Saturday, October 31, 2009
Jesus says some of the most profound words in Matthew 11:30. He says...
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
There are two perspectives on this verse.
#1--Jesus was using the example of farming of the day and meant a real ox yoke. To truly follow Him wasn't what the pharisees had made it out to be. Their yoke was much heavier then the Son of God's.
#2--The yoke was Jesus' teaching. If you carried a Rabbi's yoke that means you carried & followed His teachings.
Regardless if it's #1 or #2 Jesus is communicating that HIS YOKE is light. So, what does that look like? I know what it doesn't look like? If I am living stressed, worried and with a short fuse then I'm probably not carrying Jesus' yoke.
Try to visualize this with me. Jesus carries the burden of your own life, your marriage, family, friends, job, finances etc. all on His shoulders. In return He puts one thing on You which is actually full of peace, love, hope and Joy (Romans 14:17, 15:13).
If I can be honest, I struggle with this one often. I catch myself starting to carry the burden of the world on my shoulders and the results are usually the same...stress, fear, worry etc. When I operate in surrender and trust in my relationship with God the results are usually the same...peace, joy, strength, etc.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are you carrying the burden of your family, marriage or job? Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Following God's way is always worth it. Take Jesus up on His offer and surrender completely to His Lordship and take His yoke!
Monday, October 26, 2009
When you see this picture what comes to your mind? Wait a minute, actually take a moment to think about it? Do you think of anger? Do you think of passion? Do you think of intensity and energy? Do you think of celebration?
Matthew 21:12-13 can be confusing to us because it seems outside of Jesus character. But, is it really? Jesus never backed down from the religious leaders or from crowds. He was passionate about His purpose for being on earth. He came to seek and save that which was lost and to reveal the heart & love of God.
Question for the day: What are you passionate about? Will the object of your passion outlast you?
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Today, I want to focus on a different aspect in our relationship with Jesus, intimacy. God's love never changes but our intimacy with Him does. Just because Jesus loves us, doesn't mean we are close to Him.
John 15:9-10--I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love
Notice some key words in this verse Jesus speaks...
#1--Jesus says that we remain in His love. It doesn't say He withdraws His love. When we turn away from His commands and presence....we start disconnecting from His love and begin to lose intimacy. God's love doesn't change but intimacy does.
#2--When we obey His commands...we remain in close connection/intimacy in relationship with Him.
If you examine the context (the entire chapter it was written in) you see that staying connected to the vine (Jesus) gives us life and allows our lives to bare fruit.
The greatest cause of lack of intimacy in our relationship with Christ is not spending time in His presence on our own. Not staying connected to the Vine! We often justify it for many reasons...I'm too busy, too tired, don't know how to pray, don't understand the Bible, or I feel intimidated. Even though these are all real challenges and issues we face, if not addressed, we begin to lose intimacy.
Just like a marriage relationship will begin to fall apart and lose intimacy if the couple doesn't spend time together, we begin to lose intimacy with Christ if we aren't spending time with Him.
It's possible to be close to Christ! It's possible to know His voice and remain in His love. It's possible to be "so close" to the creator of the universe.
Questions of the day:
1. On a scale 1-10 how much are you aware of the unchanging love of God?
2. On a scale 1-10 how closely connected/intimate is your relationship with God?
3. What is one thing you can do this week to pursue Him and remain in His love?
Monday, October 19, 2009
Luke 15 hosts one of the worlds most popular parables in society. Most people whether followers of Jesus or not have heard of the Prodigal Son.
I want to lay the groundwork and give the context preparing for the next few weeks. The goal of the next few blogs is to renew our concept of our Heavenly Father and to reshape our concept of sin and church. It is so crucial that this truth sinks in our hearts because one of our core values is grace. We strive to be a church where people of all walks of life encounter God’s grace through us.
Prodigal actually has two different meanings...
1. Exceedingly or recklessly wasteful
2. Extremely generous, lavish
The younger brother was prodigal (reckless/wasteful) in his living and the Father was “prodigal” (lavish) in his loving.
