Month: June 2016

Life Lessons With Legos

-written by Joe Bradley It’s amazing what you can learn from your own kids, isn’t it?  We’ve been doing a daily devotion with Jack and Sam through All-Stars.  Last week the devotion was entitled “The Horse.”  The purpose of the lesson was to point out that God made everything, and He takes care of everything.  If God spends His time and energy in making and loving these things, how much more is His love for us? The first line reads “Have you ever made something so beautiful you just had to run and show someone?”  I asked Jack what he loves to build, his answer?  Legos.  If you’ve never experienced the imagination of a boy that loves to build with Legos, you’ve never really experienced joy the way God intended it.  Jack spends hours at a time pouring his heart into the Legos and then runs into our room loudly exclaiming, “Mom! Dad! Look what I made!”  He then proceeds to explain in a 20 minute dissertation how exactly he arrived at such a creation. I was able to take this simple lesson and explain …

Who Stands in The Gap For You?

Has someone ever stood in the gap for you? When you lost belief in yourself, you found someone standing in the gap—bridging the dark chasm between hopelessness and a new beginning. When joy was a phantom fading quickly into the shadows of the past, someone tapped you on the shoulder and when you turned around he was holding a light— enough light for you to take the next step into the future. When circumstances had you in a panic, someone took you by the hand and led you higher so you could see the big picture, and there it was—the path leading you out of your terror. All of us at one time or another have needed someone to stand in the gap for us. Paul had a Timothy (2 Timothy 4:9, 11, 21). Young King Jehoash had an Elisha (2 Kings 13:14). David had a Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1, 3; 2 Samuel 21:7). Lot had an Abraham (Genesis 19:29). Joseph had an angel (Matthew 1:18-20). And those rascally Hebrews from Egypt had a Moses. The …

This Week For Sunday

Whenever I hear the word victory, I immediately start singing in my head the old hymn “Victory In Jesus.” This might sound odd considering I’m only 30, but I grew up in a few different churches, and one of them was very traditional. I love when old hymns start going through my mind…  O victory in Jesus, My Savior, forever. He sought me and bought me With His redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew Him And all my love is due Him, He plunged me to victory, Beneath the cleansing flood. Some of the lyrics are a bit different than what we say and sing today, but the message is still the same. Victory is found in and through Christ alone. He sought us and bought us with His redeeming blood. Therefore all our love is due him. I’ve always thought the story of David and Goliath was unbelievable. David’s courage has always blown me away. It wasn’t until I was older that I understood how David had the courage to face Goliath. He didn’t …

The Purpose of Our Suffering

Joseph’s story in the Bible seems odd (see Genesis 37-50). If Joseph was one of God’s chosen instruments, why would God let his brothers sell him into slavery? Why would God let Joseph be wrongfully imprisoned? We usually like to blame this type of suffering on sin. The Bible paints Joseph as a righteous man, and we are not given reason to believe that his sufferings resulted from personal sin. So, what are we to make of Joseph’s story?  Through Joseph’s suffering, at the hand of his murderous brothers, the line of Judah was preserved. In Genesis 45:8, Joseph says to his brothers, “So it was God who sent me here, not you!” God’s plan for Joseph included many trials. However, these trials were neither tests nor punishments. The trials were designed by God to fulfill prophecy and ultimately bring Jesus Christ into the world through Judah’s lineage, one of Joseph’s brothers. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this …

Our Family on Mission in Nicaragua and at Home

Why do people who go on short-term mission trips love them so much? Is it the exotic destination?  Is it the time away from their own life?  Is it time spent in a different, fascinating culture? Some would think so and they would be right to some extent. These are really enjoyable aspects of traveling. After going on and leading numerous trips over the past several years I believe the reason most people enjoy mission trips (and keep going back) is because they put their faith into action and see it work. On mission trips, we live out our Christianity in a way that resembles how Christian community in the first century church was modeled. We spend every moment of a week living in community, doing projects together, praying together, eating together, sharing our resources, encouraging one another, sharing the word of God with non-believers, and doing extreme acts of generosity for people we don’t know. I’ve never had a mission trip ruined by adversity.  We’ve had flat tires, wrecked vehicles, torrential downpours, illnesses, hospital trips, emergency room trips, …

