ADVENT 2018

Devotionals

Advent Daily Devotionals

We are once again offering the Advent Daily Devotionals written by our staff at Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas. They publish daily from December 2-25, 2018. Subscribe below for inbox delivery or text #devo to 479-282-2406 to receive the daily devo via text. Your email address and phone number will only be used for this purpose. If you have subscribed in the past to receive the Advent or Easter devotionals, you will automatically receive the devotionals again this year. It is our hope and prayer this Christmas season that you experience Christ as Emmanuel – God With Us.

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Our Latest Devotionals

Looking for Comfort and Redemption

He spent a lifetime looking for it. As the decades rolled by, his eyes had seen much trouble, pain, and disappointment. Simeon had witnessed the collapse of civility and common decency within the halls of power. He had observed clashes between sharply divided political parties and special interest groups. He had seen a national spirituality that was irrelevant and ineffective, and economic inequality that exposed…

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To the Least of These

When I was a kid, our church had us perform the Christmas story every year. You know… wise men, shepherds, an angel, Mary, Joseph, and a plastic baby in a manger. Being an angel could be cool… except for the challenge of trying to keep a pipe-cleaner halo in place on your head! But, the shepherd’s role – I liked that one a lot! I could just take my simple robe (red with paisleys!), put a nice cloth belt around it…

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Mary’s Pondering Heart

Have you ever had something happen to you that was so significant, so unexpected that you just couldn’t believe it? It’s in those moments that God seems to lean down and whisper, “I’m here!” I’ve had those moments when I’ve been absolutely speechless, watching God do the unexpected. I know I will never forget the instances where God has rocked my ordered world. You know, Joseph and Mary’s world was pretty ordered…

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Make Haste to the Manger

When one compares the armies of angels that filled the sky with music in the shepherds’ field with the sight of the manger, the manger must have been starkly boring and unimpressive. How can you compare the two scenes? In one, the heavens filled to the brim with heavenly angels declaring the glories and mercies of God with music and singing. In the other, a baby boy placed in a manger by poor parents, weary from travel and labor. 

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Fear Shows us Our Unbelief

When I am afraid, I jump and then I run. I live in the woods and I often walk into giant spider webs. If I see the big spider that spun the web – I run. If I hear scary noises in the woods – I run. If I see a copperhead – I run. I don’t think the shepherds that lived in the wild would run from what I run from. They were probably used to scary loud noises, large spiders, and snakes. They could take those things down with no problem, no fear.

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The Missing Puzzle Piece

When I was younger, every time that there was a snow day my dad would make his famous cinnamon rolls and my mom would dump the pieces of a massive puzzle on the kitchen table. We would gather around, cinnamon rolls in hand, and begin to try and fit the tiny, intricate pieces together. Sometimes it felt like it took forever! But two or three pieces would turn into sections and before we knew it, a picture started to emerge.

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The Purposes of God

In October of 2013, my wife and I found ourselves in an interesting yet exciting situation. I had just accepted a job as a worship pastor at Fellowship Bible Church of Northwest Arkansas. This would be my first full-time job, our first time buying a house, we were pregnant with our first child, and we were moving away from our families for the first time ever! On top of all that, I was finishing my seminary degree which required weekly travel…

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Hidden Influence

For the past few years I have had the honor of discipling Kyle Plunkett, a college student who grew up at Fellowship. What I quickly learned was that Kyle’s life was influenced by many incredible people, one of them being his grandfather, Gary Renegar. Kyle shared a lesson with me from his grandfather he will never forget. While walking one clear night together they glanced up at the moon and his grandfather asked the question…

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Mary’s Song

In Luke 1:46-56, Mary responds in praise as God calls her to be the mother of the Messiah. This is confirmed when she visits her cousin Elizabeth, who has experienced her own miraculous pregnancy. Mary found herself in very uncertain circumstances: a pregnant, unmarried teenage girl who had received a vision from God – who had been silent over 400 years. Who but Elizabeth might even believe such a thing?

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Someone Who Understands

Have you ever experienced something and simply wanted to be near someone who understood what you were going through? Perhaps you looked around and it seemed like no one really understood. You longed for that one safe person with whom you could relate. I imagine Mary experienced some similar feelings. Gabriel visits her and explains that she will have a baby, and that baby will be the Son of God.

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The Sound of Peace

Today, the countdown to Christmas is “T-10.” If this was New Year’s Eve, we’d be anticipating the celebration. If we were astronauts, we’d be bracing ourselves for liftoff. As I look at the world I live in, the final countdown to Christmas feels somewhere in between a rocket blast and a family celebration. Which is ironic. Because all we want during this Advent season is a little peace. And peace comes from quiet, right? Or does it?

