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

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

 

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The Treasure of the Kingdom of God

hidden-treasureI am preparing to teach this Sunday in our children’s department at church. We have been walking through the entire Bible during 2016. We have arrived at the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, all through the Bible, we have learned that it is all about Jesus. It has been lots of fun and very eye opening. Last week, we covered Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6. During Jesus’ 3 and 1/2 year ministry on this earth, many, many people were given the opportunity to repent and become disciples of Jesus Christ. The 11 of the 12 disciples answered the call, repented and dedicated their lives to discipleship. There were others, about 120 in all who ended up answering the call by the end of Jesus’ ministry. The vast majority of the people who heard the call, chose to walk away, not repenting and deciding not to dedicate their lives to discipleship. Some of those same people probably answered the call the second time it was offered, on the Day of Pentecost when 3,000 people repented and dedicated themselves to discipleship. Of the other 2,000 who answered the call a few days later, I am sure many of them were the same ones who had rejected the call when Jesus gave it. Praise God that He is the God of second chances, and third, and fourth etc. Continue reading

Jairus learns to have faith

003-jairus-daughterHi everyone, it has been a while since I last wrote a post. I have been busy with summer ministry. In June we had VBS where we learned about the life of Noah and the Great Flood. Then, I left with a team from our church to travel to Romania where we served at 2 day camps with children and teens. Upon returning home, we had our own Day camp at church. Now, I am getting back into the swing of things for a few days until a much needed vacation.

This week, I am teaching at our preschool age children’s worship service. The kids are 2-5 years old, depending on when they are able to start kinder and move up to the elementry age children’s worship service. Our topic is a miracle performed by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. The story is close to the end of chapter 8. The story falls in line with the main teaching of Chapter 8. People hear the message of the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus, understand the Gospel, believe the Gospel, see your life changed by the Gospel, follow Jesus, and proclaim that Gospel to all who are around. This is seen with the parable of the sower and the seed, the healing of the demon possessed man, the healing of the woman, and other teachings in the long passage of Luke 8. Continue reading

Nehemiah: Servant, Leader, Restorer of society

Nehemiah_SusaThis coming Sunday, during children’s church, I am going to teach on Nehemiah. This lesson will close out the teaching of the Old Testament, a task that we began in January. I excited about all that the kids have learned. After this Sunday, we are going to begin our journey through the New Testament, focusing on the teachings of Christ to His disciples and then to His Church.

So, we finish out the Old Testament with Nehemiah’s story and how he led the people out of the Babylonia captivity. Before we get into this message, let’s see if we can review what we have learned so far, over the past couple of months: Continue reading

Honesty and Integrity: Signs of Genuine Faith

I am preparing to teach the Word of God to my Sunday School class this coming Sunday. Over the past 2 weeks, we have looked at the humble shepherd boy David and then the mighty King David. It was neat to see how God gives grace to the humble and opposes the proud. David received God’s grace. Along the way, David got proud. God had to humble him. We saw King David humble himself and repent before God and before all of humanity. God forgave David and restored him, but, the consequences remained with David for the rest of his life. Continue reading

Deborah and Jael: Servants of God for positive, societal change

UntitledTonight we are celebrating Pigtails and Pajamas at Hoffmantown church. This is an annual event for moms and daughters, girls and their female role models, and ladies who are interested in investing in the next generation of girls. My sweet wife, Elena, was supposed to teach the girls and ladies about being women and girls after God’s own heart. Unfortunately, she is very sick, therefore, I will be filling in for her. For the sake of my hair and nails, I will not be participating in the event. I am just dropping in to teach this lesson about Deborah and Jael.

God is looking for girls and ladies after His own heart who will stand up in the midst of this wicked and perverse generation to bring about positive societal change. Deborah’s generation was similar to our own. For 24 years, the people of Israel have been walking in disobedience to the Lord and paying the price for it. There is much suffering. There is no peace. People are fighting with each other and there are enemies attacking and oppressing Israel. Society is falling apart. No one seems to know what to do about it. Continue reading

Mission Trip to an unreached people group

Dear friends, thank you so much for your prayers over the past 2 weeks. I had the honor of traveling with a team from our church to do mission work among an unreached people group on the other side of the world. I had the privilege of working with underprivileged children at an orphanage. Along with a teen from our church, I was able to lead a day camp for 35 kids and teens. The youngest was 7 and the oldest was 15. We studied the inductive Bible study course, “God, what is Your Name”. At the camp we discovered the meaning and significance of 13 Biblical Names for God. Continue reading

Are you an ambassador for Christ?

Last week, I had some dear friends of mine from Moldova come and stay with us for most of the week. They were speaking at our annual missions conference at Hoffmantown Church. They came a little early and we were able to spend the week ministering with them. They taught our Bible study groups and shared their testimony of life on the mission field to several different groups of people. On Thursday morning, Alex led our staff Bible study and my heart was touched by what we studied. I would like to share that with you here in this article. Continue reading

Repentance, Forgivness, and New Purpose

Alright, I hope that you week has been wonderful. Mine was filled with study and teaching the Word of God. It was amazing to see Him work through His Word in the lives of the people around me. I hope that your week was very fruitful for the Lord. If not, don’t lose heart. You have a fresh chance this week to make it a productive one. This past Sunday during #theROC I was able to teach on Luke 15 about the 3 parables. This week, I am going to focus on the one son who repented. The lesson is all about repentance, forgiveness, and a new purpose in life. I pray that this will be useful to you and that the Lord will use it to bless you as you read, understand, and apply what you learn. Continue reading