Lent Day 21 - Reflect The Light

"You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."  Matthew 5:14

John 1 tells us that Jesus is the light who came into the world.  He is described as the true light who gives light to everyone.  John tells us, 'That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.' John 1:5.

Matthew 5 records Jesus himself teaching about light.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus calls his people the light of the world.   Jesus, the true light, shines in and through us!  Jesus then compares our light to a city set on a hill.

The essential characteristic of a city is that it's a community of humans.  Jesus is teaching that his people are a Christ-centered community, a city on a hill.  A city on a hill can be seen by all those around.  It's easy to observe.  He is teaching us that our life together, in community, is a light to the world!  We are meant to shine together.  Jesus tells us that the ultimate goal of shining together is that we give glory to our Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.

We shine together when we eat together.  It takes sacrifice to invite others into our home and share a meal.  It can be daunting to accept that invitation.  However, when we do we show the world that we are bound together by something richer than our own comfort, security, or entitlement.

Father, thank you for sending the true light into the world.  I pray that we would reflect the beauty of your light together in community.

By Aaron Negron
 

Lent Day 20 - Why Are You Living?

Why are you living?  What is motivating you to live today?

In truthful response, some of you may think, “not much”.  Others of you may feel compelled to live by a fear. For example, you are anxiously motivated by the thought, “will my family have enough to make ends meet.”  Others of us may be motivated by a proverbial ‘carrot’ dangling out in front, enticing us on to the next experience, pat on the back, new friendship, intimate moment, possession or adventure.

All these purposes fall short and will ultimately reveal themselves to be poor reasons for living.  When speaking to the pursuits, purposes and toils of humanity the author of Ecclesiastes says, “Absolute futility. Everything is futile.” (chapter 1 v1).

Thankfully the Jesus-follower has a transcendent reason for living.  If you are God’s son or daughter you have a significant reason for drawing breath into your lungs today.  It’s the same reason that motivated and informed every movement and moment of Jesus’ life during the short years He walked among us as God incarnate.  Why did Jesus live?  To love God, His Father, and to love people - reconciling them with His Father.  We, like Jesus, live for the glory of God when we love God and love people.

The author of Ecclesiastes sought to find meaning in life through many means. Ultimately, nothing satisfied except God. Ecclesiastes concludes after 12 difficult chapters by saying in verse 13, “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is: fear God and keep His commands, because this is for all humanity.”  What are the commands of God we should keep?  As Jesus so eloquently put, all the commands can be summated in the directives to love God and love your neighbor. 

So today, what are you living for? Are you living for the transcendent purpose of loving God and loving people, or are you living for something lesser?

Father God, 
Please help my identity be first and foremost established in you. As I receive and live out the realities of who i am in You, may Your love compel me to love You and those you have placed around me (in my neighborhood, workplace and in every sphere),
Amen. 

Harlie & Liz Raethel
 

Lent Day 19 - His Worthiness Our Worth

“...lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”  Ephesians 4:1.

Notice the emphasis here in the text is on God who does the calling, not so much us for being called. I know what your thinking; but I’m so good at being called. I pray without ceasing and read my bible daily, and my speech is always full of grace. I’ve fixed my thoughts on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise.

Right, here’s the problem the bible words it a little differently. It says we don’t realize it, but we’re actually...wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Rev. 3:17). That God sees the extent of our wickedness and that every intention of the thoughts of our heart is only evil all the time (Gen. 6:5). 

It would seem then that there's a gap between how we perceive ourselves and our true state. Who we really are or more to the point how we really are. In fact Romans 8:8 says “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

So how can we change? Well, if you’re reading this you’ve probably already taken the first step, by repenting of your sins and believing on Christ for the salvation of your soul. 2 Cor. 5:17 tells us that “...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” and Galatians 5:16 tells us “...that if we” walk by the Spirit we will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” 

The thing is you’ve probably already noticed that you still sin. Between now and the consummation of this salvation promise most of us still have a long way to go. Paul knows that and exhorts us to “live a life worthy of our calling”. As disciples of Christ, the outcome is already fixed, but the process is yet underway. Until the time we come face to face with Jesus, we continue to live in a fallen world, with fallen people, who struggle with fallen natures. Of whom the Apostle Paul says he is the Chief. Whether your an Apostle, Disciple or just plain old you or me, we all sin, a lot. But there's Good News, Ephesians 2:4-5 tell us that “...God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses [sins], made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” His Grace saved us even while we were dead sinners, how much more will it not keep us now that we are alive in Christ!

