Category Archives: Devotional

Take a Timeout

In the course of every basketball game, the coach calls for a timeout for a lot of different reasons. In a remarkably similar way, God calls us to take a timeout! He is serious about the Sabbath.

Jesus modeled taking a timeout and told us the Sabbath was made for our benefit. (Mark 2:29) Here’s why you need to take a timeout:

Timeouts break the momentum of your adversary – Does it ever feel like the enemy is winning on every front? You think to yourself, get me to church! You come our way and you leave different; you leave hopeful! The momentum of the adversary is dissipated.

Timeouts create momentum – Maybe you are stuck in a rut and you need a pep talk of truth and inspiration. Timeouts help us get back in the game with renewed enthusiasm.

Timeouts provide rest – Sabbath literally means “a day of rest.” This is biblical precedence for down time and a Sunday afternoon nap!

You can do seven days of work in six days, but not in seven.

Timeouts are for plans, plays and strategy – When we honor the Sabbath, we gain wisdom from God’s word and it provides us with direction on how to live.

Timeouts are for getting healed up – Sometimes life beats you up and you need healing. Timeouts are for prayer and prayer really does make a difference.

Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray.. James 5:13 MSG

Timeouts are to reconnect with teammates – The Sabbath is designed to reconnect us relationally. We come together to encourage one another and nurture the lives of others.

Timeouts – most importantly – are to reconnect with the coach  – Sabbath invites us to step away from the routine, enjoy God’s presence and recover.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

A Father Will Always Finds You

This is the story of a girl who is often lost but always found….

When I was a little girl, around age five or six, my family and I were traveling and we stopped at a gas station. I was a curious kid filled with wonder, so everything was an adventure to me, including this ordinary trip to the store. Naturally, I began to explore; leaving my parents and siblings in the dust. After a while I finally decided to look up and to my dismay, my family was nowhere in sight. My whole world started to shift as I realized I had wandered too far. I made my way to the front of the store and sat on the curb in defeat. At that moment, I looked up and I saw my dad running towards me with open arms and heart on his sleeve. He couldn’t be more thrilled that he found his daughter, it was a beautiful reunion.

If you have attended Shoreline for more than a year – then you’ve heard my dad preach this story a little differently, but this is the way I see it. My dad has never stopped finding me. I am so blessed to have the earthly father that I do. This story is the first example of me losing myself in the world, but it certainly wasn’t the last. I have lived a life filled with satisfying my curiosities, and I have lived a life filled with grace meeting me at every turn.

In case all of you haven’t heard, here is a little bit of my story. During my college years I found myself struggling with addiction. How I got there is irrelevant, but like I said before I was a curious girl and nonetheless ended up with a severe dependence on drugs and alcohol. I was up to my neck in shame. Life was pointless, I never attempted to take my life but I definitely wished I didn’t exist. Once again I found myself sitting on a curb in defeat and just like before my dad came to find me.

I woke up one morning to a letter from him. With the utmost grace and compassion he revealed to me a gut feeling he wasn’t able to shake. Without any condemnation he told me that if I needed help, all I needed to do was say the word and he would be there. You know what happened next – right? There was a beautiful reunion. I was so ready to be found. This is the kind of dad I have.

I know right? I have a pretty amazing dad. But let me be the first to tell you, so do you.

My dad is only human, and he scores pretty high on that scale but still he is only a man. What I didn’t tell you, is that he actually left that store without me. He made it half way up the street when he realized that he was traveling with one less kid. It’s all good now, we laugh about it often and it makes for a really good story, but can I tell you something? God will never forget you, and he will always find you. His love never quits.

Maybe you haven’t had the best earthly father and maybe there is even pain surrounding the word “dad’. But just as real as your pain, there is real a God, a father that is greater than your hurts. Let him find you. Rest in the reality that you are completely, in every way his child and he is your father.

Written by Danielle Koke originally posted on Pastor Laura’s Blog

Say “No” to Selfies

It’s the most destructive force in life. There isn’t even a close second. It influences every decision and is the number one vice in the world. What is it? Pride.

Simply put, pride is an unhealthy preoccupation with self. So this week we want to challenge you to say “No” to these selfies:

Self-admiration – Pride says, “look at me! Don’t I look great?” It spends an inordinate amount of time looking in the mirror.

