May 22 – What Does the Bible Say About Unity?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

What does the Bible say about unity?

Paul’s words in verse 10 give a clear answer:

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1 Cor. 1:10)

Within the local church, descriptors like “agree with one another,” “no divisions,” and “perfectly united” are to characterize relationships. Still, if you take a tour of the first-century church experiences, you will discover many areas of dissension. Let’s outline just a few of those.

Leadership loyalties (1 Cor. 1:10-17) – The church in Corinth had groups of people orienting themselves according to their loyalty to different leaders. This created tension!

Spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12-14) – Some seemed to be prideful about the specific gift they had. Others were jealous, wishing they had more public gifts.

Ethnic backgrounds (Acts 6:1-7) – Ladies in the Jerusalem church with a Greek background were being overlooked in a ministry to widows.

Doctrinal differences (Acts 15) – To add to the ethnic challenges, Jewish believers expected Gentile believers to keep the Law and express faith in Jesus. This was a source of great tension through the first decades of church life.

Of course, those are just a sampling of the realities that threatened the unity in the church in the generation after Christ’s ascension. While we see some of those paralleled today, we also have our own challenges that create division whether they include musical preferences or the proverbial color of the carpet! Are there principles spanning the generations that address the disunity and lead to unity? Here are a few:

  1. Humbly consider others as more important than yourself (Phil. 2:1-11)! Disunity often stems from a “me focus.”
  2. Readily utilize the gift you have for the benefit of others (1 Cor. 12)! The body of Christ needs every member.
  3. Engage in the mission and ministry of the local church (Eph. 4:11-16)! Spectators make good critics, but getting in the game can make a big difference.
  4. Allow church leaders to grapple with the tension (Acts 6:1-7; 15)! As you do so, prayerfully support them.

Pursue unity to God’s glory!

Steve Kern

May 21 – What Does the Bible Say About Lying?

Read Proverbs 12:22 and Luke 16:10

Is it possible to regain someone’s trust after it has been lost?

I was coaching a varsity high school basketball game and it was a very close and competitive game. The other team scored a basket with five seconds left in the game but they were still behind by one point with the clock winding down. They were out of timeouts. My team did not even have to inbound the ball because the clock would run out. We would win. So, a player on the other team told the official that she had lost a contact lens out on the floor. So, the official stopped the clock with four seconds left in the game! Everyone looked for a contact lens on the floor for a few minutes. Guess what? Nobody found it. I learned later that the coach told his players to fake losing a contact lens in a situation like that to stop the clock.

Dishonesty and lying are like a tornado – a funnel-shaped cloud in a large storm system. It is mobile, destructive and can be violent. Have you ever seen one? When a tornado touches down, the devastation and damage can be immense. Property is destroyed, trees and bushes are broken, houses are leveled and cars are turned upside down. The lives of people are changed and lost in just a few moments. Be prepared. Stay calm! Go to the southwest corner of your basement. Get in a bathtub. Have a safe shelter for you and your family. Public schools have tornado drills every April “just in case” a tornado hits.

Dishonesty and lies may be worse. They are a pandemic: “prevalent over a whole country or the world.” (Oxford Dictionary). Lies are mobile, destructive and can result in violence like a tornado. The Bible says: “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy.” (Proverbs 12:22).

Are you trustworthy? Can people rely on you to be trustworthy?

It takes time to develop trust from other people. You cannot do it quickly. You have to earn it by acting with integrity. This includes not lying or misleading people. It is how you act. It is intentional.

It is who you are!

Consider your daily actions. Consider the decisions you make on a daily basis. Are you trustworthy? Your best friends know if you are. Ask them.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”Luke 16:10

This verse is one of the most profound accurate statements I’ve ever heard. It is the responsibility of every follower of Christ to be trustworthy which is part of being a faithful and wise servant.

Trustworthiness is demonstrated through actions.

Tom Weckesser

May 20 – What Does the Bible Say About Divorce?

