Day 7

Call to Action.

Now that you have completed a few days of our Next Step Devotionals, I pray you feel like you have gained some tools to help you on your journey of getting to know who Jesus is and authentic relationship he brings into your everyday. By choosing to surrender your life to Jesus, you have said YES to a heavenly Father who has been thinking about you since time began. You have chose to spend eternity with Him which brings such hope into not only the life we are living on this planet but for what is to come. Jesus, God’s Son, overcame death and the grave when he was resurrected so we could be with him forever. Now comes the most challenging part of your faith in becoming a follower of Jesus…taking him into your everyday. The awesome things you have learned over the last few days can help you grow as new believer in Jesus. It says in 1 Peter 1:3, “For as you know him better, he will give you, through his great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: he even shares his own glory and his own goodness with us!” God has given us all we need to grow in our faith in him. Take those things you’ve learned and start to practice them into daily habits that will help you day after day. 

I’m a big believer in the process of reputation to learn something. Maybe even take the next seven days and re-read these devos to grab more of the details in your day to day. One of the greatest was to grow as new believer is to find a friend to talk about all these exciting new steps you are taking in your life. We can help! Step into a Start Here Class, a Bible study group like The Road Map and become part of an outreach opportunity to stretch yourself to give back. 

If you don’t have a Bible, let us know. Make sure you get a translation that you can understand such as the New International Version or the New Living Translation. 

You GOT THIS! We can’t wait to see your growth…

Sincerely,

The Next Step Team

Day 6

Share with Someone.

So now you’ve got some direction, some inspiration, and some encouragement in your new walk with Jesus, and your new community. We couldn’t be more excited by your commitment and your desire to step into the most meaningful and rewarding life you could ever have. It doesn’t mean the road gets easier, but the road does gain purpose and it only leads to one place: your eternal home with the One who paved the way.

Each and every one of us makes up and integral part of the body of Christ. Some of us are pastors, some of us are baristas, some of us are secretaries, administrators, custodians, each piece has its purpose. Following Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean that we are all called to full time vocational ministry, but it does mean that our lives in any situation should reflect the passion for our purpose that Christ has given us.

Whatever your situation, lifestyle or occupation, Jesus has called you to a life of full time ministry in that place! If you desire more, ask God for it, but wait with passionate patience encouraging those around you, spreading the word and shining the light of our God everywhere you go!

Jesus has called us to plant seeds, to spread good the news! Tell someone this week about Jesus, share your story, tell them who has changed you and what it means to you! The easiest way to tell people about Jesus is to share your story! You don’t need scripture, you don’t need a platform, all you need is a heart that is bursting with purpose and enthusiasm. 

In Matthew 5:20 Jesus says that we are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and hide it under a bowl, instead they place it on a stand and it gives light to all in the house, in that same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.

Notice, that part where He says, “it gives light to all in the house.” Jesus has commanded very clearly that everyone needs and deserves a chance to hear and experience the love that he offers! Not that we would be glorified but that He would be glorified, he calls us to purpose and yet he places the weight on his shoulders so don’t feel burdened to “save” everyone!

I know we desire to see success in every endeavor but in reality we know it’s not possible, and therefore not everyone you share with will receive what you offer, but all you’ve been called to do is shine, so keep shining. And pray for those who deny the message of Jesus don’t scold or berate them, that’s not our job, we’ve been called to love. 

As you step into your day, week or year I pray that you would shine for Jesus as he continues to mold and shape your faith and deepen your experience with him!

Day 5

Community.

Community. Why is community important?

If there is one thing you will hear around 29:11, it’s, “community is crucial to your growth.” And that statement is absolutely true. Being involved in a community that shares the same treasures and beliefs is not only crucial to your growth, but your day-to-day life as well. Community becomes family as you begin to do ministry together, grow together, learn together, study the word together, and pray together. You may have noticed already that we have an abundance of what we call “community groups.” These groups meet monthly and you can be involved in one or several! We have community groups for anyone and everyone from women, young adults, single moms, young men, moms with young kids, young adult girls, bible readers, all the way to not-so-20-something’s! If you’re a human, there’s a place for you to fit here and we want to help you find where you belong where you can plant yourself and grow (group list: http://www.2911church.com/tempe/communitygroups). At the end of this week-long devotional someone will reach out to you to help you find a place to get plugged in!

