Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Believe. Doubt. Believe. Doubt. (Repeat)

By Allen White

And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called God's friend. James 2:23 (NIV)

Abraham believed God, but it sure took a lot of work to get there. He believed enough to leave what he had known to enter into the unknown based on God’s direction (Genesis 12). But the slogan about “God said it; I believe it; and that settles it” didn’t work for Abraham. Why? Abraham didn’t know God very well.

It would be easy to think “Gee whiz, Abraham had direct conversations with God. Why did he struggle with doubt? If I had those conversations with God, I would act immediately and wouldn’t doubt at all.” Well, don’t become so self-righteous so fast. We haven’t walked in his shoes.

Abraham did things for God that no one had ever done. Abraham also gave us an understanding of God that no one before had ever had. We have a greater understanding of God based on the understanding that Abraham pioneered about God’s nature and character. With the knowledge we have of God, you might wonder what Abraham would think of our faith.

Here’s the bottom line: the truth of God had to become familiar to Abraham. The process involved wrestling with doubts. God’s promise was great in theory, but the practical implementation was a whole other deal. Abraham is not so different from us.

There are many things that we understand in principle, but we don’t yet understand in our experience. If we could just read words on a page and have it instantly sink in, that would be something. But, there are those events in our lives that cause us to question everything. That doesn’t mean that we put on a “Bad Christian” name tag. The correct label would be “God’s Work in Progress.”

How are you challenged to fully believe God today? Do you wonder if His Word is true? Do you question God’s reality? Do you feel that God has forgotten you? Press into that and work it all of the way through. God will prove Himself to you. You will develop a fuller understanding of Him. Your faith will grow.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Are You Suffering from the –Ites?

By Allen White

When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates- the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites." Genesis 15:17-21 (NIV)

That’s a lot of –ites. Now, the land promised to Abram wasn’t the former home of all of these –ites. It was their present home. You would think that if God gave the land, He would just hand it over. All of the –ites would get some sort of eviction notice. Maybe they would leave with an apology, “We’re sorry we were living on your land. We’ve packed up and will leave it in good shape for you. We didn’t realize that this was your land.”

God was very clear about the obstacles that Abram would face: childlessness, opposition, slavery, and then more opposition. You wonder why God gave Abram so much advance warning. Was God outlining a clear path through the murkiness of Abram’s thinking? Was God’s direction such a new thing for Abram that God simply didn’t want to leave any room for misunderstanding? Considering that the last time God communicated with humans was at the tower of Babel (Genesis 11), Abram definitely needed to grow in his understanding of a relationship with God.

God didn’t paint a rosy picture for Abram. We don’t always have as much information in God’s leading, but what we do understand is the difficulties are not necessarily counter to God’s leading. We enter a “spin cycle of success: Change, Conflict, then Growth” as Ed Young, Jr. puts it. The challenge is not so much in the difficulties as it is in our persistence. Our success comes when we complete the process. Failure comes if we stop.

Where is God leading you today? While we shouldn’t be surprised by problems, they are never comfortable. God is not intentionally trying to frustrate you. He is causing you to grow. If it feels like too much, God provides the ability to continue. Just ask Him.

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Too Much Information?

By Allen White

As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." Genesis 15:12-16 (NIV)

You have to wonder if Abram ended up with more than he bargained for. Out of his uncertainty, God leads him into a worship experience. Then, Abram falls into a deep sleep and receives maybe more information than he might have wanted.

In Abram’s quest for assurance, God reveals about the next 500 or so years of plan for Abram’s family. And, God doesn’t pad the future at all. Abram will have descendants who will become slaves for 400 years. The end result is that Abram’s descendants will have great possessions; the captors will be punished; and Abram will die in peace.

Just when circumstances were indicating that Abram’s “heir” would be Eliezer of Damascus, his servant (Genesis 15:2), God says, “Oh, I have a plan. Let me give you some details.” God wasn’t kidding, when the Bible says, “he chose us in him before the creation of the world” and that “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:4, 11; NIV). There was a big plan, and it started with Abram.

