- ReadApril 23, 2020
Are you feeling anxious? We are certainly in a time that can bring on feelings of anxiety. You may be anxious about going out in public, how your loved ones are faring, or how you are going to pay the next bill. What did Jesus have to say about anxiety? We can find the answer to that in Luke chapter 12, beginning in verse 22:
"Then he said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest? Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he do for you—you of little faith? Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won't grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Do you remember what Satan first tempted Jesus with after forty days in the wilderness? You guessed it, food. (Luke 4:3) Jesus relays to him the same message that he relayed to the disciples, life is about more than food. Speaking of that, the birds don't worry about food, because God provides that for them. Don't you think that God will provide for you too? Do you not think you are worth more to God than the birds? God cares and provides for His people. Amen! Now, remember that Jesus is speaking directly to people who are impoverished. Food and clothing is legitimately something that these people would worry about. Jesus is encouraging them to trust God to meet their needs. He asks them to consider the wildflowers clothing the grass, which is here today and gone tomorrow. The grass of the field was a common symbol representing the human lifespan in the old testament. "My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass." (Ps 102:11) Jesus encourages the disciples to lean on God for their needs. God knows what you need to survive, He created you after all! Instead of worrying about these things, perhaps you can join in the cause and help your anxious neighbor by sharing in God's love: give them some food, give them some clothes. Encourage one another.
Heavenly Father, I am grateful that I can lean on you to meet my needs. I pray that I can encourage my neighbor, even in times that do not cause anxiety. God, you give me peace that passes understanding, and you take away my fears and anxieties. You are so good! May your will be done in my life. Lord, be with your church during this time of separation, even though we may not be able to meet physically, may we be able to communicate through various ways that you have afforded us. May we not drift from You, but grow closer and more dependable on You. In Jesus name I pray,
- ReadApril 16, 2020
“Why are you looking for the living among the dead? ” asked the men. “He is not here, but he has risen! Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying, ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’ ? ” And they remembered his words. -- Luke 24:5-8 (CSB)
We serve a risen savior! I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter celebration. I know for my family that it was different, but special. We still worshiped and we still enjoyed family, even though it was all through a digital screen. I pray that we can use this time to grow closer to God, both as a body and a believer.
- Zack Sutton started a discussionDiscussBible Study - Acts Chapter 1 , Verses 1-7
Many of us today do not remember a time where we were urged not to gather together for church services. What we are doing is not a test of our faith, but an act of compassion for our neighbor. Even though we are absent from one another, we can engage in prayer, Bible Study, and online worship services. If you have not already, please be sure to like our Facebook page, or visit our Website to engage with each other, and view sermons. I will post links below.
Please know: I am not an expert. However, I do enjoy studying the Bible. I thought it would be interesting to have a platform that I can throw some things out there, and we could discuss them.
Since we are in an unprecedented time, I thought it would be appropriate to see how the early Church handled an unprecedented time for themselves. For the Apostles, this would be the first time that they are physically separated from Jesus since they met Him (in the sense that they are on this Earth physically, and He is not). For the Jews, this will be a time that they will see as a threat to their beliefs and way of life. For the gentiles, this will be a time of salvation. So, we will begin in Acts.
A Little Background
· The continuation of the narrative wrote by Luke. Luke was regularly referred to as a physician as well as a traveling companion of Paul.
· Acts was addressed to Theophilus (as well was the Gospel of Luke). It is not known if Theophilus was the name of Luke’s benefactor, or used as a general term for Christians (literally, “Lover of God”)
· Acts documents the spread of the Christian church, just as Jesus had planned for it to spread: first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles.
· A theme that runs throughout the narrative: God’s sovereignty.
Luke begins the narrative explaining to Theophilus that the first part of his narrative was to document the things that Jesus began to teach and do, up to the day of Pentecost and Jesus' ascension. You can infer already, that Jesus was not done interacting with his Church or the world. Jesus stuck around for forty days before he left Earth. During this time, He spoke about the kingdom of God. Now, these two statements have ties to the Old Testament. Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:18). The Old Testament refers to the kingdom of God as God's dominion (Psalms 145:13, Isa 9:7). The Messiah will reign in grace and righteousness over the whole earth, when the kingdom of God is at hand (Isa 11:1-9, Dan 2:44). You can see here that the Old Testament pointed to Jesus' return many, many years ago. The book of Acts is commonly called "The Acts of the Apostles", but after study, you might come to know it as "The Acts of Jesus and the Spirit."
The Holy Spirit is Coming
During those forty days, Jesus instructed the disciples not to leave Jerusalem. It was in Jerusalem that they would receive the Father's promise: The Holy Spirit. Once the disciples had all gathered together, they asked Jesus if He would be restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time. This is important to note. The disciples are, at this point, still worried about themselves, their way of life, and their sense of prestige. They have lived under Roman rule, and expect to be freed to live in their own land ruled by their own people. They still thought that Jesus was to usher in this new kingdom. But, as Jesus had said before, His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Not only was Jesus bringing about something new, but He was going to do it in a way that the world was not accustomed to. So, in response to the disciples' question, Jesus responds in this way:
"He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8) This is the very basis of Acts. You will find that the growth of the Christian church begins in Jerusalem, then Judea and Samaria, and finally concludes in Rome, which was all the known world at that time.
Some questions to consider:
- What other ways could you compare this time of Pandemic and social isolation to that of the early church?
- What do you think that Jesus meant when he said that his kingdom was not of this world?
- Can you see an example of God's sovereignty already made in these beginning passages? Can you see examples of God's sovereignty in your life?
Please let me know if this is something of interest! If it is, I can continue to post articles like this to discuss.
- ReadApril 9, 2020
This week leading up to Easter is referred to as "Holy Week." You can imagine that Jesus had a lot on his mind leading up to His crucifixion. But, did you know that you were on His mind? In fact, He even prayed for you. In John 17:20-23, Jesus prays for future believers: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us, so that the world may believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you have given me, so that they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me." In the previous verses, Jesus prayed for the disciples that were physically with Him. He knows that through their ministry, that many other believers will be made. You were part of Jesus's plan. Isn't that amazing?