Devotions

  • Try It On

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    So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16

    Insight

    Being a father of two girls, I have developed quite a gift. Name a department store here in town and I can tell you the exact location of each “honey” chair. What is the honey chair you might be wondering? It is the place, often right outside the fitting room, where your wife hands you her purse and says, “honey, sit right here. Can you hold my purse? I’m going to try a few things on. Don’t worry, I’ll only be a minute.”

    With the first day of school outfits needing to be purchased, this chair was my home for numerous weekends in August. Store after store we went looking for that perfect outfit. My thumbs up to their first outfits were met with eye rolls and a huffing back to the changing room. So off they went trying on tops, button up shirts, skirts, dresses, shorts, long-sleeve shirts and short-sleeve shirts for what felt like hours. And, don’t get me started on the shoe shopping. I might be wrong but I think my girls have tried on every piece of clothing in the greater Wilmington area.

    But, here’s the thing. Eventually, after all that time trying different outfits on, they found the right fit. Having plenty of time for reflection while in the “honey” chair, I began to realize how shopping for clothes has a lot in common with serving. As Christians, often we fall into this trap of being paralyzed over what God is calling us to do with our lives. We desperately want to know what “our” thing is when it comes to making an impact or leveraging our life for impact. Since we are unsure of what the right fit is for us, we remain idle. Instead of jumping in, we sit on the sidelines.

    Sometimes envy even sets in as we see someone serving in his or her sweet spot. We look at them and think, “man, they were made for that” and quietly, we fume over not having what they have. What we don’t realize is that this individual didn’t just find that position. They had to start somewhere. They had to take that initial step to jump in. There were many steps along the way. They first had to get into the fitting room and “try things on.”

    The reality is there are plenty of opportunities for people to use their gifts and talents here at PC3. The need for volunteers who have a heart for service is now greater than ever. As we attempt to position our church to make an impact in this city, region, and world, we need a greater sense of shared ownership. The task before us as a church body is too great for anyone to remain on the sidelines.

    We are asking each person who calls PC3 home to jump into service and be a part of what God is doing all around us. Yet, our impact won’t be felt if people continue to have a spectator mindset. The time has come to move from the sidelines and begin to own the mission of reaching people and helping them walk with God.

    So, if you haven’t done so already, take that leap of service. Don’t worry if it is the perfect fit. Remember, you find THE thing by first doing A thing. Maybe the first thing you try on won’t feel right. That’s okay. There is always something else to try on. God will honor your willingness to possess a proactive heart set towards service. By engaging in service, God will bring to light your gifts and your passions.

    Reflection

    • What are the major differences between a spectator and an active participant in their attitude, actions, and mindset?
    • Reflect on your move from spectator to active participant. What compelled you to own the mission of reaching people and helping them walk with God? If you are still a spectator, what has kept you on the sidelines?

    Prayer

    God, I desire to reflect Your heart through my actions. May my life be defined by humility and service. Help me to trust that my part matters. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

     

  • Don’t Forget To Do Good

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    And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:16

    Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

    Insight

    Even though many people want to make an impact in this world, they tend to struggle when it comes to pinpointing the gifts and resources they’ve been given. After all, our own worst critic tends to be ourselves. What everyone needs is for someone to walk alongside them, speak into their lives and pinpoint the abilities they can’t see on their own.

    The only way this can occur is through intentionality and investment. One of the greatest gifts we can give someone is encouraging them to have courage and to see themselves as a leader. People connect when they are known.

    A relationship is where influence takes root. We can’t take this responsibility lightly. Our expression, the way we live our lives, can be someone else’s encounter. As believers, every where we go we carry with us the integrity of His image and the influence of His love. Our encounter with Christ is meant to be shared, rather than held onto.

    God does something in us first before He will ever do something through us. He can do immeasurably more than we could ever hope for or dream. Immeasurably more starts with His power at work within us. Influence gets formed within and moves outward. These ripple effects touch others who in turn impact the places where they’ve been planted. Making disciples is what happens outside of the church walls “as we go” about our normal day.

    Results aren’t just WHAT gets accomplished, but rather the WAY it gets accomplished. Results matter because people matter. Accomplishing things and making a name for ourselves means very little if people don’t feel valued. Influence has a responsibility for those within its care. We must start with love because love compels and love fills. Love wants the best for another person.

    Reflection

    • Think about the people you lead and who are in your sphere of influence. What could the people you lead become? Who needs to hear that you believe in them?

