Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to Have


Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

This verse shows us how to really have church - how to join together with others in worship. The Bible is clear that we're not supposed to be "Lone Ranger" Christians, but we are to connect with other believers. 
Hebrews 10:24-25 says... And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Let's break this verse down phrase by phrase. What does it mean to "let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you"? The Gospel (the message about the Messiah) is a treasure, the depths of which we will not understand while we are here on this earth. However, the more we do to learn about it, the fuller our hearts and lives will be. It should completely fill our hearts, to the point where we can see everything that happens in our lives in the context of the freedom we have because of what Jesus has done for us.

How do we do that? That's what the rest of this verse tells us. The first aspect is "teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom..." As we study the Bible for ourselves, there are two aspects that come together. First, we associate what we're learning with what we already know and the experiences that we have been through.

Second, we understand as God gives us discernment which is a process of prayerful reflection which leads a person or community to understanding of God`s call at a given time or in a particular circumstances of life...
When taken together, the perspective and discernment of each person is somewhat unique in regarding to their own situations.             

When we get together with other believers, who are also studying the Bible, we can learn from their perspective and discernment, and they can learn from our perspective and discernment. 

Listening to a traditional sermon from a man or woman of God who has studied the Scriptures regularly over the course of several years can be very enlightening. Sitting down together with a small group of believers and discussing a Sunday`s passage of Scripture can also be enlightening - God will use others' viewpoints to help the entire group gain a deeper understanding of His Word.

The next way is "singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs..." Music has been a part of worship as long as worship has existed. The Bible says that the angels sing in heaven, and both the Old and New Testaments are filled with examples of music being used in worship. The book of Psalms is, in word form, the hymnbook of the Israelite church. Paul sang hymns regularly, whether he was in jail or in an established church. And Jesus even sang hymns! Notice what happened after He instituted the Lord's Supper...

As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take and eat it; this is My body." Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, "Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood [that establishes] the covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. But I tell you, from this moment I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it in a new way in My Father's kingdom with you." After singing psalms, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Matthew 26:26-30

The way to do all of this is "with gratitude in your hearts to God." As we learn more about Jesus, and begin to live an abundant Christian life, this gratitude should flow naturally from our hearts. But, even if we're not "feeling it," we should still express gratitude to God for all that He has done for us. Our continued existence on this planet is a testament to His protection, grace, and mercy; how much more should we be grateful for the blessings we have been given on top of that?

Some people think that they don't need church - besides, it's just full of a bunch of Hypocrites (sinners) anyway. Well, they're partially right - Christians are nothing but saved sinners, and from time to time, they still sin and are in need of God`s grace. Christians can know what sin is, and believe one shouldn't do it, but they still do it anyway. While some see it as hypocrisy, we know that it is the spiritual warfare, which is one of the most misunderstood parts of the Christian life. 

Which is a struggle between the old man (sinful nature) and the new man (Christ that lives in you*) fighting for control of our lives? However, just as one would not go into battle alone, we as Christians should not try to wage this spiritual battle without the company of our fellow warriors.

When group worship follows the guidelines given in Colossians 3:16, it becomes so valuable to us that we wouldn't think of trying to make it on our own. I pray that, your church experience will grow to approach the description Paul gave to the believers in Corinth.

* My old self has been crucified with Christ, It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

1 Corinthians 15:35-44

The Resurrected Body

But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting. Then God gives it the new body he wants it to have. A different plant grows from each kind of seed.  Similarly there are different kinds of flesh—one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish.
 There are also bodies in the heavens and bodies on the earth. The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the glory of the earthly bodies. The sun has one kind of glory, while the moon and stars each have another kind. And even the stars differ from each other in their glory. It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever.  Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in power. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.

Notes on the Scripture

It is easy to imagine just how many different ideas and problems people could come up with, about what our bodies will be like when we are resurrected. Paul is clearly responding to such questions or discussion in the church at Corinth.
His response is elegant and sensible. Our spiritual bodies are not necessarily identical to our earthly bodies. The perishable body we have during our earthly life is compared to a seed; it is planted, and God gives the resulting plant a body "as He has determined". The one thing we can be sure of is that our resurrected bodies will be something greater than our earthly bodies. They will be imperishable, for one thing, and raised in glory and power, something better than the sinful and weak form that God has given us for our earthly journey. In the Bible it says in the beginning that we are made in His image and later it says, ‘’’And we shall be like Him’’’. But again no one can really say what we will be like until we get there!! That should be are focus, running  the race with our eyes focused on the finish line. So let us dream and share with others about the resurrection and differences of our bodies now and when we arrive.  However let us not quarrel and fight about how our bodies will look like in heaven. 
Just have fun sharing because each one of us as our own ideals.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are You Thirsty?

Isaiah 55:1-6 NIV

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? 

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, My faithful love promised to David. 

See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has have made you glorious. Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near."


What a beautiful passage! What a wonderful thought! If you're thirsty, just come to His waters! If you're hungry, eat of the meat of His Word! It doesn't matter whether you have money or not, just come to Him! His gift is free! No charge. Jesus has already paid your tab!

Whether we want to admit it or not, you and I spend a great deal of our time focused on disobeying God. That's right, disobeying God! 

Think about your typical day. You get up, get dressed and go to work. If you do pray, it's probably with one eye shut and the other eye on your watch, making sure you get out the door so you'll get to work on time. At work, all of your effort is on doing your job, pleasing your boss so that you'll keep your job and, perhaps, so that you'll get that promotion or raise so you can make more money. 