Do you feel like maybe God has forgotten you? Be assured that He has a plan for your life. When you can’t trust your circumstances, you can trust in God’s character. He doesn’t waver. He never changes.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wrong Song

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My Temple will be called ‘a house of prayer for all nations,’ Mark 11:17 NLT
If you learned a Christian song in the early years of your life, there is a good chance you learned Jesus Loves Me. If you need a refresher on the lyrics, it goes like this. Sing aloud if you’d like.
Jesus loves me this I know
for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to himbelong
They are weak but he is strong
Chorus: Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so
How can you help but smile when you sing that song? There is a good reason we love that song, and it goes beyond the fact that it is true. We love it because it is about us. Jesus loves ME! I am the object of his love.
To capture the full spirit of the song, we might as well wrap our arms around ourselves when we sing it. Jesus loves me. What a comfort that is! Try it. It makes you feel good. Please don’t burn me for heresy. I like the song. I really do, but it can be a problem too. If I’m honest, I want everything to be about me. Me, me, me is the song we like to sing.
The whole idea of this book, backwards, is that to make everything about me feels so appropriate. Here is the problem, we naturally make ourselves the center of the story. Our first filter in life is the one that judges something good or bad, right or wrong, by how it affects me. We all do it. And it is backwards to the way that God designed life.
This truth, that Jesus loves me, is a basic building block for life. And remember, with God it IS all about you—that is why He sent Jesus die on the cross—to pay for your sin. But once you follow Him—it is no longer about you, it is about OTHERS. Jesus wants everyone to know Him. Once you join the family of God, it is the pre-occupation of this family to live your life on mission, on purpose, all the time for others to know Jesus. It’s not about you. That is the plan, and it is a good thing.
Trust Jesus to meet your needs as you serve. Trust his love as you go through your life. It will always be there for you. When you live the life that is SENT there is a divine return cycle that is better than any you could create on your own. You become your brother’s keeper. And God becomes your keeper. To the extent that we live with this perspective life makes sense.
A better theme song for living SENT would be a different children’s song:
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world
It’s fine to sing both if you want to live SENT just don’t sing the first song, Jesus Loves Me without also singing the second, Jesus Loves the Little Children.
What is God asking you to trust Him to do? To whom is He asking you to serve? Will you live ‘backwards’ for His glory?
Gary Kendall
Devo 30, Week 6, SENT, Day 5

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


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Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. Psalm 127:4, 5 NLT

This is a scripture that warms the heart of most parents. They get warm fuzzies just thinking about a quiver full of arrows with multiple colors on the end of the shaft which represents the pictures of their children on the mantle. I love them so much, the thinking goes, I won’t let anything happen to them!

But that is not the metaphor the Bible is using. The purpose of an arrow is to be sent. Arrows are for shooting. How else would the man confront the accusers at the city gate? The Psalmist

isn’t glowing over his accumulation of arrows or children. He wants to win the battle.

The enemy doesn’t play fair, and he doesn’t care about what is important to you. His one mission is to overthrow the plan of God, and he is hell bent on undermining it anyway he can. The battle will come right to you and your home.
The safest place to be on earth is the center of His will. Many parents are over protective of their children. The lie that we, as mere parents can ultimately protect our children from all problems in life does the children more harm than good. It doesn’t teach them to depend on their Creator who alone can protect and provide for them. Neither does it allow them to develop problem solving skills.

Safety in this world is mostly just an illusion. This is a painful truth! However, it is also true that in Christ you are safe enough. It is better to put your children in places where they will learn to trust God and fight for themselves in a spiritual way than to send the signal that the most important thing in life is their safety.

Are you trying to protect your children against faith risks? If so, you will find yourself working against God. When your life is in His hands, there is no better way to live than to live SENT.

Gary Kendall
Week 6, SENT  Day 4, Devo 29

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


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For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. Luke 19:10 NLT

One summer day Belinda took our only vehicle, our van, and left me at home with all three of our kids. She had her doubts, but I convinced her I could take care of them. I even felt confident about it, imagine that! Our three children: Kristen, Jeremy, and Luke, were grade school age at that time.