Day 4

God's Word.

Today let’s look at one of the greatest, tangible gifts we have- the Bible. Why is it important we know and study the Bible? GREAT QUESTION!

The Bible is the word of God. It is 66 books complied into two testaments, one book. The Bible is full of history, old laws, new laws, prophetic words over nations, the story of Jesus, letters to cities that were changed by the love of Jesus, and hundreds of songs/hymns/praises to God. The Bible is alive and ready to teach. It was written over a span of more than 2,000 years, and it is STILL relevant to us today. But how?

The Bible was not written to us, each individual book was written to a specific place/church/person at a specific time by a specific person. We don’t read the Bible literally as a rule book, because the bible was written FOR us. To interpret and to live in the truth of everything inside it. While the Bible is big and often daunting to people, I assure you it is simple to read and understand when you have help, and that’s what we’re here for! I (Meghan Gruber) have been through an intensive inductive Bible school and went on to be certified in Bible teaching and taught for a few years in the same Bible school which I graduated from. I want to help you get on a good path and start in reading the Bible. What we like to suggest for any new believer is to start in the gospel of John. John is very straightforward and was actually written for the new believers on nonbelievers when it was originally written! How perfect. We have also found a great tool for reading through John, (link here: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/817-john-reading-guide) and that is your challenge for today. After this devotional (or even today!) we want to challenge you to start reading through John with the plan given (or if you find a plan of your own).

We are with you! God is with you! This new journey is so exciting!

Day 3

Prayer

If your like me, you have lost power to your phone because your battery ran dry. I have found myself searching for a power source to plug my phone into at gas stations, fast food restaurants…even department stores. Getting a “charge” is a key to staying connected with your mobile device. Prayer is sort of like that. Prayer is your connection with God. Talking to God charges your spirit so to say and keeps you connecting to this awesome God that so desires a relationship with you.

Can imagine becoming friends with someone and then never talking to them? It would be hard building a relationship with someone without finding some way to connect. Our heavenly Father created prayer so we could talk with him and he could connect back with us. 

There have bene a lot of different ideas about how to pray to God that you may have heard about at one time or another. To keep things simple, we are going to define prayer as just learning to talk to your heavenly Father, just like you would talk to me if we were having a cup of coffee together at Jeremiah’s. If you’ve never really prayed before, just talk to him like he’s right there. Tell him about how you feel, what your day was like, the things that make you afraid and the things that cause you to feel immense joy. Take a moment even right now as you are reading this devotional to stop and spend a few minutes learning how to connect with him. He’s so pumped to just get your attention and start building a friendship between the two of you. 

Jesus spent some time trying to teach his disciples how to pray in the first books of the New Testament. 

“Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation. ” Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Luke 11:1-10 NLT

Jesus gives us a little bit of a format help us as we learn to pray. He also encourages the disciples not to give up, even if they don’t feel like they are hearing anything. Keep talking and connecting with God bringing your needs to him, sharing your highs and lows with him. Learning to know him. When I became a new Christian, I had a good friend teach me how to pray based on how Jesus shared some insight with the disciples. Maybe it will help you, too. All it takes is 5 minutes…

Spend the first minute just Praising God. Tell him how awesome it is to get to know him. Something about him you value or appreciate. 

Spend the second minute asking God to Forgive you when it comes to the daily grind of struggles and our inner thought life. The awesome thing is that you don’t have to do anything to receive this forgiveness accept to ask. God’s Son, Jesus, died on the cross to cover each and every dark moment and sinful choice that we could struggle with. 

Spend the third minute asking God to help you FORGIVE others that may have wronged you. There is such power in not holding onto bitterness or the strife of others. Forgiving others sets you FREE!

Spend the fourth minute asking God for anything you need. Strength for the day. Hope in a place you feel hopeless. Healing for your body. You can also take this moment to pray for anyone else you may know that has a need. 

Take the final minute and just start to THANK God for all he is doing and going to do. Gratitude is one of the greatest ways to connect with God because it puts your FOCUS on the good things in life rather than just on what you or I would just complain about. 

