Category Archive : Believers Chapel

Daily Devotional - Home Again: A Study Of The Prodigal Son

Devotional Overview:

This six-day plan uses daily Scripture, devotionals, and a short film to uncover how we can apply the story of the Prodigal Son to our own lives. This video portion presents the parable in a modern telling so readers can discover how Christ sees them, and then be compelled by this understanding to live a life devoted to Him.

Key Scriptures:

  • Luke 15:14-18
  • John 10:10

Devotional:

In Luke 15:14 we read the tragic end to so many of our stories: the younger son had spent everything. At one point or another we’ve all reached an end. For some it was a job, others a relationship, and still others it’s reaching an end to their own strength to measure up and be “good enough.” 

Careers, people, and our own strength were never meant to be a sustainable source of satisfaction for us. In the end, we seem to wring these precious gifts out for all they’re worth and are left wondering what led us to our current emptiness. 

Much like the younger son in this parable, when we disconnect the created from the Creator—when we pursue God’s stuff apart from God Himself—we set ourselves up for an empty existence. 

Jesus lays it out plain and simple for his disciples in John 10:10. He tells them He has come so that they may have life, and have it to the fullest. So often we forget this. We forget God is on our side. He’s not trying to rob us of a full life. He designed this life and knows how it’s meant to be lived out to its fullest potential. 

When we find ourselves at a dead end, empty-handed and broken in life, the only direction to head is back home to a relationship with Him.  

This fullest life He offers is one spent knowing Jesus personally, and we are invited to return to Him at any point we find ourselves lost in this life.

Imagine the surprise of the crowd as Jesus revealed to them that they’re free to return to a relationship with Him guilt-free, and additionally, that they can expect God to celebrate about it.

Consider:

In what ways do shame and guilt keep you from returning to a full life with God?

Apply:

When people hurt us, we sometimes let that pain enslave our hearts in bitterness. Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive?

[Content Provided By Bible.com]

Daily Devotional - Home Again: A Study Of The Prodigal Son

Devotional Overview:

This six-day plan uses daily Scripture, devotionals, and a short film to uncover how we can apply the story of the Prodigal Son to our own lives. This video portion presents the parable in a modern telling so readers can discover how Christ sees them, and then be compelled by this understanding to live a life devoted to Him.

Key Scriptures:

  • Luke 15:11-13
  • Romans 1:22-25

Devotional: 

Jesus consistently used parables in His teaching because it allowed Him to present biblical principles within a story that spoke to the context of his audience.

So, as we read the parable of the Prodigal Son in today’s context, we don’t always realize how much this story would’ve shocked its listeners.

In verse 12, we see the younger son ask his father for the full share of his inheritance. Those listening when Jesus said this would have been appalled to hear of a son saying such a thing to his father. Culturally, a father would pass his wealth on to his sons only after his death. So essentially, the younger son was saying, “I wish you were dead, because I want my inheritance now.”

In the first installment of the short film, Home Again, we see just how shocking a statement like this is when said to a loving father. Watching this play out in a modern setting, we get the chance to experience how it must have felt to hear this parable in its original context.

Those listening to Jesus recount this conversation would’ve seen this act as unforgivable, and rightly expected the father to disown his son, never giving him an inheritance.

But Jesus takes the story in a highly unexpected direction, telling them the father granted his son’s outlandish request. Those in the crowd must have been appalled that such a request would be granted.

In Romans 1:22-24, Paul talks about how humanity has made this same request of God. We constantly ask for the created without the Creator attached. We don’t care much to have God and a relationship with Him, we really would just prefer if we could have all His stuff. We forget that it’s not God’s stuff, but God Himself who will satisfy the longings of our hearts.

Until we realize this, we’ll continue living like the younger brother, pursuing everything and anything (aside from God) in an impossible search for happiness.

Consider:

Do you want God’s stuff more than you desire God Himself?

Apply:

Watch the first installment of the film Home Again and consider how you’ve acted similarly in your relationship with God.

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Daily Devotional - Home Again: A Study Of The Prodigal Son

Devotional Overview:

This six-day plan uses daily Scripture, devotionals, and a short film to uncover how we can apply the story of the Prodigal Son to our own lives. This video portion presents the parable in a modern telling so readers can discover how Christ sees them, and then be compelled by this understanding to live a life devoted to Him.

Key Scriptures:

  • Luke 15:1-2
  • Romans 3:23-24

Devotional:

As you read or watch a story, you may find yourself asking, “Which character am I?”

