Category Archives: 30 for 30

30 minutes a day with God for 30 days

Draw closer to God during the month of April by using this 30-day devotional guide from your Bethel Church ministry leaders.

June 1

Thank you for participating in the 30 for 30. Even though 30 for 30 is over, our heart is that you continue reading the Word and explore more resources to continue growing in your love for scripture.

Here are a few devotionals that I have found helpful and recommend:

During the upcoming weeks our ministry leaders will continue to share their recommendations in our weekly Enews and on our Facebook page. Subscribe to our Enews to keep up-to-date on Bethel Church happenings.

If you have questions about having a relationship with Jesus or about Bethel, we’d like to connect with you here.

~ Pastor Andy Veith

May 31

Prepare – Psalm 23:1-4

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Devotional

He cares for you! The Lord is my shepherd (Jehovah – Rohi). Like a shepherd, the Lord cares about you and takes care of you. A shepherd cares more about his flock than anything else. He cares when one is hurting and even when one has gone astray. As a shepherd, He desires to keep his sheep close to his side. In verses 2-3, we see clearly Jehovah’s care for us like a shepherd cares for his sheep. He makes us lie down, meaning in Him we find rest. He makes us lie down in green pastures, which is a metaphor representing all that makes life flourish. He also leads us beside quiet waters. He brings peace and comfort in the times of hurt and pain.

He is the only one who can fill the caring role of a shepherd in your life. He is the only one who can and will provide rest and peace. He is the only one that is capable of allowing you to walk along the quiet waters without physically being there. Are you letting Him care for you? The passage continues with verse 3, “He refreshes my soul.” Meaning, He heals the broken hearted. Jehovah – Rohi gives you rest, makes life flourish, leads you by quiet waters giving you peace and comfort, refreshes your soul, and guides you along the right path.

As we come to the end of 30 for 30 – Part II, I want to encourage you to take some time today and sit with God and allow Him to care for you. Know Him for who He is.

~ Pastor Andy Veith

Praise

Watch and listen to “Great I Am” by Phillips, Craig & Dean and “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns.

May 30

Prepare – James 3:13–18

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Devotional

James’ letter to the Church emphasizes the goodness and beauty of wise living. He begins the letter with an invitation to the reader: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5

In a recent message on wisdom, I was able to share that wisdom is knowing what is right and doing it. Wisdom is the combination of insight, judgment, and knowledge. It takes knowledge of God’s Word, good judgment, and discerning insight to live wise. The book of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job are all known for their work in helping us to be wise in life.

Allow the invitation of James 1:5 to settle in and become your prayer. Lord, today, give me wisdom. Help me to see what is here in this text for me to see. Help me to discern how to best understand these words and apply them to today’s reality. God, give me good judgment in the decisions and actions that I take today.

Reading James 3:13-18 slowly, what do you notice about wisdom that is sourced in God? Compare that to the “wisdom” in 3:15 that is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. What stands out to you?

When I read James 1:5 and 3:13-18, I’m reminded of another passage: “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Peter 2:12

We all have a role to play in living wisely in a fallen and broken world. Ask God to give you wisdom. Trust that He will. Take the next step of obeying the Lord’s leading in your life. Your life matters. How you live wisely speaks to a lost and dying world of our great Savior’s love for them.

~ Pastor Jonas Bundy

Praise

Watch and listen to “You Are My King (Amazing Love)” by Shane & Shane and “James 3:18” by Saddleback Kids.

May 29

Prepare – Romans 8:5-8

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Devotional

Our minds are set on either what the flesh desires or what the spirit desires. In these few verses, Paul is bringing to light our two natures and how our mind is in line with one or the other. We learn elsewhere in scripture that our words and actions reflect what we allow our minds to “intake.” The battle of the two natures is ongoing. If we let our guard down and get lazy, we will give into fleshly desires. It takes effort and discipline to protect our minds from all of the garbage we are bombarded with.