Later, at home, you cook, eat, then flop down in front of the television for three or four hours - or plant yourself in front of your computer for a few hours of e-mail, chatting and surfing. Then, after the news, you crawl into bed exhausted, yearning for sleep so you can get up tomorrow and repeat the whole process.

And yet, you're not satisfied. Your day seems empty. Something is missing. What is it? You haven't fed your soul. You haven't watered the thirst in your Spirit. And, just as you will get sick and weak if you don't feed your body and give it physical food and drink, you will get sick and weak spiritually if you don't feed and water your soul.

Hungry? Thirsty? Do what Isaiah says: Come to Him (open your Bible), listen to Him (read His Word), seek Him (pray without looking at your watch), call on Him (ask Him for guidance, for knowledge, for wisdom, for whatever you need!). He has “have made you glorious " - let Him fill your life with the richness of His Spirit. It's the only thing in life worth having that is truly free!

Think about it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Discussions and Questions

What Would You Do?

Sometimes it's easier to get into Scripture when it can be looked at in light of some everyday situations. The following six situations are designed to help you to think through various passages of Scripture and how they might apply to you personally. When you are finished, if you would like you could share your conclusions with me, your pastor. Just post your thoughts if you would like. You also could work together with your friends and or your family. 
Maybe you could use this as family devotionals.


Jeremiah 17:9-10


In an English exam you need an A or B to pass the course for the semester. You studied long and hard. Your friend didn't study at all. While the teacher is busy checking papers, you notice that your friend is copying answers from another student who always does well. You get a C while your friend gets an A.

1. How do you feel?

2. What would you do as a Christian?

3. Does this experience change your relationship with your friend?

4. Would you discuss the issue with your best friend? Or other friends, your parents, the teacher?

5. How would you feel if you were the cheater with an A knowing your friend studied and received only a C when he needed at least a B?


Proverbs 1:29-31

Instant Gratification

Your college buddies are going on a road trip and going to an amusement park and you need $50. Because your parents agreed to help you earn money while attending school full time by allowing you to keep money from the recycling of aluminum cans and odd jobs around the house. 
Normally the money is put into your college budget account. On the way home with the money, you discover a new CD by your favorite group and decide you can get the money for the trip from the next lawn you mow, so you buy it. When you get home your parents are very upset and tell you that they will not help you earn any more money and, because you broke the agreement, you cannot go on the trip even if you have the money.

1. How do you feel?

2. How do you think your parents might feel?

3. Who was cheated?

4. Has an impulsive act such as the above ever cost too high a price?

5. If you were the parent would you have handled this differently? If so how?


Proverbs 3:1-6


 Friendship is one of the most precious things there is. It should be a given in any friendship, or in any close relationship for that matter, that you can trust the other person. You felt that you could trust your friend with anything, if you find out you have trouble trusting your friend after you found out your friend was posting things about you that was told in secret and not to be shared with anybody. 
You have to ask yourself if you are really such good friends to begin with. Without trust a relationship is really not worth all that much. 

1. Did your friend "fess up" or try to "fake it?"

2. Will your friend go sneaking around again now that you are beginning to trust them again?

3. How do you think your friend felt when you let know that they had betrayed their trust in you?

4. Would a Christian react differently than a non Christian? Should there be a difference?


Proverbs 16:6


You are at your friend's house. Your friend "sneaks" some money for you from his roommate’s wallet. You say nothing, even though you think it is not quite right not to ask. On the way home from school, you and your friend stop at the store to pick up an item for your mom`s birthday. When you leave the store, your friend gives you a bunch of candy bars. After you've eaten it some, 
your friend tells you he "sneaked" it for you from the store.

1. How does the candy taste now?

2. How do you feel about your friend?

3. Should you tell someone? Who?

4. Should you have discussed it earlier when you noticed that the friend was "sneaking" the cookie at home?

5. Would you discuss this with your parents? Why or why not? 

6. If this pattern continues, does your friend deserve your loyalty?

7. Can you get into trouble for being loyal? How or why not?

8. Does loyalty overlook anything and everything?


Deuteronomy 5:16, 1 Samuel 19:1-3


Your parents don't allow you to call guys on cell telephone. You feel times have changed and your parents are just old-fashioned. You go to your best friend’s house "to use her cell phone." The parents discover you are using the cell phone to call guys 
and they also know that your parents do not approve or allow it.

1. In what position do you place your best friend’s parents?

2. Do you know why your parents do not want you to call guys?

3. Do you open discussions with your parents, or just complain to your friends?

4. Do you expect parents to automatically know how you feel? Why or why not?

5. Will your parents trust you if they find out?

6. Did you consider the consequences of being found out?


Matthew 25:34-40

Respect for Others

Your and a group from your job goes on a retreat to discuss ideas and thoughts. You find yourself the only person from your group to have ideals to discuss. You are not being included so you speak up but the others ignore you. You ask a question or make a suggestion. They just pour cold water on your ideas. You attempt to sit closer to the nucleus of the group and someone moves the chair out and your unable sit closer. 

1. How did you feel?

2. Could you have done anything to improve your situation?

3. What should the group have done?

4. Did it upset you?

5. If you had been part of the antagonizing group, what would or could you have done to improve the situation?

6. Have you ever been part of a group that excluded someone? How did you feel? What were your thoughts and or your actions?

7. Would a Christian react differently than a non Christian? Should there be a difference?

Final Question:

Did you like this?