Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What's My Story...Scott Biddle

Dear Friends,

As my family and I enter into our new journey with Christ here in Iowa, I am reflecting on my time at Orange Friends Church. Starting fresh in a new place is hard. It is especially hard in one area for us, missing our close friends and family. We are trying to get connected in a way that we can share our joys, hurts, and funny moments that no one else would really understand, except those few people that know you well.

I miss a lot of things about Orange, but the biggest part is the small groups that I participated in. I had the opportunity to develop some very close relationships in a "youngish" married group, worship team, and the youth group; not to mention the Orange Friends Church Bacon Team! It was in these small groups that I had the chance to dive into a connection with both Christ and people. There is something to be said to have someone to walk along side of you  when things are going great, but even more importantly when you are not sure where else to turn. 

I would encourage you to make time to join a small group. It is a life changer. God has designed the church to be a body of believers, and it is not any more apparent than in these small groups.

There are a few ways to get involved:
  1. Call the church office or look in the information display rack by the Welcome Center for info on current small groups.
  2. Start your own small group, which is what I did.  When I did not see a group that met the needs of me and my family, we began to look for others with similar interests and family style.
  3. Be a host home for a group. As a leader of a group, having someone else take this responsibility is awesome. We don't all have the gift of hospitality. 
Small groups are not just important for adults, but my kids met some great friends, and still hunger for that closeness. 

Thank you Orange Friends for being the Body of Christ to the Biddle family. And I would urge you to let them be the body to you and your family.

Scott Biddle 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Week 12, Day 4 Devotional

Day Four:

Read: Acts 22:1-30


1) Rather than getting angry with the Jews Paul sees their zealousness in wanting to obey God. Do you similarly show grace and try to see past peoples’ behavior and into their hearts?

2) Paul recounts how he used to be in the position of the zealous Jews, inciting the persecution of Christians. How has God turned your life around in similar fashion?

3) Why were the Romans afraid to flog Paul?

     a.  Because he was protected by God
     b.  Because it would incite a riot
     c.  Because he was possessed by a demon
     d.  Because he was a roman citizen

To Memorize:

The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.
Acts 22:14-15 (ESV)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Week 12, Day 3 Devotional

Day Three:

Read: Acts 21:17-40


1) When Paul tells James and the others what he has accomplished with his ministry how do they respond?

     a.  They call him a liar
     b.  They throw a party
     c.  They fall at Paul’s feet and worship Him
     d.  They praise God

2) Why are the Jews angry with Paul?

3) Who does the soldier think Paul is?

     a.  A thief
     b.  A Jewish priest
     c.  An Egyptian who recently led a revolt
     d.  A tax collector

To Memorize:

On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified God.
Acts 21:18-20 (ESV)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 12, Day 2 Devotional

Day Two:

Read: Acts 21:1-26


1) What does Agabus say will happen to Paul if he goes to Jerusalem?

     a.  He will be hanged
     b.  He will be stoned to death
     c.  He will be bound and jailed
     d.  He will convert many Jews

2) Are you willing to die for Christ like Paul?

3) How will you respond if God’s will for your life is different than what you envision for yourself?

To Memorize:

“What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Acts 21:13 (ESV)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 12, Day 1 Devotional

The Story of Us: Acts Chapter 21 - 22 (August 12 - August 18)

Day One:

In many respects, it is comical to think of Paul and his many encounters with the Jewish people. It seems as if he is almost constantly on the run after preaching in the synagogues. At first glance, it may even appear that Paul is a coward. Chapter 21 reveals that this certainly is not the case. While staying in Caesarea on his way to Jerusalem, a prophet named Agabus tells Paul that something bad will happen to him if he goes to Jerusalem. Despite pleas to change plans Paul does something astounding. He says that he is not only willing to go to jail but also to die for Christ in Jerusalem! Paul proclaims obedience even to death!

This prompted me to ask a question I try to ask myself periodically. Would I be willing to be obedient to Christ even unto death? It is a humbling question and the ultimate heart check. I say this because it reveals to you what your greatest treasure is and whether you truly believe what you say you believe. Do you truly believe that Christ is the best thing you can have? Are you only willing to follow Christ when things are easy? Do you want your will or God’s will to be done in your life? Paul certainly believed that Jesus was so beautiful that He was worth dying for (he was beheaded). Do you? Go with God and be at peace.
-Kyle Bogner

Friday, August 9, 2013

Week 11, Day 4 Devotional

Day Four:

Read: Acts 20:1-38


1) One of the biggest elements of Paul’s ministry was simply encouragement? How can you personally encourage others through you unique ministry?