Read Matthew 19:1-6

By education and interest, I’m a numbers person.  If I learn an interesting baseball or football stat, the information will stick with me, not incredibly valuable; just mostly useless data.  Today we take a look at divorce which has a lot of information and data available for our country.  It’s sad to read some of following statistics, but the numbers can give us an idea just what marriages, historically, have looked like in our country:

  1. The marriage rate is 6.1 per 1,000 total population in the U.S. (source: CDC, 2000-2019)
  2. The divorce rate is 2.7 per 1,000 total population in the U.S. (source: CDC, 2000-2019)
  3. In 2019, there were 2,015,603 marriages and 746,971 divorces (source: CDC)

Let me throw one other number in the mix for today 19:6…as in Matthew 19:6:

“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 
Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Now if divorce was playing baseball, they would likely be in the Hall of Fame from a statistical standpoint but, needless to say, our country has a lot of work to do to meet God’s standards on marriage which is a 100% success rate.  Matthew makes it very clear in The Message translation to help us visualize the marriage commitment:

“And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh – no longer two bodies but one.  Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate His art by cutting them apart.” Matt. 19:4-6 (MSG).

The description here of now being one bonded body leaves no room for a “temporary” arrangement or “trial run” to see if it will work for both parties, but rather a lifelong commitment to each other, and God. So, easier said than done, right?  My wife and I are still relatively newlyweds at only 17 years of marriage, and are still growing and learning from each other every day.  By no means have we arrived and claim to have it all figured out, but maybe a few considerations to think about, based on some experiences and observed actions from friends and family:

  1. Keep Christ at the center. When you have Christ and His Word at the center of your marriage, you always have a standard to aim for. Your relationship with Jesus is first, then with your spouse, and then with others. 
  2. Communicate. Talk, text, email, social media message…do whatever it takes to connect with your spouse.  If you have a disagreement regarding the kids, finances, or even what restaurant to eat at, talk through it together (Eph. 4:26).
  3. Encouragement. Take time to let him or her know you are praying for them, because you know what? Marriage is tough!  Regardless of the stage of life you are in, your spouse will always benefit from and value encouragement. 
  4. Never stop saying thank you to your spouse.  The routine of married life, running the kids around, and job responsibilities can be time-consuming and cause us to take for granted our blessings, so keep saying thank you to your wife for managing the finances or to your husband for cleaning up after dinner each night.  Appreciation is always a great relationship sustainer.

Let’s work to fight against those earlier mentioned statistics to keep our marriage “bonds” strong and strive for God-honoring exemplary marriages for others to see! 

Drew Hilty

May 19 – What Does the Bible Say About Your Worth?

Read Psalm 139:1-24

“You are a treasure!

Worth more than anything under the sun or the moon,

God’s greatest treasure

Is the treasure of you.”

We wrote out these lyrics from a Steven Curtis Chapman song and gave it to our oldest daughter when she graduated from high school. She is a treasure – worth more than anything under the sun or the moon! She is a gift from God, like all children.

Psalm 139 is the most interesting and uplifting literature I have ever read. Some of the Psalm’s messages are that God knows me (“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me”, v.1) and He knows my ways and my words before I speak them (“You are familiar with all my ways, before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord” (v. 3b and 4).

He put me together in my mother’s womb and ordained the span of my life before I was born. (“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”, v. 13).

 Also – “You might have a mom, she might be the bomb. But ain’t nobody got a mom like mine.” (Kelly Trainor). Our five granddaughters are going to sing that song on Mothers’ Day to their mothers.

God saw my unborn body in my mother’s womb “When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (15b, 16).

He knows my anxious thoughts. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (v.23).

He helps me live a life that brings honor to Him and points out anything in me that offends Him. “See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. (v.24)

God loves me. He has a plan for me. My life has worth! So does yours. Big time.

He has a plan for you. If you are not sure about what that plan is, then determine what your spiritual gifts are (1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12). Use them daily.

Life has worth. Use it for good.

“Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”

John Wooden

You are a treasure! Have you asked God to show you how to use your spiritual gifts?

Tom Weckesser

May 18 – What Does the Bible Say About Itself?

Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and Hebrews 4:12

“The most influential book of all time.”

“No other book like it.”

I’ve made those statements about the Bible.  But what does the Bible say about itself?  I would answer that in several ways. First …

  1. The Bible is an awesome book. The word “awesome” is used and abused today. I’ve even heard some use the word “awesome-est,” as if something can be more than awesome. Experiences and people are described as awesome when they are anything but that.

But the Bible is truly an awesome book because it is “inspired” by God (2 Timothy 3:16). That doesn’t mean “inspiring” like a gorgeous sunset. Rather it is the product of God Himself!