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BIG STORY, little story

Each of us has a story and each story is important to God. Our story should fit into and compliment God’s bigger story of redemption recorded in the Bible. This is exactly where we find Zechariah in the first chapter of Luke. Zechariah was in Jerusalem for his role as a priest when a once in a lifetime opportunity arose for him to be the one to perform the priestly duties in the temple. While there, Gabriel, the same angel that…

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He Hears Our Prayers

Does God hear you? Are there things in your life that are too hard for God? Has He ignored you? These questions may have glanced off the heart of Zechariah. He was an old man. He was a respected priest and yet he and his wife had no children. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were righteous in the sight of God. They could have been bitter. They didn’t know if God would answer their prayers for a child.

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Devotion That Transcends Adversity

Zechariah and Elizabeth. Two characters in the Christmas story that rarely get any airplay. You won’t find their figurines in any nativity set and rarely do they have speaking parts in the local church Christmas pageant. Who are they? The Gospel of Luke tells their story. Zechariah is a priest who is married to Elizabeth, a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus. They are the parents of an influential prophet named John the Baptist…

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All Part of the Plan

Joseph and Mary’s young family of three had never really had a chance to put down roots. They were on a government-mandated road trip when their son, Jesus, was born. Then they had to flee a murderous dictator and live as refugees in a foreign land. Just when it was finally time to return to their home, a new dictator had arisen that made them question the return. Instead of going to Judea as they planned, they went to Galilee…

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A Quiet Strength

It is tempting to be awed and swept up by the appearance of strength in leaders. In fact, countless social scientific studies reveal that we tend be swayed toward leaders who are simply taller, more physically attractive, eloquent, charismatic, wealthy, etc. To our natural eye, they just seem to exhibit strength. But, are they strong? It seems that time and pressure bear out the true, inner strength of anyone’s character and legacy.

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Focus on the King

My great-aunt, Nonie, was an amazing woman. She was well into her 80’s when I was a child, but my cousins and I would spend weeks at her house every summer. Nonie built forts with us, took us fishing, and taught us to drive at the local cemetery. (Because, in her words, “You can’t kill nobody there.”) Whenever something stressful would happen, Nonie would immediately gather the kids to pray about it.

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God With Us

“Immanuel” is the most comforting word and reality I know. My wife, Joy, and I have walked through some hard times over the last 16 years, including both a failed adoption and a failed church plant. I’ve also personally experienced deserts of doubt and seismic faith-shifts. In each of those seasons, the one constant comfort was Immanuel. God is with us. God – the Everlasting Father of life, Creator of the universe…

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Merciful Justice

Have you ever felt stuck in an impossible situation? I don’t handle conflict well, so nearly every conflict feels like an impossible situation to me! The miracle of Christ’s birth put Joseph in an impossible situation. He was engaged to be married to a young girl from Nazareth. In first century Israel, an engagement was a legally binding agreement. To break off an engagement required a full divorce. When Joseph found out…

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Family Is Everything

When we read this first chapter of Matthew it can be so easy to quickly brush by it as just a bunch of data that has no meaning or worth in reading. But I have learned that I must not miss what this list means to me in my own life. I look at this list of names and I am struck with amazement in knowing they all connect to Jesus. The stories behind this list of names make the Gospel that much more impactful.

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O Little Town of Bethlehem

Phillip Brooks was a minister who lived in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. He had a knack for bringing joy to children, and in his day, he was a giant of a man, standing 6’6” inches tall. He served Holy Trinity Church during the tumultuous days of the Civil War, from 1859 to 1869. Known as a gifted orator, he was branded as “The Prince of the Pulpit.” Though a bachelor, he was also known for his love of children.

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The King We’ve Always Longed For

Do you hope for a time when the world will experience peace? Consider the upheaval of governments around the world. Some government transitions are right, just, and fair. Others are full of distrust, bribery, and violent coups. In governments across the globe, we have observed the abuse of power, the practice of immorality, and the dishonesty of promises not kept. If you are like me, there is a deep, unspoken longing…

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Light in the Darkness

Darkness. Utter and complete, desolate and alone. The despairing remains of darkness are more than a metaphor, they haunt our realities. We know darkness. When sin separated man from God, an un-crossable chasm left us without hope and without answers. In our depravity, we were left with just need. So many of us spend our lives searching frantically to quench that thirst. Yet it’s hopeless. Like dying of thirst with ocean water all around…

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Watching the Signs

When I was nine years old, I talked my parents into letting me travel alone on a bus from my Grandma’s house in Vincennes, IN to Greenville, IL. The trip would travel across a time zone, a state line, 124 miles and take 3 ½ hours. This is an inconceivable thought for today, yet I was excited to be venturing alone. Perched by the window seat with my new goldfish, I started watching every sign and marker pointing to home. 

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NWA Christmas