Our Teaching Team will be sharing a church-wide devotional with you every week. Here is what Danny Cox wanted to share:
What is Enough?
In this time of social distancing and sheltering in place, I have found my mind wandering back to my childhood and thinking of my parents. We have not been able to see each other during this time because of my parents age and the desire to be as safe as possible. I miss them terribly but have come to the realization that my parents have always known and lived a secret to life – a principle that the Apostle Paul taught.
My two brothers and I grew up in a 900-square-feet home on a corner lot in a neighborhood where all the small ranch homes looked identical to each other. Recently, I went back to the old neighborhood and was taken back by the size. In my memory our house was a palace, but I’m realizing I had that image because my mother in particular had an incredible ability to make all of us feel like our home was a spacious, roomy, luxury villa that embodied the idea of abundance and embraced the reality of always having enough. I’m not sure you have someone like my mother in your life but she is the one who can look in the cupboards and find a little bit of this and a little bit of that and within an hour she is presenting you with a homemade and delicious four-course meal with dessert. She knows the art of making something out of nothing and fully embodies the mystery of life the Apostle Paul writes about in the book of Philippians. In one of the most famous New Testament scriptures Paul tells of an essential secret of life he has learned when he writes…
“for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11b-13 NRSV)
That last line has been used on more Hallmark cards than any of us can imagine and has been quoted in more sports and life situations than probably should be allowed. But in the context of Paul talking about contentment, this verse takes on a new meaning. In this time of quarantine where people are hoarding things like toilet paper and Lysol wipes, Paul is letting followers of Jesus know that the secret of life is knowing that IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, in abundance or scarcity, there is only one place of true contentment. There is only one place of true strength. There is only one place of true peace. There is only One who can truly make something out of nothing and provide a true sense of strength in whatever times we find ourselves. Simply put, Paul found all he needed in Christ and Christ alone. Is Christ enough for me? For you?
I have to admit with some embarrassment and a touch of shame that most of my life I have not been content. I have always pushed for more and I have rarely had seasons in my life where what I had was enough to satisfy. In times of plenty I dreamed of having more and in times of need I lamented about how I was not getting what I hoped or even deserved. But in the scripture, I find encouragement because Paul says contentment is something that can be learned. That implies that contentment does not just happen – it needs to be cultivated and developed over time and with experience. Paul watched and learned as Jesus continued to be enough for him in every situation, and his trust in Jesus grew. Just like Paul, we all have the ability to grow and learn in this area.
In this time of Covid-19, I have found a new level of contentment. I have found a new attraction to the simple things in life like phone and zoom calls with family, friends and members of our church community, early morning hours with Jesus, having all our adult children in our home for days on end, spending almost every waking hour with my wife, enjoying our new puppy as he discovers how much fun chasing squirrels and birds in the rain can be, and simple acts of laughing, reading, creating, dreaming and being. Most importantly, I have found a new level of contentment in Jesus and in Jesus alone.
I don’t know what life will look like coming out of the Coronavirus, but I do know it will be different. My hope for our church community and for individuals is for us to reevaluate where we find our true contentment in life. To ask questions like “How much do we really need? And is Jesus enough?” The Apostle Paul, and my parents, know true contentment is found only in Christ who is the One who can make something out of nothing and ultimately provide what we need when we need it.
Proverbs 34:10b sums it up so simply by saying, “but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”
Troy Campus Lead Pastor
Our Teaching Team will be sharing a church-wide devotional with you every week. Here is what Cody Wilson wanted to share:
“He cares more than I care”
It was a long 200-foot walk across the parking lot. I carried a huge trash bag of my gear over my shoulder, had just handed in my playbook, and was escorted out of the training facility. I had been unexpectantly released from the Detroit Lions, and was numbly headed to my car to drive home.
My dreams were shattered. I felt rejected. I felt like a failure. I was at a loss for what was next in my life. I tearfully made the 40-minute drive home from Allen Park and arrived still in shock. I was 22, without a job or a plan, moving back into my parents’ house.
Over the next two weeks my downward spiral continued: a combination of pain medication from a recent foot surgery, and the terrible physical and emotional stress trying to get on the NFL roster, caused me to develop ulcerative colitis. My intestines were bleeding, I was in intense pain, and I was running to the bathroom 15-20 times a day. I lost 20 pounds and ended up in the emergency room (which caused me to miss my first job interview at Kensington). It felt like everything was falling apart – my dreams, my body, my job, MY LIFE.
Subtly and gradually a thought started creeping into my mind:
“Does God even care?”