It’s human nature to want to connect to a story by placing ourselves within it. Jesus, being the master communicator that He was, knew this, and used this as a tool to connect with His audience and move them to action.

At the very beginning of Luke Chapter 15, we see that there were two types of people standing in the crowd before Jesus. We’re told first there are “tax collectors and sinners,” and secondly that there are “Pharisees and scribes.”

So with His current audience in mind, Jesus tells a story that places both types of listeners (sinners and Pharisees) as characters in the narrative.

Even today as we read this parable of the Prodigal Son we have to understand that we fit in to one of these two categories of people in the crowd. You either perceive yourself as a sinner, aware of your brokenness, or you view yourself as the Pharisees saw themselves–proud of your ability to be a “good person” and follow the rules.

In Romans 3:23 we read that all of us fall short of the glory of God. Within this one verse, we find the message Jesus was preparing to teach to the crowd of listeners. Our good behavior doesn’t rescue us from sin; we all stand before God broken, and in need of a Savior.

Like the members in the crowd Jesus spoke to that day, it’s crucial we understand this. We can’t engage with this story as a neutral bystander. We have to take an honest look at ourselves and admit we’re either reading this as a self-righteous Pharisee, or a humbled sinner.

Consider:

Which character are you in the crowd of listeners?

Apply:

Spend a moment in prayer asking God to show you the ways you act like a sinner or a Pharisee.

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Pastors Corner: Turn to Christ Jesus or leftist and evil?

Pastors Corner

Turn to Christ Jesus or leftist and evil?

In this Pastors Corner segment, I wanted to bring up the fact that we are coming to a point of decision in this nation: USA… Will we turn to Christ Jesus or leftist and evil? On November 4th, 20 cities will be protesting against our president, and I am sure there will be violence against anyone speaking for the present president.

They have vowed to continue to protest until President Trump is impeached. I am praying that there would be a unity in our nation for righteousness. But I know that the Lord will protect those who are godly. There some in this nation that wants to strip it of all freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. They also want to divide this nation and destroy it.

But we as Christians cannot sit by idolly and pray, and not live our Christianity. Let’s be like Daniel who prayed every day for the people of God, and for having a nation that will do what is right.

Daily Devotional: People Of The Second Chance

Devotional Overview:

We’ve all been crippled by failure, hurt, disappointment, loss, or opposition at some time. But Mike Foster shows us that God offers every one of us a second chance through his love. The feelings of insecurity, fear, shame, not measuring up, and judgment. That. Stops. Today.

Key Scriptures:

  • Luke 15:11-24

Devotional:

“It’s Party Time!”

“Heavy” is the nickname of a musclebound giant of a man with tats inked all over his body. He is thirty-seven years old and currently lives in a halfway house for parolees, having finished serving a thirteen-year sentence for armed robbery.

The road Heavy faces to becoming a productive and self-sustaining member of society is steep. Statistically, the chances of Heavy ending up back in jail are high. So we at People of the Second Chance wanted to change the script for him. We decided to take a page from the prodigal son story and throw a party for Heavy.

We invited our friends to come. We reached out to officials from the justice system and ex-cons who had turned their lives around. Heavy’s pastor showed up, and so did one of Heavy’s cousins, whom Heavy was trying to keep from making the same mistakes he had made.

I’m telling you, it was the greatest time! We had cake and gifts. I asked Heavy to share his dreams with everyone.

After he had finished sharing, he pulled me aside and said, “You know what, Mike? That was the first time in my life that I felt like anybody has actually ever listened to me.”

That night we celebrated a felon who needed a party. We watched an ex-con find hope. Fellow prodigals shared their own stories to help Heavy be not so heavy.

The story of the kingdom is found in a raging fiesta for someone who doesn’t deserve one. The father says, “We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again” (Luke 15:32, niv). The theology of grace is in the party.

The gospel is in the balloons and piñatas, which is made possible only by death and resurrection—the death and resurrection of Jesus and our own death and second-chance resurrection. So let’s party, celebrating our own acceptance by God and spreading the party to others who need it.

How can you bring more celebration into your own life and others’ lives?

[Content Provided By Bible.com]

Daily Devotional: People Of The Second Chance

Devotional Overview:

We’ve all been crippled by failure, hurt, disappointment, loss, or opposition at some time. But Mike Foster shows us that God offers every one of us a second chance through his love. The feelings of insecurity, fear, shame, not measuring up, and judgment. That. Stops. Today.

