The One Year Devo


Acts 1:1-26

Acts is the second part of the Gospel of Luke. It picks up after Jesus' resurrection, appearances, and ascension. It begins with the disciples meeting regularly awaiting the promised power of the Holy Spirit. While they are awaiting what God is going to do next, they decide to fill Judas' spot as one of the twelve disciples. The reason for the urgency is that a movement or business is only as good as its leaders. Bad leadership, no matter how impressive the product, will undermine everything. So lots are cast (a common occurrence in the Old Testament, but the last time this is done in the Bible) and Matthias is chosen. His only qualification is that he had been with Jesus during his entire ministry from his baptism to his ascension. Matthias had been with Jesus and seemingly had been transformed by him, so he is ready to lead. How ready are you to lead? Our mission which the Gospels and Acts makes clear is to be led by Jesus to lead others to him. We are all leaders, the only question is how well we are leading. What keeps you from leading well? You may not have been chosen by lots, but as a follower of Christ you have been chosen, so start leading.

Father God, thank you for the work of Jesus and the power of the Spirit. Help me to recognize the gifts you have given to me and use them to lead others to you. Amen.

Question: How can you more effectively be a leader?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 21:1-25


Jesus calls all people to be disciples who make disciples. This calling is not based upon our ability to be perfect or perfectly follow Jesus, but it is based ultimately on Jesus’ ability and perfection. Peter had publicly denied Jesus three times, yet he is restored back to his calling. For each of the times he denied him, Jesus allows him to reaffirm his love for him. No matter what we have done, there is always the opportunity, through forgiveness and restoration, to be brought back to Jesus and to live for the great commission mission we have been given. Jesus  does not just bring us into relationship with him as an end, but as a catalyst to go out into the world and brings others into relationship with him. Thankfully God  does not only use perfect people, but uses imperfect people who have experienced the grace of God to do his work.

Father God, thank you for your grace. Thank you that my sins are forgiven by grace through faith, and when I confess my sins, you are faithful to forgive. When I experience your grace, help me to extend that to others through acts of forgiveness and by the proclamation of the gospel. Amen.

Question: Is there anything in your life which you feel disqualifies you from experiencing forgiveness or sharing the Gospel? If so, how can you take these things to God and experience his forgiveness?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 20:1-31

If we have a purpose in a letter or communication, we put that right at the front. We want the recipient to understand the purpose of our letter, so we tell them right off the bat. In the Gospel of John, the purpose statement is made at the very end. John tells us in 20:31 that, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” His writing is not ultimately intended as a history lesson, though it is history, rather it is meant to move people to faith. If we read it, even memorize it, but  do not come to faith, then we are circumventing its purpose. God’s ultimate desire is for all of humanity to be restored into relationship with him. The way this happens is through faith in Christ. Once we have come to this faith, we are called to participate in sharing the message of Christ with others so they might believe. According to John, the very first disciple who makes disciples after the resurrection is Mary Magdalene. Her message was simple, “I have seen the Lord.” We may feel like we  do not have much to say or  do not have the answers for questions that people might raise. However, if we have encountered Jesus, then we, like Mary, can simply say, “I have met the Lord.” Our calling is to be disciples who make disciples, and simply sharing that Jesus has risen from the dead allows us to participate in this calling.

Father God, thank you that Jesus rose from the dead. Thank you that through his life, I have life. Help me to share him with those you place in my path today. Amen.

Question: How can you simply share Jesus with someone God has placed in your life today?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 19:23-42

There are a number of reasons why we believe the Bible to be true. There is archaeological evidence, historical evidence, contemporaneous authors who agree with the Bible, and another reason is the way that we see the Old Testament scriptures fulfilled in the New Testament. Three times in our reading today John points to an event around Jesus' crucifixion which fulfills earlier Scriptures. Often these fulfillments are of a specific prophecy in a specific verse. For example, John 19:24 fulfills Psalm 22:18, and John 19:33 fulfills Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Psalm 34:20, and Zechariah 12:10. Other times the fulfillment seems to be broader than simply a single verse. For example, fulfillment language is used in John 19:28 but no specific Old Testament texts are quoted. It is possible that it is an explicit fulfillment of Psalm 69:21 which is quoted by other Gospel writers but not by John, or it may be a fulfillment "not of a particular trait in the scripture picture, but the perfect completion of the whole prophetic image (Westcott)." Regardless of its exact usage, all of these fulfillments point to the truthfulness of Scripture and the perfect work of Jesus. He has already fulfilled around 300 prophecies and at his return will fulfill the rest. These fulfillments remind us that Jesus is worthy of our trust, our lives, and has fulfilled everything necessary to be the one who saves us from our sins.

