Our Rockwall campus is moving!

Starting August 20, we will hold our services at Grace Hartman Elementary School, 1325 Petaluma Dr., Rockwall, TX 75087. Come see us Sundays at 10 a.m.!

Daily Devotionals

Satan and The Usual Suspects
Aug 16, 2018

In the 1995 movie The Usual Suspects, a con man — Roger “Verbal” Kint — is brought in for questioning in regards to a cargo boat explosion. During the conversation, Kint tells the police that this might be the result of an elusive (sometimes considered mythical) drug lord named Keyser Soze. The cops at first don’t believe Soze is real, to which Kint delivers the most famous line of the movie:

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

The quote is significant for us here because of the obvious implications: if Satan has indeed convinced us he doesn’t exist, then he is free to destroy our lives, with us oblivious to his influence. That definitely seems to be the power behind this quote.

But do people really not believe that the devil exists?

According to a 2013 survey, about 57% of Americans think the Devil exists. However, though more than half of Americans believe the he is real, what does their behavior say? Though the majority of Americans say that they believe Satan exists, they behave as if he doesn’t.

Though a lot of Christians give lip-service that they believe Satan and the spiritual realm are a concrete reality, they fail miserably in equipping themselves with the very tools that God has given them to protect themselves against these forces.

In Ephesians 6:10–20, Paul tells Christians that, not only are the “spiritual forces of evil” a very real and influential part of our lives, but that the only means by which we can protect ourselves against them is by equipping ourselves with the “armor of God”. This armor is a metaphor for the spiritual tools that Christians have at their disposal to protect themselves from the “schemes of the Devil.” Do you know what the Devil’s ultimate scheme is?

He wants to utterly destroy you (1 Peter 5:8).

The armor of God includes things such as truth, God-given righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. Lastly, but certainly not least, Paul implores us to pray. This one is so important that he singles it out to remind us how frequently we are to do it: all the time, in every circumstance, without ceasing.

If you are a Christian, then putting on this armor must become a daily practice. Are you trusting daily in God’s goodness and care for you (faith)? Are you reminding yourself daily of how you are now an adopted son or daughter of God, forever in his protective grace and mercy (salvation)? Are you prepared at all times to share the good news about Jesus with those around you (the Gospel)? Do you consistently open up your Bible to learn new ways that the Scripture applies to your struggles and circumstances (The Word of God)? Are you praying without ceasing?

Christians that are not striving for these things daily are falling prey to Satan’s schemes. They may say that they believe Satan exists, but they’re acting like he doesn’t. Take this as a sincere warning: you cannot win without the resources that God has provided for you. Start using them today, this very second.

Does what you say you believe align with your behavior? Do you say that you believe in the spiritual influence of the Adversary, but behave as if he doesn’t exist?

Maybe we should update the movie quote, changing it to: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing Christians that he wasn’t a threat.”

He is a threat, he always has been a threat, and on this side of eternity, he always will be a threat. Never put your guard down. You can’t afford to.

Daily Devotionals

Putting On The Armor
Aug 16, 2018

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
— Ephesians 6:10–20

This passage is very clear on the fact that we have an enemy. It should cause any believer to be sober minded about the reality that Satan is real, and he has a real plan of destruction for his or her life. While that can be somewhat alarming, we do not need to be afraid.

We don’t have to fear in the midst of this reality because our God has provided us with all we need for victory. In this passage, Paul tells us about the armor that God has designated for us to wear as we go toe to toe with the enemy. And, time and time again, he tells us that we are to “put on” this armor. In other words, it’s up to us to be prepared for the battle we are heading into.

When one of my sons (in order to protect his identity, we will call him “Baleb”) was around the age of 4 or so, he was determined he would grow up to be a pirate. In order to be the best, most fierce pirate around, he would outfit himself with every form of toy weapon he could find. It was not uncommon for him to have a bow and arrow, several knives, a pistol or two, and mostly likely a sword as well. (See photo below). And really, it seemed to make sense. If you are going to go into a make-believe battle, you should be geared up with every weapon that is available to you.


And the same is true for you and me. We are in a battle! It would be silly for us to be in the this battle and not gear up with every available weapon. So, today, put on the armor of God! Stand firm! See the victory that God has for you.

Daily Devotionals

Stand Firm
Aug 15, 2018

I vividly remember growing up in this small country church back in the Midwest. Sunday mornings consisted of Sunday school class, followed by the Sunday morning service. One of the Sunday school lessons that was repeated most often and stuck with me was the armor of God in Ephesians 6.

My teacher, Mr. Ahlgren, talked about how important it was for us to make sure we were prepared for the battle (winning in the spiritual). He would tell us that a good soldier is always prepared. A good solider puts on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit. Mr. Ahlgren talked about the importance of each piece of equipment. I marveled at the sword of the spirit, as this was the only offensive weapon in the bunch. I mean come on, what middle-school boy doesn’t like the sword of the spirit? The armor of God seemed like a foolproof plan for defeating the enemy and overcoming temptation. The problem was, and is, that many Christians don’t live in victory. Many are overcome by temptation and sin. Why is that? Why aren’t more Christians winning in the spiritual? I think the answer lies in Ephesians 6:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…
— Ephesians 6:13–14

Did you catch it? Did you see what Paul said? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t catch it, I didn’t catch it for a long time. Look closely at the beginning of verse 14. I think this is the key phrase to winning in the spiritual: stand firm then.

In verse 13, Paul tells the reader to put on the full armor of God and then says after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then.

