Archive for the ‘devotional’ Category

     Here in a few days, I will be attending the New Attitude Conference in Louisville. Over that past week as I’ve been thinking about the conference coming up and about some other plans that I have for the summer, I began to think on my approach to these sorts of things.

     All through high school I attended church camps, mission trips, weekend retreats, and all that fun stuff. But, looking back on all those things, I approached them all wrong. So many times, we go into a conference or mission trip thinking that it’s going to be that extra boost that we need in our spiritual lives. We have this mindset that altough we may have been significantly struggling in previous weeks, this event was going to be just what we needed to get us going again. Please hear what I’m not saying; I’m not saying that it’s wrong to come out of a retreat or conference and be more motivated in your walk with the Lord. I think that type of response is very common; spending a few focused days with other believers under the teaching of God’s Word can be a rich experience that has a fruitful outcome. But, what I am saying is that we shouldn’t look to events to fuel our spiritual lives.

     The Christian life is not lived from conference to conference or from mission trip to mission trip, and annual events and conferences aren’t the fuel of our walk with God.  The Christian life is lived one day at a time, and the Holy Spirit is our fuel. Just think of how much more fruitful these retreats and trips could be if we would be consistently pursuing the Lord beforehand. We need to come worshipping, instead of coming to worship (Giglio, The Air I Breathe). May God lead us by His Spirit daily, and may He use these types of events to grow us spiritually for His glory.

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This Past Thursday night here at Eastern Kentucky University at our weekly Campus Crusade for Christ meeting one of the many great girls from our ministry shared about what God taught her and did in her life while at Winter Conference.  Winter Conference is a conference through CRU that happen over Christmas break every year.  The girl was Grace Barker who just so happens to be my girlfriends sister.  In the picture Grace is holding all the food, much needed at a conference, and my girlfriend is on the ground behind her. Hearing Gracie’s testimony of how God used the conference to give her a real heart for evangelism, was a real encouragement to me, and I wanted to post it on here so that it may encourage others to have a renewed focus on evangelism.  Sharing the Gospel can become something that loses its importance to us overtime and we have to fight to never let that happen.  Grace has given me permission to post her testimony on here, so I hope that you will read this and maybe begin to think about if you are doing what we are called to do, sharing the Gospel with others. 

 Gracie’s Testimony

Over break I went on Christmas conference and the main thing that I learned during those days were the concepts and calling of evangelism.  I have always thought of evangelism as something that was not my thing and that God wanted to use me in other ways.  I also questioned myself constantly that if I have such an important desire in my heart then why do I not desire to share it with everyone else?  On the last day of conference we did our outreach and I was pressed way out of my comfort zone, to an end where I wanted to just give up.  I was in a group with two other freshmen that didn’t feel anymore comfortable than I did with the whole situation and we were literally shaking before we conquered our first house.  Walking into a house and sharing stories, beliefs, prayers, and tears was one of the most amazing things I have ever been through which sprung me into a yearning for an evangelism lifestyle  that I have never been in before.  During high school I was able to live out my faith to friends that I felt comfortable with, but I never considered those that I didn’t already know.  I am now conquering this unrealistic view that I have had for so many years.  When returning home from conference I have studied non stop about why and how I can become a woman of Christ that loves and cares for others so much that my main purpose is to share the good news.  I have learned that the greatest good of the gospel is having God as our treasure forever and I want others to know the gospel as the glory of Christ and an image of God. 

Here I am today, not to get up and act like I have it all together, but as an example of someone who is in fear.  I have a had a sick feeling inside of me for 3 weeks now and this feeling is a feeling of suffering, of hardships, and of struggle.  I did not want to come back on campus after break because I knew how God was going to use me and I was scared, and am still scared.  But the Gospel, God, the message of victory said in Proverbs 31: 30 “but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” And in Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,” it goes on to say, “ He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.  Your forefathers who went down into
Egypt were seventy in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.” 

I have learned that being loved by God is a wonderful replacement of self.  I also know that if God puts me in a situation where I am suffering I must know it is for a purpose, it is for His purpose.  Why wouldn’t I want to suffer for the one who absorbed the curse that we deserved?

My prayer for you and for myself is that we will grasp the concept of the Gospel and the good news.  That we will remind ourselves that the ultimate and greatest good of the gospel is not self admiration but to be able to delight in the glory of Christ with the very delight of God, and that we will be able to go and do visible Christ-exalting deeds that flow from this delight.  God has done so much with me through these past few days of being on campus. From the line to buy books to sitting in a seat around people I don’t know He has guided me and strengthened me through His love and His word and I pray that your daily feast on God’s everlasting love will spread out to this mission field God has placed us in.   We were sent here for Him and Him alone.  God commands us to go and do.  So let’s run after that, not on our own, but together through Christ.

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I never really read much until about half way through my freshmen year of college.  By the grace of God though I began reading Christian books, and by the grace of God I had men around me who directed me towards some great Christian books.  Reading has been such a blessing in my spiritual life.  I have put together a number of links of recomended book list by many pastors and theologians.  Reading is a beautiful thing, but life is too short to read too many bad books.  It has helped me to look through recommendations of men who have spent time reading many books to pick out the good ones, so guys like me don’t have to.  I pray that as the Christmas season is here as you buy gifts, if you are buying books, you may seek to give books that will draw others closer to the Lord, and bring glory to God.  I plan on posting some links from the men at the Together for the Gospel blog with some thoughts on reading soon.  I hope these post will help raise awareness to the importance of reading, for Christians, and especially pastors.  So here are the links of the recommended books, some are for laymen and others for pastors.

Mark Dever’s choices

the list from his church’s website here

from the 9marks website for laymen and for pastors

and his audio clip for pastors builiding a good library

John Piper at Desiring God’s Choices

books and commentaries

C.J. Mahaney’s Picks

Albert Mohler

10 books every preacher should read in 2006

Bob Kauflin’s Picks

Bro. Matt Perry

Alex Chediak

Tom Ascol

John MacArthur

R.C. Sproul

Sam Waldron

Bob DeWaay

Tim Challies

Alex and Brett Harris

Girl Talk

Monergism.com picks

RTS picks

Hope these can help.

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Cam Potts, a contributor on this blog, also has his own blog (Bring It).  Cam recently added a great post on pursuing holiness before happiness. A great post well worth reading.

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