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Image of Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen - Hebrews 11:1

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen.”

Hebrews 11:1

What is Faith? It’s a funny thing isn’t it? The verse above explains it perfectly. It is a confidence in the hope we have, but it isn’t certainty. Certainty requires no faith. No matter how much evidence we look at for the existence of God (and believe me, the evidence is overwhelming!), we still have to have even a little faith that he exists. No matter how much evidence we look at for the resurrection of Jesus, we still have to have faith that He died and rose again.

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Image, Youth, Group, Game - Rock Paper, Go

You can never have too many fun games up your sleeves for youth. This one is “Rock, Paper, …GO!”. It’s a fun variation of the classic “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, and a great go to game for almost any youth group size.

Youth Game Name: Rock, Paper, …GO!

Materials Required: None, unless you want a prize for the winner.

Recommended Number of Players: 6+ for most fun!

Instructions for “Rock, Paper, …GO!” Youth Group Game:

  1. Have everybody stand facing a partner; easiest if you split the room in half with masking tape. If you have an odd number of students, you can have one leader jump in and play.

 

  1. Explain that Players on one side of the room are player A and players on the other side of the room are Player B.

 

  1. Explain that everybody will have a choice of two moves: either a “Rock” or “Paper” (NO SCISSORS).

 

  1. Ask another leader to stand facing you so that you can give an example of the possible outcomes of each round:

 

  • Show the students that if you and your opponent both do “ROCK”‘s, or if you both do “Paper” it creates a match.
  • Show the students that if you do a “ROCK” and your opponent does “PAPER”, it doesn’t match. And vise versa.

 

  1. Player A gets a point every time they match their partner. Player B gets a point every time they don’t match their partner. The first person to get to three points wins that round.

 

  1. To play, it is just like “ROCK PAPER SCISSORS”, but instead it is “ROCK, PAPER…GO”. Players reveal their hand on “GO”.

 

  1. After everybody understands the game, let the students play and have all the winning partners remain standing while the losing partners have a seat.

 

  1. Have the students who are still standing (the winning partners) now get new partners and start the process over again.

 

  1. Continue this until you have one winner.
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What A Beautiful Name is a powerful song written by Ben Fielding and Brooke Ligertwood, and originally performed by Hillsong Worship. This song moves me every time I listen to in, and it is long overdue to be posted, with chords and lyrics, as song of the week!

Lyrics and Chords to What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

Song: What a Beautiful Name
Artists: Hillsong Worship | Ben Fielding & Brooke Ligertwood
Key: D

Verse 1
D  
You were the Word at the beginning
         G       Bm        A
One with God the Lord Most High
Bm               A/C#     D  
Your hidden glory in creation
      G         Bm      A
Now revealed in You our Christ

     Chorus 1   
                              D
     What a beautiful Name it is
                              A
     What a beautiful Name it is
                 Bm    A         G
     The Name of Jesus Christ my King
                              D/F#
     What a beautiful Name it is
                          A 
     Nothing compares to this
                              Bm
     What a beautiful Name it is
          A       G
     The Name of Jesus


Verse 2
D   
You didn’t want heaven without us
         G           Bm     A
So Jesus You brought heaven down
Bm                    A/C#       D 
My sin was great Your love was greater
           G   Bm      A
What could separate us now?


     Chorus 2 
                              D
     What a wonderful Name it is
                              A
     What a wonderful Name it is
                 Bm    A         G
     The Name of Jesus Christ my King
                              D/F# 
     What a wonderful Name it is
                          A 
     Nothing compares to this
                              Bm
     What a wonderful Name it is
          A       G
     The Name of Jesus


Instrumental
G /// | A /// | Bm /// | F#m /// 2x
G /// | A /// | Bm /// | A //

Bridge 1 
                G 
Death could not hold You
                A 
The veil tore before You
                Bm               F#m
You silence the boast of sin and grave
                G 
The heavens are roaring
                   A
the praise of Your glory
            Bm             A
For You are raised to life again

Bridge 2
            G 
You have no rival
            A 
You have no equal
           Bm           F#m
Now and forever God You reign
             G
Yours is the kingdom
             A
Yours is the glory
             Bm             A
Yours is the Name above all Names