Key Scriptures:

  • Matthew 22:34-40

Devotional:

“Channels of God’s Love”

I want us to give the same passage we looked at yesterday a “second chance” to teach us something today. Because, you see, one of the lessons I am learning about God and how he shapes my heart is that God does his shaping through the people I love. Through the lives of the other beloved. It’s clear to me that when compassion and kindness are brought into my life, God is moving on my behalf. He is loving me through others.

I know many people have amazing experiences where they feel the love of God firsthand in their hearts. They go off alone and feel his presence, approval, and acceptance in a special and direct way. Maybe you’ve had one of those moments. I hope you have. I hope everyone does.

Still, I like to think that God’s love is always on, is constant. It’s not there only when we feel it and think about it or have a really spiritual moment. It’s always residing in us. His love, acceptance, and delight in us are ever present. And the key to experiencing even more of this love is to give it away. To let it flow out so we can be filled even more.

I guess God could just rain his love on us. He could set up a direct flow into each person’s heart. But that’s now how he set up the love exchange. We are not just reservoirs of his love and grace. We are channels. We are rivers meant to flow.

You can see the brilliance of this strategy. The more we love others, the more his love spreads out into the world. Maybe that’s why Jesus’s bottom line on living a powerful life came down to a two-pronged commandment: Love God and love others. It wasn’t just a commandment; it was a description of how life works. The more we love others, the more we experience the love of God.

This is also a clever way to dismantle the beautiful lies of judgment and labels. God has appointed the outsider, the misfit, the other as the primary mechanism for expanding the love inside our hearts. Loving the other is how we get more of him. More life. More of all we were meant for.

How can you give and receive God’s love through others today?

[Content Provided By Bible.com]

Daily Devotional: People Of The Second Chance

Devotional Overview:

We’ve all been crippled by failure, hurt, disappointment, loss, or opposition at some time. But Mike Foster shows us that God offers every one of us a second chance through his love. The feelings of insecurity, fear, shame, not measuring up, and judgment. That. Stops. Today.

Key Scriptures:

  • Matthew 22:34-40

Devotional:

“Love Yourself”

Before I accepted my identity as God’s beloved, I was never enough. What I accomplished was never enough. And whatever good was there in front of me was impossible for me to take pleasure in, because I was trying so hard to be good that I could never just embrace the good.

I was always bringing a false self to God, but God can’t love a false self. So I was unable to experience God’s love. I had no idea who I was. And in that confusion a light dawned, dim but sure.

I knew I needed to love myself again. The real me. I needed to present my real self, with all its flaws, all its mistakes, all its failures, and all its cowardice and cruelty, to God. I needed to feel my heavenly Father wrap his arms around the real me and say he loved and accepted me by his grace.

It can sound a little selfish and touchy-feely to say that self-love is the answer to our deepest needs. Isn’t this just more positive psychology hoo-ha? Nope. We see the principle right there in the words of Jesus.

When Jesus was asked to pick the greatest commandment, he actually offered up two commandments from two Old Testament scriptures and then fused them together into a one-two punch of how to live a powerful life. He said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

I’m no Bible scholar, but I can’t help but notice those last two words: “as yourself.” In one statement Jesus links the ideas of loving God, loving your neighbor, and loving yourself. In my experience, this rings true. All three of those loves tend to rise and fall together. The more you love one, the more you love the others. People who never learn to love their true selves are often also limited in their love for God and others.

What if the person who you need to be kindest to is yourself? What if the enemy you need to forgive or the prisoner you need to release is your true self? That is why God redeemed you.

How can you begin to love yourself better today?

[Content Provided By Bible.com]

Daily Devotional: People Of The Second Chance

Devotional Overview:

We’ve all been crippled by failure, hurt, disappointment, loss, or opposition at some time. But Mike Foster shows us that God offers every one of us a second chance through his love. The feelings of insecurity, fear, shame, not measuring up, and judgment. That. Stops. Today.

Key Scriptures:

  •  Ezekiel 37:1-14

Devotional:

“Dispelling the Beautiful Lie”

Today I want to begin with a harsh truth. You see, most if not all of us believe what I call the beautiful lie.

The lie says this is what really counts: to be wealthy, powerful, influential, attractive, admired, talented, popular, and, above all, valuable. We must make a life that is worth something to others. Worth more than others. The world screams at us to hurry up and matter. Our lives become a reaction to this lie.

