Friday, January 30, 2009

John Chapter 8 - January 30, 2009

8:4ff - They "caught" her in the actual act of adultery. I believe this means that they were waiting in the shadows to trap her in her sin. They made no move to stop her from sinning or hold her accountable...they simply used her own sin as a tool for their sinfulness. It doesn't get much more vile than that.

8:6/8 - We don't know what he wrote in the sand, but I like to believe that he wrote the individual sin struggles of each of the Pharisees present. I think he wrote things that they kept hidden in the darkest parts of her person. In their shame, they walked away.

8:11 - Jesus offers grace and forgiveness with an understanding that here is change. He expects her to leave her life of sin behind in light of the freedom he has offered her. Chasing after righteousness should be our response to the forgiveness offered by Jesus.

8:24 - Simple Gospel message - you will die in your sin, unless you understand that  I died for your sins.

8:31-32: Disciples of Jesus know his word, which gives them a framework of truth to live their lives by...instead of the shackles of systemic sinfulness. The truth of Jesus offers us freedom to be set free and really live!

8:44 - When we buy into the lies of the devil, we become his disciples. His lies blind us to the truth of the message of Jesus Christ ad instead of tasting freedom and life we are relegated to an existence of falsehood and hopeless despair.

8:58 - Jesus calls himself the I AM - the name of the invisible, one and only God of the universe. This is a great example of how to really tick some Pharisees off...but every word of it was true (Both of them - hehe). And like Jesus said, if he speaks untruth than he is just like one of the devil's disciples, so he just tells it like it is. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

John Chapter 7 - January 28, 2009

7:4-5 - Even his brothers doubt that Jesus is anything special and they try to get him to perform more miracles as proof - they had seen Jesus as a awkward teenager and carpenter. It is often hardest for those who knew you "before" (family, friends, etc.), to accept the real life change that Jesus brings to our own lives.

7:7 - Th reason the world hates Jesus so much is because his message and life bring to light exactly how flawed and off-base their own lives are. People hate to be shown the error of their ways and the way of Jesus so the error of every way besides his!

7:23 - Again and again the Pharisees cannot get over the fact that Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. I is just absurd. They would perform the ritual of circumcision on Sabbath - a sign of the covenant and the cutting away of the sinful self...why would Jesus not be able to ring healing to a mans body? Is there anything in modern Christian times that we gt hung up on like this?

7:38 - Foreshadowing of the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of God brings a life within us that is so rich and real that we do not have to depend on the ideals and things of this world to create a fake sense of life that is constantly letting us down. True life comes from Gd within, no the world without.

7:46 - I think people should also be shocked and blown away by the lives that Christians live everyday. We should live in such a way that people say things like this, "I have never seen somebody that lives like that!" "I have never heard somebody speak like that!" "I have never sen somebody that lived with such graciousness." Would you agree, this is who we should b to the world?  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Chapter 6 - January 27, 2009

6:5ff - Jesus decides o test Philip by asking him a question he already knew the answer to...and we see that Philip does not yet grasp the power and position of Jesus. Is there something about Jesus that you are still have a hard time grasping or believing? Why? 

6:15ff - Jesus knows the crowds will try to force him into a position of power...raise him up as their conquering king, and he wants no part of being used as a tool of selfish human desire, so he leaves. Is there anything Christians try to force Jesus into today? (ex. Forcing him into a gospel of health and wealth)

6:53ff - This is a brutal passage when you first read it. The word for flesh used here is "sarx" which is a bloody, gory, sacrificial term. This would have been shocking and explicit to the ears - drinking blood? Eating flesh? These are both things that go against OT law. What is Jesus talking about? He is talking about taking part in his sacrifice..becoming one with the sacrifice of Jesus...every day laying yourself down as "sarx" for God. Becoming living sacrifices. What does that look like to be a living sacrifice everyday?

6:68 - Love that line...where else do we have to turn? Peter has experienced real life and knows that nothing can compare after that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

John Chapter 5 - January 26, 2009

Check my wife's accidentally saved it there.

Sorry, B

Friday, January 23, 2009

John Chapter 4 - January 23, 2009

4:2 - I think Jesus didn't baptize, so people wouldn't be able to arrogant think they were better than others who hadn't been baptized by JESUS himself! I think it is every leaders dream to see people other than themselves baptizing...seeing the people in their churches step up and lead others to Christ. 

