James 3:13-5:20…by Ellie

Like Jodi said in her blog, I basically want to highlight the whole book of James because it’s so short, sweet, and right to the point.  But instead I tried picking out what spoke to me the most, so here is the blog on James 3:13-5:20

In James 3:13-18, James touches on two kinds of wisdom: earthly and heavenly.  I love this mainly because it ties in so much to this past week at BigStuf and it paints the picture of the war that we are at.  1 Peter 5:8 tells us that we need to be sober-minded and watchful because the devil roams around like a lion looking for something to devour.  The devil’s deceitfulness lies within earthly wisdom and he looks to devour us through the things of this world.  A lot of times we find ourselves thinking that we are pursuing something great, but in reality we are leaning in our own understanding and giving into earthly passions or wisdoms.  This is similar to what Stuart talked about..How do we guard our hearts from the things of this world?  How do we guard our hearts from earthly wisdoms?  We stray away from the things of this world, dive into God’s love story, and we become peacemakers, who sow in peace, and raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18).  Now that is some heavenly wisdom y’all! 

James 4-5 talks about submitting ourselves to God.  I really like these two chapters because he doesn’t just talk about submission through one thing, but instead, making it a lifestyle.  We as Christians need to come together as the body of Christ.  In doing this we need to stay humble, throw out any quarrels or barriers between one another, and go to God in prayer every chance we get.  We are to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other so that we may be healed.  He goes on to tell us that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16).  Come on!!  WE are all the hands and feet of Jesus, but without the body, this becomes nearly impossible.  With submission to Christ this allows God to work in us and to work together.  I once read a quote, “God inhabits the praise of his people.”  I believe and have seen that the more we submit to Him and worship God through our lives, the more he dwells in our hearts.  And this leads me to one of my favorite verses.  I’m going to begin closing with James 4:8.  It says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  All three of these chapters talk briefly on pride, submission, prayer, quarrels, and troubles, but to me, conquering all these things is impossible without this verse.  So many times I find myself trying to lean on my own understanding or seek someone for advice rather than seeking out God first.  But if we are submitting ourselves to God, if we are making this our main priority, if we are coming near to Him, he won’t fail us.  He will dwell in us.  He will change the desires of our heart and give us heavenly wisdom.  In doing this we become peacemakers, who sow in peace, and raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:18).  So, I hope on the days when you feel so far away from God, that you draw near to him because he’s waiting with open arms to come near to you.  And he is faithful.

So OBterns, church, let him continue to dwell in your heart as you submit to him so that we can be the body of Jesus. 

Love you guys!

 

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, because he who promised is faithful.  -Hebrews 10:23

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.   -Ephesians 3:14-17

 

-El

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James 1-3:12 by Jodes

I had SO MANY notes and SO MUCH highlighted in James 1-3:12 that I could have written a book. I only wanted to focus one a couple of key points in this blog, but it was so hard to choose just a couple! After lots of reading, I felt that these two verses from James 1 really said a lot and spoke to me especially.

 

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

 

This verse is something that we have all heard many times before, but I think it is a verse with so much meaning and we can take so much out of this. Let’s break up this verse even more…

 

“Consider it pure joy” – A lot of people really misinterpret this part of the verse because of the word “joy.” James did not mean for us to be happy, or better yet pretend to be happy, when we face trials in our lives. What this is saying is that we should have a positive outlook on the situation. Look back at a time in your life when you faced a trial of some sort. Yes, it probably sucked when you were in that pit/trial. But when you were pulled out of that pit, did God not use it to bring you and/or other people in your life closer to him?! I can certainly attest to that. Can I get an amen??

 

whenever you face trials of many kinds” – We will face trials in our lives. There is no doubt about that. All we can do is prepare our hearts and minds for when trials come our way. We have got to armor ourselves with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, have our feet fitted in readiness, grab hold to the shield of faith, strap on the helmet of salvation, grip to the sword of the spirit, and constantly pray to God (Ephesians 6:10-18). I just want to give a shout-out to those of you heading off to college in these next few weeks. You will be entering a battle zone. You will face trials of many kinds. These trials cannot be won without the armor of God!