So then our responsibility is to do our best to live a life worthy of the calling and work He has already accomplished for us and in us through the cross. His worthiness becomes our worth!

Father, help me make the most of grace by living for your Glory. Holy Spirit, keep my heart inclined to you, my mind stayed on you, and my hands active for you. Help me to live in a manner worthy of your call oh God. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

What does a life worthy of God’s call look like, read Ephesians 4:1-3.

By Ruben Campos

Lent Day 18 - Love One Another

"By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” - John 13:35

"...After we have done our best to communicate to a lost world, still we must never forget that the final apologetic which Jesus gave is the observable love of true Christians for true Christians." - Francis Schaeffer

Sharing the Gospel with unbelievers and serving our brothers and sisters in Christ are not in opposition to one another. At times the conversation about reaching more people with the Gospel versus caring for those already in the family of God creates tension. The more evangelistically inclined believers warn the church not to become a "holy huddle." The more shepherding types, remind the church not to forget to care for those who are already in the church body. Which one is more important? Should this tension exist? 

Jesus said that one of the primary ways we will influence the world around us is by loving one another. Our King Jesus defines love. (I John 4:10) Specifically, he served and sacrificed to rescue humanity. So, we look like Jesus when we love others by serving and sacrificing for them. Loving one another is a way to reflect Jesus, and proclaim the Gospel with our actions.

Consider a few more passages:

"Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." - I John 4:7

"4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, 5 does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." - I Corinthians 13:4-7

"20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. 21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me...May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me." - John 17:20, 21, 23

Father, fill us with a fresh awareness of your love for us. Lead us to love others, beginning with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Empower us to be a people who serve, forgive, and prefer one another over ourself. May your love displayed through us draw others to you. 

 

Lent Day 17 - Taking The First Step

"14 But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! 16 But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? 17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ." - Romans 10:14-17

Being a disciple maker means that you will begin to look at the people in your life differently. Every person in your life is created in the image of God, and Jesus commands every one of them to follow Him. God has placed these people in your life so that you will do everything that you can to influence them. Following Jesus means that you will be teaching other people to follow Jesus.

Take some time to consider your first step toward disciple making. Whom has God placed in your life that you can teach to follow Jesus? Maybe God is laying someone on your heart you don’t know very well. Your first step could be building a relationship with that person. Maybe it’s someone you’ve known for years, and God is calling you to take that relationship to another level. God has placed you where you are, and the people around you are not there by accident. Keep in mind that the Great Commission calls us to every type of person, to those inside of the church as well as to those outside, to those who are like us and those who are very different. Everyone needs to understand who Jesus is and what it means to follow Him.

But remember, you’re not alone. God wants you to view the other Christians in your life as partners in ministry. God has not called you to make disciples in isolation; He has placed you in the context of a church body so that you can be encouraged and challenged by the people around you. And you are called to encourage and challenge them in return.

Whom has God placed in your life right now that you can begin making into a disciple in Jesus Christ? Whom has God placed in your life for you to partner with in making disciples?

Father, help us to take the first step towards making disciples by loving and engaging the people right in front of us. Lead us to pray and partner with the believers you have put in our lives rather than doing this work alone. Thank you for your church and your mission. 

An Excerpt From Francis Chan's Multiply

Lent Day 16 - Disciples Proclaim The Gospel

"This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come." - Matthew 24:14

"How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!" - Romans 10:15b

I just finished watching the great evangelist, Billy Graham's funeral. There were a number of encouragements that emerged as I watched, but maybe the most inspiring one was the way Billy Graham committed his life to proclaiming the message of Jesus and calling people to put their trust in Him. On his tomb stone he requested these words, "Billy Graham, Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ", along with the verse John 14:6 that states, "Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Some estimate that over the course of Billy's life around 215 million people heard the good news of Jesus through his preaching and hundreds of thousands made a public profession of faith in Jesus. 

Without the Gospel message that calls people to place their trust in Jesus, disciple-making is simply another religious conformity movement. It is the good news of Jesus' death as punishment for our sin, His resurrection displaying His power over sin and death, and the invitation to turn away from sin and declare Jesus as Lord that we can be transformed from dead enemies of God into His spiritually alive and deeply loved children. 

