All Posts By

Wes Hodges

DAY 11 – DEEPEN MY WORSHIP

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Neena Ratner

““Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
Psalm 95:6 ESV”

When you think of worship, what comes to mind? Singing? Giving? Praying? These things are good things… and are in fact, acts of worship. But have you recently stopped and asked God to deepen your worship? Or have these things become routine? You step into church, sing some songs, give your tithe, and pray a short prayer. Has God ever challenged you to sing as if He’s the only one in the room? Has He put it on your heart to give above your tithe an abundant offering? Or to pray fervently- maybe even for someone who has wronged you?

Those things are not easy to do. But what if the Lord wanted to take you deeper? It’s helpful to understand that worship can be defined as 1. the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration or 2. Honor. When we worship God, what we’re saying is, “I revere You God… I respect You… I adore You… I honor You.” This should be the very reason we act in worship. When we Know God and see Him as the only One who’s truly worthy of worship… we will want to bless with the best gifts we could offer! 

ACTION STEP: I remember losing sight of the importance and dominance of worship… I had showed up late to church, was distracted, and became inattentive. I felt God speak to me in that moment, “You have carved out intentional time to worship me here at church and you don’t even take it.” I was so convicted. It was true. I decided right there I needed to deepen my worship. I needed to commit to remove the distractions, wake up early, be on time, and embrace the power of worshipping God! You may have private moments of worship when you’re alone or in the car, but don’t forget the public ones either where there’s accountability and community in worship gatherings. Show up!

PRAYER: Lord, I pray that we would deepen our worship of You. I pray when we sing, it would be filled with genuine joy to be in Your presence. I pray we wouldn’t be distracted, get complacent, or forget the power of worshipping You. I pray we would be still and Know You and recount the wonderful things You have done. “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” -Psalm 9:1 

DAY 10 – DEEPEN MY SURRENDER

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Vashawn Nash

““Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”LUKE 22:42 (ESV)”

Studies show that the development of ideas surrounding independence and possession begin taking shape in the earliest stages of childhood -even as early as two years old! Ever see a toddler find difficulty sharing? Or get frustrated not being allowed to do things they can’t see the danger in? Of course you have! 

Well even as an adult I find trouble at times letting go of things, or feeling like my independence is being infringed upon.

In the context of my relationship with God sometimes I identify with that toddler and find hardship with letting go of something that my heart has claimed ownership over.

On the soil of each of our hearts is fought a bloody and violent battle of wills; each power competes with the aim of conquering the land. In Luke 22 we get to see an amazing picture of what this “battle” looked like in Jesus‘s relationship with God the Father. The night before Jesus would be crucified He endured an unfathomable amount of stress concerning the events that would soon happen. Here was His dialogue with The Father: 

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.”LUKE 22:42 (ESV)

These words that Jesus spoke were a reflection of the love, trust, and humility He felt towards the Father. What does this “battle” look like in your relationship with God? In my life I’ve come to realize that total surrender is difficult! It’s a day-by-day endeavor, that is impossible apart from Gods help.

It’s only by the Holy Spirit that we are empowered with the ability to surrender daily to God.

In cooperation with the Spirit we should daily take on the responsibility to steward and cultivate our love for God, our trust in His word, and our humility towards Him. 

Doing this will secure that the expression of surrender to God in our lives will become increasingly greater.

ACTION STEP:

  • Prayerfully identify an area in your life that needs more surrendering, and reach out to a leader in our church for accountability and prayer concerning this area.
  • Listen to the song “ Have my Heart“ by Maverick city music
  • Listen to the song “God is good“ by Jonathan McReynolds

PRAYER: Loving, trustworthy and faithful Father, I desire to go deeper in my relationship with You through surrender. Lord conquer my heart and take for Yourself all of the things it has claimed ownership over: My time, my life decisions, my relationships, my resources and finances, my lifestyle, my career, my children, etc. Lord I humbly ask that You would grow my love, trust, and humility towards You so that the level of my surrender to You will be increasingly deepened. Let my heart echo Jesus’s words “Nevertheless let Your will be done”. In Jesus’s name…amen.

DAY 9 – DEEPEN MY COMPASSION

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Dorlisa McQuillan

““When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” - Matthew 9:36, ESV”

Many of us are familiar with the story of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:30-37 where a Priest passed by a man badly beaten on the road and did nothing, a Levite passed him by and did nothing, and finally a certain Samaritan came upon him and showed him compassion by binding up his wounds, putting him on his animal, took him to an inn, where he took care of him overnight and even left money for the innkeeper to continue to help him until he was better.  Then Jesus asks the question “Which of these three, do YOU think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  Funny how all three men “saw him”, but only one acted upon what he saw and moved with compassion.  

