We look forward to celebrating Easter with you, reflecting on the most important event in history – the death, burial and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! To help prepare our hearts and minds for this glorious season, we are sharing daily devotionals from our ministers with the theme of “Entrusted.”
Our prayer is that you will experience the hope found in our risen Savior. He is risen! He is risen indeed!
Entrusted with the Message
By Dr. Jason Snyder, Discipleship Pastor
Every believer in Christ is entrusted with a calling, endowed with a purpose, and bestowed with a message. We first read this charge in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus states:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. —Matthew 28:19–20
In this passage, known as the Great Commission, believers are instructed to fulfill three specific commands: first, to make disciples of all nations; second, to baptize them; third, to teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded. The word translated “Go” is often viewed as the primary command of this passage. However, some Bible scholars suggest that a more accurate translation of Jesus’ command to “Go therefore and make disciples...” is “...as you go, make disciples of all nations.” This rendering captures the intent of Jesus’ words – wherever you go, whenever you go, with whomever you go, and whatever you do as you go, make disciples! This is our purpose!
Similarly, the apostle Paul states in Colossians 1:28, “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ Jesus.” Do you see it? Our purpose is to make Christ known, make disciples, and introduce as many people to Christ as possible.
In addition to our purpose, we are entrusted with the message. Paul speaks to this message in his second letter to the church in Corinth:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. —2 Corinthians 5:17–21
There is so much in this passage for us to know and practice. But for our reading today, let’s focus on several key truths:
In closing, Paul provides one of the most succinct Gospel statements in Scripture. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Friends, if you know Him, make Him known, for we’ve been entrusted with the message to share that message. If you do not know Him, let me implore you, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, receive Him now, confess your sin, and be made new – for God sent Jesus to pay for your sin, that you might be reconciled to God.
Entrusted with the Spirit
By Jason Mick, Minister to Students
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began… By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. —2 Timothy 1:6–14
Have you ever walked by or near a bakery and immediately been hit with all the amazing scents? I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but the bakers have to be fanning out those aromas on purpose to draw people in. There’s something to be said about the amazing and appealing aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries. Your senses can even recall sweet memories of the past. The sight and smell draw you in and create a craving. In our passage, Paul exhorts Timothy to be reminded of the beautiful aroma and presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
Paul says, “Fan into flame the gift of God….” What a gift! Each day we fan the flame of our faith by acknowledging the presence of God and the unconditional love, goodness and grace of God, and joyfully choose to obey the truth of God’s Word. All fires die out unless from time to time they are stirred up. May this be a stirring-up moment when God reignites your heart and passions.
That same heart and new life that is given to believers at the moment of salvation (2 Corinthians 5:17); the same Holy Spirit that raised God from the dead is alive in you! God didn’t call us because we were holy, but that we might be holy. God, by His grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit, has given and entrusted each believer with power, love and a sound mind. So, walk not ashamed, but walk in Spirit and in truth. The Gospel of Jesus is a treasure of truth which has been entrusted to us. May your life be a sweet aroma and a proclamation of the risen King Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Additional Passages: 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Ephesians 4:29–32, 5:18; Galatians 5:16–26; Hosea 4:6; Matthew 12:34
Entrusted with Priorities
By Täsha Calvert, Women’s Minister
Personality Inventories and Strength Assessments are all the rage these days. They can be a great tool to help us understand ourselves and the ways we communicate, process information, and interact with others. Being self-aware is not only practical, it’s biblical. Paul exhorts believers in 2 Corinthians 13:5 by saying, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”
Where the knowledge of personality and strengths can get us into trouble is when we allow this information to dictate our priorities. For instance, a popular inventory labels me an “achiever” and describes my personality type with words such as “ambitious, driven and competitive.” Yet, as a believer, I am called to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) and “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant” (Philippians 2:3) At first blush, my identity as a follower of Christ appears inherently at odds with my personality type.
There’s good news, though. Self-assessing tests and inventories are essentially tools used to uncover the specific ways in which God hard-wired us. Not only did God make us in His image, but He made us with personalities, bents and skills that uniquely qualify us to serve Him. As believers, we have been entrusted with spiritual gifts and kingdom priorities. Though understanding the specific ways God created us will, most assuredly, benefit us in life, relationships and vocations, we are first-and-foremost called and created to use our lives to benefit the body of Christ and build the kingdom of God. This means we receive the priorities entrusted to believers in Scripture as our own.
Romans 12:1 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Often the word sacrifice implies giving up something. For instance, as parents we might give up (sacrifice) our free time to coach our child’s soccer team. That’s one way to view sacrifice. But what we see in Romans 12 is not a sacrifice of giving up, but a sacrifice of giving over. We give ourselves over to the priorities of God, using our time, talents, resources, personalities, strengths, and yes – even our very bodies – in sacrifice to God.
