Devotionals by Jason Pankau

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Ash Wednesday – Psalm 32

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Read Psalm 32:1-7

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.
Psalm 32:5 (NLT)

Lent is a season of penitent reflection, making sure our lives are aligned with God’s will. God’s forgiveness brings joy, but stubborn denial of sin on our part has physical and emotional consequences, along with the spiritual consequences. Listen as Jason works through Psalm 32 on this Ash Wednesday.

All Things New – Servant Attitude

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Read Philippians 2:5-11

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8 NLT)

”What’s in it for me?” is not the attitude of Christ. Secure in His status as the Son of God, Christ willingly became a servant (and then our Savior). As Christ-followers, we are expected to be secure in our status as children of God and willingly serve others as we follow Jesus’ example.

All Things New – New Attitude

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Read Philippians 2:1-11

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (Philippians 2:5 NLT)

Our natural drift pattern is away from God—his desires, his thoughts, his way of life. An attitude is an advance decision as to how we are going to desire, feel, think, or act in any situation; our attitudes are rooted in our true beliefs. Here are some examples of how you can trade in your own sinful attitudes for the attitude of Christ Jesus.

All Things New – New Identity

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Read 1 Peter 1:3-7

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-4a, NLT)

The battle is won; Jesus has paid the price for our sin. Because we are born again by God’s mercy, we have a new identity in Christ. We now have a priceless inheritance, not only eternally in heaven, but even now, as our faith during trials brings honor and glory to God.

All Things New – New Birth

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Read John 3:1-8
Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ (John 3:5-7 NLT)
The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to recall and reflect upon our new birth in Christ, to surrender to his spirit, and to engage in the things that set up growth in this new life.

2017 Christmas Update

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1 Timothy 6:8 (NLT) So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
Hear Jason’s Christmas message and the latest news about Life Spring Network’s church plant: Chicago Hope Church.

Life in the Spirit – Protection – Reproducing 4

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We have this amazing truth—Jesus is constantly interceding for us even now. His prayer is that we would be connected to God the Father, connected to one another, and living as His servants in the world. As we encourage people to live fully on mission with God, we need to remember that we’re not alone, but are protected and prayed for by Jesus.

Life in the Spirit – Sacrificial Service – Reproducing 3

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John 15:9-25 (NLT) [Jesus said] “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’”
Leaders need to understand that they won’t be treated any better than Jesus was treated. Life in Christ is truly a case of descending into the greatness of God, of emptying ourselves, just as Christ emptied himself for us, all for the glory of God. Godly leaders reproduce leaders who understand the way of the cross, the way of suffering, the way of giving of oneself for God’s people and God’s purposes.

Life in the Spirit – Fruitfulness – Reproducing 2

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John 15:1-8 (NLT) [Jesus said] “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
The natural consequence of life in the Spirit is spiritual fruit. A disciple is one through whom God produces other disciples. Through leaders, God produces other leaders. True leaders try to work themselves out of a job, passing leadership on, and letting the fruit-bearing process happen. They concentrate on watching where things need to be pruned, and holding people accountable, and being held accountable themselves. Our hope is to call people to be people of fruitfulness, of reproduction, as God keeps passing the faith on to the next generation in a healthy way.

Life in the Spirit – The Power of Example – Reproducing 1

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Matthew 23:1-12 (NLT) [Jesus said] “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’
“Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
You reproduce who you are. One of the most important aspects of leadership is raising up other leaders; to do that we need to be aware of how we lead, and what we are teaching the next generation of leaders. The Apostle Paul says, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” In other words, don’t follow me when I’m not following Christ. Spiritual leadership is all about God leading through us. It is not about doing a certain right way of living, but letting the Spirit live and love through us. Leaders need to constantly be thinking about what the reproduction side of their leadership looks like.