MONTHLY ARCHIVES: March 2017

Unconditionally Forgiven

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Spend a few moments alone in prayer. Ask God to help you understand the great debt of which He has forgiven you.

Ponder the cost of a luxury car, a year’s tuition to an Ivy League college, or an enormous amount of credit card debt. If you owed that amount of money, how would you feel if someone paid it for you? Jot down a few ideas.

With that in mind, read Matthew 18:21-35 in your Bible.

“Since he had no way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt. At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything!’ Then the master of that slave had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.”—Matthew 18:25-27

Think through these questions:

-The debt the first slave was forgiven of was enormous, comparable to several million dollars in today’s currency. Knowing this, what does this parable help you to understand about the debt you owe because of your sin?

The slave was forgiven a debt he never could have repaid, even if he had several lifetimes to earn the money. The scandal of the gospel is that Jesus has done the same thing for us. Our good works, acts of righteousness, and endless efforts could never make up for the debt our sin created. But Jesus laid down His life and offered Himself as the sacrifice so that our debt could be paid.

-How does it make you feel to recognize that Jesus laid down His life to pay your debt? Journal a few thoughts.

Respond

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Recognize that you are the debtor and Jesus has forgiven you, taking that burden off of you, not because you deserve it or earned it, but because He loves you.

-If you’re a Christian, ponder the depth of your sin and the great debt Jesus has paid for you. Record your praise in your journal.

-If you are not a believer, read Ephesians 2:8-9 and consider the Gospel. Will you accept God’s gift of grace today?

For further study, read Romans 5:1; Colossians 2:13-14; and Galatians 3:8.

Behind the Story

In the ancient Roman Empire, a talent was the highest known denomination of currency. Likewise, 10,000 was the highest number for which the Greek language had words. Therefore, the parable is meant to stress that this was an enormous debt that the slave had no hope of repaying on his own.

The Point

Salvation is impossible to earn; it can only be given. God has made a way for our salvation through Jesus.


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What a trip to Haiti taught me

Posted on March 24, 2017 by Sharon

I (Sharon) had the opportunity to join a team from my church to spend a week in Arcahaie, Haiti. We just got back and it has been quite the adjustment! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be there and serve alongside the people there. We joined 2 other teams to work with an organization called Poverty Resolutions. Poverty Resolutions has a compound in Arcahaie that helps equip the Haitians to learn valuable skills such as construction, agriculture, business, etc. They also are developing relationships with the families in the community around them to help provide clothes, food and schooling for the kids whose parents cannot provide the funds for those things. Many Haitians live off $1 a day. Think about that! Can you live off a $1 a day? I don’t know that I could. We got to see poverty in it’s truest form. It was a hard thing to see and grasp.

While there, our teams built 2 roofs, started a garden, hosted 4 medical clinics in 3 different communities, visited an orphanage, children’s hospital and provided encouragement to the Poverty Resolutions staff who live on the compound. I mostly helped with the medical clinics but was able to help a little in the other areas as well. I loved playing with the kids in the community and watching them play soccer. The main language there is Creole. I have never spoken Creole before so the language barrier provided it’s own set of challenges. On the last full day, we spent a couple hours at Mother Teresa’s Children’s Hospital in Port au Prince. These children rarely had visitors. They were extremely malnourished and had illnesses that will be hard to recover from. Our goal while we were there was to hold as many of the babies and toddlers as possible. They don’t get the physical touch and attention they need so they were literally crying out for it. Several of us were in tears because we wanted to spend more time there to be able to give more attention to the kids. That was the hardest day, emotionally, to see those kids cry out for attention but also to see those sweet ladies who have given their life to take care of hundreds of kids.

Things I’m still processing:
1. Our younger generations are losing the ability to be creative. These kids have no toys, no electronics, nothing and they laughed, played with each other and love life!
2. I have so much stuff that I don’t need-clothing, books, electronics, kitchen utensils, living space, etc. It makes me appreciate what I have but I also question what I actually need to live.
3 (and the most important). JESUS IS ALL I NEED! If all I had was Jesus and His death and resurrection, I need to be ok with that. That’s all that matters! Silly arguments and disagreements, comparing myself to others, wanting more of something…all that doesn’t matter. What matters is that I accept the gift of Jesus that God has given me and live a life that serves God. Am I using the gifts and abilities He’s given me for His glory or my own? I pray that it will be for His glory!

