A while ago my son-in-law (Nate Stupka) drew my attention to the following messages. Pastor Mike Augsburger at Soteria Des Moines preached a sermon series in January 2022 entitled The Simplicity of God’s Will. Below are the links to those two messages. If you or someone you know is struggling with knowing the meaning of life, or your purpose in life, or what God’s will is for your life, then these messages will greatly benefit your growth in the Lord. I’ll not send out any devos next week in order to give y’all time to digest Pastor Augsurger’s teaching to us.
The Simplicity of God's Will: Part 1
The Simplicity of God's Will: Part 2
Each of us has the freedom / ability to form and own our own opinions, but the fact / absolute truth is that each of us will pay for each decision we make.
Revelation 20:11 (NLT) And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.
2 Corinthians 5:10 (NLT) For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.
John 14:6 (NLT) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
Philippians 2:10 (NASB) so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Will you choose to follow The Truth today?
Song: I Have Decided by Elevation Worship
We had a very nice time together this past Saturday along with a fantastic turnout. We had 30 in attendance…including five new visitors. During out time together, Skip let us know that he’ll be reopening the Ox Strong store. Those who have never purchased anything from Ox Strong will be able to receive their first $50 of merchandise for free. If you’ve received free apparel in the past, then you’re welcome to order from the store as well…it’ll just need to come out of your own pocket. Please know that we’re not in this for the branding of our ministry, but we have received several questions and or compliments about our apparel and ministry due to others seeing some of you wearing this apparel in public and wondering what Ox Strong is. Makes for a great conversation piece and witnessing opportunity. More to come about the store and when it’ll actually be open. One more thing concerning Skip…he will be our guest speaker next month. He’ll be speaking on Leadership…you won’t want to miss it, so try to get it on your calendars asap.
On Saturday it was wonderful to get to hear brother Doug Cupples’ testimony. Though I hadn’t known Doug prior to this past Saturday, I came to find out that he and I have some connections in life that we share in common…including some of my family members.
Below is a brief summary of Doug Cupples’ testimony that he shared with us on Saturday. Here’s the link to the video if you have time to watch it…it’ll be worth your time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjxPPwQ9Ebc&t=83s. I’ll not be sending anymore devos out this week or next, so hopefully that’ll provide enough time for each of you to dive into the following notes and Doug’s video. Enjoy!
Doug Cupples’ Testimony:
He shared with us how he wears many hats…he’s a Politician, Car Salesman, and a Pastor. He explained how many people have invested in him throughout his life. They mentored him and gave him an example to follow after. God’s word continued to work on his heart at a young age, and at the age of 15 he accepted Christ as His Lord and Savior. During his time in high school he continued to have mentors and in addition to that, he was able to participate in some missions trips. At the age of 17 he gave his first sermon…he preached on perseverance. These experiences shaped him into the follower of Christ that he is today.
After high school he attended Crown College in Minnesota. He saw God work in his life through providing the ability to play the sport of football, and through providing the finances to be able to remain in college. During his time there he was informed that he didn’t have the funds to remain at Crown. Shortly after receiving that disappointing news, he was approached by someone in the financial office who relayed to him that someone anonymously paid his college bill. At one of his chapel gatherings at Crown someone asked him what his favorite bible verse was. He didn’t have one, so he quickly opened his bible and randomly picked a verse. He read out loud to everyone Isaiah 6:8 (NLT), which reads, “Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’ I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.’” What a verse to pick out. It perfectly describes his willing heart to go and do whatever the Lord is calling him to.
Once he graduated from Crown he then entered into ministry. He worked with Jr. Highers. During his time doing so he had a lady in his Church approach him and tell him that she’s been praying for him ever since he was a very young child…the power of the prayer warriors that God provides for us in our lives, even when we have no idea that anyone is praying for us. He did some youth pastoring in Montezuma for a while, and then started a Skateboarding Ministry in Newton. He averaged 18-25 skaters and was able to baptize 15 of them during that time. He loves nothing more than to share God’s words and truths with others.
Doug reminded us of what is penned in Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God prepares all good things in advance. Therefore, lean into Him. Remember, no one is here by accident. Establish a relationship with the Lord and long to tell your unique story. Never allow anyone to determine your relationship with the Lord. Never assume someone doesn’t want to hear about the Lord. Let that individual determine that for him/herself.
Second Corinthians 5:15 states that, “He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.” Are you allowing others to see Christ in you? Live in such a way that reflects how you’re a new creation…the old is gone. We read in Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) that, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Doug’s prayer for us is that we’ll be comfortable and bold enough to share our faith story with others, and to be willing to accept what comes with it. Whether that be persecution from others and or God continuing to use you in places / situations that you never imagined.
Here am I, Send ME!!!
Listen, if you ever need someone to talk with or do a Bible Study with, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Skip, and or your pastor. We are each interruptible individuals who would love to assist you in your walk with the Lord in any way that we can.
Praying for all y’all!
In the last blog I pointed out how the world’s message is this, “It’s my mind, and I’ll think what I want.” Today I want us to remember that we are created in His image. Meaning, we have the ability to display some of the Lord’s characteristics. The mindset in which Christ provides as an example for His followers is found in Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV). In this passage the Apostle Paul states that you ought to,
“5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Servanthood, Humility, and Obedience. I pray that if you’re struggling in any these areas, then take some time to ask the Lord as to how you can improve in one or several of them. And then act on what He reveals to you.
Practicing His Presence,
I don’t recall when and where I heard this song, but the lyrics caught my attention. A band from the 1960’s, The Animals, sang a song entitled It’s my Life. A couple lines in the song read as follows, “It's my life and I'll do what I want, It's my mind and I'll think what I want.” Sounds much like our world today…maybe that’s even your current mindset. But how should the mind and life of a follower of Christ be different than the world regardless of what messages they’re attempting to instill in us? The Apostle Paul answers this for us in Romans 12:1-2 (NLT). He says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” In Galatians 2:20 (NLT) the Apostle Paul also states that, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Those verses ought to be the message that our minds and lives reflect. Doing what I want and thinking how I want will never lead to anything beneficial in my life or in the lives of those around me. Making every effort to do what God would have me to do and thinking how He’d have me to think has to be at the forefront of my mind each day. I trust that each of us will have this conversation with the Lord today…letting Him know that he has all of you…all of your mind and actions, giving Him permission to lead and grow you in every aspect of your life.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter