As a church, we begin every year with a Month of Prayer and the Word. These two foundational disciplines are essential in the life of a believer to keep us grounded in Biblical truth and in touch with our great God. Below are some Bible Reading Plans that you can use as a guide to keep you in the Word every day. I want to encourage you to start your year with the disciplines of some committed times of prayer and time with God in His Word. I believe you will be blessed greatly. - Pastor Byron


Bible Study Tools & Reading Plans:

Click here to view the Bible Study Tools & Reading Plans

Prayer & Fasting:

Click here to view the Fasting Guide via CRU Website (CRU - formerly called Campus Crusade for Christ)

Click here to view the PDF version of the Fasting Guide

Click here to view the Personal Prayer Guide

Mark Your Calendar:

January 4 - Wednesday Evening - Night of Worship, Prayer, & Lord’s Supper at 6:00pm

January 15 - Sunday Evening - Prayer Gatherings in homes

February 1 - Wednesday Evening - Night of Worship, Prayer, & Lord’s Supper at 6:00pm

Month of Prayer & The Word Devotional

Week 4 Devotional

Competing Voices

By Pastor John Nogueras


Our world is full of competing voices, news, social media, movies, television shows, commercials, billboards, friends, family, teachers, coworkers, and on and on and on. Well, you get it, this world wants to tell us who to be and what to do or not do. The thing is, we listen even if we don’t think we do; the many voices impact us deeply in ways we don’t always see or even understand. 

The Word of God warns us about a non-biblical worldview:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20

Thankfully, God has not left us without a way to grow in wisdom and truth. He has not left us without instruction. God has given us His Word as His Voice.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;

    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

Psalm 29:4

God’s voice, His Word is powerful and full of majesty. When we listen to His voice by spending time in His Word, we are blessed. The Psalmist wrote,

Blessed is the man 

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, 

nor stands in the way of sinners, 

nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 

but his delight is in the law of the Lord, 

and on his law he meditates day and night. 

Psalm 1:1-2

God has given us His Word to read, to spend time in, and to mediate on.

Do you mediate on it? Meditate here means to think about it often, to chew on it for some time, to consider it and to not simply read it and keep going. It means spending time thinking through it, worshipping God for it, and applying the Word to our lives.

The Word of God is exactly what we need today to know the triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), to grow in our walks with Him, and to live in a way that we can be a light and testimony of His goodness in salvation to this lost and dark world.

Paul wrote to Timothy,

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

As we spend time in the Word of God, we can draw truths from it that God can use to change us, grow us, make us more mature as believers, and help us to accomplish His will for us in everything we do. The power of the Holy Spirit allows us to understand His Word so that we can grow in righteousness, be complete (mature), and equipped to serve Him more faithfully. Praise the Lord, when we don’t know the answers, we know where we can go to find them, the Bible! As we search Scripture, we not only grow in our walk with Jesus, we learn more about Him.

Jesus is The Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-2; 14

Jesus is the living Word of God! As we spend more time in the Bible, the Holy Spirit will allow us to see and know Jesus more. Peter, James, and John all had the privilege of seeing Jesus transfigured (allowed His glorified self to be seen by them) on the mountain (Luke 9:28-36) but Peter declared:

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21

The Word of God is fully confirmed, and we need to pay attention to it. God’s Word is not man’s word. Don’t let the competing voices of this world convince you otherwise! We have the Word of God today given to us and kept for us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do you believe the Word of God is the source of truth we need today? Do you just say that? “Well it’s God’s Word, right?” but practically, you consult with everything else the world has to offer before you go to God’s Word. God’s Word points us to truth and

Jesus is The Truth

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6


As we end this short time with the Lord, take some time to consider and pray through the following questions:

Which voice do you listen to, the voices of this world or the Word of God?

Do you believe the Bible is the Voice of Truth?

Practically, what does your time with the Lord look like?

Is seeking the Lord your priority, an afterthought, or something you do to check a box?

The Lord wants you to know that He loves you, has a great plan for you, and wants you to know Him more. He wants to spend time with you and that takes intentionality.

Tips for time in the Word:

  1. Set apart time for Him. We make time for what’s important to us. Make time for Jesus.
    1. Consider, are you a morning person or a night owl?
    2. Choose the time you will be most focused.
  2. Remove all distractions.
    1. If you use your phone to spend time in the Word, do you get distracted by notifications?
      1. If so, try using an actual Bible or setting your phone on do not disturb.
  3. Come up with a game plan. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Listen to the Bible on your commute to work or school.
    2. Pick a reading plan (through the Bible in 2 years, 1 year, 6 months, or whatever works best for you).
    3. Listen to a devotional as a primer and then spend more time in the 1 or 2 verses the devotional focused on. Look at the greater context of the verses and meditate on them. As you do this, pray through verses the Lord is impacting you with.
    4. Do a Bible study (There are many great books/Bible studies available).