Have you been there? Things didn’t go as planned, dreams are shattered, there is loss, maybe death, and you’re questioning if things will ever get better. You’re lost, confused, and just broken. Perhaps this virus and all of its effects have brought you into a season like this.
In these times, it’s easy to question if God even cares. Is He there? Has He abandoned us?
Fast forward a few years, I’m in Houston at a small gathering to grow in my relationship with Jesus. I’m sharing in my small group about how a relationship in my life isn’t going the way I wanted. I’m frustrated that I’ve been praying for a certain person to experience Jesus in a deeper way and it’s just not happening.
The group leader challenged me, “What does that mean you believe about God?”
It took me awhile to search myself and be painfully honest. I responded, “I don’t think He cares and I have to make it happen.”
As the group leader asked me where that belief came from, I immediately thought back to the day I was released by the Lions walking through that parking lot in Allen Park. The thought was so subtle I didn’t realize it had started to change the way I was living my life.
On this day, God started to replace that lie with a new truth:
He cares more than I care.
What I’ve come to realize is that our Father cares more about my life than even I do. He cares more about the world than I do. He cares more about my family than I do. He cares more about the lost than I do. He cares more about revival than I do.
Do you believe that? That God cares about you more than you care about yourself? That He cares about your life more than you care about your life? That you can trust Him with every aspect of your life?
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:17-18
“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'” – Isaiah 41:10,13 ESV
As this truth has begun to sink deeper into my soul, it has started to change the way I live. It has started to change the way I pray. If I believe God is near, involved in my life, and cares deeply for me, it changes the way I interact with Him.
Instead of praying “God move!”, I’ve started praying, “God show me how you’re moving.”
I’m not begging and trying to pull God into my situation when I pray. When I realize He cares, I start to understand He’s already there, ever involved in every aspect of my life.
Even Jesus said, “His Father is always working and to this very day He is working.” – John 5:17, NIV
Do you have eyes to see what He’s already doing? Have you stopped to ask how you can join Him?
Think about it – when you walk into a coffee shop (hopefully someday soon), God is already working in every person’s life around you. His Spirit has been wooing those people to His heart. And more than that, the King of Kings is inviting you to partner with Him to serve, love, and reach His people. This is exciting!
Instead of praying, “God move,” you start praying, “God show me what you want me to do.”
In my head it sounds like this, “Father I know you care more about reaching the lost than I do, show me how. Show me what you’re already doing. I want to partner with you”.
Or “God, I know you care more about my family than I do. Show me how you’re working within it and show me how to bring life to it.”
Prayer starts to become a dialogue not just a monologue. This means just as much listening as talking.
God wants you to become a co-laborer not just a solo laborer. He wants you to become a co-worker not just a solo worker (1 Corinthians 3:9). If you want to build His Kingdom, build with the King.
He is relational and He wants to do life with you. This is the secret of a fruitful life – constant abiding and communion with the Spirit of God.
The Father is not calling you to strive and achieve, He’s calling you to abide and receive.
Don’t worry about the fruit – fruit is the promise for those who abide. Let your focus and intention be to melt your life into His. Instead of doing something GREAT for God, just focus on knowing and being WITH Him and great things will come.
Think about it: we have access to the one who authored life, authored relationships, authored family and marriage – His insight and wisdom are freely ours if we seek Him for it. THIS IS GOOD NEWS! He’s given us His Word, His Spirit, His power, resurrection, and life, and empowering relationships to help us along the way. This has to change everything about the way we live.
As I now look back on that season of my life, this is what I’ve come to believe with strong conviction:
He cares more than you care.
He is faithful.
He can be trusted.
He is closer than you know.
He is for you.
He is cheering you on.
He is better than you thought.
He is working all things for good.
I also believe right now:
He is at work.
He is already moving.
He is inviting you to come join the adventure.
Will you respond?
Seek the Lord with these questions:
Father, what do you want to build with my life?
Father, what are you already doing that you want me to join you in?
“May I have the vision and courage to join God in the places He’s already working rather than feel responsible for bringing Him with me.” – Scott Erickson
Orion Teaching Pastor in Residence
Our Teaching Team will be sharing a church-wide devotional with you every week. Here is what Andrew Kim wanted to share:
In the Wilderness
On March 12, my world was thrown into chaos. That was the day my children stopped going to school and I began working from home. You see, I love routine. I thrive on routine. It provides me with structure which allows me to feel greater freedom in my life. (The downside is, my wife, Robin, thinks I lack spontaneity.) Consequently, when there is a lack of routine in my life, I feel lost and aimless.
