Monday, June 30, 2008

07.06.08 Scripture Happy Happy Joy Joy

Our scripture for this Sunday's lesson is:

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.


Questions for the week: What makes you most happy? Where do you find your joy?

Dear John - Intro


Today we are begin our new, 12 week study on the letter of 1John. This morning I want to:

1. Give some background on John. Who was he and what did he do?

2. Go into some detail on 1John. Why was it written? What was the purpose of the letter and is it still applicable to us today?

3. Wrap up the lesson with a sneak peek of the upcoming lessons.

Point #1. John…the artist formerly known as John, son of Zebedee.

Matthew 4:18-22

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has ruled heaven and earth for all eternity past, God Himself, has stepped down into humanity, divided human history, set aside His kingdom to bring salvation to the world.

Here we see Jesus as He begins His ministry and one of the first things He does is to gather a posse, call His peeps to Himself, those men who will work side by side with Him over the next 3 years, who will learn from Him, and who will serve as the foundation for spreading the gospel to the world. It’s interesting that Jesus does not go to the temple to call His disciples. He doesn’t go to the colleges or the seminaries. Jesus doesn’t choose the rich, the righteous, or the religious. Instead He heads to the sea.

In 4:18-20 we see that Jesus has already called Andrew and Peter and in 21-22 He calls James and John to follow Him as well. These guys are real salt of the earth fellows sort of like the crew of the deadliest catch on steroids. They are lean, tan, their skin is like leather, and they chew a lot of skoal (much like the women who come from Sevier county). These guys are uneducated, blue collar, hard working men who smell like a Captain D’s on a hot summer day with a broken air conditioner but they are trustworthy, dependable, and hardworking. They have seen many storms, faced many trials, and they are just the men Jesus needs.

We don’t know too much about John first because John is not the hero of our Bibles, Jesus is, and so we learn about John through references either as he interacts or participates in the life and ministry of Jesus and the gospel. We know that John had a brother James, that he was a fisherman, and that his dad’s name was Zebedee and that is pretty much it.

John was one of the first disciples to be called to Jesus and was part of Jesus' small group or inner 3 comprised of Peter, James, and John himself. Could you imagine being apart of this small group?

"Ok, John, did you read your Bible this week?...asked Jesus.

"Ye......no, no I didn't! Oh, you already know don't you! Why even ask?"

Talk about accountability and spiritual growth! John had an up close and very personal relationship with Jesus and had a special part in the ministry of Jesus. Here are just a few key events and miracles in the life and work of Jesus where John either took part or was present as part of the inner circle of Jesus:

John was present at the transfiguration of Jesus (Matt. 17:1-2; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:28-29).
He was at the house of Jairus when Jesus raised the girl from the dead (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51).
John went into the garden with Jesus before His arrest and Jesus asked Him to pray (Matt. 26:37; Mark 14:33).
John specifically asked Jesus when He would come back (Mark 13:3-4).
John prepared the Passover meal at the last supper (Luke 28:8).
Jesus names John one of the "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17).
John asked Jesus to be in a position of glory (Mark 10:35-40).
John asked Jesus if he should call for fire to come down and destroy (Luke 9:54).
John is probably the one called, "the disciple Jesus loved" (John 13:23).
John was at the foot of the cross at the crucifixion (John 19:26-27).
John raced to the tomb upon hearing that the body of Jesus was gone (John 28:8).
In Acts we see John ministering with Peter in the temple and arrested in Acts 4:1-3 for preaching Jesus and the resurrection.
We also see John as bold in his witness of Jesus (Acts 4:19-20) arrested (Acts 5:17-18) and in Galatians he is called one of the "Pillars" of the church (2:9).