Self-justification – Pride always has to be right! When it comes to relational conflict, pride spends a lot of time rehearsing its argument. Pride wants the win at all costs.

Self-sufficiency – Pride says, “I don’t need any help, I can do it myself.” It relies on its own strength.

Self-absorbed – With pride, it’s all about me. My needs are the most important. My dreams, my opinions, my preferences, my desires are all that matters. Me. My. Mine.

Self-promotion – Pride at its core is competitive. It is always comparing. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something unless it is something more than the next person.

Self-defeating – Pride is unteachable. It produces apathetic ignorance and neglect.

Self-righteous – Pride in a spiritual setting is perhaps the most toxic of all. This kind of pride says, “I am better than everyone else.”

Self- deceiving – Pride poses a particular challenge because it mutates a soon as we recognize it. Unlike other vices, pride appears when you are at your best.

Pride is deadly.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 NIV

The victims of pride are stepped on, abused, marginalized and dismissed. But the greatest victim is the possessor.  Their self-obsession eliminates every healthy relationships and ultimately destroys them.

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4 NIV

Jesus offers the antidote to pride in his most famous sermon.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 NIV

Jesus challenges us to recognize the poverty of our lives without God. We you realize that you are nothing and have nothing without God, pride is dealt a death blow.

Join a Summer Hangout Today

I saw the fork in the road beginning to form and knew I had to make a choice. Should I put a smile on my face, hope and pray no one would ask me, “where’s your husband?” and isolate? Or should I do what I tell everyone else to do when life is changing: get involved in a small group, be transparent and vulnerable, and ask for prayer and support?

In the midst of pain, I chose to be real. Honestly, I don’t know how not to be real.

I shared my story with my friend Lesley. She knew I liked being active. She invited me to the running Hangout she was a part of. I met up with Lesley and the rest of the Hangout on a Saturday morning. I was immediately welcomed.

We meet up and pray, then take off on the trail. Some of us run, some of us run and walk. There’s no pressure to be fast or the best. It’s all about being active and developing friendships. We all meet up and have breakfast together afterwards. We share our celebrations, our food (well some of us), and support each other through life’s struggles. I know I belong.

Hangouts are doing what you love and inviting others. Summer is a great time to join a Hangout. Click here to search through all the options.

If you don’t find a Hangout that is doing what you love to do, you can host one too! Click here to fill out our volunteer form. It’s a simple process and you’ll have support along the way.

If running isn’t something you love to do, we have plenty of other Hangouts for you to get involved: family game night, bowling, art, golf, motorcycles, walking, cooking, sewing, and the list goes on.

The best way I know to do life is together in a small group.

Friend of Sinners – The Woman at the Well

Jesus was known as a friend of sinners. It was meant as a criticism of his character, but we think he may have viewed it as a compliment.

Jesus’ longest recorded conversation during his time on earth is with a troubled woman. We never learn her name, but know her as the woman at the well. Jesus stopped what he was doing and broke down barriers to reach her. You can read the story in John 4:4-42. There are several lessons we can learn from this interaction.

Go where the people are – Jewish people in Jesus’ day would have avoided Samaria at all costs. This story says that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.” He was compelled to go where other people wouldn’t have set foot. He broke down cultural and gender barriers to meet this woman right where she was.

Create margin in your busy lives – Maybe you’ve heard the saying – if the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. Jesus made time for interruptions. He had enough margin in his busy life for what was most important.

Initiate conversations – We can’t sit back and wait for evangelistic opportunities to fall into our laps. We need to take initiative. Jesus is strategic. He doesn’t posture himself as one who has all the answers. He puts himself in the position of one who has a need when he asks for a drink of water.

Be content to reach the one – Jesus is all about the one. We cripple ourselves thinking about doing big things for God, when all we really have to do is think about the one person in front of us.

Reaching one can reach many – One conversation with one woman changed an entire community. You never know what doors will open by sharing with just one person.

People are worth saving – Jesus didn’t judge this woman. He showed her value. He spoke the truth in love and it set her free.

Nothing satisfies like being used by God – The disciples brought Jesus something to eat but he wasn’t hungry. Nothing satisfies, nothing fills you up like being used by God to change someone’s eternal destiny.