The Bible tells us in Matthew 24:14 that this Gospel will be preached in the whole earth and then the Jesus will return. While some debate about exactly what this means, I believe that as it says, God will give every people group on planet earth the opportunity to turn to Him, before He returns to gather His people to experience an eternity with Him. In fact, it is through making the Gospel known to all people that we are contributing to the work that will precede His return. If you're interested here's a link to a map that shows all of the people groups in the world that have yet to hear the message of Christ: https://joshuaproject.net/.

So what is our role in this world evangelization mission? You might be thinking, I'm no Billy Graham! Thankfully, you don't have to be Billy Graham to be involved in sharing the Gospel. If we are His disciples, we are called to proclaim the good news about Jesus to everyone we can until we die or He returns. We start doing this where we live, but should also be involved with taking the Gospel to the every corner of the globe. This means that we can talk to our family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors, or we can literally pack our bags and go tell people that have never heard. Even if we never go beyond our city or nation's borders, at the very least we should be willing. Added to this, we can pray for those who are going or financially support those who go. This is normative involvement for a disciple of Jesus.  

Remember that sharing the Gospel with others begins with believing the Gospel ourselves. The reason Billy Graham and all of the great evangelists and missionaries that have lived were so committed to sharing the good news about Jesus is because it was exactly that, GOOD NEWS to them personally. 

This begs the question, "Is the Gospel good news to you?". Have you received the eternal salvation of your soul through putting your trust in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus? If not, you can receive this gift right now. If so, then you have an incredible message to share! 

Father, please bring salvation to those who are reading this who have never called on you to save them. For those of us who are your rescued children, give us the courage and passion to tell others this incredibly good news.

Lent Day 15 - Equipped to Do the Work of Ministry

11 And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into a mature man with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. - Ephesians 4:11-13

While it’s true that the pastors, elders, and apostles in the New Testament made disciples, we can’t overlook the fact that discipleship was everyone’s job. The members of the early church took their responsibility to make disciples very seriously. To them, the church wasn’t a corporation run by a CEO. Rather, they compared the church to a body that functions properly only when every member is doing its part.

Paul saw the church as a community of redeemed people in which each person is actively involved in doing the work of ministry. The pastor is not the minister—at least not in the way we typically think of a minister. The pastor is the equipper, and every member of the church is a minister.

The implications are huge. Don’t think of this as merely a theological issue. See yourself in this passage. Paul said that your job is to do the work of ministry! Jesus commanded you to make disciples!

Most Christians can give a number of reasons why they cannot or should not disciple other people: “I don’t feel called to minister.” “I just have too much on my plate right now; I don’t have time to invest in other people.” “I don’t know enough.” “I’ll start once I get my life in order.”

As convincing as these excuses may seem to us, Jesus’s commands don’t come with exception clauses. He doesn’t tell us to follow unless we’re busy. He doesn’t call us to love our neighbors unless we don’t feel prepared. In fact, in Luke 9:57-62, you’ll see several individuals who gave excuses for why they couldn’t follow Jesus at the time. Note of how Jesus responded to them. It may surprise you.

God made you the way you are; He has provided and will continue to provide you with everything you need to accomplish the task. Jesus commands you to look at the people around you and start making them into disciples. Obviously, only God can change people’s hearts and make them want to become followers. We just have to be obedient in making the effort to teach them, even though we still have plenty to learn ourselves.

Father, we pray that we would all join you in your work. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in your mission and for providing everything we need to do this work. 

Excerpt From Francis Chan's Multiply

Lent Day 14 - Pride

"But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him, who is the head--Christ... Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor because we are members of one another. In your anger do not sin." Ephesians 4:15, 25-26.

I struggle with pride. We often think of a prideful person as someone who struggles to admit when they are wrong or loathes correction. I have wrestled with each of these. My pride creates a desire to perform well when it is motivated by fear of man...truth says God is pleased with Christ in me. (Matt 3:17)  My pride leads me to take on too many tasks when it is motivated by a need to prove myself to God and others...truth says I'm justified through Christ (Rom 5:1). Pride sends me to a self-depreciating, emotional state because of my desire to be enough to God and others...truth says nothing can separate me from God's unfailing love in Jesus (Rom 8:39). This deep seed of pride was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit through close community with other believers.