These references tell us that John was a devoted follower of Jesus who had a very personal and up close relationship with Jesus and was daily involved in the intricacies of the ministry of Jesus. John heard Jesus preach, teach, and had intimate conversations with Jesus. John saw the miracles of Jesus, the healing of the lame, blind, mute, sick, and John saw Jesus raise the daughter of Jarius from the dead. John was devastated when he saw Jesus beaten, bloodied, mocked, and crucified and John was forever changed when he personally saw the empty tomb and the risen Jesus who ascended into heaven. So when we read 1 John 1-4 [link] we can believe John because his testimony is true as it is based on his eye witness and personal testimony.

Point#2 The purpose behind the letter

John loved Jesus very much and he was a fully devoted, zealous, bold follower of Jesus. As a fisherman who lived by the Sea of Galilee, it was highly unlikely that John had much of a formal education yet he, along with the Holy Spirit, wrote 5 books of our Bible - The Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation (some debate that John wrote Revelation). 5 of the most theologically profound books ever written and 5 of the most beautifully written books I might add as well.

Each of the 5 books written by John were specific and with purpose. While the gospel of John was written to show us the divinity of Jesus and to show us how we might be saved from our sins and live eternally with King Jesus, John 3:16, the book of 1 John shows us how to have assurance of that very salvation (1 John 5:13).

1John was written to give us assurance of salvation, to defend the gospel, and to elaborate on the new command Jesus gave us in John 13:34.

1. Christian Assurance – 1 John was written to bring each of us to an absolute assurance of salvation in Jesus and to lead us into a deeper understanding and a bold confidence of what we already possess…our salvation through Jesus!

The question is…how do I know that I am really saved? In a world where almost nothing is certain, where there is so much information, how can you really know anything for certain?

John writes to us that even though times are uncertain and there is a world full of information and misinformation we can be certain of our salvation. At the very end of the letter we learn the primary purpose… 1 John 5:13 13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life

Throughout the letter John continually tells us that we can or already know about our assurance (2:5, 2:13, 2:20, 2:21, 3:2, 3:14, 3:19, 3:24, 4:4, 4:13, 5:2, 5:18,19,20) he reminds us that we know, we know, we know!

2. A Defense of the Gospel – There are many perspectives, opinions, ideas, theologies, philosophies, when it comes to Jesus, salvation, morality, heaven, hell, and judgment. John was responding to false teaching about Jesus and false teaching about how we as the church, as Christians should live our lives. People were teaching many things that did not jive with scripture such as the body is bad but the spirit is good. Therefore when you are saved it is your spirit that is saved and your body remains evil which they used as a license to sin. This also lead to a false view of Jesus as many who adopted this teaching began to deny that Jesus appeared in a physical body, because to do so for them would mean that He was not sinless as their teaching said the body is evil.

John brings everything back into sharp, laser focus by pointing to Jesus as the only way to salvation and by stating that our morality is evidence of our salvation.

3. Elaboration on a new command – In John 13:34 Jesus has just finished the Passover meal with His disciples and He gives them a new command to follow:

34A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

For thousands of years the law has gone unchanged and now God, the eternal law and the eternal law giver is giving these guys and us a new command. You would think that all ears would be open, all eyes fixed on Jesus, pen in hand taking notes, “Ok Jesus you want us to love one another right? How does that work? What does that look like? How do we walk in that?”

Yet instead their minds are on Jesus leaving and they glaze over this new command (John 13:36, 14:5). So through the Holy Spirit John elaborates on Jesus’ new command for us to love one another in 1 John. Here are just a few examples in the letter (2:5, 2:15, 3:10, 3:11, 3:14, 3:18, 4:7, 4:11, and 4:21).

As Christians our lives are to be marked with a heart of love and a life of service as we live extravagantly in Jesus and give generously of our time, treasure, and talents. Our goal is to get to give not to get to get.

1 John is a letter written to believers, to us, to the church. It is a reaction to false teaching, false teaching as to what it means to be a Christian, false teaching of who Jesus is, and false teaching as to how we are to live our lives. 1 John is the antidote to heresy, it is the answer to anyone who declares they are sinless, and to anyone who claims salvation by any other means apart from Jesus or any addition to the work Jesus did on the cross.

