Moving a Mountain

Philippians 2

Philippians 2 14

One of the most difficult things I have done in my life was move rocks. Last year at UP: PROJECT we moved, what seemed to be, a mountain at Timber Oaks Retreat center. During this time the majority of us had a hard time not complaining after the 4th day of “Rock Duty”.

Paul writes in Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without grumbling and disputing.” In this passage of Philippians 2 he is referring to the idea of being selfless. When we saw that giant hillside of rocks it made us grumble about how little we think we did, but in a selfless mindset we should understand that we did more than we think we did. There were at least 30 of us on that trip and it took around 5 days to get the hillside to look even remotely like we did something, and we even had a tractor! Paul, and I assume Christ, would call us to not grumble when we serve others but focus on what we are doing to help the ones we serve. Just imagine if 4 or 5 people had to do the work of 30! Next time you serve remember why you are serving and put a smile on your face.

Jesse Allen

Kind and Good

Kindness & Goodness 2

Some have referred to kindness and goodness as the twin fruits. Kindness and goodness are so closely related that sometimes it is not easy to distinguish between them. A kind person is also a good person; a good person is by nature a kind person. Both of these characteristics stem from love. Some have said that patience is suffering love; kindness is compassionate love; and goodness is ministering love.

Kindness is more about our attitude and goodness is more about the things we do for others.  Some people are born with a kind, gentle personality. This may come natural to them. But others have to lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to help them be nice.

These characteristics which are produced in us by the Holy Spirit have to do with our relationships to others. We usually think of kindness as an expression of love from one person to another, and of goodness as a quality of being pure.  It is striking that parents are forever telling their children to “be good,” but they never need to suggest the opposite to them. Being “bad” seems to come naturally.

Without the Holy Spirit within us, our nature is inclined toward that which is evil and bad. But the Holy Spirit produces in us kindness and goodness, helping us to minister to the world with the love of Jesus. What the world needs is Jesus—that means more love, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and caring generosity.

Katie-Beth Fletcher

Who Do You Do It For?

Isaiah 58-60

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Thursday, February 23

Overall today’s chapters really focus on being genuine as a follower of Christ. This is sometimes really difficult for a lot of people to recognize and to truly understand. If you grew up in a church, or if you have been to church often, or you’re a “New Christian” you might feel like there are rules to follow, whether written or unwritten. Rules like, read your Bible every day, pray before every meal, go to church every single Sunday, go to church camp, talk to all your friends about God all the time, invite a friend to youth group, or Bible study. Some people fast, there are certain rules about when to be baptized, etc. I hope you get the gist, that sometimes it feels like in order to be a “perfect” or even a “good Christian” you have to do these things all the time. All of those things are awesome and great, if you remember to do all those things, I think you are amazing, and you inspire me, because I will be completely honest; I don’t read my Bible every day- I do most days, but sometimes I don’t. I don’t pray before every meal, again, I pray before most meals, but sometimes I am eating while I am walking to class and I forget. Sometimes I miss going to church on Sunday because I slept in, or the snow was really deep (although that would be a pretty poor excuse right now, as there is so snow in February in central Indiana) or I was sick. We are not perfect and these chapters recognize this, but especially in chapter 58. Doing “all the right things” can be important, but not if we are seeking the approval of people. Reading your Bible often is important, and praying often is important, going to church and fellowshipping with other believers is important, but it is not right if we are doing it to “fit in” or to look like a “good christian” to other believers. These chapters call us out- if we choose to fast, it needs to be to focus on our relationship with God, if we choose to read our Bible every single day, it needs to be to deepen our understanding and trust of God. I challenge you today to think about your heart and your attitude. Why are you reading your bible? Is it because you want to please people? Or because you want to please God. -If you do read your Bible every day as you might be if you are following the 2016 FUEL Bible reading plan, I hope you check your “attitude at the door” before you read and really focus on growing closer to God, because that is the point of spending time in his word. Praying is awesome, but again check your heart and do it to talk with our heavenly Father who is amazing and all powerful. Do all good things for God and only for him. Do not do them to gain favor from people, only do them to focus on God and your relationship with him, because we are blessed to be able to have an individual relationship with him. I hope you enjoyed reading today, and I hope you come back tomorrow. Thanks!

-Jana Swanson

Some songs for today:

Beautiful Things by: Gungor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is6weMrenls

Come As You Are by: Crowder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2zhf2mqEMI

 

(Photo Credit: http://www.alittleperspective.com/isaiah-59-and-60/)

“Curtains, I don’t want to carry curtains!” (Numbers 3-4)

Wednesday, August 31

At the Lord’s command through Moses, each was assigned his work and told what to carry. Numbers 4:49

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By Rebecca Dauksas

Being a child of God and a follower of Christ is the most incredible privilege in the world.  How amazing that we are called to serve the Creator of the universe and His Son! But sometimes the jobs that we do for the LORD can seem insignificant, unpleasant or down right gross. Let me explain.  I am a youth worker and I love it.  The time I have spent with youth has been amazing.  But no one told me that there would be tasks involved like unclogging the youth room toilet.  Not my favorite task and probably no one else wants that one either.  But it is necessary.

In Numbers 3 the tribe of Levi was given to assist Aaron the priest and his sons. They were to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. They were to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. The Levite clans were counted and then they were given their specific tasks that they were to carryout.  Literally to “CARRY OUT”.  They were physically carrying, taking care and showing proper respect for the furnishings and the tabernacle itself.  This is where a person’s attitude toward their acts of service is so important.  Imagine what enters the mind of a Levite Gershonite when he is told about carrying curtains.  He can think, “Curtains, I don’t want to carry curtains along with all that other stuff to load on carts. The other clans have much easier jobs than this.”  Or he can think, “I am thankful that I can help move the tabernacle so we can have the LORD’s place of worship to be the focal point everywhere we travel.”

We should be thankful for the opportunity to carry out God’s work and have a positive attitude while we perform that work. We have this chance every time we serve God and others.  Remembering that whether our acts of service are big or small, if they are performed because we love God and others, those tasks have real meaning.