The verses mentioned above have been pivotal in my discipleship journey. We are commanded to speak the truth in love. We have all failed at some point to speak truth with love as the motivator. In addition, it is likely we have all failed to receive truth without unrighteous anger bubbling to the surface. In Ephesians 4:25-26 Paul calls us to speak truth in love and in the very next sentence cautions readers with one of the most recited verses on anger: be angry and do not sin. It's as if Paul knew receiving truth was hard! Unrighteous anger can surface and it's root is pride.  I am free to speak truth lovingly and receive truth with humility because I am secure in my identity in Christ, through belief in the gospel. With the right heart motivation, speaking truth and receiving truth is actually loving. (1 Jon 3:18; 1 Cor 13:6)

Friction and conflict are components of a healthy gospel community; sharpeners. (Prov 27:17) The beauty is, conflict provides an opportunity for our sin to be brought to light. In a healthy gospel community we get to fight sin together through accurate application of scripture with the Holy Spirit as our helper. I can tell you first hand, any bit of progress I have made in my pride struggle is credited to God and his design of community. I praise him for the truth-speakers in my life who lovingly call out my sin, who walk along me as I fight to believe the gospel and apply scripture, and who remind me of my identity in the perfect person of Jesus.

Jesus, your kindness leads me to repentance. I confess the pride that surfaced even as I struggled to write these words. Holy Spirit guide us as we grow in speaking truth lovingly and give us the grace to receive truth with humility. Quickly convict us of our unrighteous anger and pride in the process. God, thank you for your unfailing love and grace through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. -Amen 

By Haley Negron

Lent Day 13 - The Harvest

The bible says that while traveling from town to town teaching the good news Jesus “saw the crowds,(and) had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to his disciples, “the harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”  Matt. 35-38.

Today, at this very moment in time, the amount of work remaining for the kingdom of God is staggering. It can be be overwhelming and disheartening to look and see so much brokenness in the world arounds us. It’s even more difficult when we consider our calling as Christians goes well beyond just caring for others. We’re called to share the Gospel and disciple others to be transformed into the image of Jesus himself. This task would be impossible if God hadn’t left us two keys in accomplishing it.

First, Matthew says “He has compassion on them”(v.36). Have you stopped and considered the inclination of your own heart? What motivates you? Are we being moved by compassion like Christ? Do we sense the helplessness of the souls around us or are we just checking off the boxes of our never ending Christian checklist?

Second, the mission seems impossible because we typically attempt to do things in our own strength. In this text Jesus reminds us to to look above and pray, to seek help from the God of the harvest. This is great news! God is the one who sends out the workers and we don’t have to do it on our own. We, however, must be intentional about praying for additional workers.  

Are you praying for your disciples to multiply and make more disciples? Are we asking the Lord of the harvest for more gathers? And are we being moved by compassion towards the lost souls around us?

Lord give us compassion in our hearts for the people around us. Give us discernment to turn to you and not ourselves. Grant that we might see more workers in the fields of your harvest. In Jesus name amen.

By Reem Campos

Lent Day 12 - Dealing With Failure

It’s less than two weeks into Lent, and I’ve already broken my fast.

I experienced the typical cycle: determination (I will complete my fast), disappointment (I failed), and now decision (what next?).

This devotional is my answer to that question. When we mess up, we have a decision to make. We can rely on ourselves and WORK harder, trying to make ourselves righteous by undoing whatever it is that we messed up to begin with. Or, we can look to God and His GRACE to re-establish our identity.

Hear me say this: I’m not discouraging fasting, so long as it’s done with the right motive/heart. There are only two ways we can fast. For ourselves, or for Christ. When we fast for ourselves (as has become clear to myself that I was doing), we grow further from the Lord instead of closer to Him. We deepen the well of self-work, instead of drawing from the well of Christ’s work. Any fast that leads us to make more of ourselves is not Christ-centered at all. But when we fast for Christ, we deepen our understanding that we are His, bought, redeemed, set free, and empowered by His Holy Spirit to live grace-filled lives, rooted in our identity in Him! (I am thankful that God set me free from my self-centered fast.)

David said in Psalm 51:16,17, “You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.”

Who are you fasting for today?

“Dear Lord, I pray that our fasting would lead us to broken spirits and humbled hearts. May we not think more of ourselves during this season, but more of You. Amen!”

