Archive for the ‘Colossians’ Category
Masterpiece! No, not the bbq sauce, but you!
I’m sorry, but I’m tired of all the “worthless worm” talk and songs that tell us we are depraved and worthless. Yes, without Jesus, we can’t come to God and have no righteousness of our own. But even unsaved, we are still made in the image of God (James 3:9) and were created with purpose and known by God in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-16). How can we call that junk? How can we call be for “the sanctity of life” and not recognize the inestimable value we have in the eyes of our Creator?
Yes, we battle the fleshly side of our natures, but by the Spirit of the living God, we are being transformed to be more like Jesus every day (2 Corinthians 3:18) as we keep our gaze, our hearts, on Jesus. That Holy Spirit empowers and transforms us and helps us be who we were conceived by God to be, in Christ! We are God’s holy temple, the place where He dwells and we were made to glorify Him in that temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
And as God’s children, we are far more than forgiven: we are forgiven and cleansed (Colossians 1:21-23; 1 John 1:5-2:2). We are recreated in Christ as God’s workmanship, God’s artistry, our Father’s unique creation made to do great things. You see, grace doesn’t just save us from something awful, but it also saves as someone special and it saves us for God’s holy purpose in our broken world (Ephesians 2:1-10). Yeah, we may not be there yet, it may take some more transforming, it may take some chiseling, but God has plans for us because we are His … and we are His workmanship, His artistry. So don’t believe you’re junk. You’re His Masterpiece … so please, let Him finish His work before you give up on who you are in His eyes!
In my Heartlight.org article, On Tiptoe with Angels, I talk about the significance of angels in Luke’s stories about Jesus’ birth.
Luke seems to be wanting us see the angels in the stories related to Jesus’ birth to …
- … say this is important, pay attention!
- … help us realize God is at work in His great work of deliverance!
- … amaze us with His love!
What do you most need to see in the story of Jesus’ birth?
What do all the appearances of angels in the story of Jesus birth mean to you?
I’d love to hear from you!
Here’s a graphic I hope you like, right click on it (PC) or ctrl + click (MAC) to save the graphic!
Last Updated 11.17.2008
For 11/30 Our Center of Thankful Joy (3:15-4:1; cf. 1:21-23, 25)
Paul begins the letter with thanks and this theme runs to the letter like a rich vein of gold through a gravel bank:
Col. 1:3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you …
Col. 1:12 … and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his people in the kingdom of light.
Col. 2:7 … rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Col. 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Col. 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Col. 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Paul wants to make sure that the Colossians define their new life in Jesus with thankfulness. He gives thanks for the new standing in Christ. They are to life with joyful thanks about their inclusion as heirs in God’s people of light. They are to overflow with thankfulness for what Jesus did and is doing for them. Their lives are to be lived to honor Jesus all the while giving thanks to God the Father for them.
And the reason for their thankful joy?
The center of this reason for joyful thanks?
Jesus and the purpose and meaning for life He has given to us — we truly live out on hope’s horizon!
But thanksgiving makes our salvation real again in almost any circumstance. A great way for our Time in the Word to possibly start is to dramatically tell the story of Paul and Silas receiving the Macedonian call and then find themselves in prison, locked up and abused, yet they are praying and singing hymns to God and give birth to the church and the letter that helps us see our reason for thankful joy! Another possibility is to look at the current trying circumstances we face economically and the hurt and heartbreaks we sometimes face here. How can we rejoice? How can we have hope? Center that joy in Jesus.
I would love our worship leaders to quote the following before a praise set of songs:Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again:
Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
While old, a good standard song might be helpful: “Count Your Many Blessings”
The whole key to this message, really the whole key to the letter of Colossians is Colossians 3:17 , “whatever you do in word or deed” or as The Message puts it, “Let every detail of your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God every step of the way.”
Why do you think Paul emphasizes thankfulness so much to these new believers in Colossae?
Why is thankfulness important to us as a focus for our lives?
What are things that make it hard for us to be thankful in our culture?
Do you think the negativity in the news, magazines, and ads make it harder to be thankful?
What is the basis for our thankfulness?
How can I learn to be thankful (It is a command after all!) even though my life doesn’t appear to be blessed right now?
Why is thankfulness so important as a necessary part of our daily prayer life?
Listen to prayers this week and see if you can get a feel for emphasis on the following areas and give percentages: praise, request, complaint, thanksgiving, and confession
What are things you have to be thankful for that have nothing to do with physical blessings?
Do you think others would classify you as a thankful person? Why or why not?
Last Updated 11.17.2008
For 11/23 Christ in the House (3:18-4:1 & 4:5-6)
This is a focus on what is often called the “household rules” in Colossians. However, these “rules” are built on the call of Colossians 3:17 and the central place of Christ in our lives:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Paul is not leaving to chance that folks will understand “whatever you do” and applying it to their daily life in their own homes. For some reason, believers have always seem to have trouble taking the things that are said to us as believers in our relationships and applying them to our own home life. But go back and look at Colossians 3:12-14 and then apply them to family life:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
How does this look in the day-to-day life of a family? … office place? … PTO or school association? … kids sports team members?
Imagine what would happen if we simply took these words to heart in our relationships at home!
Paul centers our relationships with each other in Christ – whether these relationships are in our home or workplace or everyday life.
Several key things to note:
- We have different roles to play in our lives
- Whatever our role may be, we are to see that as a place to honor Christ and serve Him in how we live out that role
- Our reward my not be visible until we see the Lord face to face, but it will one day be visible, because we are heirs of God
How we live in our homes and other places is our “liturgy of life” – our daily worship, ways and places we reverence the Lord.
So how does that impact how we serve and what we do to serve?
Hebrews 13:4 makes that clear in the context of “worshiping God acceptably with reverence and awe”! Paul is even more specific in Ephesians 5:21 (although Colossians 3:17 and 3:22 effectively say the same thing). This is carrying out the implications of Romans 12:1 – our behavior in our relationships can’t be modeled on the world, but must be redemptive, like Jesus, no matter it’s context. Worship must extend to all of life!
We do not need to hear this de-emphasizing the importance of our gathering together as believers in worship and encouragement. Instead, what we hear is an elevation of the importance of what we do each day as our practical worship.
Are we really willing to put into our everyday living the things we say in “churchy” places?
Do we walk our talk in the places we can’t hide who we are? Remember how The Message puts 3:17:
Let every detail in your lives-words, actions, whatever-be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Flowing as it does out of Colossians 3:1-4, we are basically supposed to bring a little heaven down to earth in our families. Our families must be a place where the Kingdom of God is lived!
A couple of observations are worth considering as well:
- Children are included in the community of Christ are called to obey their parents because this is pleasing to the Lord
- How we live in our families is considered crucial to our influence and leadership in God’s family:
- See 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 one on the qualities of leaders
- The statement about Jesus (Luke 2:51)
A key emphasis here will be on 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 and our being the Body of Christ to the world and our pledge to live that way as we share in the Supper.
Time in the Word – Have a cup of coffee, a Dr. Pepper, a bottle of water, & a bottle of grape juice on the table. Use them to go back and forth in an out of our daily routines and who we meet with and share table fellowship with. These are a reminder that communion time is our pledge to be Jesus’ Body in the world and live His life in all of our daily relationships — that our real worship, our liturgy of life, begins when we leave this place.
Worship Leaders Please Note!
I would very much like to have the Lord’s Supper at the end of the service especially at Daybreak, with maybe one or two songs afterwards. No closing thoughts then, have that earlier. I would do the communion service. We could do offerings and garden of prayer earlier in the service and have an elder or other minister do the Garden time.
At Refresh, we will have folks do the bread from the tables, but will pass the trays for the cup – drawing special attention to the “as we eat this bread we are Christ’s one body” and challenge each other to think of the places where we need to more completely let Jesus’ life be seen in those sets of relationships.
What are the key areas of your life where you are in relationship with others?
How do you influence each of these areas for Jesus?
Which is the hardest area of your life to influence for Jesus?
How can you better practice the principle of “redemptive use of your talk” (Colossians 4:5) with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15) in your relationships?
Why is it so important that we practice these principles of Christ-likeness in our closest relationships?
Why do you think it was so important for leaders in God’s church to be good leaders in their families (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 – qualifications for Elders and Deacons)?
Please Note: There are many one another passages in the New Testament — God’s directions on how we are treat each other (see at the end of the questions a list of one another passages). Please read through these and then answer these questions:
Why do you think it is so hard for us to apply these principles in our homes and business relationships?
Which of these is hardest for your to practice in your family relationships?
Which is hardest in your work/school relationships?
One Another Passages in the New Testament
Mark 9:50 “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
John 13:14 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 15:12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
John 15:17 “This is my command: Love each other.”
Acts 20:5-6 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another with mutual affection. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another.