I was doing my best when I realized that Luke, our youngest, who was about five years of age, was not around. He liked to hide from us, so I assumed this was a game. I looked in all the normal places and called for him until I was no longer amused. I went outside and noticed the gate to our fenced backyard in our suburban neighborhood stood wide open! Our Dalmatian, named Princess, was gone, too!

Oh great, I thought, I’ve lost a kid and the dog. Lord, please don’t let Belinda come home now!

The minutes crawled by as I searched desperately for Luke. I called his name from every corner of our yard all the while aware I had two other children to watch inside. Every minute lost meant that the chances of finding him decreased. What if he was in trouble? What if someone had kidnapped him? What if he was in pain?
I don’t have words to describe the lump in my throat and the knot in my stomach but I bet you can imagine. I had flashbacks of when our daughter, Megan, had died, several years prior. I felt paralyzed and frantic at the same time.

It didn’t matter to me at that moment that I still had two kids who were safe. One was lost! That was what mattered!

I stood in the front yard and created a plan with a mental checklist. I would need to farm the kids out to the neighbors, call the police, and start a search. At that moment, Luke appeared at the end of the block, hot and exhausted, dragging an unwilling dog behind him. The story is that Princess had escaped from our backyard and Luke had followed her all the way to the neighborhood park. She had been headed for the nearby creek.

He had caught her by the chain and brought her back. My knees went weak from relief. I wanted to shout but what came out was more like a cry. My son was alive and he was coming home!

That day I had a new awareness of the urgent concern God feels for each of His children who are presently outside of relationship with Him. I must join Jesus in living SENT to help His children find their way home!

Gary Kendall
Week 6, SENT, Day 3 Devo 28

Monday, November 19, 2012


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Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 NLT

Living SENT requires that we venture beyond the safety of our comfort zone. Don’t put God in a box. He is God, and you are not. Practice trust and dependence on God by regularly allowing God to stretch you.

Take time to read Hebrews 11, and you will find a Hall of Fame for those who have responded to God’s call by saying, ‘Yes’!. My guess is that they didn’t have all the answers but they excelled at faith. By faith Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain…by faith Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before…by faith Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home…and without faith it is impossible to please God.

My experience with following God tells me God will continually test any places I’m unwilling to yield to Him. If there are places where I want to be in control, I find He regularly moves me out of my little box to help me think like He thinks.
Life here on this earth is not about our comfort, and the sooner we realize that the better. Are you willing to allow God to break your heart with the things that break His heart?

Be open to the Holy Spirit’s leading. Sometimes I get it wrong but don’t be afraid to be wrong. The more you act on what you think God is saying the better you will become at hearing. And if you are faithful with what God trusts to you, He will give you more.

Conversely, if you ignore God and tune Him out, you hear less and less. We don’t always have the benefit of carefully contemplating every option life gives. Opportunities sometimes appear where time is of the essence, if you miss the moment, you don’t always get a second chance. They disappear. And you are left asking, Why doesn’t God use me more?

Exercise faith today.

Gary Kendall
Week 6 SENT, Day 4  Devo 27

Sunday, November 18, 2012


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All of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ our “Amen” (which means ‘Yes’) ascends to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT

You are going to be asked to go to China and India and when you are, you are to say, “Yes.” Those were the words I heard in my head as I walked out of a conference center after speaking to a group of pastors in Monterrey, Mexico. It was both confusing and exciting to hear!

Where did that thought come from? God? I didn’t even know anyone planning trips to Asia. If those thoughts came from God there must be some adventure coming my way, I thought. It all felt rather surreal.

Was I imagining it? Less than a minute later, I walked into a conversation with Donna Thomas, the Founder and the President of Project Partner. The first words she spoke to me were in the form of a question. She asked me directly, Will you go to China and India with me?

Without any hesitation I answered her, Yes! Shocked, she responded, No one ever says, ‘Yes,’ the first time I ask them!

Well, if they had experienced what I had just experienced they would say, ‘Yes,’ too. I replied.

I told her the back story. She was ecstatic! I was in a daze. What had just happened? In the next few years, I did go to India twice and then to China multiple times. Years later, Donna asked me to lead Project Partner, an international ministry, now focused on China. I found someone else who would say yes and that was Kristen Levitt who became the Director of Project Partner.

