Getting Connected with God through Christ

connect-with-godI have spent the better part of this school year teaching through the Gospel of Mark with my preschool teachers. We have all learned so much about our Lord and Savior, how He interacted with people to share the message of the Gospel with them in order to help them connect with God. All throughout the history of Israel, God had established spiritual leaders to help the common people connect with Him. For the most part, the spiritual leaders used their position and authority to lord over the people instead of help them connect with God. In Mark 10, Jesus reveals what people who are not connected with God are like. Most of the examples are the spiritual leaders. This is yet another opportunity for the spiritual leaders to admit their failure, repent of their mindset and actions, and connect with God through Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, most of them were so caught up in themselves that they could not admit their wrong doing and therefore continued to live disconnected from their Creator. This same problem exists to this very day in all churches, no matter the denomination or creed. I would like to examine this idea of getting connected with God through the Lord Jesus Christ as presented by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10.  Continue reading

Encountering the life changing power of Jesus Christ

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 3.27.10 PMIt has been a lot of fun studying through the Gospel of Mark. I have been studying this Gospel with my preschool teachers on a biweekly basis. So far, we have covered 8 chapters. It is amazing to see how Jesus transforms people through the power of His Word. His message is for the entire world. In case you have not been studying along with us, here is a list of the previous lessons.

  1. Jesus: Experiencing His Life and Ministry
  2. Jesus the Rescuing Teacher
  3. The unpardonable sin
  4. The parable of the sower and the seed
  5. Failing Faith needs a Faithful Friend
  6. Jesus serves individuals
  7. Discipleship according to Jesus
  8. Genuine faith honors Scripture over Religious Traditions
  9. The teachings of Pharisees vs. The teachings of Jesus Christ

In Mark chapter 9, we are going to discover the transforming power of an encounter with Jesus Christ. Just meeting Jesus is not enough. Continue reading

Paul making disciples in Miletus

paul_ephesian_disciplesWe have been following Paul as he lives a life on mission, seeking to fulfill the calling of Christ to make disciples. Our journey has been awesome. We first met Saul the bully in Acts 7-9. Then, we see Saul encountering Jesus Christ and being born again. Saul marks this event in his life by changing his name to Paul. This is an outward sign of an inward, spiritual reality. Then, Paul is trained by Jesus Christ. He begins to minister in the local church. While ministering in the local church, God calls him and Barnabas to go out to the Gentiles and make disciples. This begins his first missionary journey. After the first trip of making many disciples, churches were formed and Paul and Barnabas return to the local church and give testimony of what the Lord is doing among the Gentiles and Jews. A couple of weeks ago, we began to look at the second missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas go out again and begin to make more disciples. More churches are formed as a result of making disciples. A church is formed in Philippi. Then, another church is formed in Thessalonica and yet another in Berea. All of this happens in the midst of heavy persecution. Paul would gather people together and reason from the Scriptures. People would repent, believe in Jesus Christ, and be equipped to serve the local church and make more disciples among their own people, both Jews and Gentiles. This week, we are going to journey with Paul on his third missionary journey. We pick up the story in Acts 20. Continue reading

The church plant in Philippi

1I am getting ready to teach our kids this coming Sunday about the Apostle Paul’s Second missionary journey. Part of that journey included a church plant in the city of Philippi. As we saw when Paul was on his first missionary trip, he did not set out to plant churches. He was called by God to go and make disciples. The churches were formed as a result of people being discipled. This is the model for church planting. The modern approach is exactly backwards. We seek to plant churches and then disciple people once they become part of the church. Our modern form of church has much to learn from the Biblical approach. There are many areas where we are far from the Bible in our approach to modern ministry.  Continue reading

Jesus calls people to follow Him

gospel_of_mark_chapter_10-5_bible_illustrations_by_sweet_mediaWhen studying the Bible, I always encourage people to remove their denominational glasses  because they can distort the clear teachings of the Scriptures and cause people to read into the Biblical text what is not there, or, overlook what is there. It’s called a bias and we all have one based on our experiences. It is difficult to do but it is a necessity if we really want to get to the heart of the message of what God is trying to communicate with us. I usually begin an article or message on this topic with Matthew 28:19-20. It is the clearest teaching of our Lord that demonstrates that followers of Jesus Christ are to make disciples. The apostles were to go to nonbelievers and invite them in to the process of discipleship. Part of that process is evangelism. Other parts of the process of discipleship are repentance, faith, and dedication to following Jesus Christ. This is a packaged deal that Jesus clearly communicates in His teachings in Matthew 4 and Mark 1, when He calls the 12 to follow Him. They are nonbelievers. They hear the message of the Gospel. They repent, believe in Christ, and dedicate themselves to following Jesus Christ. There is one exception. Judas became a follower of Jesus Christ but he never repented or believed. He was never born again. He was like the majority of the crowds who “followed” Jesus. They were doing it for selfish reasons. Some wanted another free meal. Others wanted to be entertained with a miracle. Judas followed because he was able to steal money from the ministry funds.  Continue reading

What are the deeds worthy of repentance?

