All In The Family

Posted by Melissa

Camp Ridgecrest HorsebackEVER WANTED to pretend your little brother wasn’t related to you? Or maybe found your dad to be too embarrassing to hang out with in public?

We don’t expect Jesus to have had those moments. Yet at first glance, that’s what today’s passage seems to be: Jesus being disrespectful to His earthly family. Just remember: first impressions aren’t always right!

Read Luke 8:19-21. Consider Jesus’ words in verse 21 carefully.

Who came to see Jesus when He was preaching to the crowd?

What was Jesus’ response?

According to verse 21, who did Jesus say were His mother and brothers? What does that mean?

What does it mean to both hear and do the Word?

Are you someone who only hears God’s Word or someone who both hears and takes action?

At first glance, Jesus’ response to His mother and brothers in today’s passage seems disrespectful and rude. While the words seem harsh—and maybe they seemed that way to Jesus’ family, too—they teach us something important about our Savior: He places extreme importance on hearing and doing the Word.

Jesus doesn’t just want followers who know all about Him and know every word of His teachings. That’s a good starting point, but Jesus wants followers who know Him, people who read Scripture and study His teachings in order to become more like Him. He wants followers who hear His words and put them into action. He doesn’t just want us to listen; He wants us to follow His example. So, what kind of follower are you?

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What’s The Most Important Thing?

Posted by Melissa

IT’S SUNDAY, AND YOUR COACH schedules a morning practice. You have Bible study on Wednesday night, and your friends call and invite you to go out for hot wings. The prettiest girl or hottest guy in the school isn’t interested in God but is very interested in you. Your friend has a cell phone at camp and you don’t know whether you should tell your counselor. The scenarios are endless of everyday situations that call for tough choices—choices that boil down to what Jesus wants or what you want. Think about a “Jesus or you” choice that you recently had to make. What made the choice difficult? If you could do it over, would you choose differently?

Read Luke 14:25-35. Stop and think about verse 26.
What relationships did Jesus say could never be more important than Him?
Why do these verses make you feel uncomfortable?
What did Jesus say was the cost of putting others before Him?
What relationships are you tempted to put before Jesus?
What steps do you need to take today to make sure that you are choosing Jesus first in all things?

Jesus isn’t calling you to actually “hate” everyone in your life except Him. You know God’s character and that He would never ask you to do that! What Jesus is saying is that no friend, family member, coach, boss, or boyfriend/girlfriend—absolutely NO ONE (that includes yourself)—is to be more important to you than Him. It’s one thing to say you are a Christian, but if your choices don’t scream “I’m a follower of Jesus!,” then your relationship may only be lip service.

Jesus’ whole point is that following Him costs us. Clearly, He wants us to follow hard after Him with a single-minded focus. When you are willing to pay the price, then you can call yourself a true disciple. Does your life announce to the world that you are His disciple?

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He is The Savior

Posted by Melissa

HAVE YOU EVER felt trapped by something? A situation, a lie, an invitation, a mess, a sin?
At one time or another, most of us have felt trapped by something in our lives. We know that as hard as we try, there’s no way we can get out of it ourselves. We know that as bad as it hurts, there’s nothing we can do. We know that we’re powerless, broken, and tired. That’s when we need to turn to the One who has the power and authority to handle the problem.

Read through Luke 5:17-26 and think about how you’d have reacted if you’d been present in verse 25.
What do verses 20 and 24 say about the authority of Christ?
What did the paralyzed man do after being healed?
Why is it important that Luke recorded Jesus forgiving the man’s sins and healing him?
What was Jesus’ response to the scribes and Pharisees’ reaction to His miracle?

When Jesus saw the paralyzed man and simply said “Your sins are forgiven,” He undoubtedly shocked the scribes and Pharisees. They would have quickly realized that Jesus was claiming He could do things only God had the authority to do. How could He forgive the sins of someone if He was merely a man?

Jesus wanted everyone to understand that He was no mere man. He was the Son of God with the power to rescue people from the bondage of sin and heal them. He still has the power to do that today. We just have to let Him have authority in our lives and trust Him for salvation. And that’s something to celebrate!

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Treasure Hunt

Posted by Melissa

Treasure Hunt
Read This Passage: Luke 12:31-34

campcrestridge_10For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Luke 12:34
MILLION DOLLAR HOUSES. Expensive fashion trends. Pricey cars and electronics. In today’s world many of us seem to be in love with the idea of more. We want more stuff, more money, more popularity.

There’s nothing wrong with having nice things or working hard and saving to get something you want. But there is a problem when this stuff—material, earthly things—becomes the treasure in your life. We can have all the money in the world, but if our bank accounts are where we store our treasure, our hearts have a zero balance.

I have learned recently what it means to be without. I found myself scrounging for enough money to pay my rent, yet I felt blessed because I learned what it really means to completely rely on God. Putting an emphasis on worldly treasures got me nowhere, but as I focused on God’s kingdom, everything fell into place.

Know this: the things God values aren’t the same as the things the world values. And He knew we’d have a problem wrapping our brains around His idea of treasure, so He explained it in today’s passage. God’s treasure isn’t tied up in money and bank accounts. God’s treasure is about the things He values: His love, eternal life, salvation, the gospel, mercy, and grace. And God’s kind of treasure can’t be destroyed or taken away from you.

Luke 12:34 contains a clear message about the insignificance of worldly wealth. The things we possess in this lifetime eventually rot away like everything else. When we trust in Jesus, we are setting ourselves up for eternity and storing up -treasures in a safer place.

Real Choices
Where do you store your treasure? Only you and God know the answer to that. Take some time to evaluate what is important to you.

Digging Deeper
Sometimes our desire for more isn’t a question of overindulgence, but true need for something we don’t have. Maybe your family struggles to pay rent and other bills. That can be scary. Take a look at Matthew 6:31-34 and find comfort in the love your Savior has for you.

Father, help me to focus on You and not the treasures of this world. Help me to seek after Your kingdom and Your will as You fulfill Your Word by adding the rest of things I need.

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Equal Opportunity

Posted by Melissa

Equal Opportunity
Read This Passage: Luke 6:27-31

“Just as you want others to do for you, do the same for them.” —Luke 6:31

I ONCE HEARD the story of a woman who had been imprisoned in concentration camps in Germany during the Holocaust. Miraculously, she survived. She had lived through the torture and agony of the concentration camps, watched friends and family members die, and endured abuse and cruelty from many of the German guards.

Much later in her life, one of the guards who had so violently abused her and been responsible for many Jewish deaths came to her seeking forgiveness. This amazing lady, because of the love of God in her life, was able to forgive this man for all the atrocities he and others had done to her, her family, and her friends. Isn’t that amazing?

People are capable of terrible, hurtful, destructive things. Yet we are called to forgive them and treat them as we want to be treated. We can only do that through the love of God. We cannot do it on our own.
In today’s key verse, you find the idea behind the Golden Rule. Forgiveness is supposed to be a marked part of our lives as Christians. And we’re called to not just forgive, but to treat others with the same respect and compassion we would want shown to us. And the people in your life don’t always deserve that. Neither do you.

Jesus made it very clear that we are to respond to all people, including our enemies, with forgiveness and respect. He tells us to love them, do good to them, and pray for them. We’re to treat them the way we want to be treated, whether they deserve it or not. That command is never easy to follow, but it’s absolutely necessary to developing successful, godly relationships in your life.

Real Choices
Think about the relationships in your life in which you’re experiencing conflict and tough situations.  They could’ve have been at camp or at home. What do you need to do to forgive these people in God’s power? How would you like to be treated in the same situation?

Digging Deeper
Read Ephesians 4:24-32. What do these verses have to say about relationships? How do they challenge you in your relationships?

Father, please help me to always reflect Your love and show kindness even in times of adversity.

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Third Day

Posted by admin

Read This Passage: Luke 24:1-9
So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the men. “He is not here, but He has been resurrected!” —Luke 24:5-6a

This familiar text is rich with reminders to us. Do you see the warmth and respect the women displayed to Jesus even after he was dead and buried? Can you imagine their astonishment that day? Honestly, I would have questioned the situation, too. The women went to the grave intending to find Christ in His burial rags and saw angels in shining garments instead.

When the angels spoke, they simply reminded the women of Jesus’ own words. The angels declared that Jesus had risen from the dead just as He had prophesied. The message was clear: this wasn’t news; Jesus had told them He would be resurrected.

Sometimes, we’re a lot like these women. They had been followers of Christ; they proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God and the Messiah. They had seen Him raise the dead—more than once! They had heard Him say that He must die and rise again. But sorrow overtook them when they saw the empty tomb. The angels simply reminded them to remember.

That empty grave is important. Even the grave could not hold the King! Jesus defeated death itself. There are no chains He cannot break. The empty grave means that there is nothing too difficult for the Lord to conquer—wrecked relationships, sinful patterns, broken homes, painful addictions, and yes, even reconciling us to the Father. He alone is able. Jesus rose on the third day, and we can live every day in knowledge of that victory!

Real Choices
Has there ever been a time when a particular Scripture passage jumped off the page at you, so to speak? Think back through the times when you know that the Lord has used His Word to speak directly to you. Make a list of those passages and read through them each day this week in order to “remember” what you’ve been told.

Digging Deeper
Are you living as though you’ve been set free? To learn more about Christ’s victory over death, read 1 Corinthians 15:55-58.

Spend some time confessing your doubt to the Lord. Ask Him to help you to continually remember what He has said in His Word. Thank Him for His victory in your life.

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