Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?

Call to Prayer

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isa. 6:3)

“The Lord is . . . patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9)

Prayer of Confession

Loving Father, let me hear your gracious call—not in preening religiosity, comparing myself with others, but in desperate humility, casting myself on your mercy. As I pray, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” so may I live this day justified and free in the life-giving power of your Spirit. Amen. (Prayer based on the Westminster Confession, Question 10.2)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Lent Devo: Backyard Pilgrim

Throughout Lent this year we will follow along over the next 40 days with quotes from Backyard Pilgrim by Matt Canlis which gives us a daily Bible Path (the story of God’s redemption) and Parish Path (a literal path through town where you can walk and ponder what God has shown you through his Word).

Day 24: Holy Ordinary | Read: John 1:45-46


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was meant to be a friendly question, but my 4-year-old son Chapman was confused by it, and then troubled. An awkward silence followed, but finally Chapman said with relief, “When I grow up, I want to be Chapman!” 

What was Jesus doing between age 12 and the start of his ministry at age 30? I asked this question of our congregation one Sunday. They looked at me with surprise and curiosity. Then Wesley, age 10, raised his hand and offered a two-word answer: “Being himself.” 

We think Jesus was wasting his time in Nazareth, doing ordinary things that anybody could do when he should have been out saving the world. But was Jesus only biding his time for more important things, or were the ordinary things of life an important part of his making all things holy? Did Jesus settle for second best in Nazareth, or was he delighting in being God’s Son in down to earth ways? Maybe carpentry, family meals, and going to synagogue are not God’s second best for us, but true ordinary treasures we underestimate, neglect, or even mock. Can anything good come from Nazareth? Yes. God’s Son lived, worked, and played there. 

For you, here I AM . . . in backyard Nazareth. 


In Nazareth, Jesus said, “Here I AM, being a gloriously ordinary human being. Here I AM, being myself, being Jesus.” Is the parish path you walk getting boring? Are you wasting time strolling Nazareth? Do you wish you could walk a more glamorous path in Paris, Peru, or Scotland? 

Today as you walk, glory in the ordinary. What’s something ordinary about your parish that Jesus of Nazareth delights in? What’s something ordinary about yourself that God calls gloriously human? 

Sermon Devo

We are in our Winter series through the book of James. Each day we will dig into a different aspect of this New Testament wisdom book which will, by the end of the week, help to give you a fuller portrait of the kind of lives we are called to live as Christians.  

Read: James 5:1-12

We covered a fair amount of the first six verses of James 5 last week, so this week we will focus on the second six. Kent Hughes starts us off this week with a little commentary on these verses:

“The brief passage under consideration in this chapter was written to people who ached for the Second Coming of Christ. The author—James, the Lord’s brother—had been with the apostolic band on the Mount of Olives at Christ’s Ascension. He had seen the Shekinah glory, the luminous cloud of God’s presence, overshadow the mount, and then watched his elder brother/Savior disappear into its shimmering folds (Acts 1:9)…

…They didn’t know when he was coming, whether it would be in their lifetime or not, but they believed it would be soon. They lived in the exhilarating expectancy of Christ’s return. The New Testament contains over 300 references to Christ’s return—one of every thirteen verses! The Scriptures ooze with the return of Christ.

But it wasn’t just Christ’s promise that made those believers ache for the Second Coming—it was the difficulties of life. James’ scattered Jewish church was being kicked around the Mediterranean like a soccer ball. The verses which immediately precede our text are a seething denunciation of their rich oppressors who had reduced them to miserable poverty. Life was hard, and this hardness particularly made them long for the return of Christ.

…at the close of the twentieth century, Ellen Thompson has written, “Life is too comfortable and things too important for us to want to leave this world, making it hard to sing with integrity, ‘On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand/And cast a wishful eye/To Canaan’s fair and happy land/Where my possessions lie.’” The modern western church simply has too much here to sing words like these today.

As we have seen, the early Christians had no such problem. Their implicit belief in Christ’s promised return, coupled with the grinding realities of life, made them constantly breathe, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”—an enviable cry we should cultivate…”

REFLECT: Spend some time today reflecting on both your patience and desire for comfort. Ask God to reveal this week what he has to say about each through his Word. 

Evening Prayer of Examen

  • Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
  • Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
  • Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.


“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Num. 6:24-26)