Point#3 – Sneak Peek of Upcoming Lessons

Here are some of the items we will discuss over the next 12 weeks as we go through the book/letter of 1 John:

June 29 - Dear John - Intro
July 6 - Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!
July 13 - Livin' in the Spotlight
July 20 - Your Brother from Another Mother
July 27 - Too Much Junk in Your Trunk?
Aug 3 - Tricked, Hoodwinked & Duped
Aug 10 - Who's Your Daddy?
Aug 17 - Love from Above
Aug 24 - Light, Done Right!
Aug 31 - God is Luv
Sep 7 - Freedom Time
Sep 14 - The REAL 4-1-1 - Outro

I hope you enjoy this new study of 1 John as much as I have enjoyed studying it over the past several weeks in preparation for this series. Feel free to comment or to ask questions.

Blessings!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

ONE couples are cookin'

It happens all the time. Someone makes a really delicious recipe and brings it to a ONE event. Suddenly, that person is swamped with requests for the recipe. If that's been you, share your recipe here for all to see and enjoy (ONE cookbook is also listed under Links to your right).

Important: To join and add recipes to the ONE cookbook you will need to use this password: ONE. Once entered, you will not have to join again when you log on to the site with your email address and password.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Stop being such a Martha...7 steps to recovery


Are you busy? Is your schedule full? Is your life hectic? Do you find yourself jumping from one appointment to the next? How does your calendar look? Do you have every evening booked solid for weeks out? Do you ever find yourself gasping for air under the load? Do you ever ask the following questions? Where has the time gone? Do I really have time for that?

Contest.....who has the busiest schedule? What about your church schedule? Do you find yourself wrapped up in programs, committees and events? Do you see a time when you could possibly slow down in the near future?

Question...in the Christian life, what is the single most important thing you and I must do? What is the one thing necessary we must do?

Witness to others? Read through our Bibles? Know the 5 points of Calvinism? Memorize the Heidelberg Catechism?

Let's look at the words of Jesus and see for ourselves.

Luke 10:38-42

38Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." 41But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

Martha is a hard worker, she sees something that needs to be done and she does it. I kind of get the impression that Martha might have shown her love through her service. She might be the lady who cooks for everyone and continues to offer you food even though you just ate the largest meal of your life.

"More?"

"Oh, no thanks, I am stuffed!"

"How about some cake? Pie? Ice Cream? After dinner coffee? A side of beef?"

Is Martha a neat freak? I don't know, scripture doesn't say but you get the impression that she can't rest until everything is in it's proper place or until she knows that everyone is taken care of. The scripture states that Martha was "distracted with much serving." I can relate to Martha as I have been guilty of coming home, passing right by my wife and kids, and heading straight for the sink to load the dishwasher or to the living room to pick up toys, or......I just can't rest until everything is in it's proper place! Am I freak or what?

But this business or OCD isn't just relegated to dishes and a living room full of toys, no, it permeates every fabric of life to the point that we don't even see it or recognize it most of the time. In fact, our lives become about doing instead of being to the point that we turn the most mundane, unimportant details and events into the most important while leaving that which is most important undone.

We are a bunch of Marthas and here are the seven steps to recovery.

1. We have to sit at the feet of Jesus

No doubt that Martha was very busy with planning, cleaning, cooking, serving, and entertaining as she invited Jesus into her home. Here in her living room was the Messiah, the living God, the savior of the world and I wonder....why did she invite Jesus into her home? It is obvious from the scripture that she was distracted, couldn't enjoy this time with Jesus, and in fact became upset because her sister wasn't helping her! The only dialogue we see from Martha to Jesus is when she complains to about her sister not helping. Just think...Jesus at your house, in your living room teaching. You can sit with Him, talk to Him, ask Him questions...anything yet you are busy taking out the trash, filling drink orders, and putting dishes in the dishwasher.