     Chorus 3
                             D
     What a powerful Name it is
                             A
     What a powerful Name it is
                 Bm    A         G
     The Name of Jesus Christ my King
                             D/F#
     What a powerful Name it is
                        A
     Nothing can stand against
                             Bm
     What a powerful Name it is
          A       G
     The Name of Jesus

[BR 2]

[CHORUS 3]

Tag
                        Bm
What a powerful Name it is
    A       G
The Name of Jesus
                        Bm
What a powerful Name it is
    A       G
The Name of Jesus

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the-opposite-of-faith-is-not-doubt-but-certainty-anne-lamott

“The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty” – Anne Lamott

We need to stop treating doubt  like it is the enemy of faith. Questions need to be asked by us to make faith our own. Doubt is not deadly to faith, but silence is.

Pretending that we have to be certain about everything prevents us from asking those tough questions. But it is those tough questions that get answered that eventually turns those doubts into the strongest anchors to our faith.

Instead of pretending to be certain about everything, let us encourage questions. And when you don’t know the answer, one of the best responses you can give is “I don’t know, but lets find out together”.

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lead-me-to-the-rock-that-is-higher-than-i-psalm612

Fear, pain, loss, and the unknown can be overwhelming. There are times I feel like the world is crashing in on all sides; like there is no route of escape. Our natural response in those circumstances is to shut down, to close ourselves off. In these moments, these pivotal circumstances, we tend to do one of two things: draw closer to God, or pull away from Him. While I’m in the midst of this emotional storm, I’m reminded of David. When he was literally being hunted down by king Saul, he leveraged his emotions to draw near to God.

Whatever your trail, whatever your circumstances, leverage them to draw you closer to God, because He cares for you.

May you be encouraged by the prayer and cry of David:

“Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”
-Psalm 61:1-4

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Good Good Father is a powerful worship song by Chris Tomlin that is blessing the hearts of people everywhere. It was originally written by Anthony Brown and Pat Barrett of the worship band Housefires, but since Chris Tomlin has released a single of the song, Good Good Father has swept through the nation quickly.

Lyrics and Chords to Good Good Father Live by Chris Tomlin and Housefires

Artist: Chris Tomlin | Housefires
Song: Good Good Father
Key: A (Capo 2)

Intro:  G / Gsus / G / Gsus

Verse 1:
    G             Gsus               G        Gsus
Oh I've heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like
     G              Gsus              G          Gsus
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
    Cadd9    G/B                       Am7         D    (Hold D)
You tell me that Your pleased and that I'm never alone

Chorus:
                     Cadd9
You're a good, good father
                 G                  Am7                 D
It's who You are,  it's who You are,   it's who You are
                Cadd9
And I'm loved by you
               G               Am7              D (Hold D)
It's who I am,   it's who I am,   it's who I am

Verse 2:
        G        Gsus                G      Gsus
Oh and I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
    G      Gsus                     G           Gsus
But I know we're all searching for answers only you provide
            Cadd9             G/B         Am7       D
Because You know just what we need before we say a word

[Chorus x2]
        
Bridge:
                 Cadd9                  Em7
Because you are perfect in all of your ways
          Am7                   G
You are perfect in all of your ways
         Cadd9                 Em7     D
You are perfect in all of your ways to us
            Cadd9                  Em7
Oh you are perfect in all of your ways
          Am7                   G
You are perfect in all of your ways
         Cadd9                 Em7     D
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

G / Gsus / G / Gsus

Verse 3:
         G        Gsus     G        Gsus
Oh it’s love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak
  G       Gsus         G         Gsus
Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think
       Cadd9    G/B
As You call me deeper still
        Am7     G/B
As You call me deeper still
       Cadd9    G/B
As You call me deeper still
      Am7       D
Into love love love

[Chorus x2]

[Bridge x2+]

I hope Good Good Father blesses you like it has blessed me. Matthew 7:7-11 says:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Share your thoughts on the song below in the comments sections below.

-Blessings,

Colton

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There are many tools that can help us in our journey of growth as a Christian. Daily devotionals are one of those tools.