    Prayer

    God, help me to encourage those around me. Let me be their biggest cheerleader and supporter. May I have the courage to speak life into the people that I know and care about. I desire to take what You are doing in my own heart and give it away to others. In Your name, Jesus Amen.

  • Unlikely Leadership

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    The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

    Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.Lamentations 3:22-23

    Insight

    Some mornings I have to crouch down at the edge of my backyard patio and plunge my palm into the grass just to make sure. Without fail, I walk back in the house with a wet, grassy hand every time—His mercies are new every morning.  I don’t know exactly why I think I might not find dew on the ground, but ailments of the human condition such as self-doubt and denial are probably part of it.

    This point plays out in the story of Gideon found in Judges 6 and 7. God appoints Gideon to lead an army into an ever-treacherous battle against the malicious Midianites. Along with other tribes from the east who had invaded a vulnerable nation in Israel (in part because of their own sins), the Midianites were an oppressive force who had taken up residence in Israel. They killed all the crops along with every “living thing” in Israel. Gideon’s appointment was a divine one; it had to be. Otherwise, we would surely not know of a Gideon from the Old Testament because he would have easily shirked the job to someone else, and that would have made sense.

    In an ordinary sense, Gideon was not the right guy for the task at hand. Already in a wary position threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites, the angel of the Lord visited Gideon. Calling him “mighty warrior,” the angel told him “The Lord is with you.” Gideon was immediately skeptical, and based on his estimations, rightfully so. He reminded the Lord his clan was the weakest in his region and to top it off, he was considered the “least” in his family. He asked, “how can I save Israel?”

    This sort of doubt and denial creeps in all too often in our respective worlds. When we are wondering how we can make a noticeable impact in our world, we forget to consider a God who is always with us and always leading us. We think, “I’m not meant to climb trees but to stay on the ground.” In harder times, we can even resort to questioning our purpose in this world altogether.

    Although Gideon was a dark horse for leading a force against a much mightier foe, he had God right by his side. God promised Gideon, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”

    Gideon’s faith was shaky. He did not want this to be his “call.” Even so, God took him through a series of instructions to prepare him for battle. Still in denial, Gideon requested one more sign from God. He asked that God soak only his fleece with morning dew and leave everything else around it dry. God obliged this request. Still waffling, Gideon asked for the opposite to happen and God showed His power once again. These signs caused Gideon to surrender his trust to the Lord and lean on His guidance. Not long after, Gideon and his clan defeated the Midianites.

    So many times in life we question what our position of influence should be (or if we are influential at all). The problem is, we leap at different ideas of that in a horizontal way. Some of those ideas are noble, but all the while we need to think vertically. God wants us to lean on Him. He wants us to draw close to Him when we are on the ropes. He already knows just how to position us and wants to stay with us through it all. His plans involve using us to produce results in people and for Him.

    What might all this look like from the front lines? For some of us, God might be pushing us to follow Him deeper in the work we do. Others of us might find that God is priming us to influence others in that place that is “right under your nose.” It might even be that simply our ability to listen and be available makes a massive impact. It could take a little time, but nobody discerns time better than God.

    Considering all that God can do, we are all unlikely candidates to make an impact. But, God does have something in His heart and in His mind for us. After all, we are made to worship Him and serve those around us, so that others can see His image through our actions and words. Yet, we only experience this by being still and accepting His grace daily.

    God gives us this reminder as evidenced through morning dew. The writer of Lamentations expressed this even in the midst of despair (Lamentations 3:23). We encounter self-doubt because we are human. He has new mercies for us every morning though. He is at work leading us so that we might lead for the underlying purpose that is making Christ’s love known.

    We might be unsure of a “calling” or gift to be leveraged for service. However, God makes no mistakes. If we align ourselves vertically by listening to Him and leaning on Him, our sphere of influence becomes abounding and unquestionably productive.

    Reflection

    • What are you already doing that God could be calling you to lead with greater influence?
    • How can you use what’s been given to you (time, gifts, talents, resources, etc.) to bless and serve someone else?

    Prayer

    Father God, I do thank you for Your continual support. You are good and Your mercies are new every morning. Help me to trust in that, so that I might fully trust in You to shape how I influence others. Remind me of my ultimate purpose which lies in worshipping You and serving others through You. In Jesus Christ name, Amen.

    PC3 writer Adam King wrote today’s devotional.

     

  • A Striking Resemblance

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    Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:9-11

    Insight

    God is our loving FATHER. Pause for a moment and reflect on that statement. Are you unsure what to do with it? Does it make you uneasy? Do you hesitate to believe it is true? Is it hard for you to associate the act of love with your picture of a father?