Father God, thank you that your Son fulfilled all that the prophets said about him. I thank you that you are truthful and always worthy of my trust. Help me when things seem to be out of control to always come back to you as my rock and foundation of my life. Amen.

Question: What prophecies that have already been fulfilled do you find the most powerful?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 18:25-19:22

It is hard to picture a much more inept leader than Pilate during Jesus' trial. Pilate first tries to put Jesus back on the Jewish leaders and then does this multiple times, but is never successful. Then, rather than coming to an understanding of who Jesus is, he scoffs at the idea that truth can be known and waffles in his attempt to release Jesus. He eventually decides that he will surrender one prisoner to the crowd rather than the cross, and when the mob chooses for Barabbas to be released, Jesus is sentenced to death. Even after this verdict Pilate continues to try to get out of crucifying Jesus, but in the end values appeasing the crowd over doing what is right. He had the power to free Jesus, but not the will to do so. In the end, he listened to a fanatical crowd rather than his own conscience. This was all part of God's plan, but what a foolish, failed leader Pilate proved to be. May we not fall into the same traps, but instead do what is right regardless of the cost.

Father God, help me to follow you regardless of the cost in this world. May I choose to please you over others. Help me to lead others to you and choose to be salt and light where you have placed me. Amen.

Question: Where do you see yourself falling into the same traps and temptations as Pilate?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 18:1-24

After partaking of the Lord’s Supper and spending time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is arrested. The crowd needs to first identify their target and does so in part when Jesus acknowledges who he is. When Jesus confirms his identity it made the mob draw back “and fall to the ground.” This is the only one of the gospels that mentions this specific incident. As God’s words displayed power at creation, Jesus’ voice also held power. His words had previously calmed a storm, healed the sick, raised the dead, and performed countless feats of miraculous strength. In the garden its power was seen in that it caused people to fall. With his voice he could have called down angels to destroy the mob, to paralyze or blind them, or whisk him away to safety, yet he submitted to the will of the Father. He allowed himself to be arrested and dragged closer to his death. He could have done anything but instead in humility, submission, and love withheld his power. We are so often prone to exhibit all of our strength for people to see, but Jesus instead hid his power. He recognized what the Father had called him to do and the way he was called to do it and submitted to these ways. Let us also learn to use our power in a way that honors God and doesn’t just serve ourselves.

Father God, thank you that you are a God of all power. Thank you that you are the creator, sustainer, and Lord of everything. Thank you that your Son humbled himself and died for me. Help me to follow in his ways and learn to walk in humility for your glory. Amen.

Question: Why is not showing off all your power a difficult thing in our culture?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 17:1-26

The day before Jesus died he stopped and prayed for you. Yes, he specifically prayed for you. What an amazing thing— to know that Jesus took the time mere hours before his betrayal to pray (see John 17:20-23). Stop and read those verses if you haven’t yet read them or take a moment to read them again. Notice Jesus’ prayer is that we would experience unity with other believers. Out of all the things which Jesus could have prayed for this is what he understood to be the most vital thing. So, how well are we doing at responding to his prayer? Are we seeking to love, understand, and live united with others or are we too busy gossiping, grumbling, and complaining about others? We are to pursue being one with other believers and being in God. The closer we are to God as a community the easier unity will be because our unity can only be grounded in our mutual relationship in Christ. So let us seek God and seeking loving others well.

Father God, thank you that I am part of your family. Help me to treat other believers like my siblings in the way I love and treat them. Help us to be one and be in you so that the world might believe in you. Amen.

Question: Do you prioritize unity in a way that reflects Jesus’ heart for it?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 16:1-33

Francis Chan wrote a book several years ago called “Forgotten God.” In the book, he helps Christians understand the critical, though forgotten, role that the Holy Spirit should play in our lives. In John 16, as Jesus heads to his imminent death he stops to help his disciples understand what is to come. Out of all of the issues which he could have discussed, he teaches them about the Holy Spirit. He wants them to understand that he will send the Holy Spirit who will live within them. The Holy Spirit will function as their counselor. He will lead believers into wisdom and understanding, and help us to thrive through the circumstances we find ourselves in. The Holy Spirit will also bring conviction. He will lead “the world” (those who have not yet believed) into an understanding of their sin and their need for forgiveness.

