Caleb Hester

Christ Follower. Husband. Student/Worship Pastor.


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And It Was So. [new post]

We just started a 6-week Bible Reading Plan with our student ministry and today was the first day. Our reading today was Genesis chapters 1 and 2.

As I was reading this morning in Genesis 1 about the creation of the heavens and earth, I really zeroed in on the fact that when God made something, there were only 2 steps in the process. He spoke it, And It Was So. There are 6 times in the NIV that it read, “And it was so.” All of those following something that God spoke. How powerful! God spoke and it happened. He spoke a word and there was existence, there was light, there was oxygen, there was earth, grass, trees, animals, human beings…

From the beginning of time, God has been speaking and each time He speaks, there is always a “And It Was So” moment.

As I was thinking about that this morning, I just felt like maybe someone needed to be encouraged today. You’ve been praying about some things and wondering if it will ever come to pass and the Lord wants you to know that in due time, you are going to come into a “And It Was So” moment or season and what you’ve been seeking God about is going to come to pass. Maybe you’re a mother that’s been praying for that prodigal son to come back home or maybe you’re a spouse trying to endure a broken marriage and wondering if it will ever work out again; maybe you’re in a season where things are not going well at your job and your future is uncertain; maybe you are feeling discouraged, defeated, depressed, anxious and hopeless. Maybe you feel like you’ve prayed so much you don’t know what to pray anymore and not sure if you have anything left to even keep praying.

If I can encourage you today, don’t give up. In due time, you are going to come into a “And It Was So” season and all those things you prayed and prayed about and weren’t sure if God was even listening, it will come to pass.

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Keep sowing seeds and keep being obedient to God and He will take care of the outcome.

Psalms 126:5-6 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

You are coming into your “And It Was So” season. Don’t quit.

God bless and have a great day!

 

 

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Hit A Knee! Hit A Knee! [new post]

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Have you ever stopped to take a deep breath and felt like an 18-wheeler trying to stop on a dime?

That’s when you know it’s time to hit a knee.

I remember when I played football in high school, at the end of practice, after all of our drills and conditioning and everything planned for the day, the coach would blow the whistle quickly, three times in a row. That meant all eyes were to find the coach where ever he was and run to him, and once the whole team was huddled up around him, he would say, “Hit a knee! Hit a knee!” Hot, sweaty and breathing hard, most times it was tough to stay still and catch our breath while hitting a knee. But hitting a knee had a purpose. At the end of each day, it was very important for us to hit a knee and focus our eyes on the head coach to hear what his final words to us would be. He would encourage us, tell us what went well or maybe what didn’t go so well. He would tell us what we needed to work on and give us further instructions. Most importantly, he would tell us that he was proud of us and that we would get better.

Just as it is very important for a football team to hit a knee in front of the Head Coach at the end of the day, so it is for us to hit a knee before God each day in the game of life.

In the game of life, God is our Head Coach. Just as the Head Coach of a football team wants all eyes on him in the huddle at the end of the day, God wants us to hit a knee at the end of each day and take some time to focus our eyes and attention on Him.

Sometimes we get so busy with life, with our plans, with our jobs, relationships, hobbies, things, etc…… that we forget the vitality of hitting a knee at the end of each day to catch our breath and talk with our Head Coach and the most important person in our lives, Jesus Christ.

I’m not talking about the quick, five minute prayers we pray throughout the day, or even when we’re praying while driving down the road in the car. Don’t hear me wrong! Those are great and important and God hears those prayers! I do that all the time!

However, there’s a difference in talking briefly with the Lord throughout the day and hitting a knee before Him and spending some quality time listening to what He has to say. In fact, I would even say that it’s better to hit a knee at the beginning of our day. I think it’s important for us to hit a knee at the start and end of each day. We need this time. It’s not only a time for God to encourage us, but a time for Him to give us instruction, guidance, direction, counsel, clarity, vision and even correction.

Perhaps we shy away from hitting a knee before God because we’re afraid of what He wants to correct in our lives, jobs, relationships, ministries?

Let me encourage you today. Don’t be afraid. There’s some big differences between earthly football coaches and Divine Coach Jesus.