Another thing I learned is that it’s not realistic for me to come back and expect to sell everything I have and move back to Haiti. Or try to live off a $1 a day here in America. The U.S. is different than Haiti. But I do need to look for opportunities to serve those around me each day and live a life of humility.

I am so thankful for the week I spent there and I hope and pray that I’ll be able to go back! Here are a few pictures from the trip!

    

When we were in the church service, they sang a campfire song! Can you tell which one it is?!

Campfire Song-Haiti-720


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Two Debtors

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Find a quiet place free of distractions. Repent of any sin the Holy Spirit brings to mind, then thank God for forgiving you.

Read Luke 7:36-50 in your Bible.

“Jesus replied to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’

‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘say it.’

‘A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?’

Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one he forgave more.’”

Luke 7:40-43

 

Ponder these questions:

Reread verses 44-46. Compare the woman’s response to Jesus with the Pharisee’s response to Jesus. How are they different?

-The Pharisees knew only God was capable of forgiving sin, yet Jesus forgave the woman’s sins. In doing so, what was Jesus proclaiming about Himself? Why was that so offensive to the Pharisees?

-Skim over the passage once more. Jesus said that the woman’s extravagant gratefulness was proper because she truly recognized that she had been forgiven much. What does her example teach you about how those who have been forgiven by Jesus should live? Explain.

Respond

Those who recognize how much they have been forgiven live differently. Love and thankfulness characterize their lives. Do those qualities describe you? Why or why not? If not, what actions will you take to understand the depth of Jesus’ forgiveness and cultivate those characteristics in your life? Record two ideas in your journal.

Evaluate your response to Jesus and His forgiveness. If you’re more like the Pharisees, what needs to change in your life so you can express your gratefulness to Jesus? List two ideas in your journal.

Behind the Story

There is no specific word in Hebrew or Aramaic that means to show gratitude or to thank. Instead, speakers used words like love, praise, bless, and glorify to convey thankfulness or gratitude. Therefore, the phrase “love him more” in verse 42 probably means who was more grateful. The point is that someone who has been forgiven much appreciates it more.

The Point

Our lives testify to the truth of our salvation. The lives of those who have been forgiven much are characterized by love and gratefulness.


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100% Devoted

Posted on March 14, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Go somewhere different for your quiet time today. Find a place far away from the TV or computer and turn off your phone and other electronic devices. Focus your heart and mind 100 percent on God and His Word.

While many of Jesus’ parables taught about the kingdom of God, others revealed what following Him actually looks like. Read Luke 10:25-28 in your Bible. As you read, underline any words or phrases that teach you something about what Jesus wants from His followers.

 

“Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

‘What is written in the law?’ He asked him. ‘How do you read it?’

He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’” —Luke 10:25-27

 

Ask yourself:

Look at what you underlined in your Bible. What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind? Write it in your own words.

-Who in your life is a good example of loving Jesus in this way? Why did you pick him or her? What does that person’s life teach you about following Jesus?

-Read verse 28 again. Jesus said, “Do this.” What did He tell the expert in the law to do in order to inherit eternal life?

-Why does Jesus want His followers to be entirely committed to Him? Explain.

Respond

Jesus wasn’t giving His followers a checklist of things they have to do to earn eternal life; He was calling them to submit every bit of their lives and themselves to Him. He wants us to wholeheartedly commit to following Him.

Your relationship with Jesus and commitment to Him should shape your decisions and values. What does your life declare about your commitment to Jesus?

If there is anything in your life that is keeping you from completely following after Jesus and walking in His ways, confess it today. In your journal, jot down your action plan to remove those things from your life.

For further study, read Luke 9:23-24; Luke 14:26-27; and 2 Timothy 3:12.

