The Disciples’ Prayer Series Introduction

The Disciples' Prayer SeriesJesus taught his Disciples how to pray in what is commonly referred to as The Lord’s Prayer.  I tend to refer to it as The Disciples’ Prayer–not for the sake of being different, but to emphasize the fact that Jesus was teaching US to pray in that manner.

I taught a series of 12 lessons based on the words and phrases in the Disciples’ prayer to answer the question, “Why would Jesus ask us to pray this way?”.  This series goes into depth on the following topics:

  1. Our
  2. Father
  3. In Heaven
  4. Hallowed be Your name
  5. Your kingdom come
  6. Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
  7. Give us this day our Daily Bread
  8. Forgive us our debts
  9. As we forgive our debtors
  10. Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one
  11. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever
  12. Amen

Each of these lessons expands on a thought taken from the words and phrases that Jesus taught us in this prayer as shown above, and focuses on expanding the Christian’s understanding of how each of Jesus’ words is full of life and truth.

From today moving forward I will be posting these lessons here on the blog.  Watch for them, read the notes, listen to the audio (when available), and comment!  I’d love to hear what you think.

What is Love?

The Bible explains what it is in beautiful, yet easy to understand language.  whatIsLoveThis is one of the most important things that God wants us to get.  What is Love?

Is it a feeling?  A commitment?  A choice?  No.

Well, not in the context of what we are talking about here anyway.  The truth is that Love is God.  The Bible makes this very clear.

So, that begs the question, “If God is love, then how does love act?”  I believe the scripture gives us a concise picture of the nature of God in the description about love in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

The degree to which we love like the scripture says is the degree to which we are like God.

This teaching breaks down all 16 attributes of love given in the passage above, and seeks to bring better clarity to what love should look like in God’s people.  When I taught it at my church, there was such a sweet spirit of unity that arose from it that is hard for me to explain.  God is truly amazing.

I hope you enjoy this teaching.  We can discuss it in the comments section below if you’d like.

Love and Kindness

Love and Kindness

photo credit: Darinka Maja via photopin cc

God is not nice.

You can’t find a scripture that ever says that he is, and you can’t find him displaying the attribute of “being nice” in the scriptures.  What He is, though, is so much better…

God is kind.

In this lesson I talk about what the debt was that Jesus really paid, and what the most natural reaction from us should be to the grace he showed us: walking in love and kindness.

I then talk for some time on the differences between being nice and being kind, why it is important to understand the difference, and why being kind should be our goal–not being nice.

Here is a chart from the attached notes that gives you an idea of some of the things that I talk about:

Kindness Niceness
Gentle, Mild, Sympathetic, Forbearing, Affectionate Pleasant, Agreeable, Polite
Kindness has to do with one’s nature.  Inward condition. Nice has to do with how we appear to others.  Outward action or appearance.  It is so much related to outward appearance that it is commonly used to say things like:That’s a nice car.
That’s a nice house.
He has a nice smile.
Is always rooted in the Truth (based on scriptures about Kindness). Can be rooted in DECEPTION.  “I was just being nice.”
The Bible tells us to be Kind. The Bible NEVER tells us to be nice.

Finally, I present some warnings from scripture to those who do not walk in love.

Human Trafficking

There are more slaves in the world today than there were during the transatlantic slave trade.

www.ExodusCry.com explains:Human Trafficking

The latest global estimate according to the International Labor Organization (the United Nations agency that deals with global labor issues), calculates that nearly 21 million people are victims of human trafficking worldwide. Roughly 4.5 million of those victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Many people are unaware of the modern slave trade.  Women and children, and even men in some cases, are literally bought and sold like products.  In one of the best documentaries ever created on this topic, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, one brothel owner in Amsterdam compared it to ordering a pizza.

Some people in society actually argue that prostitution is an issue of women’s choice or freedom of expression. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is largely about slavery, greed, manipulation, and control.

I spoke about this topic shortly after learning about human trafficking.  To become more aware of this issue, you can listen to the audio of my message and read the notes.  However, I would strongly urge you to watch the Nefarious documentary and check out the ministry behind the documentary Exodus Cry.

Christian Maturity

Christian MaturityGrowing up.  That term can be used to mean a lot of things to a lot of different people.  In this lesson I seek to uncover why it seems many Christians never make it past the most basic levels of maturity in Christ.

This is a touchy subject, because no one ever truly wants to admit their own immaturity; however, it is something that we all deal with in our walk with God, and something that we all must outgrow.

Although I’m sure many of us can observe those around us, and even our own selves if we are willing to be honest, and recognize the fact that we may not mature as quickly spiritually as we do physically.  Some of us still struggle with the same things after being Christians for many years, yet others seem to grow up very quickly.

Why is this?  That is the question I attempt to answer in this lesson, and I believe it begins with gaining an understanding of the beings that God created us to be.

