Snow White famously sang the tune “Whistle While You Work” and now, sadly, you’ll probably have that song rattling around in your head! My sincere apologies.
But what does Snow White have to do with this week’s lesson; devotional days 74-79? This week our author talks about finding joy in the work you do, observing “rest”, and balancing everything in-between. Naturally there’s more to this week’s reading than simply that. But use that knowledge as the baseline when you do your homework before Friday.
I’m happy to lead this week. Hybrid mix again, either gathering over Zoom or in my backyard. New backyard venue this week as I’m setting up by the fire pit. A little “fireside chat” minus the fire!
Truth be told, I’m a little torn talking about “work” this week as I’m writing from a tropical family vacation in the Caribbean! Then again, if vacation is the product of hard work then maybe it’s the perfect setting for this week’s lesson! We’re beginning a new section our author calls “No More Clock Punching”. For this week, please study devotion days 69-73.
Tony Evans sets the priorities of work right out of the gate when he declares that “work came before sin” in the Garden of Eden. God toiled for 6 days of “work” when He made Creation. Allow that one to sink in.
This week’s readings are not designed to say anyone who doesn’t work is a sinner. Rather I believe it’s designed to allow us to focus on “why” God created work. As I say each week, it will take you 10 minutes to read this week’s assignment but I’d encourage you to ponder about it for a couple days. It’s a fascinating read this week!
Jon Paschal leads us this week. Still looking for leaders the final 3 weeks of our series so if you’re led to sign up, please do so or let me know! We’ll gather virtually over Zoom or in the Treehouse this Friday beginning at 7:30 am ET.
I hope everyone had a great and enjoyable July 4th celebration with family and friends. My family escaped the summer heat in Charlotte and headed to cooler temps in the North Carolina mountains for a few days. Now, back in Charlotte again, I feel like I’m sweating like never before!
We’re also returning to our study series this week, picking up Devotion Days 63-68. When we last gathered, Rob Miller taught us about the importance of not allowing anything to go to waste. This week, I’ll finish his line of thinking by sharing our author’s theme of a “God who provides”.
One of my favorite verses in scripture is referenced on day 65:
“Consider the birds of the sky. They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”
As you all know, I happen to know a little about the realities of raising feathered animals. I can fully relate to this passage from Matthew. I feed my backyard hens only once a day in the mornings, yet they graze around the yard all day long. They never go hungry because God provides them a healthy pasture of green grass and bugs. That’s what I think about when I read this passage from Matthew!
We’ll continue to meet in a hybrid way…offering both virtual over Zoom or in-person at the treehouse. Enjoy the rest of the week…and I’ll see you starting at 7:30 am ET on Friday!
“That which goes deepest to the heart, goes widest to the world…..”
I found that quote recently when I was doing a little research on a former pastor of mine when I lived in Atlanta; Dr. Vic Pentz, who was at that time, Senior Pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church.
This week’s focus in on all the “stuff” that tends to collude our lives and our vision. What made me think of Dr. Pentz, as it relates to this week’s devotionals, was when he preached a sermon once about everything going “back in the box” when it’s all said and done. He used the analogy of a board game, and telling kids to put everything away once the game was over. The metaphor was about our lives…and when it’s all said and done, we simply go “back in a box”.
This week, please read devotion days 58 to 62. I purposively asked Rob Miller to lead us this week. And if you think this week is another spin on “tithing” then think again. It’s more about God’s gifts and what we are charged to do with them. Where is our focus and how are we establishing priorities to the things that ultimately have come from Him first.
Some of you might be asking, so what does that have to do with the quote from Dr. Pentz? Well, to me, it’s about focusing not on our possessions…but rather on what’s in our heart. It doesn’t cost anyone a dollar to dig deep into his heart. Think about that one….until I see you on Friday.
Virtual over Zoom or treehouse options for our weekly gathering remain in place!
I looked at my Facebook page after reading this week’s lesson (devotion days 52 to 57). I have two-thousand, one-hundred and sixty-two “friends” on my page. (I wrote that out to make it seem something greater than it actually is…)
Truth be told….I’m not proud of that number. I would rather it be…..10 friends.
Why…you might ask?
Maybe you’ll feel the same after reading this week’s lesson. Yes…I have a lot of friends…but how many of those are ones that will hold me accountable, allow me to hold them accountable, and what not.
Who do you call in the middle of the night when you need to talk?
Who do you text when you’re struggling with addictions?
Who can you debate politics and not get angry with?
Who are your top three …. friends?
I think you get my point. I’d prefer the number of friends to be 10…since that seems more of a reality.