    The picture you hold of God as your Heavenly Father has been shaped by many different influences. However, the greatest influence is the relationship you had (or didn’t have) with your father.

    Maybe your dad was cold and distant. This makes you feel as though you were an inconvenience to him. Perhaps your dad was never in the picture so you are going off assumptions you’ve developed regarding the role of a father. Your picture of a father may be one who is either indifferent or walks away when things get difficult. Maybe your dad was physically present but emotionally distant. This caused you to rebel or pushed you to perform in order to achieve his attention or affection.

    On the other hand, maybe your dad was your best friend, biggest supporter, and your greatest encourager. His door was always open and his ear was always available. He wasn’t perfect but owned up to his mistakes.

    As a child, you watched how your dad treated your mom, how he responded to life and how he interacted with you. Many boys want to be just like their dad while some want to be the complete opposite of him. The same holds true for the girls. They either want to marry a man who exhibits the qualities of their dad or find someone drastically different with whom to spend the rest of their life.

    Our picture of God is greatly shaped by the example of our earthly fathers, either for good or for bad. This should come as no surprise.

    But, we must pause and consider the image we hold of God being our Heavenly Father. Is it one shaped by our earthly examples or one grounded in the truths found in Scripture? Scripture is clear that we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-28). Let that sink in: we are image bearers. This sounds good, but you might be wondering what that even means.

    Here is one way to think of it. Has anyone ever said that you look like your father? Maybe they pointed out a physical resemblance like your hair, eyes, or smile. There is no escaping it. You share the same DNA. As you grew older, the similarities between your father and you might have come out through your personality, interests, or temperament. “Like father, like son” is how the old saying goes.

    God created us to imitate and reflect His character. Our job is to reflect this image in every aspect of our lives. It should influence the way we view work, lead our families, and pursue our relationships. It must redefine our perception of success, influence, and purpose. It should rearrange our priorities and pursuits. Being an image bearer should alter the things that make us angry, the things that capture our attention, and the things we devote our time and energy toward.

    If you never met your biological father, it would be impossible to know how to reflect his image. The same holds true with our responsibility as an image bearer of God. To reflect God’s heart you must know God’s heart. Everything hinges on our understanding of the character of God as well as our new identity in Christ. We have to know Him in order to know the image we should be bearing. In John 15, we learn that this occurs when we abide in Him.

    As an individual pursues God, he begins to live out who he’s supposed to be – namely an image bearer. The changes that take place in our character are not a matter of pure self-will, but rather a by-product of walking with God.

    Reflection

    • How would you describe the relationship you had with your father?
    • How has your image of God as your Heavenly Father been shaped over the years?

    Prayer

    God, thank You for being my loving father. May I look to You as my example of how I should love my children. Help me to take the responsibility of being an image bearer seriously. Let my words and my actions reflect Your heart. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • A Role To Play

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    Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:7-10

    Insight

    The light and the dark. It’s the epic struggle we’ve seen depicted in our stories since the beginning of time. The hero of light struggles against the villain of darkness. We love these stories because they seem to reflect our world. They reflect our own desire that the light will win out over the darkness. But what if the tension between light and dark isn’t just a struggle happening out there? What if it’s one that’s going on in our own hearts?

    God says that it is. Even crazier He says that we have a role to play in the battle. We get to choose which side we’re going to sow into our lives. As we’re going to discover, Jesus is inviting us to sow the light, and our decision to do so just might make the difference between living life to the fullest and missing out on it. In order to live the full life, we must confront the dark side.

    Darkness needs isolation in order to thrive. We separate ourselves from not only the life and love of God, but the people He has placed around us as well. Sin loves the darkness. It requires an element of isolation to pursue the lusts that we desire.

    The reason for this is very simple.  Darkness requires one to forsake wisdom. Instead, we take on a posture of hiding, isolation, indifference and even hostility towards the truth. Choosing the dark side pushes us to be defensive and use deceit to justify our behavior. It clouds our judgment and makes us believe we are entitled to the desires we are trying to fulfill.

    Don’t be deceived. Everyone is vulnerable to the allure of darkness. No one is immune to the dark side. Falling away from God and losing sight of the full life He promises happens through a series of bad choices. Today matters, right now matters and your next decision matters. What we plant is what we harvest. What we sow today, we reap tomorrow.

    We have a responsibility for what we plant and this is why we need to consider what we are planting. It is impossible to live life to the fullest when we are making dark side decisions. We mock God by doing one thing and expecting different results. We are foolish if we believe we can plant dark seeds and expect to get light in return.