Whatever you do, simply make a plan to spend more time with the Lord, the One who loves you, died for you, and wants to have a greater relationship with you.

You may listen to the following song and meditate on what the Lord is showing you today.


Week 3 Devotional

Tune Our Hearts

By: Andrew Pohlmann


Psalm 42:1-2

“As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?”

Psalm 42 (Loudest Praise) - by: Shane and Shane
“Come thou fount of living water
Tune my heart to bless Your name
Streams of trouble never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise”

Have you ever picked up an instrument to play that has been sitting in the corner a while, maybe even collected a little bit of dust and it is completely out of tune? You try plucking out a few notes, playing a couple of chords, and you fumble your way through the song. No matter how hard you try, it just does not sound good; it just sounds like noise. What needs to be done in order to make the instrument playable and make beautiful music? We need to clean it up, wipe away any dust, repair any damage, and tune the instrument correctly. All of which takes time, effort, and care.

Just like the neglected and dusty instrument, our hearts and prayer life need care, attention, and work. Have you ever felt like your prayer life wasn’t “in tune” or that you’re just making noise? Maybe you want to spend time in prayer but you don’t know what to say or what to do? Have your prayers become a time to list off all of your wants, needs, or struggles, but you forget or neglect to sit and listen? We often want to have a thriving prayer life, but we feel like we don’t have the time. Perhaps, like that instrument, it has just been sitting collecting dust, waiting for the musician to pick it up. So then, how do we tune our hearts? 

Read Psalm 42

Tuning our heart starts with humble obedience. It starts when we come and just sit at Jesus’ feet. In our submission, the Lord begins to give us a longing and desire to be with Him. We begin to have a thirst for the Living Water that only He can give. Remember the deer the Psalmist mentions in the opening of the Psalm? Now, picture that deer searching and panting for the streams of cool fresh water. Only, when the deer finds this water he doesn’t drink the water. Instead, he begins to tell the water how he has been searching for it, glad that he has found it, and begins to list his other needs, and on and on. He then says, “thank you” and walks away never once stopping to take a drink and be refreshed. Don’t we often do that as well? We come before the Lord, to the “streams of water”, to be refreshed but begin with listing off all of our items and never once stopping to be still, to listen, to rest, to be refreshed, and drink. Yes, we should tell the Lord all of what is going on in our life. He wants us to speak freely to Him, but we must also take time to listen. Remember that instrument we talked about earlier that we needed to tune? Tuning it takes action. We must turn the tuning head to correct the string, and listen to the string in order to hear that it is in harmony with all the other strings. When you do that, you can then play beautiful music with that instrument.

But maybe you are in one of those moments when things are continually piling on and you feel like everything around you is crashing down and it feels like you are alone. The Psalmist who wrote this Psalm is facing one of those moments. He is feeling cast down and in turmoil and he is longing to be in the presence of the Lord. His enemies mock him saying, “Where is your God?” and the writer is feeling discouraged. The Psalmist writes in verses 3 & 7;

3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
7 Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.

At times it may feel like things are continually “crashing” down on us and it makes it difficult to think, to speak, and even hear the Lord in those moments. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in those moments. But, it is in those moments when we should be hitting our knees and be reminded that our salvation is in Him and Him alone. Much like the Psalmist says 

5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.”

Even in the midst of turmoil, the Psalmist is still wanting to praise the Lord and worship. He recalls of his time in the house of God and puts his hope in the Lord. Knowing one day he would be able to be in the house of God to worship Him. 

Thankfully, we don’t have to go to a specific place in order to worship Him and be in His presence. We have the awesome opportunity to do that wherever we are. So, as we begin this year, if we want our hearts to be in tune and sing His praise, then we need to choose to make the time to spend with Him in prayer and in His word. This does not mean that we have to block off hours of our day to spend time in prayer. We start with just a few minutes. The more that we practice this, the clearer we see what the song says above: That when we face those struggles, when we fill like “waves” are crashing down on us we can say “hope in God”, for I shall praise Him loudly for my salvation and His goodness. We do this by spending time in prayer and in His word. So is prayer important? Yes, it is vital to our walk with the Lord and getting to know Him. His word tells us in Romans 12:12 and Philippians 4:6-7 that by faithfully spending time with Him in prayer, we are guarded with His peace. I pray that you are encouraged and that the Holy Spirit will flood into our hearts with His streams of mercy, tuning our hearts to bless His name with loudest praise.


You can click on the link above to listen to the song that is based out of Psalm 42. May this song lead you in a time of worship of our Lord and serve as a reminder to us to bless His name with our loudest praise.



