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B I G  I D E A 
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
Pastor Bob
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Recent Devotionals

March 2023

LentDevotion#20 – 3.16.23

“LentDevotion#20 – 3.16.23”.

LentDevotion#19 – 3.15.23

“LentDevotion#19 – 3.15.23”.

LentDevotion#18 – 3.14.23

“LentDevotion#18 – 3.14.23”.

LentDevotion#17 – 3.13.23

“LentDevotion#17 – 3.13.23”.

LentDevotionSunday#3 – 3.12.23

“LentDevotionSunday#3 – 3.12.23”.

LentDevotion#16 – 3.11.23

“LentDevotion#16 – 3.11.23”.

LentDevotion#15 – 3.10.23

“LentDevotion#15 – 3.10.23”.

LentDevotion#14 – 3.9.23

“LentDevotion#14 – 3.9.23”.

LentDevotion#13 – 3.8.23

“LentDevotion#13 – 3.8.23”.

LentDevotion#12 – 3.7.23

“LentDevotion#12 – 3.7.23”.

F R O M   T H E   B L O G

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SUNDAY’S SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 37: 1 – 14 (New International Version)

                                                March 26, 2023 

                                     “The Valley of Dry Bones”

1 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’”                                    


Have you ever thought of yourself as a “Jedi for Jesus.” My hunch is … No. How about as part of Jesus’ army, or maybe you’re a spiritual warrior. Or, maybe not. In any event, I get inspired when thinking about my calling on earth to be somehow related to a big spiritual revolution that is taking place right now in the world, and even the smallest things I do for Christ have a huge impact on the success of this revolution.

And … it’s a “Jesus Revolution!” It’s most definitely not a military operation. Its “weapons” are unconditional love for all of creation and a willingness to die for the cause. That may not sound like much … but those are two powerful weapons. Does that get you a little more excited?

In our scripture this week from the Book of Ezekiel, there’s a battlefield covered with dry bones. That’s it. Just the bones. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones. When he does, the bones clatter together and are covered with sinews, muscles and skin. The dead bones have become human bodies. But still dead.

Then God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath (aka wind or spirit). When he does, the breath comes upon the bodies and the bodies are filled with life. The breath of life. And then God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the people. When he does, the graves are open and the people rise up and have life with the spirit in them.

Is this when our mission here on earth begins? Once we have the “breath of God” blown into us, are we now ready to undertake the cause for which Jesus came to earth to ignite? What would such a mission look like?

From his classic book, “Mere Christianity,” here is how C .S. Lewis described this “mission” that we have on this earth:

Enemy-occupied territory—that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage. When you go to church you are really listening–in to the secret wireless from our friends: that is why the enemy is so anxious to prevent us from going. He does it by playing on our conceit and laziness and intellectual snobbery. I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil-—hoofs and horns and all?’ Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is ‘Yes, I do. I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person. ‘Don’t worry. If you really want to, you will. Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.’

So … how is your conceit, laziness or intellectual snobbery these days? More importantly, how is your relationship with Jesus these days? You see, we are in enemy-occupied territory, and God needs all the help that you can give. We are all part of a “great campaign of sabotage.” Or, are we accepting things just the way they are?

Let’s Journey to the Cross Together … Pastor Bob <><  






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      1 Samuel 16: 1 – 13 (New International Version) – March 19, 2023                                                  “Samuel Anoints David”

16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Pastor Bob’s Sermon Reflections:

  • The generational journey to get to David begins in the Bible with the story of Hannah. She is a young woman who wants a child but cannot become pregnant. Hannah makes a covenant with God for a baby. She offers to dedicate the child’s life to God if God will grant her a baby.
  • Within a year of the covenant, Hannah is pregnant with Samuel. God is working,
  • Because of God’s faithfulness to Hannah, Hannah stays faithful to God, and she takes little Samuel to the Temple to be dedicated to God.
  • The priest at the Temple is named Eli. He welcomes Hannah and Samuel, dedicates Samuel to God, and then Hannah leaves without Samuel.
  • Eli is now charged with raising Samuel. God has gifted the priest with a blessing, as Eli will soon discover.
  • Samuel is raised in the Temple, and one night, in the quiet darkness, God begins to speak to young Samuel. Samuel is at first confused by the voice, and thinks it’s Eli’s. But, by the third attempt, Eli then realizes that God is trying to speak to Samuel and instructs him to respond with the words, “Speak God, for your servant is listening.” Samuel does.
  • Samuel is now being led by God, and grows to become a great judge and prophet.
  • One day, God sends Samuel to the House of “Jesse of Bethlehem” to discover the new King, and to anoint him as such.
  • Jessie brings out his sons to stand before Samuel, and Samuel concludes that none of these sons is the one being called to be King. “Are these all the sons you have,” Samuel asks Jesse.
  • Jessie tells Samuel there is one more young son, but he is out tending sheep. Hmmm … tending sheep … like a shepherd?
  • Samuel asks to see this youngest of sons, and immediately knows that this son, named David, is the next King of Israel.
  • David becomes the greatest King of all Israel, and most important, becomes a “man after God’s own heart.”

So, what began with a young woman who pleaded with God for a son, ends with that son becoming the prophet who chooses David as the next King.

Some questions from the story of Samuel and David:

  • Jesus is always asking us if we have the “eyes to see.” In this case, those eyes can see how God is working all the time, across generations and through individuals who may never see each other or even know about each other. Can you see how God makes everything right in the end?
  • Can you think about your own life in the same way? How did you get here? Can you see how God was at work for generations to bring you into the world?
  • Can you pause, and be still, and “see” what a great gift from God you are to the people around you? Are you as great, not as great, or not great at all, in the eyes of God?
  • Is this the way it works for everyone? Could your birth/life be a result of centuries of God’s planning, just so you could be here at this time and place … to be a blessing to the people around you? To be a gift from God … just as Samuel was gifted to God by Hannah?
  • Have you ever made a real covenant with God? What was it about? Do you think it may be time for you to make a new covenant with God and to rededicate your life to God, just the way Samuel’s life was?

Let’s Journey to the Cross Together … Pastor Bob <><  


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Excerpts from “Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman“

<>< 4 Now he had to go through Samaria. 5 So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6 Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.

7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 8 (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

<>< 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him.

<>< 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Pastor Bob’s Sermon Reflections:

  • In vs. 4, it is written that Jesus “had” to go through Samaria.” Why did He have to go that way?
  • Last week Jesus met privately at night with Nicodemus. This Sunday Jesus meets privately, in the daytime, with a Samaritan woman. Think of the contrast between these 2 individuals: Nicodemus is a Jew; a Pharisee; a man; a chosen one; very religious man. The Samaritan Woman is not a Jew; not a religious leader; a woman; an unclean one; a curious a woman who has had 5 husbands, plus the man she lives with now. What is Jesus teaching us about the differences between these 2 individuals?
  • These 2 individuals share a common “spiritual malady.” They are both “blind” and “literalists.” To what degree are you still “blind” and “literal.”
  • Jesus changes minds and hearts. Think of other gospel stories about people that Jesus “healed” from above: the Gerasene Demoniac; the man born blind; Zacchaeus; Martha (Mary’s sister); the 10th leper; etc. Can you see yourself fitting in with this motley crew? Until then, you may not be able to see the Kingdom of God.
  • When Jesus tells the woman to “go and tell your husband,” He is finding a way for her to admit that she is a sinner. Many people fail to experience Jesus and His love because they cannot admit they have a need for Him to forgive their sins. Can you admit that you’re a sinner who needs redemption from Jesus?

Some conclusions from the lessons of Nicodemus and the Samaritan Woman:

1)        It seems people are always looking for the water in the well that will soothe them and make them whole. Everybody has their “wells” that they keep coming back to – never fully satisfied by well water.

2)        In the same way, people are always looking for a “physical” remedy, not spiritual satisfaction.

3)        Jesus creates a desire for spiritual satisfaction in people.

4)        When you come to Jesus, you must deal with your sin.

5)        No matter what your station in life is; no matter what your religious affiliation or commitment; no matter how rich or poor you are; no matter where you’re from or what you’ve done – Jesus can “open your eyes” to the life of the Spirit.

Let’s Journey to the Cross Together … Pastor Bob <><  

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