40 Days - Day 35

Many times throughout the Bible, we as Christians are told to have faith: “be faithful in Christ,” “faith, hope and love,” faith, faith, faith. Quite frankly, I’m sick of faith. Faith does nothing for us. In fact, I’d bet my salvation that God doesn’t want us to have faith. Now before you say anything to that and dismiss what I have to say as the delusional writings of a madman, ask yourself what faith is.

Seriously. Do it.

I can wait.

Now that you have done that, I would be willing to bet that you said something that I have heard many times before; or maybe meant to say but couldn’t verbalize it. I know I couldn’t. Did you tell yourself, or lead yourself to think that faith is a wish? That faith is merely a whim of hope, a psychological reassurance or desire that something could come, and by having faith, you are merely taking an optimistic stance?

If you know me at all, you know that I love to debate people, especially in the category of religious thought. Just recently, I was in a debate with a pair of Mormons, and I was doing very well compared to other encounters. I would ask a question, and after giving my problems with their religion a thought, they would always respond with: “Well…we just have to have faith.”

I received that exact answer a good four or five times before I asked them the same, mind-boggling question that I posed for you. I said, “You have mentioned several times that you need faith, but how do you define faith?” I gave him a few minutes to stand in dumbstruck silence before I answered for him.

What is faith? The world has told us to believe that faith IS a whim, a hope for something that could not conceivably become. The Bible teaches otherwise. Here is an example of what I’m saying. Though not all of you are 18, let’s assume that you are going to buy a lottery ticket with a friend. You can walk into the store and tell your friend that you have faith that you will win. What kind of faith is that?!? That is the worldly definition of faith, a sheer hope that you will win with that lottery ticket. That is simply a hope grounded in no evidence or reason for thinking so. The world has taught us that is what having faith means. As Christians, we shouldn’t buy into that garbage.

Now we will recreate that same scene with one minor change. You now have x-ray vision. If you go up to the counter and see through the ticket before you buy it, how would you describe saying that you have faith that you will win? I would say that it’s pretty certain that you would have Biblical faith in your winnings. What does that mean?

Since you have seen through your card to determine that you do indeed have a winner, you can tell your friend that you do not have faith that you will win, but instead you have an active trust that you will win based on your power of observation. That is the kind of faith that God desires of us - ACTIVE TRUST. We cannot simply walk around proclaiming ourselves to be Christians, saying that we have faith that Jesus rose from the dead. Instead, the world will misinterpret that meaning of faith, and Christianity will be dismissed as “just another whim.” So if, instead of faith, we go around practicing active trust, we will begin to realize what it is that makes genuine Christian faith different from that of everyday faith.

I was once told by my dad, “God can move mountains, but you had better bring a shovel.” What does this quote mean to us? I think it means exactly what I am trying to say regarding the nature of faith. We can have faith that God will move the mountain for us, but we must be willing to work for Him and do His will. If we do not have that active trust that He will do it, then our faith is as useless as wishful thinking, and we will end up trying to move that mountain under our own earthly power, which won’t be happening anytime soon.

Andrew Hayslip


40 Days - Day 34

Hello! My name is Jackie Peterson. Most of you probably don't know me very well, and I would love to get to know you. I have just recently devoted myself to Christ! It's one of the best and most difficult things of my life. I find it hard each day to deal with peer pressure from cursing to skipping class, but the one thing that has kept me sane is that I read a verse of Scripture each morning. As I started to read the Bible, I came to find this verse. It says,

"Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light" (Micah 7:8 TNIV).

To me, this verse means that what I have done in the past is past and what I have learned determines my future.So don't judge me for my mistakes. Help me learn from them. I will admit that I have my fair share of "bad" stuff,but along with it, I have figured out who I am! And that's the way I look at it. If people judge you because you screwed up once or maybe more, then you need for them to get to know the real you. I'm not saying go do something bad and you will learn from it. I'm saying that you should be who you are and stay true to yourself!Thank you all for what you do, and I hope you have a great day.

Love always,
Jackie Peterson


40 Days - Day 33

Psalm 136:1-2 (NLT)

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever."

How often do we pray for something and receive what we wanted but not give God the credit that He deserves? How often do we overlook God when He does something mighty? Can it really be that we are too caught up in our day-to-day lives that we don’t see what God is doing around us and thank Him for our many blessings? For months people in our youth group have been praying for a revolution and for unity to occur within our youth group; it is finally beginning to happen. Slowly but surely it is happening. We are becoming a family again. A family that is passionate for God. A family that thanks God for all He has done in our lives. A family that knows we can get through anything if we lean on Christ and seek guidance in each other. I pray that we continue to grow stronger and closer as a family in Christ and that we never forget to thank Him for granting our prayers. I pray that through this Winter Retreat we will fully remember how awesome our God truly is, and an urgency will ignite within all of us to live our lives completely for Christ. I pray that we don’t have a “camp high,” but our ignited flame will grow more and more as we continually search for His will and truth.

Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”

Even though we go through hard times and many trials, I pray we pull together as a family who isn’t afraid to go to their brother or sister in Christ to ask for help or prayer. I pray we become the youth group I know we can be: one that is overflowing with Christ’s love and loves each and every member of the youth group. One that is not afraid to be passionate followers of God. One that has something special so that when visitors come they see something in us that other youth groups don’t have, an unexplainable bond.

In His Loving Arms,

Katie Webb


40 Days - Day 32

Romans 12:12 says, "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" NIV.

Father, we do have hope. Thank You for the hope You have given us. Give us patience as we seek You in all of our daily trials at home, in school, in our families, in our friendships, in our work relationships, etc. Go before us to Winter Retreat because we want it to be all about You. We love You and trust You in everything!


40 Days - Day 31

Hello all you lovelies! Well, I am not very good at verbalizing things as many people know, but I am going to share some of my life and the Word with you.

I wake up nearly every morning knowing that the choices I’ve made in my life are VERY real to my past, present, and future. There are some things I’ve done that will not be undone, and the consequences of which haunt me continuously. I’m sure tons of people feel this way; it’s probably not too uncommon. Something I am told often in church is that I just have to have that BLIND FAITH and lay all of my mishaps at the feet of God. I have learned to do this at times, but it is sooo hard for me to let go of some of my burdens. That is my confession. I started relying on many different drugs and substances to keep me feeling "good" almost every day starting in my 8th grade year, and those things were the only relief from reality that I knew until about my junior year in high school. When I came to know Christ later that year, my heart felt like it was meant to be taken from my chest and given to all of the people whom I love, and that was something I felt most anxious to do. However, I couldn’t understand the true gift of God because of all the times I had gotten drunk or completely blitzed being tied too tightly to me; I had tied them too tightly to me. I don’t know why I couldn’t understand that these sins, these experiences, these choices....were Christ's now, and even today I struggle with giving them to Him. Anyway, my heart is for other people, and I want to be the best worldly example of Christ’s love for them that I can be. Yet, it’s not usually easy. So, when I was in Kosova, one of the Americans I was there with saw some of my heart and gave me this:

"So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong" Hebrews 12:12-13 NLT.

Father God, sin and temptation have tried to make us weak. We have been led astray from the path that You have laid out and sometimes wander like lost animals, but I pray that You will lead us back to that path whenever we need it. Father, please strengthen our hearts and our bodies and be our living compass. With You showing us the way, there’s no doubt that we can find our way from any place or situation!!! Let us love each other like there is no tomorrow; let us offer our hands to those who are broken and our hearts to those who can’t find theirs. God You are so loving, so fair and so unbreakable, and You are forgiveness. Be in our hearts constantly and prepare us for what You have in store for this Winter Retreat. We love You Father, in Jesus' name.

Love you all, be with God always, and have a great week!!!
Chris Garmon


40 Days - Day 30

Revelation Song: by Jennie Lee Riddle

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain

Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Wow! Seriously, this song has resonated in my head ever since the Sunday morning service. I have heard it several times before, but for some reason, the track just keeps playing over and over again - a chorus of praise to our King! Look at what the song proclaims Him to be and records our response:

He is:
heaven's mercy seat,
the Lord God Almighty
who was, and is, and is to come...

He is:
King of Kings,
the sender of rainbows,
a voice of thunder,
the only wise King...

He is:
living water,
marvelous mystery,
holy, holy, holy!

We will:
bless and honor,
be filled with wonder!

Father, You truly are everything, and we entrust Winter Retreat to You. We thank You for who You are in each of our lives... We are excited about the journey with You and what is to come!


40 Days - Day 29

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV.

Our sense of smell is the most memorable sense of all. God's Word declares Christ as a fragrant offering and sacrifice. Indeed, this should be the most memorable event of all! Christ did not just save us from our sins; He also saved us from God's wrath.

John 3:36 says, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

Father, help us imitate You and love one another just as we have been dearly loved. Continue to pursue us and reveal Your love for us. I pray we each remember the fragrant offering and sacrifice of Your precious Son: a sacrifice which spared each of us from Your wrath. We praise and thank You! You are worthy of all praise and honor. Send Your Spirit before us and with us to Winter Retreat. Teach us Lord what it is to be like You to each other. We love and adore You!