Summer Break

Hey guys and gals! I’ve decided to take off writing daily devotions for the rest of the summer. So no devotions for the rest of July.

I’ll take a fresh look in August and see if we want to keep going or swap up the format.

If you need some direction still in your daily bible reading, we’ve been following the New Testament portion of this plan.

Have a great summer!

The Tailgate Company

thank you

For 5 years, I’ve had the great privilege of hosting a party for between 500-1000 people 7 times each year at my alma mater, Mississippi State University. It’s been a blast! The Tailgate Company started as an idea in the mind of an overzealous 21 year old. It sprouted into a business that served 7 groups of customers in 2012. The business consisted of 16 tents, 15 tables, about 100 chairs, a few TV’s, and some really cool lights. We operated it out of the bed of an old truck and a 5×8 cargo trailer. Both were borrowed.

The next year we doubled. Then we doubled again. MSU finally capped us off on space. Our last two years, we served about 45 groups per game. Each group was somewhere between 10-25 people. All our gear is now held in a 30ft gooseneck trailer, a 20 footer that holds just TVs and satellite gear, and a 14 foot trailer we use for small events.

The growth has been a thrill. Every year, prior to the first game, I would ask my wife, “Can we pull it off this year?” “Baby, you can do anything,” she would say.  Well that wasn’t true, but our team of really great folks…they could pretty much do anything. It’s been such a pleasure working with you guys.

As The Tailgate Company grew, so did I and so did my family.  We’ve got three beautiful kids now, and I now serve as an associate pastor at a church down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Tailgate Company has been something between a really great hobby and a way to “bring home the bacon” so my wife could be at home with our little ones. Whatever it was, it’s been a big part of my life.

“All good things must come to an end,” they say. Now is that time for The Tailgate Company. MSU has elected to move away from allowing multiple companies to compete for business on gamedays, and they are instead contracting with a single vendor. Long story short, we’re closing up shop.

It’s almost comical. I’ve been praying for about a year now that God would help me find a little better rhythm of work and rest. I’ve been trying to learn how to have a little more margin in my life. To be a little more present with my wife and kids. I’ll take this as his answer. And since this is his answer, we’ll trust that he’ll provide. As the Psalmist says, “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” I’m choosing to believe that.

If you’ve been a customer, employee, or friend of The Tailgate Company, let me just say: Thank you. It has been such a pleasure. I’ve enjoyed serving you and serving with you. I won’t begin to claim we reached perfection, but I do believe we served with excellence. Thanks for letting us. Thanks for trusting the kid with the borrowed pick-up truck back in 2012. Thanks for letting me build something really cool.

PS We will be selling all of our equipment. If that’s something you are interested in, feel free to shoot me an email at david@tailgateco.com.

Sermon: More and More

more and more

I tried to post this sermon on Monday and Worpress decided to fight me.  I’m giving it another attempt.

If you have 40 minutes to spare and have run out of John Piper sermons, I pray this is a blessing. This sermon was birthed out of some things I saw from the Word while writing a daily devotion on this blog.

The Church and Her Leaders

Adobe Spark (18)Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Timothy 3

Go ahead and grab your paper bible, or pull up 1 Timothy 3 on another device and read it, then come back here for the devo.

Big Truth:

The church belongs to God and is to be led and served by people who love and obey God. The church’s mission is to hold up, protect, and proclaim the truth of the gospel.

Study:

Verses 1-13:

 

Chapter 3 starts with the qualifications of “overseers” in the church. In the New Testament, there are a few names used for overseer. Other titles for this position are elders, or pastors. Overseers are leaders in the church. The Bible always speaks of them in a plurality and as the highest level of leadership within the church.

Paul then moves to the qualifications for deacons. Deacons are lead servants in the church.  They are focused on serving the day to day needs of the church body to allow the overseers to teach and shepherd.

What do these qualifications tell us about what God thinks of leaders in his church? Are they important? Is how they live important?

What is the difference in the qualifications between a deacon and an overseer? What do these differences tell us?

What are some of these qualifications that you could be working on in your life? Even if you do not desire to be an overseer, these are admirable qualities in any Christian. It is my view, every believer should aspire to “deacon” (serve), even if they are not given the title in their local church.

 

Verses 14-16:

Paul ends this chapter with a beautiful description of the church and poem/song about the “mystery of godliness.”

According to Paul, who does the church belong to?

What does it mean that the church belongs to a living God?

