Author: Believers Chapel

The Comeback: It's Not Too Late And You're Never Too Far

Devotional Overview:

This reading plan includes seven daily devotions based on Louie Giglio’s book The Comeback: It’s Not Too Late and You’re Never Too Far. Each reading draws on examples of men and women in Scripture to show how God is in the business of giving fresh starts to people who need a comeback.

Key Scriptures:

  • LUKE 23:42-43

Devotional:

Paradise in a Garbage Dump

Historians and archaeologists tell us that the little section of land called Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified, was actually a landfill. Have you ever seen a landfill up close? Flies buzzing around. A bad smell in the air. Everywhere you look is pile after pile of rotting, stinking trash. And Golgotha was the worst sort of primitive, barbaric landfill possible.

When the Romans were crucifying criminals, often there’d be nobody around to claim the bodies. So soldiers would peel the bodies off the beams and toss the corpses into the garbage heap. Then wild dogs and other feral animals would eat the flesh off the bones. That’s the place where Jesus was crucified—the worst sort of garbage dump imaginable.

The fact that Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with Jesus in paradise is highly significant. You see, on that day, paradise came to a landfill. Paradise was connected to a garbage dump, and that connection was Jesus.

We may be living in a garbage dump today, but paradise can still find us. Our lives may be disgustingly messy and flies may buzz all around us, but Jesus is always near. That’s great news, because even if we’re in a really tough spot, we never need to count ourselves out. There’s always hope. God is the God of the great comeback.

How does a great comeback begin? It springs from simple faith from a heart that believes enough to pray a basic prayer: Jesus, please remember me. That prayer only requires a breath, just enough to change the direction of our eternity. God placed the criminal in proximity to Jesus because God wanted to let us know we don’t need to be high and mighty to get to heaven. We aren’t blessed by God because we’re better than anyone else. We get to heaven because of a simple prayer of faith.

In that prayer we acknowledge that we have nothing to offer God. We come to Jesus as helpless in our pain and despair as a thief stretched out on a cross. We look at Jesus on the cross beside us and say, “You’re God. You’re innocent of any crimes. You could get down off that cross if you wanted, but you’re there by choice for a purpose. Will you please remember me?”

Sometimes people put more words around that prayer—and that’s fine. You might understand more about spiritual matters than the thief did. But if you know far less, that’s okay too. If all you know is that Jesus was innocent, crucified for things he didn’t do but things that you had a part in doing, and if you believe that Jesus could have climbed off that cross if he wanted to but stayed there for a reason, and you just want Jesus to remember you, then your prayer is heard.

God will hear your simple prayer and bring paradise to the messiest situations and lives. Jesus is not afraid of darkness. He’s not put off by the stench of old rotten bones. He’s not afraid of a few flies. Jesus will bring paradise even to a garbage dump.

Respond

The story of the thief on the cross shows us that Jesus wasn’t drawn to those whose lives were “perfectly” together. What hope does this give you today?

In what ways did the thief who asked Jesus for mercy show he understood the gravity of his situation? In what ways have you also asked God to remember you?

What does this story tell you about the extent of God’s mercy? What does it tell you about being “too far gone” to experience a comeback?

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The Comeback: It's Not Too Late And You're Never Too Far

Devotional Overview:

This reading plan includes seven daily devotions based on Louie Giglio’s book The Comeback: It’s Not Too Late and You’re Never Too Far. Each reading draws on examples of men and women in Scripture to show how God is in the business of giving fresh starts to people who need a comeback.

Key Scriptures:

  • EXODUS 3:9-10

Devotional:

The Story of Us

The greatest comeback occurred when Jesus was raised up out of the grave into everlasting life. Now, we can celebrate the power of God that can bring us back even from the brink of death. This is a deeper kind of comeback that God offers to everyone. Just think of the remarkable comeback story of Moses in the Bible.

When we meet Moses, he is a man with an anger problem. One day, he witnesses an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. So he kills the Egyptian and buries him in the sand. Moses took matters into his own hands the only way he knew how. Yet a crime was still a crime, and because of that crime, Moses needed to leave Pharaoh’s house, where he’d grown up.