According to the lie, we must not be nothings. To be good for nothing is to be as good as dead. And death is what we fear most. The death that says our lives have no value.

So we thrash about in a pool of comparison and one-upmanship. Our lives become burdened by the heaviness of getting it right. Our joy becomes brittle, and our hearts slowly break. The only possible outcome of this hurry-up-and-matter hustle is the slow crushing of our souls.

But God offers real life, where our brokenness is redeemed. He says we can abandon society’s beautiful lie and allow him to breathe new life into us, his beloved.

I think of the passage in Ezekiel where the Lord leads the prophet through a valley. Ezekiel wrote: “God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bone all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun” (37:1-2, msg). That’s our condition. We’re like dead, dry bones.

And yet God tells Ezekiel to prophesy—to reveal something by divine inspiration—over these bleached and broken things. The prophet does. And in the story the bones come alive. Broken things are made beautiful.

Here’s the point: God breathes life into our dead and imperfect things. So if we feel that we don’t measure up, that doesn’t mean we have to climb onto the build-your-worth treadmill. We already have worth. In God’s eyes. By his doing. And our worth is permanent, lasting far longer than any worldly attempt to uphold the beautiful lie could ever last.

Are you seeking your self-worth through redemption in Christ or through striving to gain others’ approval?

[Content Provided By Bible.com]

Food Bank - Feeding America San Bernardino | Riverside

Believers Chapel Food Bank News:

Believers Chapel Food Bank just got their “On Site” position with Feeding America in Riverside!

What does this mean?

We get food that other non-profit organizations don’t so that we can make a hot meal for anyone that shows up to our food bank on Thursdays.

As most of you know, we have already been doing this for some time now, but this gives us “first choice” of meats and other fresh items. I appreciate God’s favor. We have seen people who don’t get food but come only to get their only hot meal for the week.

Also, I would mention that there are many restaurants that have excess food that they can’t use but the food is still good. We could help feed people with this food and would be willing to pick it up. You can contact us at our church number 909-866-2552. You can also make a donation via our easyTithe page here.

We are also accepting winter clothing donations for the homeless up here in the mountain communities. You can drop your donations off at the food bank on Thursday(s), or call the number above and schedule a time to drop it off.

We are excited about this, and we know that God is going to continue to provide every need we have so that we can make sure that EVERY single last person in this valley has at least one hot meal a week, and plenty of food to help them throughout the week.

Daily Devotional: People Of The Second Chance

Devotional Overview:

We’ve all been crippled by failure, hurt, disappointment, loss, or opposition at some time. But Mike Foster shows us that God offers every one of us a second chance through his love. The feelings of insecurity, fear, shame, not measuring up, and judgment. That. Stops. Today.

Key Scriptures:

  • Romans 9:25-26

Devotional:

“His Beloved”

One of the fundamental questions we ask in life is: Who am I?

My simplistic answer to this question is this: My truest, purest, nonnegotiable identity is the beloved. And in spite of my checkered past, my fabulous flops, my painful history, my deepest flaws, my boneheaded screw-ups, and, yes, even beyond my own beliefs about myself, I am God’s beloved. This is my foundational identity and the foundational identity of every human being.

This is important because identity is the engine that drives the relationship not only with ourselves but also with God and others. If your identity is broken, your life is broken. If you define it incorrectly, you will carry that wrong definition into your story. If all you see are your limitations, you will miss out on the stunning possibilities God is creating in front of you.

When I am working with hurting people, probably the most tragic thing I witness is when they have accepted the lie that whatever ugly, can’t-talk-about-it, embarrassing thing has happened in their stories is beyond the grace of God. That his mercy doesn’t reach far enough. That his hand of grace is just beyond…

  • the quiet addiction to painkillers;
  • the shame of an unexpected divorce;
  • someone’s sexuality and what it all means;
  • the betrayal of a family member;
  • the fear of growing old and being alone;
  • a secret abortion and the sorrows of miscarriages;
  • the depression, the sadness, and the eating disorder;
  • the drinking and the bad choices;
  • hidden regrets that you chose your career instead of your kids.

Yet God is reaching out in all these painful moments and whispers, Just reach back to me, my beloved! I am here. Please, I beg you. Just reach back.

As you start your five days of devotions on the subject of second chances, listen to God’s call of love to you. Believe in his grace and loving-kindness toward you. As Brennan Manning said, “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”

What is your answer to the question “Who am I?” Can you see yourself as God’s beloved?

[Content Provided By Bible.com]