Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Three Things I Pray

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Always be joyful.17Never stop praying.Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

In the movie, Meet the Parents, Ben Stiller offers a prayer at a family meal time that was awkward. Ben, playing the part of Greg, when he was asked to pray, didn’t know what to say. He began addressing God with words outside his normal vocabulary. He used a voice different than his normal conversational tone. It was so noticeable several opened their eyes to see what changed.

He soon exhausted any original thoughts, so he began to quote the words to the Godspell tune, Day by day these three things I pray: to see Thee more clearly, to love Thee more dearly and to follow Thee more nearly day by day by day. Amen!
I laugh every time I see the movie clip because I can identify! Maybe you are laughing now remembering the scene. What isn’t funny is finding yourself in the in the place where you want to pray but don’t know what to say.

Prayer at its essence is simply talking to God. You can pray aloud, under your breath, or simply by thinking thoughts in your head toward God, and He hears. Speak to Him conversationally. No special prayer voice or preacher’s vocabulary is necessary.

I admit it does seem a little odd in the beginning to talk aloud to someone you can’t see. To focus you may close your eyes. But remember, closing your eyes or folding your hands isn’t a requirement. You already have the attention of the Creator of the Universe.

Know that He loves you so much He died for you and nothing pleases Him more than for you to talk to Him. He longs to hear your voice. Include God in your everyday life, and you’ll find you have a relationship moving away from ritual or routine toward love.

Gary Kendall
Week 3, Three Things I Pray, Day 3, Devo 13

Monday, October 29, 2012

Time Well Spent

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I no longer call you servants because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends for everything that I learned from my father I have made known to you. John 15:5 NLT

Maybe it sounds dramatic or presumptuous to imagine that you could become a friend of God. He spoke the universe into existence. He created mountains, oceans, prairies, and glaciers. And aren’t they beautiful!

He designed the ecosystems of our world. He was born into the very world He gave life. He experienced the best life had to offer and the worst.

He took the sin of the world on His shoulders when He died a cruel death on the cross to satisfy the curse of sin. This Jesus wants to be your friend. When you choose to live the SENT lifestyle of Jesus you continue the work of the Father. Jesus sees you as a friend.

Since you are a child of God you are also a brother or a sister. This is your identity. This is your destiny. Don’t let anyone or anything deter you from pursuing an intimate relationship with the One who risked everything for you.

A relationship deepens when you spend unhurried time together. It is no different in learning to relate to God. Lovers want to learn all they can about one another. Read God’s Word often. Get to know Him to understand Who He is and what He desires in relationship.

Developing a friendship with God is similar to developing a human relationship, but there are a dramatic differences. The relationship you develop with God will be the most important and rewarding investment you ever make.

Beginning today, let’s learn how to deepen our love for God.

Gary Kendall
Week 3, Time Well Spent, Day 2, Devo 12

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Love’s Beginning

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So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Romans 5:11 NLT
The lunchroom was packed. The new school year at Gulf-Coast Bible College had started days earlier. Some students were in the lunch room to see if the food was edible. Others went to meet the new crop of girls, oh, excuse me, I mean students. After I went through the line to fill my plate, I stood for some time looking for a place to sit.
Finally, I saw the only two open spaces in the room; they were immediately across from each other. I navigated my way through the chatty students and made my way to the seats. I sat my plate down to hold my spot and headed for the salad bar.
When I returned I noticed someone had the same idea and had captured the other open space. I didn’t give it much thought. I had a lot on my mind and my main goal that day was to eat then get on to the more exciting parts of the day. I was barely seated when a cute girl with green eyes and long blonde hair sat down across from me. I learned her name was Belinda, and she was from Kentucky. The day had just radically improved!
To hear the rest of the story you’ll want to read the book backwards. I’m not given to romantic stories but this one has a divine twist!
I never get tired of telling that story, but there is a reason beyond the fact that I love my wife. Relationships take time. They are built experience on experience. And here is the good news, The God of the universe wants a relationship with you!
Beginning a relationship with God is similar to the way we develop human relationships. They grow over time as we invest in them. Often we weren’t looking for the relationships that became primary in our lives, just like I wasn’t looking for Belinda. Although we may not be looking for a relationship with God, He is looking for us. He is looking for you. He will reveal Himself to you in multiple ways over time.
Open your eyes and your heart to Him and you will see that His fingerprints are everywhere. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Once you express that desire to Him you can be certain that He will find you. You will begin to explore what it is like to become a friend of God.
Have you experienced a life in relationship with Him? What is it that you could do right now to grow in your relationship with Jesus?
Gary Kendall
Week 3, Love's Beginning, Day 1, Devo 11

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spiritual Formation Journey

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For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

My good friend, Steve Papa found a relationship with Jesus when I challenged him to explore faith. I told him I would never talk to him about God again if he would honestly give God a chance to reveal Himself. Steve did and God did in a most unusual way.