We often miss the dual nature of this passage. Most believers do one or the other. They put on the spiritual armor or they fight, but they miss the secret. The secret is to do both, to put on the spiritual armor and to stand firm then.

To win in the spiritual there are two parts: the preparation and the implementation. The preparation is putting on the armor of God, and the implementation is the battling of temptation.

Putting on the armor of God does not mean that success is inventible. Rather, success is the result of standing firm and fighting while dressed in the armor of God. A perfect example is Jesus when tempted by Satan in the desert. When Jesus was tempted what did he do? How did he respond? Jesus fought back using the sword of the spirit. Jesus was successful in the preparation and the implementation. May we be the same. So, today, put on the full armor of God and battle temptation and sin!

Daily Devotionals

Don Your Armor
Aug 14, 2018

My husband and I recently celebrated 20 years of being married. It was a sweet day, filled with little things that have become some of my favorite parts of marriage. Just a short 24 hours after that day, several life challenges came our way. It seemed like we could not catch a break. From car troubles to kid troubles, it seemed like the husband and I were at the end of a losing streak. It all came to a head last Saturday, when I could take no more. I searched for my two tiny places of solitude in the house to no avail. Both were taken over by children or laundry, and I was quickly losing it. Unfortunately for the rest of the clan, my need to control something in my life erupted. Being a godly husband, Brook quietly said that he knew I didn’t want a sermon, but that maybe I should pray about how I was feeling. I had already tried to do that, but there was just no quiet place in the house.

For the rest of the day and into the next, I allowed the enemy to stir up discord in my heart. He whisper-yelled that we would never make it through these struggles. And because my house had no quiet place to talk to God at the moment, I could continue making everyone as miserable as I was. How could I ever end up on the other side?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
— John 10:10–11

The thief was stealing what the good shepherd had so abundantly blessed in my life, my marriage, and I was letting it happen.

Ephesians 6:10–17 tells us to take up the whole armor of God. Each day we should carefully dress ourselves in this armor. We need to remember that Jesus is our truth. We must wear his righteousness as we walk around in our lives. The shoes of peace are an important item for worriers like me. Our shield of faith helps defend us against attacks from the enemy. The sword and the helmet are a must, because the Bible is full of reminders of our salvation.

Putting on armor takes time and requires help. I realize now that I had been forgetting to arm myself each day with the quiet study of God’s word and the much-needed time to talk to God through prayer. My soul thirsts for this special start to my day, and it was evident by the way I had reacted to struggles that just come along in life. Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” This verse reminds us that everyone will have times of trouble. This means that how we lean into the Lord in those times shows whose we are. Missing time with the Lord left me easy prey to the enemy. The NIV version of Proverbs 4:23 says it best: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Living life abundantly requires that we intentionally guard our hearts, don our armor, and pray. When we do this, the darkness cannot live in his light.

Daily Devotionals

Aug 13, 2018

Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
— Psalm 119:89

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
— Psalm 119:105

It’s rare that you read a devotional about devotionals, but let’s start off that way by considering this question: what is a devotional?

Married or not, you understand the vows made on a wedding day represent commitment, a pledge of loyalty to the person upon whose finger the ring is placed. Such is the real sense of meaning attached to the Latin word devovere, translated as devotion. To the follower of Jesus, devotion is the expression of a resolute commitment (vow) to honor God. And as he has revealed himself through the writings of Scripture and the person of his son, “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14), to honor God is by default to honor his Word.

Looking at Paul’s letter to the believers in Ephesus where he expresses concern for their being spiritually suited for battle (Ephesians 6:10–20), his describing a soldier’s armor anticipates conflict. Clearly written between the lines is this message: Warfare is certain. The enemy will engage you. And should the old saying about saving the best for last somehow ring true in Paul’s writing style, the sword of the Spirit, aka, the Word of God is key to securing the victory. No soldier will dare enter the battlefield without his sword.

Interestingly, in classical Greek, the sword refers to a relatively small, knife-like weapon used by soldiers in hand-to-hand combat. Perhaps Paul wants us to realize that the attacks of the adversary are not always that of a massive army storming the walls of our security, but up close and personal encounters, internal struggles pitting the voice of the evil one against the Holy Spirit. We all know how difficult making the right choice can sometimes be, don’t we? And without a knowledge of God’s word enabling us to distinguish between good and evil, success is pretty much impossible.

We should note Jesus’ weapon of choice in the wilderness temptation (Matthew 4:1–11) was the same sword that Paul tells us to have at ready. It was the only one he used, the only one he needed.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
— Hebrews 4:12

Perhaps today the word of God has pierced your heart and you sense a need to have Jesus in your life. Please don’t hesitate. Reach out to us right away with an email and we will happily walk with you in this new and promising life.

Coming Events

c|Life Students Lock-In
Thursday, August 16, 2018, 11:59 PM - Friday, August 17, 2018, 6:00 AM

Our annual c|Life Students Summer Lock-In will be overnight on August 16/17 at Celebration Station in Mesquite. The Lock-In is for students who are going into grades 7-12...

Parenting On Purpose
Saturday, August 25, 2018, 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Almost every new parent leaving the hospital can relate to the feeling, “I can't believe they're letting us leave the hospital with this baby!” Parenting is...

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Kaufman Campus
2918 US-175, Kaufman, TX 75142
Sunday services: 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.

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1325 Petaluma Dr., Rockwall, TX 75087
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204 FM 1641, Forney, TX 75126
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610 Hwy. 80 E., Sunnyvale, TX 75182
Sunday services: 9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m.

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Forney, TX 75126


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