Romans 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another…
Romans 15:5-6 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Romans 15:14 I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.
Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss…
1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.
1 Corinthians 12:24-25 But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
1 Corinthians 16:20 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
Galatians 5:13 But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs…
Ephesians 5:21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another…
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now about your mutual love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:13 … Live in peace with each other.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you,e brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 13:1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.
James 4:11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another…
James 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged …
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…
1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
1 Peter 5:5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
1 John 3:11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
1 John 3:23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God …
1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
2 John 1:5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another.
Last updated on 11.17.2008
For 11/16 Don’t Forget the Main Thing (4:3-6; cf. 1:13-14, 21-23, 28-29)
This message is for Daybreak on 11/16 and Refresh on 11/30.
Because of the emphasis on Harvest Sunday this week – we will have a Harvest Sunday offering this week – I’ve switched the message for the 30th to the 16th and the previously scheduled message for this Sunday (on our center for thankful joy) to the 30th — for Daybreak, it will remain the same for Refresh. In addition, this can be a much shorter, succinct message, which will be important on a Sunday with a special focus on giving to short-term missions and other mission projects at Southern Hills.
Key Passage: Colossians 4:3-6 – I’m staying away from The Message this week because I think it misses some of the basic meaning of the text and because it uses a word or two that could be misinterpreted – the phrase “don’t miss a trick” sounds manipulative to me in the context of sharing our faith and living before people to influence them to Jesus. However, the Easy to Read Version here is pretty good:
Also pray for us. Pray that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message. I am in prison for doing this. But pray that we can continue to tell people the secret truth that God has made known about Christ. Pray that I will say what is necessary to make this truth clear to everyone. Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.
Years ago, four university ladies in Abilene began to care for an older African American woman who had severe diabetes and was confined to her wheel chair because she had lost most of her lower extremities. For two years, these young women made sure she had food and friendship. Eventually, however, her body gave out and she died. As the preacher in town began to meet with these four young women and the few members of this lady’s family, it became clear that the woman had never made a commitment to Jesus. While what the four young ladies did was admirable, really in those days it was courageously kind, they never took time to visit with this dying woman and talk about her walk with Jesus, her need for grace, her opportunity for baptism and the gift of God’s forgiveness and the power of the Holy Spirit.
In today’s world, under the banner of not judging anyone, we often neglect the opportunity to talk about the most important news of all – the good news Jesus and the opportunity of the Kingdom of God into people’s lives. In the middle of doing lots of good things, we must not forget the main thing. So today, I have only one point: let’s not forget the main thing!
And what is that main thing? Bringing people into a saving relationship with Jesus. John 3:16-17; Colossians 1:13-14 & 21-22
- It’s easy for us to lose focus and neglect this – why we try to guard the Fall
- It’s easy for us to forget how blessed we are with the Hope we have
- We become like the ancient railroad signalman who forgot to light his lantern
Basically, Paul tells these new believers in Jesus to …
- Pray for him to share the message of Christ
- Live for opportunities to share the message of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:15-16)
What makes it hard to live with “the main thing” in mind?
What is the difference between sharing our faith – our story about what Jesus has done in our lives and our reason for hope in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15-16) – and being an evangelist?
Do you have a story to share with folks about what Jesus has done in your life?
Can you share with someone what they need to do to become a true follower of Jesus?
What makes it especially hard for us to share our faith with others where we live?
Does living for “the main thing” mean we are just nice to people to get them to become followers of Jesus?
How do we genuinely engage in conversation and enter into the life of people that God brings into our lives?
What do we do if they reject our respectful efforts to share Christ with them?
1 Corinthians 14 identifies 3 different types of folks who come to our worship gatherings – brothers and sisters (brethren), unbelievers, and inquirers (mentioned several times but look especially at (vs. 24-26).
What are you doing to make friends and enter into relationship with unbelievers?
What is the difference between inquirers and unbelievers?
What are you doing to share your faith and the way to respond to Jesus with inquirers?
What do I need to do to be prepared to share “my story” and to share Jesus with others to whom God leads me?
What difference has knowing Jesus made in your life?
Using Acts 2:22-47, outline what people need to do to come into a saving relationship with Jesus.
I stress the unique claim of Jesus on our hearts in my Heartlight.org article this week, Isn’t Jesus Enough?
Sometimes, maybe most of the time, a simple truth is better expressed simply than with a lot of words. The video that accompanies the article says it clearly … simply … and accurately!
Paul said it this way:
My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything (Colossians 2:6-10 The Message).