4:6-7 - This is about noon in the middle east...which if you don't know is kinda hot. Nobody in this time would draw water from the well at midday unless them were outcasts from their society. This woman was a lonely societal reject...just the kind of person Jesus is always looking for.

4:9ff - I love the way Jesus always maintains a focus on the big picture...small talk is not meaningless to is a path to truth. He starts with well talk and ends up talking about fulfillment of life. He starts with husband talk and brings that around to talking bout what is ultimately an obstacle holding her back from God. What kind of difference would Christians make in this world if they were always so purposeful in their conversations?

4:19ff - It says alot about her character...she is confronted with her sin life by a complete stranger, but instead of running in the opposite direction, she proclaims Jesus as the Messiah. See, Samaritans did not believe in prophets, so when she says he must b a prophet...she means he must be THE prophet - the Messiah. Am I willing to be confronted with my own failures and turn instantly to Jesus and redemption? I hope so.

4:21 - This whole Christian gig has nothing to do with buildings...nothing to do with hymn books or choruses...organs or guitars...chairs or shag carpet or cool stained concrete. The temple is within us and the choice we have to make is if that temple is going to be filled with the pagan gods of this world...or the Spirit and truth of Jesus Christ. That is Christianity. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

John Chapter 3 - January 22, 2009

3:2 - Nicodemus comes at night because he is embarrassed about being seen or affiliated with him...or maybe he doesn't want to look like he doesn't know everything because he is asking Jesus for clarification. Either way - he comes under cover of night like a criminal. What does it cost today to follow Jesus boldly in the light?

3:3-8 - I love this section...Jesus is calling Nicodemus out of the darkness...calling him to walk in the light. Calling him, like all of us, into a total rebirth - total life change. Jesus is calling Nicodemus out of his comfortable existence of power and influence. Do you think that comfort plays a big part in why people reject the way of Jesus?

3:16 - I think that sometimes even Christians have this belief that poor Jesus hide to die to appease the wrath of a tyrannical God...but what does this verse say? God loved us so much...He gave himself. He poured Himself out for us. As John states from the beginning of this book - God and Jesus are the reality is that God thought you were worth dying for. Never forget that. Jesus came not to change God's mind, but to reveal God's heart, because he was God and is God.

3:30 - I love the humility John puts forth here. John understand something that each of us need to get through our thick skulls...the Christian life is about decreasing ourselves and increasing Jesus.

3:31 - In Jesus God dwellt when we follow Jesus, we are following God. (Colossians 1 again Tim!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

John Chapter 2 - January 21, 2009

2:4 - This has always sounded a little harsh coming from Jesus to his mom, but it is really more of a formal tone than a harsh tone. Mary is acting on her authority as a mother by asking Jesus to do something, and Jesus is redefining their relationships by making it clear that he is now under the authority of God alone. So he is actually acting out of holy disrespect. What would be another example you can think of of holy disrespect? (Something that might seem disrespectful, but is truly God honoring)

2:5 - It is funny that in typical mother fashion...Mary completely ignores Jesus remarks about the timing being right and assumes that he will do what she needs him to do. She has great trust in him.

2:6 - The stone jars could not be contaminated according to Jewish when Jesus changes the water that was in these jars into the wine - it is utterly pure...never touched by an unclean object. So the wedding feast goes from being a social disaster with no a feast that offers the finest, purest wine that has probably ever been tasted by man (I'm sure Jesus would be able to create a wine that danced on the taste buds of any human). This is a beautiful foreshadowing of the new and better life that Jesus offers us.

2:14ff - The money lenders and salespeople may not have been corrupt swindlers, but the point is...they turned a sacred space into a money making machine. Basically they were disrespecting the holiness of the place - turning a time of worship and honor into a time of selfish gain. Do you think there is anything that Christians today do to trivialize the holiness of God? (Christmas anyone?)

