What Will Things Look Like in 2022?

October 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Jarrod Spencer –

Some things in life I think will never change, especially when living in the moment. However, other things, over the years, have seemed to change. Like a child, who seems to grow faster when I am not around him. Things in life seem to change more when you look back on their progress.

Film for cameras is one of those things that have changed drastically over the past ten years. The change is that you practically cannot find film in an average store. There simply is not a market for it anymore. Cameras have gone to digital formats and trying to find film is virtually impossible in the average department store.

Recently I saw a rerun where someone received a gift of a “filmed” camera for a Christmas gift. This scene started me to think about how film was something which seemed timeless. However, it did have its time.

What about some other things in life that have been around for years? What about tires for our vehicles? Will there ever be something that is just as comfortable but maybe doesn’t need any air to maintain a level for a good ride. Also one that has a lot more wear on them? Could they not be made out of rubber but, rather, a chemical mixture to create the substance? You may think “No, we’ll always have tires.” I think that, too. But I also thought we’d always have film in cameras.

What will the differences in the churches look like in 2022? Will there be much of a change in some of the churches by that time? Will songbooks or Bibles be practically useless? Will some churches go back to house church only or “sit at home and watch on your computer?” Will we become more casual or go back to more dressed up? Whatever does happen will affect the way we share our faith with others. Ponder it…what will be the trend in 2022?…it will be interesting to find out!

Prayer: Father, we are but specks in Your world. We do not know what the future holds, only You do. May we submit to what Your future holds. We look forward to the future knowing You’re in control.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Not Being in the “In Crowd”

September 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Jarrod Spencer –

The “in crowd” is that imaginary group that haunts almost everyone at one point in his life. We all want to be “somebody” in society. We want to be accepted by people. Maybe not all of them, but someone. This especially holds true when it comes to our peers. Of course, as children, when we start to experience this initial desire, we know our parents love us and think we’re important, but the desire goes beyond that. We are wanting to grasp on to “independency” and that means being “me” in a group of others.

I received a comment on my blog last week about my sermon, entitled “Rejected,” that started a few thoughts. One of the thoughts went to Jesus being on the cross. I was thinking how He must have felt; not only because He was not in the “in crowd” at this point in His life, but also that His own Father was rejecting Him. To make matters worse, the rejection came by, in essence, His Father choosing others over Him!

I don’t know of any children who, when feeling a sense of misery, would like to have their parents take the side of a peer over themselves. Can you imagine how you would feel if you knew you were being mistreated and your parents chose “the other person” over you? Maybe for some of you, that has been the case, of which you can relate. Or the person taking sides may have been an adult friend (i.e. teacher, coach, neighbor) or even a peer who chose someone else over you.

I would like to think that Jesus was saying, in His mind, “It’s Okay, Father, I understand why You are choosing them over Me.” But then I also want to think that Jesus was human and in the midst of suffering, His “realness” set in and He wanted to be rescued. Maybe He was thinking, “Let’s get this situation over with.” There were probably lots of thoughts going through His head, that we will never know about while on earth.

Though He wasn’t in the “in crowd” at that moment, I am more-than-grateful for His willingness to be in the “out crowd” for me and my sins!

PRAYER: Father, thank You for understanding me and loving me no matter what “crowd” I am in. With You I will always be in the “in crowd.”

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (I Timothy 4:12 NIV).

Me ‘Firt’! (aka Me First!)

August 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Jarrod Spencer –

I would like to go so far as to say “everyone does it” but there are probably some exceptions to the rule. What everyone likely does at sometime in their young life is to strive for independence and meaning. Ava, our two-year old is well into that stage of life. Whenever I want her and her older brother, Oliver, to do something, she will often say “Me firt!” She wants to do the task that I am allowing or assigning first. There are times in which Oliver may want to look at something, for example, she pipes in with “Me firt, Oliver!” She wants meaning in her life and would like to have independence. She also exercises that desire by not wanting to have her hand held when we are in parking lots.