Moses was banished to the wilderness, where all he did for years was tend sheep. But then, at a time when many would be thinking about their last chapters on this earth, God spoke to Moses out of a burning bush and called him to a position of leadership. “I know it looks like life has passed you by,” God said, “but I’m going to use you to lead my people out of bondage in Egypt and into the Promised Land.”

Moses had a great comeback story over his anger and failed opportunities. But he also had a speech impediment and lousy self-confidence. He didn’t think he could do anything useful for God. But along with his brother, Aaron, he went to Pharaoh and told him to let God’s people go. Eventually, Pharaoh did that, and the whole nation had a comeback story.

Moses had relapses and disobeyed God a few times after that, and God wouldn’t let him go into the Promised Land as a consequence. But in the New Testament, there’s a story of Jesus hiking up on a mountain with two of his disciples. There something supernatural happened. Jesus’ clothes turned a radiant white, and he shone in brilliant glory in the presence of his disciples. Alongside Jesus, two others suddenly appeared, and one of them was Moses, in his all-time most powerful comeback. In the grace of God, there is a comeback for people who’ve already had a comeback and need another.

We could talk about story after story like these. In fact, the entire story of humanity is a story of people who have stumbled and fallen, yet somehow in this ocean of God’s grace and mercy, he provides a comeback for anyone who puts their faith and hope in Jesus. In the end, we find that no matter what we might be walking through, we can still have confidence that Jesus is the God of the comeback and that our story is not over as long as Jesus is in it.

Everybody needs a comeback, and everybody is offered a comeback. No matter what our obstacles are, no matter what mistakes we’ve made, no matter if we’re in a season of wandering or darkness, God’s purpose and plan will still prevail.

Respond

What stands out to you about Moses’ comeback story in the Bible?

Like Moses, we may feel we are on the back side of nowhere, or we’ve done too much wrong and there is no way back. How can we know that God always see[s] us right where we are?

In what ways have you seen God restart someone’s story?

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The Comeback: It's Not Too Late And You're Never Too Far

Devotional Overview:

This reading plan includes seven daily devotions based on Louie Giglio’s book The Comeback: It’s Not Too Late and You’re Never Too Far. Each reading draws on examples of men and women in Scripture to show how God is in the business of giving fresh starts to people who need a comeback.

Key Scriptures:

  • PSALM 43:5

Devotional:

A Deeper Kind of Comeback

A few years back, life was on an upswing. My schedule was cranking, and everything ran at a high energy level all the time. Yet there were also some difficult and stressful tensions swirling around our family and ministry. It felt like I never had a moment of rest. In my honest times, I felt overwhelmed.

One morning at 2 AM, completely out of the blue, I woke up with a jolt and sat straight up in bed. Sweat poured down my face. My heart was racing. I thought it was going to blow out of my chest. I really thought this was what it felt like to die.

I became stuck in this pattern. Night after night, at 2 AM, I shot straight up, wide awake, with my heart racing. A dark cloud hung over me, an overwhelming feeling of dread. Night after night after night this went on and on and on.

I’ll never forget about two months after all this began. Boom—2 AM came, and I against sat bolt upright in bed. Darkness closed in around me. It felt like I was coming to the end of my rope. I thought, I can’t do this anymore. I didn’t know where to turn. All I knew was that I couldn’t continue this way. I was at the bottom.

Almost on reflex, my heart prayed, God, you’ve got to help me. That’s all I could think to say. God, please, please help.

There was no bolt of lightning. No fast fix. No immediate cure. But the smallest snippet of a Bible verse floated through my head from Job 35:10, about how God gives us songs in the night. I said, God I don’t know what else to do. But if you’ll give me a song tonight, then I’ll praise you.

The little song wasn’t a promise that God would heal me then and there. Yet God was still a healer, and I believed in him and in his purposes. That was enough for the moment—and it was the beginning of how God created a comeback in my life.