Whereas some coaches may play favoritism, God doesn’t play favoritism. He loves us all unconditionally and He wants the best for our lives. He longs for a personal relationship with ALL and I can bet you that He longs for us to hit a knee before Him each day. He’s waiting for us each morning and evening hoping that we will take some time to come hear what He anxiously wants to tell us.

If you’re stressed, tired, weary, worried or discouraged today and you feel heaviness on your shoulders and chest as you try and take a deep breath, let me remind you to Hit A Knee. You won’t regret the time you spend with the Lord and I’ve also found that hitting a knee is spiritually like taking a deep breath. I’ve found that when I’m under pressure, hitting a knee is like getting a fresh breath of air or a second wind. God always breaths on me and enlightens me when I hit a knee before Him.

Hit A Knee today and ask God to restore the joy of your salvation, your peace and your happiness. We cannot live off of the joy, peace and happiness that the world offers. God is our joy, peace, happiness and strength.

Hit a knee and ask God to make you new today. That’s His specialty! He is the Master of Making People New.

Hit A Knee!


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His Plan. His Purpose. His Power. [new post]

I was thinking today on 2 Key Words: PROCESS and PURPOSE. Isn’t it so humbling when we get frustrated sometimes through the PROCESS of the different seasons in life to remember that our life, our calling and our job is not about OUR PURPOSE. It’s all about HIS PURPOSE. When we think to ourselves, “What is MY PURPOSE in being here?”, I imagine God laughing and saying, “Your purpose in being here is for my purpose.” Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the prolonging of the process and we forget that it’s not about our purpose, but His. In fact, Proverbs 16 verse 32 states, “It is better to be PATIENT than POWERFUL; it is better to have SELF-CONTROL than to conquer a city.” There are also 4 verses in this same chapter that mention the plan of God prevailing over the plan of man. Proverbs 16 verse 1 says, “We can make our own PLANS, but the Lord gives the right answer.” Proverbs 16 verse 3 says, “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your PLANS will succeed.” Proverbs 16 verse 9 says, “We can make our own PLANS, but the Lord determines our STEPS.” Proverbs 16 verse 33 says, “We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” Also, if you go back to Proverbs 16 verse 4, you’ll find that it says, “The Lord has made EVERYTHING for His own PURPOSES.”

So why the prolonging of the process? Perhaps God is teaching you patience in the prolonging of the process so that you will have the character to know how to handle the power He’s going to give you in order for you to fulfill His ultimate purpose for your life.

The continual process of our lives is all about submitting our plans and efforts to God’s control. It’s about getting to the place where we realize that everything belongs to Jesus and everything is in His control. Yes I know that sounds like the cliche Sunday school response, “OOOOO OOOOO, I know the answer! Jesus!!” But it’s true: The answer to life is in submitting our hearts to Jesus. It’s His plan, His purpose, His power. When we submit our hearts to God’s plan, purpose and power, our path is sure and our potential is unlimited.


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Look Ahead! [new post]

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Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

Do you ever find yourself getting frustrated at the smallest things? I do!

It has become very aware to me that so many times I get really frustrated by the smallest things that don’t even matter. Today I found myself having one of those frustrated moments, but this time it was different. This time it turned into a Holy Spirit teaching moment.

One of the tiny things that tends to frustrate me is when I’m driving down the road and I look in my rear view mirror to see someone riding my bumper. For some reason, at times it just frustrates me so much. Today I found myself looking in my rear view mirror again as someone was riding close behind me even though I was going the speed limit. However, this time it was different. When I started to get frustrated, it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered to me and said, “Just don’t even pay attention to the car behind you. Don’t even look in your rear view mirror. Why are you looking in the rear view mirror in the first place?”

As I listened to the Lord, suddenly a calm swept over me and I thought to myself, “Wow! Why do I even look in my rear view mirror? I’ve spend so much time looking in the rear view mirror while I’m driving. But why? It’s not necessary.” As I rested in the calm that swept over me and allowed the Lord to use my frustration as a teaching moment once again, I quickly realized that there’s a sermon in this! Some of us spend so much of our lives looking in every direction except straight ahead. We spend so much time looking to the left, looking to the right and looking in the rear view mirror. Yet, we wonder why we are never happy, always negative and always down in the dumps. If you spend the majority of your life fixing your eyes on the past and on the people in the lanes next to you, you will never be content with the person God has called you to be and the life He has called you to live. Take some time right now and think of some people in your life who are always mad, always down in the dumps, always unhappy, and always negative. If you examine their lives, you’ll most likely find the reason that they are the way they are is because they spend all their time looking in the rear view mirror and looking around at what everyone else around them is doing.