2) Paul knows he will suffer for the gospel yet he is not afraid. Are you afraid to suffer for Christ? Has this fear crippled your service to the Lord?

3) Why is it more blessed to give than receive? Do you feel this way?

To Memorize:

“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”
Acts 20:22-24 (ESV

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Week 11, Day 3 Devotional

Day Three:

Read: Acts 19:21-41


1) Who started the riot at Ephesus

     a.  Artemis the Roman goddess
     b.  Demetrius the silversmith
     c.  The Jewish priests
     d.  The Christians at Ephesus

2) Why was the riot started?

3) What is the name of the goddess of the Ephesians?

     a.  Juno
     b.  Demeter
     c.  Artemis
     d.  Hera

To Memorize:

“And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods.”
Acts 19:26 (ESV)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

God Is Unchanging

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6


We have a propensity to anchor into shifting sand. Our jobs, finances, possessions, and even relationships with others are typical candidates for reliability. But, they all fall short. There is only One who can be that firm foundation, anchor in the storm, constant in the midst of inconsistencies. God is unchanging. He has been the same throughout all time. He is the same God in the Old Testament as the New Testament. In His consistency and reliability He has sent Jesus, the ultimate “good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). This provides continuous light and life into our lives. We can count on Him. We can rely on the God who is not moody, not tossed about by the culture; He is not moved by the ebbs, flows, and whims of an economic system or alternative worldview. His active character is our provision. We are not consumed by this mutable world due to His protective immutability. We are preserved.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week 11, Day 2 Devotional

Day Two:

Read: Acts 19:1-20


1) Why did Paul move on from preaching in the synagogue in Ephesus? How do you need to “move on from preaching in the synagogue” in your life?

2) Why did the demon not flee even after the sons of Sceva commanded him to come out in the name of Jesus?

     a.  Because he didn’t want to
     b.  Because he was too powerful
     c.  Because the sons of Sceva were not sincere in their faith in Jesus
     d.  Because Jesus had no authority over him

3) The times when you feel like you have failed the Lord do you think it may be because your trust in Him failed? In what areas are you lacking trust in Jesus?

To Memorize:

But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.
Acts 19:9 (ESV)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 11, Day 1 Devotional

The Story of Us: Acts Chapter 19-20 (August 5-August 11)

Day One:

One of my friends from college is doing an internship this summer in Dallas Texas with Texas Instruments (the calculator company). His roommate is an atheist and I remember my friend talking enthusiastically about the prospect of sharing his faith with his new roommate and fellow coworkers. After a couple of weeks on the job, this excitement waned to disappointment and confusion on how best to proceed. In my own hypocritical wisdom (it is hard to let things go when you really love someone) I explained to him that if his roommate/coworkers proceeded to mock his faith than it would be best to stop fueling their fire and stop sharing with them.

To back up my advice I would like to support it with three pieces of biblical evidence. The first comes from Acts chapter 19. When Paul was at Ephesus he experienced mocking from the Jews while he was speaking in the synagogue. Verse 9 says, “But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.” The second piece of evidence comes for Proverbs. Proverbs 26:4 says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.” Essentially this means don’t dignify someone who is being foolish with a response if that response will lead to further argument. My third piece of evidence comes from the ministry of Christ. Did Jesus ever sit and hold extended debates with the religious leaders of his time? I think you can easily answer this question yourself.

Once again, I feel like I need to add a disclaimer here. When I say that sometimes the correct thing to do in a situation is to not share your faith this is what I DON’T mean. I DON’T mean that you should neglect sharing your faith even with the knowledge the other person will likely reject it. As Christians we have a calling from God to share the gospel with everyone. What I am saying is that when someone rejects the gospel you should move on and avoid beating the proverbial “dead horse”. Also, you must understand that when I speak about sharing your faith I am talking in the specific sense (verbally sharing). No matter the circumstance, you should always share your faith in the general sense by living the Christian life commanded to you. Now, go with God and be at peace.

-Kyle Bogner