2:23ff - Jesus didn't get excited about their faith, because their faith was based solely on the signs that Jesus was performing. What was in man? Wrong motivation...that exists in most of us, right? If Jesus entrusted himself to these people that believed only because of miraculous signs - they would have acted out of selfish motivation...they would have tried to make him a king and lead them against the Roman Empire. Jesus knew what his mission was...and that definitely wasn't it! Do you ever use God's word to further your own selfish motivations?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

John Chapter 1 - January 20, 2009

I thought it would be cool to hit John before we tear into here we go.

1:3 - I love this opening poem about Jesus. It is beautiful and I like that it ties in with Paul's hymn about Jesus in Colossians chapter 1 (I just taught about that on Sunday). Talk about more than just a simple teacher or rabbi or prophet...Jesus is the author and sustainer of everything that exists! Kind of a big deal, huh?

1:10 - This is such a perfect/painful picture of the fullness of our fallen human nature. Our connection with God has been so sabotaged by our sinfulness that we cannot tell when he is in our midst. We were made by him and for him and we are so blind we can look right past him. This is why he had to come down to earth to save us...we were too lost to ever right the ship.

1:18 - "At the father's side" can be translated "in the father's bosom," and I like that word picture a little better because I think it describes the oneness of the Father and Son.

1:29 - I want to be like connected with the Spirit of God that when I see Jesus at work in this world, I instantly recognize it. This is the polar opposite of the people described in verse 1:10...who I desperately do not want to be. God please help me to be so in tune with you that I can see you at work in this world.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jude - January 15, 2009

I read the book today, but am a little strapped for time, so I will quickly tell you what I love about my man Jude. His passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ is palpable! His energy and love for truth is challenging. As Christians we must fright for the truth. There is absolute truth. There are series of truths that are nonnegotiable when it comes to Christianity. There are people that like to take the awesome grace of God and turn it in to a get out of jail free card, so they can go and sin whenever and however they want and we must not allow that to exist in our midst. It is our duty as the children of God to defend His truth and as the brothers and sisters of all mankind to save passionately try to save each other from destruction. I like Jude.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

3 John - January 14, 2009

4 - "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the light." Amen to that verse. I can attest to this...there is nothing quite so beautiful as seeing you children (Whether they are biological or spiritual) walk in the light and live out the message of Jesus in their lives. It's what makes this job worth doing and parenting such a rewarding adventure.

5 vs. 10 - These verse describe people with polar opposite attitudes. We have John honoring the people of the church who were living God-centered lives because they are welcoming strangers and supporting them on their journey towards Christ. That's what a church is supposed to be doing...loving people, welcoming them and sending them out with a godly mission. Great stuff. On the other hand, in verse ten, we see a man whose on focus is self-centeredness. He is causing division in the church and he is so twisted that he is driving people from the church who wish to welcome outsiders to the message of Christ! That is crazy, but it exists today, doesn't it? I've heard countless stories about churches who refuse to do anything to shake up the status quo. They like who attends their church and they don't want anything to change, so they do whatever it takes to keep it that way. That attitude and lifestyle is not from God...John is pretty clear about that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2 John - January 13, 2009

* This may sound a lot like a summarized version of I John, but we need to set the stage about what is going on for the church at this time. They are under attack. They live in a world that is hostile to their message and they have people from within their own ranks who are destroying unity and the message of Christ. It is a dangerous time for Christianity...something that is hard for us to really understand in the States. Imagine for a moment if you will that you are a leader in a Christian church in Iraq or Afghanistan...where there is violent opposition to your message. What is going to be the focus of your ministry? Probably unity and love within your they have the strength to face persecution day in and day out. That is the message we see from John.

7 - People are going out from the church and spreading a false message...they don't believe that Jesus was literally God's son and they don't believe he is coming back in the flesh (During this time some of the Gnostic's believed that "The Christ" came upon Jesus just as he died...they didn't believe that Jesus was the actual Son of God). Their messages are tearing the church apart from the inside and spreading deception to nonbelievers. What deceptions do you think modern American Christians carry out into the world? (If you love God, you'll get rich; worship of material things; judgemental hypocrisy, etc.)