For nights, weeks, and even months to come, I experienced a strange rhythm of dread and peace, peace and dread. Some nights it was cloud, cloud, song, song. Other nights it was song, song, cloud, cloud. Gradually, mercifully, it became song, song, song, cloud. Then one night there was no cloud at all. For months on end it remained simply song, song, song, song.

If you’re in a dark place like I was, know that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. Maybe you have a struggle similar to mine. Maybe you have conflict with your friends, coworkers, or relatives. Maybe you’re battling to overcome an addiction. Whatever the cause, life hasn’t turned out for you the way you hoped. The good news is that Jesus can meet you there and offer you a comeback. He can redeem even the worst circumstances for his glory and your best. And he offers this comeback to you right now.

During the next six days, we will look at stories of men and women in the Bible to see how God gives hope to the hopeless, direction to the directionless, and help for those who need help. All we have to do is lift up our hands in response to God’s reaching down and declare that his plan is take us out of the valley. He can—and will—give us a comeback and lead us through.

Respond

Can you recall a storm in your life that you thought was insurmountable? How did you see God come through for you?

Why do comeback stories give us hope?

Is there an area of your life you need a comeback right now?

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Daily Devotional: Letters To The Church

Devotional Overview:

Speaking out of deep love for the Church, Francis Chan guides Christ-followers to live out God’s magnificent and beautiful vision for His Church—a vision we may have lost but God has never forgotten

Key Scriptures:

  • EPHESIANS 1:4-5
  • EPHESIANS 3:8-10
  • JEREMIAH 1:5
  • EPHESIANS 2:10

Devotional:

Mystery #3: You are a Small Part of an Eternal Plan

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that you are part of an eternal plan? Seriously think about this. Your existence didn’t begin at conception. You began in the mind of God before the foundation of this earth. Meditate on this. Few things will make you feel smaller … or bigger.

Far from being an accident, you and I are part of a brilliant plan that started before planet Earth and continues beyond it. This is why self-deprecation is as wicked as slandering God’s Church. We are belittling the creation of something God has planned and crafted. He chose us before the foundation of the world, knew us before He made us (Jer. 1:5), and drew up works for us before we were even created (Eph. 2:10). He had plans for His sacred Church and included us in those plans. This thought should bring tremendous peace to our often-stressed souls. The more I think about it, the more honored I feel to be chosen as part of God’s eternal plan for the Church.

If you’re not fascinated by your inclusion in His Church yet, it may help you to know that there are beings in heaven that stare at the Church in wonder. (Eph 3:8-10)

Think about what this is saying. God wanted to show the heavenly beings His incomparable wisdom … so He created the Church! I believe we have a sacred responsibility to function as His Church in such a way that the rulers in heavenly places can marvel at God’s wisdom. They ought to see a oneness in us that displays God’s brilliant plan.

Two verses earlier, Paul explained that the great mystery God is now revealing is Gentiles becoming members of the same body as the Jews because of what Jesus did on the cross. This is the divine mystery that was hidden in God for ages! The grand reveal that heavenly authorities were anticipating has arrived. The curtain is drawn back, and they gasp as they see … the Church. No way! This is unreal! Through the cross, people of every nation and tongue become members of one body? Amazing! God, Himself is joining His creation and allowing them to be a part of His body? Unbelievable! This was His plan all along. There was going to come a day when almighty God would dwell with people of all races. They would be brought to complete unity, forming one temple, which would be a dwelling place for God!

Do you see why all this matters so much? Many today treat the Church as optional, as some outdated way to connect to God that has long outlived its usefulness. They’d rather connect with God on their own, in their own way, without all the weird people making things more difficult. We can empathize with many of their feelings about the Church. But when we see the Church from God’s perspective, when we appreciate it according to God’s design, we’re left in wonder. Who but God could come up with such a beautiful and ingenious plan?

I can’t help but see our own lameness in failing to see the beauty in God’s design for the Church. Heavenly beings are shocked by God’s Church, while many on earth yawn. The early church didn’t need the energetic music, great videos, attractive leaders, or elaborate lighting to be excited about being a part of God’s body. The pure gospel was enough to put them in a place of awe.

