MONTHLY ARCHIVES: April 2017

Just One Sheep

Posted on April 25, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Find a quiet place. Ask God to help you understand what He has to teach you in His Word.

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it? When he has found it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, and coming home, he calls his friends and neighbors together, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’”

Luke 15:4-6

Just as the shepherd valued each sheep, God values each person.

Read Luke 15:1-7 in your Bible. Answer these questions:

In this parable, the shepherd represents Jesus. What does the story reveal about His character? About His love for you? About His desire to have a relationship with you?

In verse 5, the image of the shepherd putting the sheep on his shoulders meant the sheep was likely injured or weak. What does this tell you about the shepherd’s love for the sheep? Explain.

According to verse 7, how do you think you should react when someone repents?

Respond

Remember each person has value to God, including you and me. Consider how much the Good Shepherd loves you. Take time to think Him for His great love.

In your journal, list the names of a few people you struggle to love. Leave space beneath each name. Pray and ask God to guide you as you write at least one good quality about each person.

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life. Repent today knowing all of heaven celebrates with you.

For further study, read Jeremiah 34:15 and Hosea 14:2

Behind the Story

Luke 15:1-2 sets the tone for the parables we’ll look at over the next few weeks. Jesus spent time with “tax collectors and sinners” (v. 1). The tax collectors were known for being dishonest and unkind. Sinners were those who did not acknowledge or obey God. Jesus spent time hanging out with them, because He loved them and didn’t mind going against the so-called social norms to bring people to repentance. The Pharisees were upset. They didn’t want to associate with or be near people who didn’t obey the law, so they thought Jesus shouldn’t, either. But Jesus knew His calling was to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10).

Repent v.= Turning from sin to God.

The Point

A repentant sinner is cause for great joy and celebration.


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Because He Forgives

Posted on April 18, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Remove the distractions from around you; turn off the TV, music, and your cell phone. Ask God to prepare you to hear and understand what He has to say in His Word.

Skim over Matthew 18:21-35 and look back on the devotion, “Unconditionally Forgiven” from March 27th to remind yourself about what you learned when you studied the parable of the unforgiving servant. In your journal, jot down the main point of that devotion in your own words.

Dig a little deeper with these questions:

-What does this parable reveal about how God forgives us?

-What does this parable teach you about forgiving others? Explain.

-Now, turn to Ephesians 4:31-32. Answer the questions that follow.

“All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” —Ephesians 4:31-32

What do these verses have in common with the parable of the unforgiving servant? Explain.

Underline Ephesians 4:32. As a Christian, you have experienced God’s forgiveness for a debt you could never pay. According to these verses, how should that affect the way you interact with others, particularly those who have wronged you?

Why is it so important that forgiveness characterize the lives of believers? How does practicing extravagant forgiveness testify to the truth of the gospel? Explain.

Respond

Because you have been forgiven so much, you must forgive others.

Think about the people in your life. Are there people you refuse to forgive because you don’t think they deserve it? If so, write their names in your journal. Take steps to forgive that person today. Let him or her know you want to forgive because God forgave you of a far greater debt.

You may need to ask someone to forgive you. If God has used these verses to bring a person to mind, don’t delay in seeking his or her forgiveness. List your action plan in the margin. You can’t control the person’s response, but you can be obedient to God in seeking forgiveness.

Behind the Story

Paul’s words in Ephesians 4 were written to Christians. Knowing the struggle of living the Christian life, he charged them to put away the things that had characterized their lives before knowing Christ. He challenged Christians to treat one another with kindness and compassion because God had treated them that way. In doing so, the church would be built up and unified. This would help the world to see that Jesus does make a difference.

The Point

Because you have experienced God’s forgiveness, you must forgive others.


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Kingdom Responsibility

Posted on April 11, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Prepare your heart and mind to read God’s Word today. Pray, asking God to give you wisdom to apply the truth you learn today as you study Scripture.

Consider the definition of the word steward. What qualities do you think a good steward possesses? What characterizes someone who’s a bad steward? Journal a few thoughts.

Steward (n.)= Someone who looks after or manages something, like property or money.

Read Matthew 25:14-30 in your Bible.

“Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.” —Matthew 25:15b-18

Ask yourself:

Read verses 15-18,24-27 again. According to these verses, what are some characteristics of a good steward? What qualities characterize a bad steward? Explain.

The slave who hid the talent failed to make any kind of investment with what the master had given him, which displayed a lack of commitment to the master. His desire to be safe overrode his desire to please the master.