Here’s the point of the story, Dare to say ‘Yes’ when God asks you to go.
I know there is an appropriate process in decision making, and I don’t want to undermine that, but make your default response, Yes, instead of No. Unless you have a negative prompting in your spirit lead with a Yes. You may never know what adventures with the Holy Spirit you will miss if you close the door before you ever begin.

What has God asked you to do that you need to respond to with a ‘Yes’? Where has He asked you to go? If you haven’t already had an experience like this will you say, ‘Yes’, when He does call?

Gary Kendall
Week 6, SENT, Day 1  Devo 26

Thursday, November 15, 2012


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In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:16 NLT

It all started when Tom Bassford, the Live Out Director at Indian Creek Community Church, asked the right question, How can we serve you? That question launched a six year and counting ministry at Countryside Elementary School that is still growing.

It started with backpacks. Ironically, while the church leaders were attempting to figure out if we had the manpower and time to recruit backpacks for under resourced children a junior high student, Brittany Outler, went out and did it. She and a couple of her friends went to their neighbors and collected 64 backpacks and the supplies to fill them. That Christmas Indian Creek also provided gifts for those families plus more. Then longer term solutions like mentors and Youth Friends were offered. Volunteers from Indian Creek helped with Field Day and field trips.

Then we became aware that kids who received a free lunch when school was in session didn’t have meals during vacations. So we gathered their backpacks (200+) and filled them with food for the Christmas break. Next we were invited to participate in and lead a joint Summer Camp with the school staff. By this time it seemed that when we thought of ministries at the church we thought of the school and when the school thought of partners they thought of the church. So much for separation of church and state!

Terry Geenens, who was Indian Creek’s children’s leader, was moved to resign her role at the church and take on the challenge of launching a Life Enrichment Program. Her vision is to break the cycle of poverty by providing mentoring and participation in the Arts, character development, martial arts and basic life skills. Her efforts are creating a model for the Olathe School District.

Where, what or who needs the passion, giftedness and life experience you have?

Gary Kendall
Week 5, Live Out, Day 5, Devo 25

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Call Her Mamma

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Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Isaiah 58:7 NLT

It started with a guitar and ultimately impacted South Africa. Tim Stout, a good friend of mine who plays the guitar, patterned his style after Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel fame. Tim played Simon’s tunes over and over to learn the chord progressions, rhythms, and lyrics. The music wasn’t the only thing that grew on him. Tim identified with soul of the musician and he began to think beyond himself.

Many years later, Tim now works at Hallmark, plays the guitar for worship gatherings, and for fun. Truth be told, he’s still pretty serious about the guitar. He’s expanded his activism considerably as he has added new interests and skill sets. Artist, photographer, and software designer describe parts of his vocation. His avocation is to use his talents for God and in so doing become a world changer.

Tim is a Global Champion for South Africa at Indian Creek Community Church. The holy discontent inside Tim strains to make a difference in the fight against AIDS. Multiple trips as a team leader to Kwa-dick, South Africa, gave him a firsthand understanding of the plight of a nation grappling with a national epidemic.

An question gripped Tim’s mind. What if he combined his gifts, natural talents, life experience, and marketplace skill set into the creation of a documentary? Call Her Momma was the award winning result. In it he described how one mamma could impact a whole city. In the process, he realized in a fresh way the impact he could have on the world around him.

What if you combined your gifts, natural talents, life experience and marketplace skills into something you offered God and this world as your gift? What would that look like? Will you?

Gary Kendall
Week 5, Live Out, Day 3, Devo 23

Monday, November 12, 2012


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Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psalm 139:14 NLT

I have a beautiful friend named Valera. She’s with Jesus now, but I’ll treasure her memory forever. She was born with a birth defect that never allowed her to grow taller than four feet one inch. Her spine was so deformed that she walked in a stooped forward manner.

As a child Valera was self-conscious as you might expect. But while still young she asked God to show her why He made her the way He did. She wanted to know what He had for her to do. God loves it when you ask Him that question. He came through for her.