The word Compassion by definition is “sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others”.  Wow! That can sound like a tall order when you think of all the suffering and misfortune in the world, especially now, during this unprecedented time of enduring a worldwide pandemic.  Still, Jesus is asking us to “love your neighbor as yourself” and many times we are trying to justify our lack of action by asking back “who is my neighbor”?  

Our self-dependent culture has made us callous to look upon one another’s needs. We have replaced looking out among ourselves with looking down at our devices.  It’s even worse during this pandemic as our public directives are to stay away from each other and don’t touch.  Being compassionate can be messy, inconvenient, it may cost us time, energy or money.  Jesus is asking us to soften our hearts to one another, to complete strangers at times, and stretch ourselves beyond our boundaries and love our neighbors as ourselves.  Compassion doesn’t always require a “hand out”, sometimes a “hand up” is all they need to restore hope and press on.  

Can you imagine if EVERYONE helped take care of SOMEONE, by reaching down and lifting them up in some way, how much suffering and misfortune we could actually relieve and how much Jesus they would see?  Let’s be his hands, his feet, and see with his eyes the people who are suffering and misfortunate and act with compassion. 

ACTION STEP: Become intentionally aware of who God puts in your path.  Ask Him to open your eyes, to “see” the needs of others around you, and how you can help them.  No matter how small or how big the situation, ask him to show you what you can do to best represent Jesus to those in need. 

PRAYER: Lord, I’m thankful you saw me in my time of need and revealed your love and compassion through Jesus, who saved me.  Let people around me, and those you put in my path, see Jesus in me.  Open my eyes to see people and my heart to live compassionately, as the Good Samaritan, not holding back for myself, but freely extending a hand to the hurting, the misfortunate, and to those who are suffering.  In Jesus name, Amen!

DAY 8 – DEEPEN MY FRIENDSHIPS

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Wes Hodges

“A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24, ESV”

Let’s look at a couple of important words in this verse. The Oxford Dictionary defines friend as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection”.  In the last few years we have skewed the definition of “friend”.  With social media “friend” has become a verb.  We measure our friends by clicks, likes and number of followers; knowing almost nothing about these people. Further the definition of companion is “a person or animal with whom one spends a lot of time”.  If you spend a lot of time with someone that doesn’t mean you are a friend with that person.  In fact the Bible here says that we need to guard ourselves with whom we spend our time. People we call “friends” but really aren’t can make us vulnerable because their friendship and loyalty can change depending on circumstances.

A friend that sticks closer than a brother is very special.  Someone that remains loyal no matter what happens.  Someone who encourages, supports, helps, corrects and loves us.  For us to have such friends we must show that same friendship. I have been very fortunate through seasons of life to have some truly great friends.  But notice what I said there… through seasons of life.  While we can have great friends in our life there are life situations that occur where we no longer are close to those people.  We move, families grow, our time gets divided and sadly some of our friends pass away.  

However we have a friend as believers that is closer than a brother.  Jesus.  The Bible says Jesus is a friend of sinners and will never leave us or forsake us. Wow! We have Jesus as a model for how we should be a friend.  Lean into that model to deepen your friendships.

ACTION STEP: How many people would call you a 2AM friend?  That is someone they could call at 2AM and if they needed anything and you’d be there to help and support them.  Don’t take it for granted but today call someone and tell them you are their 2AM friend. Increase your level of friendship.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for being the perfect friend.  Thank you for the friends you have put into my life to make it better.  Lord I pray that you help me to be a better friend to the people you have put into my life.  Amen.

DAY 7 – DEEPEN MY COMMUNITY

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Mike Bussey

““And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." - Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV”

The word “encouraging” appears over 50 times in the New Testament. In the ancient world, the Roman army would gather for battle against a worthy and fearsome opponent. Having experienced the terrors of war, the men would surely be afraid. But just before the battle, an encourager would come and tell them that they were the most powerful and well-trained army in the world and that soon they would be home with their families enjoying the spoils of war. It reminds me of my high school football coach in the locker room before a big game. He would give us the pre-game speech, and then we would run out of the locker room, believing that we could conquer the world! He made us believe that together we could do anything! Ever been there?

This is what the author of Hebrews had in mind when he wrote this passage. Meeting together is so important, so needed. The daily gathering together of the early church, and the resulting sense of community that followed, was a defining characteristic of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.

Today that need is just as great for us as it was for them, and here is why. The Christian life is hard. It is, in many ways, a battle. It is easy to get discouraged. It is easy to get complacent. It is easy to think what we are doing will have no real impact on eternal things. But when we are together, we encourage one another to continue on. We encourage one another to love and to do good. It does matter! We need that. We need encouragement to keep fighting, keep serving, and to keep coming up with creative ways to love one another by letting the light of Christ shine through us. And the Day is quickly approaching when we will see the impact our serving has had on eternity.