It’s time for us to stop looking to the left and to the right and comparing ourselves with how other people look, how other people talk or how other people do life. It’s time for us to stop spending so much time looking in the rear view mirror dwelling on what’s behind us. Forget about it! Drop it! Let it go! What’s done is done! What’s behind you is behind you for a reason. If you spend all your life constantly looking in the rear view mirror, you will never be who God has called you to be and you will never get to the place God is calling you to go. God has more for you! He has another level He wants to take you to, but you’ll never get to the next level by looking at the level behind you.

Therefore, I challenge you today: From this day forward, let us look STRAIGHT AHEAD ONLY, not looking to the left or to the right, not looking behind us in the rear view mirror and let us fix our eyes on what lies ahead of us, not allowing tiny little things to frustrate and sidetrack us from the plan that God has in store for us. Those tiny things that are frustrating you are actually distractions from the enemy because his goal is to get you sidetracked so that you will be ineffective for the Kingdom of God. So, let us not allow the tiny things to hold our attention. Instead, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and on the things that lie ahead. He has great plans for your future!

LOOK AHEAD!


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The Cost of Following Jesus [new post]

Recently as I’ve been praying about future decisions regarding the next season in my life, I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on what God has done in my life, where he’s brought me, and even looking back at risks I didn’t take that could’ve been missed opportunities.

In this time of reflection I began to look over the next lesson that I would be discussing with my small group students. As I began reading the lesson, I quickly realized the simplicity and practicality of its message. It’s a lesson I’ve been taught all of my life, from the time I was just a young kid in Sunday School: The Call to Follow Jesus. Here were the passages I read from:

Mark 1:16-20 (NLT)
16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18 And they left their nets at once and followed him. 19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20 He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.

Luke 9:57-62 (NLT)
57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

But this time when I read about the call to follow Jesus, it was different. The light bulb inside was turned on and suddenly I realized the reality of the cost of following Jesus. When Jesus called the disciples, they dropped everything and followed immediately. But with the two men in the passage in Luke, it was different. The first man agreed to follow Jesus, but said first let me go home and bury my father. The second man agreed to follow Jesus, but said, first let me say bye to my family. Jesus responded by saying, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

At that point, it was as if the Lord was saying to me, “You see what I mean? Do you get it now?” Immediately I was convicted, but I said yes, I understand now Lord.

So what’s my point? My point is that the cost of following Jesus is everything. It costs you everything to follow Jesus and before you make any promises to God and boldly, wholeheartedly commit to anything, you need to make sure you understand the seriousness of what you’re doing? This is not an attempt to discourage you from following Jesus or to discourage you about living for Jesus, at all! That would be foolishness! Living for God and following his call on your life is the greatest choice you could ever make! It truly is hitting the jackpot! It’s everything you want and need, and more!

I’m simply saying, we must be aware of the cost of following Jesus and if we want to be who God has called us to be, go where he’s calling us to go, and do the incredible things he’s calling us to do, we’ve got to be willing to completely surrender everything to him. The Lord is looking for a generation that sings, I give myself away!

The Lord is saying, in order to follow me you must be willing to leave your family, your friends, and everything that is comfortable and familiar. You may even have to move to a community that’s new to you and you’re not familiar and you know no one there and you feel all alone. That’s where the true test of your faith in God comes. A true follower of Jesus must say, Lord I’ll follow you even if it’s just me and you.

The joy of following Jesus is knowing that God is our reward and that we truly aren’t alone. Living for Christ may be lonely at times, but it’s not lame. Living for Christ is a life of joy, peace, happiness, and abundance!

Following Jesus costs you your life, but it’s worth it because Jesus is your life!

Be aware of the cost, but acknowledge the giver of life.