When this quarantine initially started, I struggled. I was used to my perfectly structured routine: going to the gym, going to work, having my children go to school, seeing my friends. Then, suddenly, we were all thrust into a new season, new lifestyle. For the first few weeks I was grumpy, I felt purposeless, I complained, and I yearned for life as it used to be.
This is how the Israelites felt when they were thrust into a new season. They had spent the past four hundred years as slaves in Egypt until God used a man named Moses to liberate His people. They suddenly found themselves in the wilderness. A place that was desolate, arid, and deserted. It was a place for fugitives, a place of isolation, a period of uncertainty. It wasn’t a place where you would take your family camping or go for a walk. It wasn’t a place where you wanted to be. But this wilderness was a pathway to the Promised Land. The wilderness journey that should have taken days, ended up taking forty years. The Israelites were grumpy, and they complained and yearned for life as it used to be (Numbers 11:4-6). This prevented them from fully embracing what God wanted to do in their lives.
In many ways, we currently are in a wilderness of our own. It feels desolate, uncertain and isolating. We yearn for this season to end so we can return to life as it used to be – so we can get back to our rhythms and routines.
But what if God’s perspective of the wilderness is different from ours?
What if He sees it as fertile ground for transformation and growth? A place where He is able to do some of His best work? The wilderness is where God wanted to transform His people. It was where He wanted to instill in them what He knew they would need for the destination ahead. He wanted to grow their trust, their knowledge of His love and power, and their faith in Him.
This time in the wilderness throws us out of our normal routines and forces us to lean into God in a greater way. It forces us out of our regular rhythms and reveals to us areas of our life that we need to address but were too busy or distracted to do so.
So often, the wilderness, if we allow it, becomes an open door for God to do a new work in us.
God has used this time to align my heart more closely with His. He has begun to break my heart for the things that break His. Specifically, in regard to the injustices that are occurring in our communities of color across this nation. I believe that what God is doing in this season is preparing me for what is ahead. But if this is to continue, I must continue to lean into Him.
During seasons of wilderness, it feels like we don’t have a choice in the matter. But we do. We can continue to yearn for what was or choose to embrace this season and lean into God and allow him to grow and transform us.
What is God stirring in your heart? Is there a dream He is trying to birth? Is there something He wants to uproot? How is He trying to bring your heart into greater alignment with His?
Teaching Pastor – Troy Campus
Our Teaching Team will be sharing a church-wide devotional with you every week. Here is what Jeremiah Roy wanted to share:
Are You The One?
When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'” At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Luke 7:20-22 NIV
My wife Maria and I currently have four children ranging in ages from toddler to teen – three sons and a precious foster daughter we have the privilege of caring for. While they are all a blessing, it has been an incredibly busy season in our home. I’m sure many can relate: our home is basically organized constant chaos with wild boys, a busy baby, and sub-par homeschooling. In spite of these crazy times, I have truly felt a deep love for my children. I’d do anything for them, and I hope they always know they can count on me.I remember the first time I realized my child would fully depend on me. After the birth of our first son, Caleb, I was asked at the hospital, “Are you the one?” Am I which one? I wondered. The staff clarified, “Are you the one who will sign these forms stating you are responsible for the care and costs associated with Caleb?” In that single moment I was both in awe of this amazing little boy and feeling the weight of the greatest responsibility I’d ever had up to that point in my 25 years of life. Of course, I said ‘yes’ and signed the forms. That moment reminds me of the times we are in now.
Just as I had been asked if I was the one that would care for my son, I believe many are asking a similar question today. In these uncertain times, we quickly realize our weaknesses and the reality of how little we can actually control. This vulnerability can expose our need for a loving and capable heavenly Father. We’re compelled to look toward Jesus and ask, “Are you the one? Are you the one who will care for my needs and bear the costs associated with my life?” This question is especially significant right now, during this worldwide pandemic.
This is the same question that one of the boldest evangelists in the Bible, John the Baptist, asked Jesus after he had dedicated his entire life to proclaiming that Jesus was coming. He was trapped in prison on the brink of death, and in his humanness began to have doubts. He questioned if Jesus was who He claimed to be – the Son of God. So he asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” This may sound insulting, but I see it as a real and honest question. A similar question to what many of us may be asking right now. Are you the one, Jesus, or should we look somewhere else for hope and help? If you are anything like me, maybe there have been times in your life that you’ve looked other places only to be let down because any relief or contentment was only temporary.
What hope and confidence we can experience as we believe the words Jesus spoke to the messenger, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
The answer Jesus gave to John the Baptist is also an answer for you and me today! He is the one. Jesus is the one who can handle all of our cares and doubts, when nobody else can.
I can almost envision Him shouting back to my questions right now with such love and grace, “I am the one!”