    When we are tempted and are struggling, we should press into the truth and pursue wisdom. It’s not enough to simply be available, we must fight for freedom. Rather than hiding, we must lean on our community of friends who are helping us in our walk.  Sharing the struggle lightens the load. It is in isolation that our unchecked desires run free.  Wisdom brings the necessary boundaries to ensure that the freedom of our souls remains protected. It also provides perspective. One doesn’t get into a mess overnight which means one doesn’t get out of it overnight.

    There comes a point when we must stop hiding and pretending.  “Receiving Christ” is not some compartmentalized decision.  It requires coming to the light.  It involves being exposed and vulnerable. This can only occur if we are willing to break the silence and be honest about our sin. The invitation is to bring it to Christ to be exposed and forgiven.  Why? So our lives will serve as an expression of God.

    Reflection

    • Where are you planting the wrong seeds? What different seeds do you need to start planting?

    Prayer

    God, let me not lose sight of the battle taking place inside me. Help me to realize that with every decision I make I can choose to stand freely in the light or isolate myself in the darkness. I desire to make choices that bring You glory. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

     

  • Acing The Test

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    For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:9-14

    Insight

    Homework time at your household can be a time of joy or frustration depending on the subject. Tonight, the task at hand is completing 100 practice math problems. As your child gets out their paperwork, you notice a sense of despair in their eyes. Sitting at the kitchen table, they try to wrap their mind around fractions, but are struggling desperately to grasp the concept. Having lost all hope of ever being able to understand fractions, they slam down their pencil, throw their hands in the air and shout, “I CAN’T DO THIS! IT’S IMPOSSIBLE!”

    Remembering back in the day how frustrated you got over your math homework, you stop doing the dishes and pull up a seat and try to help out. Reassuring them that they can do this, you begin to walk with them through each problem by sharing what you know. Having stared at a blank sheet of paper for such a long time, you realize the first step for your son or daughter is to write the problem down on paper.

    At the beginning, they watch as you show them one step at a time how to solve the problem, but after just a few times watching, you hand over the pencil and let them go. They are tentative at first, but then something clicks and they are doing fractions on their own. Suddenly, confidence replaces the hopelessness.

    Your job wasn’t to solve the practice problems for your child. It was to show them there was hope in the midst of the situation. It began with helping them write down the problem and take the first step towards understanding. The priority wasn’t making sure they aced the test or received a good grade, but rather helping them understand the process.

    As parents, we are tasked with stewarding and guarding our child’s heart. We are called to provide words of wisdom and insight. We are urged to share the hope of the Gospel and help our children figure out how God fits into their life. We aren’t called to be fixers. Sometimes we need to let our children struggle and fail.

    Most importantly, we have to believe that the problem cannot get bigger than God. If we focus on solving the problem and not the walk with God, we are reducing God to something smaller than the struggle at hand. When we can understand this, the load is lifted from our shoulders, as we are no longer responsible to solve our child’s problems, but rather be a support structure as they work out their faith. What we have to learn is how to shine the light of Christ into their life and then walk with them through the process of transformation.

    Reflection

    • If we are not called to be fixers as parents, what is our role in helping produce change in the lives of our children?
    • Where are you more prone to step in and fix a situation for your child rather than let them process it?

    Prayer

    God, thank You for stretching me as I reach and pursue a relationship with my child. Thank You for letting me understand how patient You are with me when I struggle to be patient with them. May I trust my child’s heart to You. Allow me to desire the transformation of their heart more than behavior change. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • A Hard Place To Be

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    So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 MSG

    Insight

    Have you ever been torn between your will and God’s? Boy, that is such a hard place to be.

    For 16 years I prayed and asked God to fulfill my dream of living on the coast. For 16 years I waited, wondering if God could hear me-if it would ever happen. Despite many obstacles and prayers that seemed left unanswered, I never gave up the hope that one day the dream birthed in me would no longer be just a dream. In July of 2015, after all those years, God graciously blessed me with more than I ever imagined. Not only did I get to move to my dream location at the beach-so close I can bike, but God allowed me to build my own home with enough space to accommodate guests with their own living quarters. Anyone who knows me understands that my new home is my slice of heaven on earth. It’s the place I feel closest to God- my peaceful place where the sun bathes my skin, the sand invigorates my feet, and the ocean waves lull all of my stresses away.

