Resources as we head into 2023 Day 1


I have had a couple of people ask me about resources for Bible reading or devotionals this year, and I literally mean two people.

But it sparked in me a desire to share some of the resources for spiritual growth and Bible intake that I have been using recently or have found helpful in the past. 

So for this week, I will be introducing you to the people and resources who feed me spiritually. I will include any links I can to help you find them and as always, I welcome your sharing of who feeds you <3

Today I want to share from the church we have attended for over two decades. Our lead pastor and friend, Wayne, retired this past year and passed on the mantle to Brian. I met Brian when he became our youth pastor back when we had teens attending youth activities. 

He has risen up through the ranks and served most recently as associate pastor to Wayne. He was at one point the discipleship pastor and I worked closely with him when I served as an adult Sunday School teacher, as well as having been a parent volunteer with him in the early days of his ministry at FCC. 

One thing I have always know for sure is that Brian follows the iceberg principle when it comes to serving in public ministry. What we see on the surface is sitting on top of a huge unseen foundation of private prayer, Bible intake and study. 

This has made the transition from a long time pastor to a new pastor much easier for all of us and we are so thankful for his teachings as he launches into this season as our lead pastor.

We just started a new 13 week sermon series at FCC that is based on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.

Pastor Brian started us off two Sunday’s ago with the Lord’s Prayer and explained how it is really a model of prayer.

He gave us a handout that he has used from a sermon on this about fifteen years ago and had others ask for another copy of because they wore theirs out.

You can find the handout here https://s3.amazonaws.com/FCC_Sermons/2022/Lords+Prayer+Handout+(digital).pdf

or here where you can listen to sermon and look for link to handout. https://www.firstdecatur.org/messages/breakthrough-christmas-according-to-john/

It breaks down the sections of the Lord’s prayer and through his teaching sermon, he explained what these might look like as we committed to pray through the prayer once a day in a new way for 100 days. 

I have found this material so useful. I recommend listening to the sermon, but if you decide not to, I am sharing a photo of my card – front and back with a few notes from his teaching. 

This past Sunday, he taught us from the Beatitudes and here are a few of the notes that jumped out at me. 

  • I have always struggled with the “how” of this list of “Blessed are…” Brian’s teachings helped clarify that this is not a list of things for us to do/be but instead, as we surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit in us, this is what our life will look like. 
  • He called it “getting the order of operations” right. The Holy Spirit, as we surrender to Him, works on our hearts and as He works on our hearts, our minds begin to understand that we have set ourselves or someone/something else to be King over us besides the Lord. As our minds begin to understand that we have served a false god, we repent. When we repent, we are not only sorry for our sin but we change the direction of our lives to move toward God. As we move toward God, our behavior changes. Getting things out of order by trying to change our behavior first is why we and others who are looking at us “trying” to live the Christian life and seeing a frustrating disconnect with how we are and how we want to be.
  • We serve a king and a kingdom, whether we realize it or not. Maybe it is us who is sovereign over our lives, maybe it is an ideology or another human, but have no doubt we all live in a kingdom and the question is – who is your King?
  • We can quote portions of Jesus’ teachings – many leaders have quoted portions of Jesus’ teachings, but are we under the full of authority of all of His teachings or just the ones we like and work for us?
  • In the closing portion of the sermon, Brian talked about the significance of flags to declare allegiance. From countries, to states, to organizations, to belief systems – flags are displayed or carried to represent what is stood for and lives are dedicated to. He said that we have a flag that truly represents our allegiance and defines how our lives are to be lived. I fully expected him to bring out the familiar Christian flag we have seen displayed in churches. Instead he brought out a white flag and waved it. A white flag, as you know, is the symbol of surrender. He said that is our flag.

As we left, we were handed a small white flag and encouraged to place it over a place where we need to remember that we are subject to a King who rules over us with love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. 

But a King who is Sovereign and is worthy of all honor, glory and praise. 

Mine is sitting by this computer, where I tap out my words to you and answer emails and do our banking. Where I place orders and look through pictures and read what others have written. 

A powerful reminder that I am not the King of this little corner of the world/internet/home/or my own life. 

Amazing Grace through my Lord and King, Jesus Christ. 

That is who reigns over me.

Here are some resources if you are interested in learning more from this series.

Sermon series: https://www.firstdecatur.org/the-best-sermon-ever/

Weekly personal study and application booklet:https://s3.amazonaws.com/FCC_Sermons/The+Best+Sermon+Ever+-+Guide+(6×9)+web.pdf

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  1. I loved this Laura! It Reminded me of the great points in the sermon yesterday. I want to live a surrendered to Jesus life.

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