Nuggets – 10/28

BLOG TO READ:


Stumbled across this blog post today. Super great reminder of what it’s all about.

The Kingdom | StoryTellers

LINK TO FOLLOW:


Been revisiting the sermons from the NewSpring Leadership Conference that my brother and I attended in September. All the sermons were good, but the Driscoll, Smith, and Chan are still rocking my socks. I can’t embed the videos here but the link below will take you to the goodness.

New Spring Leadership Conference

VIDEO TO WATCH:


And since were are talking about the conference, I need to mention the praise band at NewSpring was great. Here is a video of Revelation Song.

 

What do I know about this Jesus?

John 7:40-42 (ESV)

When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

Have you ever been watching TV and see someone giving an interview on the news and immediately you make a snap judgment about their character? Or have you ever passed someone on the street and just by looking at them you think you know exactly what they are all about? I think we do it all the time. It seems that we have been conditioned to assume or make judgments about people many times before we even get to  know the person or have any idea about the circumstances of their lives. I know I do it. It seems far easier to label someone with an assumption rather than actually getting to know them, but there is a danger in this approach. The danger is we might miss out on who the person actually is. Looking at today’s verses we see this idea play out.

The context of John 7 is the Feast of Booths, a Jewish time of worship and celebration, where Jews returned to Jerusalem to sacrifice and honor God. Initially, Jesus was not going to go to this festival because there was concern that those who opposed his ministry might try and kill him and the time for his death had not yet come. However, Jesus does go to the festival and ends up preaching to a crowd in the Temple. The teaching he gives so moves the audience that they begin to question who Jesus really is. The authority with which Jesus taught stirred many to the idea that Jesus was the Christ. Interestingly, as quickly as they entertain the idea of why Jesus was the Christ they dismiss it because of where he was currently living. These people did not have all the information about Jesus, but they had just enough information to dismiss him and reject his claim. They didn’t know about Joseph and Mary returning to Bethlehem around the time of Jesus’ birth. They didn’t know about the manger, the shepherds, or the choir of angels that announced Jesus’ coming. All they knew was this preacher was from Galilee and that no prophet had ever come from there.

So how does this apply to us?

I think as a follower of Jesus the events of John 7 really challenge me to do a better job of proclaiming who Jesus is. So many times we see non-believers dismiss, reject, or even disparage our Savior because they don’t know who he is and what he has done. I don’t want folks getting an idea of who Jesus is from culture or satire and then accepting or rejecting him based on misinformation. As disciples we have to know Jesus accurately and well so that our proclamation may be accurate and well. I think this starts with the Bible. Continually read the Gospels. Read what Jesus said and did and proclaim it to those who don’t know him.

I think the application for the non-believer is to be cautious about dismissing Jesus without first understanding who he is. I know before my conversion I had all kinds of ideas about who Jesus was but yet I had never read the Bible. It was easy for me to dismiss Jesus or at least the idea of Jesus that  I had created from culture and other sources. Read the Bible. The truth about Jesus is in there. Additionally, the Bible teaches that all of us will face Jesus at the end of our lives. The ultimate activity for all of us is to consider who Jesus is and what response we will make to him.

Where are you at in your understanding of who Jesus is? I am challenging myself today to seek him and to know him better. Please join me.

Heavenly Father, thank you God that you have not hidden yourself from us. Thank you God that as we seek and knock and ask you are faithful to answer. Help us know you better today. Lord Jesus, we want to know you! We offer you praise. In your name. Amen.

There is a Way

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

No lengthy commentary today other than to say that giving into temptation either comes from a lack of understanding about what Jesus has done for us on the cross or just willful disobedience. I think as disciples we should all commit today’s scripture to memory and understand that Jesus has given us victory over sin. He has defeated sin and as we submit our lives to Jesus we become partakers in that victory. Reading the verse above, is there any excuse we can make for willfully giving in to any temptation? Read it again. This scripture plainly says that there is a way of escape from all temptation. I worry that sometime we abuse God’s grace and forgiveness. I know I am guilty. In the moments of temptation where sin is ready to dirty up my soul and cloud my spirit it is easy to rationalize and say, “well even if I do give in to this temptation God is faithful to forgive me as I confess to Him”. Its just wrong and I feel this is one of those things that really slows us down and get us off track in our walk. I am challenging myself and any Christian reading this to stop willfully sinning. Remember, the Holy Spirit lives in us to guide us. It’s time to let Him lead. Proactivelysubmit yourself to Him in all your actions today.

Heavenly Father, thank you God for your faithfulness. Thank you God that you do not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist. Thank you for the way of escape. Father please help us today to submit to your leading. Please help us resist the old life of sin that battles with the new life of the Spirit. Holy Spirit lead us and guide us. May we hear your voice and heed your instruction. We offer you praise and honor. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Already Condemned

John 3:16-18

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

A common objection I have heard about the Christian faith is it seems unfair for God to condemn people to an eternal separation from himself in hell just because they don’t believe in Jesus. Equally, how fair is it that God sends people to hell that have not ever even heard about Jesus? I think both of this objections have merit and can be quite challenging, however, I think these objections reveal that often times we don’t have a clear understanding of the human condition. For the objections above to be valid man has to be in a state of neutrality in his relationship with God. It would be unfair to be separated from God for not knowing Jesus if man was already in good standing or at least not poor standing with him. The reality is man is already condemned to separation from God, yet God, in his mercy has chosen to provide a way to escape this fate. Let’s look at a familiar Bible  verse to help us understand this idea.    