Our lives are very busy and there is no such thing as spare time or quiet time anymore in our 24 hour a day lives. Many of us are anxious and troubled about many things and just like Martha, Jesus comes to us and reminds us

41But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

Mary was focused on the only thing that truly matters..the only thing in life that is necessary 42...the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Mary was focused on Jesus, looked to Jesus, worshiped Jesus, followed Jesus.

The main thing you and I have to do as Christians is to sit at the feet of Jesus daily first and foremost before we do or attempt to do anything else.

Question? So how do we walk in this today? What should this look like in our own lives? What does it mean to sit at the feet of Jesus?

1. It means we have humility - Mary had taken the lowly position at Jesus' feet and not at His side. Mary did not equate herself with Jesus, she didn't come to Jesus with a list of demands and wants, she didn't lay claim to any rights, she just came and listened.

2. It means we submit ourselves to Jesus - Mary submitted herself to Jesus and His teaching. You and I have to replace the philosophies, perspectives, and opinions of the world with the teachings of Jesus. This happens as we submit areas of our lives over to Jesus in repentance as we turn from our sins and run to Him. This means we give up any rights we have or claims to any happiness we think we are entitled to and turn our lives completely over to Jesus as King. It looks like in the eyes of the world that we are sacrificing and giving up but in reality we are gaining and obtaining the good portion, which will never be taken away from us.

3. It means that we are learning not just listening - Mary sat at Jesus feet. She took the position of a student. This learning is at the core of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Jesus. You and I have to be continually following Jesus and learn from Jesus.

4. Sitting at Jesus' feet indicates where we have placed our faith - "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). "As He spoke these words, many believed in Him" (John 8:30). It is important to hear the Word which gives faith because it is by faith that we gain victory over sin. "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5). Mary believed and overcame.

5. When we sit at the feet of Jesus on a daily basis it means we are holding to His teaching - Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. She was focused, intent, she wasn't going anywhere. If we are to endure, stand firm, and to fight the good fight we must hold to the teaching of Jesus and the only way to do that will be through sitting at His feet on a daily basis.

6. When we sit at the feet of Jesus on a daily basis it shows that we truly love Jesus - Mary could have helped Martha in the kitchen. Was she lazy? Unmotivated? I don't think so. Mary didn't want to leave the room where Jesus was. In light of Him nothing else mattered. Not the dishes, not the meal, not the laundry, the 401k, the next episode of 24, or the new Hulk movie. No, Mary hung on every word that Jesus said. How much time do you spend each week with Jesus? In His word? In prayer? The answer to these questions are a true testimony to who your true master is, who you see as your real savior, and who you love and serve.

Matthew 6:24

24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."

We were designed to love and worship Jesus and Him alone. By passionately loving Jesus we will have no room to love anything of the world or the flesh. Our thoughts won't be consumed by the trivial as our perspectives line up to what will truly echo in the eternal.

Jesus said the two greatest commandments are loving God and loving people (Mark 12:28-31). Maybe, maybe we have been too much of a Martha. Sure our kitchens are spotless, the laundry is folded, and the house is well kept but tomorrow it will all be taken away from us with new laundry to do, dishes to wash, lawns to be mowed.

How about each day starting off humbling yourself before the creator of the universe, the only one who can save you from your sins, submitting your heart, mind, body, and soul to Him, listening to His teaching through His word, learning, believing, following through with His commands on your life and for your life and regaining the greatest love of your life and the greatest love the world has or will ever know...Jesus.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Getting Outside the Basket, written by Emily

I happened upon an article this month in Parenting (Sizing things up, July 2008). The article explained the development of 1-2 year olds. Here's an excerpt:
...Once toddlers have mastered walking and can recognize themselves in mirrors,
they'll try figuring out how they "fit in" with the world.

Shortly after reading this article, like a day later, I noticed Schaeffer climbing into a basket and then looking at the world around him. He had this look on his face that sort of said, "Hey! Look at me in this basket." Since then he has climbed into other baskets and boxes - laundry baskets, Pampers boxes, toy boxes, etc. He is definitely sizing up the world around him and seeing how he fits in. And that's when it hit me like a lightening bolt! From the very beginning of life each one of us sizes up the world around us from our own point of view. We come from a self-centered viewpoint and we see how things size up around us. Now, developmentally that's a very important step for toddlers and children. But sometimes I wonder how many times we get stuck in that developmental stage - like a toddler - and never move past a viewpoint beyond ourselves?