Finally, he will lead believers into all truth. He will remind us of what God has said. He will work to bring to our minds truth which we need in the various situations of life. Though Jesus will leave his disciples, they will never truly be alone because of the gift of the Spirit which he will provide for them. This same gift has been given to us; to counsel, convict, and lead us into all truth, so let us not forget Him.

Father God, help me not to neglect the gift of your Holy Spirit. Thank you that you have given me the Spirit to convict the world, and counsel me and remind me of your truth. Help me to live through the power and abilities of the Spirit. Amen.

Question: Are you neglecting the gift of the Spirit? How can you better live in relationship to the third person of the Trinity that lives within you?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 15:1-27

Living in an agriculture society, Jesus constantly used illustrations from his world. In John 15, he compares himself to a vine and his followers to branches. He is the source of life so the only way we can bear fruit and be alive is to remain connected to him. If Jesus were using this illustration today he might say that he is the electrical outlet and we are the plug, if we’re not plugged in, there will be no life. Or maybe he would say, we are the car and he is the fuel— without him we are going nowhere. This teaching is meant to remind us of our neediness for God. We will never reach a point of self-reliance but instead are always as reliant on God, his power, and presence in our lives as we have ever been. Every day we need to remain connected to Jesus. If we try to do anything on our own we will not bear the fruit which God wants to produce in us. So we need to make it the regular practice of our lives to acknowledge our neediness, ask God to work in and through us, and allow God’s life to flow through us. And the amazing thing is regardless of our own faithfulness in remaining in Jesus, God is faithful to remain in us. He has given us the Holy Spirit who indwells us and always counsels us into all truth.

Father God, help me to remain connected to your Son. I need you in all that I do, so may your life flow through me today. Amen.

Question: What does a life of remaining in Jesus look like?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 14:15-31

Jesus has been modeling and speaking about love throughout the gospel of John. In today's verses we learn that love obeys. Our love of God is especially shown in our response to his commands. This is stated in verse 15, "If you love me, keep my commands." Our love of God is revealed in obedience. Every time we sin and disobey we are elevating our love of self and the world above that of God. On our own we are going to continually give in to these inferior loves, but Jesus promises to send a gift to enable us to love and obey. This gift is the Holy Spirit. He teaches, reminds, gives peace, and empowers us to obey. So let us choose the path of love, the way of obedience, and the road of the Spirit as we live our lives. There are so many things we can love but nothing is worthy of our love and devotion more than God.

Father God, help me to love you by obeying your commands. Help me to recognize that life is found in you and in your ways. Help me to love you more than all the things of this world. Amen.

Question: Why do we so often separate love and obedience? How can you choose to love God more through obeying him?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 13:31-14:14

What would you show as evidence that you are a follower of Jesus? If someone wanted to convict you as a Christian, what would they bring to a judge? According to Jesus, people should know that we are Christians by the way we love people. Our calling is not just to occasional acts of love but instead Jesus says, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” We are to pour out the love which Jesus pours into us. Jesus’ forgiveness should compel us to love others by forgiving them. Jesus’ encouragement should compel us to love others by encouraging them. Jesus speaking truth into our lives should compel us to love others by speaking truth. All of the ways we are loved by God need to become all of the ways that we love others. Yesterday we saw Jesus stooping down to serve his disciples by washing their feet and that is only one example of the way that he loves and serves. If we want to prove to the world that we are disciples of Jesus then they need to see God’s love coming through us. So, we need to continue to stay focused on our mission and do everything in love.

Father God, thank you for your love of me. Help me to recognize, acknowledge, and praise you for your love. And enable me through the power of your Spirit to love others in the way you love me. Amen.