    For all of the years I prayed and waited, my husband was discontent with the idea of moving from his childhood home, but once God put the first step into motion it seemed that all the steps aligned and my husband’s heart softened. In fact, he grew to love our place in Surf City immediately, and it has become home to both of us; it’s our place of contentment and where we planned to retire. Though our paradise has brought us so much joy and wonderful memories and we loathe the idea of leaving it behind, God has opened another door that He desires us to travel down.

    I am a person of many dreams and this dream is being fulfilled from years of another long awaited time of prayer- a job that will bring stability for our family. When I prayed for this door to open, I didn’t realize that I would have to choose between walking through it and my life at the beach. Many have said we’re crazy for uprooting ourselves, but I feel a greater sense of purpose in God calling us away from our paradise. This is my year of surrender-the year I vowed to give everything to God-not just the things that make me comfortable or that I don’t want anymore-everything. God seems to be tugging at my heart saying, “Will you trust me enough to give back to me what I’ve blessed you with so that my will can be done? Will you walk by faith so I can show you other things you cannot imagine?”

    I’m sure you’ve been at this same juncture at some point in your life. I know at least one of you are here now and you’re scared and anxious to move where God is calling you to go, just as I am. You’re comfortable. You don’t want to be stretched. You don’t want to experience the pangs of growth. You keep wrestling with God all the while you feel guilty and maybe you’re even experiencing grief because you don’t want to give up that thing that you love so much. Maybe naysayers are challenging you whether or not the call that God has laid on your heart is real. I don’t know your exact struggle but I can honestly say that I’ve faced all of this, and it’s not easy being stuck between our will and God’s. It’s not easy giving up what we love, to walk through an unknown door when we have no idea what the outcome will be.

    Friend, I can’t make you the promise that the door God is calling either of us to walk through will only be full of sunshine and rainbows, but I can promise us both that if we trust in our King, He will be beside us every step of the way. He will shelter and protect us and help us to grow into all He is calling us to be. In His arms, surrounded by His praise and protection is the real place of provision and contentment; it is the real paradise in our lives.

    So people may say I’m crazy for leaving the solace that my coastal life brings, for going to a city I’ve never been, a house I’ve never seen and a job far away from everything that I know and love, but when I get there one thing is for sure, my God will be there and He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore! I am choosing to surrender to the call of the voice that I’ve learned to trust. Will you stand beside me and choose the same? Will you give up your will for His? Will you be vulnerable so you can find freedom? Will you trust that God has you in the palm of His hand and He’s calling you to make this change so you to can have more than you can ever dream or imagine?

    Reflection

    • Where is your will and God’s currently in juxtaposition?
    • Do you believe that God is calling you to this new place to refine you, draw you closer to Him and closer to your destiny?
    • Are you willing to surrender your desires for God’s greater plan?

    Prayer

    Dear God, help me to put every ounce of my trust in You. Let me not allow my fears and doubts and the negative opinions of others draw me away from Your perfect plan for my life. Let me always feel Your presence, and please guide and lead all of my steps. I pray that I honor You in all that I say and do and that You use this new season to grow me into all that I’m called to be. Most importantly, God, I pray that my life can be a testimony of Your great power and love. Use me as an instrument to bless others. Amen.

    PC3 writer Jennifer Holley wrote today’s devotional.

     

  • Extended

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    Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6

    Insight

    When the topic of influence is brought up often times the focus remains on sharpening our leadership skills. Without even knowing it, this mindset places us on shaky ground. If our attention is solely directed on our own ability, pride begins to creep in. We become the one who is solely responsible for the change.

    We start to reason that if we have enough talent, charisma and drive that we can accomplish any goal and we will ensure this happens by any means necessary. Suddenly, our talent is outpacing our character. Our motives for influencing others becomes murky at best. We can very easily shift towards manipulation and coercion in our relationships with others. It’s our image and recognition that matters above all else.

    Drive is what moves and compels us. Yet, it is our character that keeps our drive in check and on the right road. Even though furthering our leadership ability is important, our competency will be of little value if we aren’t trustworthy. Relationships, and the ability to lead, require trust. The freedom to trust is built on a foundation of love. We must bring ourselves fully to our leadership so that our influence is the result of trust and not fear.

    “As you go” leadership is a way of thinking about influence without having to be someone else or somewhere else. It involves living one’s life with an eye on God’s purpose. It’s focused not on the blessings we receive, but rather seeking out ways to be a blessing for someone else. Blessing is the act of our soul extending toward another in love.

