KICKSTART DEVOTIONAL

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On every Mission Discovery mission trip, we begin the morning together in God's word. One speaker is chosen to give the word of the day so that everyone else can meditate on the Scripture. Our hope is that volunteers engage in group discussions throughout the day and in their small groups.

Since the way ministry is being done has shifted, our goal is to serve by creating resources that will help others focus on God throughout the day, and influence family and small group discussion.

Join us every weekday as we explore God's word together. We will have speakers from all over the US and the world. Here is today's Kickstart Devotional.

 

Video: Doug Varnado //  Be Gentle

 

 

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How do you find joy

 

Be Gentle

Mission Discovery Mission Trips with Doug Varnado

 

Doug Varnado is a pastor at the Community Church of Hendersonville, in Hendersonville Tennessee.  He has served with Mission Discovery and has been on mission trips in the past. 

Hey I'm Doug Varnado, pastor of Community Church of Hendersonville, in Hendersonville Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. This is my messy office. I'm trying to not let you see other things in here where you might make a judgment, other than just well, the guy's messy and I can't keep things organized. I actually know where things are, I do. I can find things but I just wanted to share just a little bit today in a devotional.  I was invited to do this, but again I wanted to introduce myself and thank you for just let me share a few thoughts together.

It's hard to, in this particular time, try to define reality because its' shifting, it's changing.  Max Dupree, who's a leadership guru coach said "the first job of a leader is to define reality" and sometimes you know we just think gosh what's going on right now. I have no place to put it.  I want to just share a few moments from Philippians chapter 4 and it is beginning in verse 4.

It's a rejoice chapter, so it's all it's well, it's a rejoice theme. And it's hard to rejoice given some of the things that we're going through right now, because we're out of our, we're out of the expected. This is what happens in May or in April or as you watch TV and this is what's going on. But you and I get to define reality and we get to walk in whatever the reality is. Image bearers of Jesus and there's nothing more powerful than that regardless of the circumstances that are going on. In Philippians 4.

And you're probably familiar with the text. I'm just going to look at four real things real quickly out of it.  I know that's what more than pastors are supposed to preach out of, but this particular letter comes from a guy whose reality is it's what it is. He is under house arrest, he's dependent upon people bringing him food. He's dependent upon people providing for what's going on.  He's writing this from Rome to a church in Philippi which was really the the church there.

Go back to Acts 16 if you get a chance and see the miracle God provides there to provide a place where the body of Christ emerges. But it's an old city it was founded by Philip of Macedon in 300 B.C. and then became a colonia for Roman soldiers to live after they retired. It was on a pretty busy trade route, east to west along the coastal area across the Adriatic onto Rome. And so he is writing this under house arrest.  Now, he's going to be imprisoned later when he writes books of First and Second Timothy.

That's when he is actually shackled to a Roman soldier in the prison there in Rome. He's under arrest within a house.  Kinda of like you and I have been. Stay at home, shelter  at home, quarantine,  can't do these things, don't have the ability to just be in person with folks that I want to be with and it's really difficult to do that. This guy's writing from the perspective that we understand and he continues to just be dominant with joy. And it's not like this is going to play well 2000 years later so I'm going to say rejoice.  Hey I want to say that again.

“Rejoice! Be joyful!” 

He truly is that way, because his identity is in the person of Jesus who he can say 

"for me to live as Christ, to die is gain. For who he can say, he who began a good work in me is working it until it's completed way down the line.” 

He who says he had the same mind in you in this text that Christ had who even though he was in every way God, he was he was human and he took on the form of that human ness and he died.  Even a death on the cross.  There's a lot of real practical things that are in there. A lot of identity pieces 

that are in there. We press on, we're moving toward the goal, that prize, that high calling. But in chapter four he says this 

"Rejoice in the Lord always! I'll say it again Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving and requests,  present your request to God. The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if there's anything excellent or praiseworthy."  he says, "Think about such things."  

And then he finishes it with whatever you've seen in me, learned in me, heard in me, put it into practice do it." and then he says "And the God of peace will be with you."  

I'm not finding a whole lot of peace in people's lives today, because our circumstances are changed.  But our circumstances don't create peace do they?

It's the one who has authored our identity and who we are and Jesus and really says "this is who you are, you're not a man living in Hendersonville.  You don't have a particular political identity that marks you.  You don't have a job. That's why a lot of guys especially when they leave their job they don't know what to do themselves, because their identity has been in their work. Or their identity has been in their team, or their identity has been and where they live, or what they accumulate.  He says your identity is somewhere else.