Question: Are you loving well enough for people to convict you as a Christian? If not, how can you begin loving better?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 13:1-30

How do you show that you love someone? You may buy gifts, spend time with them, speak words of encouragement, or do acts of service. Jesus models one of the crucial ingredients of love through his act of washing the disciples feet. He takes the lowest position, that of a servant, in order to show love. He stoops down in order to bless others. If we are to follow in the ways of Jesus this is the same mindset we need to take on. Jesus washing his disciples’ feet was something which the head of a household did not do. Servants served and kings were served. Yet Jesus lives out the profound reversal of this mentality. He models that greatness comes through service while pride and self-exaltation will lead to humiliation in the end. So we need to have open eyes for who we can serve and creativity to know how to do this well. Our service may be shocking, perceived as humiliating, or make no sense to others, but this is the way of Jesus. If we love others, and God, we will walk in service.

Father God, help me to always keep in mind the model of service which your Son lived out. Help me to seek to serve others rather than being served. Give me open eyes and wisdom to know how to serve well. Amen.

Question: Service may not be as shocking in our world as it was in Jesus’, but it is still difficult to embrace. What would help you to be a better servant?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 12:20-50

Jesus’ path to glory is very different from the strategy of the world. Our world tells us to pursue comfort, ease, happiness, and self-fulfillment, while Jesus models a path towards death and sacrifice. As we seek to follow Jesus, we will have to come to terms with whether we are willing to embrace his way of life. Jesus tells us that “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Jesus speaks to the fact that through his death, life would come to the world. In the same way, Jesus calls us to be willing to sacrifice, suffer, and potentially even die to make him known. This may mean going to a seemingly unsafe country, making time in our busy

schedules, or going across the street, but God calls us to give up our own desires to fill them with God’s. As we move toward the summer we may have plans for trips and vacations and there is nothing wrong with those in and of themselves, but I would encourage you to also make intentional plans of service, evangelism, and sacrifice, as well. God’s calls us to a life of service because this is the life of Jesus. If we take seriously Jesus and his words then we will be willing to give up everything to follow him.

Father God, thank you that Jesus served me and the world through his death. Help me to follow him in the way I serve you and others. Help me to not to seek to save my life but lose my life for you. Amen.

Question: How can you intentionally embark on a path of service and sacrifice for God?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 11:55-12:19

There are two different types of opposition Jesus faces in John 11:55-12:19. The first is that of the Pharisees who continue to try to stop Jesus at any cost—to the point they were willing to kill him and Lazarus. They were willing to do anything to keep Jesus from drawing attention away from them. The second opposition comes from Judas— a disciple. He didn't want valuable things to be poured out on Jesus but instead wanted money to be placed in the collection so that he could use it for his own designs. Similar to Peter, when Judas confronted Jesus over his statement about dying he had a particular plan he wanted to see executed and was unconcerned about God's plans. Sadly, Judas (and Peter earlier), and the Pharisees all reflect a similar heart. They all want their will to do be done rather than God's. They didn't start with pursuing God's glory and his will but instead started with their own desires. We can fall into this same trap when our prayers stop being about God's kingdom coming and instead are about our own. Therefore, let us seek God, pursue his will, and follow him regardless of the cost or how it may seem to appear.

Father God, help me to seek your will and your ways. Help me to live in a way that brings you glory, rather than myself. Amen.

Question: In what ways do you find yourself seeking your own glory rather than God’s?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 11:1-54

“If only….” That hanging phrase causes so much angst. Especially in the case of Martha, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” But Jesus had other important things to do, like lingering for two more days in the same place.

A prominent Jewish belief was that the soul of a person hung over it for three days hoping to reenter the person. By the fourth day the soul had given up and left. Jesus had risen others from the dead, the son of the widow of Nain shortly after death in Luke 7, and Jairus’s daughter the day of the death in Matthew 9. Jesus wanted to wait four days to prevent anyone from denying Lazarus’ death. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus was in the tomb four days.

When Jesus saw the people weeping, “he was deeply moved” (v.33). And when he came to the tomb, he was “once more deeply moved” (v.38). He saw the end result of sin—death. He had proclaimed to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (v.25). He knew he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, because in verse 4 he said Lazarus’ death was for “God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” He had already prayed about Lazarus being raised from the grave because he said in verse 41, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” He entered into battle with Satan to conquer death and show the people that he is the resurrection and life. Then he called Lazarus from the tomb and the mummified Lazarus came forth alive.

Many of the Jews attending the wailing wake that day “put their faith in him,” just as he had prayed in verse 41. In fact, this miracle had such an impact the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus, because “many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him” (John 12:9-10). Christ’s prayer was definitely answered that day.

