Church Blog

Good morning everyone! With school starting up again, I thought this devotional might be helpful, and sometimes, not so easy to do... “What’s up, Jackie?” her father asked from the driver’s seat. “You’re usually so excited to go to school and see your friends. Today you’re quiet. Is something wrong?” “No,” Jackie said, “Nothing’s wrong with Carlie or any of my friends. It’s my teacher, Ms. Mitchell. I hate her.” “Wow, that’s a strong word. You hate your teacher?” “She’s so mean! She’s always yelling at me for talking. I hope we have a substitute today.” “I didn’t know you were frustrated with your teacher!” Her dad paused. “Did you try praying for her?” Jackie made a snorting sound with her nose. “Praying for her? What would that do?” “I don’t know, it might help her. And it would definitely make you feel better.” “Like if I pray for her to be absent?” Jackie asked. “No!” her dad answered. “Pray for her to be healthy! Pray she has everything she needs to do her job well. Thank God for her.” Jackie snorted again. The car pulled up to the curb and she opened the door. “Hey,” her father said, catching her eye. “I’m praying for you and Ms. Mitchell today.” A teacher has a lot of power over your life. If you hate your teacher, then life at school is no fun. Thankfully, the Bible gives us advice for dealing with teacher troubles. The first tip is to pray for everybody in authority. That means pray for your teacher. First Timothy gives us ways to pray for people in power. Pray that they do their jobs well, and thank God for them. It probably feels hard to thank God for a teacher you don’t like. But praying helps YOU too. It helps you feel calmer. It reminds you that God is in charge. And prayer helps you think of things that you can do to make the situation better. Try this: Think of 3 things that make you happy (Seeing a friend? Eating your favorite food? Hearing a funny joke?) Now ask God to give each of these to your teacher today. Then think of 3 more things to pray for. The sillier the better. Prayer: God, bless my teacher today with everything she needs. I trust you to give me everything I need too. Amen.

See Post

Sep 5th at 9:19am


Good morning everyone! The Naked Marriage One of the first love lessons we learned in our marriage was the power of a “Naked Marriage.” You probably think we are just talking about sex right now, but there’s a lot more to it than that. The sexual aspect of your marriage should be a huge priority, but remember that true intimacy requires more than just what happens in the bedroom. In the Book of Genesis, we’re given the account of the first marriage. God created a couple that temporarily lived in an ideal setting with no debt, no crazy in-laws, no baggage, no stress, no fighting, and last but not least . . . no clothing! “Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25) When God painted this picture of a naked marriage, we believe he was revealing to us something more than just sexual intimacy; he was revealing the importance of having complete transparency, vulnerability, acceptance, and intimacy at every level of the relationship. I’m certainly not advocating that we all walk around nude all day (although I do think most marriages would benefit from more naked time!), but I am suggesting that we all need to become more intentional about reconnecting with that true intimacy that Adam and Eve got a taste of in the Garden of Eden. Love, by its very nature, is honest, and this is especially important to the sacred bond of trust in marriage. When you’re not living in a naked marriage the way God intended, you’re opening yourself up to very dangerous temptations. Those temptations have led many down a dark path. Our friend Jesse is a dramatic example of this. Jesse had finally hit rock bottom. He found himself sitting at a computer screen late one evening while his wife was out of town to solicit anonymous sex. His porn habit had evolved into a full-blown addiction and ultimately had created a devastating pattern of depravity and self-destructive behavior. His life was out of control, and his marriage was in shambles. He was completely miserable, but he felt powerless to change the situation. As he sat in that dark room planning dark deeds, he caught a glimpse of his reflection from the computer screen and realized that he no longer recognized the man he had become. That night some light broke through the darkness, and Jesse finally realized that he needed to take immediate action to set things right. He called out to God for help, and he made a commitment to do everything in his power to break free from sexual sin and to rebuild his wife’s trust. He set out on a long journey to reclaim his honor and his family. Several years have passed, and I’m happy to say that Jesse and Tricia are happier than they have ever been in their marriage. Jesse has an amazing wife, two beautiful sons, a successful career in the United States military, and many great adventures ahead. Today, as I’m writing these words, Jesse and his family are on a plane to Germany where they will spend the next three years. I spoke with him on the phone two days ago, and his voice was filled with excitement and anticipation as he talked and dreamed about the great days ahead. You might be reading all this and wondering how it’s possible for a marriage to be restored after that kind of behavior. It happened because of a tremendous amount of grace from God and from Jesse’s wife, Tricia. Grace alone was only part of the equation. This marriage was saved, because Jesse was willing to put some uncompromising boundaries in place. Those boundaries created a protected climate where trust could be rebuilt and healing could begin. He recognized that he had become powerless to fight the battles by will power alone, so he surrounded himself with people who could encourage him and keep him accountable. He started a support group for men who were wrestling with similar struggles, and that group provided an outlet for continued growth and healing. Together, those men talked, prayed, laughed, cried, studied the Bible, and found practical solutions to the issues that haunted them. Jesse’s newfound boundaries also included putting a filter on his computer that tracked and documented every website that he visited and giving his wife complete access to that information. He also gave his wife full access to his phone, texts, voicemails, emails, and all of his communication devices. He then cut off all contact with certain “friends” and committed to never return to places that could put him in tempting or compromising situations. Those boundaries created a framework where his marriage could be rebuilt. If your marriage seems like it's stuck in a rut, one reason may be secrets that need to come out into the open. You'll be amazed at the power of honesty and grace. Let truth and forgiveness flow freely in your marriage, and you'll be able to get through any challenge that comes your way!