Week 2 Devotional

Instructions Included - Some assembly required.

By Pastor John Jamison


We must read instructions for everything; they are part of our lives whether we are installing a dishwasher, stopping at a stop sign, or standing on the dreaded 6ft social distance reminders that are still all over the floors of the world.  Some instructions we like, how to make brownies for example, and some instructions we hate.  Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, do not like being told what to do.  When it comes to obeying or submitting to instructions, we acquiesce because it is either something we want - our piping hot, venti, extra shot, no whip Caramel Macchiato - or because we recognize it is for our greater good - the Dentist’s instruction to sit still while he drills for example.


I spent much of my adult life in the world of instructions and manuals. As a Coast Guard Aviator, I spent countless hours troubleshooting, maintaining, and repairing helicopters where EVERYTHING had to be done by the book according to explicit instructions.  I even spent a few years writing instructional material; determining how and what to write is an arduous task! When that career ended, I went on to build engines used in NASA’s Artemis program. If you thought instructions were a lot for helicopters you should see what they look like for something being shot into space! There were times where the whole production was stopped over a single letter in the alphabet! Today’s rocket engine is brought to you by the letter “A”.  I’m belaboring the point a bit here to explain that our world functions on instruction.  You and I do certain things and behave certain ways because we have been instructed to do so, whether that is parents, our communities, or culture at large, or specific instructions. But we don’t like being explicitly told what to do - we always look for the work around, the shortcut in one way or another.


Our shortcuts with God come from a place of rebellion. We, like Adam & Eve, pridefully want to rule and reign over our own lives; even though we make terrible kings and queens. I have never liked the BIBLE acronym - Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. I always thought it silly and far too trite for the beauty and grandeur of God’s Word.  However, there is much to be said about the wisdom of God in that we simply need submit to His instruction.


Proverbs 1:2–4

To know wisdom and instruction,

to understand words of insight,

to receive instruction in wise dealing,

in righteousness, justice, and equity;

to give prudence to the simple,

knowledge and discretion to the youth—


The first few verses of Proverbs tell us that God’s instructions are good.  In just two verses we learn they give insight, help us deal wisely, they make us to understand righteousness, justice, and equity.  They give prudence - for some that’s an old-school word - it simply means to help us exercise good judgement. Lastly, God’s Word blesses our youth with knowledge and discretion.


I think it prudent then to ask do we want God’s instruction? Do we desire those characteristics that come from spending time with Him in His Word? Or, have we become so self-sufficient as Americans, as followers of culture, that we no longer need to pay attention to instruction? Are we like Adam & Eve thinking, even assuming, that we know better? I challenge us to consider the question then, “Lord, do I desire to be taught by you?”


I pray that a resounding “YES” comes forth!

Men & Women, do you long to have a life of value, a life that means more than the bill of goods our culture is selling? Read and meditate upon scripture!

Parents, do you desire your children to grow up into the wisdom and fear of the Lord? Read and meditate upon scripture with them!

Husbands and wives do you desire to lovingly walk alongside your spouse? Read and meditate upon scripture with them!

Students and Children, do you desire to walk with God and understand His will? Read and meditate upon scripture!

Senior adults, do you desire to serve God and grow more deeply in your walks with Him? Read and meditate upon scripture!

Sheesh, there seems to be a bit of a pattern here…


Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and instruction.


The beginning of knowledge is the true fear of the Lord.  Fear in this verse means reverence and awe; we are to sit before the Lord and His Word and be struck by who He is and what He has done for us. I try to think of this in terms that can relate, and all comparisons fail, but I’ll give it a shot - it is as if Elon Musk personally delivered to you a brand-new Tesla. He came to your home and showed you how to use it and all its features. Now, some couldn’t care less about Tesla’s, but the celebrity of Elon Musk is obviously known at this point so we would be awestruck that one of the richest men in the world would condescend to deliver a single Tesla and give instruction in St. Tammany Parish, LA!  Do we consider God in similar ways? Or do we look at our Bibles as old, outdated books but necessary for our religious purposes?


Admittedly, instructions are not always the most interesting of reads.  Many of us would rather read something that snatches our attention or imagination. However, I propose that when we find ourselves “feeling” bored or lackluster in our reading - what has taken place is we have failed to behold the One who laid His majesty aside to take on flesh for us. If our Tesla analogy still holds any weight, it is as though a year has passed, the new car smell is gone, and Elon Musk is just a picture on the wall of the day he delivered the vehicle.  You have had to replace tires and vacuum out crumbs and french fries - the NEWNESS has worn off! But God’s Word isn’t like that! It is a well, that will never run dry.  It is wisdom from God who is outside of space and time! It is life to aching & dying bones; it is refreshment in dry and weary places.