Valera decided that God created her to be a grade school teacher. After all, she reasoned, I’m their (the students) height. They weren’t afraid of her. In fact, she believed she had an unfair advantage over the other teachers. Her size and shape leveled the playing field for the student and teacher. They loved her.
Valera loved Jesus. It was impossible to miss. She was joyful even though she had a lot to overcome physically. She loved to tease and play practical jokes. She didn’t see any reason why she should sit and stew over her condition.

Valera could storm the gates of heaven or hell with her prayers. She prayed for the children in her classes by name daily during the school year. She taught for over twenty-five years in the public school system and for over forty years in Sunday school classes. We will never know on earth the full effect of her life, but I’m sure it was HUGE!

Like Valera, you were born like you were to give glory to God. Jesus doesn’t make mistakes. You aren’t an accident. He may not have prevented the heartache you’ve experienced but neither is He finished with you yet. He wants to transform your weakness into strength. There is more to come to your story if you too will live out the love of Jesus.

What if from today forward you began to look at the difficult things in your life as a blessing in disguise. Jesus has allowed it for some reason. Isn’t it about time to learn why and make the most of it?

Gary Kendall
Week 5, Live Out, Day 2, Devo 22

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blind Eyes Open

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It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins, Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him." John 9:3 NLT

Who knew that this day would change every day afterwards? Imagine what it would be like to be blind from birth. You wouldn’t know color; only blackness. You wouldn’t know what it feels like to see a smile of approval. You wouldn’t know the face of your mother. You would often fall and run into things. Get out of the way, would be normal to hear. Left out would be the common feeling. Shame would be your constant companion.

This is a small piece of how it must have felt for the blind man in John 9 when Jesus and His disciples encountered him. The disciples didn’t see the blind man as a person with hopes, dreams, desires, and God-given potential. They saw him as an object lesson for a spiritual discussion about sin. Jesus saw the blind man as a person created in the image of God with innate value—the same way He sees you and me.

Jesus lived out the love of the Father every day all the time. He came to bring light to a world walking in darkness. He was on mission and He wasn’t distracted from His purpose.

“Go,” he told the blind man,, “Wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means ‘sent”). So the man went. John 9:7 NLT

A decision to act in faith changed the blind man’s life forever. What a great example of Jesus fulfilling His mission! Not only did the blind man return with sight but also a testimony, I once was blind but now I see!

We are never the same once we experience what it means to live out the love of Jesus. When Jesus works in your life, you too will have a story to tell. The world needs to hear your story.

Gary Kendall
Week 5, Live Out, Day 1, Devo 21

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Invest in Others

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I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 1 Corinthians 15:3 NLT

No one invested in Kelly in a positive way, until a wrestling coach saw through the destructive way Kelly acted out. He saw a guy with talent, a quick wit, and a tender heart. Kelly was a good athlete and the team needed him, so the coach had extra motivation.

Kelly was kicked out of school several times for fighting which kept him on the border line of being a drop out. Kelly was raised by his dad and my granny. Kelly’s Dad worked hard but then spent a lot of time at the bar after work.

Sometimes, Kelly made progress. Other times, he stayed on the fringes. Consistency wasn’t his strong suit. Kelly had as many losses as wins on his record not just in athletics but in life, but he kept showing up. During this time the wrestling coach was as consistent as Kelly was inconsistent. He invested in Kelly repeatedly and made multiple invitations for Kelly to attend his church.

Kelly eventually said yes. This guy wasn’t put off by the bravado coming from Kelly’s words. He saw through the act. He knew what Kelly really needed was a relationship with His heavenly Father. He needed to find his way back to God, but he also needed positive role models.

Once Kelly accepted the invitation to church and to a couple of campus organizations he met a whole new group of students. Through the influence of these key people who took an interest
in him and a set of circumstances that only the Holy Spirit could arrange, Kelly reached out to Jesus.

The change was dramatic. Kelly knew real love for the first time. He quickly found freedom from shame, drugs, and alcohol. His relationships improved. Kelly felt hope for the first time in a long time.

Kelly married Polly, a cheerleader and one of the co-eds in the group. Kelly explored the scriptures. He found a good church. He discovered he was a leader and a gifted one at that! He started reaching out to others like a few men reached out to him. His story connected with others, and before long Kelly was leading others to find the life he found in Jesus. And in the process Kelly was becoming more and more like Jesus.

