Grow Stronger in Every Way

One of the most popular fish for aquariums is the shark. Not great whites, but smaller sharks. Apparently if you confine a small baby shark in a tank, it will stay a proportionate size to the aquarium. Sharks can be 6” long yet fully mature. In other words, you can force a shark to live a stunted life, but if you turn them loose in the ocean they will grow to their normal length of about 8 feet. Today we are going to take a look at what Ephesians teaches us about growing stronger in every way…and why that is important. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6) Grow Stronger in Our Heart As a follower of Jesus, we should recognize that the heart of our relationship with God is faith. It is through our faith that we trust, that we have a hope for eternity with God, that we believe the Word of Jesus, that we join togethe…

Peace That Binds

Watch on Facebook You’ve probably heard of the get-along-shirt. An extra-large t-shirt that siblings are made to wear together when they refuse to get along. They must keep the shirt on all day until they learn to play nice. Tonight, we are going to do a couple of experiments to see how well we can get along with each other.
Group Ring: put as many people as you can around a hula hoop each holding onto the hoop with only one finger. Their finger must remain in contact with the hoop at all times. If any member of the team loses contact with the hoop they must start again. The goal is to move as a group and pick up various objects from around the room, navigate past barriers, and reach the back of the room without losing any members of the team.
Boxing Match: have the team stand in a box. All of their feet must remain flat against the bottom of the box at all times. Anytime a team member’s foot lifts, they must begin again. The goal is for each team member to do several simple tasks witho…

To Him Who Is Able

The song, “Touch of the Master’s Hand,” tells the story of an auction where an old violin was being sold. The auctioneer started the bidding with $1 and got no bids. Then a man stood up from the audience, picked up the violin, and started to play the most beautiful music. As soon as he returned the violin to the table, the auctioneer started again, “Who will give me $1000, $2000, $3000 twice, now that’s a good price.”
A young man asked, “What happened? Why is everyone suddenly so interested in that old violin?” A man responded, “The difference was the touch of the master’s hand.”
Some people have great skills and abilities in certain areas and will always be far better than the rest of us. I doubt any of us can play basketball like Michael Jordan. We probably can’t even play baseball like Michael. Very few people will ever have the business savvy of Bill Gates, creating, buying, and selling numerous tech businesses as well as software and hardware. Only a small number of musicians ha…

The Incredibles

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Last night we had a movie night to watch The Incredibles in preparation for the long awaited upcoming sequel. So, I thought for our short devotional time before the movie that I would share 3 ways to be incredible as part of our continuing series: Stronger.
16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Ephesians 3:16-17a)
Let Jesus Dwell in You Paul’s prayer, and mine, is that Jesus may dwell in your hearts through faith. It is only when we allow Jesus to take up residence in our hearts that we can be forgiven and be truly free from the effects and power of sin in our lives.
You do this by first accepting that you need God’s forgiveness. God said that we have all sinned and that our sin needs to be forgiven if we want to be in good standing with God. Believing that Jesus is God’s way for our forgiveness. Jesus died…

Lessons from Prison

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Close to the Mexican border in southern New Mexico you can find the Grand Floridas. That is a rugged mountain range with jagged sharp edges and rock formations jutting up out of the ground. Looking from the north, it appears to be one gigantic, unbroken rock sculpture dropped onto an otherwise flat New Mexico landscape.
If you ride up to the mountains on horseback, you will see that they are not unbroken. The head of the range is a rock formation that rises higher than a skyscraper. Between that the main mountain range is a large valley filled with beautiful grassland and gentle slopes that are completely hidden from the distance. Until you get close, you have no idea that it is even there.
The same can be seen in certain events in the Bible. It seemed that for thousands of years God kept a secret, hidden from the world, from the angels, from the priests, from the prophets, and from the people of Israel. It seems that He kept this secret close to His hea…

The Wall

In Mending Walls, Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors … why do they make good neighbors? … before I built a wall I'd ask to know what I was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offence."
For centuries we have built walls to keep people either out or in. The Great Wall of China, built between 800 and 200 BC was rebuilt and maintained for more than 1000 years. Its main purpose was for defense to keep invading forces out. Claims have been made for hundreds of years that the wall can be seen from space, however, modern space flight has proven that no manmade objects are visible from space.
The Berlin Wall was built following World War II. Its main purpose was not to keep people out, but rather to keep people in communist controlled Eastern Berlin. The Cold War between Russia and the Western world ended shortly after the famous speech by President Ronald Reagan calling on Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall.” The wall was…