However, some of them reported the event to the Pharisees. This culminated in Caiaphas’ prophecy of his death and his ultimate death on the cross.

So what happened because of Jesus’ four day delay? He conquered death, proved he is the resurrection and the life, prayed many would believe in him, and many Jews turned to him.

If only… no, his delays have a purpose. Yes, even his delay in answering a specific prayer I have prayed for over ten years.

Lord, I do not understand some of your delays. Forgive me for my impatience, lack of trust, and frustration for not answering when I know you know the answer. However, I trust in your delay because I know “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Bring glory to your name in your delay. Amen.

Question: Is there a delay you have be battling that can be given to him for your good and his glory?

Gena Duncan

Posted by Derek Newbery at Saturday, May 20, 2023


John 10:22-42

Jesus continues with the image of the shepherd which he began in yesterday’s reading. The focus of the shepherd image in John 10:22-42 is that what he gives his sheep can never be taken from them. His gifts are irrevocable and permanent. The gift which is described is that of eternal life. Receiving this gift means that we will never perish and can never be taken away from God. This is true because God is greater than anything else in the universe. Satan can’t take us from God because God is greater, we can’t take ourselves from God because God is greater, our sin can’t take us from God because God is greater, nothing can take us from God because nothing is greater than him. What peace and assurance this should bring. We never have to fear being separated from God and eternal life, because of his power and grace.

Father God, thank you for the gift of eternal life. Let me rest confidently in this gift knowing that you have given it to me in grace, and will never take it away. Amen.

Question: How should knowing that you can never lose eternal life affect the way you live?

Posted by Derek Newbery at Friday, May 19, 2023


John 10:1-21

A very common image of God which is used in the Bible is that of shepherd. You can see this in Genesis 48:15, 49:24, Psalm 23, 80, etc. The image of God as shepherd over his people is used by Jesus. This is an allusion to the the divinity of Jesus but especially to his character. As the “good shepherd,” Jesus is willing to sacrifice himself for his sheep. Though a good shepherd was willing to put himself between harm and his sheep, it would be foolishness for them to sacrifice themselves for an animal. Yet Jesus in true love and humility is willing to do that very thing for us. He is willing to stand between death and judgment, and us. He knows us intimately and yet loves us to the point of dying for us. He knows our flaws, sins, shortcomings, and failures, and yet loves us all the same. He did all this for us, which makes him worthy of us heeding his voice. This is the only proper response to the shepherd in this passage, to listen to his voice and obey his commands. What a small response for such a great sacrifice, but that is what we are called to. We are to hear his voice and respond by coming to him for salvation, and life. Let us listen and obey well.

Father God, thank you that you, your Son, and the Spirit all shepherd me into life. Let me hear all of your voices and obey what you are calling me to do. Help me to listen and obey. Amen.

Question: How should remembering that God is your “good shepherd” impact the way you relate to him and his commands?

Posted by Derek Newbery at Thursday, May 18, 2023


John 9:1-41

None of us has a perfect theology. As we respond to the infinite God of the universe there are always going to be things which we misunderstand or fail to grasp in our finitude. One of the issues which was misunderstood in Jesus' day (and ours as well) is how God interacts with the suffering in the world. The disciples assumed that the blind man was either blind because of his own personal sin or the sin of his parents. Their view only allowed for personal sin as a reason for illness. Jesus quickly corrects them and says that this man was allowed to be born blind so that Jesus could display his power in healing him. It had absolutely nothing to do with personal sin at all but instead was a condition of the fallen world which God allowed so that he could reveal his power and glory. This never would have crossed their minds as a possible rationale for his condition until Jesus told them. As we wrestle with this question, and others, we need to hear from God for answers. Then, when God speaks about an issue we need to submit to what he says. It may not sit well with us, it may not make sense to us, but where God speaks we need to listen, submit, and believe.

Father God, help me to know you more. Help me to understand who you are and the way you work so that I can believe and submit to your ways. Amen.