And, if you are still hungry to talk to God, keep going. Take another minute to just listen. I know it might feel weird, but take some time to just sit in a quiet place and listen to your heart. God may speak to you reminding you about something you read in the Bible, or heard during an Experience on the weekend. A song we sang in worship may come to mind. All of it reflecting in ways that God is speaking to you. 

Look at that…you have started your journey into the power of prayer. Take the next week or two and just focus on taking 5 minutes out of your day and I know your passion to connect with God will only grow. As you grow in your connection with God, reach out to ask one of our 2911 pastors, a community group leader or a friend you trust about some more resources on learning how to pray. Maybe even take the risk to ask someone to pray for you to grow in this new relationship with God.

 

Day 2

Grace

Grace. It’s one of those Christian words right? We insert it into passing conversation and small talk as if it’s somehow a menial or mundane topic in our faith. In reality grace is one of the most pivotal realities to grasp in our walk with Jesus. Now, I agree, it is incredibly difficult to comprehend and understand in a short time, but that’s only because our God and his love and his sacrifice so exceeds what we could imagine or hope to learn. That sounds hopeless but I urge you, never give up on understanding what grace means in your experience with our Heavenly Father.

I’ve got just one verse for us that, I feel, really encompasses a small portion of what grace really means to us as Jesus Followers

Romans 8:1-2, Paul writes these words…

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Paul is saying that because of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross He paid the ultimate price for the sins of humanity; He has remedied the separation from Him that we would experience otherwise. That means that Jesus has paid yesterday’s sins, today’s sins, and tomorrow’s sins in full. Now, here’s where things get murky, so stay with me. A lot of people read that and they think wow, so that means I can keep on living my same old sinful life and Jesus just covers it all with some kind of divine credit card?! 

But what this should mean for us is wow, my heavenly Father paid the price for my very existence and because of His sacrifice I am now compelled to live a life that glorifies who He is, not only for me, but for everyone that I encounter! And yes, we could just keep on living with same sinful patterns, and in all honesty we will always mess up we will always sin, we will always fall short however, God and His grace will still be there with open arms. 

If you imagine a home, and a child is missing from that household, do the parents sleep knowing their child is missing? Of course not, they are in a constant state of readiness for the homecoming of that wayward child. Did you know God is just a father who wants all his kids to come home? No matter how far you’ve wandered, the money you’ve spent, the mistakes you’ve made, he’s waiting at home for you in an eternal state of readiness, hoping that one day you’ll walk through the door.

On the night before He was crucified Jesus told his disciples, I am going to prepare a place for you, in my Father’s house there are many rooms. The next day he would pay the ultimate price, and the doors of the Father’s house would swing wide; ready to be filled with the children of our God.

Grace is the reality that you have been adopted by a heavenly Father, and he is just waiting for you to come home.  Scripture says that this earth is not our true home, but if we’re still here, we may as well extend the grace we’ve received to all the Father’s children. A home can only truly be enjoyed, when all have arrived. You have been received grace freely, so you can give it freely.

Day 1

What does a Relationship with Jesus look like?

Hello sweet family! Welcome to Next Step. We are so thankful we get to journey with you on the new adventure you’ve said “yes” to! We can’t wait to see you grow, walk alongside you, and get to do life together. I guess the first question you may be asking is, “what does a relationship with Jesus ACTUALLY look like?” We want to focus our first day of devotions together to answer that question.

For each individual, the day-to-day with Jesus may look different. After all, God talks to us in so many different ways and each relationship is so significant and genuine. One thing that’s for sure, is that God wants to be part of our daily lives, he wants to be involved and welcomed into your every morning. Every day it is important that we make time for God to build the relationship. Making time for God can be through a daily devotional, studying the bible, worshipping, spending time praying, or just having some quiet time and reflecting on God and his goodness. Beginning each day or ending each night with time with God is essential to growing a relationship; he wants to spend time with you.

Today I want to challenge you to spend 10 minutes with God, whenever you have time to do so in the day. Open up in a prayer thanking God for his love and grace, then spend some time praying for those you know who don’t have a relationship with God. Maybe find a devotional (here is one I recommend: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/10879-all-things-new). Once you read through the devotional, take some time to think and reflect on what you just read.

Making this habit of daily life with God will set you on a great course for growing a relationship and foundation for the rest of your life.