Tuesday, April 2, 2013

REAP: Matthew 28

Mathew 28
·       Jesus is risen from the dead
·       Jesus reveals himself to the women first (those that seek him)
·       The chief priests attempt to cover up his resurrection
·       Jesus commissions his disciples

·       I think it’s pertinent that Jesus revealed himself and left a message with the women. Matthew, himself a tax collector and scorned man, takes notice of the least of whom God reveals himself to (women in Jesus’ day). They are given the living message of redemption and power FIRST!
·       Was it simply because the women were seeking him while everyone else mourned, hid, or went about their normal activities?
·       It’s encouraging to me that in the midst of some people’s doubts, worship still happens
·       “All authority in heaven and on earth are mine”…so I send you? That doesn’t seem like the right play in this moment. Yet Jesus’ deep trust, belief and commitment to his followers (and the work he had done in discipling them) led him to commission them for something far greater.
·       Jesus still commissions people today!

What am I doing intentionally about living on mission? How much time am I spending on worthless things that pacify me rather than living with purpose according to the Spirit? I must choose discipline above complacency!

“Father I ask that you would help me to live on your mission. That I would not become so amused, distracted or content to live for such a lowly goal as myself or the treasures of this world. Instead, give me courage to be intentional, to love as you love and live as you live.”

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Friends, He is risen.

May you see that God loves you so much he created you, he lived for you, he died for you and he conquered sin and death for you. He is risen and the grave is empty. He is who he said he is....and he wants a relationship with you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Matthew 9:9-13 Notes

As I was going through some notes I had on Matthew, I found this outline from a talk I did close to 10 years ago.Kinda cool as I'm reading through Matthew again!

Matthew 9:9-13

“a friend of ________ _____________________ and sinners”
            -tax collectors

Matthew’s not an accidental sinner – He’s an on purpose sinner. He’s a tax collector!

Can you imagine what the “good” Jewish disciples were thinking, if at least not talking about?

Matthew, would you follow me?
            -I’m not asking you to stop doing anything.
            -I’m not asking you to give up anything.
            -I’m not asking you to leave anything.
            -Matthew, will you do the one thing you can do?

Jesus didn’t come to this earth to trump, prove anything or be right. Jesus came to be followed.

So Matthew follows Jesus.

Luke 5:29-32

They go to his house, because he throws a party in Jesus’ honor.

And who does Matthew invite? The same people you invite when you have a party – people that will come. People that you know. People like you! For Matthew, these are fellow tax collectors and sinners!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

REAP method of Bible Study

I love the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas! They are a church committed to making disciples who make disciples.  All of their programs, services and ministries are aimed at this one goal. 

Their emphasis on spiritual disciplines is not easy, but it is quite simple from what I'm observed. One of the ways they help followers of Christ engage in intentional reading of scripture through a method called REAP. The format is as follows:

Open your Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to teach, correct, and train you (2 Timothy 3:16). As you’re reading, ask these questions:
  • What is happening in this passage? What things are emphasized, repeated, related?
  • What do you see about God? What is God doing in this passage?
  • What do you see about man?

Spend some time reflecting. Ask yourself these questions, and write down your thoughts:
  • How do you think the author wants his audience to respond?
  • What do you learn about God’s character?
  • What wrong beliefs about God and myself did I have?

After examining the passage, apply the text to your own life. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What is God saying to me?
  • How do I need to repent? What truths do I need to believe? What false beliefs must I turn from?
  • What can I do – empowered by the Holy Spirit – today to apply this passage?

Pray through the passage and your application, asking God to change your heart and to change your life, based on the time you’ve spent in God’s Word.

This is the format I will be following as I post on my reflections through journaling the New Testament. 

Quick question: How do you study the Bible?