God spoke through the scriptures in the Bible in such a way that Steve couldn’t deny His existence. Steve resisted a few more months but one night he knelt beside his bed, with his wife Linda, and chose to begin a personal relationship with Jesus. He asked Jesus to forgive his sins and invited Him to lead His life. He experienced amazing grace and he has never been the same.

My former secretary, Judy Burrell, loved Steve but often smiled at him and told him to “Keep it clean.” You can imagine her surprise and joy when Steve grew in his relationship to the point that he found his sweet spot leading the student ministry at a local church. Today Steve is a passionate follower of Jesus living SENT. Steve and Linda are so excited about what God has done in their lives that they are generous donors including helping to underwrite the printing of this book.
It is true for all of us, spiritual formation is a journey. There are several recognizable decision points along the way. We all grow as a disciple of Jesus at our own pace. Just like a physical body naturally matures, if it is healthy, so you will discover that the life of Jesus naturally grows in you. What He needs from you is cooperation. Are you cooperating?

Allow me to use Steve's story as an illustration of Spiritual Formation. Stage one I call Exploring because we each go through a time of searching for truth. Stage two I call Beginning. In this stage a person accepts Jesus as their Savior and Leader. Stage three I call Growing. This is where the believer determines to grow to be like Jesus. Stage four I call SENT. This is the Jesus life where one lives on purpose, on mission all the time. SENT is the combination of loving God, loving people and living out the love of Jesus.

I met Steve when he was definitely Exploring. For seven years I shared my story and His story but Steve didn't budge. He even asked me to quit as I referenced above. But Linda, his wife led him to Jesus, and he moved to stage two. He was Beginning. There were plenty of rough spots but Steve was committed to Growing to be like Jesus. He worked on every one of the 3Ls and he allowed the Holy Spirit to work on him. Now Steve and Linda are living SENT.

What stage of spiritual growth are you in? Where do you want to be? Will you commit today to asking the Holy Spirit to get you where He wants you to go? And will you pledge your complete cooperation?

Gary Kendall
Week 2, Spiritual Formation Journey, Day 5, Devo 10

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Do I Do?

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Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. John 17:18 NLT

I wish you could meet my former neighbors, Jon and Glynis DeWitt. When I first met Jon at my neighbor’s pool party, Jon was the life of the party. Every time I saw him he would ask me what time church started. From the time Jon started asking, the time never changed and neither did the question.

One Sunday I was surprised to see him at church. He told me afterward that he’d hit rock bottom the night before. He looked up for God and found Jesus didn’t condemn him. In fact, he was blown away by the grace extended to him.

A few weeks later Glynis came to church on a mission to find my wife, Belinda. She wore a pair of old sweats, didn’t wear any make-up and didn’t care. There was just one thing on her mind and that was to find what Jon found. Belinda prayed with her and they cried tears of joy together.

Their marriage which was tenuous at best began to improve. As Jon and Glynis grew closer to Jesus they grew closer to each other. What they couldn’t heal on their own began to recover and grow stronger with God’s help. Their desires and behaviors changed. Their trust grew and they began to enjoy life and marriage in a whole new way.

One Monday about 8:00 A.M., I heard a knock at my door. It was Jon. He came in and sat down. With a concerned look on his face he said, What am I supposed to do?

He wanted others to find what He found in Jesus. He knew of several marriages that were suffering like his was. He felt love for people he didn’t even know in the community. He wondered if he should go door to door telling everyone the Good News. He wasn’t joking!

We talked about a lot of things that morning that you will read in this book--like how to grow spiritually, the importance of living in community, how to share your faith with others and more.

Jon and Glynis found an authentic way to live SENT that fits them well and nothing could make me happier. I want that for you too.