By Matt Altman

Lent Day 11 - Be Imitators Of God

I so often reflect upon the passage in Ephesians 5:1-2 that says, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” This has become a mantra of what being a disciple produces as I live out my identity and calling.

This seems like a logical starting point to me…that I first need to receive this gift of being God’s child for myself before I’m going to be able to share His love with others. The scripture talks about imitating God, but let’s be honest. Would you ever want to imitate someone that you don’t really know…or trust? Why would we desire to replicate another’s character when the nature of whom we would be replicating is unloving or even tyrannical?  I stop and reflect on the truth about God- how holy, loving, sacrificial, servant minded, giving and just our Father is, and that He made a way for an undeserving wretch like me to be His daughter. This adoption came at the price of His very own Son.

I’m reminded of how vast and complex He is…and yet how known and available He makes Himself to us. He reveals Himself to us through His word, the person of Jesus, and the gift of communication with Him called prayer. That sounds like a really good Daddy to me. He has also given us the indwelling of His Spirit to make Himself, His word and His will further known to us by guiding us to all truth.  This is how personal He gets! That He would choose to live in us is amazing!  When who He is and who He has said that I am (undeserving yet dearly loved daughter/son) begins to sink in, I cannot help but love Him back and want to imitate that kind of crazy love.  

It is so often the temptation to think of all the reasons why He would want to reject me instead of claim me. The enemy is so crafty and lures us into doubt and confusion when God has clearly set His seal on us as believers that WE ARE HIS.  To let this all soak in brings about a freeing trust in who our God is and why we can trust Him.  As we accept who we are in Christ, then we can walk in the sacrificial love and mission of Jesus to serve the people around us. The realization of what we’ve been given in Christ will create a beautiful response of gratitude that can’t help but ooze out on others.

Whether our life’s mission feels big or small, seen or unseen, applauded by men or applauded in heaven, the work God chooses to do through us is up to Him- not us.  We only get to choose whether we will joyfully accept His divine plan or continually fight for our “right” to choose what the plan is and how it will look.  When we trust God and surrender to Him to be used by Him, we no longer grapple for others attention, approval and acceptance. This is already settled.  We are no longer afraid or fearful of the messiness of the unknown.  Our loving Father has a plan for us that can be trusted (Jer. 29:11).  We no longer need to control and set our own agendas. We can trust that He is working for us and for our good (Psalm 143:8,10).  We can love others without the burden of changing them! Only Jesus can do that (Exekiel 36:26). 

May the words of this song (a new anthem of mine) bless you as it has me, a prayer that my life would be laid down and that I would BE a disciple who then imitates our loving Father.

Holy, there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder
Show me who You are
And fill me with Your love
And lead me in Your love to those around me
(Build My Life, House Fires)

By Jada Shock

Lent Day 10 - A Divine Perspective

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 2-5 (KJV)

Just the mere idea of that just blows my mind!  Is Paul actually giving us a glimpse into the mind of God, and can he actually expect us to fathom the thought of being likeminded with Jesus.  A few verses earlier he exhorted us to be likeminded with each other, "be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind."  That seems difficult enough, though at least attainable. Asking us to be of one mind with Christ is, to quote the great Wizard of Oz, "a horse of another color".

Reading on, Paul explains exactly what that mindset of Christ is, a mindset of humility and selflessness, as He left His throne in heaven to take..."the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross"

That is exactly what we are celebrating this Easter.  The hand that created the universe was pierced to redeem His most precious creation, you

That same selfless humility is what Paul is exhorting us to emulate.  By now you are probably thinking this is pretty heavy for a devotional.  It's a good thing Paul didn't stop with the exhortation, but also told us how this could be done, just a few verses down in verse 13.  " for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."   

It's only through The Holy Spirit working through us that we can hope to be likeminded with Christ.  This lent season, it's nice to give up something we enjoy, but what if we take it one step further and give up a bit of our pride. What if we give up a resentment that we have toward someone who has hurt us, or what if we stop thinking about what someone isn't doing for us and think about what we can do for the kingdom of God. 

Father, I thank you for speaking to us through your word. I pray, Holy Spirit that you would empower us to be likeminded with Christ. That you would help us to spend more time thinking about the needs of others and finding time to experience your love and grace in our lives so that we can grow closer to you everyday. Amen

By Luis Preciado

Lent Day 9 - Know & Obey

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

It has been my great joy recently, by God’s grace, to put this verse into practice in my own life.  I have come to this text with fresh and learning eyes through the process.  I have seen in a new way the logical steps Jesus laid forth:  go and make disciples, baptize them, then teach them to obey everything I’ve taught you…and I’ll be with you through it all.  It’s been a blue print for me. 