What does it mean that the church is a pillar and buttress of truth? (A buttress is a support for a wall that keeps it from falling when an enemy attacks.) Could we say this means: Hold up and protect the truth? What would that look like in your life?

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he builds his church and guides it leaders. Praise him that the truth we hold up and proclaim is rich and beautiful in the gospel.

Confession: Confess to God ways that you may want church to be more about entertaining or serving you and forget that you are part of supporting and proclaiming the truth. Confess to God ways you may struggle to love and follow the leadership he has placed in your church.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that he lovingly leads his church as the living God.

Supplication: Ask God to help you love his design for the church. Ask him to help you have the qualities he requires of overseers and deacons. Ask him to help you be apart of holding up the truth of the gospel.

Grace & Peace.

Start With Prayer

Adobe Spark (18)

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Timothy 2

We’re on day 2 of 1 Timothy this morning! Go ahead and grab your paper bible, or pull up 1 Timothy 2 on another device and read it, then come back here for the devo.

Big Truth:

Paul’s first matter of importance to share with Timothy was the importance of prayer within the church.

Study:

Verses 1-8:

Paul is writing to a young minister, providing instruction on leading and serving the church. He is going to give instructions on leadership in the church, the importance of godliness, teaching, rebuking false teachers, caring for widows, etc. What does he start with? (Verse 1)

What does Paul starting with prayer tell us about how important prayer is in our the church? What are some words used to describe prayer? What are some topics Paul encourages Timothy to pray for?

What does “lifting up holy hands” mean (verse 8)? What does our way of life have to do with our prayers?

 

Verses 9-15:

Verses 9-11 give some specific instructions around attire for women. I do not believe these principled guides, given at a particular moment in history, are meant to be laws for our day. For instance, I don’t believe it is a sin for a woman to braid her hair. What can we learn from verses 9-11? What are some temptations in our day that may lead Christian women to dress in ways that would not honor God?

What does God desire the focus of the “adorning” of his daughters to be? (Verse 10)

Verses 12-14 give some specific guides for the place of women within the church. Paul’s words in verse 14 sound particularly strange to our 21st century ears. While the principle in scripture stands: there are roles of leadership within the church reserved to men. We are reminded in Genesis 1 and 1 Peter 3 that men and women are both created in God’s image and equally heirs of God’s grace.

I thought his commentary from John Piper and Wayne Grudem was particularly insightful. “Men and women, as God created us, are different in hundreds of ways. Being created equally in the image of God means at least this: that when the so-called weakness and strength columns for manhood and for womanhood are added up, the value at the bottom is going to be the same for each. And when you take those two columns and put them on top of each other, God intends them to be the perfect complement to each other.”

Verse 15 can be confusing. There are a few potential understandings of this text.  Keeping all of the Bible in mind, we know that it does not mean a woman’s eternal salvation is dependent on her having a child. I appreciated the perspective offered here.

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he invites us to prayer. Praise him that he is wise and gives good instruction to his church.

Confession: Confess to God that coming to him with “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings” is not always our first instinct. Confess ways that we may reject his good design for the church, for men, and for women.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that he instructs us in his word and invites us to come to him in prayer. Thank him that we can pray un-condemned through Jesus.

Supplication: Ask God to help you love his design for the church. Ask him to help you be a praying person who desires the things he desires.

Grace & Peace.

Cited:

John Piper and Wayne Grudem, 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway, 2016).

 

Warfare of Grace

Adobe Spark (18).jpg

Today’s Bible Reading:

1 Timothy 1

We’re starting 1 Timothy this morning! Go ahead and grab your paper bible, or pull up 1 Timothy 1 on another device and read it, then come back here for the devo.

Big Truth:

While the law is useful, God’s people need the gospel as they live under grace. Paul and Timothy are both called to proclaim it, and we are too!

 

Study:

Verses 1-11:

“Good men (those who are declared righteous through faith in Christ) are governed not by law but by a personal relationship to Jesus Christ. This means, for example, that they not only do not kill (that is merely the restriction of the law) but they do not entertain anger towards others (see Matt. 5:21, 22). To live in unbroken fellowship with Christ rules out the possibility of personal resentment and hatred.” (Mounce)

The law is helpful because it shows us where we may be going against God’s ways, but what does Paul say the “aim” or “goal” of his charge is? (Verse 5)

Can the law accomplish this goal?