The word “inspired” means “God – breathed” or “exhaled” from God. No wonder it’s called the Word of God. The Bible is the product of God directing human authors to write exactly what He wanted to have written (2 Peter 1:20-21). I don’t fully understand how that supernatural process worked, but it can be described as nothing less than “awesome.”

And beyond all of that, the Bible is not a collection of principles, platitudes, or lessons. It is a thrilling story of God’s redemptive plan for mankind. From beginning to end, the plot of Scripture spotlights Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son, the Redeemer of Mankind.  Jesus said: “…These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (Matthew 5:39-40).


2. The Bible is an accurate book. Because God‘s character is true, His Word is trustworthy, completely reliable. Some suggest that the Bible is accurate when it speaks about theology but not accurate when it speaks about history or science. But if the Bible is not fully reliable at every point, how can we be sure it’s reliable at any point? Every word of God is described as “flawless” (Psalm 12:6), “eternal” (Psalm 119:89) and “perfect” (Psalm 119:96). If it is not accurate, it is worthless.

3. The Bible is also an authoritative book. The Bible is the Owner’s Manual for effective operation in this world by every human being. This means that every opinion, statement and belief should be tested by the question: “What does the Bible say about this?”

In fact, God expects us to obey what He said in His Word. Obedience is not optional. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).

4. The Bible is an adequate book.

The Apostle Peter said that God has given us “everything we need for a godly life through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). The Scriptures have been given so that we might be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). Someone said, “While the Bible may not tell us everything we want to know, it does tell us everything we need to know. Its truth isn’t exhaustive, but it is enough.”

Think of this! One book, penned by 40 different human authors on three different continents in three different languages over a period of more than 1500 years, provides exactly what we need for this life and all eternity.

It is an endless supply of riches!  

No book will ever claim more of your life than this book. And no book will ever give you more of life than this book.  Why not treat God’s word with the respect it deserves and allow it to have its rightful place of preeminence in your life?

Bob Fetterhoff

May 17 – What Does the Bible Say About Anxiety?

Read Philippians 4:6-7 & 1 Peter 5:7

Just the other day, a friend asked me what causes me to have anxiety. After years of struggling with anxiety, it was a question I have answered a million times, but never actually answered with the issue behind it. 

For me, my anxiety creeps up when a situation arises and I have no outcomes at play. Scenarios and the “What if’s” circle around in my head without slowing down and cause me to panic. The answer to what causes my anxiety is that I am not in control of my life or what happens within it and I struggle with that. 

You know what is amazing though? God wants to hear all about the worry we are going through. He welcomes us to come before Him, to be raw and real and just give it all over so that He can carry the weight and we can just follow after Him in faith and surrender. The entire reason He wants to carry the weight of this world for you is because He is for you and cares for you. I can victoriously say that, as I have learned to surrender the fear of the “What ifs” and hand over the answers to the questions, I have been able to learn more of who Jesus is. 

Peter reminds us that Jesus is there and cares, ready to take on what our heart is hurting from, and Paul challenges us to change our perspective as we take it to Jesus. 

For the longest time in my life as a Jesus follower, I always thought that verses, like above, meant I was not supposed to have thoughts of fear and anxiety and that, if I had even one anxiety attack, I was not surrendering my life to Him. However, after many years of studying God’s word and getting to know the character of Christ, I can confidently say He doesn’t tell me to be perfect and stop having anxiety, He just tells me that, WHEN I experience anxiety, to bring it to Him time and time again. It’s in those times that He works miraculously in my mind and heart. We live in a broken world, operating in redemption and the Lord knows of our struggles and shows us a way out of our anxiety to give us joy. 

Joy can be described as “The resolute assurance that God not only knows about my problems, but He cares about them.”

So here we are: Peter reminding us of Christ’s care for us and that He wants us to come to Him raw and real and lay it all out, no matter the messiness it might be, but it doesn’t stop there. He then challenges us through Paul to the church of Philippi, that we are to “go before the Lord with thanksgiving”. That no matter what we go through, we approach our anxiety with “the holy but”’. 

We may worry BUT God has us. We may struggle BUT God is there! 

As you go before the Lord, surrendering the anxiety, the unanswered questions, the “What if” scenarios; remember WHO He is. Remember HIS Truth; this will make it easier to surrender all that is weighing you down. 

Kelly Lawson

May 16 – What Does the Bible Say About Our Words?