Once you’ve counted the cost, put your hand to the plow, don’t look back, don’t give in, never give up, and follow Jesus with all of your heart. He won’t lead you astray and he’ll never fail your or forsake you.

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You Are What You Produce [new post]

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Wise words will win you a good meal, but treacherous people have an appetite for violence. (Proverbs 13:2 NLT)

When I first read this verse, my natural instinct directed my thoughts strictly to food. But I was thinking out of context. I’m thinking, “Oh! Wise words can get me a free meal! I’m down for free food anytime!” There’s your Laugh Out Loud moment for the day.

When I looked this verse up in the commentary, what I found was very intriguing! Don’t you just love how the Word of God is beyond surface level!When you actually dig into it, there’s depth in the Word of God and the deeper you go, the greater the treasure.

So as I looked it up, I realized that this verse is talking about the fruit of our lives, being in direct relation with the health of our hearts. A fruit can look good on the outside, but taste horrible. If it’s rotten on the inside, it’s no good, and eventually it will show on the outside. It’s the same way with our lives. If our hearts are right and we desire to help others and the fruit of our words and actions benefits others, then it will also bless us. However, if we have no desire to help others, and we have begun to sow harmful thoughts, mischief, and violence in our hearts, then the fruit of our words and actions, though they may look delicious, will be harmful to others. And as a result, in return, we will eat what we have produced.

That’s what this verse is talking about. When it says wise words will win you a good meal, it’s saying that the fruit of your heart will also be your daily bread. So, the fruit that your life produces for others to eat, you also will eat in return.

Treacherous people on the other hand are those that look delicious, but have corrupted and are rotten on the inside. The second part of the verse says that the treacherous (meaning deceitful, unfaithful, untrustworthy, unreliable) have an appetite for violence. This is because the fruit they produce is rotten and harmful. When a person’s heart is corrupt or unhealthy, it does not produce good fruit. Therefore, in return, because they produce bad fruit, they have acquired an appetite for bad fruit.

Look at what Matthew 12:37 says:

The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matthew 12:37 NLT)

What you brew, you will drink. What you speak, you will eat.

As the fruit of your life is, so the food you eat will be.

What kind of fruit have you been producing?

What kind of fruit have you been eating?

If it’s not good fruit, then go back an asses your roots. In what is your heart and life rooted? You must be rooted in Christ in order to produce healthy fruit. If you are rooted in Christ, how much so?

The stronger the roots, the better the fruits.


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Hope is alive [new post]

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Some of us have lost hope because we’re constantly searching for hope in dead places. But according to God’s Word, there is only one hope. His name is Jesus. He is alive. He is the hope that will not put us to shame but will bring to pass everything according to his purpose, his plan, and his timing. If we hope in Christ rather than hoping in things down here below, we will not be disappointed. In fact, Psalm 146:6 below says we will experience true happiness. 

Job 8:11-13

11 “Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh?
    Can marsh grass flourish without water?
12 While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut,
    they begin to wither more quickly than grass.
13 The same happens to all who forget God.
    The hopes of the godless evaporate.

Psalm 146:5

But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God.

Hebrews 6:18-20

18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. 20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

2 Corinthians 4:18

18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Romans 8:20-25

20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

Psalm 71:5

O Lord, you alone are my hope.
    I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.

Jeremiah 17:7

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

Isaiah 41:10

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 40:31

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.

Romans 15:13

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

These are just a few scriptures that describe the confident hope we have in Christ. Friends, your only hope is in Christ. But it’s not a dreadful hope. I mean, come on! We’re talking about Jesus here! He was God’s only son sent down to be a substitute for our sins so that we could live a life of freedom, redemption, and restoration. In Christ, your past is wiped away. In Christ, your brokenness is healed. In Christ, you have a new name, a new identity, and a new home, including eternal life in heaven. Smile! Be happy! Jesus died and rose again! He’s alive and he wants to live in you if you’ll only believe and accept him as Lord and Savior.

Where there’s life, there’s hope!

In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

That sums up everything. He is everything to us! He is life and where the more of Jesus abounds in your life, the more confident you become in your hope. 

Stop looking for hope in people, things, and other dead places. Hope in the one who is life and gives life. I promise you want be disappointed.