Verses 12-20:

“Paul (then named Saul) appeared to be impossibly lost. He was a religious predator whose hands were stained with the blood of Christians—a callous, self-righteous, bigoted murderer hell-bent on a full-scale inquisition (Acts 9:1–2; 26:9–11). But on the Damascus road, he met the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Acts 9:3–6). There, while he did not deserve mercy, he was shown mercy—he “received mercy” (1 Tim. 1:13, 16)…

The result? In Paul’s own words, “and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (v. 14). The words portray an overwhelming supply of mercy.”” (ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible)

What is the statement that Paul says is “trustworthy” in verse 15? What does Paul’s testimony about God’s grace in his life tell you about God’s willingness to give grace to you?

Paul gives Timothy a “charge” to “wage warfare” in verse 18. Based on verses 12-17, what are the weapons of our “warfare?”

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he has given us his law as a good and wise guide for our life. Praise Jesus for his work on the cross that frees us from the condemnation of the law and invites us to live out of relationship with him.

Confession: Confess to God ways that you may hold others to law standards instead of giving them grace. Confess to God that the gospel doesn’t always “overflow” out of your life. Confess that you may not always stay “waging warfare” with the gospel.

Thanksgiving: Thank God that we get to be apart of his army that brings the message of Jesus redemption to the world. Thank him that we are not under the law, but under the grace he gives us so freely in Jesus. Be glad this morning that our aim is “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

Supplication: Ask God to help you remember his grace and extend it to others. Ask him to show you clearly your part in “waging warfare” with the gospel and to help you do it with wisdom and grace. Spend time laying any burdens you have upon him as you begin your day. He desires for you to walk in the freedom and joy of the gospel.

Grace & Peace.

Cited:

Robert H. Mounce, Pass It On: A Bible Commentary for Laymen: First and Second Timothy (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2005).

The Day of The Lord

Adobe Spark

Today’s Bible Reading:

2 Thessalonians 2

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

We are currently in a time when evil is still being restrained. There will be a time of great rebellion followed by the return of Christ when Jesus will ultimately defeat all evil with his breath. All who have trusted Christ can be sure that when all evil is ultimately punished, they will be standing with Christ as his redeemed people.

Restraint (now), rebellion (where we are headed), retribution (Christ’s judgement on those who reject him), and restoration (for those whom Christ has saved), this is the future of our world.

Commentary:

 

The one who Paul calls “the lawless one” is the same as the person we know as “the antichrist.” 1 John 2:18 says, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come.” John seems to be saying that while there is an ultimate evil one to come, there are still evil ones who are already at work.

Questions from the Bible Reading:

If Jesus is going to take out the ultimate evil one (the antichrist, lawless one, etc.) with “the breath of his mouth” (vs 8) then what does that say about his power over any other force of evil? Is there any bad thing that can or will happen that is to much for Jesus?

Knowing that there is still evil in the world, and that there is more evil to come, what truths does Paul remind the Thessalonians of in verses 13-17? Are those things true about you in Christ?

Prayer:

Adoration: Worship Jesus as the one who will destroy even the most powerful forces of darkness with his breath. Love and thank him that he chose us as his people and called out of darkness all who believe on Christ.

Confession: Confess to God any ways that you aren’t trusting him to judge the world with righteousness and power. Are there people you are trying to get even with? Are there bad things in the world you feel can’t be overcome? Trust those to our King,

Thanksgiving: Thank God that we chosen, beloved, saved, called, etc in Christ. Thank him that he is allowing us to be glorified with Christ because of the gospel instead of condemned with the antichrist because of our sin.

Supplication: Ask God to help you keep you trust his sovereign hand. Ask him to give you joy, steadfastness, and a rich desire for him as you consider his coming kingdom.

Grace & Peace.

Confident in Trials

1 thessToday’s Bible Reading:

2 Thessalonians 1

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

Questions from the Bible Reading:

Based on verse 4, are the people receiving this letter in a hard time or easy time?

How are they handling the struggles they are facing?

Verses 5-9 describe God’s judgement on those who afflict his people. In our culture, thinking about God’s judgement can be uncomfortable. How does knowing God will judge our enemies help us? How does it help us avoid revenge and bitterness?

Verses 9-12 talk about how God’s people being united with their king, Jesus. Who are the people marveling at Jesus in verse 10? What does this mean about how we are judged?

 

Application:

All who believe will marvel at Jesus when he returns. This means we look forward to Jesus return with longing. Knowing that we aren’t judged based on our own goodness, but on Jesus’ perfection. We also live through tough times knowing that Jesus will settle all accounts in the end. We don’t need to get even with those who have wronged us. We also live knowing he’s returning, seeking to live worthy of his calling as we “fulfill every work of faith by his power.”