In the last part of verse 5, Paul says, “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” What Paul is saying here is, as a believer we need to be constantly pursuing what the Spirit desires. Each day we must commit our minds, as we present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) to the Lord and ask for His help. Those who live according to the Spirit are living a life that falls within the boundaries of what the Spirit desires, or as Paul says, have their minds set on what the spirit desires.

Our intake affects our mind. Our mind affects our life. Check to see if your mind is currently being governed more by the flesh or the Spirit.

~ Pastor Andy Veith

Praise

Watch and listen to “Jesus Paid It All” by Newsboys and “Forgiven” by Crowder.

May 28

Prepare – John 11:38-42

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

Devotional

If I’m completely honest I have been like Martha far more times since the quarantine began than I have been like Jesus. Maybe you to have been struggling with worry about “the bad odor in the tomb” rather than believing “you will see the glory of God” through all that we are facing. I have battled anxiety, depression and fear throughout these past several months. My eyes have turned to the fear in the headlines instead of turning towards the Savior who hears my voice. If only I would believe and turn to Him first.

Stop and dwell on the words of Jesus today, “if you believe, you will see the glory of God.” Do you still believe He is in control? Can you trust him when your livelihood, your health and even your Church community has been taken from you? I have deeply struggled to put these things into practice. I have had to reevaluate my faith and go back to its foundation. My faith cannot be contingent on my circumstances. If it is, my foundation has been laid on the sand like the foolish builder. Today, may you know that God has heard your cries for help. May you know He simply asks us to believe and trust that we will see His glory through all of this. I pray for each one of you daily and I ask that you would also pray for me. Pray that we will keep our eyes fixed on the Author and Perfector of our faith, and trust He is in control!

~ Pastor Nate Drege

Praise

Watch and listen to “Freedom Comes” by Brandon Bee and “Be Thou My Vision” by Audrey Assad.

May 27

Prepare – John 9:1–7

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”

Devotional

We want reasons. We want to know the cause. We want to assign blame, just like the disciples did in this situation. The disciples were asking about the cause of this blindness. Jesus answers their question, but the answer he gives is not about who the blindness came from, but his answer is about what the blindness is leading to. In other words, Jesus was asked about cause, but he answers in terms of purpose. Causes are not the determiner of events, God is.

Wherever the coronavirus came from, whenever it is going to end – God doesn’t work in those kind of categories, according to Jesus. God deals in purposes, and he has a purpose for every event, disease, accident, or anything else.

Jesus states that the purpose is so that the works of God might be displayed. There is more going on in our lives and in this world than what we see at face value. I love the tweet that John Piper had a few years ago – “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of three of them.”

God has greater purposes. That is an encouraging thought! I don’t say that lightly. We each have been or will be hurt in our lives by some kind of frowning providence. A frowning providence is a difficulty (like blindness) that God provides and uses for a greater purpose than the difficulty itself. Our trust in God and our response to the difficulty will reveal something about us. Pastor William Jenkyn once wrote, “As the wicked are hurt by the best things, so the godly are bettered by the worst.”

God has greater purposes in these difficulties. William Cowper said it well, “Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust Him for His grace; Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.” My prayer for myself and for you is that we will not look at the circumstance, but rather keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who controls all circumstances for our good and his glory.

~ Pastor Craig Johnson

Praise

Watch and listen to “Though You Slay Me” by Shane & Shane featuring John Piper and “God Is In Control” by Twila Paris.

May 26

Prepare – Luke 10:25-37

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life? “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Devotional

This passage is one of my favorite childhood Bible stories. If you were brought up in the church, no doubt, you have heard it a hundred times.

As you read through the verses, who are you in the story? The expert who viewed the man as a point of discussion? The robber who viewed the man as someone to take advantage of? The religious man who saw the person as someone to avoid? The Samaritan who saw the man as someone who needed help?

Most likely, if you are like me, you have played all of the roles mentioned, at one time or another. Surrounded by lost people, we have at times, if we are to be brutally honest, viewed them as lost and hopeless, maybe even out of the reach of God. That is simply contrary to the grace and hope we read in scripture.