Certainly Jesus went through the "sizing-things-up" stage as a toddler to the delight of Mary his mommy. If she had had a camera, no doubt she would've snapped some photos of such cuteness. But as he grew he soon found that he fit into the world based on God's plan for him. This is what Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father on our behalf, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do...As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world...May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:3, 18, 21).

The Parenting article was a great reminder to me to get outside the basket and view the world from God's point of view. And it's equally important that I instill that same truth into my children. It's okay for now that they are sizing up the world around them to see how they fit in. They need that time for proper growth. But they also need my help to guide them into a viewpoint that looks beyond themselves and looks at the world through the eyes of Jesus. That's an important task, and a very big one. I'll need lots of patience, mercy, and love. I'm so glad Jesus has already prayed on my behalf and is living in my heart to guide me through every aspect of life and parenting. He knew I'd really need him in order to get outside the basket.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Supper after The Supper

During the evening service (6 p.m.) on Sunday, June 22 our church will be observing the Lord's Supper. We encourage everyone to attend this special time to honor Jesus and his sacrifice for our sins. As a Bible Fellowship, we will try to sit together (left side of sanctuary facing the pulpit about midway - look for a familiar face). Afterwards we will be gathering at Greg and Courtney's house for supper after The Lord's Supper. More details, and directions to Greg and Courtney's house, available soon by email and in class on Sunday morning.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sound doctrine...get some

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

(Take this verse for a minute and put it on the back burner...I promise we will come back to it momentarily.)

What is the worst commercial you have ever seen? A Levis commercial with two guys checking each other out.

What commercials do you hate the most? I hate just about every Hardees commercial ever made.

What is the worst movie you have ever seen? I really hated Natural Born Killers.

What is the worst sermon you have ever heard? Probably the one on estate planning.

Who was the worst preacher you have ever heard? Creflo Dollar? Joel Osteen? See below.

We see in the Bible that God places a great emphasis on preaching. During creation God speaks the world into existence. 8 times the scripture states "And God said...."

3And God said, "Let there be light,"

6And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."

9And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear."

11And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth."

14And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for seasons, and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth."

20And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens."

24And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds."

26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

And so it was that God spoke the world into existence through the very first sermon in the history of the world. Not through scientific experimentation in the lab, not through billions and billions of years of evolutionary dice playing, but through preaching life was created, through the very word of God being spoken.

Yet God is not the only one who preaches to us. Our adversary Satan has his own sermons and we see him come to our first parents in Genesis 3:5 preaching a false gospel "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

And ever since Satan has come to us with preaching unhealthy sermons filled with unsound doctrine and false gospels which continues to this very day. Here are some examples.

1. Oprah denies Jesus

2. Joel Osteen and the health and wealth gospel

3. Money money money!

Many people state that they don’t like preaching, don’t like to be preached to but the reality is everyone of us is preached at daily hundreds if not thousands of times and preaching is a common part of our every day lives.

Commercials are 30 second sermons pitching how their product can serve as a savior for us, salvation from our bad breath, foot odor, or hairy backs. Music comes at us in the form of 2-3 minute sermons (excluding Iron butterfly's in-a-gadda-da-vida at over 11 minutes) and movies, TV shows, and sitcoms, while entertaining are longer sermons usually about romanticizing a certain lifestyle, agenda, behavior, or worldview.

Titus 2:1 “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

We have in this verse two commands for believers in Jesus Christ:

1. First command - Teach - no questions asked. You say, but I don't have the gift to teach. Doesn't matter. This command is in perfect accord with the great commission (Matthew 28:19). You and I are called to make disciples and we do that through brute force, coercion, and violence right? No so much. We do it through love. We walk in this command first in our own families as husbands and dads. Men, we are to lead our homes in Bible reading, Bible study, and prayer. We teach our wives and kids about Jesus, we help them follow Jesus as pastor dad and then we take it to the streets where we love on others in action and we show them Jesus by teaching them healthy, life giving, gospel truth.