Gary Kendall
Week 2, What do I do?, Day 4, Devo 9

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Become Like Jesus

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And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect... because we live like Jesus here in this world. 1 John 4:17 NLT
I’m a visual guy so it helps me to have a target in mind if I am to grow to be like Jesus. I get it that becoming like Christ happens in relationship but what does it look like in everyday life? Have you ever wondered? Here is a way that helps me visualize the behaviors that are the natural outcomes of a life lived like Jesus. It is what I've come to call the SENT circle.
Imagine with me a circle with three colorful sections, one blue, one yellow and one green with the word SENT in the center. These represent the three primary characteristics of a Jesus follower.
Love God
A person who follows Jesus has a true heart of love for God. This comes from knowing Him and spending time with Him. Worship, prayer and reading the Bible are all ways that we grow in our understanding and appreciation of who he is. This can be an absolute delight!
Love People
We were created from relationship for relationship. We are better together and the closer we draw to God the closer we get to one another. Those who find their way back to God become family. We live in community and through us the love of God reaches those who don’t yet know Him.
Live Out the Love of Jesus
We become the hands and feet of Jesus as we serve others in His name. We discover the reality that is more blessed to give than to receive. Through us heaven touches earth and earth becomes more like heaven.
This is the Jesus’ life where we are living for something greater than self. It is a life lived on mission, on purpose, all day, all the time. Jesus said, As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you. John 20:21 NLT
At different times I’m stronger in one of these behaviors than the others but as I grow in one the others also get stronger. It isn’t linear, as if one comes after the other. They all work together to produce the Jesus’ life which I call Living SENT.
Maybe you would pray with me, God, form the image of Christ in me and make me more like Jesus.
Gary Kendall
Week 2, Growing to be Like Jesus, Day 3, Devo 8

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's All About Relationship

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The Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. John 1:14 NLT

We are not created to live life alone. I was tempted to doubt whether God had my best interests in mind. I wasn’t sure I could trust Him after Megan’s death. But He knew exactly where I was and what I was going through. He knew how to reach me and He did.

I’ve heard it said, When you can’t find God start praying and He will find you.
God carried me and my family through the grieving process and over time brought us to a place of healing. We’ve shared generously with others what we learned in our grief. Day by day God brought truth and people into our lives who led us lovingly into restoration. We will always miss Megan but we are no longer debilitated and we are stronger for our journey of loss.

Here is the great truth I’ve learned about life—it is all about relationship. God desires relationship with me and with you. He wants to do life together.
When Jesus came to teach us how to find relationship with the Father and the Spirit He did it by coming to earth and calling disciples to share life with Him. He didn’t simply point them to His Word He lived truth out in their presence.

His goal was that by being with Him they would become like Him. Have you noticed that people who spend a lot of time together begin to act alike? As incredible as it might seem Jesus believes we can become like Him. Here is the key—we do it by being with him in our everyday life. It is all about relationship with him.

Gary Kendall        
Week 2, It's All About Relationship, Day 2, Devo 7

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Can't Do Life Alone

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God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

Everyone eventually comes to the place where they meet their own mortality and realize they can’t do life alone. That time came for me at 2 a.m. on May 22. I couldn’t sleep because the pain was too great.

My mind was racing and it wouldn’t stop no matter how much I prayed. Belinda was crashed on the couch in the living room. We both were dealing with grievous tragedy. Our precious baby daughter, Megan, 21, months old, had died in her sleep the previous morning. We had been left to do the unthinkable, to put the pieces of our lives back together without our youngest child.

In my grief I cried out to God. It was incredulous to me that He had allowed Megan to die. How could He?

My heart hurt beyond whatever capacity for pain I thought I had. I don’t know that I really expected to hear anything back from Him but in the darkness of that moment, in my spirit, I heard something I believe came from God, I know how you feel, my Son died too.

That got my attention! I sat up. Was God speaking to me? Once I recovered from the surprise, it brought me comfort to know God was there with me in the pain. After a brief pause the thought continued, And I willingly sent My Son to die so you could live.

This was unthinkable that God would willingly choose for His only Son to die. Yet that is exactly the choice the Father God made. He sent His Son Jesus to pay for the sin of the world, for my sin and for yours.

Incredible! The love of God was never more real to me than it was at that moment. I felt His presence and His comfort was salve to my soul. He wasn’t distant. He was close.

Our healing will take a lifetime but it began with the realization God pursued relationship with me when I was at my worst. He is there with you too at this very moment, inviting relationship with you. Open your heart to Him.