Jesus spoke this to His disciples that had been with Him for three years.  They knew Him; no other qualifications needed.  Now Jesus gave them detailed but not difficult instructions…a call to obedience.  A final call that would change their lives and the whole world.  It continues to change my life and those around me (when I am obedient).  A disciple’s life boils down to knowing Jesus & obeying Him. 

The beauty in my fresh view of this text was the reminder that a new disciple is called to the same life.  They may be knowing Jesus for the first time (no prior knowledge) but after becoming a disciple and being baptized THEN they are taught everything.  They don’t have to know it all first.  They can go, baptize, and teach as they are being taught because they know Jesus and are obeying Him.  Disciples who make disciples who make disciples. 

Father, may we see that You have put us in our family, neighborhood, job, _______ (you fill in the blank) so that because of Your authority and presence in our lives, the gospel can spread. Give us the desire to increasingly know and obey You for Your glory, our good, and the salvation of those around us. Amen.

By Traci Altman

Lent Day 8 - To What End

Some of you may be reading all of these devotionals and listening to all of this talk of discipleship and you may be asking yourself, to what end? At what point is this just a hamster running on a wheel? Why should we live with an urgency to go and share the name of Jesus with our neighbors and across the seas? 

The Bible gives us a great explanation for what the end game of this great commission is. In Matthew 24:14 Jesus says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” What’s not to love about that?! More people come to know Jesus and then he returns and takes us all home! Now the Bible is clear that no one knows the hour of Christ’s return, however this verse does state that Jesus will return sometime after all the world knows about Him. 

This is huge for us as followers of Jesus! For those of you that believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior this broken world is the closest you will ever get to Hell! So if there is a way for us to participate in the drawing near of Christ’s return why are we not actively seeking these opportunities? 

The flip side is that all who don’t know and believe in Jesus have a different story. For those who haven’t accepted the good news of eternal life, unfortunately, this broken world is the closest they will ever get to Heaven. 

If we have the love of the Father in us, the thought of these people not knowing God should break our hearts (Luke 15). The world is full of sinners just like us that simply haven’t heard the good news that we have. Or maybe they have heard the story of the gospel but they have not heard and experienced the love of Jesus through someone they can trust like their neighbor, co-worker, or family member. 

This is where the urgency comes in! We know the key to their salvation! “Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). And God in His infinite wisdom has given us a master plan to reach the lost, even to the ends of the earth. 2 Timothy 2:2 says, “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  This is discipleship. 

The only way to reach the lost people of this earth is to tell others about the gospel and encourage them to tell others. Here are some scriptures that teach us what we are called to be obedient to:

Matthew 28:18-20
John 6:45
John 13:15
1 Peter 2:21
Philippians 4:9

Heavenly Father, we ask that you would give us a heart like yours that would love our neighbors as ourselves. That we would be concerned for their eternal destination as we are our own. We ask that you would grow in us an urgency to share with those around us so that you would be known in all the earth and that your return would come soon.

 By JT Sivils

Lent Day 7 - That They May Be Saved

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. - Romans 10:1

My mother returned from Beirut, Lebanon a few years ago after celebrating the 50th anniversary of a church that my grandfather planted. One of the long-time members shared a comment that will stay with me for the rest of my life. He said, “Mrs. Edwards your father loved the people of Lebanon even more than me and I am Lebanese.” What a compliment to my grandfather! I would listen to story after story of his love as it was not just for the people of Lebanon but more so for the lost souls.

I am reminded of Paul’s writings in Romans chapter 10:1.

Paul expresses great concern with his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for the desire that had been placed in his heart. This was something that he wanted to share and not simply keep it to himself. We see as the verse continues, it simply didn’t stop at just having a desire but it was then followed with prayer and supplication to God, The Father. His desire was that Israel be saved!

Do we have the desire in our hearts for the lost? Do we spend time on our knees before The Lord praying for our families, communities, and country? Have we lost the desire to share the Gospel? Have we lost the desire as a disciple to make disciples of Jesus?

