Belief is more than a confession

Jesus-and-LazarusI am getting ready to teach tonight at our church. I have a lesson with the AWANA kids and we are going to study John 11. This is a fascinating chapter because in verse 35, we find the shortest verse in the Bible. Why did Jesus weep? Some say that it is because He was heartbroken over the death of Lazarus. Others claim that He wept because Mary and Martha were mourning over the death of their brother. While those seem like logical conclusions, I do not feel that the text leads us to that conclusion. We read that into the text based on our own experienced. There are three key players in this text that work together to explain the purpose of this passage in the Bible. One of the key players is Jesus. He is referenced more in this passage than anyone else. The verb “believe” is referenced 8 times in this chapter, making it another key player in the story. Another word that is mentioned three times in this chapter is “resurrection”. All three of these key players lead us to the logical conclusion of the text. Continue reading

Is Your Worship Useless?

Useful and Useless directions.  Opposite traffic sign.I imagine that the title is quite provocative. In all honesty, it is not a title that I came up with on my own. I actually borrowed the idea from the Lord. He makes this proclamation in Isaiah chapter 1. I would like to examine the passage to discover what kind of worship is useless in the eyes of God. Could any of this describe us today? Continue reading

Idolatry: Are you not entertained?

vort-2017-01-16-thumbIf you saw Russel Crowe in Gladiator back in the year 2000, you remember that line that the title of this article is from. The Romans loved to be entertained. That is our human nature. That is our sin nature. The children of Israel were no different. We are also no different today. We have a way of justifying our idols today, similarly to the way that the children of Israel justified their idols. Continue reading

Discipleship: Empowering others for ministry

quote-pics.002I am working on my Sunday School lesson this week and our passage is Exodus 18. Our previous lesson was on how our sin nature is contentious. God has promised victory to us, we simply have to walk in that victory daily. Continue reading

A Picture of Faith

faithI am getting ready to teach at our AWANA group tomorrow evening. I am so excited to work with these kids. I have been teaching them since last Fall. It is so neat to see what happens when kids learn to study the Word of God for themselves. Last week, we learned about Running the race of faith. This week, we are going to see a picture of what faith is. Our text to consider this week is Luke 9. In this lesson, we are going to see an example of faith’s actions, a need for adjustment along the journey of faith, and finally, we are going to examine faith’s acknowledgment (confession). Continue reading

Saint Vasile (Basil the Great)

st basilTomorrow, Eastern Orthodox Christians will celebrate New Year’s Day according to the Old Julian calendar. It is also the holiday to honor Saint Vasile of Caesarea. Unfortunately, many Orthodox Christians venerate Saint Vasile to the point that he is worshiped. God does not share His glory with anyone and it is unfortunate that people worship Saint Vasile. Instead of worshiping him, we should study his life and seek to live the way that he lived. Saint Vasile was a born again Christian. He shared of his conversion in a letter to a friend: Continue reading

Sin Nature is Contentious

grumpyAs we continue to walk through the book of Exodus, we continue to see the character of God, His working out of an eternal plan, as well as His personal interaction with humanity. While walking through Genesis, we discovered that all of us have been born with a sin nature and that sin nature wants to master us. God’s plan is to rescue us from our sin nature so that we can master it. In Exodus 17, we are going to discover that God is our victory over our sin nature. God reveals this character trait to us through His Name, Jehovah-Nissi. The Lord is our banner of victory. Victory over our sin nature is already ours, we simply must choose to walk in that victory. God shows this to us with His interaction with the children of Israel in the wilderness. Sin nature is never satisfied, ever. The more that it is fed, the more it wants. The children of Israel were hungry, so, by grace, the Lord fed them manna from heaven. They then wanted meat. God gave them meat until it spewed from their nostrils. In Exodus 17, now they are thirsty. Let’s take a look at how their sin nature manifests itself when squeezed. Continue reading

Delivered from the bondage of FEAR

breaking-free_1851_1024x768In our previous Connect Group lesson, we covered the Freedom that Christ offers to us as His followers. This freedom was foreshadowed in the Old Testament book of Exodus with the inauguration of the Passover feast. God frees us from the power of our sin nature so that we may worship and serve Him. We must be careful of idols and other sins creeping back into our daily lives. Sin is like leaven, just of little of it will leaven the entire lump of dough. Continue reading

Freedom in Christ

freedom-1I am excited to prepare and teach this lesson during our Connect Group meeting this coming Sunday. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are walking through the entire Bible over a three year period, from Genesis through Revelation. Last Sunday, we jumped into the book of Exodus. Genesis was amazing and I am excited to see what Exodus holds for us. We just saw how Moses answered God’s Great Calling in Exodus 3-4. This week, we are going to see how God extended that Great Calling to the children of Israel through Moses and how God extends that Great Calling to us today, through Jesus Christ. Our passages for consideration today are Exodus 7 and Exodus 12. Continue reading