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-4-10-02-pmThis is an article written by my good friend and brother in Christ, Alexei Tentiuc. It was originally written in Romanian and I have translated it into English so that you may be just as blessed by it as I was.

The deeds of repentance do not come about from your own will power. The deeds of repentance come as a result of a changed mind. “Metanoia”, the Koine Greek word that is translated “repentance” in English simply means “a change of mind”. A person who has experienced genuine repentance has had a radical change in his way of thinking take place. The way that he views things also change as a result of the change in his way of thinking. As a result of a change in thinking and faith in Jesus Christ, a person who has repented will also see a change in his actions. This is what the Bible teaches on the subject of repentance, faith, and the deeds worthy of repentance. Let’s take a look for ourselves in the Word of God to discover these important truths. Continue reading

Claiming to be a Christian without being a disciple is like tasteless salt

040313-saltI want to address the teaching that is popular today among many evangelical teachers, a teaching that I believe is incorrect, that is, a teaching that says a person can be a born again Christian without being a disciple. The idea, separate from the clear teachings of Scripture, is that salvation is a free gift, a statement with which I agree, and in God’s economy, He calls us to believe that Jesus Christ is God, and then, once we have believed, we are invited into the process of discipleship. I have previously written on the mark of a genuine disciple and in this article, I lay out the reasons why I believe that a person cannot be a Christian without being a disciple.

In this article, I would like to examine Luke 14 to demonstrate that Jesus teaches that a person cannot be a believer without being a disciple. Take a moment to read Luke 14 and then let’s think through this teaching that Luke records. Jesus is the teacher and He gives a call to follow Him in this passage. He gives a call to discipleship. He gives a call to enter into the kingdom of God. Continue reading

Are you investing in possessions or people?

jesus-and-zaccheusAs we continue to walk through the Bible in 2016, this week, we are going to cover Luke 19. The first 10 verses deal with a well known figure from the New Testament, mainly, because there is a little song about him. I refer to Zaccheus. Many times, this story is used to emphasize how salvation comes to a person’s life. This is true, but, from the context, there is a bigger message here. In order to understand the bigger picture, I will outline the entire chapter of Luke 19.

  • 1-10 – what do you do with what you have?
  • 11-27 – the parable of the minas, what will you invest what you have in for the future
  • 28 – 44 – The triumphal entry of Christ
  • 45 – 48 – Jesus clears the temple, rebuke for those who abused people for profit

 

Continue reading

The Green Eyed Monster, Jealousy

static1.squarespace.comI am preparing to teach during our 5th-6th grade retreat in a couple of weeks. The weekend’s theme is overcoming our sin nature. One of the ways that our sin nature manifests itself is through the green eyed monster of jealousy. The prime manifestation of our sin nature is our selfishness. The green eyed monster of jealousy stems from our selfishness. Here is the Greek definition of the word translated into English as selfish, “This is being upset because someone got something and you did not. Instead of rejoicing with that person, you get upset because you wanted it“. Jealousy is a twin sister with envy. The difference is, jealousy produces envy. Envy means not only are you upset at what others have, you want it and if you cannot have it, you will destroy what they have so that the other person can be miserable with you. We are going to see how this place out in a real life situation between King Saul and the future King David. Continue reading

A letter from God and Gratitude

This past week was a good week for me and for the pastors of Hoffmantown Church. We had our annual pastors’ retreat in beautiful Pagosa Springs, Colorado. While there, we reflected on the love that the Lord has for us and the high calling that we have all answered, to shepherd the Lord’s flock in His local church. I was privileged to be with my brothers in Christ and hear their stories of how the Lord called them. I was able to share my story as well. It was a blessed time. One of our personal assignments was to write a letter to ourselves, from God. It was a neat assignment. We had to spend some time alone with the Lord and then write, from a Biblical perspective, a letter that we thought He would write to us. After that assignment, we were to list all of the things that we were grateful for that the Lord has given to us or done for us. Here is what I wrote: Continue reading