Archive for the ‘resurrection’ tag
Here’s a video of Ron DiCianni and his soon to be released painting of Jesus’ resurrection. It is worth your time to think about how much of Biblical history hinged on this one moment and Ron’s painting emphasizes this. Jesus emphasized this when He ate fish to show his doubting disciples that He had really been raised and was not ghost or a figment of their imagination. He then told them the following:
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:44-47)
Hope you are inspired by the concepts and are reminded of how much of everything important to us hinges on Jesus’ resurrection!
Paul summarizes his ministry this way, and puts an exclamation mark on what is depicted here:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 1:1-4)
In my Heartlight.org article today, I talk about Jesus knowing us personally and speaking to us. Here are some questions to go with the article that I’d love your feedback on as well as your input into the whole idea.
So if God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — are involved in our lives, and if the Lord speaks to us, then how does He do it and how can we can be sure it is really God and not some selfish desire or some worldly wisdom or some evil spirit trying to deceive us?
Ah! Two good questions. I’ll give you a response, but leave it to you to do some digging in Scripture to deepen your understanding and to discover God’s truth for yourself. (Try these ideas out and work through the Scripture references!)
How does Jesus speak to us today?
- While we sleep! (The Bible talks about God ministering to us while we sleep. I encourage you to read the article, While We Sleep.)
- During our times with our church family! We forget that church is more than filling pews and following a worship order. Jesus is present (Matthew 18:20) and through the power of the Holy Spirit, our worship becomes more than a sharing of words (1 Corinthians 5:4). Our songs are Spirit-filled messages where we speak to each other (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:17-19). Those who speak are to do so as speaking the very words of God (1 Peter 4:11). So what is preached, what is said to encourage us by friends, the loving confrontations we help each other face in Bible study, and the messages we sing to each other are one way Jesus speaks truth and hope into our hearts!
- During our everyday life experiences. God is at work in us, speaking to us when we read His word, when we hear repeated thoughts from multiple sources, and through the well-timed note, phone call, or card we receive from a friend (Philippians 2:13; Romans 8:28).
What are some other ways you think the Lord may have spoken truth into your life?
But how can we know it is really from the Lord and not from some other source? Aren’t we taught to “test the spirits” to see if what is being said is true? (1 John 4:1-6)
Here are some ways to test to see if what we hear the Lord communicating is really from Him:
Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in knowing what is truth and knowing Jesus’ will. The Holy Spirit is given to us to help us know the truth from error and to recognize what is from God and from some other source (1 John 2:20-27; 1 John 3:23-24; 1 John 4:1-6; John 14:16-18; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:12-15).
Do what Jesus says to do. Not only is Jesus’ truth self-validating when it is lived by His disciples (John 8:31-32), but Jesus promises to reveal Himself to us and come make His home with each of us (John 14:19-23).
What are other ways that you believe we can discern what is truly from Jesus and what is from some other source?
If yesterday was “Good Friday,” then today would have to be aptly named, Sad Saturday. This day, caught between heaven and hell, good and evil, Sunday and Friday, is the day of sacrificial rest and remembrance, the day of bitter herbs and distant memories of God’s great acts now seemingly turned impotent and God’s powerful and creative voice fallen silent. I can’t imagine how the closest friends of Jesus felt so many years ago, because crushed seems to mild and devastated too shallow.
So today, as I read about Elijah from Eugene Petersen’s incredibly convicting book, The Jesus Way, I was reminded how much I want to dictate the ways and timing of God. So frequently, it seems to me, we don’t — I don’t — have the patience or the faithfulness to let God work His costly grace in my life. But, just as surely as Saturday rests between Friday and Sunday, so also God is at work in the silent moments when His voice is not heard and darkness appears to reign.
This powerful compilation of an old message and the scenes from The Passion of the Christ remind us of this once again:
Last Updated 10.05.08
Colossians #8: Sharing the Mystery – Colossians 1:24-2:5 – for 10.12.08
We all love to have a secret no one else knows. And if we gently taunt them, we can drive them crazy trying to figure out what that mystery, that special secret, really is. That’s the power of Christmas gifts sitting under the tree and us not knowing what that is. There is a curiosity about them that is nearly an addiction for kids trying to wait to find out what the gift is.
The Christian community Paul is writing faced a problem. People were claiming they knew secrets about the mysterious things of faith that they were lacking. They felt “less than” or deficient in their faith and were looking for someone to teach this “mystery.” The fear is about what they lacked. After all, it was “only” Epaphras who had taught them the good news message of Jesus. They knew him. He wasn’t a special apostle, like Peter or even Paul, so what if he missed something. Plus, their neighbors had all these special religious rituals. What were they missing? These fears made them easily manipulated by those pushing for special extra things that needed to be added in to the simple message about Jesus and how we respond to Him.
Paul writes, reminding them of his suffering for sharing his ministry, to say, “Look folks, here is the mystery. It’s been hidden for ages, but it’s been revealed to all of us who follow Jesus. In fact, it’s God’s will that it be revealed to all nations. I’m willing to suffer for it, and for you, because this simple message is the true message — it doesn’t need to be layered on with special practices or extra rules.