See Post

Sep 4th at 5:36am


Good morning everyone! You Will Be Refreshed Isaiah 58:10-11 is one of my favorite verses when it comes to serving others, because it’s like a tall glass of cold ice water on a hot day. It’s refreshing...encouraging...hopeful.It describes the power of serving others--in your own life. Sometimes it’s in your darkness and in your tiredness that you are called to pour into others more than ever before. It’s an offering that goes beyond your humanness and displays the infinite power of God. If you can pour yourself out for others and satisfy the desires of those in need, even as you find yourself in the desert, God will make you strong and satisfy your own desires. In fact, He promises to make you like a spring whose waters never fail. If you can pour into others even as you feel empty, God will start a miraculous work in you. He will fill you with an everlasting abundance of water to keep you going. You will always have something to give, no matter what form or size it comes in. I pray this reading plan encourages you to find ways to pour out for others when you feel empty. It won’t always be easy, but it will always have eternal value. Take care of yourself but find small ways to serve and love others when you feel depleted. Know it’s important to your identity as a believer and it’s something God cares deeply about. So much so that he will honor you and take care of you for loving those He loves as well. Understand these biblical principles and find practical ways to serve others, and you’ll find the abundance to pour out for others! Isaiah 58:10-11

See Post

Sep 3rd at 7:35am


If you are unable to join us on Sunday morning, the service is streamed live on our website jasperbiblechurch.org . Just in case you missed it, here is last week's service. Have a blessed day. https://youtu.be/UuTuzv6L108