This week, our author throws us a punch in the gut about how God defines “friends”. There’s a great section on Day 55 about the three types of friends we should have. Don’t miss that part.
Luke Nelson leads us this week. Join me in the Treehouse or via Zoom.
Some of you might recall growing up watching black & white versions of The Lone Ranger show. The hero always had his trusted sidekick, Tonto, by his side. Later, in 2013, Hollywood came out with a remake of the old western show, in the form of a full-feature, high definition film. Johnny Depp plays the character of “Tonto”. I haven’t seen it yet…but maybe after this week’s assignment, daily devotions 47 thru 51, I’ll give it a shot.
Our author this week opens up the a new section of the book called “No More Playing the Lone Ranger” where he stresses the importance of community….especially that community that’s found through “church”. The Apostle Paul often described the church as a “body”…bringing light to the fact that the human body has many parts….but rarely does one part do something that another part does not recognize.
Paul, and our author, use this analogy to describe the importance of the church body still today. The head does not operate all by itself. Neither do the lungs, our fingers, and our heart. The body is not set up to be several pieces of “lone rangers”.
Jason Schubert leads us this week. Zoom and in-person (treehouse) options continue to be available. If you come to the treehouse this week, there’s a good chance of Bojangles biscuits! Yum!
Have a great rest of the week. I’ll see you on Friday!
When we last met, back on May 21st, we played out a courtroom scene where King David was on “trial” for his transgressions. Thanks to everyone who played along that morning….quite entertaining!
You’ll recall that King David, played by Jon Paschal, shouted out when questioned during our mock trial in what some might have described as “losing his cool”! It was somewhat similar to Colonel Jessup on the witness stand in the film, “A Few Good Men”, where Jack Nicholson screams back at Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth” (among other things he shouted).
Soon afterwards, Colonel Jessup is read his rights, and escorted out of the courtroom….and, we expect, will be scheduled for his own trial. But what about King David? What was next for him after our own mock trial?
That’s where this week’s lesson comes into play. Homework is to read devotion days 42-46. Our author talks a lot this week about confession and forgiveness. Not the kind of confession that’s a check the block moment. Rather, true repentance.
Ernie Meland leads us this week. Two options for gathering: Treehouse (in-person) or virtual over Zoom. Please join us starting at 7:30 am ET. Ernie will start our lesson promptly at 7:45 am.
This week begins a new section of our study series book: “No More Immorality”.
To date, we’ve completed earlier sections of:
No More Leaving Jesus Behind……focus on God and Jesus
No More Living in the Past…..focus on Joseph
No More Feeling Worthless….focus on Moses
With this new section, our Biblical character focus is on King David. Many of us know him from the heroic actions battling Goliath….but do you know about some of David’s immoralities? Being “king” brought many advantages….but how are those advantages viewed in the eyes of our holy Father?
Ernie Meland leads us this week. I’ve made some adjustments to the weekly assignments in order to align with the book’s sections. So for this week, your homework is to read Day 36 – Day 41.
Moses has been the topic of discussion for our group since last week, and we’ll continue that discussion this Friday. I’m going to remove one day from our prescribed “homework” so things will align to the end of the current section of the book, “No More Feeling Worthless”…..so please read (only) devotional days 31-35.
Last week, we heard about Moses killing a man, and then being subjected to the life as a “lowly” sheep herder. Far from the cry of leading his people to the promised land, right?
This week we learn of God’s plans with Moses, “waking him up” so to speak, and giving him what our author describes as “God-confidence” instead of solely self-confidence.
Treehouse remains open this week for anyone who wants to gather in person. We’ll also have the Zoom option as always for those joining remotely. I’m excited to lead this week…so get ready to buckle up. And I hope by saying that, I’m not exhibiting my own “self-confidence“….and pray instead for “God-confidence” to deliver the best message to you all on Friday!
We’re up to a new section of the book titled, “No More Feeling Worthless”. Our readings this week are devotional days 25-30, and the Biblical focus character is none other than Moses.
How do we tie Moses and “rejection” into the same conversation? As you read this week’s lesson, you get a sense of how they’re connected:
His mother put him into a basket on the banks of the Nile River……rejection?
Grew up in Egypt but missed his Hebrew people…..rejection?
Pharaoh tried to kill him……definitely rejection!
Rejected by God?……let’s discuss
As our author states, “Most men handle rejection by running from it…”. Certainly this was the case for Moses…but is it the case for us too?
Jon Paschal leads us this week. Treehouse will be open starting at 7:30 am ET…and so will the Zoom. Come “in-person” to the treehouse…or dial in and join us in some fellowship before Jon starts the lesson at 7:45 am ET.