Life is a complex and complicated journey for us all. Jesus could have said the same during His earthly life. He was fully God and fully man. And though our finite minds cannot comprehend this entirely, we know that the “fully man” aspect of Christ meant that He, too, had a personality. We know a little about His personality from Matthew 11 where He is described as “gentle and lowly in heart”. Hardly the personality to change the world. But Christ was entrusted with the priorities of God, the Father. This Easter we celebrate the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who made our salvation His priority. And as believers, we should now respond by making His priorities our own.
Entrusted with Gifts
By Anthony Vargas, Minister to Students – North Campus
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…. —Romans 12:3–6
I was no boy detective, but at 11 years old, even I knew what would be waiting for me inside of a guitar-shaped Christmas present. It was perfect. The neck was short enough for me to reach every fret; the case was light but strong enough to prevent scuffs in the school hallway; it even came with yellow picks. Within weeks, fan-favorite tunes like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” limped their way from my guitar into every corner of the house. My parents knew me best and gifted me something thoughtful. It was up to me to get to know my instrument and practice.
The better you know someone, the better the gift you can give. Who understands you more than your heavenly Father? No one! So the thought of your Creator giving you a spiritual gift, an ability empowered by the Spirit of God, should stir excitement and anticipation to begin using it! Here are a few things to keep in mind.
God has made you unique. God has given you a personality, a skill set and spiritual gifts – it’s an exciting exercise to get to know how He has knit you together. However, self-examination should not lead to pride but to humility. We should come to the understanding that all natural abilities and spiritual gifts come from God and are to be used in His service for the benefit of the Church. So, get to learning about you! If you haven’t already, make use of a spiritual gifts inventory such as this Spiritual Gifts Assessment Tool from Lifeway. Talk with a mentor; ask those who are close to you what they see as your gifts.
You have a gift for a reason. Verse 6 of Romans 12 challenges the believer to understand his gifts and use them! What good is a tool if you never take it out of the box? There’s a job to accomplish, namely, to build up others in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:12). According to God’s Word, we have received spiritual gifts to serve one another. We are to use these God-given abilities to give back to His Church. Failing to use your gifts for the benefit of others will cause you to miss the blessing of serving His Church and the fulfillment that comes through living in God’s will.
You’re not a solo act. Paul compares the Church to a body with individual members functioning in their own way. All members are interdependent; all members are united in purpose; and all members are to appreciate the diversity necessary to make things run correctly. The best way to consistently use your giftings is to serve. Prestonwood has tons of opportunities for you to connect with other believers and walk in your purpose!
Like me with my little guitar, your heavenly Father has given you a gift – it’s time to use it and join a band! This Easter season, commit to serving your church with your spiritual gift.
Entrusted with Hope: When Our Words Leave This World
By Matt Rucker, Minister to Elementary
We sing about it all the time.
Only One could crush the curse of sin.
Only One was raised to life again.
Only One is King of every king.
Only One is coming back for me.
Jesus is coming back. The question is: Are you ready? Is He coming back for you? Have you grounded all your hope trust and belief in the life, death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus? If so, you have been entrusted with hope.
Hope of heaven, yes, but also hope to live out the eternal purposes of God on earth. Hope to live every day as though it is your last. Hope of an eternal perspective, storing up heavenly treasures to one day place at the feet of Jesus. Hope of making the most of every opportunity, for the day is drawing near. What does this look like? How can we live expectantly as we await Christ’s return and use the little time we have on earth wisely?
One way – out of many – is to consider the words that we speak. Read and reread some of the most convicting words that came out of the mouth of Jesus:
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” —Matthew 12:36
Words matter. They have power to curse and bless, tear down or lift up. It is no wonder that James warns us to be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). Think about that for a moment. God will hold us accountable for everything we say. One day our words will leave this world. All the grumbling and complaining about the inconveniences of first-world problems. Everything that we said while stuck in traffic, when we were irritable with our kids, or spammed by yet another telemarketer. Truly, words count for eternity, so how do we use our words wisely while on earth?
We look no further than the Word of God. The One in whom no deceit came from His mouth. The One who, when mocked, ridiculed, and falsely accused, remained silent. The One who was always about sharing His Father’s business. Jesus is God’s gift to us as the perfect example of how we are to speak in light of eternity; and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can let Him speak through us.
Words that are kind, gracious, loving and patient. Words filled with hope, joy, life and purpose. Words not to flatter or please man, but words spoken out of the fear of the Lord. Words of truth, correction and admonishment. Most importantly, Gospel words. Not our words, but God’s Word.