Devotionals have a great way of helping us bridge our culture to the culture we see in the Bible. Reading the Bible without commentary can cause us to scratch our heads sometimes, especially if we don’t know anything about a culture that is not only on a different continent (for most of us), but also over 2,000 years removed….and that’s just the New Testament. I have trouble enough relating to my Grandparents culture that is 60 years before my time. Certain translations of the Bible help with this, but most devotionals are written directly to our culture and can really put the Bible into context. I recommend devotionals to all Christians, but also don’t mistake my recommendation for suggesting that they replace your Bible. They should be used as a tool to help us better understand the Bible, but as for reading directly from the Bible, there is no substitute.

How do you choose a daily devotional?

There are countless devotionals out there, and choosing one can be overwhelming. My goal is to help you look for a few things as a criteria to help you in your search.

When choosing any daily devotional, I always recommend 2 things as a criteria; That the devotional be Bible based, and that the devotional is relevant to you.

Is the Devotional Bible Based?

This is of a major importance for me. Devotionals full of advice, opinions and stories fall in the self-help category if they are not referencing and using scripture constantly. I recommend devotionals that use a scripture or passage of scripture as an anchor in each and every one of their posts. This keeps the Bible as the central theme and really just helps put it into context for our lives.This also means that the beliefs expressed in the devotional should line up with the Bible.

Mobile Apps are able to take being Bible based to a whole different level since there are no print costs. A lot of apps out there have devotionals that have you reading a good amount of scripture right from the app, and then pull in the devotional commentary. The YouVersion Bible app is a must for anyone with a smartphone. It is absolutely free, contains the complete Bible in it, with over 1,000 translations available, and has a section where you can choose from countless devotionals that bring you into the Bible and commentary fluidly.

Is the Devotional Relevant to You?

Relevancy is extremely important in choosing a daily devotional. If you are a new Christian, a devotional covering deep theological issues may not be for you. If you are a man, a devotional for women isn’t really relevant to you. Look for devotionals that actually interest and appeal to you because who you are now, at this point in your life, is the kind of person the devotional was written for. There are lots of devotionals out there, and I’m certain there is at least one that focuses on the root of what you may be struggling with right now. There are really great ones out there for women, men, youth, married couples, singles…you name it. See my other post on 3 Daily Devotionals For Women. Look for a daily devotional that really speaks to your heart and life.

I hope this short on how to choose a devotional is helpful in your search. Whatever devotional you are considering, be sure to check to see if it is Bible Based, with at least scripture as an anchor to every devotion, and make sure it meets you where you are at. Don’t forget to ask your pastor or a Christian mentor in your life for recommendations, and use the stated criteria as a quick checklist.

Are there any other criteria you use when looking for a devotional? Share your thoughts with us using the comments section below.

Blessings,
Colton

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One of most the important tools for women (and any Christian) to assist them in their walk with Jesus are daily devotionals. There are so many options out there that it can be quite overwhelming to choose one. With this post I will provide women with 3 great options for daily devotionals.

What I love about daily devotionals is that they can help bridge the gap between our culture and the culture of the time the Bible was written. Daily devotionals should help us relate topics, stories and people in the Bible to real situations we face in our culture today. All this being said, I strongly recommend devotionals don’t replace your Bible, but be used as a tool to help you better use your Bible.

When choosing any daily devotional, I always recommend 2 things as a criteria; That it be Bible based, and that it meets you where you’re at now. Read my post How to Choose a Daily Devotional for more detailed tips on the topic.

3 Great Daily Devotionals For Women

There are numerous daily devotionals out there for women, but the following 3 are ones I have no problem recommending to any woman to consider.

1. The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations

The Confident Women Devotional , by Joyce Myer, is based on her #1 New York Times bestseller, The Confident Woman.

In this daily devotional, Joyce Meyer does a great job tapping into the concerns and issues that concern women most. Every daily reading is no longer than one page and begins with a verse or passage of scripture. Every reading coincides with a day of the month, so you can begin any time, and if you miss a day, or even a week, you can just jump right back into it. Meyer provides great insight and encouragement to help women tackle problems in the areas of life they struggle with most–including confidence, self image, and relationships. This powerful daily devotional will help women on their journey towards a confident life filled with love, laughter, and God’s acceptance, one day at time. With over 350 customer reviews on amazon, it maintains an outstanding 4.7 out of 5 star rating. Check out the devotional here: The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations

2. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is the #1 best selling devotional, written uniquely as if Jesus were speaking directly to you, the reader.