10-11 - You can look at these verse and use them as ammunition to use against people fro other religions...we can justify slamming the door in the face of Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons...but that would be completely misusing this scripture. John is talking about disassociating with Christians who are destroying the message of Christ. This is about creating some accountability in the Christian community. No it is not okay to believe whatever you want and have your own selfish interpretation of Jesus' message. There are absolute truths in Christianity and we must hold one another accountable.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

1 John Chapter 5 - January 8, 2009

5:8 - Blood...water...Spirit. Just like Jesus we are born of these things. Washed clean by the sacrificial blood of Christ. Baptized in the water to proclaim our faith in Him. Filled with the Spirit of God. Children of God.

5:12 - There is only one way.

5:14 - We can have confidence in the fact that God hears our prayers when they are in accordance with His will. Did you get all that? You don't automatically get anything you ask of God...if you ask according to His will - you get a promise that He will hear you. He can still say "no" or "wait" or "that's stupid". And I believe that if we are asking for things that are selfish and evil and not in accordance to His will...they're not even being heard...they are hitting a ceiling put up by our failure to get in tune with the will of God. God doesn't mess around.

5:20 - JESUS IS GOD AND LIFE...(5:20) why would you ever live for anything else? It's all about Him. Get rid of the other things you worship.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

1 John Chapter 4 - January 7, 2009

4:2ff - Pretty clear picture of how to tell whether you can trust the spirit that is leading the people you come in contact with. If they are being led by the Spirit of God...they believe fully in the fact that God became man in form of Jesus Christ. If they are anti-Jesus Christ...they don't believe that truth at all. Pretty simple really - know who you listen to.

4:4 - Isn't it awesome! We have nothing to fear because the power of God is infinitely more powerful than the power of this world and the rulers of this world. That is really a relief.

4:8 - Let's get a little in-your-face (And mine too)...if you aren't loving, then you aren't a follower of God. Non-loving = non-Christian.

4:12 - People do not see a physical representation of God in this world, but Christians can reflect God's image to the people around them. They do this by loving one another. Again, pretty simple really.

4:18 - We fear because somewhere down deep we feel that the things that hurt us and scare us in this world are punishments...we feel like suffering pain in this world is unjust and unfair, so we fear things that are hurtful. But if our lives are ruled by fear, than we do not fully understand God's love. You see, understanding God's love means that we know He is in control and we know He is greater and more powerful than the forces of this world and we can live free from fear, because whatever comes our way...we know the love of God never changes and His will, will be done.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

1 John Chapter 3 - January 6, 2009

3:8ff - John isn't saying that your only hope for ever being saved is by living a perfect life. He is telling us that sinlessness should be our goal...why would it be anything else? You cannot save yourself and you will never be perfect, but you should be striving towards the perfection of Jesus to honor His mercy on you. This passage sums it all up. It's about what you gear your life towards - godless people literally practice sin...they develop sinful living on them...practice them. Those seeking righteousness and longing to walk in the footsteps of Christ will practice and develop righteousness.

3:12-13 - Cain murdered out of jealousy. A portion of the world will always hate Christians because deep down they know we are walking in the truth and it brings the the falsehood of living for anything else to the surface of their lives.

3:17 - What a stinging accusation against our culture and my life. Stinging...painful...and hitting really close to home. God please open my eyes to the needs of the people of this world and give me the strength not to buy into our materialistic culture any longer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

1 John Chapter 2 - January 5, 2009

Back in the saddle again and it feels good! Sorry about the extended break. What an intense chapter to kick the new year off with!

2:1 - It should be our goal in life to live without sin...that is what we should be striving towards. Are you ever going to get there? Heck no! But striving to be like Christ is part of how we honor who he is and what he means to our lives. When we mess up, his self-sacrifice offers us forgiveness...but you don't live your life however you want to because you know Jesus will take care of it - you live you life to honor him because he is worth it!

2:4 - More from the "in your face" department! You CANNOT be a Christ follower and refuse to hold to his commandments. You can't do it. Refusing to sacrifice your flawed will for the will of God just proves how little stock you put in following Him.

2:9ff - Hatred is a blinding disease that only leads us towards a place of darkness and away from the light. Don't be a hayta!

2:16 - Here is what the world has to offer: empty promises and meaningless baubles. Don't chase after the lies!

2:22 - Something we often forget...there are anti-Christs everywhere. There always have been. Those who deny that Jesus is the Christ...those who deny his power - they are anti-Christs. These anti-Christs exist even in churches...they deny who he is by their refusal to live for what he died for.