2: Second command - When you teach it's gotta jive with scripture. You can't just spout off what you think, what you feel...it has to be sound doctrine.

That word sound also means healthy. You have to teach others doctrine that is healthy.

The Bible states that the gospel refreshes a man's bones (proverbs 15:30) and bring health to the body (proverbs 16:24) and sets a man free(John 8:32).

Question....how can words refresh our bones? Bring health to our body? Set us free?

We are called out to teach what brings health, what brings joy, what brings peace, comfort, rest, and life eternal and most importantly it has to jive with the Bible, with God's word. Our teaching can't contradict the gospel no matter how intelligent it sounds or how smart we think we are.

The implication of this verse is that there is teaching and preaching that is unsound and unhealthy, that there are false gospels being spread that take away from the work of Christ on the cross, that lead people astray.

Scripture clearly teaches us that there will be false prophets among us who bring false doctrine(Matthew 7:15, 24:11, 24:24, Mark 13:22, Luke 6:26, 2 Peter 2:1, and 1 John 4:1 )all speak about those who would seek to make gain from us, those who would seek to empower themselves through us, and those who would seek to lead us away from Jesus, away from life, away from the truth, and into death, destruction, and hell.

Some examples of unhealthy doctrine: (always include a Jesus+ equation)

Legalism Dress codes Salvation through works Restrictive Diets Prosperity Gospel Loss of Salvation Monasticism Denial

When we talk about doctrine we are talking about the essentials, the core beliefs of what it means to be a Christian. Doctrine is the sum total, toe body of essentials we will never compromise such as the inerrancy and authority of scripture, the virgin birth, Jesus as the only way, the only truth, and the only life, Jesus as the resurrection, and salvation only through Jesus. These should be fought over and held onto without compromise because anything apart from these are false gospels and cults. We keep our doctrine in a closed hand never letting go.

Other theological items such as end time prophecy, predestination, styles of worship music....are all secondary items that we can agree to disagree over. These items should be held in an open hand as these can change over time in the way we view them and they way they are revealed to us by God.

So what?

There is coming a time when men will not put up with sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3) not just outside the church but inside the church and as believers we must know what we believe and why we believe it. The battle is not coming at us loud and violent in the heat of the day where we can plainly see it, arm ourselves and defend it. No, the battle comes to us in 30 second advertisement clips, 2-3 minute songs, 30 minute talks shows, movies, TV shows, and sitcoms silently chipping away the truth, replacing the gospel of Jesus with detergent, underwear, and political and pop star messiahs.

True Christians, followers and disciples of Jesus are the antidote, the serum, the mojo against bad, worldly, unhealthy, satanic preaching and teaching. God created everything through His word, the spoken word, the word incarnate Jesus and just as in the beginning it is the word spoken by us to unbelievers, the word of the gospel that brings life eternal to a dead world.

It's time each of us got us some sound, healthy doctrine, lived like the new creatures we are(2 Corinthians 5:17), and started teaching others to do the same.

Peace out/Shalom

Monday, June 9, 2008

Back in the day or "When we were fools"


Who are the people directly in your life right now, this moment, this second, just now, who really really really get on your nerves? I am not talking about the way they comb their hair, wear their pants hiked up real high just below their arm pits or even all that back hair fluffing out from the back of their shirt collar. No, I am speaking of those you work with, those friends you have, those you call on occasionally, those you work with who always make stupid and avoidable mistakes....moment of silence for you to continue counting them all up......need more time? Ok.....done yet? No? Sorry, you get the point.