Today Kelly is a dynamic pastor who started a church House of Joy from a very small group  in Valdosta, GA. The fledgling church has grown to 300 plus in five short years and shows no signs of slowing down. You would never guess that would have been his future had you met Kelly in his teen years! If you’d told Kelly what the future held for him he would have laughed at the idea.

God gave Kelly spiritual gifts that are divine graces. In other words, he didn’t earn or deserve them. When Kelly answered the invitation of Jesus to follow Him, the gifts came alive inside him. Kelly’s story drew others to Christ. Lives were impacted, and destinies were changed.

You too can experience the life changing power of Jesus. He invites you to join Him in sharing your redemption story. You are gifted by God and you are called to invest in others.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

From Community For Community

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All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper, and to prayer. Acts 2:42 NLT

Chelsea was just a year out of Pittsburg State University. She is a young adult who is not married. She’d been attending Indian Creek Community Church for the past two years. She found her way back to God and was baptized last year.
I saw Chelsea at the Lenexa BBQ cook off where, with her eyes wide she pulled me off to one side and said, I can’t believe what happened at my community group last night!

She proceeded to tell me she had gone to her group with a bit of an attitude because things hadn’t been going smoothly for her lately. She was frustrated with God and had some doubts about whether He cared about what she cared about. She was amazed that when she shared openly with the group, they listened and took her doubts to heart. They connected with her at a soul level. They discussed her concerns with honesty and to them there were no dumb questions. She found some answers that night, and she learned that her group was there for her. She felt she heard God speak to her through her group that night.

That was encouraging, but it was just the beginning of the story. Later the same night the group rallied around a couple who were in financial jeopardy. They pooled their money to pull together a house payment. Then they went out together to eat ice cream and celebrate. That’s community at its best! Everybody needs it!
We shouldn’t be surprised that community is central to the life of a disciple. Here’s a clue--God is three-in-One, Father, Son and Spirit. That’s community from the very beginning. Need more evidence? God designed people to live in families. Still not convinced? When you become a Christ follower you are added to the family of God. Community is the way God designed life to be lived.

Here is a question for you, Are you living in community?

Gary Kendall
Week 4, Love People, Day 4, Devo 19

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Be Baptized

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Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:28 NLT

A catalyst for spiritual growth is baptism. Jesus was baptized at the beginning of his ministry. It was a sign of His dedication to do the will of the Father. He set the example for us, and it is a huge statement of identification with Jesus when you do what He did.

Baptism doesn’t save you. But baptism is an act of obedience whereby you symbolize that you identify with Jesus’ death. In baptism, you allow yourself to be laid into the water. When you go under it is as if you’ve entered a watery grave. You die to self. Then when you are raised out of the water, it symbolizes the new birth with Christ Jesus. You are raised to new life!

There is a great joy in obedience! It is always a boost to your spiritual growth to live the life Jesus lived and follow his example.

Listen to the joy expressed in these quotes from people who’ve repented and been baptized. I would say that getting baptized was one of most awesome things of my life. There is no greater feeling than going under the water as the old Joel and coming out of the water a renewed Joel. I personally felt Jesus touch me and refresh my body while I was under the water. Joel Johnson
The meaning of baptism for me was just incredible. It was a beautiful and an extraordinary experience. I felt the power of GOD with me in that moment. After being immersed in the water, it was as if I was breaking free, which represented a new beginning. This beginning has put me on the path where I am opening up so much in my love for Christ and his love for me. I genuinely loved the experience of declaring my faith and commitment to Jesus publicly. Jennifer Creason

There is a joy and a power that is released in obedience. If you have not been baptized tell your spiritual mentor, or a pastor, you want to be baptized. Ask the person who’s been the greatest spiritual motivator to you to participate and be with you in the water. Reclaim your spiritual birthright by accepting Christ and being baptized. It is a clear declaration that says, I’ve joined the family of God!