This passage brings to my mind a clear presentation of the gospel and a method for reaching the lost. Good works leads to good will which leads to good news. The good works we are called to do (Ephesians 2:10) – are not acts of righteousness, but rather our obedience to the Word and pursuit of Christ-likeness. Our good works leads to good will, or favor with others, and an open door to share the good news. Others will hear the good news because their hearts and minds have been open because of our good works and good will. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit and the person.

Who is on your Most Wanted List? Who have you identified as someone who desperately needs to know Jesus? Pray, asking God to give you opportunities to demonstrate good works that leads to favor and an openness of the gospel.

~ Pastor Andy Veith

Praise

Watch and listen to “Until The Whole World Hears” by Casting Crowns and “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin.

May 25

Prepare – John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Devotional

Happy Memorial Day! On this national holiday, we honor military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. We remember that “freedom isn’t free,” and we thank those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

In John 10, Jesus reminds us that freedom isn’t free. Grace isn’t cheap—it’s costly. And Jesus would pay that cost for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in Cost of Discipleship:

“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

“Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will go and sell all that he has. It is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

“Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son—“ye were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20)—and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.”

Jesus laid down His life for us, and He calls us to lay down our lives for others. Romans 12:1 calls us to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.” Ephesians 5:25 calls husbands to “love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” And 1

John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

This Memorial Day, remember the Good Shepherd and His sacrifice. As a living sacrifice, seek ways to sacrifice your time, talent, and treasure for His flock today.

~ Pastor Steven Dunkel

Praise

Watch and listen to “Bless The Lord O My Soul” by US Marines singing worship and “Jesus Paid It All” by Newsboys.

May 24

Prepare – Matthew 10:16

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Devotional

Do you ever read the Bible and wish Jesus had taught something a different way? For me, this is one of those verses.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been scared of snakes. As soon as I found out that Indiana Jones didn’t like snakes, I knew I was in good company. Why did Jesus have to use snakes as a positive example in this verse about wisdom? Maybe someday I’ll ask Him in person.

There are 3 movements in this verse about what it means to live wisely. Let’s slow down and re-read Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

First, recognize there is real danger for people of faith. Jesus’ followers are being sent out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Wolves are crafty animals who harm sheep. Sheep are vulnerable. Sheep need the protective help of their shepherd (see also John 16:33). You and I live in a world that is hostile to our faith. Keep reading in Matthew 10:17-31 to see how the wolves of Jesus’ day treated God’s sheep. It wasn’t pleasant.

Second, wisdom will help you live well. Jesus tells us to, “be wise as serpents.” Snakes navigate around danger. Snakes run behind a rock when they see a threat. Snakes rarely fell for the traps set for them. Jesus often modeled a refusal to be caught in a trap set for him, for example see how he handled a question about paying taxes in Mark 12:13-17.

Third, blameless is a kingdom quality we should all aspire to. Jesus tells us to, “be innocent as doves.” In spite of the world, our flesh, and the devil, we have an opportunity to display qualities of God’s character in how we live (1 Peter 1:15-16). Don’t give people a legitimate reason to accuse you of injustice or immorality. Your reputation matters.

Sometimes I think Peter had this teaching in mind as he wrote in 1 Peter 2:12, “Keep your conduct Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

We all have a role to play in living wisely. Let’s live in such a way that we don’t easily fall into the world’s traps and use every opportunity to advance the kingdom of God.

~ Pastor Jonas Bundy

Praise

Watch and listen to “Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)” by Paul Baloche and “Kingdom Come” by KXC.

May 23

Prepare – Ephesians 2:2-5

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

Devotional

I couldn’t even look him in the eyes. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed as my dad picked me up from the sheriff’s office that night. I was 17 and finally all my running from God had caught up with me. The ride home was silent and neither of us said a word. I just knew he was boiling inside and when we got home I was going to get the scolding of a lifetime. What happened however, impacted the rest of my life. My parents didn’t yell at me like I deserved. Through tears in their eyes they told me they loved me. Yes, they were disappointed, but the most important thing they wanted me to see was God’s grace, mercy and love. I was shocked by their response and God began to soften my stony heart.