Don't you get so mad at these people who continually spend their lives jumping from one bad situation to another, doing one stupid thing after another, making one horrible choice after another? It's bad enough that you have to be witness to all of this freak show but then the good part comes, they ask you for advice and then do the exact opposite of what you told them to do! Now you and I both know that our advice is top notch, well researched, and grounded in knowledge, wisdom, and love yet they continue to fail to see the value? Stupid people right?

Not so fast....

Titus 3:3-8

3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

Paul writes these words as an older, experienced pastor to a younger pastor. What prompted this letter? Well of course the Holy Spirit but did Paul receive a report from others how the church was doing? Did Paul receive a letter from Titus himself sharing some of the burdens...asking for advice? You can just imagine that letter can't you?

"Dear Paul, the ministry would be wonderful if it wasn't for all these stupid people always messing it up!"

I think we can be too harsh on people who are not Christians and are outside the church because they do...well unchurchy things right? Yet when you think about it they are only doing what unchurched, non-Christians do. According to scripture without Christ they are dead to Him, dead to His word, dead dead dead and no matter how much preaching you do you nor I can call them out of this death. Only God can.

Does that mean that we have to stop calling these clowns stupid? Yes, and you have to stop calling them clowns as well. You see the scripture above states that each of us were once:

1. Fools 2. Disobedient 3. Deceived 4. Slaves 5. Hated each other

Yet something happened didn't it? Because the scripture above states "were once" indicating that something changed but what? What could wake a dead person from the grave? What could awake the things of God in the heart of a dead man so that it would change the foolish to the wise, the disobedient to the obedient, the deceived to the knowing, slaves to free men, and turn hate to love?

Survey says! Jesus and Jesus alone

4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy,

Jesus appears, intervenes, steps onto the scene like a superhero from a slick magazine (sorry about that I was on a roll). Jesus come to each of us through His word and through His spirit, He speaks directly to each of us, He calls us to Himself for Himself from the world of death in which we live. It is only because Jesus is good, loving, and kind that He does this. Note how in verse 5 the scripture makes it very clear that Jesus does this "not because of works done by us" but because of "his own mercy." Isn't that refreshing? Isn't that what the good news is all about?

Think about this for a moment. Every religion on the planet is a system, a scheme, a process that tells you what you must do to reach God or to become a god. Christianity tells us that God, Jesus, came down to us, He died for us, He died in our place, took on the punishment for our sins, paid the price so that you and I could be free through His mighty work. It's never about what you and I could do....always about what Jesus has done and that truly is great news!

If you are reading this and have accepted Jesus as your savior then you are saved because of what He did not because of what you are doing, what you are or are not eating, are or are not following. You are saved only because of His mercy, loving kindness, and goodness.

If you are saved, if you have the love of God in your heart then you need to stop calling people stupid and clowns because you and I at one point were foolish at one point making stupid decisions, disobedient at one point going our own way in total rebellion against God, deceived in thinking we could be like God and enslaved to humanly passions that lead only to death.

Now is the time to reach out to those around you who get on your nerves, who make stupid decisions, who never take your advice and instead of pimp smacking them how about throwing your arms around them?

How about taking the same mercy, love, and kindness you received at the cross and share it with those around you knowing that it is God who saves and God alone and it is up to us to share His good news through preaching, teaching, and good works.

Because back in da day....each of us were stone cold fools.

Monday, June 2, 2008

REAL. LIFE. starts 06.29.08

Starting Sunday, June 29, 2008 at 11 a.m. we will be finding REAL answers for LIFE eternal through the book of 1 John. This study will be led by BJ in room E-2228. Here are some topics that we'll be taking a closer look at - you won't want to miss this!

June 29 - Dear John

July 6 - Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

July 13 - Livin' in the Spotlight

July 20 - Your Brother from Another Mother

July 27 - Too Much Junk in Your Trunk?

Aug 3 - Tricked, Hoodwinked & Duped

Aug 10 - Who's Your Daddy?

Aug 17 - Love from Above

Aug 24 - Light, Done Right!

Aug 31 - God is Luv

Sep 7 - Freedom Time

Sep 14 - The REAL 4-1-1