This Week For Sunday

Moses is one of the biggest names in the Bible. Moses is the guy who parted the Red Sea, led the Israelites out of Egypt, hit a rock to make water, and handed down God’s law (a.k.a the 10 commandments). He was God’s mouth piece. It’s easy to notice the big things. But what about what makes Moses just like us? Moses questioned God multiple times. He asked God things like, “What if they don’t believe me? What if they don’t listen to me?” Go equipped him and gave him everything he would need.  Yet, Moses still had his doubts. In Exodus 4:10 we read Moses’ concern when  he says, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you’ve spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” Moses didn’t trust that the all powerful Lord would help him speak and pleaded He send someone else. God has asked us to do great things like He asked of Moses, but like Moses we all make …

You Gotta Get Out of the Boat

Steve Jobs of Apple computers was looking for someone to market his innovative ideas. He believed Pepsi Cola executive John Sculley was his man. But Sculley had it made. He refused. In his own words, “Why should he leave Pepsi for a four-year-old company that had been set up in a garage. Are you serious?” Then Jobs popped this question to him: “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Scully gulped and accepted the job, because “I knew I would wonder for the rest of my life what I would have missed.” Too often our wondering is hooked to regrets of wandering all over the landscape of life. I wonder where I would be if I had taken the path of… I wonder what my future would look like if I had… I wonder if my life would be different if I had… Jesus went to His disciples at 3 o’clock in the morning. Already terrified by the …

How to Remember Tuesday by Making it Matter

Do you remember what you did last Tuesday evening? If you’re like most people, that question draws a blank. Why? Because for most of us, nothing special happened last Tuesday evening. Tuesday just blended into the week, because Tuesday was familiar and comfortable. How about this: Do you remember Mother’s Day? Even though time has passed, this day was special and most people can recall a few details from the day. When we step out of the familiar and leave the comfort of everyday living, something special takes place; especially when we are following God. Abraham experienced such a blessed and amazing life when he decided to follow God’s plan. This plan ripped Abraham away from everything familiar. Not knowing where it would land him, Abraham packed up everything he possessed and began walking. He moved away from everything he knew in order to follow God’s promise. Through his willingness to step out of comfort, Abraham became the father of a great nation and is remembered today.  Even greater than Abraham’s example is the example …

This Week For Sunday

Have you seen this commercial made by Gillette? What an awesome message for our children and teenagers!  Even though I’m not a parent, this warms my heart. Yet, is this not the same with our Heavenly Father?  Don’t we all do this? When faced with a decision or the unknown, it’s easy to do a Google search, ask a friend, and listen to the majority.  But Google doesn’t know it all and the information it provides isn’t always the truth.  The way of the majority usually isn’t right, just easy.  And your friends don’t know what is best for you like God does. God should be our default.  Falling to our knees and turning to our Heavenly Father for wisdom and guidance should be the first place we go. James 1:5 says, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” Jesus said: Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, …

God Is Anything, But Boring

I remember as a kid an older man telling me, “Only stupid people get bored; smart people can always find something to do.” And there is always something to do. There’s always work to be done, books to read, places to go, money to make, songs to sing, trees to climb, pictures to paint, and guitars to be played. Our lives should be anything, but boring. The same is true when we are reading the Bible, the Word of God. If you enjoy war movies like Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, or 300 then there’s no way that you can read the Bible and think of it as boring. One of my favorite Bible stories is the one of Jonathan and his armor bearer in 1 Samuel 14:1-15. In short, the Philistine army had the Israelite nation on lockdown. They stripped all men of their weapons except for King Saul and his son, Jonathan. King Saul seemed to find himself in a state of boredom and was doing nothing. So, Jonathan decided to do something. He …