Featured

Let’s keep Growing!

Bible Study

With a New Year begins a NEW Bible Reading Plan!

This blog began in 2016 after a week of FUEL youth camp with a theme of GROW!  We wanted to help those who are interested in feeding their spiritual growth with a daily diet of God’s Word – for that is where true growth starts!  Meeting God in His Word, to get to know who He truly is, as well as what He desires from His children.  I can not be a Christian (a Christ follower) if I am not doing what Christ did – and He loved God’s Word and put it to great use in his own life and for others.

And so, here we are in 2019 – let’s jump into a new Bible reading plan which will help us all see God, His plan, His Son Jesus, Jesus’ life and teachings, our directions, our future hope, and so much more.  We will just be reading one chapter each day – but through the course of the year we will cover the whole New Testament as well as the book of Proverbs and other important themes.  And each day – we will post a devotion here that goes along with the reading.

Hope you will come read and grow with us!

Advertisements

Endure

Colossians 1

Colossians 1 24

I like to listen to audio books. Most of the books I read could be considered “self-help” or “Leadership” books. The one that I have just started in the last couple days is called “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. David is a former Navy seal and an ultra-athlete. The premise of his book is to have a mentally tough and disciplined mind that allows us to push through the worst experience’s life can throw at us. This idea of “Can’t Hurt Me” reminds me of what Paul said in Colossians 1:24-29

 “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh,  I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions. Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, also I labor striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

Here we see Paul bringing up a time where he had been persecuted for bringing the Gospel to the Colossians. Where he endured hardship while preaching fully the Gospel to them. He mentions in verse 27 “God willed to make known the riches of the glory” and also mentions “hope of glory”. I believe that this for Paul was meaning no matter what kind of tribulations, trials, or persecution he goes through Jesus also went through this, and God revealed the mystery of resurrection power to the world as well as the Gospel through Christ.

We will have days, often, that are going to be horrible from our perspective. Now I don’t know what David Goggin’s believes personally. However, if we adopt what I think David Goggin’s and Paul would say is a “Can’t Hurt Me” mindset, we can look forward to the resurrection and the kingdom of God.

Jesse Allen

Anxiety or Peace?

Philippians 4

phil 4 6

I almost always feel anxious about something. When I am working or if I am driving, even playing video games or watching tv, I am anxious. I don’t really know what causes this mindset of anxiety but all I know is that it is there. However, there is one place that it reaches least. That is in a state of worship. However you worship you probably understand what I mean. Singing songs, prayer, or even serving someone can often reduce my sense of anxiety. I think this is because I can allow Jesus to dominate my thoughts rather than my feeling of dread.  Paul in Philippians 4 puts it this way.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I would recommend the next time you might feel anxious or dreadful about something, that you may serve the Lord in some form of worship. Whether it be serving another person, praying, or singing a song that refocuses your center of peace. This is what really helps me in times of need.

 

-Jesse Allen

Inside not Outside

Philippians 3

Philippians 3 3b

My alarm went off for the 5th time that morning and I smashed the snooze button once again. It was 9:45! Alarmed I shot up and showered for 30 seconds dressed into my only clean clothes at the time and out the door I went. Church started at 10. Thank goodness its only five minutes away.

My clothes at the time were gym shorts and a FUEL T-shirt. I had said to myself “Meh, God looks at the heart”. Somehow knowing there was going to be someone that would say something about the way I dressed to Sunday morning service. I walked in and after the service was over, I had several people walk up to me and tell me I shouldn’t wear those kinds of clothes to Sunday services.

Has this happened to you? It can be frustrating I know. After all God does look at our heart. In Philippians 3 Paul puts it this way.  “…. for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, ….”. Paul is saying that our physical appearance is not what labels us as Christians, but the spirit of God that is within us. Producing fruit from that spirit is what really matters.

Having raggedy clothes on for church may not be the best idea I’ll admit. But when it comes down to it they aren’t what really matters.

My challenge to you is to pray for God’s spirit to change how our hearts look today. Then maybe one day you will feel confident enough to wear raggedy clothes to church.