Invite the people in your world to Shoreline this Easter. Make time for conversations. Be on the look out for the one. Share a post from our Facebook page or use our Easter Facebook event. We are ready to share the beautiful love story of Easter this weekend.

Friend of Sinners – Zacchaeus

 

If there was a gangster in the Bible, it was probably Zacchaeus. He and his henchmen were responsible for a lot of pain and heartache. Through the story of his encounter with Jesus, we see who Jesus is.

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region Luke 19:1-2

As a tax collector, Zacchaeus participated in and profited from the Roman oppression of his own countrymen.

and he had become very rich. Luke 19:2

Not only was Zacchaeus a traitor and a thief, he was really good at it. And he had probably grown used to being hated by his fellow Jews.

He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. Luke 19: 3-4

No doubt, Zacchaeus had heard about Jesus and rumors that he was the promised Messiah. He was an innovative guy who was used to getting his way. He didn’t care what people thought about a grown man climbing a tree, he just wanted to catch a glimpse of Jesus.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. Luke 19:5

They say the sweetest sound to human ears is the sound of his or her own name. Jesus called this rejected, hardened, selfish man by name.

“Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Luke 19:5

It shocked everyone around that Jesus would enter the house of such a notorious sinner. But Jesus didn’t just say he loved sinners, he lived it.

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.  Luke 19: 6

Hanging out with Jesus filled Zacchaeus with great excitement and joy. Jesus was fun to be around, he looks on everyone with love. Jesus is not your accuser or prosecutor. He is your friend and rescuer.

 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Luke 19:7

Pharisees and religious folks are good at one thing – pointing out sinners and condemning people. Jesus made a point of seeking out and befriending sinners. We have all sinned, but it’s crazy how often when we conquer a bad habit we begin to judge others. Hopefully, as we experience grace and come to know the love of Jesus we will move through these four stages:

  1. I am a good person, and I’m justified in criticizing bad people.
  2. I am a good person, but I should show compassion to bad people.
  3. I am a sinner who needs just as much help as the next guy
  4. I am loved by Jesus, just as I am and so is everyone else.

Jesus loves sinners, it was his mission to seek and save those who are lost. If we are going to be like Jesus, we will reach out to those living outside of his love. There is no better time than Easter. Invite the people in your world to Shoreline this Easter. You can pick up invite cards on campus or use our Facebook event. We are ready to introduce them to this Jesus.

 

Jesus is Everything

Those jeans are everything! That purse is everything! That kiss was everything! These chocolate truffles are everything! We all have special areas of interest that are “everything” to us, but there is only ONE who deserved that title. It’s Jesus! Jesus is everything!

Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. Romans 11:26 MSG

Everything comes from him – Jesus was there in the beginning. All things were created through him. (John 1:1-3) Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. (Colossians 1:16-17) Isn’t that reassuring? No matter what happened in the past, what is happening right now, or what will happen in the future – Jesus is there!

Everything happens through him – Jesus’ friend Lazarus was sick. His sisters Mary and Martha asked Jesus to come heal him but Jesus didn’t make it there in time and Lazarus died. When Jesus finally showed up he comforted Martha with these words:

I am the resurrection and the life. John 11:25

Jesus reminded Martha that he was all she needed. In her grief and desperation, Jesus was the answer. His “I am” was more than enough for her “I need.”

Everything ends up in him – Our lives are found in him. (Acts 17:28) Our identity is found in him. When God asked Moses to lead his children to freedom Moses asked “Who am I?” He was having an identity crisis! But God said to him, “It’s not about who you are – it’s about who I am!” What would life look like if we walked in the confidence of our identity in Christ? It would change everything!

Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” It’s a passage that people depend on throughout the seasons of life. If you find yourself wanting anything, what you need is more of Jesus. Jesus is everything!

The Other Side

In Mark 4:35 Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” I wondered as I read that chapter what was on that other side? What would the other side look like in my life?

Recently I received a phone call from a high school friend that I had not spoken to in at least thirty years. He reminded me of some of the crazy things we did when we were in high school. He asked, “Do you remember when we stole those goats?” and “Do you remember when we stole some golf carts?” He said, “Man, we did a lot of crazy things.”

Honestly, I try to forget the foolish things I have done. As he was reminiscing with me, I was looking at my family picture and the certificate of ordination hanging on the wall in my office, and I had this thought, “I’m glad I don’t steal goats and golf carts anymore, but that now I’m serving God.”

