Showing posts from May, 2011

Who is Jesus? According to Matthew 8:

In this chapter Jesus is identified as "Lord," "teacher," "Son of Man," and "Son of God."  Jesus is one with authority to heal the sick, deliver the possessed, and command the weather. He only needs to say the word and the current conditions immediately change. Thus, he fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah, which reads, "He took our infirmities and bore our diseases." 

To become a follower of Jesus, one needs to be willing to give up the temporary of this life: our homes, our families, and our traditions.

Big Idea:  Jesus has the real authority to command both the physical and spiritual realm with only a word and they both respond in obedience.

Profound Identity:
Crowds followed Jesus (Matthew 8:1).A leper knelt before him and called him "Lord" (Matthew 8:2).A leper believed that Jesus had the ability to choose to make the leper clean (Matthew 8:2).With a touch and a few words, Jesus cleansed/healed a leper (Matthew 8:3).Jesus chose…

Youth Ministry Response to Harold Camping's May 21st' end of world prediction.

It really amazes me that it isn't easier to find youth ministry Bible studies that apply to contemporary events. I would think that youth ministers across the country would be ready to blog about how they are creatively addressing these big news stories.  But they are not. Or at least I cannot find them.

I want to take advantage of the passing of May 21st to speak with my students about Bible prophecy, cults, and true hope and I was hoping to find some helpful youth ministry resources online.

So, this is what I have in mind for class tomorrow morning.  I have on hand the following Scriptures: Matthew 24:36-44, 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, Mark 13:32, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; Mark 13:32.

I want to talk about how we respond as Christians when others claim that tomorrow is the end of the world. I think I'll start by asking them about their thoughts on Harold Camping and his failed prediction for the end of the world.  (Yes, I am writing this 2 minutes before midnight on th…

Doing only God's will?

"'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?"  Then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers."'" Matthew 7:21-23 (NRSV)

Oh, wow!  I just finished re-reading Matthew 7:21-23 and I am left stunned.  This passage tells us that people will do miraculous things in the name of Jesus Christ, yet Jesus will claim that He never knew them!  That gives me pause.  How can this be?  People will prophesy, cast out demons, and even do deeds of power and give Jesus Christ the credit, yet Jesus will claim that He didn’t know them?  Why?
I look back at verse 21 where Jesus says that the ones who enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do “the will of my Father in heaven.”  Huh.  S…

Who is Jesus? According to Matthew 7:

Jesus has a keen sense of the reality of the human condition and He is not afraid to address it: 
You who judge - take care of yourself first.  You who know how you want people to treat you - treat other people in the same way.  You who claim to be righteous - do your fruit testify to the accuracy of your claim?"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"Jesus obviously sees that the human condition leans toward sin. He says that people will turn towards him crying "Lord, Lord" and expect to be received into heaven. But those who don't do the will of his Father will be turned away because He, Jesus, never knew them.

Jesus offers the listener wisdom, but the listener must hear His wise words and put them into practice or else he will reap the consequences of foolishness.

Jesus is one who speaks with an authority that stands out among human authorities.


Protect Those Pearls!

"Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you." – Matthew 7:6
Have you ever shared something special with someone and they didn't appreciate what you shared?   Perhaps it was a meal you cooked, a photo you took, or some time and talents that you sacrificially gave.  
When I was a child I encountered God in a profound and life-changing manner.  As I have shared the story of my God-encounter over the years, I have learned that not everyone knows how to respond to it nor is everyone ready to hear it.  Some people respond by saying, "there is no way that actually happened."  Others act like they are listening, but really their attention is focused elsewhere.  And still others tell me that my interpretation of the event is wrong.
Over the years though, I have learned that there are some people who can appreciate the preciousness of the spiritual event and in their response they …

Who is Jesus?: According to Matthew 6

Jesus encouraged people to practice their faith with humility and in secret, in a manner that would please their Heavenly Father while not attracting praise from humans. Jesus also taught that one's focus should be on God, rather than the things of this world.  He believed in and expected others to trust in God's good provision.

Big Idea: A central aspect of Jesus' reality was His understanding of the relationship between believers and God the Father.  Jesus encouraged the listener to evaluate and live life from the perspective of recognizing the existence and care of a personal Father God.

Profound Identity:

Jesus was concerned that his listeners receive the reward of Father God (Matthew 6:1, 4, 6, 18).Jesus recognized God as the Father of His listeners (Matthew 6:1, 4, 6, 9, 14, 18, 26, 32).Prayer:
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we al…

Who is Jesus?: According to Matthew 5

Jesus taught about the kingdom of God, a kingdom in which the guidelines for social interactions are almost counterintuitive to human nature.  He taught his followers that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and those who are reviled and persecuted on Christ’s account will receive blessings and honor that answer their need.
He taught his followers to preserve their saltiness and shine forth as the light in the world.
Jesus clearly stated that he did not come to “abolish the law or the prophets,” but rather to fulfill them. Jesus calls the people to live righteously and to respect the law.
Jesus clarified the meaning of the law and the Ten Commandments by explaining how they were to be practiced in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus spoke harshly about sin and recognized the reality of being condemned to hell as a punishment for sin.
Big Idea: Jesus clarified t…

Who is Jesus?: According to Matthew 4

Jesus is the Son of God! Yet Jesus fully knew what it meant to be human. After being baptized, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. Satan tempted him by appealing to physical hunger, doubt, and worldly desire (greed). Jesus responded by pointing to Scripture and noting that through God we are nourished. Jesus warned that we are not to put God to the test. He also recognized that only God is worthy of our worship and service.
After John's imprisonment, Jesus found a home for himself in Capernaum and then took up the torch where John had left off, proclaiming, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
As he began his ministry he recruited fisherman to become his disciples and fish for people. As he preached about the kingdom of God, he also brought about the kingdom of God, by curing the sick and teaching in the synagogues. As a result large crowds began to follow this fascinating man.
Big Idea: After a time of testing, which further revealed…

Who is Jesus? According to Matthew 3:

Jesus came at just the right time. People were ready to respond to the preparatory call of John in the wilderness, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." And this call helped fulfill the words of Isaiah 40 by preparing the hearts and lives of the people for Jesus.
A contrast was drawn by John between an earthly judgment and a heavenly judgment. According to John, Jesus carries the "winnowing fork" that separates the wheat from the chaff. The wheat is gathered, but the chaff is burned. The wheat is baptized by the Holy Spirit, but the chaff is baptized by an unquenchable fire. Repentance and water baptism is just preparation for what is to come through Christ.
Jesus, the Lord, is far more powerful than John and even John is not worthy enough to carry his sandals. Yet, in order to fulfill all righteousness, Jesus is baptized in water by John. And at his baptism, "the heavens are opened to him," God's Spirit descends upon him, and the voic…

How should we respond?

I like this post by a fellow blogger: The Pangea Blog, "Mourning the Death of Osama Bin Laden... and the Loss of Every Other Life"
"when the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy." - Proverbs 11:1
"Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live." Ezekiel 33.11
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighborand hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven." Matthew 5.43-45
"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave itto the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evi…