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he is a righteous judge. Praise him that he is just. Celebrate that our God, the righteous judge, sent his son to save us. Praise Jesus that he did not come to earth to judge us, but to save us. And praise him that he is coming again to make all things right.

Confession: Confess to God ways you are trying to get even with others instead of “enduring” and trusting him to judge those who afflict you. Confess to God any ways that you are knowing living unworthy of his calling.

Thanksgiving: Thank God for the promises he has given us in the gospel. Thank him that you can look forward to his return because of Jesus. Thank him that he allows us to do good in his power.

Supplication: Ask God to help you keep you put away feelings of bitterness or desires for revenge. Ask him to help you trust his gracious hand. Ask him to help you walk in obedience by his power.

Grace & Peace.

Children of the Light

1 thessToday’s Bible Reading:

1 Thessalonians 5

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

The people of God are to be alert and hopeful as they wait for Jesus’ return,

Questions from the Bible Reading:

 

Take a look at verses 2-4. Describe the people who are “in darkness.” What is true about them based on this passage?

Now look at verses 4-11. What is true about the children of the light?

Think for a minute about the difference between someone who Jesus’ return will “come like a thief in the night” and someone who is “awake and sober.” What is different between these two people’s lives?

In verses 12-28, Paul closes the book with some very practical instruction. Why would specific instruction follow a call to be looking towards Jesus return?

Application:

 

Do you live aware of Jesus’ return? Are there areas in your life you wouldn’t want to be there when Jesus comes back? That is what Paul calls, “Living in darkness.” As application this morning, I want to ask you to look towards Jesus who has saved you, is saving you, and is returning to ultimately save you. Consider the wonderful hope we have as we look forward to Jesus return. Then, between you and God, turn away from any ways you are living in the dark and begin walking in the light.

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that Jesus Christ will come again in power and glory. Think of all the ways we can celebrate who God is as we think about his salvation breaking through the clouds as he sets up his kingdom on this earth.

Confession: Confess to God ways you are walking in darkness. Ways you may not be looking and longing for his return.

Thanksgiving: Thank God for the hope we have in Christ and for the encouragement we have in his return.

Supplication: Ask God to help you keep your heart fixed on Christ. Ask him to give you a dissatisfaction with this present world and a longing for his kingdom.

Grace & Peace.

More & More

1 thessToday’s Bible Reading:

1 Thessalonians 4

Grab your paper bible or another device and read this chapter, then keep it open and come back here to walk through this devotion.

Big Truth:

God’s people are to continually grow in holiness, love, and longing for Christ’s return.

Questions from the Bible Reading:

In verses 1-8, what commands are given about holiness? What motivations are given for holiness?

In verses 9-12, what instruction is given about love? What motivations are given for how we treat others?

In verses 1 and 10, Paul celebrates the Thessalonian’s obedience to God then calls them to “more and more.” What does this tells us about our walk with God? Have we ever stopped growing?

In verses 13-18, Paul moves to talking about our future with Jesus. What does looking towards Jesus’ return have to do with living with “more and more” holiness and love? See verse 18.

Application:

Verses 1-8 focus especially sexual holiness. What are the struggles you face in our hyper sexualized culture? How can you press on in more and more holiness?

Even after celebrating their love for each other, Paul invites them to “more and more.” What is God calling you to in deeper relationship, richer love, and a gentler and quieter life before outsiders?

Spend a minute or two meditating on your future. Living with Jesus as king, having a restored body, no more pain, no more death…Let the Spirit use our wonderful future to encourage your heart this morning.

Prayer:

Adoration: Praise God that he is so deep and wide that we never run out of “more and more” in our pursuit of him. Praise him that he is powerful, good, wise, and gracious, allowing us to trust him for our future.

Confession: Confess to God ways you need to turn towards him in repentance as you pursue more and more holiness. Confess to God ways you may not be loving well. Be specific. God knows your heart. Lay it open before him.

Thanksgiving: Thank God for his calling in your life, for the gospel that enables “more and more” obedience. Thank God for the hope of a wonderful future with no death. Thank God for the cross that makes this future possible.

Supplication: Ask God for a deep rooted desire from your heart for more and more. Ask him to not let you be satisfied with your current holiness, love and longing, but to grow them.

Grace & Peace.