Although this daily devotional is not exclusively for women, I can’t help but put Jesus Calling on the list. Maintaining a 4.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon after 10,000+ customer reviews is no small feat. Jesus Calling is a devotional filled with uniquely inspired treasures from heaven for every day of the year by missionary Sarah Young. Every devotion is no more than a page in length and starts as if Jesus were speaking directly to you and ends with scripture(s) related to the reading. What I love about this approach is it can really help you break through the barrier of religion and experience Jesus in a personal and relational way. Check out the devotional here: Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

3. She Reads Truth – App

She Reads Truth - Daily Devotional for WomenShe Reads Truth is one of my wife’s personal favorite devotionals. This is a great option for all you tech savvy women out there that prefer the convenience of having a great daily devotional app right on your mobile device. Straight from my wife’s mouth, the reason she uses She Reads Truth is because “it makes daily devotionals easy”. It is rare that her phone isn’t with her, so having the app on her phone is a huge plus. It has a modern feel to it, complete with a full bible, a “One Year Bible” reading plan, and numerous quality daily devotional’s that range from free to a small charge. Most of the devotionals start with an ample amount of scripture as if you were reading straight from the Bible, then it is followed up with a practical commentary for women. Another highlight is the community involvement they have incorporated by allowing comments to be made on each of the devotionals so you (the reader) can engage with other women and support and encouragement each other. Check out the app here: iOS She Reads TruthAndroid She Reads Truth

Find a Daily Devotional that Works for You

I hope you found this short list helpful in your search for a daily devotional for women. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, and the most important thing is that you find a daily devotional you will use; it does you no good if it just sits on your shelf or device unused.

What are your favorites? Recommend a daily devotional in the comments below.

Blessings,
Colton

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The Son of Man came to Seek and to Save the Lost - Luke 19:10

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10

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Each of us have our own struggles and ways we stumble most often, but is it true that temptation is a sin?

This question came up in my Life Group the other week and it is a very important topic to discuss. Does sin start the moment we are tempted?

The profound biblical answer is temptation is not a sin.

Scripture is quite clear that none of us are perfect (See Romans 3:10 & Romans 3:23). But if someone was perfect, would they ever be faced with temptation? Fortunately we don’t have to guess; we have our answer in Jesus Christ.

Check out the following account found in Matthew

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

– Matthew 4:1

Let’s look at this verse. Not only was Jesus tempted, but he was led by the Spirit to place He would be tempted. If temptation was a sin, not only would Jesus have been guilty of sin, but so would the Holy Spirit for leading Jesus to a place where temptation would happen.

Now let’s be sure to not confuse this; the Holy Spirit did not tempt Jesus to sin (See James 1:13), rather the Holy Spirit allowed Jesus to be tempted. This difference, no matter how subtle it can seem to us, matters.

Why did God want Jesus to be tempted in the first place?

The best answer comes from the scriptures itself:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything….Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:2-4 & 12 

Trials and temptations test our faith, which produces perseverance, which leads to maturity and fruitfulness.

Temptation will never cease for any living person; no matter how many minutes you spend reading the Bible, scriptures you memorize, or situations you avoid. Jesus being tempted was part of proving His humanity. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Jesus overcame temptation to show us He understands our struggles and can help us through them. Not just as the big man upstairs, but as someone who has been down in the trenches just like us.

You are not alone in temptation

So is temptation a sin? No. Jesus’ example shows that they are part of the human condition, and can be overcome. God purposes trials and temptations to perfect our faith and bring us to maturity. We are told to flee from temptation not because it is a sin in itself, or have already sinned, but because while being tempted we are in a place where we want to sin. If temptation was itself a sinful mark, we would not have a sinless savior, one who was “tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).

One last bit of encouragement for us all:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Whenever you face temptations, know that you are not alone. Your temptation is not only common to man, but Jesus overcame the same temptations and provides the way out; so look for it.

-Colton Jansen

(If you found this article helpful, be certain to share it below)

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