Why is it that she wants to be first? What is it that she does not want to be after Oliver? I am not talking about a scientific or clinical reason, but more of an intellectual reason. She has a great desire to let her abilities be known and has already learned that first is “good.” We may race up the stairs and see who “wins.” They may be in a “race” to be buckled first to get the “buckle badge” (something invisible that simply affirms I’m proud of their obedience). They want to outdo one another and are driven to do that at this stage in their life.

As we go about life as a Christian, what drives us? Are we driven to try to be “first?” When we are challenged by a thought or song, do we seek to be the first to go out and do something? Are we driven to be “firt?” Or are we simply letting it go in one ear and out the other? Are we not caring if we’re first or last in the challenge?

As you read this, may you be inspired to go out and see what you can do for God. We are not in competition with one another, but sometimes if we felt like “I’m going to get to someone you know first” then you may be inspired and motivated rather than just letting it pass. So, who will it be this week? When hearing a challenge, who will be the one to say, “Me firt!”?

PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving us two wonderful children. It is a great privilege to be called “Daddy” and to see these young people grow up. I thank You for the opportunity to have these two precious gifts from you, if only for a short time, later to be returned back to You. I ask that You help lead me in the guidance for the direction they should go.

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory” (I Thessalonians 2:11-12 NIV).

Using What You Have

August 2, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Jarrod Spencer –

I love, love, love being able to do things that I am talented in and passionate about. I tend to put a lot of mental time on things that would fall into that category. Sometimes it is my sermon, sometimes an art project, or sometimes it is a speaking project. All these things I love to do and when I get an itch for an idea, I just run with it.

The above areas are some of the things that I have been blessed with talent and competency, to various degrees. One of the running themes in all of the areas are creativity. I like to be creative.

Another thing I like about spending my time doing anything that would fall into those categories is that it generally benefits others. I believe that when we are doing things that will benefit someone, in the end, it is definitely worth the time spent.

On the contrary, if you are doing something that doesn’t benefit others then it may not be worth the time spent. There are very few tasks that cannot be used to benefit others. Helping someone out makes me feel good and think my talents are worthwhile.

We all have things we like to do which can benefit others. What is it that you can do? Can you help someone move, cook/bake, crochet, cross-stitch, draw, paint, carpentry, tutor, etc.?

Whatever you have, use it…so that it may benefit others and glorify God!

PRAYER: Father, thank You for giving me the talents that I have. There have been many open doors to use these talents, especially when I offer them to others rather than keeping them back for myself. You have opened door after door to let me use my talents. I can see how not burying the talents helps to multiply them.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more’” (Matthew 25:19-20 NIV).

The Best in the World

By Jarrod Spencer –

As the 30th Summer Olympic Games drew to a close, I had some remorse. It is always fun to see the “best in the world” come together to compete in the various sports that make up the Summer Olympic Games. Some sports gain more attention than others; some are iconic.

Through the years there have been Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, Edwin Moses, Carl Lewis, the “Dream Team” of 1992, Mark Spitz, Florence Griffith-Joyner to name a few.

One “Cinderella” athlete this year was in women’s gymnastics, Gabby Douglas. She helped lead her team to gold in the team competition and won individual gold in the “all around.” Her story is unique. Four years ago, she mentioned that she wanted to be in the Olympics in 2012. She also wanted to be with the coach of 2008 Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson. Gabby said that it looked like Shawn and her coach were having fun, also stating that Shawn’s coach seemed to push her more than she’s been pushed before.

In order for her to have the coach she wanted, she had to go away from her home in Virginia to West Des Moines, Iowa. This meant leaving her family to go live with a sponsor family. She went through highs and lows during her time of training in a seemingly uncomfortable situation. She even wanted to quit and go back home. I know she’s glad now she didn’t!

I want us to think about how many times we may be put into an uncomfortable situation when it comes to sharing our faith. That doesn’t mean simply inviting someone to church. Maybe someone is struggling in life and we don’t know if we should say “Let’s pray” or “I’ll be praying” because we don’t know how they will respond. Imagine what the outcome might be if you would “go for the gold.” I challenge you to work through any areas of discomfort and follow through with what you might be passing up.

PRAYER: Thank You, Father for how you work in our lives to make us potential “winners” in the Kingdom. May we work through our uncomfortable tendencies and “go for the gold” for You.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (II Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

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