Gary Kendall        
Week 2, Can't Do Life Alone, Day 1, Devo 6

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tug of War

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Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

Following Jesus leads to a life of adventure. It means we accept that we live for a purpose greater than self. I call it living SENT. By that I mean that we choose to join Jesus in His mission of redemption. He is out to exchange old useless habits and self-defeating choices for a life filled with meaningful reconciliation.

When we delay this choice our life turns into a tug-of-war. You’ve been there. Some days it feels like you are winning and other days it seems like you are being drug in a direction you don’t want to go.

I call this--the tug of war between living for self and living SENT. Will you live for a purpose higher than self? Will you dare to believe that life could be different?
I made the choice to follow Jesus and I’ve never regretted it. Be sure to read the story about the day a toilet was transformed into an altar! It’s crazy, I know.

You can be sure there were times I dropped the rope in this tug of war but the great thing is Jesus didn’t. He stayed there for me, rock solid, until I accepted his grace and started to pull with him again. And let me tell you, when He is on your side, the right side wins the tug-of-war.

Is it time for a change in your life? Do you need Someone to pull with you? Do you feel drawn to God’s love?

Invite God to reveal Himself to you right now. Say, Yes to His invitation. He does for you what you can’t do for yourself. He redeems all that is good in you, and He cleans out what doesn’t belong. When I said, Yes, to God I felt incredibly clean on the inside. I want that new beginning for you!

Gary Kendall        
Week 1, Tug of War, Day 5, Devo 5

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Turn Around

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I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6 NLT

Have you ever experienced the feeling, that life seems harder than it should? Maybe you’ve even said, There must be a better way! Like my excursion, life is better when you turn around and go the direction the guide advises. Your kayak slices through the water. Steering is easier. Your efforts are more productive. You get along with others better. You can enjoy the journey.

This book backwards: Created to Live SENT describes how to find your way back to God and become like Jesus. You were made in His image. Isn’t it time to learn how to truly live?

To get started you need a change of direction. The Bible uses the word "repent" for this turn-around. In the Greek language, the word for repent is "metanoeo", and it means to turn around and go the complete opposite direction. It is like doing a 180 degree U-turn.

It is like you were sitting backwards in the boat. You choose to accept the leadership of Jesus based not on what you can do but on what He’s already done for you. You invite Him to lead, and you chose to follow. The surroundings haven’t changed yet, but you are reoriented. It is a whole new way of living.

Following initially feels backwards but rather quickly it feels like a fit. Before long you may find yourself thinking, I believe I was made for this.

Will you join me today in saying to God, Forgive me for going my own way. You take the lead and I’ll follow? It is never too late to turn around.

What is it in your life that needs a turn-around? Jesus is the initiator of second chances and new beginnings. Listen to your Guide and live life as He designed it to be lived.

Gary Kendall        
Week 1, Turn Around, Day 4, Devo 4

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


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Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people! Matthew 4:19 NLT

Finally, we came to the realization that our alternatives were limited. Belinda and I did what we had to do. We quit complaining. We stopped fighting each other. 

Belinda started paddling again, and I paddled opposite her changing sides when she changed. We improved enough to steer in the general direction. Eventually, we began to catch up with the others. We wouldn’t win a prize for our tactics, but with two strong wills, we found a way to make it work.

I must admit that I was pretty proud when we caught that last wave and coasted onto the beach. The guide grabbed the front of our kayak to steady it so we could get out. Then he peered at us with an astonished look on his face and exclaimed, In all my years I’ve never seen that before! You traveled the whole trip going backwards! How did you do that?

No wonder it was so hard! Evidently, we were supposed to get in the kayak facing the shore. We didn’t know that. Ideally when you push off backwards the first thing you do is turn toward the waves. We got into the kayak facing the waves and launched into them. I guess we should have listened to our guide more closely! Suddenly, the struggle for the last hour and one half made a lot more sense. The entire boat is engineered to work facing the other way!

Have you experienced the feeling that life seems harder than it should be. Maybe you missed the details or someone else in your world isn’t cooperating. It isn’t unusual that what appears to be a rather simple and fun exercise instead turns into an unexpected ordeal.

What if you are functioning backwards? What if you think you are supposed to be leading in life and in reality you were designed to follow?

It’s normal to live your life believing you were born to be in control. Isn’t life all about you? It is about having what you want and the freedom to do as you please—that’s what brings happiness. Right?

