Archive for the ‘Colossians’ tag
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 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).
The Gatorade commercials lately have a tag line, “Is it in you?” It goes with high profile athletes who have accomplished much in their sport shown in action in black in white. However, their sweat is the color of Gatorade — thus the tag line!
Recently, a friend shared the following video that builds off the Colossians 1:27, Christ in you, the hope of glory. I love it. You take a look and see what you think! (Links for download of the video at the bottom of this post!)
What’s so powerful to me is that I’m sure something like Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” must be sung by Heaven’s angels when we come to Christ and are born into God’s family. So the real question for us today is pretty simple: if someone could really hear your spiritual heart, what would they be able to hear?
Is He in you?
Special thanks to Stephen Corbett who shot and produced this video and to Rob Marcelain who did the actiing!
Other videos from Corbett and Crew can be found on the church website.
Due to the crushing download volume of the video, we can’t offer the movie files for download, We are looking for a way to make this available in other ways. We apologize, but simply can’t afford the bandwidth increase for download. But the video will remain available on YouTube.
Last Updated 10.22.2008
Colossians #12: For 11/9 “Hope’s Horizon” (Colossians 3:1-4)
Notice first the Message translation:
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ — that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life — even though invisible to spectators — is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too — the real you, the glorious you. (Colossians 3:1-4 MSG)
What is the basis for our hope for the future? Here are some basics of these four verses:
• Vs. 1-2: We have been raised from death to life with Christ!
o This is tied to the reference on baptism where we are buried and raised with Christ through our faith in the power of God (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:1-14)
o Our continued focus, daily setting our hearts and minds on Christ and focusing on things above (cf. Luke 9:23 – daily), must be our commitment – if we are “serious about living this new resurrection life.”
• Vs. 3: His future is our future!
Because of this new birth, and the death of our old life, we are now joined to Jesus and His exalted position at God’s right hand. Above fate, above the rulers and authorities, our life is kept safe in the very presence of Jesus. His life is our life. His future is our future.
• Vs. 4: Glory awaits us!
Our future is secure because Christ is our life. Because His future is triumphant, and we are tied to Him, our future is triumphant! (cf. Psalm 37:4)
But the real issue for us is this: Where is our treasure? What is our life? Is it really Jesus?
Jesus himself reminded us that where our treasure is, that’s where our heart will be (Matthew 6:18-24). Jesus challenged us to ask ourselves the following questions:
What good will it be for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? Or what can you give in exchange for your soul? (Matthew 16:26)
Much of this all boils down to believing Jesus when He says:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
The call from Jesus is to see this gift of new life, this Kingdom way of living (cf. Colossians 1:13-14), as worth everything we have:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:44-46)
That’s why Jesus called us to seek first His Kingdom and trust God for the rest (Matthew 6:33).
So our key to grabbing onto this message would be to focus on our treasure and where we really think life can be found. What is the treasure we seek? What is the treasure we hold? This is especially powerful since we face the big economic challenges.
Two illustrations right now speak to me about this:
[Our house flooded by sewage right before Thanksgiving. Eating Thanksgiving dinner in a hotel and having a great day. I don’t remember who won the football games, but I do remember our family joy and thanksgiving. We saved our pictures and we were all okay!]
[McDonalds son Tim hiding under the bed during the fire. Lost their new pick up truck that wasn’t insured, but were so thankful to not have lost a son.]
It was just stuff! But how hard it is to really learn this without having to lose so much!
And there is a deeper promise in Colossians 3:1-4.
There are big things, hard losses, where we do lose those we love to accident, tragedy, and death. We still have the pick up truck but not the child. We have the pictures, but not the people. We walk away from the cemetery broken and alone. And this is where a life joined to Jesus means everything.
I’d love to sing the great old hymn, “Heaven Holds All to Me” at this point and ask this key question: is it true? (Two issues.)
We try to make heaven here. We want to guarantee our security for the future. We want to provide our own little heaven here on earth. We’ve been bumped up against the harsh reality that nobody can guarantee these things here. Not a presidential candidate, not the federal government, not the International Monetary Fund. No one. And it’s only our greed or our willful ignorance that would make us think differently. Those who lived through the depression know. I remember dad talking about a prayer session where they hadn’t had meat in a long time and were trying to decide whether to keep the milk cow or slaughter her for meat – they needed meat and weren’t sure they could feed the cow.
I know at funerals there is this great pressure to put everyone into heaven regardless of their trust and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. So pretty soon, heaven becomes watered down and meaningless because it doesn’t really matter whether a person’s life was really joined to Jesus. But I can assure you, when Jesus was the consuming passion of that person, folks know. Heaven is not Santa Claus and Easter Bunny talk. It is reality. It is assurance. It is hope. And this hope only is given to those whose lives are joined to Jesus.
So the real question is whether our lives are joined to Jesus and whether our hope is in Him or in what is not secure.
All this sounds harsh. At first blush, this doesn’t sound like good news. But it really is IF we hear the call of Jesus to follow Him and be joined to Him. When our lives are joined to Jesus, when He is our life, then the incredible promises of Romans 8 are ours!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whol have been called according to his purpose. … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:28, 35, 37-39)
Another old hymn to consider is “Jesus is All the World to Me.”
I’d love a testimony video of someone from Carrollton Avenue that lost everything and stayed because they wanted to help the church make an impact on the city. This could be a compilation of video we already have with commentary from our folks that know the person!
Focus on Jesus’ parable of the “Pearl of Great Price” and the “Treasure Hidden in the Field” and call us to Matthew 6:33.
In my Heartlight.org article this week, I challenge us to read Colossians 1:27-29 and Matthew 28:18-20 and write out our own personal mission statement. I encourage you to read the article and these Scriptures.
I’d especially love for you to share your own life’s mission statement based on the Great Commission with the rest of us in the response section below!