 

“because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” – There is a quote that I heard at my first Bigstuf (Think, 2009) that has stuck with me all these years: “Your faith will not be determined when everything goes according to plan, your faith will be determined when everything falls apart.” If we all had perfect lives, there would be no need for faith. But our lives are far from perfect. We live in a broken world full of broken people. I cannot fathom how people get through this life without Jesus. Think about this: How do you respond when a trial comes your way? We need to give it ALL over to God. That is why he sent his only son to die on the cross for us. He came so that we could have the fullest life. This means giving our trials, heartaches, joys, burdens, EVERYTHING to him and trusting that he’s got our back.

 

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – These trials help us to grow closer to God. Growing in wisdom. In character. In faith.

 

James 1:14-15

“But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

 

Let’s do a little recap of night 2 from Bigstuf…

We all have desires. No question about that. What you do with your desire is ultimately what you do with your heart. Religion says that our desires are too strong, but the reality is that our desires are too weak. We have a desire to be rich. To climb high on the success latter. To be skinnier. To be the life of the party. To be popular. Fill in the blank… My desire is _______________. These are earthly desires. They fill us for some time but quickly deplete us. We should not be satisfied with earthly desires. YOU DESERVE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! Who are you entrusting your heart to? So many of us entrust our hearts to the things I mentioned above. That is just what the evil one wants. He uses those earthly desires to do one of two things: trap it or kill it. He traps it through things like drug and alcohol addictions, careers, gambling, eating disorders, etc. He kills it with religion. So entrust your heart to the one who created you in his own image.

MY DESIRE IS     JESUS    . 

 

Love,

Jodes

Hebrews 11-13 by Alli G

Wow! I don’t know where to even start! This past week has been amazing! I have seen the faith of many of my small group girls changed, heard stories of other students accepting Jesus into their life or back into their life and even experienced Jesus reviving my faith down at big stuf. Before I start my blog I just wanted to say GOD IS UNBELIEVABLY GOOD! HE IS INCREDIBLE! HE IS SO FAITHFUL!

 
How lucky am i get to do my blog on my birthday!!!? Kind of weird because in my notes in my bible it talks about how this chapter relates to your birthday when your little and i have a story about my birthday also to share! So  it’s going to be a special birthday blog! 
Here goes…. 
Every year on my birthday I usually get to celebrate with my family and friends. I love my birthday because its usually a time to just slow down and spend time with my loved ones. I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that whenever my parents would give me my birthday cake and everyone would be singing happy birthday I would be literally so happy. Smiling from ear to ear. Everyone would say, “make a wish and blow out your candles.” And then I’d blow out all my candles. As I got older I realized that I hardly ever made wish on my birthday cake. A few months after my birthday I’d realize and be mad. It would be when I was mad at my sister, or i wanted a new toy, or things just weren’t going the way i wanted them to go.  Id think….gosh I wish I had those birthday wish now. I could really use them. How did I just forget to wish!?
 
 
Sometimes I feel like this is how our faith with Jesus is. Whenever everything is going good we forget about Jesus. We forget to be thankful for Him and what he has done for us. And what He does in our lives EVERY SINGLE DAY. 
Whenever things are going bad we have no problem blaming Him. Or throwing our hands in the air and asking why? We seek Him when were in the valley, but when were on the top of the mountain we forget to thank Him for his beauty. Something just doesn’t seem right about this.
 
Here’s how it relates to Hebrews 11 and a little of 12. Hebrews 11 is all about different people of the bible and their faithfulness to God. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham all showed their faithfulness to God and it is recognized not only by God but the bible also. Hebrews chapter 11 starts off with a strong verse that I love. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1  I love how before they start Hebrews they givea definition of what exactly faith is. 
 