Question: What issues of theology do you find difficult to understand or believe? How can you pursue further understanding in these areas?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 8:31-59

Jesus lays out two marks of discipleship in today's verses. First, is obedience (v.31, 39). A true disciple obeys what the master says. Obedience requires us to take up our cross daily, prioritizing God's favor over that of people, and fighting against our flesh. Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father and in today's reading it led to an attempt to stone him and will ultimately lead to his crucifixion. In the same way, we should recognize that though obedience is not always easy or rewarded in this life, it is always worth it. A second mark of discipleship is that of love for Jesus (v.42). We shouldn't just obey out of a sense of obligation but out of a love for God, and a desire to please him. He should be our greatest love, desire, and longing. True disciples love God above everything and everyone else. We can see this most clearly in Jesus' call to hate father and mother, and ultimately everything else, compared to him. Jesus is the only one who is worthy of our greatest devotion, commitment, and love. So let us be true disciples of Jesus in the way we obey and love today.

Father God, help me to truly follow you today. Help me to obey what you have called me to and pursue you above all else. May I please you in all I do. Amen.

Question: What should it look like for you to love Jesus above everything?


Posted by Derek Newbery


John 8:21-30

Three times in these ten verses Jesus uses the phrase "die in your sin(s)." Jesus makes clear what is at stake in responding to him. Either people will die in their sins and have their wickedness permanently separate them from him or they will experience God's forgiveness, and dwell with him for eternity. There is no middle ground. There is nothing that religion, morality, or obedience can offer, outside of Jesus. What is necessary is belief in Christ. We all have sinned, and outside of Christ sin remains upon us and ushers us into judgment while in Christ sins are removed. Sin may not be a popular thing to talk about in our world but popularity does not equate to the importance or necessity of bringing it up. Everyone we interact with needs to deal with their sin and the only way it can be dealt with is Jesus. So let us share the hope that Jesus offers in definitively dealing with the sin in our lives.

Father God, thank you that I have experienced your forgiveness through my belief in Christ. Thank you that I will not die in my sins but instead will dwell with you forever. Amen.

Question: What are ways of bringing up the concept of sin to people who are far from Christ?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 8:1-20

Those who encounter Jesus are always called to a radically holy life. When Jesus and the woman caught in adultery are left alone, he offers her forgiveness, but also a call to "go now and leave your life of sin." Forgiveness is an acknowledgement of a wrong committed, and implicit in receiving forgiveness should be a desire to live in a different way. Forgiveness should never be seen as permission to continue repeating the behavior but a freedom to live differently. Jesus has freed the woman from shame and guilt so that she can walk in holiness. 

In the very next verse Jesus tells the crowd that those who follow him "will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Being a disciple of Jesus means that his life is replicated in ours. Jesus is the ultimate light of the world and as our lives are being conformed to his, this light should be evident within us. Part of this light is moral purity and holiness. His character, actions, and thoughts should flow out of us. May we be a city on a hill that shines forth the reality and holiness of Christ to our world.

Father God, help me to reflect your light in the way I live my life. Help me to walk in holiness and obedience to you, so that the world might see you through me. Amen.

Question: What will it look like to shine forth as a light today?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 7:31-53

Notice how divided the people are over Jesus. Some people are trying to seize Jesus to arrest and possibly kill him, some are putting their faith in him, some consider him a prophet, some believe he is the Messiah, and others believe he is a deceiver. It is hard to imagine more diametrically opposed views then these. Oh wait, it is kind of like today. If you ask two random people who Jesus is today, you will probably get answers like those of the crowds in Jesus’ day. If you wonder if this is true, I challenge you to ask two people, and let me know the responses! If Jesus could not convince the crowds who he was then we are not going to be able to do so either. Yet we do have a responsibility to make him known. Jesus did not stop sharing when the vast majority of people rejected him, instead he kept pointing people to the life, hope, joy, and true satisfaction that were found in him. Let us also share and keep sharing Jesus regardless of the responses of those we talk to because he is the only one who offers “streams of living water.”

Father God, thank you for the life which is found in your Son. Help me to share with others that you are the only one who gives eternal life. Give me boldness, love, grace, and gentleness in doing this. Amen.