Aren’t you at least a little embarrassed that you have needed the extra stuff? It’s not all your fault. For decades church leaders like myself have lost sight of the powerful mystery inherent in the Church and have instead run to other methods to keep people interested. In all honesty, we have trained you to become addicted to lesser things. We have cheapened something sacred, and we must repent.

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Daily Devotional: Letters To The Church

Devotional Overview:

Speaking out of deep love for the Church, Francis Chan guides Christ-followers to live out God’s magnificent and beautiful vision for His Church—a vision we may have lost but God has never forgotten

Key Scriptures:

  • REVELATION 4
  • REVELATION 5

Devotional:

Mystery #2: You are a Small Piece of Heaven

You are a part of something much bigger than yourself, something sacred. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, you have been joined to His Church. Because of this, you are not only a part of God’s sacred temple but also a part of the heavenly community. This is huge!

Take some time to read Revelation 4–5 as it describes the scene in heaven. This section begins with a majestic picture of God on His throne. The scene is busy and intense: the four living creatures are declaring His holiness, the seven spirits of God are blazing, myriads of angels are praising Jesus with loud voices, and the twenty-four elders are flat on their faces while laying their crowns before Him. Then in 5:8, we finally appear.

“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8

There you are! Did you see it? Those are your prayers in the bowl of incense! Isn’t that awesome? We get to be part of this unbelievable scene!

Maybe you feel a bit insulted by this. You’re thinking, That’s it? My only part is that my prayers are lumped in with the prayers of all other believers to form a bowl of incense? Don’t worry—you’re also mentioned in verse 13 when your voice joins the chorus of billions.

“And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’” Revelation 5:13

What is a tremendous, unspeakable honor may feel insufficient for those who are used to being [a] god of their own blogs and Twitter accounts. It feels insignificant to those who have erected their own shrines on Facebook and Instagram, filled with beautiful pictures of themselves.

Herein lies the danger of clamoring for attention: we don’t realize that true joy comes from the opposite. Joy comes as we stand among those Jesus has redeemed and get lost in a sea of worship, becoming fully a part of something sacred.

Gathering with the Church should lead us to holy ground. You get to come and worship Someone else, with someone else. You get to pour out love to Him by serving those around you and considering them more important than yourself. It’s not about you. And you are glad it’s not about you. Because this is something far greater than you. It is sacred.

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Daily Devotional: Letters To The Church

Devotional Overview:

Speaking out of deep love for the Church, Francis Chan guides Christ-followers to live out God’s magnificent and beautiful vision for His Church—a vision we may have lost but God has never forgotten

Key Scriptures:

  • 2 Chronicles 7:1-4
  • Ephesians 2:19-22
  • 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Devotional:

Mystery #1: You are a Small Piece of the Temple

One of my favorite scenes in Scripture is the dedication of the temple in 2 Chronicles 7. I wish I could have been there to see it. Imagine being alive at that moment.

Can you imagine watching fire come down from heaven? What is God’s glory like? I imagine my heart pounding. I picture myself struggling to even breathe and keep from fainting. Then there’s the thrill of worshipping with other believers in the middle of it all! The temple was the place where heaven intersected with earth. A glimpse of His glory was made visible to human eyes.

The New Testament describes something even greater. The fact that I covet the Old Testament experience is an indication that I don’t appreciate the new reality as I should.

I would give anything to stand outside the temple and watch God’s glory descend. But I get something so much better: I am literally a part of the temple itself! Somehow by the blood of Jesus, I became worthy of joining with others to form a dwelling place for God! Peter described us as “living stones.” You are a stone in the same structure in which the apostles and prophets are the foundation and Jesus Himself is the cornerstone! When Paul talked about this concept, he used the plural form of you and the singular form of a temple. We are all joined together to form one house for God. Somehow I am a block of a temple that transcends time and space. And because the structure is a temple, this means that God makes His home among us! You should be bursting out of your skin at this point!

Don’t try to solve the mystery; just stare at it.

When Paul explained the mystery to the Corinthians, he added a terrifying warning.