Proverbs 8:10–11

  Take my instruction instead of silver,

and knowledge rather than choice gold,

for wisdom is better than jewels,

and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.


What do you desire? What do you think and dream about in the recesses of your mind? God’s Word is better than all of it.  In fact, it isn’t just better, it’s not even a comparison! My challenge to you this month, this year, for the rest of your time on this Earth, is to examine your heart toward the instruction of God and take a good look at your time.  If you kept a running stopwatch of all you did throughout the day, what would your time tell us about your affections?


Find time, make time, set your alarm earlier, stop making excuses about being busy - we are all busy!  Jesus was and is busy holding all things together and yet He found time for you and me; He found time for a cross. God’s instructions are for our good and His glory. They are the heart of wisdom; more precious than all the wealth we could amass in a lifetime. Let us repent of our busyness, of our want of shortcuts, and sit before our God and King asking in earnest for His instruction


Psalm 119:129

Your testimonies are wonderful;

therefore, my soul keeps them.



Week 1 Devotional

Fasting – Am I supposed to Fast as a Believer?

by Pastor Byron


Read – Matthew 6:16-18

Have you ever fasted as a believer?

Growing up, I can’t think of one sermon or teaching I ever heard on fasting. Not one.

I grew up in a church that firmly believed in praying. I can still remember some amazing prayer times of many people on their knees at the altar before the Lord pouring out their hearts before the Lord.

So, why was there no teaching on fasting?

I think it is simply because maybe they had not heard it taught well or modeled for them.

I think that maybe this is true for many believers today.

However, I want to challenge and change that in your life, because fasting is a necessary spiritual discipline in the life of the believer where we show our deep dependence on God.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:16, “when you fast”.

Jesus didn’t say, “if you fast”.

Those are two different meanings.

Why is fasting so hard for us?

Is it because we love food and ourselves?

But the question I want to ask is this . . . “Do we love God enough to sacrifice a pleasure of food for one meal or one day to seek His face because we want and need Him to show up in our lives?”


So, what is fasting?

Fasting is primarily the restraining oneself from food for the purpose to confess sin, and/or to simply seek God more, or to seek God for some major decision in front of us.

So, what did people fast for in the Bible?

Here are six examples of fasting that I am summarizing and then showing what result occurred after a genuine fast before the Lord:

  1. Nehemiah 1 – (Individual fast) - Nehemiah lived in Babylon and when he heard that the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed, he was broken and so he fasted and confessed the sins of the people and sought the Lord for God’s favor to have the walls rebuilt again.


The result à God heard him and gave him favor with King Artaxerexes to allow him to return to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall.

  1. 2 Samuel 12 – (Individual fast) – David and Bathsheeba had a child that was born through their sinful action of adultery and the child was struck with sickness. While he was sick, David fasted and sought God on behalf of the child.


The result à God allowed the child to die and David was broken for his sinfulness.

  1. Jonah – (city-wide fast) - Jonah went to the city of Ninevah and preached a message of repentance because of their wickedness. If the people didn’t repent, God was going to bring destruction on the city.


The Result à The whole city proclaimed a fast to show God they were broken for their sinfulness and God relented from bringing destruction.

  1. 2 Chronicles 20 (Nation-wide fast) –– Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, learned there was a great army that was going to come against the people of Judah. As a result, Jehoshaphat knew that Judah would not be able to overcome this battle without the Lord’s help. So, Jehoshaphat called a fast for the entire land of Judah. They assembled in one place to come together and fast and pray and seek the help of the Lord.


The result à God set an ambush and took out the enemy and the people gave praise to God for His protection.

  1. Jesus’ fast (individual fast) – In Matthew 4, Jesus fasted in preparation for the ministry ahead of Him and to be prepared for the spiritual temptation that Satan was going to throw at Him.


The result à Jesus was able to rebuke the devil with scripture and start His ministry.

  1. Church Fast at Antioch – In Acts 13, the church fasted not for anything in particular but rather it was a part of the church’s practice to worship and fast and seek the Lord.


The result à God told the church to set apart Paul and Silas and they sent them out spreading the gospel and the missionary movement was started and many people were saved.



What’s the challenge to you and me?

Think about the different ways that God’s people fasted and sought the Lord in these examples.

What is it in your life that maybe you need to fast and seek God for?

Is there sin you need to fast and repent from?

Is there opposition coming your way that you are desperate for God to help you?

Is there a major decision you need clarity from God on?

Are there temptations that are being thrown your way that you need to go to war on through prayer and fasting?

Or do you just need to see God more deeply?


I want to challenge you, to take a meal or a day and fast and seek the Lord.


The result? →  Trust God to work in time.


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