National Epidemic

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 14:34 (day seven)

Righteousness exalts a [family],
But sin is a disgrace to any [home].

“Wait Rick, you can’t just change the Re:Verse text like that! Did you not get enough parenting last week?” Let’s unpack why I made this change.

We have a national epidemic, and it’s not covid or some sort of illness. America is becoming Biblically illiterate. Only 18% of the United States population is considered Scripture Engaged according to the American Bible Society’s State of the Bible. Scripture Engagement is defined as “consistent interaction with the Bible that shapes a person’s choices and transforms their relationships with God, self, and others.If we want America to become more righteous, Scripture Engagement must become a priority.

An affinity for Scripture starts in the home. When children see that you make scripture a priority (do you read publicly and consistently?) and they see that it makes a significant impact on your life (do you exemplify Jesus?), they too will want to engage with  scripture. We might not be able to solve America’s Biblical illiteracy through a sermon or a program, but if each family would do their part to make scripture and prayer a priority in the home, we can begin to help America heal from this epidemic.

Discipline Transforms

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 13:24 (day seven)

As I think through this text and how I parent, the question I find myself asking is how does God discipline me?

When our children are learning to ride a bicycle, they fall… a lot! When they fall, we don’t wrap them in bubble wrap or remove all the obstacles from their path. We pick them back up, point them in the right direction, and hope they crash into something softer next time. We let them fall to make them stronger. Eventually, they will learn to ride the bike with ease because their ability has been transformed through adversity.

God’s discipline is not meant to punish us. God’s discipline is meant to transform us. Our punishment was fulfilled in the cross. His discipline transforms us through repentance. We will fall. Sometimes He will even let us fall, but He is the Good Father who is always there to pick us up when we fall so that He can point us in the right direction. Romans 2:4 tells us His kindness leads us to repentance. Through that repentance, the crashes will get softer and less often. Eventually, we will navigate the adversity with ease because our heart has been transformed to look like His. That is how discipline works!


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 9:1-18 (day seven)

Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you,
Reprove a wise man and he will love you. vs 8

What comes out of you when you are squeezed? How do you handle critique and confrontation?

We are all sponges. We are constantly taking in new things and absorbing information. We can be very good at hiding what we absorbed, but once we are squeezed, what is inside will come out. If you find yourself getting defensive and angry when approached with critique, it is possible your sponge has been soaking in a pot of dirty water. If you want to be able to handle critique and confrontation well, you need to be absorbing the right things. That begins with Jesus. On the cross looking down at his scoffers, He cries out, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” When Jesus was squeezed, love came out.

How can you absorb more of Jesus this week so that He will be what comes out when you are squeezed?


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:9-10 (day seven)

Honor the Lord… from the first of all your produce. Proverbs 3:9

He is Risen.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20

Did you know that the Feast of Firstfruits was held the day after the Sabbath of Passover? It was a day of thanksgiving and of promise. By giving the firstfruit to the Lord, even if it meant giving everything that had been produced up to that point, it showed that the people trusted in God’s promise that a plentiful harvest was coming.

What day did Jesus conquer death and rise from the grave? The day after the Sabbath of Passover. Christ fulfilled the firstfruit. This was a promise that His resurrection was only the beginning. A plentiful harvest was yet to come; the resurrection of you and me.

He is Risen Indeed.

Proverbs and Parents

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:5-7 (day seven)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding. vs 5

Much has been made of the statistic showing that young people who grew up in the church are leaving at an alarming rate. There are a myriad of possibilities as to why these numbers are set so high (some will say 70-80%). Some of it falls back into youth group and church dynamics, but ultimately, students will prioritize the things that they see are important to the people whom they are most influenced by. That finger should point to the parents. So the question becomes what did those parents prioritize? What did they put their trust in?

More often than not, their actions demonstrated a trust in their own understanding over a trust in the Lord. They were worried about paying for college, so they trusted in the coach of the traveling ball team who told them their child had D-1 potential. They were worried about their child not fitting in, so they got them the cell phone, even though they knew their child wasn’t ready for the world it would unlock. They were worried about how they might look as parents, so they didn’t open up to their church community about the struggles they were having at home. Over time, Sundays disappeared, the Word of God was little used, and the child was shown that Jesus was an afterthought. Parents, what are you putting your trust in? What are your actions showing your children that you prioritize?