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16–17

Think back to the scene in 2 Chronicles 7. When the fire came down and God’s glory filled the temple, would you have considered taking a sledgehammer and striking the temple? Of course not! Then why are we so quick to gossip, slander leadership, and divide the Church?

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person.

Why is God so harsh about this? Paul explained that God’s temple is sacred, and we—collectively—are that temple. Every time you speak evil about a member of the Church, it is like taking a sledgehammer to the temple. Are you sure you want to keep doing that?

Let’s be careful with our words and actions. We are dealing with something sacred. Let’s stay on the right side of His protection. Maybe this is why Paul said in Titus 3:10, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” We can’t be enablers of division. God hates this sin too much. His temple is too sacred.

We live in a culture today where we are used to evaluating and giving our opinion on everything. Whether it’s the pizza we ate, our Uber driver, the movie we saw, or our friend’s picture on social media, everything is set up for us to be able to critique and compare. So in the Church, rather than marveling at the incredible mystery that we are a part of God’s body, we critique the leadership, the music, the programs, and anything else we can think of. We point out the flaws in our pastor’s sermon with the same conviction we critique a movie star’s acting or our favorite team’s recent loss. Could it be that we are taking a sledgehammer to the temple in so doing?

Remember that the temple was the location where God chose to live on earth. And now the Church is that temple. We are that temple. Consider this: 2 Chronicles 7—when the temple was dedicated—was not the only time fire fell from heaven onto the temple. It also happened in Acts 2 when the Church was born. The disciples were united and praying when tongues of fire fell on them. They were the temple. Fire fell on them. And you know the rest of the story.

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Daily Devotional: Letters To The Church

Devotional Overview:

Speaking out of deep love for the Church, Francis Chan guides Christ-followers to live out God’s magnificent and beautiful vision for His Church—a vision we may have lost but God has never forgotten

Key Scriptures:

  • Ephesians 5:29-30
  • Ephesians 5:32
  • Isaiah 6:2
  • 1 Timothy 6:16
  • 1 Peter 1:8

Devotional:

Sacred Mystery:

I was bothered the first time I read about God killing Uzzah just because he tried to keep the ark of the covenant from falling. Uzzah touched the ark because the cart it was riding on hit a pothole (2 Sam. 6). It seemed like a trivial mistake with good intentions. Sure, God had forbidden anyone from touching the ark, but what was Uzzah supposed to do? Let the holy ark of God fall to the ground?

Then there are Ananias and Sapphira. They were both struck dead because they lied about how much money they donated to the church (Acts 5). And this is in the New Testament! Really, who hasn’t exaggerated?

To top it off, Paul told the Corinthians that many of them were sick and some had even died because they celebrated Communion in an unworthy manner (1 Cor. 11:30). If Paul wasn’t exaggerating, could we be one sip away from death?

To us, many situations in Scripture involve a punishment that was too severe for the crime. But why do we feel this way?

We don’t understand what it means for something to be “sacred.” We live in a human-centered world among people who see themselves as the highest authority. We are quick to say things like “That isn’t fair!” because we believe we deserve certain rights as humans. Yet we give little thought to the rights God deserves as God. Even in the Church, we can act as though God’s actions should revolve around us. The stories in Scripture are meant to show us that there exists something of greater value than our existence and rights. There are things that belong to God. Sacred things. His ark of the covenant, His command to Moses, His offerings in the temple, His Holy Spirit, His Holy Communion, His sacred Church. In all the above situations, people rushed into something sacred and paid the price. We shouldn’t be surprised; we should be humbled. We have all done things more irreverent than those mentioned above. Let’s thank God for His mercy and tread more carefully into sacred matters.

There is no greater honor on earth than to be part of God’s Church.

When was the last time you were awestruck by the fact that you are part of Christ’s body?

Have you ever marveled at this privilege?

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:29–30

Every believer needs to stare at those verses long enough to be stunned. I mean really stunned. Paul referred to it as a profound mystery. If achievement is your idol, you won’t make time for mystery. You will rush to the next sentence so you can finish this reading plan rather than meditate on the miracle that you are a human being who is currently joined to a God “who dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Tim. 6:16).

“This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:32

Slow down long enough to marvel.