ACTION STEP: Encouragement to encourage. Let me encourage you to encourage someone today. If you see someone straightening chairs, encourage them. If you see someone greeting people, encourage them. Tell them they are doing a great job, that what they are doing really is making a difference, that they were truly made for such a time as this!

PRAYER: Lord, thank you so much for the community that exists at WALK Church. Help me to go to church and to charge group every time I have an opportunity. And as I do, help me to look for someone to encourage this week. In Jesus’ name! Amen.

DAY 6 – DEEPEN MY TRUST

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Kinsey Minter

““Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” - Proverbs 3:5, ESV”

When we are not sure how to manage challenges or have unknown endings, we tell ourselves, “Trust the Lord”. But trusting the Lord is easier said than done, and I find myself asking, “How do I do that, how do I surrender and genuinely trust the Lord with my heart and mind?” 

1 Thes 5:16-18 says, ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ We can rely on this scripture when we are searching for God’s will over our lives as we wrestle with the unknown.  So how can we get our heart to catch up with our mind? Rejoice, pray, and give thanks to the Lord for all that He has already done and what He will do. When we use our mind to praise God for being holy and sovereign, our heart will believe that He is worthy of our trust. Our circumstances become so small when we acknowledge how big our God is! 

Our trust in God doesn’t come automatically when you decide to follow Christ. Every day we are faced with new circumstances, that when we trust God to see us through it, our faith is strengthened. 

ACTION STEP:
What do you need do you need to trust God with? 

Read Philippians 4:4-7 and listen to, “Desert Song”

Speak out loud to the Lord so that your heart can hear what your mind is saying. Profess that you will trust the Lord with any outcome and praise Him through it. 

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray that you would deepen my trust in you. You are sovereign and worthy of my trust. You are for me and not against me. Allow me to accept that your thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and your ways are higher than my ways. You are a God who is worthy to be praised and my difficult circumstances should not stop me from praise and thankfulness. In Jesus name, amen.

DAY 5 – DEEPEN MY WALK IN PURITY

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Kristen Gibbons

“"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. - Matthew 5:8, ESV”

Jesus and his disciples were traveling teaching the gospel to many.  This particular time, Jesus took his disciples up on a hillside to talk to them directly.  You see, being close to such a popular man as Jesus gave the disciples a sense of importance and power.  Jesus saw an opportunity to teach them to be wary of temptations they will face because of their associations with Him.

The beatitudes were written to remind us what is to be fulfilled in Heaven and how to live as followers of Jesus while on earth. 

Matthew 5:8, speaks directly our purity.  Purity can sometimes feel and be one of the hardest things to remain in control of.  To be “pure in heart”, is a whole body, mind and heart mentality.  Yes, your body needs purity of sexual sins that are so easily entrapping. Yes, your mind needs to think of others and their needs with pure thoughts and motives. Yes, your heart needs to flow with purity in the way it feels towards oneself and other people who wrong you.

But, why? Why did Jesus choose purity? Why does it have to be so important? Jesus came to earth, not for himself, but for everyone else.  By Jesus choosing to live a pure life, choosing to be a servant, choosing to take ridicule, choosing to be sexually pure, choosing to forgive again and again, He not only paved a way for us to know how to live but He paved a way for us to live with Him forever in Heaven.  If Jesus had not chosen a pure heart, then he could not have died on the cross for our sins. 

So what does that mean for us? If we want other people to see Jesus through what we do and think, then we have to choose to go deeper and choose the life Jesus lived.  We must strive everyday to choose a pure heart because when we do, those we’re with at work, school, and the park will see and experience Jesus through us. 

ACTION STEP: Search your body, mind and heart for those impure moments.  Don’t shy away from them.  Own them, because you are a sinner.  Know that it’s ok. Pray your most honest prayer to the Lord and express to him everything about that sin. Don’t leave out any detail. Tell Jesus, what your heart truly desires when it comes to purity.  

PRAYER: Thank you Jesus for choosing purity every day you were on earth.  Thank you for never expecting us to be perfect.  Thank you for knowing we would need reminders in your Word of how difficult but worth following you would be.  Thank you for the deepest fulfillment you have prepared for us in Heaven and know that we want to choose You in every moment of every day.  We love you, Amen.  

DAY 4 – DEEPEN MY PRAYER LIFE

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Melissa Diep

““And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” - Mark 1:35, ESV”

Jesus taught, preached, healed, spent time with his disciples, traveled, cast out demons and so much more! Jesus did so much but we also see in this verse that Jesus was very intentional about making time with God. Jesus would wake up early in the morning, while it was still dark, he went to a quiet place to pray.  