If and Then

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:1-4 (day seven)

For length of days and years of life
And peace they will add to you. vs 2

This passage leads us to infer that if you follow God’s commandments, then you will live a long and peaceful life. What if my life has never been peaceful? What if a perceived Godly person dies at a young age? What then do we do with this passage? Were we not following his commandments well enough? This passage of scripture is not a true “if then” statement. What it is trying to convey is the life you are given is made much more complete when you do it the Lord’s way. His commandments are there for our benefit, to get us in the right direction. The problem arises when we think we have it all figured out. Proverbs 14:12 will tell us “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” When we try to do this life our way, it always ends unpeacefully, but if we do it God’s way, then we will have a peace in the midst of the storms.

God Gives Wisdom

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 2:1-15 (day seven)

For the Lord gives wisdom. vs 6

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 (ESV)

We have a group of 12 teenagers and 4 adults in Brooklyn, New York serving the Borough Church (Pastor Zach Van Veldhuizen). We are putting on a Disciple Now (similar to our Freedom Weekend) for this growing church plant in anticipation that this will springboard their youth ministry program. The most beautiful part of this weekend is the work that our teenagers are doing. Our 17-18 year old “kids” are the primary teachers in the Bible Study/Small Group time. The wisdom that these students are displaying is makes it abundantly clear that wisdom is not determined by age or by having a certain degree, but wisdom is a gift given by God. James tells us that all we have to do is ask, and God will generously give you His wisdom. He doesn’t ask for credentials. He generously gives! Do you feel like you lack wisdom? Me too. Let’s ask together!

Also, pray for continued wisdom for us as we serve the city of New York as well as the other groups from our church in Kenya and at home doing community missions.

Knowledge and Wisdom

Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 1:1-7 (day seven) 

Wisdom and knowledge are not interchangeable. It is completely common to see individuals who have plenty of knowledge but lack wisdom. It is also possible to have immense wisdom and not be highly educated. Why is this?  Wisdom is the right use of knowledge in your everyday life. Wisdom is not a given because you are intellectual. Wisdom shows you have put in the effort to truly know who gave you the knowledge in the first place. When your relationship with the Lord is intimate, you will find that it becomes easier to apply the knowledge you have gained to the situations that arise (wisdom). The Holy Spirit becomes a part of you, guiding you, leading you, to move step in step with Him. Those steps are always wise, always smart. If the beginning of knowledge is fearing God, the beginning of wisdom is knowing God.


Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:24-29 (day seven)

When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. Vs 28-29

In July 2019 we took the Youth Choir Tour to Washington D.C. It is customary to treat the Seniors to a nice dinner for their last hoorah in the youth group. That year we took them to the Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Avenue. The moment we walked in the door, it was clear there was power in the room. As we sat down we quickly realized that in every corner of the room was a different U.S. Senator, including Texas’ own Ted Cruz. All eyes followed them as they would get up from their table and work the room. Their authority was captivating.

If these politicians could command this type of attention, can you imagine what listening to Jesus must have been like? Jesus made the politicians of His time seem powerless with the authority in which He spoke and carried himself, but that’s not even the coolest part. Check out what Jesus says in Matthew 28:

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples.

Jesus had real authority and He still does. Yet, He chooses to share that authority with you to equip you to do His work here on earth. That is the point of the Sermon on the Mount. You have been given authority and direction. Now, will you help Him bring the Kingdom of God to your world today? Will you get up from the table and work the room?

Freedom Weekend

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 7:15-23 (day seven)

Thank you for praying for Freedom Weekend. We truly felt the power of your prayers through the week and into the last several days. On Friday night the speaker, Laine Melikian (FBC Marble Falls), challenged our students to identify the things that hold them back from living for God. We find healing in confession and repentance of these things. Then on Saturday he brought it back up again by pointing out that we repetitively come to points in our life, such as a freedom weekend, where we find ourselves in the same state of confessional repentance, but the repentance should be meant to remove something from our life in order to make room for God to work. What are the good things that God wants to do in your life now? Not a point in the future, but right now! How will you let the Kingdom of Heaven overlap with your life today so that you can join in God’s good work today?

Does this challenge you? I know our students were challenged! Pray with me as students continue to process what this means for them and what next steps God is calling them to take!