devos from the hill


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Does Wisdom Really Come from Many Counselors?

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Mars Hill Productions! In this devotional series, president, Fred Carpenter is reflecting on the important lessons of God that have guided us in ministry and led us into a deeper understanding of His ways.

A Verse That is Often Misunderstood by Fred Carpenter

You’ve probably heard it said, “There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors”. You won’t find that exact quote in the Bible, though there are a number of verses that speak to the value of stepping outside your own frame of reference to seek counsel from others.

“Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors, they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22

But is it true, does wisdom come from a multitude of counselors?

In 1986 we released our 8th film, One In A Million. Like the films before, it was a short dramatic discussion-starter that raised a life issue for teens and leaders to grapple with in pursuit of biblical answers. In 9 years of ministry through media, we had developed a solid reputation and user-base. But now, I had no clear direction for what the next film project should be so we decided to send out a survey to some 20,000 youth workers to see what topics they wanted us to address.

We got back a sizable response. The most commonly requested topics read like the “top ten” list of youth issues from a youth worker 101 training curriculum; dating, parents, drugs & alcohol, self-image, etc. Only 2 or 3 made any mention of helping kids come to know Christ or helping them share their faith with their friends. I certainly considered all of this valuable feedback, but more importantly, I committed all of this input to prayer….what did God want?

I became concerned that my “multitude of counselors” had become so relevant in their profession, that they had almost become irrelevant. They were having difficulty seeing the forest for the trees. God gave me the conviction to listen to the few counselors that wanted a film to lead their kids to Christ and to move them to share their faith with others. So, we set out to create the hardest hitting evangelistic film possible. Continue reading


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Blossom Where You are Planted

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Mars Hill Productions! In this devotional series, president, Fred Carpenter is reflecting on the important lessons of God that have guided us in ministry and led us into a deeper understanding of His ways.

“Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3 NASB

When we are young adults, looking at the endless possibilities before us, it seems logical to pick a goal and map out a plan for how to get there. But, when you are a follower of Christ, you become aware that you are not alone in these decisions. In fact, you learn that He already has plans, big plans; so it becomes a matter of discovering what those plans are and what your role in them will be.

I have shared in the previous two devotionals that upon graduating from film school God had given me a deep conviction that I would someday make films that would introduce people to Jesus Christ. However, I had no direction or idea about how that would come to pass.

At that time, I was living in Houston, doing odd media jobs, waiting tables, and strategizing what my next move should be. I attended a church but had not joined a church or become involved in church life because I didn’t know if I would be staying in Houston. Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York seemed the more logical places to pursue a film career.

While searching for something encouraging in God’s word one day, I read Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be established.” The Holy Spirit spoke to me through this verse. I thought I would find something about my plans coming to pass, but what I saw was not what I was expecting. I realized I had been reading that verse backward. I was trying to make a plan and commit it to the Lord, expecting Him to then show me the work. Continue reading


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Before There Is a Problem, God Has the Solution

God’s first promise of a Deliverer.
Lesson 20 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

And the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life; and I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

– Genesis 3:14–15

And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

– Genesis 3:21

Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.

– Genesis 3:23–24

So God made for them garments of animal skin. This was an acceptable covering. But it was only a partial remedy, for it did not take away the sin…and though they could not understand it at the time, it was a picture of the price God would ultimately pay to free humankind from sin. God sent Adam and Eve out from the garden, lest they eat from the tree of life and walk the earth forever, never knowing life as it was meant to be. As for Satan, God pronounced a judgment on him. And in that judgment we find God’s first promise, that one day, through a descendant of Eve, God would send a deliverer to defeat Satan forever.

– The HOPE, Chapter 3

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

Often in life, we must hear the bad news before the good news means something to us. The first four lessons in Chapter 3 dealt with some ugly stuff – Satan and sin. But in this, the final lesson of the chapter, we turn a corner. This section shows us (as we shall see throughout this study) that God has a beautiful plan that will not be thwarted.

Continue reading


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The Other Purpose for Planning

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

“This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.” – John 6:6

Planning is a wise thing to do, right? The Bible warns us what can happen when we fail to plan (Luke 14:28). We plan so that we can arrive at our goal, on time and within our budget. But there is another purpose for planning, one we might not expect.

It had been one of those kinds of days when the falleness of this world affects you to the core of your being. Jesus’s disciples had just returned from burying John the Baptist, who had been beheaded by Herod. After hearing their report, Jesus led them to the other side of the Galilee to find some quiet and rest. But the people learned of it and followed them.

It was getting late in the day and thousands of people had gathered round them. Many of them had come a great distance to see Jesus. Being responsible, anticipating the situation, the disciples approached Jesus, and offered their counsel. How foolish to counsel the Son of God. They urged Him to send the crowd away, so they might find food and shelter while it was still daylight. They were thinking ahead. Formulating a plan to avoid an undesirable outcome. That’s a wise thing to do, right? Continue reading


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Finding Deep Truth in Small Verses

Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter

“Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

I believe the Word of God is inspired by God Himself. This conviction sets the stage for me as I read a passage of scripture. Years ago, as I was reading Proverb 16:3, I asked God what He wanted me to see in this short verse. What He showed me has made this little verse one of my “life verses.”

The first thing that impressed me was God’s choice of the phrases “your work” and “’your plans”. I suppose at first glance this verse could look like a formula for self-determination; a means to an end to get what we want in life. But as the Spirit, my Teacher, directed the eyes of my heart to see these words through the lens of other scripture, I understood that “your” work and plans are not the work and plans we choose of our own initiative, rather, they are the ones He has chosen for us . . . from before the foundations of the world! I was reminded of John 8:28 where we read that Jesus did nothing of His own initiative, and of Jeremiah 29:11 which reads, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD . . .”, and of Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” . . . and so on and so on. I love the way the Word of God resonates with itself! It is true that “Deep calls to deep . . .” – Psalm 42:7. Continue reading