Personally, waking up early is not convenient. On days when I wake up early, it is often times to prepare or get a head start on my to do list. As a first time mom, my to do list is never ending. I am wired to be on work mode. From the minute I wake up my flesh desires to run through my to do list. It takes so much discipline to quiet my mind and heart to seek the Lord first and start my day with him. In my hunger to grow in my prayer life I’ve created a prayer journal where I can pour out my praise, my prayer requests to the Lord. Some prayers are short while other entries may be a couple pages longer. I’ve prayed for myself, for others, prayed big bold prayers and prayed some smaller prayers. As I flip through the prayers in my prayer journal I have gone back to highlight all the answered prayers and seen how God has worked through my life and the lives of others. When I am intentional about committing time and space to pray and converse with the Lord I find that my personal relationship with Him grows deeper. In being busy I can accomplish a few things but when I am still and pray I see God doing more than I ever can in a lifetime! 

ACTION STEP: Sacrifice time to wake up early this week to intentionally pray and seek the Lord. If you are up for it, I challenge you to create a prayer journal and take the time to write out your praise and prayer requests daily. Every now and then, flip through your prayer journal and interact with God. Be sure to give Him thanks as he answers prayers and praise him for prayers that He hasn’t answered.

PRAYER: Father, I am so grateful that you want to have a personal relationship with me. Father, I am so grateful that we can communicate with you through prayer. Forgive me Father, for those times that I have been lukewarm in my prayers. Help me, Father that I may grow in my conversations with you through prayer. 

DAY 3 – DEEPEN MY JOY

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Ryan Ivy

““These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” - John 15:11, ESV”

From the time we are born, we are always seeking to find what makes us happiest in the moment. We often don’t care if that thing is good for us or not as long as it makes us happy. I see it in my one year old that always resorts to crying crocodile tears if he doesn’t get to play with the knife I’m using. Over the years, I have searched for happiness in relationships, money, sports, food, and many other things just to be let down by them. However, John 15 holds the key to what I have always been looking for. 

John 15:11 comes in the context of Jesus talking about God being the vine and us being the branches. The only way for our joy to be full is through connection to the vine. God will never let us down like the things of this world and He will always exceed your expectations. To find true joy and happiness is to find Jesus and to spend every single day of your life growing your relationship with him.

ACTION STEP: Memorize Romans 15:13 this week to help increase your joy. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

PRAYER: Lord, help us to find our joy in you. I pray that we would be so filled that with Joy that fit would be contagious to others. Thank you for being the ultimate source of joy. Help us deepen our joy in you every single day.

DAY 2 – DEEPEN MY FAITH

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Tim Diep

““And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” - Hebrews 11:6, ESV”

Going “deeper in our faith” is a topic that can give many of us anxiety. The fear of stepping into the unknown can definitely make you uncomfortable, and even cause many to turn back. One question that I have for you is, have you recently thought about or taken any steps toward bold faith? Whenever I think of faith, I think of action. For example, God might be calling you to do something you have never done before. This happened to me recently. My wife and I took one of our boldest faith actions early in 2020. We felt the calling from God to leave our family and friends behind to pursue ministry in Las Vegas! Life was good, and we were about 2 months pregnant with our first baby when we decided to move out. I had lived in CA for the majority of my life and we knew absolutely no one in Las Vegas. We just knew that this city was often defined by sin and that many people were far from Jesus. We felt the calling from God to move out here to make a difference wherever needed, but we just didn’t know exactly what that meant. 

For the first few months, it seemed as if life was on pause. There was no movement at all, but we kept praying and thanking God in advance for community, a home church, and for God to use us for his Kingdom. Fast forward to 2021, we found community, we call WALK Church our home, and we are placed in different areas to serve not only the church but the city. We are still early in our journey in Las Vegas and we thank God for whatever else is yet to come! Who knows what God might call us to do next?

ACTION STEP:
“If you thank God after you’ve got it, that’s gratitude. When you thank him in advance, that’s called faith.” – Rick Warren

It may be hard for some of us to go straight to the deep end with our faith. A good starting point would be to count all the things God has done for us, big and small. Count at least 10 things in your life that you are grateful for. For example: a roof above your head, hot food, the ability to breathe, etc. By faith, identify the hand of God throughout your life.

Listen to “God of Justice” from Tim Hughes. It’s a great song to meditate on and will help you be inspired in your faith journey.

PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for all the great things you have done – for health, for peace, and for bold faith. I pray that I would take action to do whatever you call me to do. Thank you for the opportunities that will arise, and I pray that you use me to expand your Kingdom. Amen.