The sun is ninety-three million miles away, and you are unable to stare at it. You obviously can’t touch the sun and live, so how is it possible that we are currently attached to the One who shines brighter than the sun? High angels cover themselves with their wings in His presence (Isa. 6:2), yet you are a member of His body. Why would Someone so extraordinary choose to care for you like His own arm?

Please tell me you didn’t just keep reading. Please tell me you paused for even a minute to worship. You can’t be that busy. It’s no wonder we aren’t known as those who “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible” (1 Pet. 1:8). We don’t make time to meditate on His mysteries.

So, let’s spend the next few days looking at some of those mysteries.

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Daily Devotional - 7-Day Reset With Jesus

Devotional Overview:

Join hundreds of thousands around the country in engaging Scripture. Together we’ll learn the importance of spending time with Jesus, experiencing the truth that Jesus changes everything. In Jesus we are reset.

Key Scriptures:

  • Matthew 6:5-15
  • Psalms 139:23-24

Devotional

Jesus in Prayer

Yesterday we saw that nothing is more important than spending time with Jesus. Today I want to highlight the power of prayer in this relationship.

Many know the Lord’s Prayer by memory, but it can become flat and lifeless if we recite it as simply words. Yet this prayer was meant to model to us what honest, open communication with God can look like. The book of Psalms is filled with examples of this kind of prayer: raw, real, honest.

Rather than being our own personal genie, God is much more like a true friend. He’s someone we can come to when we’re happy or when we need to vent—and He welcomes us either way.

In Matthew 6, Jesus invites us to close out the noise and busyness of our lives to hear His voice. This is what prayer is all about. Prayer centers us with God. Not only can we share our joys and cares, but we can ask God for His. Prayer enables us to surrender, asking Him to reset our lives to look like Jesus.

Take time right now to pray “The Lord’s Prayer” as Jesus outlines in Matthew 6. Make the words into an expression of your own. Tell God what’s on your heart, and ask Him to make you more like Jesus.

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Daily Devotional - 7-Day Reset With Jesus

Devotional Overview:

Join hundreds of thousands around the country in engaging Scripture. Together we’ll learn the importance of spending time with Jesus, experiencing the truth that Jesus changes everything. In Jesus we are reset.

Key Scriptures:

  • John 1:1-5
  • Joshua 1:8

Devotional

Jesus in the Word

If you knew that fifteen minutes a day reading a book would totally revolutionize your life, wouldn’t you make it a priority? In Joshua 1, Moses tells young Joshua that nothing is more important than spending time in Scripture.

While some view the Bible as simply a big, confusing book, Scripture tells us it is the living Word of God. In this way, the reason spending time reading it matters is that it allows us to hear his voice!

Luke 6:45 (NLT): A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Spending time with Jesus deposits the things of God into your heart and life.

Today we’ll read the beginning of the Gospel of John, which starts with a beautiful description of Jesus as the Word. In other words, Jesus is the full expression of God’s heart, and the Bible is how we learn and pray for God’s heart in us. When we spend time in God’s Word, we are spending time with Jesus and will become more like Him.

Start your day with fifteen minutes in God’s Word and watch the change begin.

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Daily Devotional - 7-Day Reset With Jesus

Devotional Overview:

Join hundreds of thousands around the country in engaging Scripture. Together we’ll learn the importance of spending time with Jesus, experiencing the truth that Jesus changes everything. In Jesus we are reset.

Key Scriptures:

  • John 17:20-23
  • Acts 2:42-47

Devotional

Jesus in Community

As individuals made in God’s image, we were made for community. This longing is at the heart of God and is evident from the moment of creation in Genesis 1.

Jesus modeled a life built on a relationship with God while also being surrounded by community. This community learned, struggled, and ultimately grew closer to God together. Later on, this group took on the name the Church.

Many people have had bad experiences with the Church, but if Jesus died for us, then we should love each other like He loved us (1 John 3:16). Church is meant to be a place of safety to share victories and struggles. We were meant to know Jesus together.

If you need a place to connect, check out faithstreet.com/search. We are in this together!

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