Leading up to Resurrection Sunday, my encouragement is to use this time with The Lord in prayer asking for a new-found desire and urgency to see those around us come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I leave you with one of my favorite verses in the Bible that challenges us to live on mission.

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” Romans 10:14

Father, lead us to have your heart for those around us who have not heard the good news of Jesus. Grant us not only the desire to share the Gospel but the boldness to do it. Amen. 

By Benji Edwards

Lent Day 6 - A Disciple Is...

“What Is a Disciple?”

What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? As you will discover, the answer is fairly simple, but it changes your life completely.

The word disciple refers to a student or apprentice. Disciples in Jesus’s day would follow their rabbi (which means teacher) wherever he went, learning from the rabbi’s teaching and being trained to do as the rabbi did. Basically, a disciple is a follower, but only if we take the term “follower” literally. Becoming a disciple of Jesus is as simple as obeying His call to follow.

When Jesus called His first disciples, they may not have understood where Jesus would take them or the impact it would have on their lives, but they knew what it meant to follow. They took Jesus’s call literally and began going everywhere He went and doing everything He did.

It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). That’s the whole point of being a disciple of Jesus: we imitate Him, carry on His ministry, and become like Him in the process.

Yet somehow many have come to believe that a person can be a “Christian” without being like Christ. A “follower” who doesn’t follow. How does that make any sense? Many people in the church have decided to take on the name of Christ and nothing else. This would be like Jesus walking up to those first disciples and saying, “Hey, would you guys mind identifying yourselves with Me in some way? Don’t worry, I don’t actually care if you do anything I do or change your lifestyle at all. I’m just looking for people who are willing to say they believe in Me and call themselves Christians.” Seriously?

No one can really believe that this is all it means to be a Christian. But then why do so many people live this way? It appears that we’ve lost sight of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The concept of being a disciple isn’t difficult to understand, but it affects everything.

Father, make us into true disciples. Help us not to simply identify ourselves as Christians, but to increasingly live and love like you. Thank you for your grace and your Spirit that enable us to grow. 

Today's reading is an excerpt from "Multiply" by Francis Chan

Lent Day 5 - The Sovereignty of God vs The Tyranny of Urgent

Tyranny.  Merriam-Webster simply defines Tyranny as “oppressive power”.  Charles E. Hummel insightfully used this word to describe the things we see as urgent by coining the phrase “tyranny of the urgent”.  This phrase could be rephrased to say, the oppressive power of the things we perceive as most needing of our attention.

I was reminded the other day of how this power works.  There was an issue I needed to settle with my neighbor (a man in need of God’s saving).  The matter I needed to address with him was on my mind and kept coming to my mind in an unhealthy, worrying, manner.  I was running through the scenarios and how the conversation could or should go.  Thankfully, I had the opportunity to talk with him and things resolved quite well.  I came inside to see a note reminding me of some medical bills that we needed to settle.  The next thing had caught my attention and I found myself obsessing over this new matter that needed my ‘urgent’ attention.

This small snippet of my life reveals a titanic issue.  I do not trust God.  I allow the tyranny of what is in front of me to blot out the truth - God is sovereign. 

“31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’... 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” - Matthew 6:31 & 33

A disciple, someone submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, is not called to worry.  A disciple of Jesus is someone who not only increasingly knows that God is sovereign, but proves this belief by what they think, say and do.  Additionally, as we grow as dependant Jesus-followers we will disciple others to fully embrace a trust filled life, uninhibited by the urgent. 

God please help us to seek You first in all things and to let go of worry.

By Harlie Raethel

Read the previous Lent devotional here.

Lent Day 4 - It Takes One To Make One

We've had a lot of conversations at Point about the mission of the church directed by the Lord Jesus Christ to "make disciples."  Guidance given to all believers.  So, what does a disciple look like?  What are we suppose to "make"?

Using one chapter of the Bible (I Thess. 1), we find this description.  In verse 3, disciples are known for a life style produced by their faith in Jesus; they are motivated by their love for Jesus, and they endure the pressures of life because of their confident expectation that Jesus is coming back.  Faith in what Christ had done for them by His substitutionary death (past).  Living daily in the love of Christ (present).  Looking forward eagerly to the Lord's return (future).  Faith, love, and hope are three cardinal virtues that should mark a disciple.  A life focused on Jesus Christ.