Jesus Christ is the one yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is not a religious figure that we should fear asking our questions to. We can come before Him right now with all of our real struggles and ask, “Are you the one?” His answer is always “Yes, I am the one.”
Clarkston Campus Lead Pastor
Our Teaching Team will be sharing a church-wide devotional with you every week. Here is what Craig McGlassion wanted to share:
“But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.'” Genesis 50:19-20
One of the first times I was ever punched – I mean really punched: balled-up-fist, knuckles-to-the-face punched – I was in tenth grade and it was my sister’s fault!
For those of you wondering, NO, it wasn’t because shehit me! My sister was the popular one in high school and I was, well, not so much. More than once I had a friend (or a friend of a friend) try to get me to set them up with her on a date. Only one person ever threatened me if I didn’t, and eventually he made good on his threat. I’m not sure if it was the hit itself or the fact that my face bounced off the doorframe I was standing in, but I saw more stars than an astronaut. After the hit, he walked away without ever saying a word. And as soon as I could see straight, so did I.
2020 started off pretty typical, and for some it even started off really good.
Then, we got hit in the face.
Of all the people and all the stories in the Bible, almost no one gets as much detail, and ‘paper real estate’ as a man named Joseph. Joseph’s story is found in the first book of the Bible called Genesis and it spans from chapters 37 all the way to 50. The story that unfolds is a journey from carefree teenager to powerful world leader. What’s interesting though, is that the included details of Joseph’s life don’t focus on his rise to power so much as all the potentially devastating hits he took along the way. Hits that came from family, hits that came from strangers, hits that came from his career, and hits that came without warning. In a lot of ways, and for many years, Joseph’s life looked like a punching bag.
COVID-19 is swinging a right hook, and it’s hitting us in our marriages, jobs, finances, emotions, friendships, families, health, and the list goes on. For some of us our response to this hit may be the first half of Joseph’s words, the half that by itself leaves us hopeless, “you intended harm.”
Now listen, I know this situation is scary and the fist that hit us is BIG, and there is a lot of harm in its wake, but when all we feel is the hit, and all we see is the fist, then it’s no wonder so many of us end up devastated. What we also have to learn to feel and see is the hope that Joseph found in two words, “but God.”
Near the end of Joseph’s story in Genesis 50, is one simple verse where he shares an idea, a way of thinking, that was for him a deeply held belief. I believe it was part of his secret in facing hardship. What gave Joseph strength can give us strength too.
Genesis 50:19-20 reads, “but Joseph said to them, do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Joseph didn’t ignore the reality that there was harm against him, but his bigger belief was that God would use it. That belief not only allowed Joseph to withstand years of hits, he was actually transformed by them. Transformed into something and someone better – someone stronger.
It was a belief that no matter what life threw at him, God was in control, God had a plan, and that plan would result in good, both in his own life, and in the lives of people around him.
I just read this morning that currently 49% of all churches are experiencing growth. A month ago, the number of churches experiencing growth was only 8-15%! It’s an example that pain will never outdo the plans of God.
I believe that in our own lives we will see ways that God uses this harm for good and saving purposes. Don’t lose heart – God is, has always been, and will forever be in control. Somehow, in all things, no matter how harmful, God will birth something good. May that truth both comfort us and transform us, and those around us as well.
But God can use all things for good, and lives will be saved as a result!
Director of Church Planting
Clinton Twp. Campus Teaching Pastor
Our Teaching Team will be sharing a church-wide devotional with you every week. Here is what Ann Wilson wanted to share:
“YOU ARE MY HIDING PLACE and my shield; I hope in your word.” Psalms 119:114 ESV
Hide-and-go-seek used to be one of my favorite games growing up. There was such glee and anticipation of being found.
When I was four years old I was in an epic game. My uncle Ted was the seeker of all his nieces and nephews hidden somewhere in our spooky unfinished basement. My cousins hid me inside a dryer and shut the door tight, hoping I would be the last to be found.
I waited, and waited, and waited…to be found.
My anticipation turned to fear, and soon after, terror, as I began to realize no one was looking for me any longer, and in fact, I was forgotten.
These days of COVID-19 can feel like that. We can wonder if we have been forgotten or if God even sees us. Fear and anxiety can replace joy and peace.
I’m recognizing as an adult I still play hide-and-go-seek.
Although the adult version of the game has been changed to hide-OR-go-seek, because we now have a choice of either hiding in fear or seeking our Father in Heaven.
I’ve realized when I am fearful, stressed, worried or anxious…I GO HIDE!
But not always in good places. I have two very special places I tend to go to time and time again.