Question: Have you ever been rejected in sharing the Gospel? How can you move through this rejection and keep sharing with others?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 7:1-30

Jesus once again puts the will of the Father above the will of the crowds. His brothers tell him that he should go show off in Jerusalem, but he is unwilling because the “right time” has not yet come. He knows that it is not the right time because despite the shouts of others, his Father has not told him to go. This ability to break through the noise of the world to hear from God is absolutely essential in our lives. Our lives are filled with noise. The unending sound of TV, social media, and the world bombard us and it is so easy to be swayed by its voices when the only voice we need is God’s. Are you hearing his voice? Are you consistently making time to stop, listen to God through his Scriptures, and listen to the quiet voice of the Spirit as he seeks to lead? Jesus does what the Father wants because he knows his will and walks in obedience. May we do the same.

Father God, help me to listen to you. Help me to know what you are asking me to do and obey. Thank you that Jesus perfectly walked in obedience, thank you for the grace when I fall short, and for the gift of the Spirit to empower me to more faithfully walk in your ways. Amen.

Question: What will it look like for you to shut out the sounds of the world to hear from God?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 6:43-71

Jesus has trained his disciples that part of the way they were to pray is to ask God to, "give us this day our daily bread." God is the one who provides for the basic physical necessities in our lives. He did it miraculously in the wilderness for Israel and he does it for us, typically through mundane means like a paycheck, retirement savings, and Social Security. Yet God is always the source of what we need. He elevates the conversation in John 6 from physical to spiritual needs. He points beyond carbohydrate fueled bread to himself as the "bread of life." Jesus, who is the bread of life, provides not calories but eternal life. This life is only available through receiving the life he offers and through the means which he has provided. He uses the language of eating and drinking him—as strange as that sounded then and now— to convey what participation in his life looks like. We are to take and receive his life and appropriate it into our lives. His life becomes ours. Communion, which uses the language of this passage, is ultimately a reminder of this greater reality. The grape juice and crackers we take on Sunday do nothing by themselves, but rather it points us to taking Christ's life into us, and through this, we become participants in his life that will never end.

Father God, thank you that life is made available to me through Jesus. Help me to allow his life to flow in and through me so that I can walk in abundant life today, eternal life forever, and share how others can enter this life as well. Amen.

Question: What will it look like for you to take in Christ's life today and allow it to flow out of you onto the lives of others?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 6:22-42

Yesterday we read about Jesus feeding the five thousand and in the passage today the crowd seeks him out again. Jesus challenges them to seek not just temporary physical nourishment but eternal spiritual sustenance. He is the Bread of Life, the one who satisfies our deepest spiritual hunger. The crowd only sought Jesus out for physical sustenance or the material benefit that he gave.

We too can be tempted to seek temporary pleasures and earthly things to fill the void in our lives. (I personally have several pizza shops in town on speed dial.) However, as Jesus reminds us, true fulfillment can only come from him, the Bread of Life. Jesus invites us to come to him, to seek him out, and to feast on his word. In him we find the sustenance we need to live a life of purpose and meaning which is to glorify God and make him known. Through Jesus' teachings and example we learn how to love and serve others and how to live in harmony with God's will. As we partake of the bread of life, we are filled with a joy and a peace that surpasses all understanding. And just as the bread that Jesus provided fed the five thousand, so too can our lives be a source of nourishment and blessing to those around us. Let us then seek out Jesus, the bread of life, and feast on his word. May his teachings sustain us and guide us on our journey through life, and may we be a blessing to others as we share the abundance of his love and grace.

Dear God, teach me to seek you for all my needs. Fill me with wisdom that I might decipher your word with clarity. May I make known to others your love and point them towards you. Amen.

Question: What do I fill my idle time with and could I be using it better to feast on God’s word?

Billy Weed

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 6:1-21

The crowds were following Jesus because "they saw the signs he had performed." Then when they see another sign which was the miraculous feeding of 5000 men plus women and children they wanted to "make him king by force." The crowds were following Jesus because of what he could do for them and not because of who he was. They wanted the food, the healings, the miracles, the excitement, and were far less concerned with Jesus. We similarly need to consider why it is that we are following Jesus. Are we following him because we have had a good life, because he gives us a sense of purpose, because he has provided for us? These are beautiful things, but what happens if we experience suffering, hardship, difficulty, or hunger? We need to have a reason to follow Jesus that will continue regardless of our circumstances. Jesus is worthy of being followed because he is Lord, Savior, and the eternal Son of God. We need to make sure that we are motivated by who Jesus is and only secondarily by what he has done in our lives. When the miracles might seem to fade, Jesus remains.

