You First (Valentine’s Day)

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You can read the devotion below or listen to the audio in iTunes.  

Verse: We love because he loved us first. – 1 John 4:19 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  We can share Jesus’ love by putting others first.

If you have a brother or sister, you know how important the word first can be.  After all, siblings can be really competitive. Maybe you’ve heard some of these phrases around your house:

  • I want to go first.
  • I get first pick.
  • Let me have the first piece.
  • No fair!  Why is she always first?

Or how about this one?  Have you ever blamed something you did on your brother or sister because they did it to you first?  Whether it was saying unkind words, making mean faces or hitting each other, kids having been using that excuse for years.

It goes like this. One kid yells, “Mom, she pushed me!”  Immediately the other replies, “Well, she pushed me first!”

Like that makes it okay!  We all know it doesn’t, but sometimes we use that excuse anyway to try to get ourselves out of trouble.

Okay, so those are some bad ways we use the word first, but what would you say if I told you you could actually use the word first in a good way?  In fact, the Bible tells us that the phrase, “He did it first!” can be an excuse to do all kinds of good things.

1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he loved us first” (NIrV).  Jesus’ friend John wrote this about Jesus. He’s saying that Jesus’ love should be our example for how we treat others.

Remember, Jesus loves people who no else loves.  Jesus loved people who were mean to him. Jesus loves people who’ve done wrong things.  Jesus loves everyone all the time no matter what.

Here’s the crazy part.  Jesus’ love gives us the power to love others in the same way. Continue reading “You First (Valentine’s Day)”

The Big Game

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Holidays and special events are a fun excuse to get your family talking about faith.  Gather your family together for the following devotion time before the big game.

Verse: Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way. It promises help for the life you are now living and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8 NIrV

Big Idea: Jesus wants to train us to be like him.

It’s almost time for the biggest football game of the year. Two teams. 60 minutes of game time. Millions of fans watching around the world. Everything comes down to this one big day to see who will become the ultimate champions.

What do you think it would feel like to play in such a big game? Would you be excited? Scared? Nervous?

What would you do to get ready? Would you work out and practice with your team or just sit around and eat donuts and watch TV?

You’d practice, of course! You’d train, lift weights, run drills, eat the right foods, watch game videos and, basically, do whatever your coach told you to do.

If you were playing in the biggest game of your life, you’d do everything you possibly could to train yourself to win.

The Bible says that following Jesus is a little like that. Every day of our lives is a big deal, bigger than any game. Every day we’re either choosing to live life God’s way or just live for ourselves. When we live life God’s way, people around us see Jesus in us and have the chance to become friends with God too.

Continue reading “The Big Game”

Family Christmas Devotions on iTunes

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Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but when you have kids at home, it can also be the craziest.  It’s hard to find time in the busy holiday season to make sure Jesus is the center of your celebration.

I just uploaded a new series of Christmas devotions on iTunes to make that a little bit easier.

Whether you’re traveling with your family or just on the go, you can listen to the Backstage Bethlehem whenever it’s convenient.

Episode 1 – No Ordinary Baby

We’re all familiar with the cute image of baby Jesus at Christmas, but there’s so much more to Jesus than that.  In this episode we will pull back the curtain on Christmas and take a look at who Jesus really is.

Listen in iTunes.

Episode 2 – Best King Ever

Jesus isn’t just a King, but the King of Kings, the best King ever!  In this episode we will discover what it means in our lives that Jesus is still on his throne.

Listen in iTunes.
Continue reading “Family Christmas Devotions on iTunes”

Savior

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus came to save us from sin. 

Verse: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36 (NIV)

Have you ever been stuck? Maybe you were climbing a tree but couldn’t get down. Or maybe you reached through the banisters on the stairs but couldn’t get your arm out. Or maybe you got your hair caught in something or accidentally glued your fingers together. 

There are all kinds of ways to get stuck. 

Sometimes when we’re stuck, we can get ourselves out of the mess, but other times we may be stuck so bad we can’t save ourselves. That’s when we need someone who’s not stuck to set us free.  

That’s what Christmas is all about. God’s people weren’t stuck in a tree or in the banisters on the stairs. They were stuck in sin. Sin is when we do bad things. It’s when we do things our way instead of God’s way.  

God can’t stand sin, but thankfully he loves us. That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus came to earth to free us from our sin, and a group of shepherds were the first ones to hear about this good news. 
Continue reading “Savior”

God With Us

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus is God with us.  

VerseThe Word became a human being. He made his home with us. – John 1:14 (NLT)

Who are your favorite people to spend time with? Your parents? Your brother or sister? Your best friend? 

When we spend time with our favorite people, it doesn’t really matter what we’re doing. It’s just fun being together. The “what” doesn’t matter nearly as much as the “with.” 

God loves being with his people. In fact, that’s the whole point of Christmas.
Continue reading “God With Us”

Best King Ever

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Don’t miss a devotion. Sign up to receive Backstage Bethlehem sent straight to your inbox.

Big Idea: Jesus is the King of Kings.

VerseNow he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. – Ephesians 1:22 (NLT)

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a king? A crown? A throne? A castle? 

How about a baby? We don’t usually think of babies and kings together, do we? Yet, that’s exactly what Christmas is all about. Jesus, born in a manger, is also the King of Kings. Kings may be important people and rule over their kingdoms, but Jesus is the King who rules over everything.  

Several months before Jesus was born, an angel appeared to a young girl named Mary and told her some surprising news. He said Mary was going to have a baby, but this baby would be special. He said, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God” (Luke 1: 32 NIrV). God’s Son was coming to earth!
Continue reading “Best King Ever”