Behind the Story

In the original language, “Do this” (v. 28) is in the imperative, emphasizing a continual commitment to Christ and the way He has called us to live. The expert of the law wanted to justify works-based salvation, but Jesus said salvation came through love and devotion to God instead of merits or works. How do you see the expert’s attitude toward works-based salvation at work in the world today?

The Point

To follow Jesus means to follow Him with every part of who you are—your entire being.


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Which Crestridge Princess Are You?

Posted on March 10, 2017 by Grace Arant

Take our quiz to find out which Crestridge Princess you are! Link below!

https://www.playbuzz.com/gracex18/which-crestridge-princess-are-you

 


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We Plant; God Grows

Posted on March 7, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Make a list of five things that God does for you daily that you haven’t thanked Him for lately. Thank God for those things and ask Him to forgive you of ungratefulness.

Read Mark 4:26-29 in your Bible.

“The kingdom of God is like this,” He said. “A man scatters seed on the ground; he sleeps and rises—night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows—he doesn’t know how.”—Mark 4:26-27

Ponder these questions:

-What role did the man in the parable play in making the seeds grow? Explain.

A faithful farmer plants seeds. He can water the seeds and try to make sure all the conditions are perfect for their growth and success, but he is powerless to actually cause them to grow.

-If the seed is symbolic of the gospel, what does this parable teach you about the success of the gospel? Explain.

The success of the gospel isn’t dependent on you. Like the sower, you must be faithful to plant the seeds and share the gospel message, but you can’t cause people to place their faith in Jesus. You have to share your hope, but trust God to bring the harvest.

-Why should Christians find it encouraging that we’re not in charge of growing the crops? Explain.

Respond

The parable of the growing seed teaches us two things: there will be a harvest (demonstrating God’s faithfulness), and we must be faithful to share the gospel.

In your journal, list the names of people you know have heard the gospel, but have not yet trusted Christ as Savior. Commit to pray for these people on an ongoing basis. Ask God to help you to trust Him to bear fruit in those peoples’ lives, even if trusting Him to do so is difficult.

As a believer, you’re not responsible for how people respond to the gospel, but you are responsible to share it. Pray that God would provide opportunities to share your faith this week. Ask Him to help you be faithful.

You never know how God will use the gospel seeds you plant in others’ lives. Ask God to open your eyes to specific ways to point others to Jesus in your words, actions, and interactions this week. Jot down three ideas in your journal.

For further study of your commission to share the gospel, read Matthew 28:19-20.

Behind the Story

Jesus frequently used agricultural metaphors because His original audience would have been familiar with farming. They could easily relate to and understand the deeper meaning of these stories.

The Point

You are responsible for sharing the gospel, but God is the One who brings the harvest.


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INSIDE SCOOP on YOUR 2017 STAFFERS!!!

Posted on March 3, 2017 by kgreenwell

Batch 2 of 2017 Staffers is UP! 2017 Staff Bios

Hang on. Wait a minute. Keep reading!

We just wanted to let you in on a little something about this summer’s staff. We have a top secret, staff facebook group, and we are already talking about this summer! We are getting to know each other. And let us tell YOU! They are FUN. They are EXCITED. And GOD is getting them ready for an incredible summer with you! They are looking forward to being silly with you. They are looking forward to sitting and talking about life with you. They are looking forward to sharing God’s word and Jesus with you. But that isn’t the best part…

Do you know what all of that means? That means that GOD is looking forward to making all of this happen because He loves you. Not because you’ve done anything to make Him love you, but because He just loves you because He loves you. Before He planned out this summer and got all of these counselors and staff to get ready for you this summer, He sent HIS ONLY SON for YOU so that you could KNOW HIM NOW!

Moms, Dads, and Campers. Camp and all of the things here and even your amazing counselors do not compare to how great Jesus is and how much He loves you and has sacrificed (If you don’t know what this word means, ask someone! It’s a beautiful word!) to love you. He loves you more than you know. And we can’t wait to share more of that with you! Sometimes life is great fun, and sometimes it’s pretty rough, but one thing is always true. If you know Jesus as your savior, HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU.

Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

See you so so so soon! Only 94 more days till Session 1!!


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