See Post

Sep 2nd at 9:17am


Good morning everyone! I remember the first time my oldest son disobeyed me. He was a toddler and exercising his independence. Little did I know that dealing with waywardness in my kids would become the most challenging aspect of parenting for more than a decade--and I’m still in the thick of teaching and training my four sons about the benefits of obedience. I want them to know; obedience always gives birth to blessings! As parents, we forget that our kids are immature. Yes, they will also be outrightly defiant at times; but I find that often, we are dealing with our own unreasonable expectations for obedience. God desires their compliance, but we need to be clear about what is actually doable for our kids in their particular ages and stages. Reevaluate your expectations and understanding of childhood developmental norms. Sometimes, we have skewed expectations of what a child should or shouldn't be able to do. Be a student of your child, seeking to set them up for success and diminish your odds of being provoked toward unrighteous anger. But what about our reactions when they defy us? Unreasonable expectations lead to biting and cutting punishment, instead of training our children in the way they should go by pointing them to Christ. We are tough on our kids because we can be—because we are the authority. Iron fists chisel stony hearts, but graceful hands shape responsive hearts. The book of James describes the avalanche of harm that can come when we yield to anger. In chapter 1, verses 19-20, James writes, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” (NIV) Often our anger leads to other sinful behaviors—impatience, rudeness, and harsh scolding, for example. I certainly don’t respond well when someone treats me like that, so it’s unreasonable to think that our kids will blossom under that kind of discipline either. With the Holy Spirit as our guide, we can transform our angry responses into loving ones that still hold our children to a godly standard of obedience while also demonstrating the Fruit of the Spirit toward them. Even when our children are outrightly defiant, though our expectations are reasonable, the righteous anger we feel should stir us toward loving correction, not sinful responses. There is nothing that anger can do, that love can’t do better. These verses from James are a warning to us, but they can also be a spiritual goal, attained through the Holy Spirit’s transformation in our own lives. “Dear God, you want all of your children to be obedient. I know that when we obey you, we receive blessing and you are glorified. Father, I want to raise obedient children, but I also want to model obedience to you in my own life. Help me to see my kids through your eyes and to have reasonable expectations, lovingly pointing them to your standards with grace and truth, instead of anger. Replace my frustrations with mercy. Make me slow to anger! Help me to run alongside my children, championing them and loving them well, even when they disobey. May we all be more like you, Lord Jesus! Thank you for your promises to help me become a godly parent! In Jesus’ name, Amen!” James 1:19-20

See Post

Aug 31st at 5:47am


Good morning everyone! There’s this great principle that you reap what you sow. It’s a law of the universe and undeniably evident in God’s way of working. Sometimes when you are called upon to step out, maybe you wonder if it will even make a difference. If making a sacrifice will be of any value. And if not, what’s the point? Let me be clear--we don’t give to get back. We give because God first gave to us, and now we have this abundance in Christ that can always be shared with others in some form or fashion. We serve others because we love our neighbor as ourself. I get that’s a hard one to fully digest--to love someone as I love myself. To give to others to the extent I would give to myself. To go the extra mile for another as I would go for my own interests. It’s hard but we serve others out of love, grace, and the overflow of what we’ve been given. With that in mind, there’s also this incredible principle that what you and I give, it will be given back. I really enjoy the ESV version of Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” You don’t serve to get something back in return. However, God doesn’t forget you in the equation either. He cares about you just as much as he cares about the person He is asking you to help. Give much to others and much will be given to you. Love others much and love will be given to you. Show grace to others and it will be shown to you. Be respectful of others and...the list could go on. But hold these things close to you, unwilling to share, and it will be withheld from you. Give little to others and little will be given to you. You can be encouraged to know that when you step out in faith and obedience to serve others, God sees the sacrifice and gift. He sees it and honors it. He honors you. Like 6:38

See Post

Aug 30th at 3:56am


Good morning everyone! Serving others isn’t easy; we’ve established that, right? To show compassion is messy, inconvenient, and hard. The very definition of compassion is “to suffer with.” To truly get into the trenches and serve is to suffer along with someone, and that’s not easy. [I’m making a great case for serving!] The good news is, you can also serve others and make a difference in the little things. Regardless of which route you take, the big or the small, pouring into others won’t always be easy. The question is: Is it possible to support others when you feel weak? Romans 15 says that those who are capable should bear the failings of the weak. If you are capable, and I believe many reading this are, to come alongside someone and help, then do. Who knows what even the smallest gesture will do for someone in need and for the Kingdom of God. Jesus said that if you do for the least, you do it for him (Matthew 25:40). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you are stronger than you know. Helping others isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary to stretch the limits of your capacity to discover the limitless strength found in God. God has made you capable of bearing the burdens of others--will you open yourself up to be used by Him to do so? Romans 15:1

