Sunday, August 30, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
In a previous message, Greg talked about how we don't need to produce anything to be valued by God. We can begin with a realization of acceptance by God and move into productivity. The world (especially academia) says that our value is proportional to our productivity. I think my first couple of years of workaholism were fueled by this pervasive paradigm, and exacerbated by my freshly desire for approval.
But God says we are priceless because He made us in His image, and He chose to spend His Son's life to demonstrate His love. I think I came to a conscious awareness of this reality about half a year ago.
But today, Greg preached about hurriedness, which is related, but different. Jesus was undoubtedly busy in His ministry, but He made time to be still and rest.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
You can't do it all, and you can't do it alone. I need to make time to be still and rest, and know that I am not less of a person because I am not doing anything. I need to cast my cares upon Him and let go of my internal hurriedness to acheive.
Heavenly Father, please deliver me from my desire to do what is expected of me. Help me focus on doing what you lead me to do. Help me daily come to you and receive your rest. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
In Acts 3:6, Peter said, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazereth, get up and walk." He didn't ask God to heal the man.
In Acts 9:34, Peter said, "Jesus Christ heals you." He didn't ask God to heal the man.
In Acts 9:40, Peter said, "Tabitha, get up." He didn't ask God to heal the man.
I wonder if I should have told that Sister on Sunday that she was healed instead of asking God to heal her.
Heavenly Father, I don't understand this. Please make it clear to me. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
When Jesus interrupted Saul on the road to Damascus, He called him by name.
When the Lord instructed Ananias to lay hands on Saul, He called him by name.
Heavenly Father, please speak to me. Call me by name. I want to hear you and obey. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.
Monday, August 17, 2015
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
When questioned by the high priest, rulers, elders, and teachers, Peter and John clearly explained that it was by the name of Jesus that the crippled beggar was healed. And while the religious leaders wanted to squelch the event, they asked themselves (v.4):
"What should we do with these men? For it is plain to all who live in Jerusalem that a notable miraculous sign has come about through them, and we cannot deny it."
It seems to me that signs and wonders are particularly effective for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ if they are undeniable, irrefutable, and unarguable. If we are debating philosophy or doctrine, then you can always count we with a rebuttal, but a miraculous event can be proof of supernatural power, not just ideas.
So, all the religious leaders came up with was to scold and flog Peter and John. But they replied (v. 20):
"... it is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."
I sure have heard a lot of preaching and teaching in my life, and I don't want to undermine its significance. But I think personal, first-hand observation of supernatural power would be engaging evidence for several of my friends.
I think it is fascinating that, after these events, the disciples asked God for more:
29 "And now, Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage, 30 while you extend your hand to heal, and to bring about miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
What would it look like if every follower of Jesus was asking God to grant us courage and miraculous signs and wonders?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of the apostles and disciples in following you boldly. Lord Jesus, it is by your name that we have salvation and healing. Holy Spirit, please embolden and empower me to be an agent of your Kingdom here. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Recorded in Acts 3, Peter and John were going up to the temple, and instead of giving a crippled beggar some money, they healed him.
Somehow, I grew up with an implicit cessationistic perspective that the miraculous stuff happened in the lives of the apostles to jumpstart the chrch, but that miraculous stuff doesn't really happen anymore. Except for missionaries, who had some really crazy stories.
The question that I am considering is, does God want miraculous stuff to be a more common occurrence in disciples' lives today. I am beginning to think that He does. I have heard too many stories of miraculous stuff to maintain a cessationistic position. I cant think of anything in Scripture that would indicate that this demonstration of signs And wonders would die with the Apostles. And how sad, really, to believe that God won't work that way any more.
Frankly, I want to see Him do stuff like that through me.
Jesus modeled supernatural and miraculous demonstrations (e.g., casting out demons, healing people, etc.), and then He sent out the disciples (not only the twelve) to replicate. He said that we who believe would do similar things (Mark 16:15-20), and He said that we would do even greater things than He (John 14:12). Paul said, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ." (1 Cor 11:1) That is pretty crazy when you think about all of the miraculous stuff that Jesus and Paul did.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the examples of Christ and the Apostles in joining you in your mission, by the power of your Spirit. I want to live as a disciple of Jesus. Please use me to demonstrate your supernatural power. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.
Monday, August 3, 2015
John 20:21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Eph. 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.
Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while [Jesus] was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." ... 7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.