CONTEXT OF THIS PARABLE
A)The context of the entire Bible
*God lost something and He wants it back
*Genesis 3:8-9—Where are you
*The Prodigal story is a miniature of the entire Bible story
B)The personal context of Jesus’ life
Luke 19:10—For the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost
*Luke 15:1-2—Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.
D)The Context in the entire chapter
*Story of the lost Sheep—(Lost, search, found, party)
*Story of the lost coin—(Lost, search, found, party)
*Prodigal God story—(Lost, no search, Found, party pooper)
God sets up this last parable by showing how important it is for what’s lost to be found. When it’s found there is major rejoicing and celebration. Yet, this last parable is the odd triplet. This last parable is…
Actually a rebuke to the religious, self-righteous leaders. There were many sinners and tax collectors gathering around Jesus. Instead of celebrating and rejoicing they were indignant and angry just like the older brother.
We see that this parable is actually more about the older brother and Father than it is about the younger brother. Jesus is revealing to the crowds that there are two ways to get lost, not just one, and the 2nd way may be worst than the first.
The tax collectors and sinners are the non-religious crowd which is depicted by the younger brother. The Pharisees and scribes are the religious crowd depicted by the older brother in the parable.
*Both were lost and far from the Father’s heart. They both wanted the Father’s things but not the Father. The younger wanted his inheritance (which he shouldn’t of got until his father’s death). The older brother was in his fathers house, performed all of the duties but never had his fathers heart. (close to the house not the heart)
In this parable Jesus is also revolutionizing our understanding of sin. Sin is a condition of the heart before it is an action of life. Sin is not only breaking God’s commands but wanting to be and acting like God. The older brother was blind to his own wicked heart and motives. He was as sinful as the younger brother and tried to tell the Father it wasn't fair.
A pit deeper than the pig pen of waywardness is the pit of self-righteousness and the stench of spiritual pride. (John 9:13-41—Jesus healed blind man on the Sabbath)
How many times have we seen someone at work or on the street or in our family and we have looked down at them disgusted thinking, “I can’t believe them. I’m glad I’m not like them?” How many times have we criticized and condemned those who aren’t following Christ? How many times have we told God it's not fair, how could you...
Question: Who are “the lost sinners”
Answer: We are ALL the lost sinners (Romans 3:23)
Question: How are we saved/forgiven?
Answer: We are ALL forgiven by the mercy, the love and grace of our Prodigal God
Question: How should I view others?
Answer: Just like I see myself—desperately in need of God’s prodigal love
Question: How do I relate to others?
Answer: Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy
This parable should actually be called the Prodigal God or Prodigal brothers. Do you currently relate to one of the brothers. Regardless, you can be renewed, forgiven and restored right now by returning to the heart of the Father just like the youngest boy did.
Click on link below to see Chris Tomlin's song "love." Great ending to this blog
Sunday, October 18, 2009
ps. turn volume all the way up...not best sound quality
Perspective...can be an enemy of God. Why? Many people in our culture have the above view of Jesus and His followers. Most people who watch this video clip can't help but laugh and crack up. However, I don't think this video is that funny. The two creators of this video aren't Christians and from their perspective wanted to mock God.
They truly believe Jesus' entire role and existence is to walk around and point out what's wrong with them. That perspective is funny because if you study the Bible and the life of Jesus, He was nothing like that. Jesus never condoned sin or made exceptions for it, however, He lived His life with compassion and love for people.
On of our big dreams at Wyandotte Family Church is to crush this ungodly perspective in Wyandotte and the downriver area and replace it with the reality of who Jesus really is.
Follow me on this journey over the next 2-3 blogs as we study the life of Jesus.
Question of the day: Have you ever felt this way before or have had this perspective? If so, has it changed? What changed it? Have you met someone who feels this way? What can you do this week to be a part of God's grace and love?
Friday, October 16, 2009
When have you felt the most helpless in your life? It is one of the worst feelings we go through in life. Feeling like you have no control over the situation and have to sit back like a spectator and let it play out.
I can't imagine how the Father of Falcon Heene felt as he recently watched the balloon fly in the air, thinking his boy was trapped inside. I can't imagine how he felt as he watched the helicopters and planes follow the balloon closely waiting for it to land. It was all outside of his control.
