September 6, 2023

A Call to Repentance

3 Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord.
I Samuel 7


Casey Bush

Creative Director

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The story in Samuel 7 is a call to repentance. It calls the wicked to turn away from idolatry and sin and look to the Father, who carries victory and forgiveness in His hands. The Israelites had fallen away from God, losing sight of where their strength came from for 20 long years. They find themselves away from their provider and protector by worshipping idols and attaching themselves to them instead of looking to the one true God. They mourn, knowing they have sinned against God and believe He abandoned them. Samuel tells them, “Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”

Much like the Israelites, we can find ourselves away from our faith, allowing distractions, pressures, and idols of this world to overshadow our relationship with God. And just like the Israelites knew, we, too, know when we are putting things before God. Are we putting social media over the Word? Are we placing football over church? Does our status dictate who we are instead of what God says? Do we navigate our lives based on what the world says instead of what God says? He calls us to rekindle our spiritual devotion and seek Him earnestly through true repentance. To take a step back and assess if there are idols we put before God. Idols take the place and attention of God in our lives. Losing sight of where our provision comes from.

What is true repentance? Repentance is more than saying “Sorry God” and moving on continuing in our sin. It is a change in our hearts, way of life, and turning away from sin to run to the Father. Jesus said in Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Just as Samuel sacrificed a burnt offering to God, we have that same offering in Christ. His blood paid the price for our sins, and when we repent, we know that we are forgiven because Christ forgave us first. The victory is ours; all we have to do is set aside the things that aren’t of God and repent earnestly. We see in the Israelites that no matter how long we have been away from God, we can always return, and He will be there. He has been there all along, waiting for repentance.

A prayer of repentance

“Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your mercy, I come before you humbled, aware of my sin. Forgive me for I have sinned against you. Purify me, and help me to turn from the things that keep me close to You. Guide me to walk in your way, leaving behind my sinful ways and keeping You at the forefront of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.”

· 4 min read
A Heart Set on Pilgrimage

Psalm 84: How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs the early rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (ESV)

Maddy Brown
Student Ministry Worship Pastor
· 7 min read
Going Back in Order to Go Forward

4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
GENESIS 45:4-8

Jackson Wilson
Executive Students Ministry Pastor