Biblical Preparedness

Biblical Preparedness  A couple of years ago I started thinking a lot about self-reliance.  You know, being able to take care of my family even if the economy takes a turn for the worse, or if the power goes out for a week, or if I lose my job.  There is a lot of great information out there about practical ways to prepare for your family, and then some crazier “hollywood-ized” presentations of “prepping” that would lead you to believe that being prepared to take care of your family has to come with a conspiracy theory, or paranoia, or maybe even a little bit of craziness.

The more I studied about prepping, the more I began to be concerned with whether or not my concern was rooted in fear or a lack of trust in God.  So, I began to search out this topic in scripture and found that–not only is prepping found all throughout the Bible–it is actually an act of faith to be prepared.  God honors preparation.

This lesson teaches a Biblical perspective on prepping, and endeavors to give Biblical grounds for why Christians should see physical preparation for hard times as an act of faith in God to do what He has always done.

One scripture that I’ll add here that I believe is always great to meditate on when it comes to prepping would be:

Luke 12:15-21 (NIV)

15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Bible Study: Fire Inside

There are many ways in our walk with God to have fire and passion stirred up insideBible Study Fire Inside of us; however, absolutely nothing can replace the power of the Word of God to stir our hearts to burn.  When we actively seek understanding from Jesus as we study the Bible, then we absolutely burn inside–whether we immediately recognize it or not.  The disciples on the road to Emmaus experienced this.  After realizing that they had been speaking to the resurrected Christ, they looked at one another and said “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

I originally taught this lesson in 5 parts, but here the audio is presented in one lesson with the original notes provided split up into days.  Here are the topics covered:

  • Day 1: Why Study the Bible?
    In this lesson I discuss the main reason to study: to know the Truth, and the truth is a man.
  • Day 2: How to Study the Bible
    In this lesson I explain the main differences between Bible Study and Devotional Reading.
  • Day 3: Creating a Bible Study Action Plan
    In this lesson I discuss why many of us don’t study the Bible, and offer 4 main types of Bible study that provide an easy entry point into Bible study.  I also provide information about many helpful study tools.
  • Day 4: Journaling (Pray-Reading the Scripture)
    In this lesson I give direction on a commonly used technique for truly seeking truth and engaging with the Holy Spirit while studying the Bible.
  • Day 5: Practice Journaling
    In this lesson I give further advice on specific ways to read through a passage of scripture to get the most out of it: Repetitive Reading, Emphasis Reading, and Negative Reading.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the teaching, or to answer any questions you have.  Leave comments below.

True Justice

True Justice

The Bible tells us in Zechariah 7:9 to administer True Justice.  I find it striking that there may be such a thing as “false justice” implicated in this statement.  In this teaching I discuss what true justice and false justice are.  I discuss the difference between them and how they can be recognized.

I also explain three arenas in life that we can be sure that true justice has its proper place:

  1. Spiritual Justice – an inward reality
  2. Personal Justice – an interpersonal reality
  3. Social Justice – an outward necessity

In spiritual justice I explain the legal aspects of what Christ did for us in the courtroom of heaven.

In personal justice I discuss a trap that many of us often fall into of battling for “fairness” over true justice in our interpersonal relationships, and how that can affect our view-point on true justice in other areas of life.

Finally, in social justice I talk about the fact that many modern social justice movements are designed, at their foundation, to actually deceive and  lead people away from the truth, and I discuss exactly why the Bible tells us to administer “true justice”.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  You can listen to the attached audio and/or read the PDF notes, and let me know what you think below in the comments.

 

Do Not Be Deceived

Do Not Be DeceivedA sobering thought from scripture is the fact that, not only will deception come, but that we all have the capacity to be deceived.  We are warned not to be deceived, and even told how it is possible for it to happen.

In this teaching I endeavor to explain:

  • The types of deceptions that the scriptures warn us against.  This includes the Doctrines of Demons and Doctrines of Men.  The PDF notes actually have a little more detail about the difference between these two things than what I go over in the audio.
  • The ways that we can recognize these types of doctrines.
  • The ways that we can avoid being deceived by them.

This article is being released on “April Fool’s Day.”   Given that this is a day when deception is actually glorified and highlighted more than most other days, I believe that my re-release of this teaching on this site is timely for those who will hear it.  God bless you.

Calling and Destiny

Calling and DestinyProbably the most common questions I’ve heard asked throughout years in ministry are “What is my calling?” or “What is my destiny?”.  And for the most part, I never really felt that I could give a real answer to those questions until I realized the truths that I present in this message.

The short story is this:

  • There are two types of calling in scripture.  One is the same for everyone; the other is where we can find uniqueness from individual to individual.  However, even in the unique calling, we should never seek to find how we “stand out” from the body of Christ, but rather how we “fit into” the body of Christ.
  • Everyone has the same destiny, and it is to be just like Jesus.  If you don’t believe that it is possible for anyone to be just like Jesus, then I challenge you to read the attached PDF or listen to the audio and I feel confident that it will be difficult to argue with the scriptural evidence to the contrary.