If we were really honest with ourselves, there isn't much we really have control over other than ourselves. We want to believe that we somehow have all this control but if uncovered it's actually a facade.
God actually calls us to "give up." He calls us to give up control of our lives and to trust Him completely. That is a very vulnerable state to be in but that is where the supernatural takes place and our lives are changed.
Matthew 10:39--Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
To lose ones life doesn't mean one loses meaning or purpose. It means to completely abolish or remove out the way the facade control we think we have and let Jesus rule our lives. When we reach this moment in our lives we truly find the life we have been passionately striving for.
Question of the day: What area of your life are you still holding on to? Always remember, even if we don't understand...God always has our best interest in mind.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Below is an exert from "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snow Day" by Mark Batterson. It's 2 pages long and worth the read. This will inspire you today!!
There are basically two approaches to life; playing to win and playing not to lose. Can you guess which camp lion chasers fall into? Too many of us are tentatively playing the game of life as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely to death. We need to take our cues from the early believers who competed for the Kingdom.
"From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it"--Matthew 11:12
There is nothing remotely passive about following Christ. Some of us approach our relationship with Christ like we're called to play "prevent defense" when we ought to be in a "two-minute offense." Some of us act like faithfulness is making no turnovers when faithfulness is scoring touchdowns. Faithfulness has nothing to do with maintaining the status quo or holding the fort. It has everything to do with competing for the Kingdom and storming the gates of hell. With a squirt gun, if necessary!
Is anybody else tired of the church playing defense? Why is it that the church is known more for what we're against than what we're for? Maybe it's time for Christ followers to put on the CRASH HELMETS and play offense.
God is raising up a generation of lion chasers that don't just run way from evil. God is raising up a generation of lion chasers that have the courage to compete for the Kingdom.
We need to stop criticizing culture and start creating it! Paul didn't boycott Aeropagus. he didn't stand outside with a picket sign "Athenian Idolaters are going to hell in a hand basket." Paul wasn't playing not to lose. Paul was playing to win, so he went toe to toe with some of the greatest philosophical minds in the ancient world. Paul competed for truth on their turf.
Instead of complaining about the current affairs, we need to offer better alternatives. We need to make better movies and better music. We need to write better books. We need to start better businesses. As the old aphorism suggests, "We need to stop cursing the darkness and start lighting some candles!"
Monday, October 5, 2009
The irony is that with Jesus it is the exact opposite. To be a follower of Jesus Christ is let go of control on a daily basis.
Matthew 10:39--If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.
The more control we release to God the more fruitful and effective our lives will be. God designed it that way.
Acts 17:28--For in him we live and move and have our being...
1 Corinthians 3:6--I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
We can work hard and put forth effort (which we should), however God is the only one with the control and power to make life happen. Only God can heal and strengthen our marriages. Only God can touch the hearts of our children and teach them His love. Only God can reach our friends, neighbors and family members that don't know Him.
God will use our lives to give, serve, pray, talk, and share but that is the planting and watering. Only He can bring the increase. If you have an area of your life that you want to grow....pray about it, read books on that subject, talk to someone else about it and then let go and give God control and watch what He will do!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
No matter what phase of life we are in, we all have to make decisions. Sometimes, we have several doors we can walk through. We pray, talk to others for advice and do our homework before we make a decision.
I am excited to announce that God has given us specific direction and now is an exciting time to be a part of Wyandotte Family Church.
#1--October through December 2009 we are meeting twice a month on Sunday evenings from 5-6:30PM. Email me at Jeremy@Wyandottefamily.com for more information
#2--December 12, 2009 is our next big outreach. We will be presenting a significant Christmas gift to the community of Wyandotte and the surrounding areas. We feel like a little kids who can't wait for Christmas day! It's going to be a blast.
#3--Starting January 10, 2010 we will be starting weekly gatherings on Sunday evenings from 5-:630 PM and serving the community/creating outreaches every month
Everyone wants to live life with purpose and direction. Everyone wants to be a part of something that last longer than themselves. We are on an exciting and exhilarating journey in starting this new church in Wyandotte. We always welcome new people who are curious, have more questions or are ready to dive right in. Looking forward to seeing you soon!