Gary Kendall
Week 4, Love People, Day 4, Devo 18 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Welcome to the Family

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But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 NLT

Clandestine meetings aren’t only a part of the plot of a thriller movie, but they are a part of a bigger quest that goes on in the soul of a person on a spiritual journey. The Bible tells the story of a man named Nicodemus who sought out Jesus at night.

Nick launched the discussion with Jesus with a statement that implied there was a greater question. It appeared that God was working through Jesus, but who was he really? Was he the Messiah?

Jesus flipped the conversation and talked about how it was that Nick would discover spiritual truth in the first place. In other words, it wasn’t Jesus who was on trial here. Nick needed to question whether he correctly knew how to discern truth. The implied question in the words of Jesus was whether or not Nick really knew for what he was searching.

To understand his own purpose in the conversation Nick was going to need to come face to face with his spiritual side of life. Jesus said he needed to be ‘born again.’ Nick evidenced his shallow fleshly thinking when he wondered aloud how a man could enter the womb a second time.

Jesus’ answer was profound. He spoke of a duality of life where the physical nature of life coexists with a spiritual side. There is a powerful purpose that comes alive inside when you discover that your body and soul are meant to align your Creation’s plan.

This discovery is a powerful clue to sorting out your true identity and living out your destiny. The second birth reunites you with your Creator, your Father, and you join the eternal family of God. You were created to live in this family and it is through rebirth that you join the family! Are you in?

Gary Kendall
Week 4, Love People, Day 2, Devo 17

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Who Am I?

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Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people.1 Peter 2:10 NLT

In the movie The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne, the lead character, struggles to determine his true identity. He has amnesia with flashbacks to traumatic events. He is sure they shaped his present reality, but he can’t put the pieces together. He remembers fleeing for his life. He remembers it was kill or be killed at some point, but why? What was the motive? Was there a purpose? And who was the girl with him?

Jason strains to learn if there was a moral value to the pursuit of his life. He fears he may have been a rouge on the run perhaps even from himself. Bit by bit, piece by piece, his memory returned, and he began to separate who he was from what he did. Once he discovered the truth, he began to live out of his true identity. The truth was the key to his question, Who am I?

He discovered in his life’s quest that indeed he had a higher purpose than self-preservation. I’ll stop there so I don’t spoil the story.

In the same way it is critical that you and I discover our true identity. I imagine you have a head start on Jason Bourne in the condition he was in. But no doubt you feel the struggle inside to determine who you are at the core. It is normal to want to discover why you do what you do. You desperately hope that there is a higher purpose and a moral value that drives you forward. Surely, there is a grand reason you are alive.

What if you could harness the drive and passion that is inborn away from selfishness into alignment with your life’s purpose? The key is to discover your true identity. To find the truth you must be willing to search.

Gary Kendall
Week 4, Love People, Day 1, Devo 16

Thursday, November 1, 2012


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Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 NLT

Now that you are learning to pray, let’s also learn to listen. The written Word and prayer are meant to fit together like a hand in a glove. We need both the written Word and conversational prayer to make the best decisions. This is how we share life with God who is our Friend.

A practical way to relate to God through His Word is to use the acrostic S.O.A.P. Record your thoughts in a journal so you can keep them as a ready reference.

S. Scripture: Ask what does it say?
Read a chapter of the Bible, or even a paragraph or verse, slowly so you can comprehend it. Let it sink in. Roll it over several times in your mind. Read it out loud to give it priority in your
thoughts. Process it until it makes sense to you.

O. Observation: Ask what does it mean?
Notice the details, like names, places, and notable events. Put them in the context of the message. Take the time to form a frame of reference in order to better understand the meaning. You can find many Bible helps online including commentaries, Bible dictionaries, maps, concordances, and more.

A. Application: Ask how should I apply this?
What are the obvious applications? Think general then think specific. Write down the principals. Ask God what applications are specific to you. Write down some ways you can begin to put this into practice in your everyday life.
P. Prayer Ask God how do I personalize this?
Form the thoughts you’ve collected into a prayer with specific next steps. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you specifically. Pray for guidance so you can put the Word into practice in your life.

As you learn to pray and listen you’ll find your love for God growing naturally and continually.

Gary Kendall
Week 3, S.O.A.P. Day 5, Devo 15