I like the verse a little bit further that says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 
Wait so if we believe in this awesome God WE get rewarded? This is what many people like about God- the “reward” part. People are disappointed though when they feel God is not giving them what they deserve. They feel like He has forgotten about them. But are those people who believe these things EARNESTLY SEEKING JESUS? It is my reward just to KNOW who Jesus is. To KNOW about his word. To just KNOW HIs name is a privilege. But I do find myself on the other side frequently wondering when my reward will come. Instead of being thankful for His faithfulness to me when I have not been faithful.
 
This is a little bit longer but I like the verses Hebrews 11:13-16 “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. “
How awesome would it be if we all could recklessly abandon our fears, uncertainties, busyness, and selfishness and show complete faithfulness to God. How absolutely wonderful would it be to pick up our bags forget everything and just start chasing the path that God has laid down for us. What would our world look like? 
Moses showed this kind of faith. Moses decided to put his faith in Jesus. He decided to not indulge in unimportant things, but to consume himself in Jesus. “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible .” Hebrews 11:27 I love the part that says he saw him who was invisible. So often we are focused on the things surrounding us instead of looking to the Creator and   Putting our faith in him.
 
“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40 All the people in the bible who were so faithful to God were rewarded. Though many of their rewards did not come on this side of heaven. I have no doubt that they sit with Jesus because of their faithlessness and that to me is the GREATEST reward there could ever be.
 
So this birthday cake wish Jesus, This eyelash wish Jesus, this dandelion wish Jesus. He doesn’t exist. Society has painted this tainted view of what Jesus is. He is not someone to just go to when things are bad. He is our Creator! He deserves to hear from us when things are going good AND bad. He deserves thanks, praise, love, FAITHFULNESS from us. 
 
My final verse that I found in Hebrews 12:2-3 I find is not only comforting but lights a fire in me.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” This is the ultimate goal. This is what we believe in. This is what we put our faith in. JESUS. Who lived a perfect life, yet died for our broken lives. That is beautiful to me. I am so thankful for Jesus. I CHOOSE TO PUT MY FAITH IN HIM!

Hebrews 8-10 – Shelby Allison

Hey guys. So my blog is on Hebrews 8-10. This section talks about the new covenant that Jesus made with the people. This new covenant was superior to former in which people were not faithful to. This covenant was God’s unfailing grace and forgiveness: the removal of sin through the ultimate sacrifice. No sacrifice but the sacrifice of the perfect lamb, Jesus, had the ability to do so. There is no need for sacrifice or trying to do enough good works to make ourselves right with God. These attempts would be done in vain because Jesus already made the ULTIMATE sacrifice so that we may be made perfect and holy through him once and for all. Now that we are cleansed by God we are no longer separated from him. We can bask in the presence of our father and creator. We don’t have to maintain regrets any longer. We are free but only through Christ and Christ alone. As humans we have two choices God or Satan, life or death, freedom or slavery. Even though a sinful life may seem more pleasing in the moment, in the end it is never worth it because everything good comes from God. Everything. One if my favorite parts was the last verse that says “but we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” When we begin to falter we don’t need to give up. There is proof of God’s greatness everywhere and just the sole fact that God loves us enough to sacrifice his son and promise forgiveness and everlasting life to his believers should be enough to keep us going. It should cause us to always preserve no matter what circumstances we are facing because God has promised ultimate life and love and God is ALWAYS good for his word.

PHILEMON By Abbey Kriegel — JULY 23, 2013

Philemon by Abbey Kriegel — I promise this was done yesterday, but I couldn’t find wi-fi!!!!

I found this story to be a total story of grace, acceptance, power, fellowship, and unity in many ways. Pumped to share why…Here we go!

So in the book of Philemon, Paul is writing to Philemon to forgive Onesimus. Onesimus is a runaway slave. Onesimus belonged to Philemon, but had ran to Rome to escape because he had stolen from Philemon. Paul and Onesimus are in jail together, but I think for different reasons. Paul, I know for proclaiming the gospel, and Onesimus, I think again for stealing from his owner. It’s cool to see that even though they we’re both in sucky places, one for doing good, one for doing bad, there is still beauty and power because God works for the good of those who love him (Paul) and He still fights for those who are farther away (Onesimus). 