Undoubtedly, one of the most recognizable scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.  This is the quintessential statement about God’s love for man and the lengths he goes to save us from our eternal condemnation.  Many times this verse is quoted alone but you have to read verses 17 and 18 to really get to the crux of the issue. In total, these verses reveal the key problem with humanity. Verse 18 plainly tells us that Jesus coming on the scene of humanity was not an act of condemnation but rather it was an act of salvation. In other words, when Jesus came to earth, humanity was already condemned to perish an eternal separation from God. Jesus doesn’t show up as a judge. He shows up as a sacrifice. He comes not to send us to hell, but to provide a path of reconciliation to the Father. Granted, this is challenging stuff, and for me the idea that from birth I have been in rebellion against the God who initiated my existence is hard to comprehend. I tend to want to cry unfair also, yet when I think about how God didn’t just leave me condemned to perish but sacrificed his only son for my salvation it becomes less and less easy to claim God to be unfair. I start asking questions like “what is so special about me that God would sacrifice his son in my behalf” and “how great a love God must have for me to give up so much so that I can have relationship with him”?

So what’s the application here?

For the Christian, I think that we have to remember that we once were condemned to perish and it was not by any great work or merit on our part that we received salvation from God. It was rather him initiating in the love the sacrifice of his son on our behalf. Personally, I am far too flippant about that sacrifice. I need to challenge myself to be more thankful and grateful for this life I have been given. I need to respect and honor God more and more each day as I commune and fellowship with him. I need to do what Jesus taught and seek first the Kingdom of God. I need to remember that I was already condemned and now I reconciled with God.

For the non-Christian, I think you have consider what the Bible says about the human condition. These 3 verse we have looked at simply show that man is already condemned to perish. These 3 verses also reveal the love of God and his desire to save man from his condemned state. Finally, these 3 verses describe how through Jesus and his sacrifice that man may be reconciled to God. There is no magic formula. He who has ears let him hear. If you hear this message and believe it you will be saved.

Heavenly Father, thank you for this day and this life. Thank you Lord Jesus for your sacrifice and allowing me to be reconciled to the Father. Help us today to be better witnesses and proclaimers of this good news. Please touch people who don’t call on your name with your Spirit and do a work in them to save them from the condemnation that all men face. Thank you for your grace and your salvation. I pray in your name, Jesus. Amen.

Daily Application – Give to Everyone

Luke 6:30

30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

Acts 3:2-6

2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

Have you ever struggled with Luke 6:30? I have. In it, Jesus tells us that we are never to refuse or hold back giving when people ask from us. How challenging is that? I have had discussions with friends who have said, “cool, if this what you believe Jesus is teaching then give me your house or your car”. I have never really known how to answer that. I feel I could rationalize and say well I have to discern whether the person begging is really in need or decide if helping the one who is asking by giving them something is really helping them or just enabling them to continue to beg.  Yet, Jesus doesn’t really qualify what he is saying. His teaching is to “give to everyone who begs from you”.

Now take a moment and read Acts 3:2-6. I’ll sum it up. This is occurring after Jesus has ascended into Heaven and after the Holy Spirit has come. Peter and John two of Jesus’ twelve disciple are are making their way to the Temple grounds. As they pass through the Temple gate, they lock eyes with a beggar who is physically unable to walk. The scripture tells us that the beggar was expecting to receive money from the disciples but instead received a miracle and his physical ability to walk was restored to him. He was healed. 

Did you catch what Peter said to the beggar? Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have give to you”.  For me this has become really helpful in my thinking about Luke 6:30. Read it Luke 6:30 again. Jesus says, “give to everyone who begs from you”.  Think about it. Peter knew the teaching of Jesus. He knew that the Lord taught him to give to every beggar and here he demonstrates something key that I often miss. He demonstrates we always have something to give. As Christians, we have all been given the divine gift of the Gospel. We have all become partakers of God’s gift of grace not so we can hoard it but rather so that we can re-gift it. We are never without something to give.

So what’s the application?

I think application for Luke 6:30 is pretty strait forward. Give something to everyone who asks from you. There will be times where that is physical goods but I think more often there will be times where we are presented the opportunity to give the ultimate gift of the Gospel. I think the Lord challenges us and Peter demonstrates that as citizens of the Kingdom we are carry around with us a testimony and a proclamation that transforms lives and sets people free. I think the application is to be mindful that we are never empty handed and that we should always be willing to give away what was freely given to us.

Heavenly Father, thank you God for the gift of salvation. Thank you Lord Jesus for your sacrifice and your willingness to give your perfect life in exchange for ours, and thank you Holy Spirit for taking up residence inside of us and empowering us to be your ambassadors in a world that is perishing. I pray for boldness today. I pray Father that I would not respond to those who are asking of me as one who has nothing to give, but rather as one who has the ultimate gift. Thank you for your grace. I offer you praise. In Jesus name, Amen.  