    To love someone is to see another person as part of yourself and this requires empathy. When we extend ourselves, we offer ourselves to another. Leadership is not about us, but it requires that we bring our whole heart and all of ourselves to every opportunity that is presented to us.

    Reflection

    • Where do you need to bring your whole heart to an issue or situation that has grabbed your attention? What would it look like to have empathy for those that are in need?

    Prayer

    God, remind me that every person I come in contact with is in need of the same grace, forgiveness, and love that I am. Help me to see their need as my need. Rather than rely on my talent to make an impact, I desire for my character and integrity to lead the way. Let my life be one that points others towards You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Earn Trust, Then Lead

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    So 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. Isaiah 41:10

    Insight

    We’ve talked before about the idea that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. The idea that we are to follow Jesus and live the life He designed for us relies solely on our ability to trust that He is who He says He is. Many times, we confuse leading with teaching. We know that Jesus had much to teach, and the Gospels attest to this fact.

    But what does any of that matter if we don’t trust Him, or have confidence that the Bible really is His Word?

    One thing that seems reassuring is that Jesus didn’t just come and rattle off all of these rules and tell people when they were wrong. Jesus lived in such a way that those around Him came to trust Him by His actions, not just by His words.

    Like much of what Jesus says, today’s devotional passage isn’t about rules or orders. It’s a simple reminder that He will always be there for us. It’s an invitation to trust.

    It’s easy to think that we have something to teach, and often we feel surrounded by people that need to learn. But before we jump into teaching, we have to remember to lead as we go; that in our day-to-day lives people are watching us to see if we can be trusted. We have to live in such a way that people want to hear what we have to say and will be willing to trust us to help make changes in their lives.

    Reflection

    • Where do you feel like you might be able to lead? Do these people already trust you?
    • Are there things in the Bible that you struggle to believe, or apply to your life? Does this have any correlation to a lack of trust in Jesus?

    Prayer

    God, help me to trust in who You are. I don’t desire just a head knowledge of facts, but an understanding of truth based off of experiencing Your faithfulness. May I live in such a way that people will not only trust me but trust You and Your love for them. Help me to steward the influence I’ve been given. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

    PC3 writer Annalee Thomasson wrote today’s devotional.

  • Freed Us To Serve

    By in Devotions on

    John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

    Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

    To him who LOVES US and has FREED US from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to SERVE his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:4-6

    Insight

    Today lets pause to remember the message we have been entrusted with as believers. It’s a tale of restoration. It involves hope for the hopeless and freedom from the endless cycles of futility. It is the fulfillment of all of our longings. For those who feel worthless, unlovable and ugly, it says quite the opposite. It tells them they are valued and cared for beyond their wildest imagination.

    In the midst of humanity’s mess, the beauty of the cross shines brighter. God didn’t wait till we had our act together before extending a hand. Instead, He demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son.

    Jesus bridged the gap. He righted every wrong. He defeated death. He assures us that in the end…love wins. This is the gift we’ve been given. And by accepting this free gift we are guaranteed a place in His kingdom.

    But, it doesn’t stop there. We are given a whole new identity. No longer are we defined by our past, our shortcomings or how others might label us. If you’ve accepted Christ’s sacrifice, today when you woke up and looked in the mirror a priest (v. 6) was staring back at you.

    Chances are good that’s not what you saw. From your critical viewpoint, all your eyes focused on was what a hot mess you were – a person who fails, who stumbles and who wrestles with doubt.

    God, on the other hand, sees something completely different. Ephesians 2:10 says we are “God’s workmanship” while 1 Peter 2:9 describes us as a “royal priesthood.” In the Old Testament, priests wore a special turban with a gold medallion fastened to it. A special saying was engraved on the plate: “HOLY TO THE LORD” (Exodus 39:30).

    Holy simply means to be set apart of separate. You are set apart for God – not because of what you’ve done, but solely due to what God did on your behalf. As a result, your life is no longer your own. You have been given the task of displaying God’s love to others. Serving others is what should define our days (v. 6).

    This is why we as a church community are tuning our ears to what the Holy Spirit might be saying to us individually and corporately. We want to stay in step with the Spirit’s leading and steward the message of hope well. Because we are free, we point others towards the way of freedom.

    Reflection

    • In this passage, the apostle John refers to us as priests. Do you find it challenging to see yourself in this way? Why or why not?

    Prayer

    God, I don’t want to lose sight of the incredible freedom I’ve been given. This is the message I want to proclaim today. Since I’ve been extended grace, may grace and love fuel my steps and interactions with others. May I live a life defined by holiness. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.