devos from the hill


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Remain in His Presence

God has blessed Mars Hill with an incredible team of men and women who love Jesus – the risen, reigning, and returning King. Together, we passionately pursue Him as we work to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Together, we study the Scriptures. We embrace and celebrate the mystery of faith and the magnificence of our AWESOME God. And we long for our Savior’s return, when we will know fully as we are fully known.

The Holy Spirit has breathed unique wisdom, discernment and gifts for service into each member of our staff. That said, we are delighted to commence a new series of devotionals, in which each member of our staff will be sharing insights from their inimitable journey with our Father.

We hope that God’s redemptive work in our lives will resonate with what He’s doing in yours.


Today’s Devotional is from team member, Jean Ngo.
Jean is serving Mars Hill as Ministry Partnering Director.

The following is insight I gained from the Smashing False Idols Evangelism Conference 2007 with Tim Keller.

Perhaps it’s something none of us want to admit but do you remember a moment when you got really angry with another person?   What should you do in that moment?  Should you cry out to God for help?  Plot revenge?  Run and never look back?  Let’s explore this issue in the book of Jonah.

In Chapter 1, we find the prophet fleeing from what God commanded him to do:

“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come before Me.”  But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 

One reason proposed for why Jonah flees is because of fear for his own safety.  All of us have encountered moments when we hold back sharing what we would like to share for fear of that person hurting or rejecting us.  In Jonah’s case, going to Nineveh and sharing what God said held the potential of offending an entire city of 120,000 people.  It seems reasonable to think Jonah feared for his safety.  However, there may be another reason…

Upon deeper reflection (and with the help of a great fish), Jonah prayed (2:8-9):

Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving.  That which I have vowed I will pay.  Salvation is from the Lord. 

In Chapter 3, Jonah went back and did what the Lord told him (vs. 4-5):

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”  Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.

God showed great mercy to the people of Nineveh humbling themselves (3:10):

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them.  And He did not do it. 

That should be the end of the story, right?  The protagonist did his job…the people of the city repented…and God saved the people.  The End!  No.

It might surprise us that Jonah actually gets angry with what happened.  In Chapter 4, vs.3, he asks the Lord to take his life from him, for death is better to me than life.  Jonah is deeply disturbed God spared the city from destruction.  Why? Continue reading


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A Devotional of Deliverance

God has blessed Mars Hill with an incredible team of men and women who love Jesus – the risen, reigning, and returning King. Together, we passionately pursue Him as we work to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Together, we study the Scriptures. We embrace and celebrate the mystery of faith and the magnificence of our AWESOME God. And we long for our Savior’s return, when we will know fully as we are fully known.

The Holy Spirit has breathed unique wisdom, discernment and gifts for service into each member of our staff. That said, we are delighted to commence a new series of devotionals, in which each member of our staff will be sharing insights from their inimitable journey with our Father.

We hope that God’s redemptive work in our lives will resonate with what He’s doing in yours.


Today’s Devotional is from team member, Horace Compton.
Horace is serving Mars Hill as a Ministry Partnering Associate.

My devotional is anchored in 3 scriptures: 1) Proverbs 3:5-6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” 2) Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” 3) Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

As I looked at a panoramic view of my life in my mind, I saw that I was blessed to be born into a Christian family where I was introduced to Christ as a child and was baptized. Since that time I have worshiped and served Him wherever life’s journey has taken me.

As a child, I experienced the loss of several close family members which was difficult for me. At the age of 13, I learned about the power of prayer when my older sister went into cardiac arrest during surgery. The doctors were able to revive her after she had gone without oxygen for several minutes, but she remained in a coma with repeated episodes of convulsions for an entire week. The prognosis was that she most likely would not survive, but if by some miracle she did survive, she would certainly be brain damaged. My family and I, our church family, and other Christians who knew of her situation prayed fervently for her. She eventually awakened from the coma with no brain damage and no recollection of what she had been through. Today, she is still alive at the age of 79, living a comfortable life as a retired 4th-grade teacher.

When I became a young adult, I saw God deliver me from myself, once while I was in college and again when I was in the Navy. In spite of my failed initial attempt at college, God allowed me to eventually earn 2 degrees, a B.S. and a Masters. While in the Navy, I successfully completed Communication School, with a Top Secret security clearance because of the sensitive nature of the work I was doing. I was stationed in San Francisco and was really having a “good time.” Then I received a call from home that my mother was seriously ill and I should come home right away if possible. I went home and discovered that her condition was much worse than I thought. She was terminally ill with breast cancer and had only been given a short time to live. WOW!

After an extensive letter writing campaign between her physicians and the Navy, I was awarded a Hardship Discharge under Honorable conditions with all benefits in place and no reserve duty required. Five months later, at the age of 54, my mother passed away after experiencing horrific pain and suffering that was extremely difficult to watch. If my family was looking for a reason to be angry with God, this was it. But, we were not angry because – The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21b).