Read Colossians 3:8, Ephesians 4:29 and James 3:1-12

Tugging on the reins as hard as six-year old muscles could, I was no match for our new horse, Ginger. Moments before, I couldn’t wait to be lifted onto the back of this mahogany, black mane and tailed, beauty. I was in awe. Now, as we rocketed through the pasture, back to the barn, I hated her. I thought I was going to die. She was in control and I had none.

Our tongues tend to run away with us, don’t they? Words can come out of our mouths that surprise us. Words come out that hurt, yet we say them anyway. We put people in their places. We make sure everyone knows we’re upset and offended. We ‘toot our own horns.’ We ‘set the record straight.’ We withhold words when we should speak and we mow people down with them when we’d all be better off if we’d keep our mouths shut.

God has a lot to say about our words…

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”(Luke 6:45)

“The tongue has the power of life and death.”(Proverbs 18:21)

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.”(James 3:10)

We’re a mess, aren’t we?

We’re not going to get this perfectly.

And we can do better.

I love how The Message interprets James 1:19, telling us to lead with our ears. It pairs well with our verse from Ephesians…” [speak] only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

We’d do well to take a deep breath before speaking. If we would listen, better yet, love people enough to hear them out…If we would pause to pray before we open our mouths, we might just get this better.

Jesus left us with His Spirit to guide us into all truth. We have the power of God to overcome the power of our tongues. We have His guidance to steer us to better words. We have His Spirit to convict us when we’ve barreled ahead without Him.

Have your words been serving your needs or the needs of others?

Do you need to check in on a relationship and make sure all is well between you? Have you mowed someone down? Used some pretty filthy language that sounds more like the world than a follower of Jesus? Are you building people up or tearing them down?

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”(Ps. 19:14)

This beautiful confession from David’s lips reminds us of a God who is passionate about the way we communicate with Him and each other. He has been so generous with us to give us His words. Let’s make every effort to honor Him with ours and let’s not expect the world to apply the same standard to theirs.

Shelly Eberly

May 15 – What Does the Bible Say About Peer Pressure?

Read Proverbs 13:20 and Romans 12:2

I’m in with the In Crowd

I go where the In Crowd goes!

I’m in with the In Crowd

I know what the In Crowd knows!

Peer Pressure! At the hearing of that term, if you are like me, you immediately think of teens getting into trouble.  An otherwise good teen being forced into doing something that they usually wouldn’t do, just because of pressure from the kids around him/her. But peer pressure is not confined to childhood.  Adults face peer pressure every day too. None of us want to be left behind when everyone else at work is getting together.  To be part of the “in crowd”, we might find ourselves doing things, going places, participating in activities we normally wouldn’t think of doing.

I love this quote from Jim Caviezel the actor who portrayed Jesus in the movie “The Passion of the Christ”: 

Set yourselves apart from this corrupt generation.

Be Saints. You were NOT made to fit in.

You were born to STAND OUT!

Why do we strive to be outstanding and away from the crowd in sports, academics, or our jobs, but then settle to be one of the crowd when it comes to social or ethical situations?

Be bold! Let people know you are God’s child not by preaching to or condemning them (that is God’s job) but by your speech and your actions. It is up to you to try to live a Christlike life, to be a leader not a sheep being guided back and forth by immoral people.  You need to stick up for what you believe and, if you are not sure what it is you do believe, maybe you need to take a step back and figure that out.

“Walk in the ways of the wise for the companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

You might need to seek to find others at work with whom you have similar values and morals.

How about taking an inventory of your “friends?” How many are bad influences to you?  How many of them should you distance yourself from, at least until you can start being a leader not a follower of them? Now, go over the list again and see how many of them you feel you need to be an example to.

Think about the forgotten people in your universe, ones who are on the outside looking in.  Why not make an effort to talk to them this week and get to know them better?  Who knows – they just might be the person God has sent to lead you away from being a victim of peer pressure and into being a stand out leader for God’s kingdom!

Pat Arnold

May 14 – What Does the Bible Say About Predestination?

Read Romans 8:28-30

I’ll be honest with you: the topic of predestination has always been a tough one for me. Even as I have grown in my understanding of God and His Word, even to this day, I’m still learning what the Bible says about predestination.