The problem is that it doesn’t work so well in everyday life. Before long you find yourself arguing, complaining and competing with others who believe the same thing—that it is all about them. And after you’ve both tried harder AND threatened to quit, you eventually come to the place where you are dead in the water.

I’m not the fastest or brightest student of life or kayaking, but I’ve come to an astonishing discovery: I am made for more and you are too! There is a better way! Life is better when you turn around and go the direction the Guide advises. You slice through the water. Steering is easier. Your efforts are more productive. You get along with others better. You can enjoy the journey.

In this book, backward: Created to Live SENTwe discover the benefit of living life, not for selfish purposes, but as God designed. It is a life that is filled with on-purpose living. This brings great adventure and amazing satisfaction. Let’s listen to the Guide and get started.

Gary Kendall                  
Week 1, backwards, Day 3, Devo 3

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dead in the Water

By Gary Kendall

If you would rather watch than read click here:  http://youtu.be/fjSt7pIa0CM

There is a path before each person thatseemsright, but it ends in death. Proverbs 14:12 NLT

Imagine this, the beautiful blue Caribbean ocean; no clouds in sight; gentle tropical breezes and the surf is up. It’s another day in paradise.

However, my life wasn’t picture perfect. The idea seemed innocent enough. My wife, Belinda, and I were on vacation. We set out that day with eight other couples to kayak along the coast of an island. What could be better than that?

We listened as our guide explained in detail how to get the kayak off the beach and avoid capsizing when the first set of waves crested near the shore. However, afterwards Belinda and I couldn’t agree on what we had just heard. The surf was loud and our adrenaline was pumping. Belinda was nervous because she doesn’t swim well. I was overconfident because I grew up in Alaska, and had spent a lot of time in a canoe.

As we pushed off from the shore, I said, You paddle on the right (her strong side), and I will paddle on the left. The first big wave came at us and she paddled frantically on the right and then switched to the left. I tried to correct her verbally and offset her choices by paddling opposite her. That didn’t work because she kept changing sides. I didn’t know which way she was going next and I was supposed to be steering!

I tried desperately to guess her next move and still keep us headed straight into the first big wave. To turn sideways would be certain disaster. The wave hit. The bow went straight up in the air. The surf splashed in our faces. We went down the other side with incredible speed. Somehow we made it past the first wave upright. We were off on a great adventure! Life is good! We can do this! Or so we thought.
Then the struggle for control set in. We argued about how to steer the kayak and who should take which role. I complained that everyone else seemed to have it figured out. I noticed and pointed out that they were also cooperating. They were even smiling and enjoying the experience. That didn’t help.

Belinda told me that if I was so smart I could just paddle by myself and see how that worked. I said, That would be an improvement! Belinda decided she had had enough and quit paddling completely. Out of frustration I quit paddling too.
Dead in the water. That’s what happens if you don’t paddle. Then the sea takes you wherever it wants you to go. That was not good! We made apologies and started again. We tried harder. We tried a LOT harder. By now the sun was blazing hot. Did I tell you there were no clouds in sight? The fun factor was fading fast.

This is a good example of what happens when two people are both on the “I want it my way” selfish path. It might seem right in the heat of the moment but the end result is frustration.

If you are thinking there must be a better way, keep reading. This except is from the book, backwards: Created to Live SENT

Gary Kendall
Week 1, Dead in the Water, Devo 2, Day 2

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Expose, Engage, Entangle

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Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35 NLT

Several times in the life of the church I pastor, The Indian Creek Community Church, we’ve done a project called The Church Has Left the Building. On a selected Sunday, we have gathered briefly and then dispersed across the city to serve. It wasn’t that we hoped to do a good deed and then break our arm patting ourselves on the back. We wanted to meet real needs and open the door for future partnership. Simply put, we hoped to expose our congregation to community needs. I'm grateful that Tom Bassford coined these terms because they are easy to remember and they give clarity to the process of missional living.

Exposure opportunities are easy on-ramps to service. The hope is that we might be awakened to the needs and the potential around us. We want our people to build relationships and serve as if we are the hands and feet of Jesus. We want to express his heart of compassion in both large and small ways. We hope to introduce people to a lifestyle of engagement.

All too often the only time the neighborhood sees the church gathered is when they see the cars surround the facility on a Sunday. While gathering and equipping has a place, Jesus said that the world would know we are his disciples by our love. That calls for relationship and for engagement. This step means you serve often enough where you know the names of the people. You learn the needs and you allow your heart to feel their feelings. You engage your gifts and give sacrificially.