Two years later, after having taken a woman I loved dearly, the Lord sent another woman into my life whom I have loved dearly for the past 40 years, my wife. During this 40 year period, my wife was pregnant 6 times, experiencing 4 miscarriages, 1 full-term baby born with a birth defect who lived 21 days in the NICU at Hermann Hospital, and my daughter who now, at the age of 33, is a board certified OB/GYN. We also have an adopted son who is a graphic designer.

All of these experiences have left this song in my heart – “Through It All” by Andre Crouch.

( Listen as Horace shares the song with us!)

In closing, five year ago, I met Doug (another staff member) at the tennis court and now, a new journey has begun. So, whatever the trials are that we may experience here at Mars Hill, all we have to do is remember those 3 scriptures I shared at the beginning to Trust, Wait, and Know.

 


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I Am Set Free

God has blessed Mars Hill with an incredible team of men and women who love Jesus – the risen, reigning, and returning King. Together, we passionately pursue Him as we work to see the Great Commission fulfilled. Together, we study the Scriptures. We embrace and celebrate the mystery of faith and the magnificence of our AWESOME God. And we long for our Savior’s return, when we will know fully as we are fully known.

The Holy Spirit has breathed unique wisdom, discernment and gifts for service into each member of our staff. That said, we are delighted to commence a new series of devotionals, in which each member of our staff will be sharing insights from their inimitable journey with our Father.

We hope that God’s redemptive work in our lives will resonate with what He’s doing in yours.


Today’s devotional is from Carol Fairbanks. 
Carol is our Graphics Intern and a student at Texas A&M.

I’ve always been a rather artistically inclined person, so I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone that one of my favorite ways to connect with the Lord is through music. There is one song, in particular, that has taken a special hold in my heart ever since I heard it, called I Am Set Free by All Sons and Daughters. It is a song that I can turn to if I just need a simple moment of worship or if I need something much more profound. The words to the chorus say:

I am set free
I am set free
It is for freedom that I am set free

While this chorus is admittedly simplistic, it reminds us of something extremely important: Christ set us free. And that freedom is worth praising God for!

This song references, specifically, Galatians 5:1, which is what we’ll focus on for the rest of this devotional. Galatians 5:1 says, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

I think that this verse, this thought of freedom in Christ, resonates with me so much in this season of my life because when I look back at where I was the gravity of Christ’s ability to set us free is astounding.

Not too long ago, I was certainly not enjoying the freedom that Christ has given me. I think it would be accurate to say that I was far too apathetic to care that God had better plans for me—or that He had plans for me at all. Specifically, I’d gotten tired of waiting for God to provide for me a relationship that honored Him. I felt like I’d waited long enough and that if He wasn’t going to answer my prayers and desires, then I would just try to do it myself. Continue reading


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“You follow Me.”

A devotional from Fred Carpenter, inspired by John 21…

“What is that to you? You follow Me.”

Can you imagine, walking on the beach with Jesus after His resurrection. That was the scene of an intimate encounter between Jesus and Peter (Find the full account of this story in John 21). Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, Peter 3 times denied he even knew Jesus. Yes, Jesus already knew what was in Peter’s heart. He was giving Peter the opportunity to walk out the healing he desperately needed after his failure. Jesus then went on to explain to Peter that he would eventually die a martyr’s death. John, who would live out his natural life on the island of Patmos, was following behind. Looking at John, Peter asked, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” (John 21:22).

“What is that to you? You follow Me!” For those of us who tend to compare ourselves to others, or who think we know what we need to have, to be or to do in order to be fulfilled, these words can be extremely hard . . . or incredibly comforting.

One morning, years ago, I was having a quiet time with God. Well actually, I was “belly-aching” to God. The English version of The HOPE (a dramatic video presentation of Creation to Christ) had been out for quite some time, and we had completed a handful of translations. All of our work was now related to creating and disseminating even more translations. Most of our production staff who helped create The HOPE had moved on to other things. Production people enjoy exciting new challenges, and cranking out translations of The HOPE was certainly not as creatively challenging as producing it the first time around. As I compared myself to others on my team who had moved on to new challenges, I felt like I was, in a sense, left holding the bag.

Everywhere I went, well-meaning people asked me, “So, are you working on a new project?” “No, we’re still working on The HOPE.” I would reply. Then I would feel the need to explain that each language version of The HOPE was like a new project, or that writing a 65-lesson study guide was a huge challenge in and of itself. I suppose I was trying to somehow say we were still a creative and productive ministry, even though we weren’t working on “a new project.” I understood that my significance is not in what I do, but rather in who (and Whose) I am. But still, I felt like my significance was under attack. Continue reading