By definition, predestination is the doctrine that all events have been willed by God, usually with reference to the eventual fate of the human soul. In our context today, and in the plainest terms, predestination is the belief that God knows who will accept Him as Lord and Savior and who won’t…He knew that before they were even born.

My gut reaction may be a lot like many of yours, “But, how can this be true? How can Jesus die for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2) but only ‘predestine’ some for Heaven? Does this, then, mean that people are predestined for Hell? Do they even have a choice? Is there any hope for them at all?”

Like I said, that has been my gut reaction in the past. However, I believe that the Bible is unequivocally God’s inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and is just as alive and active (Hebrews 4:12) today as it was thousands of years ago. This series is so important because we are learning about what the Bible says about important topics of the day and not how we may feel about them.

Here is what we know to be true:

People have free will

The Bible expresses, in several places and in many ways, that we have a choice from Joshua 24:15 to John 1:12. We are even told that angels have free will (Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14) as Satan, then Lucifer, a glorified angel, chose to rebel against God and took 1/3 of the angelic host with him as he was banished from Heaven (Revelation 12:4).

Predestination is explicitly a biblical truth

In our reading today, Paul, very plainly, talks about how God has foreknown and predestined people into ultimate glorification. As much as I may struggle with the topic of predestination, it is clearly biblical truth.

Now, before I move any further, I want to make something explicitly clear:

Evangelism is more important than ever before!

To the very bottom of my soul, I believe, and the Bible teaches, that everyone has a decision to make if they will accept the free gift of salvation from their sins by Jesus’ death and resurrection. People who reject that gift will experience Hell rather than Heaven.

“But how can they consciously make a decision for or against Christ if that decision has already been made for them?”

By faith, or as Hebrews 11:1 puts it, “…confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.”

God has done things and will do things that we don’t understand nor ever will.

Do you know how He created the world as we know it out of nothing? Do you know all that went into choosing to come to earth, serve His creation only to be brutally murdered for His efforts? Do you know what it took to forgive the very people who killed Him while He hung on a cross gasping for air? Do you know what it takes to love people to this day who spit in His face and curse His name?

We won’t know all there is to know about faith until we meet Jesus face to face one day. All we know is what we are told:

God is good. God is love. God wants no one to perish but all to come to Him.

Jake Lawson

May 13 – What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?

Read Philippians 4:6

Is there someone who comes to mind when you read the verse above? 

For me, it’s my mother-in-law.

Now, if you know Julie at all, you know that she is a prayer warrior. No matter what she is doing and where she is, she is consistently and constantly praying. Just today she sent Jake and I a text about praying for Emma, our unborn baby, and our family. On Sundays, you may see her walking around the church. This isn’t for nothing- she is walking and praying. Praying for the hearts that will walk through the doors, for the families and the kids that will come to Grace Kids, the volunteers who serve on stage and off, and she prays for our leaders as they teach us. 

I remember years ago as David was teaching on a Sunday morning, he mentioned how he loves when Julie is at home, alone, because he knows what she is doing; she is praying. I can attest to that as, time and time again, Jake and I would stop by in the evening, and we would always find her at her desk praying and studying. 

She is the greatest example of what Paul is telling the church of Philippi to do. She prays without ceasing; she brings everything before the Lord with a thankful heart.

I don’t know about you, but I want to grow to be that in my life, in my family. 

How does one begin, though? You may ask. 

I remember when I was discipling a close friend years ago, she was afraid to pray. She felt as though it had to sound profound or holy; but the more her walk with the Lord grew and the more she got to know God through His word, she became more confident in going before the Lord and praying. 

This is what I will encourage you to do. Get to know more about the Lord, about His Word and about who He says you are. Begin with just praying through what you are reading in His Word. This is something that Julie taught me. As she studies and reads, the Lord brings people into her heart and mind and she prays over those people what God’s word proclaims. 

The Lord and I connect a lot through music. The lyrics within the songs I listen to have always been important to me. As I listen to a song, I begin to worship and pray.

One privilege I have while serving on our contemporary worship team is the honor to pray what we sing over our church body, over this family the Lord has blessed me with and over my walk with the Lord.

Worshiping is praying. Praying is worship. 

Prayer starts with where your heart is. 

I challenge all of us to re-read the verse above and pray that over us. The Lord helps give us an understanding of prayer and that we do it with a thankful heart, continually bringing our lives before Him.

Kelly Lawson