May we join with the apostle Paul and pray along with him: “…that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,… that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19–20).
We have been entrusted with hope, so let us speak with eternity in mind for God’s glory, for our good, and the good of others.
Entrusted with Security
By Dr. Jonathan Teague, Senior Associate Pastor
It’s not uncommon these days to see people going to great extremes to secure the things they own, especially their homes. In the past, door locks would have sufficed but now, homeowners utilize high-tech alarm systems, and many now install robust networks of cameras tied to intuitive apps that allow a home’s security to be verified at a moment’s notice in real-time HD quality!
I suspect people take advantage of these resources because they care about their homes and want to do all they can to secure them because what’s inside is valuable, and no one likes the idea of feeling insecure. But I imagine if you were to ask the home security company installer whether these systems will guarantee a home’s safety, they would have to say… no. There is nothing a person can do, no matter how much technology is invested, to guarantee the security of the home. Even the best technology has its limitations.
When it comes to matters of faith, many people take the same approach as they do with home security systems. They add as many “features” as they can, such as attending church or giving to charitable causes, hoping to increase their sense of certainty that what they are doing will one day lead to a guarantee of their salvation. The problem with this approach is that it’s a frustrating way to live because we never really know if we’ve enough to achieve the security we crave.
The good news is, Jesus explains the kind of security He offers in John 10:28–29:
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”
When you give your life to Jesus, He presents you with a gift that no one can snatch away. You are promised, from that moment on, eternity with Him and an abundant life here on earth, free from the crippling stress of wondering what the future holds. The spiritual guesswork of striving to earn God’s love is gone, replaced with the peace that comes from knowing you are securely held in the grasp of God’s love forever.
This kind of security changes everything in our lives. It gives you the strength to move forward with the confidence of knowing that what you do and how you live flows from the love of Jesus living in you. Rather than doing good things because of what you might earn, you begin to serve and love others because of the joy in obeying Jesus and the joy you receive in being a blessing to someone else. It can lead you to forgive others and work to strengthen broken relationships. Such confidence in your security in Christ can even fill you with a boldness to take a risk and share your faith with someone else.
Take a moment today to pray and thank God for the security He has provided through the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the Cross for your sins and rising from the grave victoriously. Trust Jesus today, and as you do, ask God to give you boldness to live on mission for Him, to serve others with authentic joy, and to share your story with someone who needs to hear about the love of Jesus.
Entrusted with Community
By Tim Matthews, Minister to Adults
When you and I became a Christian, we were entrusted with community. We became part of a physical and spiritual community called the Church. And as a part of this community, we have a God-given role to play in order for the community to flourish.
Throughout the New Testament, this community – the Church – is often described as the body of Christ. This is one of the most common metaphors used for the Church, and it is one of the apostle Paul’s favorites. He often employs this metaphor of the physical body to describe the spiritual body of Christ. Just as the physical body has different members or parts that work together to help the body function, so does the spiritual body of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12–20, Paul employs the metaphor this way:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
We learn several significant truths from this passage as it relates to the spiritual community with which we have been entrusted:
As we reflect on the life, death and victorious Resurrection of Jesus this Easter, let’s not forget that Jesus is the Head of the Church. He is the head of the body; we are its members. And it is His utmost desire that we be a cohesive and diverse body that exercises the gifts with which He has entrusted us for the flourishing of our spiritual community.
Entrusted with Suffering
By Dr. Connor Bales, North Campus Pastor
Easter is an important time of the year for Christians to think about – even if it’s not the most obvious – the subject of suffering. It was through the great suffering of Jesus that Christians have received the miracle of God’s grace and the forgiveness of our sins. Furthermore, it was through that greatest suffering that the most undeserving death was brought about, that then precipitated the greatest miracle, the Easter miracle that is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave.
So what then is the right way for Christians, who know and are saved by the Resurrection power of Jesus, to think about our own suffering. In Romans chapter 8, the apostle Paul encourages the persecuted Church to think responsibly about suffering. In fact, Paul dedicates a significant portion of the chapter to talking about suffering and the necessary role the Holy Spirit provides to Christians as we inevitably endure it.
Verse 18 is worth particular consideration. Paul writes, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” And in an effort to help us think with “resurrection hope” about the suffering we’re facing in our own lives now, I’d like to share a few of my own thoughts about Paul’s challenge to the Church.
This is the hope of Easter and the reason we celebrate and sing and share, because while we’ve been entrusted with suffering for now, we’ve been ensured glory with our resurrected King forever.
A Message from Senior Pastor Jack Graham about Our Easter Devotional Series
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