See Post

Aug 29th at 5:28am


Good morning everyone! No matter what you’re tempted to compare, there will always be someone with more than you and there will always be someone with less. Whether you compare husbands or hair, there will always be someone else to envy and someone envying you. So you have a choice: either keep pace or keep peace. Comparison will tempt you to keep pace, to accumulate more. But the parable in today’s reading illustrates that accumulating more is a worthless pursuit if what you’re accumulating isn’t put to good use for God’s purposes. The wise choice is peace with what God has entrusted to you. In some areas, he’s given you more than others—maybe you’re a talented singer or gifted writer. In other ways, you may come up short—perhaps you had a challenging childhood or disappointing marriage. But God doesn’t ask you to change what you’ve been given. He asks you to use what you’ve been given. Whether a lot or a little, what you have is less important than what you do with what you have. TRY THIS: We all have a surplus of something. Brainstorm one area in which God has given you a surplus and commit to one thing you can do today to better use it for him. Luke 12:16-21

See Post

Aug 28th at 8:27am


Good morning everyone! In college I realized that following Jesus was a whole different ball game than simply believing in Him. Anyone can believe, but only true followers passionately pursue the will of God. They strive to let His Son take over their entire lives. Watching SportsCenter, one morning, a segment praised various athletes for their constant display of courage, dedication, perseverance, strength, determination, will, and passion. This segment ended with one sportscaster saying something like, “These are the kind of players who all coaches want on their teams. They are winners. It’s no wonder they are usually the players who become champions.” I was totally fired up after the show. I could clearly envision myself on that television screen being featured with all those athletes. I shared their same mind-set. I had the same kind of drive, that exact same kind of athletic will, and the same kind of passionate effort. I knew exactly why I was a successful college football player. It was because I gave my whole heart to the sport. Reading 1 Corinthians 9:24–27, I imagined Jesus saying to me: “Sure, you are a great athlete, and, yes, you do play well in the games. Do you know why? It is because you do everything your college football coach tells you to do. You play with incredible passion! You give a tremendous amount of effort to the Louisville Cardinal Football team ... but what do I get? What kind of effort do you give me? What kind of player are you on my team? How passionate of a player are you for me?” By proclaiming the name of Christ as my Lord and Savior, I was also proclaiming my allegiance to God’s team. To play well for the Cardinals, it always took sacrifice, dedication, relentlessness, courage, and passion. It was now clear to me that playing on God’s team would require these same traits! Team Jesus requires our best, it deserves our best, and it demands our best. Every player (or coach) on any team knows that poor effort will not produce victories. Well, playing on God’s team is no different. Poor spiritual effort will only lead to spiritual losses. To play well in the game of life, I needed to give my spiritual head coach everything I had. I needed to put all of my effort into doing what He asked of me as a player on His team. Jesus will never fail and will perfectly do His part as a coach. It was up to me to do my part as a player, which would always require my best effort. I Corinthians 9:24-27

See Post

Aug 27th at 8:41am


Good morning everyone! The Church is not a building. It is not a place where we go or a thing we do. The Church is us. We are unfettered by walls. Every week we gather as His church for 80 minutes and then we scatter as His church for 10,000 minutes. We are the Church in the name, power, and authority of Jesus. Everywhere we go, we get to be re-presenters of Jesus, not religion, to the world around us. Jesus refers to us as His bride: “Everybody waits for the moment the bride comes out Open up the doors and watch her walk down the aisle Is she lovely is she shining is she looking at the one she loves Everybody’s watching what are we all about When we open up the doors is religion all that walks out Are we lovely are we shining are we looking at the One we love…” My wife and I have spent the past few years asking Jesus to redefine Beauty in the context of His Church, His people. We often have people in our home that share their stories of seeing Jesus at work in the mundane moments of their lives. We get to witness Jesus being truly beautiful, and we take an imaginary picture saying “Now that’s Beautiful.” (Literally one eye winks while our hands click an imaginary photo reminder) Where do you see Jesus at work around you? Let’s be beautiful with love so radical Full of compassion oh what would happen If we were powerful from grace that overflows Love into action, oh what would happen If we were beautiful Our lives were actually made in the image of the triune God and furthermore, one of our goals in this life is becoming better re-presenters of Jesus. And to represent Jesus’ love, beauty, grace, and truth as His image bearers, we must first know Him. And to know him we must follow Him. Have you been asking Him to make you aware of where He is opening doors in your neighborhood, or at work, or in your relationships? Let’s Represent Jesus! Let’s Be Beautiful! Romans 7:4

See Post

Aug 25th at 5:46am