James 1:17

How to be ready for anything


Written by Chelsea Zappone When Pastor Tim first asked me to write the blog post this week, I was a little thrown off. I am not a writer, I often struggle over finding my words, and more often than not I have at least one pesky typo hiding in my final drafts. But under that hesitance I found that I was also excited. I have really been enjoying the “5 things…” sermon series. I have been challenged and forced to reevaluate my spiritual health.


It is so easy to fall into bad habits and keep putting off addressing saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow. Surely I’ll have more time then.” However, I find myself never finding that time unless I purposefully set it aside.

That is why I am so thankful that God doesn’t wait for us to get our act straight. He works through the circumstances in our lives. The surprising opportunities, the scary uncertainties, the tough times, even the mundane routines. He is not limited by us.

The times I have found myself most open to God’s guidance is when I am in the valleys, when there is crisis, when I am no longer in control. I turn to him because I know he loves unconditionally, his is omnipresent and omnipotent. No one and nothing can make your problems seem smaller than God can.

Crisis can be like a fire in our life, it can burn away the impurities that have slowly snuck into our daily routines. Pastor Tim has often quoted, “there are no atheist in the foxhole.” A foxholes can take the form of hospital rooms, depths of depression, isolation and loneliness, desperate hopelessness. We all have a time when there is nothing else we can do but turn to God.

God doesn’t bring us suffering but he is right beside us when we are going through it. I love the advice James, Jesus’ brother, gives us in James 1:2-4: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.  For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance's fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

6595c77e9b282c9430436832259b83baTroubles seem to be a constant presence in our lives either they’re our own, a friend’s, or a stranger’s across the world. God knows our suffering; it is part of living in a broken world. But he gives us a unique opportunity to not give up or even to just endure through it, but to find joy! To grow! To become ready for ANYTHING! That to me is amazing!

When we suffer, we can strengthen our relationship with God, we can encourage others in building community, we can be God’s light in the world. Like I said before, no one and nothing can make your problems smaller than God can. So instead of stressing and worrying, because we know neither of those will do any good (Matthew 6:28-34), turn to God. Find joy. Find the opportunity to grow.

The best is yet to be if God has his way!

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Lent Devotion: Listen


Written by Pastor Becca McCary


God wants to meet with you this Lent. He wants to come into the ordinary times and places in your life in a holy way, transforming your life. This week’s ordinary space transformation challenge is: Listen.

Scripture Reflection:

James 1:19 (NLT)

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.


Write down or paint the word “Listen” on a rock or piece of paper as your holy reminder. Then choose an ordinary space in your life where you are going to focus on listening. Try to practice listening one time in that ordinary space your life this week. Then, watch God transform this ordinary space into a holy space for you.


Put the word “Listen” in an area of your life like your kitchen table, car, or backpack. When you are sitting at your table as a family, in the car on a ride to school, or in your backpack as you settle into school for the day, look for an opportunity to listen to those around you.

The people in your life, your friends, and family (especially those who annoy you) are not mere happenstance. God wants to speak to you through the people in your life. Listen to God’s voice encouraging and challenging you through the people in your life.

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread


Pastor Linda continues the "Can You Hear Me Now?" series, diving into prayer life and growing closer to God. Looking at Matthew 6:11, she looks at God's promise to give us everything we need, even if we don't know exactly what that is in our lives.

I love fresh baked bread.  How about you?  I especially love the smell of it baking in the oven.  My mom was a bread baker and one of my fondest childhood memories was waking up to the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven.

When I was traveling in Israel many years ago our group was touring Cana (where Jesus performed his first recorded miracle of turning water into wine for a wedding reception).  Across the street from the church commemorating this event was a little bakery where they were baking the wonderful flat bread of Israel, in stone ovens.  The smell was out of this world.  As a matter of fact, it was hard for us to remain focused on the tour because we couldn’t wait to get finished so we could go get some of that bread (As I’m writing this I’m getting hungry for some fresh baked bread.)


Throughout the Bible, bread is essential for sustaining life.  Jesus referred to himself as the “bread of life” in John 6:35 and goes on to say that when we come to him we will never be hungry or thirsty again.  So when Jesus gives us this model prayer and asks us to prayer for “our daily bread”, it means so much more than just praying for a loaf of bread.

Jesus is reminding us here that God wants to provide us with everything we need for a healthy and happy life – physically, spiritually and emotionally.  “And God will generously provide all you need.  Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

“Give Us” is another interesting choice of words for Jesus to use in our instruction.  “Give” is a power-packed little word.  When we are asking God to “give” something to us, we are acknowledging that God is the source of everything.  James 1:17 reminds us “that every good thing we have comes to us from God.”

The fact that God is the source of everything we have, reminds us that we are to care for and use those gifts in a way that pleases Him.  In 2 Corinthians, we are reminded when we share freely and give generously that is what is remembered forever.  What we do with what God gives us is very important to Him.  The next verse in 2 Corinthians “For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat.  In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.”

God will provide us with everything we need.  Jesus reminds us to include those needs in our prayers every day.  With that, we need to remember that as He provides it is also our responsibility to use those resources wisely and to be generous with everything he gives us.

As you use the Lord’s prayer as your model this week:

1) Pause and think about who you are talking to (Our Father who is in heaven hallowed be your name….).

2) Before you get to the needs section, you need to surrender your will, not impose it (Your kingdom come Your will be done….)

3) Now ask yourself, “what do I need today and how will I use what God give me to glorify Him?” (Give us this day our daily bread.)

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