In verse 6, we see these people became "imitators . . . of the Lord" because they "received the word . . . with the joy of the Holy Spirit."  A picture of radical life change in thinking and behavior as a result of fully accepting (receiving) the message of the Gospel and thus having the joy that can only be experienced by the presence of the Holy Spirit in a person's life.  A sign of true conversion.

Verse 7 shows that the life transformation was to such a degree that they "became an example" to all others and (v. 8) they spread "the word of the Lord" every place they went.  Not an organized campaign but a regular part of their normal life.  They were doing so well that Paul said there was "no need" for the apostles to go to those regions!  The new disciples were getting the job done!  Disciples make other disciples.

The radical change is further explained in verse 9.  They "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God."  This is called repentance meaning a resolute turning away from sin, a change of mind and heart toward sin and looking to God to enable holy living.

Finally, these new disciples turned from living for their own selfish purposes and lived every day waiting (V. 10) "for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come."

By Tim Brown

Read the previous Lent devotional here.

Lent Day 3 - Beloved

‘…Then I said, “Here am I.  Send me!”’  Isaiah 6:8

Murderous. Unfaithful. Unworthy.  Beloved.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches that the depth of sin goes beyond observable actions into the realm of desires of the heart (Matthew 5).  He tells the crowd that a person who is angry with a brother or sister is subject to judgement like a murderer.  Jesus tells them a man who lusts after a woman has committed adultery in his heart.  They are equal in offense to God because they are all rooted in lies about Him.   We are these people.  Woe are we, for we are ruined!  But, Beloved, that is not the end for in Christ we are fully known and fully loved.  Jesus is our only hope.

Isaiah 6: 1-9 gives a beautiful account of the transformation we experience in Christ from unworthy to beloved.  Isaiah’s response in the presence of a Holy God is, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined!’ Isaiah 6:5.  The Lord removes Isaiah’s iniquity and forgives his sins symbolized by an angel touching a hot coal to Isaiah’s lips.  Isaiah has been transformed by the King himself.  Isaiah immediately inhabits his new identity when the Lord asks for a volunteer to go on His behalf.  Isaiah begs, ‘Here am I.  Send me!’ Isaiah 6:8.  The Lord says, ‘Go…’

We are qualified in Christ, not based on our own performance.  This is the essential truth we so often forget and in our distress we feel unworthy and unqualified to make disciples.  Do you feel unworthy?  Do you feel unqualified to make disciples?  Beloved, today know that you are worthy and qualified in Christ!

Father, I pray that we would be a people who neither think too high nor too low of ourselves, but that we would increasingly not think of ourselves at all.  Help us to joyfully and courageously make disciples because we are confident in the work of the King.  Beloved, GO!  Amen.

By Aaron Negron

Read the previous lent devotional here.

Lent Day 2 - Unlikely Disciples

With Easter Sunday approaching you may find yourself during this season of Lent contemplating the weightness and severity of it all.  As a result, you may be left with some questions. How can a sinner like me ever be truly saved? How could I be a disciple of Jesus? Part of the answer to these question can be found in an angry mob and their unexpected end.

Our story starts in court. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Jn. 19:14-15. NIV. After his death, burial and subsequent resurrection, Jesus appears to his followers and gives one last command “Go therefore and make disciples.” Matt. 28:19

That’s exactly what they do! On the heels of having received the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit in the second chapter of Acts, we find Peter delivering a soul-stirring proclamation of the Gospel.

“Men of Israel [Jews] …Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God…as you yourselves know - this Jesus…you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:22-23. We read next that “…When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart…“Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized…”. Acts 2:37-38.

Incredible as it may sound some of those in the angry mob who chanted, demanding that Christ the Son of God be butchered, became themselves a few of the first recipients of His amazing grace. God called to discipleship some of the very men responsible for the death of His Son. The answer to the question who can be a disciple of Jesus is simple. Anyone God calls. Thankfully His call doesn’t depend on our character, but His love and grace.

“and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”(Acts 2:41)…and so the church began with a transformed mob of unlikely disciples.  

Father God, thank you that you’re not limited by the sins of my past, present or future. That my eternal destiny doesn’t finally depend on my worthiness, but your willingness. Not my greatness, but your grace. Strengthen and guide me Holy Spirit to help make disciples of all nations for your Glory. In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

By: Ruben J. Campos

Read the previous devotional here.