So he calls us to rejoice. I want to ask him to urge you to find things that create joy. We're moving through a place where therapists and counselors are going to have a field day after this thing is over because we have been compressed into something we're unfamiliar with. We are at a place where tension is high.

Marriages are struggling, families don't know what to do with themselves.  It may have been cool for a while to go out walk, or ride the bikes, but now you're on top of each other and it's pressing in on us.  Find places to rejoice, simple things to rejoice, little things to rejoice in.  Those chalk drawings that were everywhere. Flowers that were stuck in peoples, whether they were alive or metal flowers, in peoples gardens. People leaving stones with scripture on them.  People doing little things we're going to have to capture those things, and spend our time in rejoicing. 

The joy of the Lord, Nehemiah says, is your strength.  That's what your joy is.  It's in that place, in that identity.  Where are you going to find joy? I'm going to push you to that one, sit down and think for just a minute.  What is it that steals my joy? What is it right now, that is creating in me something, that I'm not having joy in what I do?  And then work to eliminate, whatever that is.  You're going to have to find joy.  And then the second thing he says is, "be gentle".  I urge you to be gentle with people.  If you're a student, be gentle with your with your parents.  They haven't done this thing before, this is all new.  There is no book that came with this.  I want you to honor them. I want you to speak well to them, I want you to 

to be gentle.  If you're a if you're a parent, I want you to be gentle with your kids. They're just used to relationship like this, They're not used to being together, this is all new. To be gentle in your marriage, with your spouse.  If you're married, be gentle.  In whatever place you're in, be gentle.  And once you done, pray. You may think that, you know, I don't know what your prayer life is, but I would imagine right now you have more time than you ever had before in your life.  And I don't think it is God's will for that to be spent live streaming Ozark, or Tiger King or something else.  I mean I've got my own Netflix or Amazon series I watch, but I don't think that was the dominant thing that he's called you to do.

I think God is nudging you.  Those nudges right now may be for you just to isolate, find a place, a chair, a room, a porch and get in the word.  Look at the word, pray. And not the word on your phone, a thousand, hundred million people have access to that.   Just get in the book. See where God's leading you to pray,  for things that you ordinarily or otherwise wouldn't even have thought of. And then he says this. It's an interesting juxtaposes these word, "Don't worry about anything, but in everything, 

Pray."  If you're worried, pray.  If you're anxious, pray.  If you don't know what to do next, pray.  And spend that time just in God's face. And then finally think, just to think, whatever your mind is filled with, He says.  I don't think early believers were known for their ability to hoard and then shame people negatively on social media. I think they were known, for the fact that they invested themselves in something that was so other worldly people didn't have a handle on that.

And it drew them, it drew other people to them. That's like, let your gentleness be evident, let it be seen. Think about these things. Whatever is true, things that are noble, things that are praiseworthy, things that are good, things are admirable, things that are excellent; think on such things. That's the freest part of your world right here. That's the part that is that is most liberating. It's not your body, as you're under house arrest or you feel like you have been. 

This guy's writing, inspired by the Holy Spirit, down through the centuries.  Hey I'm going to show you how to find peace, regardless of what's going on in your life.  I'm going to end with this is, its Eugene Peterson's very free flowing transliteration of this text from the message. It's an artistic view of this. And then I want to just bless you. Listen to what he says.

"Celebrate God all day every day. I mean revel in him.  Make it as clear as you can to all you meet, that you're on their side working with them, not against them. Help them to see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any time. Don't worry, don't fret. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers. Letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness.  Everything coming together for good will settle in and down on you.

It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." Summing it all up friends.  I'd say, you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things that are true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious, the best not the worst, the beautiful, not the ugly. things to praise, nothings to curse. Put into practice what you learned, what you heard, what you saw, what you realized in me.  Do that and God who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

That's my prayer for you. There are two and a half, three billion people in the face of this earth who trade places with you in a nanosecond and me. They would they would switch their lives they'd switch. They'd trade houses, they trade jobs even if you don't have one here right now. They trade the ability to get care, medicine, food. They would trade friendship and relationship groups. So what you have,  who you are, your person. Rejoice in it!  Because it is not shaped by this world.

It's shaped by the one who made this world. God bless you guys. Know that you're loved in Christ Jesus. Talk about how you can find that in the middle of house arrest by rejoicing, by being gentle, by praying and by thinking.

 

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