-Jesse Allen

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

If Paul can, You can

Philippians 1 

7

Shipwrecked on an island, stoned, bitten by a snake, beaten, and thrown into prison. It seems that Paul could never catch a break. The letter of Philippians was actually written while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. After a short greeting to the church of Philippi, Paul explains his current predicament:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.(Philippians 1:12-14)

Paul’s attitude is truly humbling. Instead of grumbling, blaming, or whining, he recognizes that all of his difficulties have “served to advance the gospel.” What a mindset to strive for! By being transparent about his sufferings, Christians at the time were encouraged to be more confident and daring, spreading the gospel without fear. I was shocked to read that the people were more encouraged by Paul’s endurance than petrified by his tribulations.

My sister once brought a box of bacon-cheddar flavored crickets to a family gathering. At first, everybody thought the crickets were an amusing joke, but nobody seriously considered eating one. After staring at the crickets for a long while, my brother-in-law finally ate one as we all goggled and gawked. Then the next person ate one, and the next person, and eventually everyone in the room had eaten a cricket. After witnessing someone else eat the cricket, it was much easier for me to eat a cricket, too. (FYI crickets don’t taste like chicken).

In the same way, early Christians adopted an “If Paul can, I can” kind of faith. Let Paul’s resilience and conviction in the face of obstacles encourage you, too, to proceed boldly in your faith. If Paul can withstand being shipwrecked on an island, stoned, bitten by a snake, beaten, and thrown into prison, you can be daring and bold in your faith, too.

When was the last time you took a risk for your faith? Get your hands dirty, get uncomfortable, and get moving.

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:20-21).

 

-Mackenzie McClain

Put on Your Armor

Ephesians 6

6

Paul, the writer of Ephesians, was imprisoned in Rome, where he got an up-close and personal view of the Roman soldier’s armor. He encourages us to put on our own armor to deliver us from evil in our own spiritual battles.

Do you realize how often your faith is under siege? In the United States, you probably won’t be imprisoned, attacked, or killed for your faith, but don’t underestimate the battle you are fighting. Lies are infiltrating your mind and heart all day long. Consider how much information you take in each day that contradicts what the Bible teaches:

Do whatever makes you happy.

Truth is relative.

A fetus is just a clump of cells.

Sex before marriage? Go for it!

Billions of years ago…

You’re unlovable.

It can feel debilitating being surrounded by so many lies, but I have good news for you: God is the source of our strength. He wants to clothe you in His protection—His armor.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.(Ephesians 6:13-17)

God has supplied you with the armor, but it’s still your decision if you’re going to put it on. Sometimes we get too busy (or honestly just lazy) and neglect to take the time to put on our armor, but we should take every precaution possible because the consequences of losing our battles are severe.

What exactly does putting on your armor look like? First of all, you must know what the Bible says in order to recognize the lies. Never underestimate the importance of reading your Bible. Next, pray! Pray that God would open your eyes to His truth and would give you the courage to expose the lies.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.(Ephesians 6:10)

 

-Mackenzie McClain

Children of Light

Ephesians 5

Fuel Devotions - June 2019

I think all dads have the same number one pet peeve: kids leaving the lights on. Sometimes it seems every light in my house is turned on, but we’re all in the living room. Sorry, Dad. My dad’s runner up pet peeve is closed blinds during the day. He’s always hounding me to open up the blinds, exclaiming, “We’re children of the light!”

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:8-10)

Paul calls us to open the blinds—to let the light in. Let goodness, righteousness, and truth flood your life. When you let the light in, you accomplish two things:

  1. Expose the Shadows

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible (Ephesians 5:13a)

Light reveals what darkness tries to hide. By revealing the sin in our lives, we take the first step towards overcoming it. Ask God to show you areas of your life where sin may be hiding and ask your close friends to help keep you accountable.

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Ephesians 5:11)

  1. Multiply the Light

And everything that is illuminated becomes a light(Ephesians 5:13b)

When we reflect God’s light, people around us want to become lights, too. Let your light be contagious! Be so full of love, joy, and grace that people begin to wonder why. Let everything you do point people back to God.

In 1961, Roberto Badillo, a migrant worker, returned to his Mexican village with one Bible, the first Bible in the entire village. Since then, Roberto and his wife Lupe have shared the gospel message with hundreds of people. Never underestimate the power of your light—you never know what fires you may be kindling.

 

-Mackenzie McClain