In the study notes, it says that an owner had the right to kill a runaway slave, so I think Onesimus was full of fear. I think of Onesimus as most of us and we can relate to him. We do/have done things in the past/present that make us fearful and regretful. I would say most of us can relate to Onesimus, because hopefully either we have had an interaction with someone in this internship or in our lives that has made us want to take action and set things straight or the Spirit is working in our hearts. And even though sometimes things just creep up, it’s still a beautiful thing to be desiring what God desires for us–to grow in our relationship with Jesus, to take a next step, to fall more in love with Him in our own lives, no matter what the world thinks. It’s a beautiful thing to take initiative and to take action. We all have walls in our lives, whether we still want them there or not, that creep up or that we can’t get over, but the good thing about it is that they are not permanent walls that we have to keep running into. The good news is that Jesus took care of that! He takes away the wall barriers that we have built up, removes the sinful walls that separate us from himself, and from fellowship with one another. Good freaking news! I think the struggle for us sometimes is to also accept this. Jesus is enough and His grace is enough too. We put ourselves down and sit in the shame for us not being “good enough”. But I think just as much as He watches us sin as He waves His hands back and forth saying “I’m here, I want a better relationship with you, you can have such a better fulfilling life”…I think when we can’t get over what has happened, and truely accept what He has done for us, I think He is also like, “Come on (your name)? I died for you, there is grace and forgiveness for you, and you are not receiving my fullness in love if you can’t accept what I have done for you!” So yes, again, as I wrote in my last blog with the Samaritan woman—Jesus didn’t accuse the woman, but didn’t ignore her sin either. He wants us to repent and learn from it, which Onesimus did.

Can I just say that Paul is great and right on? We love people that can be graceful and gentle, but totally be real with us right? At least I do…and I’m thankful for people in this internship who do so! Paul shared what his relationship with Jesus meant to him. In the beginning of this book, in verse 6, Paul says “ I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” It’s so cool to think that Paul was not just talking the talk, but he was walking the walk. He was not only praying for this, but sharing it to people he came into contact with as well! How encouraging…and really a statement of womaning up for me. 

Paul continues and just doesn’t stop with talking to Onesimus. He writes a letter to Philemon, REINTRODUCING Onesimus to him. It says in verse 16, that Paul didn’t just introduce him as a slave, but as a brother. I think the word reintroducing here is huge, it means that change had happened in Onesimus’ life…and that’s something worth celebrating!

As Paul shared his story, He gives something, and also receives. It’s awesome to see that God works in every small detail of our lives. Paul sought the lost and broken, prayed, shared his story, encouraged others, wasn’t afraid to tell people, and reminded them about unity. He was in prayer for his brother. And like we have seen and experienced this summer, prayer is not a small thing to do. It matters. In James 5:16, it says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Paul believed in prayer and was active in it. He wanted more for the people around him, even if they had done wrong. He wanted them to experience the beauty that he was experiencing. He wanted to share his faith…and we should too! So let this be an encouraging book to read, as it was for me. Let this encourage you to share Jesus in your lives (perfect timing here at Big Stuf and as people leave to go back to school), let this encourage you to accept what God sent His son to do, and He did it, so accept the beauty from Jesus, let this encourage you to grow with someone who has been on your mind, and grow in a way that is so honoring to God–in unity and fellowship! In Jesus, there is power, freedom, grace, love, unity, and acceptance with both Him and yourself! THIS IS WORTH CELEBRATING! So thank Him this week! We have time down here with Him, and that is our focus. Let’s desire for ourselves what He desires for us! LOVE THIS, OUR GROUP, AND PUMPED FOR WHAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO DO IN OUR HEARTS! LET’S GO! LOVE YOU ALL!

