Month: December 2019

Whatever You I Say I Am


Exodus 3:14
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.

Written by: Courtney Flocken

This Hillsong anthem resounds even stronger in my heart when we are driving down the road and the sweet offkey little five-year voice worships loud and confidently: “In my Father’s house, there’s a place for me. I’m a child of God, yes I am. I am chosen, not forsaken. WHATEVER You say I am.”

She got one word totally wrong, but maybe she actually got it oh-so-right and possibly better than it was originally written. My first instinct was to correct the word, but I was silenced by the Holy Spirit affirming the joyful noise coming from the back seat. It deals with identity at the very root! Jesus’ authority comes from His confidence that He has always known who He is. Try playing with the punctuation of my daughter’s worship: “WHATEVER You say, I Am.”

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’”

For us to know who we are, we must first understand who God is. If we trust He is in fact who He says He is, then my daughter is right that she is whatever He says she is—a daughter of the King of Kings, freed from sin, adopted into the kingdom of Heaven, beloved, and fully known.

KOH-12.11Thought of the day: If we allow God to shape our identity, perhaps we will stop misplacing it in the things He has allowed us to be and do.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that although I tend to misplace my true identity unintentionally into the things around me (relationships, titles, and responsibilities), that in Your faithfulness You continue to pursue me. Thank you for guiding me into my true identity as an adopted member of Your family as a believer in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. God, I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe you sent Jesus to live a sinless life to die on the cross and rise again so I might know Him. I confess, Jesus is Lord! I pray these things in Jesus’ name, amen.

Ordinary People Changing History

Colossians 2:2-4

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

Written by: Jesse Flocken

Throughout the Bible, God chose ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Jesus took some heat for this but knew there was no other way than to use tax collectors, sinners, a Samaritan woman, lowly shepherds, and many more. God chose what seemed to be highly unqualified and uneducated people to deliver the hope the world needed. Those ordinary people changed the world, set slaves free, led people to the promised land, spread the gospel, changed generations, and led kingdoms. Paul writes to encourage us that the Spirit of God lives inside of each of us. We each carry the wisdom and knowledge of the Spirit, “so that no one will be deceived by fine-sounding arguments.”

Wisdom doesn’t come from education; it comes from application. Paul goes on to write about remaining firm in faith and utilizing Biblical wisdom to be disciplined in Jesus.

KOH-12.10Thought of the day: What opportunities do you have this week to share what God has done in your life?

Prayer:  Jesus, help me live in a way that others can’t help but see You through the way I love others. I pray I can use Biblical wisdom and application, rather than education, to share the Good News. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

John 8:31-32
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Written by: Tiffany Williford

Yesterday I had a conversation with one of my friends. Something led me to thank her for always being honest with me and for being a straight shooter. She has always told me what I need to hear. I am sure her direct and loving communication is why we have been friends for 22 years. She told me about something Brené Brown said in an audiobook, explaining that when people sugarcoat difficult discussions and are indirect with their communication and feelings, the message gets blurred.

That message made me reflect on all of the times I sugarcoated something to not hurt someone’s feelings. As I get older, I realize how much I need those friends and family in my life who love me so much that they are completely honest with me.

Jesus always lived a life of honesty. He was honest with all of the people around him. He did not sugarcoat things for the people who listened to His teachings. Jesus was direct in everything He said. His messages were clear. The Bible gives us a roadmap to great communication, which leads to great relationships.

KOH-12.9Thought of the day: The truth will set you free. I don’t think it gets any clearer than that!

Prayer: Father God, thank You for all of the people in my life who are honest and transparent with me. I am thankful for them because they make me better. They give me a different perspective and they keep me in line. I pray for You to surround me with more people who can help me grow into the person You designed me to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Lost and Found

Isaiah 53:6
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.

Written by: Laura Le Blanc

When I was a little girl, I went to the grocery store with my mom one Saturday morning. As I followed her through the store, a sweet smell coming from the bakery caught my attention. I wandered over and put my little hands on the glass case and peered at the delicious chocolate-covered long johns. When I turned to ask my mom for one, she was gone. I looked all around, but she was nowhere in sight. Fear and panic set in as I raced up and down the aisles searching to no avail. Tears began to stream down my cheeks. I was lost! The manager notified my mom over the intercom, and in the blink of an eye, she was there. I thought she would be mad at me for wandering off. But instead, she looked relieved to find me. She just wiped my tears and hugged me with reassurance.

As God’s children, we all tend to wander off at one time or another. Busy schedules, life struggles and sin distract us from focusing on God. And before we know it, we’re alone, helpless and lost. We may feel like we can’t go to God because He is disappointed with us. But God knew every sin we would ever commit and yet He chose us. He loves us so much He sent His Son to die for our sins. Romans 10:13 reminds us, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” We need only turn to God and He receives us.

ITP-Devo12.6Thought of the day: Jesus wants a relationship with the lost. He offers the gift of salvation. It’s not something we can earn but something we choose to believe and receive. Jesus has already said Yes to you. Will you receive Him?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I lift up all the people who attend Sun Valley’s East Mesa campus. I pray for wisdom and leadership for Ian Rock, the campus pastor. I pray for enduring strength and refreshment for all who serve there week in and week out. I pray You would be the glue that holds marriages together and Your Spirit would ignite faith in the hearts of children. I pray for Your provision for the expansion of the East Mesa campus and patience during the construction time. I pray for every soul who will meet You there. Bless those at the East Mesa campus who are making a difference for Your Kingdom. In Your precious name Jesus, amen.

Gift Card Redemption

Ephesians 1:7
In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

Written by: Kyle Stanforth

An executive from Target once claimed one of their largest profit makers this time of the year is unredeemed gift cards. Someone (the giver) had gone into one of their stores, paid for the card and had given it as a gift to someone else (the receiver). But that someone else, never came in to redeem it. The gift card had been paid in full, but the receiver did not accept the gift. What a waste, right?

Not long ago, the word “redeemed” was one of those churchy words people would look at you funny if you used it. With the popularity of gift cards, we all get it now. Everyone understands an unredeemed gift card is a waste of money. Some people actually cash their cards in right away so that they don’t forget about them.

Much more than a $50 gift card, Jesus paid a price we could not pay with His blood for a gift of eternal life we could not earn. Jesus has already said “Yes” to each of us, but each of us needs to say “Yes” to Him and accept His gift.

This time of year, we are very focused on gifts. Why wouldn’t we be? We are celebrating when the angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy for all people. Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!”

ITP-Devo12.5Thought of the day: If you have not accepted the gift of Jesus as Savior, I encourage you to do so. If you have already, this is the perfect time to “Re-gift” to a friend.

Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, we thank You for showering us daily with Your grace. We thank You for the seen and unseen blessings around us. God, we know You love your people. We pray as the building at the South Gilbert Campus goes up, that people will notice. We pray for people that have walked away from You will soften their hearts and be drawn back to you through this campus.

Lord, we pray You move in and around the South Gilbert community for people to seek out a solution to that God-shaped void in their heart that only You can fill. We ask the distractions of this world and their lives to be quieted so Your quiet whisper can be heard. We pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.