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Mark Roberts

God’s Great Love for Us

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

Unfortunately, I had to do a funeral this past weekend. I do not like speaking at funerals, however, it’s easier when the person was a Christian. Funerals are a great reminder of our mortality, and for the believer, it is the doorway into our next adventure.

1 Cor. 15:54-55 says, When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

When it was time during the funeral for me to speak, I began with this account of creation from the incredible writer Max Lucado.

They stepped into the Garden again. The Maker looked earnestly at the clay creation. A monsoon of love swelled up within Him. God’s form bent over the sculptured face and breathed. Dust stirred on the lips of the new one. The chest rose, cracking the red mud. The cheeks freshened. A finger moved and an eye opened.

But more incredible than the moving of flesh was the stirring of the spirit. Those who could see the unseen gasped. Perhaps it was the wind who said it first. Perhaps what the stars saw that moment is what has made them blink ever since. Maybe it was left to an angel to whisper it: “It looks like… it appears so much like…it is Him!”

The angel wasn’t speaking of the face, the features, or the body. He was looking inside–at the soul. “It’s eternal!” gasped another.

Within the man, God had placed a divine seed. A seed of his self. The God of might had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return.

What an excellent reminder of the Father’s love for us, and His desire to be in a relationship with His creation. We will all face death one day, I hope for you and all you know that it is simply a step into the next adventure of fully knowing God’s great love for us.

God bless,
Mark

3 Steps to Bring Jesus to your School

By | FP Tools | No Comments

It is a fact that you and I get a burden for what we pray for. If I asked you to pray for my son Cole and you took the time to write his name down and prayed for him every time you saw his name, you would see me and ask about Cole. If you pray for someone, you will soon care for them. That is God’s heart, He is love, and He cares. Do something nice for the person you are praying for; it will make an impression.

The next part of the circle is to share the gospel with them. I heard it said that the reason most of us never take the time to talk to our friends about God is that we did not bother to talk to God about our friends. As you pray, remember it is not up to you to change or save anybody; that is God’s job. Our job is to pray, care, and share.

The Cause Circle


Who is God prompting you to Pray for, Care for and Share the gospel with? Find out more about the cause circle at dare2share.org

Scars

By | Nehemiah, First Priority Of America | No Comments

I get asked a lot by people if Todd and I ever fought. Is the Pope Catholic? We not only fought, we were very good at it. My mom and dad decided to enroll us in karate class so some of our aggression might be left there. Karate only made us better. Now we could really hurt each other. When you are a twin, your opponent is the same size. This made our fights very interesting. We kind of had an unspoken rule. Don’t hit hard in the face. This rule lasted only as long as the other one was not hurt. He will deny this, but I know I knocked him out at least three times.

I remember one time a friend was over at the house and Todd had hurt me, so I disregarded the rule and went right for the nose. He must have been unconscious for ten minutes. For his side of the story read his book. Todd had a temper like you would not believe. When he got mad, he got real mad. I liked to hit him, make him mad, and then flee the scene. One time I hit him, ran to the garage jumped on my bike, and took off. He was in fast pursuit behind me on his. I was traveling a little faster because I was not carrying a broom. He finally made it beside me and tried to whack me with the broom. When he could not make that work, he decided to stick the broom handle in my front spokes. That worked! My front wheel came to a complete stop as my body, and the rest of my bike continued on. My brother’s anger was subdued, so he left my poor bleeding mangled body in the street.

Needless to say I have a lot of scars on my body that remind me of my younger years. What is crazy is that when we get to heaven, the only one with scars will be Jesus. I am reminded of Thomas who we call doubting Thomas.

John 20:24-25: Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

We call him doubting Thomas because he had to see and touch, but really the reason for his doubt is found in his nickname (Didymus). Thomas was an identical twin like me. I have been mistaken for my brother Todd all my life. Thomas thought Jesus had a twin, and he was not going to believe until he saw and touched. When he did see and touch, Thomas proclaimed, “My Lord and My God.”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Today when we share the gospel, we need to release the doubt that we hold onto, knowing that the Holy Spirit helps non-believers see and believe. He is at work in the lives of people and He can use our scars to help share the message of hope.

Each Week of the Hope Cycle is on the Podcast

By | Nehemiah, FP Tools | No Comments

This year’s Hope writing is fantastic. We want to thank Joel, Natalie, and Phillip for their time and passion for the gospel. I love all of the help week tools and can’t wait to see how God uses them to see thousands of students come to Christ this school year. If you are a part of First Priority you know the feeling we get every day knowing that the gospel is being shared and students are giving their lives to Christ. Bam!! If you don’t love that you are in the wrong ministry. There are 4 podcasts this month that deal with each week of the hope cycle. Please take some time this week to check them out and send them to your campus coaches. Have a great week and remember someone somewhere in a FP club just gave their life to Christ!

You can find the podcasts here or you can listen on itunes, google play, or spotify.

The Salvation Bracelet Tool

By | FP Tools | No Comments

Are you willing to push past your fears, doubts, and insecurities so that someone else can get a glimpse of Jesus?

This week we are highlighting another Help Week Tool from our Hope Weekly Guides. This tool can be found in week 1 of the Conversation with Best Friends. We share these tools so that students can move past their fears and have something tangible they can use to share the gospel.