 

Hebrews 1-2

Hi everyone, I had Hebrews 1-2. I think these two chapters give us a good insight about who God and Jesus are..

Chapter 1 simply tells about how God set apart Jesus from us to be the one who would die for our sin. We see this by the statements made… For example, This is because God never said to any of the angels, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” Nor did God say of any angel, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” (Hebrews 1:5)
I also liked at the end how it says.. All the angels are spirits who serve God and are sent to help those who will receive salvation. (Hebrews 1:14)
In my study bible notes, it says “Angels are God’s messengers, spiritual beings created for God under his authority. They have several functions: serving believers, protecting the helpless, proclaiming God’s message and executing God’s judgment”. It’s great knowing that God created angels for all us to protect and help us. This reminds me of the song Whom Shall I fear by Chris Tomlin when it says “the God of angel armies is always by my side”. Cause literally they are!!!

Chapter 2 is tells about how God is in control of everything.

“God is the One who made all things, and all things are for his glory. He wanted to have many children share his glory, so he made the One who leads people to salvation perfect through suffering. Jesus, who makes people holy, and those who are made holy are from the same family. So he is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 2:10, 11)

I like these 2 verses because it shows how loving and caring God is because he wanted to SHARE his glory with us and sent his only son so we may be saved. Jesus is not hesitant to call us family! Knowing this makes me feel loved and cherished.

So with that…. Make sure you love and cherish your moments this week with your groups. Love you all. Can’t wait to hear about everyone’s week 🙂

Peace and blessin’s,
LDeeks

My man Titus

So Titus’ job was to appoint elders and deacons for his surrounding areas. That’s pretty intense because elders are there to start, support, and maintain local churches. For example, we have some elders in Oak Bridge suck as the Noblitts, Karasicks, the Hagans, the Nalls just to name a few. So to have the responsibility to choose those respectful people is pretty huge – and Titus is the guy. And his name is Titus. So he’s gotta be legit. I’m picturing him to be tall, handsome, and having a voice like Morgan Freeman. Just me? No?

I digress. Not only is Titus supposed to delegate deacons and elders but he is to teach people “How to do good.” Our good pal, and worship leader, Tyler Crandell has a statement that he literally puts on every thing and it is “It’s Time To Do Great Things”. I fully believe Titus said this to listeners every day. I mean each bold outline in my bible has the saying “Do Good” in one way or another. 

We are to do good – but the only way to achieve good  is because of this. 3:5 states “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Because of God and his amazing gift of grace we CAN DO GOOD! But notice what it says – “not because of the righteous things we had done” – God does not expect us to earn anything, we don’t have to win a few trophies, complements, or say a few rosaries in order to do good. No we can do good because of God’s mercy. And because of that mercy we have the gift and ability to Do Good. So what are we waiting for Church?! We have been saved by mercy and now it is time for us to react – it is time for us to love well – It’s Time To Do Great Things.

And what a time it is – Bigstuf. A time where 180 Oak Bridge youths are at – as Tom and Herc say – “heaven on earth”. It’s a time where they will be surrounded by God’s goodness and joy. A time where they will be filled with wisdom, worship, bad food, and the Lord’s excellence. This is the time for a kid who has never experienced God. This is a time for a rebel teen to see love that has never been seen before. This is a time for repentance, for revival, for redemption. This is the time for lives to be won for Jesus. And we – as Obterns – as Christ followers – get to take full advantage and go hard for The Lord. 2:6-8 states “Encourage the young men [and women] to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” We need to be following what Paul is saying while with the campers this week. We need to make sure we are being self-controlled, wise, and leaders – but also thermostats and excited. It Is Time To Do Great Things. 

We are doing these things not for us – not for a prize or for money – but because we are waiting for “the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people for are his very own, eager TO DO WHAT IS GOOD.” We run this weeks race for The Lord and for his beautiful plan. We lead this week in order to advance a campers next step. We go to Bigstuf because friends – ” It’s Time To Do Great Things.”