Father God, help me to follow you because you are worthy of being followed. Help me not to drift based on circumstances of life, but remain committed to you through everything. Amen.

Question: What is the ultimate reason you are following Jesus and is this a sufficient foundation for your faith?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 5:24-47

John's gospel has more lengthy speeches than the other gospel accounts. John 5 has Jesus in Jerusalem during "one of the Jewish festivals." He would have been crammed into the streets of this capital city with potentially hundreds of thousands of Jewish pilgrims. Into these packed corridors comes Jesus' interaction with the religious leaders. They know the Scriptures, but they do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They intellectually understand something about the Old Testament, but they are failing to use them for their intended purpose. The ultimate goal of the Bible is to help us know God and respond to who he is. There are people who know the content of the Bible far more than any of us, yet do not have a relationship with the God of the Bible. It is akin to knowing facts about someone versus knowing them personally. I know lots of facts about Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Barry Bonds, and Dan Marino, but I do not know any of them. We must ensure that as we read today and every day that we "come to [him] to have life." Let us come to God, run to God, know him, and live for him, since he is the only one who gives life.

Father God, thank you that life comes from you. All physical and spiritual life is rooted in you and you alone. Help me to rely on you, live for you, and seek your glory in all things. Amen.

Question: How can you more consistently "come to" God on a daily basis?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 5:1-23

The paralyzed man put his hope in the waters of the Pool of Bethesda. He believed if he could enter the water when it began to stir, he would be healed. We don't know how long he had been by the pool, but we do know that he had been in his condition for thirty-eight years. What the pool could not do, Jesus could. When Jesus saw the man he told him to walk and he could. The futility of this man's hope in the pool was revealed when Jesus cured him. Jesus reveals that he is the one in which our hopes should be placed. We should not look to money, a job, marriage, kids, retirement, or a pool to provide what we are looking for, instead we need to look to Jesus. He is the only one who can solve the deepest problems of our lives and the only solution to the brokenness in the world. Instead of looking to anything in this world, we need to look to our Savior to heal the hurt, pain, and hopelessness within.

Father God, thank you that you are a healer. Help me to place my hope in you alone, knowing that you will do all that you have promised and will never let me down. Amen.

Question: What does it look like to place your hope fully in God?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 4:43-54

In a difficult environment for faith, one man steps forward and asks Jesus to heal his son. In desperation he comes to the one he knows has the power to bring life back to his child. Jesus announces that his son has been healed and we are told that the man “took Jesus at his word.” He has not seen that his child is healed,  has not yet received news from eyewitnesses, but he has heard the words of Jesus and that is enough. This should also be enough for us. The promises of God that fill Scripture are meant to be believed. We can claim these truths as certainty, even when we have yet to see their fulfillment with our own eyes. Notice the man takes Jesus at his word, receives confirmation, and then him and his whole household believes. When we see God work, and experience the fulfillment of God’s promises, we must allow these to lead us to greater faith. This faith will allow us to trust God even more and walk in even greater confidence and faith in God.

Father God, thank you for all of your promises to me. Help me to confidently trust in your word and walk by faith. Amen.

Question: How can you grow your confidence and faith in the promises of God?

Posted by Derek Newbery


John 4:4-42

This is the second dialogue that is highlighted in the Gospel of John, and it is very different than the previous one. Nicodemus was a prestige Jewish male while this conversation is with an unnamed Samaritan female. It would be hard to find two people who are more different than these individuals, yet Jesus engages them both with the love and life which he offers to all people. Jesus’ conversation begins with asking for physical water but soon turns to discussing “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus magnificently turns the conversation from surface level needs to a much deeper conversation about worship, eternal life, and his identity. From an earthly perspective, Jesus was simply going about his day when he recognized the opportunity in front of him and engaged this woman with a message of hope and salvation. As we go about our days, we have this same opportunity. To initiate a conversation with someone, find a connecting point to things that matter, and then steer the conversation to Jesus. When we do this, we have the same opportunity to offer eternal life to someone as Jesus did. We simply need eyes to see the individual and the courage to talk. Let us be a church that offers Jesus to everyone we can.

Father God, thank you that Jesus gives eternal life. Thank you that all of my needs are met in you. Help me to look to you, rely on you, and share you with a lost and hurting world. Amen.

Question: How can you better steer conversations to things that truly matter?

Posted by Derek Newbery