Dailly Application – Salvation isn't just about Heaven

Psalm 25:4-5

4      Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

5      Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

When I woke up this morning I already had a plan for my day much in the same way I always have a plan for my day. It seems that there is always so many things that need attention that each day requires I make a list of things to complete so nothing falls apart and so everything goes according to plan. My plan. I wrote basically the same thing in my journal Saturday morning. It struck me then as it is now that maybe in planning out everything I intend to do I run the risk of missing out on what God would have me do each day.

I really like the verses above from Psalm 25. I think they accurately reflect my desire to be led by God. I like that they remind me that were it not for God I would be utterly lost.  The challenging part of these verses is the waiting that the psalmist talks about at the end of verse 5. I think if I had written this psalm it would read, “for you I wait all the day long, but if you could teach me between 5:10 and 5:18 that’s when I will really be waiting”.

So how do these verses apply to our lives?

For me the application is elusive. Intellectually, I could easily say that the key is to be less rigid in my approach to devotional time. I could say I need to mix it up and not make seeking God part of my to-do list but make it more of a lifestyle, but none of these things seem sincere. I think a core issue is that I am still not completely dependent on God. I think that part of me still says hey, “I have to make this happen or that happen or my life will fall apart”. 

Additionally, I think it is easy to over-spiritualize the Old Testament. When David writes above that God is the God of his salvation he is not talking about eternity. He is talking about salvation in the context of his earthly circumstance. I think what David had and what I sometimes lack is knowing that my relationship with Jesus is all I need for the life I live now. I forget that Jesus is my savior not just in the life to come, but also for the life I live today. I forget that regardless of my plan, my to-do list, and my priorities that there is one who has already saved me from the worries of this life, one who has already checked the boxes on my reading plan, one who has told me to follow him, and one who has told me to lay down my life and live his. There is no waiting period for life in the Kingdom that is centered on a dependency in God. It begins at conversion. I think we have to remind ourselves continually that it is not our own efforts that sustain us but it the very will of God that gives us our next breath.

Please pray for me today and I will pray for you that we will  become more like Jesus and that we will be utterly dependent on him alone.

Heavenly Father, thank you for another day. Thank you for families and jobs and all that you have entrusted us with. Help us today to fulfill our responsibilities and help us not to rely on our own strengths but be utterly dependent on you. I pray for myself and those who are reading these words that we would become more like Jesus and that you would teach us your ways and guide us. I offer you praise. In Jesus name, Amen.

Dailly Application – Salvation isn’t just about Heaven

Psalm 25:4-5

4      Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

5      Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

When I woke up this morning I already had a plan for my day much in the same way I always have a plan for my day. It seems that there is always so many things that need attention that each day requires I make a list of things to complete so nothing falls apart and so everything goes according to plan. My plan. I wrote basically the same thing in my journal Saturday morning. It struck me then as it is now that maybe in planning out everything I intend to do I run the risk of missing out on what God would have me do each day.

I really like the verses above from Psalm 25. I think they accurately reflect my desire to be led by God. I like that they remind me that were it not for God I would be utterly lost.  The challenging part of these verses is the waiting that the psalmist talks about at the end of verse 5. I think if I had written this psalm it would read, “for you I wait all the day long, but if you could teach me between 5:10 and 5:18 that’s when I will really be waiting”.

So how do these verses apply to our lives?

For me the application is elusive. Intellectually, I could easily say that the key is to be less rigid in my approach to devotional time. I could say I need to mix it up and not make seeking God part of my to-do list but make it more of a lifestyle, but none of these things seem sincere. I think a core issue is that I am still not completely dependent on God. I think that part of me still says hey, “I have to make this happen or that happen or my life will fall apart”. 

Additionally, I think it is easy to over-spiritualize the Old Testament. When David writes above that God is the God of his salvation he is not talking about eternity. He is talking about salvation in the context of his earthly circumstance. I think what David had and what I sometimes lack is knowing that my relationship with Jesus is all I need for the life I live now. I forget that Jesus is my savior not just in the life to come, but also for the life I live today. I forget that regardless of my plan, my to-do list, and my priorities that there is one who has already saved me from the worries of this life, one who has already checked the boxes on my reading plan, one who has told me to follow him, and one who has told me to lay down my life and live his. There is no waiting period for life in the Kingdom that is centered on a dependency in God. It begins at conversion. I think we have to remind ourselves continually that it is not our own efforts that sustain us but it the very will of God that gives us our next breath.

Please pray for me today and I will pray for you that we will  become more like Jesus and that we will be utterly dependent on him alone.

Heavenly Father, thank you for another day. Thank you for families and jobs and all that you have entrusted us with. Help us today to fulfill our responsibilities and help us not to rely on our own strengths but be utterly dependent on you. I pray for myself and those who are reading these words that we would become more like Jesus and that you would teach us your ways and guide us. I offer you praise. In Jesus name, Amen.