So what is this mystery? Surely it had to be more than the simple message Epaphras shared with them?
But Paul is emphatic. The message is Christ! He is the one where fullness is found! This is the message for which Paul suffers, serves, and strives to share (1:24-25; 2:1-2).
This is the message that serves and forms the people of God, hidden for ages, but now fully revealed to all of God’s people and not just in the hands of a select few (1:25-26).
This message is all about Christ coming alive in us (1:27):
Christ is our hope of glory! (1:27)
Christ is our message! (1:28)
Christ is our goal! (1:29)
Christ is our power! (1:29)
Christ is our treasure, wisdom, and knowledge! (2:3)
Christ is the focus of our faith! (2:5)
And what does this mean?
Our message is not complicated, esoteric, or difficult to understand. We don’t need some secret knowledge, some new and astounding author, or some deep and mystical wisdom. Our message is Jesus.
As we focus on this at our different assemblies, we need to go back to simple songs and remind each other of the simple message of Jesus. “Jesus Loves Me” sung by and for adults, “O How I Love Jesus,” “Why Did My Savior Come to Earth,” “Victory in Jesus,” “It is Well with My Soul” fit alongside “In Christ Alone” and other simple songs that focus on Jesus. 1 Corinthians 15 coupled with the Lord’s Supper becomes crucial to reminding us of that simple message – Jesus died for my sins, he was buried, and he was raised on the third day so my life would not be lived in vain and I can share in his victory. In addition, I believe we have a real invitation song and tie Romans 6 (or Colossians 2:12) in with Romans 15 right after The Lord’s Supper to give folks an opportunity to respond to Jesus.
Coordinate each of the elements above into the flow of the service in our usual order.
Put our Time in the Word early in the assembly, use 1 Corinthians 15 as our focus for The Supper, and actually have an invitation later in the assembly.
Focus on how and why the Gospel is simple and it’s about Jesus: it mustn’t be made complicated! Maybe compare the key parts of 1 Corinthians 15 (died, buried, raised) with the key parts of Romans 6 (died with Christ, buried, raised) and how the latter helps us experience the Gospel.
What makes so vulnerable to latest religious fad?
Do you feel pressure to know the latest Christian book or sing the latest great Christian song?
Do you ever worry that you don’t know all you need to know about the message of Jesus?
What are some things that you will not compromise on in your Christian faith?
If everything is up for grabs, that what solid ground do you stand on for your faith?
When we declare that “Jesus is the message” (something John 1:1-18 beautifully says as well), why is it so hard to limit our message to just Jesus?
What are some things you catch yourself wanting to add to the message of Jesus?
What are some of the most dangerous things you worry about that are being added to the message of Jesus?
What does Jesus really mean to you — describe how the Lord impacts you in different areas of life?
It snowed in Abilene again — second time in less than a week — and this is March. Surprise!
I was caught totally off guard today when one of our folks at the office said, “Oh, my! It’s really coming down.”
A few dandruff style snowflakes had come down on my way to the office this morning, but I had been working away about an hour and hadn’t looked out the windows. To my great surprise, in that short amount of time, the ground had become completely covered by a blanket of new snow. It was beautiful.
So tonight, as I’m winding my way down to sleep time, I read through the ending of the book of Acts (chapters 24-28). Two things really grabbed my heart, things I desperately needed to hear and have impact my attitude and emotions.
First, Paul winds his way through the unfair legal system in these chapters. His accusers make false charges that can’t be proven. Those hearing his case as judges, either want a bribe, want to please folks politically, or simply want some entertainment. Repeatedly the courts find him innocent and emphasize that he has done nothing that warrants prison or death. While all that sounds nice, maybe even encouraging, Pilate said the same things about Jesus, yet had him flogged and then crucified. To say life isn’t fair is trite. This is especially true with all the injustices hoisted upon Jesus so they could hang him on a tree in ridicule. I remember the line in the Princess Bride movie that went something like this: “Life isn’t fair and anyone telling you something different is trying to sell you something.” I think I need to quit whining so much, and stay focused on the mission at hand.
Second, Paul repeatedly emphasizes that the core issue of the message that got him in trouble has one central focus: God raised Jesus from the death. This was his message, his hope, and his passion. When I think about the passionate ol’ apostle to the nations, I see the resurrection of Jesus more than preaching; the power of the resurrection is demonstrated. God turned the greatest enemy of the early church into its great missionary. God used untimely disagreements, shipwrecks, detours, assassination plots, corrupt judges, unscrupulous religious leaders, and imprisonment to bring the message of grace to rulers, officials, and courts all over the Roman Empire. I know I need to quit whining and start praying … for God to pour out His Spirit more powerfully in my life and the life of our church. I need to humbly recognize that God is the Master of the unexpected and impossible. I need to pray for you, and I need you to pray for me, this prayer of Paul:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that can be invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way (Ephesians 1:17-22 TNIV).