Several weeks later, at the top of a sandhill at Mt. Carmel Bible Camp I gave my life to Jesus. Though I deserved wrath, He showed me love and forgiveness. It was the same mercy and forgiveness I had seen through my parent’s weeks earlier. Christ gave me life in a way that is hard to explain. He took a quiet and hurting kid and gave me a passion to see others come to know Christ. Today, think back to when His mercy and grace became real and alive to you. Though none of us deserve His love, He has given it freely. It is good to remind ourselves of God’s goodness to us when life is hard. I hope you find joy today remembering God’s great love He has for each one of us.

~ Pastor Nate Drege

Praise

Watch and listen to “His Mercy Is More” by Shane & Shane and “The Glory Of It All” by David Crowder Band.

May 22

Prepare – Psalm 115

Not to us, LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Psalm 115:1-2

Devotional

For as long as I can remember, Psalm 115:1 has been an important verse to me. Something about the tone of the verse and the invitation to praise draws me back time and again to this Psalm.

The psalmist finds himself in a season of devastation and it appears that God is indifferent or absent. The “nations” are mocking God’s people, Israel. These gentile unbelievers are “rubbing in” the very real sense that God has forgotten them. But the psalmist knows this isn’t true and invites the people of God to praise Him because of His character, His love, and faithfulness. The psalmist also knows that when God shows up, He alone will be the one to whom praise is given.

And so, for generations, God’s people have found Psalm 115 a comfort and an exhortation to continue to praise God because of who He is. I encourage you as you have time, please read the entire Psalm. It is a beautiful mixture of lament and hymn, of confession and trust.

The next time you wonder if God has forgotten you and it appears to you that He is far away, I encourage you to remember Psalm 115. It is not for our glory or for our reputation that we cry out for God to show up and make Himself known. It is because we know that He is faithful to His people and His promises that we invite Him so that He can receive the praise He is due.

Join with the saints of old and let your heart cry out to God, “Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

~ Pastor Jonas Bundy

Praise

Watch and listen to “A Mighty Fortress” by Matt Boswell and “I Need Thee Every Hour” by Anthem Lights.

May 21

Prepare – Ecclesiastes 12:8–14

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Devotional

I’m older now, and every year I get older I can see what Solomon is talking about in Ecclesiastes. The more I read this book, the better I understand the phrase he uses to start and end the book – all is vanity, meaningless, absurd under the sun, apart from Jesus.

  • The Preacher wants us to remember that life under the sun is absurd, but also now, after reading the whole book, to remember that there’s more to this life. After reflecting on Ecclesiastes over the years, I view life differently. Here are some of my thoughts.
  • I shouldn’t depend on life for what I need, because life under the sun is absurd. This world doesn’t provide what only God can provide.
  • Meaning and purpose are only brought to this sinful world through the sinless Son of God who is wisdom for us from God. Jesus brings us wisdom for living in this world.
  • Jesus begins to remove the veil from the absurdity, not completely, but enough to give me hope in this world and meaning amidst the things that he does not explain.
  • I will toil. I will not find ultimate profit in the things of this world, although I can find benefit from the things of this world. I need to derive satisfaction from the things that I can, but not try to be satisfied with them. Do you see the difference? There is joy in the journey, but only God truly satisfies the longing of my heart.
  • Live in the moment, enjoy the moments God has given you, and understand that times go by.

After reflecting on the book these are the things I remember. “Nothing in our search has led us home; nothing that we are offered under the sun is ours to keep.” (Derek Kidner)

Solomon ends the book by telling us how he said things (12:9-10), why he said them (12:11-12), and what we should do (12:13-14). We should trust and obey. This is our whole duty. Trust is our first mission phrase (Love God), and obey is the second and third phrase (Love Others, Serve the World). May this time of pandemic help you to live more simply and more faithfully, worshipping and serving Jesus, only Jesus.

~ Pastor Craig Johnson

Praise

Watch and listen to “Trust and Obey” by Big Daddy Weave and “Jesus, Only Jesus” by Passion.