The first is inside a bag of salty tortilla chips with gooey queso. I mean, who doesn’t want to hide in there?
The other is an entire day lost in mindless Netflix binging because I don’t want to face the realities of life.
I’ve confessed mine. I’m wondering if you have your own secret spots.
Netflix binging, social media browsing, constant News updates, shopping, continually checking the stock market, porn, alcohol, drugs…
The list goes on and on, and some of these aren’t necessarily bad but when they become our hiding place they can become our idols and even addictions. We think these things can help us forget the pain, the stress, the fear, or the terror.
And let me be the first to say those hiding places don’t work!
Well maybe at first, I’ll admit, it does feel good to get lost in my chips. At least for the moment, but later I am so mad at myself. My fear and stress are now replaced by guilt and shame.
We are living in unprecedented times of fear and worry. There is no doubt that we all feel it.
But God is calling us out of our old hiding places into his presence.
When I hide in Him, the problems may not go away, but I am flooded with His unexplainable:
Let’s run to the Father so He can hide us and shield us. He is always the best place to hide. Let’s teach our kids how to hide in our Father’s arms. Maybe a great conversation with our family and friends is to ask each other where they hide when they’re stressed and worried.
Let’s help each other learn to run to the Father first.
When I was in that dryer as a four-year-old, do you know how I was finally found?
I yelled and I screamed for my dad or mom to find me because I couldn’t get out on my own.
They heard me, and they came, and rescued me.
Call out to your Heavenly Father!
Yell! Scream! or Whisper (yes, He hears those too).
He hears you and is there to rescue you. Talk to Him and tell Him all that you’re feeling.
Cast all your cares on Him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
We have a choice. We can either hide or go seek Our Father.
I’ll leave you with a song and a couple verses to soak in and seek Jesus.
“I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”
Psalms 17:6-8 ESV
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
Our Teaching Team will be sharing a church-wide devotional with you every week. Here is what Steve Andrews wanted to share…
Jesus said…”Do Not Worry”
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Since I was 16 and gave my life to Jesus, I have been taken by these words…”don’t worry”. Ever since I can remember, I’ve worried about everything, and all the time!!
Saying “don’t worry” is like saying “don’t breathe”, or “don’t rub your nose when it itches”. It’s impossible. To worry is to be human. And it’s a common, shared part of our existence.
But I’ve learned over time that Jesus means it when He says it. He wants us to make a shift to trust. Trust in Him. Trust that He knows us at the deepest level, cares for us beyond anything we can imagine.
And Jesus wants you to know that you are valuable, you are seen, and there is not one part of your life that He doesn’t care about.
Right now, our world is in a lockdown. Few people are “sowing or reaping or storing into barns.” We are more like birds than we ever have been. Our “productivity” is near an all-time low…but our value is at an all-time high. Our Heavenly Father, who sees the birds even when they fall, sees us. And loves us. And holds us close, tenderly and patiently. And we quiver and shake just like the birds. We are afraid of the big, wide world. We want to curl inwards and protect, and all the while Jesus is here!
We are not alone. We are safe with him in the unsafest of circumstances.
Jesus cares about you intimately; He says…
29″Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
I don’t have many hairs left to number on my head anymore, but you probably do. Jesus knows everyone. In ancient markets, two sparrows were worth a penny. But your Father knows every sparrow. Value and worth are yours in unlimited abundance because the Father sees you this way. You are known and loved!
So when you worry…..DON’T!!
Let the worry drive you back to the One who loves you and gave Himself for you (Ephesians 5:1-2).
I’m worrying even as I write this, and so I keep telling myself this message. “I’m valuable to My Heavenly Father. Jesus came for me. I’m seen and known and loved. No matter what happens I am under His care.”
And as I listen to what He says, my heart and my hands start to unclench. I begin to live freely in His presence, and free to love others, and free to give my life – and everything I am and have – because I belong to Him!
Co-founder & Lead Pastor
In these unfamiliar times if you have questions, need help, or you’d just like to talk to someone, please give us a call at 248-786-0600.
Our Campus Care Providers are ready and available to talk Monday through Friday between 9am-6pm, and we will listen, encourage, and connect you with help (if needed). Our goal at the Help Bank is to support people through the rough spots in life by sharing information and resources about our ministries at Kensington and those available in the community. Whether it’s talking you through a tough decision or providing your family with practical resources (or even a gift card for groceries), we’re here and ready to help.
We are hosting a live element each week at 7pm on our Instagram and Facebook in place of our Tuesday Night gatherings. Additionally, we’ll have video devotionals and content throughout the week for young adults to stay engaged with us on our social media!