Matthew 5 notes

To Think and Know:
  1. The greatest sermon ever delivered is not started with a clever story or engaging point but clear truths: “You are blessed when…”
  2. No one would imagine that these characters would truly be blessed. It seems like an oxymoron.
  3. The context of when this message is given is important. Jesus is speaking to this crowd of people, most likely in the middle of the day, when the vast majority of good, responsible Jewish men are at work. His first words are, “Blessed are…” and “You are the salt., You are the light.” From the very beginning, Jesus’ message was very different. He saw what was within each person and saw people for who they were rather than what they looked like or what they could do for him. (Being vs. Doing)
  4. Toward the beginning of his message he wants to set the record straight! “I have not come to abolish the Law…but to fulfill them.” Jesus redeems and makes new, he doesn’t spend the majority of his time tearing down.
  5. Whose righteousness could surpass the Pharisees? No one. We all need a Savior.

To Feel:
1.       Encouraged: God sees who I am becoming, not just what I’m doing.
2.       Hope: He makes all things new.
3.       Invigorated: Look at all things with fresh eyes. What is God doing?

To Do:
1.       I want to look at things through redeemed eyes and see what God sees in others!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Does a court decision determine where your hope lies??

I do my best not to make strong political statements on facebook or social media because (total transparency here) I tend to judge people that do so. So I confess my hypocrisy right from the get go and choose to put this on my blog to maintain some small element of integrity.

That said, I'm about to make a statement that will be perceived as a political, pro-something, anti-something else diatribe. But this is not my intention. I simply desire for followers of Jesus to evaluate where their trust lies and choose to love all people better!

I'm disappointed in how many of my brothers and sisters in Christ seem to be acting quite foolishly as if their trust is in a government decision. Followers of Jesus, the scriptures tell us, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." Our faith is in Jesus and his Kingdom, not a decision made by a court. I truly wonder what our Father thinks of his kids caring more about being right than loving others and trusting in his name.

Christians, perhaps we should insist on words dripping with grace and actions motivated by compassion rather than polarizing ourselves by shouting from the rooftops a position that won't change (regardless of how a court decides)! I feel quite certain love is a better way!

If you are not a follower of Jesus and for some strange reason you're reading this, please don't judge our Savior by his followers. Even worse, certainly don't judge him based on my actions, behaviors or words. We are all broken, but loved, junkies but set free. Too often Christians are terrible representations of God's goodness and grace, but occasionally they embody the heart of our King. Instead, look at the Savior of the world and how he received those who were hurting, searching and in need. He is rich in mercy and abounding in love.

Resting in my Good King,


Monday, March 25, 2013

Matthew 1

After reading through Matthew 1-3 today, here are a couple of things I observed...

To Think/Know:
-How amazing is it that the son of God was from a line of people that included liars, thieves, adulterers, murderers, self-absorbed people whose overwhelming qualities were more evil than good. What a redemption story!
-Where we come from matters.
-Is there something to the number 14? I know that 7 is a special number in the scriptures. Is there something to the fact that it’s doubled? I need to do a little research…
-After Joseph considered divorcing Mary quietly. The angel appeared. Joseph was never going to have her stoned or punished. He loved Mary and wanted to treat her honorably, despite the perceived dishonor he’d received. This speaks of the character Joseph had, and if I were God, he’s the kind of guy I’d choose to help raise my only child.
-Joseph protected her from public disgrace, although she undoubtedly was the subject of great shame and scorn. Perhaps we can bare the load more easily if we know those closest to us support us, protect us, and walk the journey as well.

To Feel:
-I feel better about my family's dirty laundry and quirky nuances after reading through Jesus’ family! There is such a sense of hope, in that, while family shapes us and has incredible influence, our path is determined by our own choices!
-Captivated by this story and the time it takes to shape up. Hundreds of years from generation to generation as all of creation pointed to the Messiah! I feel encouraged to be patient while I wait for God’s story to unfold through my life and my family’s/community’s life.
-I get chills just thinking about the name “Immanuel-God with us.” How stirring to know I am not alone-that we are not alone!!!!!!!!

To Do:
-Take a few moments this week to look back at my genealogy and look at how I’ve been shaped, from genetically to culturally.