407 - When it Comes to Worship We’re Clueless

June 15, 2017

One of the pressing questions today, as we take an honest look at the church, is what does worship look like?  Is it what we see manifested on Sunday mornings?  Is it music, a light show, an engaging speaker telling interesting and affirming stories?  Or is it something more?

The greatest verse regarding the mechanics of true worship is found in the book of Romans.  Consider the following:

Romans 12:1-2 - I beseech (parakaléō – to beg, exhort, desire, call for, encourage) you (personal) therefore (based on what was previously written), brethren (to believers), by the mercies (compassion and pity one shows for the suffering of others) of God, that you (personal) present (to place, offer) your (personal) bodies (whole person) a living (constant, enduring) sacrifice (offering, something slaughtered on the altar of God), holy (hágios - set apart, sanctified, consecrated, devoted, sharing in God’s purity and abstaining from earth's defilement), acceptable (good, well-pleasing, that which God wills and recognizes) to (whom) God, which is your (personal) reasonable (implies intelligent meditation and reflection as pertaining to the soul) service (voluntary worship or service which conforms to human reason).  And (you) do not be conformed (syschēmatizō - to fashion alike, to conform to the same pattern outwardly) to this world (generation, culture, referring to an age or time in contrast to kósmos), but (you) be transformed (metamorphóō - to transfigure, to change one’s form) by the renewing (a qualitative renewal, a restoration or renovation which makes a person different than in the past) of your mind (intelligent understanding, perception), that you (personal) may prove (try, test, discern, distinguish, to determine whether a thing is worthy or not) what is that good (excellent, best, distinguished) and acceptable (good, well-pleasing, that which God wills and recognizes), and perfect (complete, having achieved its goal and purpose, full, wanting for nothing) will (desire, God’s gracious disposition done out of His own good pleasure) of God.

Take a few minutes and reflect on these two verses.  Have you done this?  Do you worship Him this way?  Is it even close?  If not, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Romans 12:1-2.

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402 - Are You a Murderer? Probably So

May 21, 2017

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus equates anger with murder (Matt. 5:21-22), in much the same way He equates lust with adultery (Matt. 5:27-28).  Later, John adds the following:

1 John 3:11-15 - For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love (agapaō) one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother.  And why did he murder him?  Because his (Cain) works were evil and his brother’s (Able) righteous.  Do not marvel (wonder, be surprised, astonished), my brethren (fellow believers), if the world (kósmos) hates (to detest, an active ill will in words and conduct, a persecution spirit) you. We know (eidō) that we have passed from death to life, (how) because we love (agapaō) the brethren.  He who does not love (agapaō) his (personal) brother (fellow believers) abides (rest, make their home) in death.  Whoever hates (to detest, an active ill will in words and conduct, a persecution spirit) his (personal) brother (fellow believer) is a murderer, and you know (eidō) that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

John also equates anger and hatred with murder.  And he states that "no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."  This is a profoundly important point.  Which raises a couple of questions:

Have you been angry with a fellow Christian?
What was the cause of your anger?  Was it the holiness of God?  Or some personal preference about which you felt slighted?
Are you still angry with that person?  And if so, why?
Did you know that, according to the Scriptures, you are guilty of murder?  Why?  Because the one you hate and murmur about was created in the image of God.  And to hate someone created by God, who is also made in the image of your God, is to hate God.  You cannot love the Creator and hate His creation.

The Scriptures call this murder.  Are you confused?  Do you think hatred and murder are two different things with two different penalties?  Do you want to know what the Scriptures say about anger and murder?  Then keep listening.

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337 - What is the Prayer of Faith?

February 21, 2016
Some of the most wonderful yet confusing verses in the entire New Testament are found in the last chapter of the book of James.  Do you know what these verses mean:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much - James 5:13-16

Are you suffering?  Do you know those who are sick?  Do you know what the prayer of faith is and what is involved in calling for the elders and having them anoint you with oil?  Are these verses somewhat confusing to you?

If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on James 5:13-16.

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305 - How to Love Those Who Hurt Us

May 17, 2015
One truth in the Christian life is that we have all been hurt by those we love and by those who we thought loved us.  Whether it's our spouse, our family, a former close friend, or someone in the church, we've all suffered from the words or actions of someone else we trusted.  And the scars run deep.

So what do we do?  Mostly, we withdraw, vowing to never trust again.  We pull up the drawbridge, turn out the light, and hide alone deep in our room.  Simon and Garfunkel, many years ago, captured this so well in their song, I Am a Rock.

I've built walls, a fortress deep and mighty, that none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock, I am an island.

Don't talk of love, I've heard the words before; It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock, I am an island.

But the Christian life is not meant to be lived in bitterness, fear and unforgiveness.  Why?  Because Christ purchased our freedom and freely offers that freedom to us.  It's ours for the asking.
To find out how to love those who have hurt you or the ones you love, keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13.

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265 - Agape or Storge, Life or Death

October 6, 2014
The Pharisees plotted together against Jesus and put forth a lawyer to try to trap Him in His words.  The lawyer asked, "Which is the greatest commandment in the law?"  And Jesus' answer was twofold:

“'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 22:37-40)

The word for love is agape.  "You shall agape the Lord and you shall agape your neighbor."

How do we love (agape) God?  And how do we love (agape) others like we're suppose to love (agape) God?  How is that even possible?  

To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on the Love (agape) of God.

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260 - Go and Sin No More

September 17, 2014
Sometimes we accept the forgiveness of Jesus and assume it's simply a one-sided act.  He does all the work and we reap all the benefits.

It's like changing the lyrics to the old song that goes:  "Jesus paid it all."  And with this we agree.  "All to Him I owe."  Uh, not so fast.  I'd rather just take the forgiveness and go home.

But that's not how it works in the Kingdom of God.  In John 8 we see a woman forgiven by Jesus and left with the following command:  "Go and sin no more."   Did you ever wonder why He said that to her?

To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on John 7:53-8:12.

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237 - How Can God Show Such Mercy?

April 14, 2014
In the fourth of Zechariah's eight visions we see the following prophetic words about Jesus:

For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch.  For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua:  Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription.

I think I've got the part about the Branch and the stone and the seven eyes.  But what inscription is engraved on the stone?

The answer to this question will alter your view of Jesus... forever.  

The following is a study on Zechariah 3:1-10.

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224 - The Gift of Hating Sin

December 18, 2013
When we read in Genesis 3:15 about God's curse on Satan we sometimes fail to see the incredible gift in that curse given to us. 

"And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
 
"And what gift is that?" you ask.  
It is the gift of hating sin.
Want to hear more about it?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study of John 12:12-41.
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221 - The Illegitimate Son of God

November 24, 2013

Psalm 69 gives us a chilling insight into the life of Jesus as a young boy being raised in the home of Mary and Joseph. After all, we know He had 4 brothers and at least two sisters. What must His life been like during His teenage years.

From Psalm 69:

I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children. Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.


Want to know more about the suffering that Jesus endured before His introduction by John the Baptist? Then keep listening.

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216 - Come and Experience Life Behind the Veil

August 31, 2013
Some of the most compelling passages in the book of Hebrews are found in chapter 10.  In these words the Lord tells us how we are to "draw near" to Him and how we are to "come boldly" and "enter the Holy of Holies" with Him by a "new and living way."  

Consider the following:

Let us draw near with a (1) true heart in (2) full assurance of faith, (3) having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and (4) our bodies washed with pure water.

What could be more amazing than this?

Want to know more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study of Hebrews 10:19-25.
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