayed for us to have Unity, Protection and Holiness. He has given us these things, now we must live them out.      

     

    Application:

    Which one of these three things do you need to pray most for today? ________________________________________________________________

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    Prayer:

    Most Holy Father, thank you for praying for and providing my unity with my Christian family, my protection from the evil one and my holiness that can only come reading your word daily. Amen.         

     


  • April 30th, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 18


    Why did Peter fail so miserably? Peter did not just one day wake up and decide to betray Jesus. We actually see as we study the Bible where Peter gradually began to move toward sin and temptation. First we see his actions as those described in Psalm 1:1 He “walked in the counsel of the wicked” when he went into the high priest’s courtyard. Peter should have followed the counsel of Jesus and gotten out of there quick! Then Peter stood with the enemy by the fire (vs. 16-18), and before long he sat down with the enemy (Luke 22:55). We see Peter argue with the Lord, we see him sleep when he should have been praying and he talked when he should have been listening. All of these things Peter did led up to his ultimate betrayal of Jesus. We must daily  remind ourselves that we must spend time in the Word, in prayer and have Godly people around us to hold us accountable. If not, then we too can start sliding down that slippery slope of temptation and sin just like Peter.

     

    In the beginning of this chapter we see Jesus respond in an incredible way to his  arrest. First, despite being sleep deprived and knowing the trial was unfair, Jesus never one time lost control of himself. Second, Jesus had a willing and submissive  spirit. He really was responding in submission to the Father’s mission. Wow, what a testimony and model for us to follow when things in this world seem to be going against us.                

     

    Application:

    In what ways are you being tempted like Peter? ________________________________________ _______________________

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    Have you ever experienced betrayal? If so how did your response compare to that of Jesus?  

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    Do you have a willing and submissive spirit even when life is tough and unfair? 

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    Prayer:

    Father, I pray that I may have a willing and submissive spirit. In the name of Jesus give me the strength to overcome temptation and the power to respond in a Godly  manner to ungodly circumstances. Amen.          

     


  • May 1st, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 19


    Who crucified Jesus? The sins of every person, from Adam to the present, nailed Him to the cross. It’s important for us to understand that the crucifixion is not just a historical event that we recognize on Easter. It should be a reminder that our sin, our short comings, and our rebellion are why Jesus had to endure the cross.

     

    Where was Jesus crucified? At a place called Golgotha. We can learn a lot from this historic church. As many have tried to destroy its memory, some have also had the church built, rebuilt and expanded as a memorial. Different religions and ethnic groups have polluted the original site. Many different Christian sects argue over what should happen within this historical church. Territorial fights have even happened on occasions… We must learn a key lesson here: “That many people are put off by the religious traditions and squabbling within, that they reject the authenticity of the church”.

     

    Church family, if we are not careful, our character can appear much like the Church of Golgotha. The world looking on may only see hypocrites and sadly miss out on our Savior. Our lives should be doors for others to come to God, not walls built on  religion that deter people from coming in to hear he Gospel. Isn’t it ironic that this historic church demonstrates the very need for the event it reveres – Christ’s death on the cross? Why? Because we all need a Savior and only the blood of Jesus gives us that Savior.   

             

    Application:

    How often do you reflect on the cross? How often do you give thanks for what Jesus did on the cross? ____ _________________________________

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    How can reflecting on these truths help you live for God this week? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Prayer:

    Lord, thank you for your ultimate sacrifice on the cross. May we be the sweet aroma of Christ that attracts others to come in your church and listen to the Gospel, not  reject it? Amen.             

     


  • May 2nd, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 20


    We see in this chapter that John records the appearances of Jesus after His resurrection. Notice that these appearances are only to His own followers: He appears to Mary Magdalene in verses 1-18, He appears to 10 disciples in verses 19-23, and He appears to Thomas in verses 24-29. Why did Jesus not appear to unbelievers? Because just like the miracles He performed had not convinced them, neither would His resurrection convince them He was Lord.

     

    Jesus appears exclusively to His own in order to confirm their faith in the living Christ. By doing so these appearances were so incredible that they totally transformed the disciples. They went from being cowardly men who would hide in fear to bold witnesses for Jesus. Friends, I tell you that Jesus still appears to us today, we just have to be looking and listening for Him. He will totally transform our lives and make us bold in His power, “IF” we are looking and listening for Him. In verses 14-16 Mary failed to recognize Jesus until He spoke to her. The moment He spoke she immediately recognized His voice (John 10:3-4, 27).

     

    John’s purpose in recording these resurrection appearances for us was to demonstrate that Jesus’ resurrection was the crowning proof that He truly is the Son of God who laid down His life for each of us. Reflect on that for a moment. Incredible isn’t it?

          

    Application:

    In verses 2-4 we read that the disciples were running to the empty tomb with  urgency and excitement. Do you run with that type of urgency and excitement to tell others of our Risen Savior? 

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    Are you looking and listening for Jesus daily? ________________________________________________________________

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    Prayer:
    Heavenly Father, I pray that you give me eyes to see and ears to hear you every day. I pray that I tell others about our Risen Savior with urgency and excitement. Amen


  • May 3rd, 2019


    by Jonathan Norton


    Read John 21


    We close the Gospel of John with three truths. First, in verses 15-19 Jesus commands  Peter three times to feed and take care of His sheep. The idea here is that the elders of the church must be devoted to the service of the Lord and take care of His flock (1 Peter 5:1-4). The scripture is saying that God’s people should constantly be fed and nourished with God’s Word.

     

    Second, we see in verses 20-23 where Jesus reminds Peter to not compare or be concerned with someone else’s relationship with Christ. Jesus is saying here that we should focus on our own relationship and what the Lord would have us do for the Kingdom. Our role as Christians is not to condemn others or point the finger. Our role is to seek what God would have us do with our lives. That is plenty for us to focus on.

     

    Third, John closes his gospel in verse 25 with the reminder of just how awesome Jesus is. “Jesus did many others things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Wow!

     

    Charles Swindoll puts it this way: “If someone were to speak of the Lord Jesus, beginning now and going on for generations and generations to come, the knowledge of Him would barely be tapped. Hallelujah! What a Savior!”              

     

    Application:

    How are you being fed with God’s Word daily? 

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    Are you more concerned with correcting others than focusing on your own relationship with the Lord?

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    How often do you stop to dwell on how awesome God is?

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    Prayer:

    Jesus, may I be feeding on your Word daily. May I remain focused on my personal walk with you Lord? Today I stop to say thank you for the countless amazing things you have done and continue to do. You are an awesome God! Amen.