In week 1 of the the Conversation with Best Friends it tells the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. Here is Jesus’ response in Mark 2 verse 5: “And when Jesus saw THEIR faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” It wasn’t their faith in each other that Jesus saw, it was their faith in Him that forgave their friend’s sin.

Wow! Friends telling friends about Jesus! That’s exactly what we want students to be doing in their schools. The salvation bracelet is a tool students can use to do just that. 

Here are some instructions to get them started. Start with a piece of string. Tie a knot 2 inches away from the end and begin building your bracelet starting with the yellow bead. Follow along with the instructions and make it conversational as you add each bead.

Meet Zac!

By | Local FP Communities | No Comments

The kids of First Priority at one of the middle schools in South Florida were excited to share their faith but they didn’t really know how to get out there and do it. Once they were given a Club Impact Kit things changed.

They spent their week outside in the hustle and bustle of the bus loop and pick up area. They used a speaker to play music and they passed out candy to other kids running for their rides.

The excitement caught the attention of Zac, a 7th grader who rides the bus. He went over to the crowd and asked what was going on. The students from the FP club explained that they were having a FP club party next week and he should come.

The next week, Zac came to the club. The excitement in the courtyard was the initial thing that caught his eye but the Gospel penetrated his heart and he turned his life over to Jesus!

A few weeks later, Zac asked his club mentor about youth group and she invited him to attend church that Friday. Ever since, Zac has been faithfully attending church and he has never come alone! 

God truly used a speaker, some candy and a bus loop to meet Zac where he was.

Are you a disturbed sinner?

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

“While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.   When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. ‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said.

But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, ‘This fellow is one of them.’ Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’

He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” Mark 14:66 – 72

If you can relate to this story, you qualify as a disturbed sinner. I will confess that I have denied my relationship with Jesus several times. Then reacted just like Peter. I once heard the best description of a Christian from a talk show host in Atlanta. Some lady, Mrs. I’m Better Than You, was arguing with the talk show host and said to him that he did not even know what a Christian was. To which he replied, “Mrs., I know exactly what a Christian is…a Christian is a disturbed sinner.”  Wow, now that is good.  I know I belong to Him because when I sin or deny Him, I am disturbed about it.  

I have learned a couple things from these moments.  I think sometimes we deny Jesus because we cannot adequately defend our faith.  We know so little about the Bible that we cannot make a solid argument.  I have also learned that when faced with these moments, no one can take my faith story away… I was blind but now I see. The more time you and I spend with God, reading His word and talking to Him, the more we build that relationship and become more confident in who we are and whose we are.

2019 First Priority Fall Conference

By | Events | No Comments

The countdown is on. There is only one week left to get the Early Bird price of $199 for our 2019 National First Priority Conference in Orlando, FL. Register and pay before August 1st in order to take advantage of this pricing. The price will increase to $250 on August 1st so register today!

Take 5 and Pray for 5 Tool

By | FP Tools | No Comments

With the school year quickly approaching, we want you to take a peak into one of the tools you can use to train students to share Jesus. This tool is included this year in month 7 ‘The Conversation with Enemies’ of the new Hope Weekly Guides. You can (soon – we are updating) access all of these tools online for free at firstpriority.club/Hope or via the First Priority of America app. Here is the sneak peek.

Who would you say your enemies are? This can bring up different kinds of feelings, from betrayal to gossip. As you think of who these people are, start praying that God will give you a heart to love them. Let’s read what Jesus says we should do with our enemies in Matthew chapter 5 verses 43 & 44. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ BUT I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”. Why should we pray for our enemies? Because Jesus did. He prayed for those who opposed Him, for those who betrayed Him, and as He was hung on the cross, He asked God to forgive them. Jesus modeled how we should pray for our enemies and commanded us to do the same. Our hearts should desire for our enemies to have a relationship with Jesus and their presence in Heaven. So we pray like the apostle Paul did in Romans chapter 10 verse 1, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.” This can be something as simple as a card to remind us to Take 5 and Pray for 5.

Think of 5 people you would consider your enemy and commit to take 5 minutes a day and pray for their salvation and for God to give you an opportunity to share Jesus with them.

 

 

 

This tool is here to remind us to take the time to pray for those who may be really hard to pray for. But if you take this simple step, it can truly change your life and the lives of those you are praying for.

Do Something!

By | Nehemiah | No Comments

Has God called you to do something that you have not done because of fear?

Paul said to King Agrippa in Acts 26:19, “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.”

Paul was in prison for years because he was obedient to the vision from heaven. Wow, look where obedience gets us; locked up!

No wonder we get scared to really jump out there and do something that God has told us to do, like start a campus ministry, go to the mission field, etc. We are scared of the unknown, the uncertainty of money and stability and the fear of failure. All of these things and many more keep most Christians on the sidelines of life, watching everyone else play. We wait for the players in the game to write a book or a song on how exciting it was for them to play in the game. Then we run to the next conference to hear them speak and leave like we did at summer camp, ready to charge hell with a water pistol. Once we get back home, we get caught up in business as usual and we sit and watch.

Life, real life, abundant life, is a life of obedience. If God told you to do something, then do it. Paul, like Nehemiah, was right where God put him. He was speaking to a king and proclaiming the good news. We believe God put you right where you are to unite your city to reach thousands of students. Do something. Get in the game.

Mark Roberts