As I laughed out-loud with my old friend, I thanked God that He brought me over to the other side.

God is always transforming lives.

He is always working to move people forward in life, never backwards. He has so much for us to experience ahead of us. He desires that we grow in our relationships and friendships, in our trust and joy. He wants us to live the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

What does the other side look like for you?

Where does He want you to move forward and trust Him?

The disciples in Mark 4 trusted Jesus, even though they did not know everything that was going to happen in the storm that awaited them. They got to the other side because they had Jesus in their boat. Other boats were with them, but only one made it to the other side.

God goes with you wherever He sends you.

They also took Jesus at His word. They did not ask for an explanation, I imagine they said, “Okay, let’s go.” They took Jesus just as He was.

I don’t know what God wants to do in your life, but I do know that it is good. Trust Him.

Passing the Tests

Tests prove knowledge and acumen. They indicate whether we are ready to proceed to the next level of learning. Are you glad your dentist had to pass some tests? Are you glad the pilot of your plane had to pass some tests? We all face tests in life. God never instigates evil or tempts us with sin but he does want us to pass the tests.

I wish life’s tests came with a serious of beeps like the emergency broadcast system, but most slip into our world without warning.  We pass or fail and realize down the road that what we had faced was a test. Abraham went through many tests, some he passed and some he failed.

The Test of Change – God spoke to Abraham and asked him to move. Genesis 12:1-4  Abraham went as the Lord had told him. He passed the test! Interestingly, his father Terah, had made a dramatic move sometime before.  He gathered the family, left their home and set out for Canaan, the land of promise. But along the way they settled in Harran which literally means the place of the dead. When God calls you to change, don’t settle for half-way-there.

The Test of Separation – When God called Abraham, he told him to separate himself from his father’s household, but Abraham did not pass the test. He took his nephew Lot with him, which caused all kinds of trouble.  One of the biggest reasons we don’t go to the next level is we are hanging out with the wrong people. Moving forward with God may mean pulling away from relationships that hinder our progress.

The Test of Reliance – God told Abraham that he would become the father of many nations. Unfortunately, it took way too long for Abraham to become the father of just one child. Eventually he got tired of waiting and tried to make it happen on his own. The decisions he made created a huge mess that is still causing problems in our world today. Saying yes to God means saying yes to his will, his way, his timing and his power working in and through us. Philippians 1:6 NIV

The Test of Trust & Devotion – Got put Abraham through the ultimate test when he asked him to offer his son Isaac on the altar. What a brutal request. We know, thousands of years later, that God was using Abraham to foretell the sacrifice of his beloved son, Jesus.  Abraham had no idea at the time. He set out to do what God had instructed proving that he was fully devoted to following God. God sent an angel to intervene and provided lamb for the offering. (Genesis 22)

So often God speaks in soundbites – go, come, follow me. The details are mystery.  We want to know who, what, when, where and why.  We want explanation before trust. Passing the test means choosing trust before explanation.

Courage

Moses led an entire nation to freedom. He parted the Red Sea along the way. Food rained down from heaven. When the time came for Moses to retire, Joshua had some pretty big shoes to fill! As he took over Moses’ leadership position, God called him to courage.

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1: 6,7,9 KJV

It takes courage to step into the future God has for you. It takes courage to believe and courage to follow. So how do you get the courage you need?

Trust that God is with you and for you – In verse nine above, God answers the “how?” of living with courage. You can be strong and not give in to fear knowing that God is always with you. You are never alone. God is with you; and he is for you. If you ever doubt that God is on your side, just remember the cross. God so loved the world  – that includes you!

Turn and face your fear – More often that not, our fears on only a mirage. They may look solid but they are as flimsy as the paper football players run through. When you run from fears, they cast an even bigger shadow. When you face your fears, they diffuse. Courage will blossom every time you step up to face your fear.

Transfer courage to each other – The word encourage literally means to transfer courage. You have courage someone else needs. They have courage you need. We can encourage each other. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Speak words of courage – As God was commissioning Joshua he challenged him to speak words of life, words of faith, God’s words.

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8 NIV

We all face a tendency to fear – for our families, our dreams, our resources, our future. We need courage now and now, you know how to get it!