Has Jesus ever called you to be obedient in a way that would have cost you something? Why is obedience when things don’t make sense a good gauge of your commitment? Explain.

The master gave each slave something in this parable. They didn’t get the same amount, but no one was left out. The same is true of the kingdom of God. God has placed resources in the lives of every believer—talents, skills, gifts, capabilities—and we must be good stewards of all He has given us.

Respond

Think about the last few days or weeks and the opportunities you experienced to be obedient or faithful to God. What does your obedience (or disobedience) reveal about your commitment to God? Are you truly willing to follow Him wherever He leads, or only when it makes sense?

Ask God to help you to trust Him entirely and follow Him no matter where He leads, even if it doesn’t make sense or scares you.

In your journal, list some gifts, talents, skills, or capabilities that God has given you. How can you be a good steward of those gifts and use them for God’s glory? Jot down three ideas in your journal. Circle one you’ll focus on this week.

Behind the Story

The parable of the talents calls believers to obey Jesus in all things—even when risk or uncertainty is involved. This does not imply that we are to be foolish or take chances, but rather that we are to be obedient. When God calls us to step out in faith, we are to do so, even if the world thinks that choice is unwise, difficult, or senseless. Faithful obedience to the Lord pleases Him and accomplishes His kingdom purposes. 

The Point

God has given each of us resources to use to build His kingdom. We must be good stewards of all He has given us.


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Spring Cleaning Birthday Party Bash!

Posted on April 7, 2017 by kgreenwell

Spring cleaning at camp means YOU are right around the corner! A few of our staff came up for a weekend to help get camp ready and to celebrate Grace’s Birthday!!!

Here is our checklist and a few pics of the fun we had…

  • Fertilize and seed the upper green-CHECK
  • Clean  out the beehive basement-CHECK
  • Fertilze the plants and flowers with holy tone, rose tone, plant tone and osmocote (ask Grace our new horticulture specialist if you want to know what that stuff is)- CHECK
  • Clean out and organize the Village Director closet of fun-CHECK
  • Prime new cabin signs-CHECK
  • Prime two infirmary bathrooms-CHECK
  • Clean pool- CHECK
  • Celebrate Grace’s birthday on the blue ridge parkway with a picnic- CHECK AND CHECK

Before…

During…

After…

Whistle while you work…

Picnic on the Parkway…


You can make chores fun anywhere! What does your Spring Cleaning look like?! 


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Justified

Posted on April 4, 2017 by Karah

Pause

Find a quiet room where you won’t be distracted. Take a few moments to pray, asking God to prepare you to study His Word today.

Read Luke 18:9-14 in your Bible.

“Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. . . . But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me—a sinner!’” —Luke 18:10,13

Read verses 10-14 again. Compare and contrast the hearts and attitudes of the tax collector and Pharisee

Pharisee                                            Tax Collector

 

The tax collector’s prayer was marked by humility and recognition of his standing (as a sinner) before God. The Pharisee’s prayer was marked by pride, self-righteousness, and judgment of others.

-Whom did Jesus say left justified? Why?

-The Pharisee was a religious leader and the person Jesus’ listeners would have expected to be the hero of the story, especially knowing the Pharisees’ emphasis on moral excellence. Why is it important to recognize that we aren’t justified because of our own goodness or effort, but Jesus’ goodness?

Respond

Believers are not self-righteous or prideful, pointing hateful fingers toward sinners and proclaiming they are better than them. Believers recognize their need for Jesus, turn to God in repentance, and urge others to do the same.

Pause to take stock of your life. Which attitude best describes yours: the Pharisee or the tax collector? Confess any sin the Holy Spirit reveals.

In what ways do you struggle with self-righteousness? What steps will you take this week to deal with this?

When are you most tempted to judge others for sinful choices? When that happens this week, think about the depth of your sinfulness and your own need for Christ. Let that realization affect the way you respond to others.

The last few devotions should have helped you to recognize the depth of your sin, your need for Christ, and the overwhelming nature of God’s grace. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus, talk to a parent, someone you trust from church, or a camp counselor about what it means to put your faith in Christ.

Behind the Story

Pharisees were Jewish religious leaders. The name Pharisee means separated ones. They believed that ritual, rules, and separation from common sinners was the way to please God.

Justification n.= Right standing before God, only made possible through Jesus Christ.

The Point

True believers recognize their sinfulness and need for God’s mercy. When we humbly turn to Christ in repentance, He justifies us.


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