Eventually the need is for everyone to find their mission. We all become missionaries when we take on ownership. People who are entangled think about the mission like it is a central part of their own life. They may stay awake at night imagining solutions to problems or wake up early with new ideas.

Every follower of Jesus is called to be a missionary (one who lives SENT) and most of us don’t get paid for what we do! The mission field starts at the doorstep of your home. You can go halfway around the world but you don’t have to in order to be a world changer.

Are you allowing Jesus to expose you to the needs around you? Are you regularly engaged in meeting needs in a specific place or ministry? Are you entangled so that mission is an integral part of your everyday life?

Gary Kendall
Week 5, Live Out, Day 4, Devo 24

Living SENT Day 1

By Gary Kendall

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Jesus said my purpose is to give them (you) a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 NLT

From birth forward it feels right to look out for self but I believe there is a better way. Hi, my name is Gary Kendall and I’m living backwards or so it seems.

We find it necessary at the beginning of life to look out for self. It is part of self preservation. Then it is natural as we grow to want to please ourselves. We all do it. It is a part of self discovery. Let’s just admit it, we are born with a bent toward selfishness.

At some point along the way, what it healthy and natural in the beginning becomes pervasive. Before, until before I know it, it is all about me. I want to have it my way and you do too. As the song says, You can’t please everyone so you got to please yourself.

So initially to follow Jesus, may seem backwards. But for as much as it feels right to serve self there is disquiet in your soul that says, You were made for more. The truth is: You were created in the image of God. He put a part of Himself in you. You were created for relationship with Him.

Once you experience the richness of this life with Him you will decide that doing life on your own is what is backwards. You will discover that living for self is ultimately shallow. But when you live for a purpose greater than self, you will discover true life.

Tomorrow I want to share a humorous story that illustrated this truth for me. You can find the story in Chapter 1 of the book, backwards: Created to live SENT

Gary Kendall        
Week 1, Living SENT, Day 1, Devo 1

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Pattern for Prayer

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Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13 NLT

When His disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He gave them what we’ve come to call, The Lord’s Prayer. I believe Jesus intended this prayer to be a pattern for our prayer. Let’s examine it, phrase by phrase.

First, the address
It is normal to address the person to whom you speak, and it is natural to praise them. Jesus is speaking to His Father, and our Father. He acknowledges that God is Holy (or set apart from all otherus). When you pray start with praise for who God is and give thanks for what He has already done.

Begin with a missional focus
Jesus puts the needs of the kingdom of God first. May Your kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Jesus prayed that what is normal in heaven becomes normal on earth. By making this the first request He reminds us of our high calling to first fulfill the will of the Father.

Next Jesus acknowledges we have daily needs. He prays, Give us today the food that we need. Isn’t it great to know that He cares about your needs? Whatever is important to you is important to Him. Nothing is too small to escape His interest, and nothing is too big for God.

Then He continues with a subject matter we often like to avoid—broken relationships. Ask God to forgive you and in the same way that you offer forgiveness to others who sin against you.

Conclude your prayer time by asking for victory in your spiritual life. Pray to be strong against temptations. I suggest you name them. And pray that God will deliver you from the adversary of your soul often called the devil. Ask God to show you how you can win in the most important battles of this life.

Keep in mind that the greatest benefit to prayer is not necessarily the answers—it is the deepening of relationship.

Gary Kendall
Week 3, A Pattern for Prayer, Day 4, Devo 14

Thursday, October 11, 2012

New Series Starts Next Week

Dear Readers,

My friend, Gary Kendall, has written an outstanding new book and study guide called, Backwards: Created to Live Sent. In addition to the book, Gary has 30 daily devotionals I would like to share with you over the next 6 weeks. So be prepared -- we're going back to 5 days per week.

Here's a sample of what's ahead:

What do you do with the tug-of-war you feel between living to serve self or living with the freedom to let go and live for something greater? Gary writes out of his own experience for those on the journey to find life at its best. The possibilities might feel backwards but at the same time surprisingly fulfilling.

Gary is the lead pastor at Indian Creek Community Church in Olathe, Kansas which founded and has led for 27 years. Over those years, his congregation has been instrumental in planting a number of other churches and serving their community well.

For more information on the book and Gary's ministry: livingsent.net