links: this went thru my mind

 

Bible, faith & Jesus: Are We Building Faith In The Bible INSTEAD of Jesus?

“… we should have the highest view of the Bible as possible, but the Bible is not for creating faith in the Bible, but in Jesus Christ. … Are we teaching our youth and all age groups, for that matter, how to build their faith on the written word or the Living Word? That difference may be subtle to you, but I contend it is essential.”

Critical spirit, criticism, negativity & youth: Curing a Critical Spirit in Students [essential reading]

“Every one of these deans, provosts, directors, faculty members and coaches had stories to tell about how much their students had criticized others. …  we have witnessed an increasing number of students who carelessly criticize programs, ideas and institutions. We are discerning a critical spirit among young Millennials. Why is this happening?”

Cross, faith, non-violence & self-sacrifice: Cross-like Love and Non-Violence

“Though it seems to have been forgotten by many today, the cross wasn’t simply something God did for us. …  contrary to the way most Christians today view the matter, the call to manifest God’s indiscriminate, self-sacrificial love and to unconditionally refrain from violence cannot be considered an optional aspect of what it means to follow Jesus. Rather, as cruciform love is the most definitive distinguishing characteristic of God’s nature, so manifesting cruciform love must be considered the sine qua non feature of all who are the children of this God.”

Generations: Generation X: America’s Neglected ‘Middle Child’

“This overlooked generation currently ranges in age from 34 to 49 … Gen Xers are bookended by two much larger generations – the Baby Boomers ahead and the Millennials behind – that are strikingly different from one another. … Gen Xers are a low-slung, straight-line bridge between two noisy behemoths.”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Belief, certainty, faith, humility & uncertainty: Being Certain of God–Not Our Beliefs–is the Mark of the Spiritual Life [required reading]

“If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy.”

Leadership & ministry: 3 Wrong Assumptions Church Leaders Make

“Your church wants to grow by reaching the lost. … Your church believes the Bible should be the ultimate authority for life. … Your church understands salvation by grace alone.”

Marriage: * 7 of the Greatest Needs of a Wife; * 7 of the Greatest Needs of a Husband

* “There are common needs most men and women bring to a marriage in order to make the marriage the best it can be. We may use different terms, but the needs remain relatively similar from marriage to marriage.”

* “I previously shared 7 of the greatest needs of a wife, based on personal observation and experience working with married couples. Today I continue with the man’s side of the needs.”

Nationalism & prayer: The Problem with the National Day of Prayer

“The National Day of Prayer is an occasion, not just to pray to and glorify the God of all nations, but to foster religious nationalism.”

Preaching: Do Preachers Speak to Practical Needs Because that Is What Moves Us?

“In a lecture at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, John Piper once observed …”

links: this went thru my mind

 

Body language: Body Language: An Amazing Infographic

“… your body language tells the world all about you.”

Church, communication, first impressions, guests, signage & welcome: Welcome to “No Church” – 4 Steps To Reversing Your Negative Church Messaging

“Negative messaging narrows your thought activity and focuses on actions related to the message. Positive messages on the other hand, broaden your thinking and create openness. … So the big question is what kind of brain patterns do you want to create for people as they enter your church an prepare to worship the all-powerful and all-present living God and creator of the universe? Let’s play this out for a guest coming to your church. What happens when they hit a cascade of messages like these …”

Creation, rest & sabbath: Sabbath and Wendell Berry

“By Sara Barton, chaplain at Pepperdine University and author A Woman Called.”

Faith, religion & spirituality: Bad Religion’s Alternative: No Religion or Good Religion?

“… a growing number of Americans are starving for an alternative to negative, closed-minded, judgmental, partisan, antiwomen, antiscience religion. Instead, they are searching for a positive, grace-filled, open-minded, gender-equal faith option.” Where are they finding this? Can they find this?”

Simplicity: 10 Images to Help Inspire Simplicity in Your Life

“If you are not content today, there is nothing you can buy this weekend to change that.”

LIFE group guide: eradicating the Easter error

 

NOTE: Following is the discussion guide we’ll use tomorrow (April 20) in our LIFE groups at MoSt Church. This guide will enable your follow-up of my sermon that morning. To find previous group discussion guides, look under the category title “LIFE group guides” and you’ll find an archive of previous issues.

Reason

Stated in a single sentence, this is the purpose of this sermon.

To consider some of what it means for us that God raised Jesus back to life.

Revelation

These Scriptures form some of the foundation of this sermon.

•  God raised him from the dead … (Acts 2.24)

•  … they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead … (Acts 13.29-31)

•  … believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (Romans 4.24)

•  We were … buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6.4)

•  … he who raised Christ from the dead will … give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8.11)

•  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10.9)

•  … you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus … (1 Thessalonians 1.9-10)

•  Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1.21)

Relation

Use one of the following icebreaker questions to prime the pump, to help the conversation begin. Choose one to discuss.

1. When I think of someone being “dead” I think of them being ___.”

2. When I think of someone being “alive” I think of them being ___.”

Research

These exercises/questions are meant to help us grapple with the Scripture(s) related to this sermon.

1. Which NT writer speaks by far and away most frequently of Jesus being “raised”?

2. Using the texts above, make a list of what believers do in light of Christ’s resurrection.

Reflection

These questions assist our sharing what we sense God’s Spirit is doing with us in our encounter with God’s word.

1. Which do you think of most often: Christ’s cross or his empty tomb? Why?

2. Could the Father have not raised the Son? Explain.

3. What is the greatest evidence, or witness to, Jesus having been resurrected?

4. “If the power of the God who raises the dead is working in me as a believer I can ___.”

Response

These ideas/suggestions are for your use beyond the group meeting; to aid in living out today’s message in the coming days.

1. Mediate daily on God’s character and power as revealed in Christ’s resurrection.

2. Start each day: “God, I will let your life-giving power be shown thru me today by ___.”

eradicating the Easter error

 

Every year, at this time of year, I hear the same thing over and over and over again. In conversations with kin in Christ. Via bumper stickers. Through Facebook posts. On Christian radio. As a part of Christian literature and sermons. At church. I hear/see statements like these:

* “Jesus is Lord and he proved it when by his own power he rolled back the stone and walked out of that tomb.” [insert annoying sound of end-of-game buzzer here]

* “He couldn’t stay dead! He’s Jesus!” [insert quick, decisive buzzer sound]

* “He proved himself to be God by bringing himself back from the grave.” [I need more buzzer!]

* “He willed himself back to life for us.” [insert rapidly repeated sound of buzzer]

* “… Jesus resurrected himself …” [insert sound of never-ending buzzer, growing louder and louder]

Jesus came to life after he was dead. No, not resuscitation, resurrection. Awesome!

But, Jesus didn’t have anything thing to do with it. Listen to the way the Bible relates what happened:

God raised him from the dead … (Acts 2.24)

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. (Acts 2.32)

You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. (Acts 3.15)

… Jesus Christ of Nazareth … whom God raised from the dead … (Acts 4.10)

The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. (Acts 5.30)

God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. (Acts 10.40)

… they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead … (Acts 13.29-31)

God raised him from the dead so that he will never be subject to decay. (Acts 13.34)

… the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. (Acts 13.37)

… believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. (Rom. 4.24)

We were … buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom. 6.4)

he who raised Christ from the dead will … give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Rom. 8.11)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom. 10.9)

By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. (1 Cor. 6.14)

… we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. (1 Cor. 15.15)

… we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus … (2 Cor. 4.14)

his incomparably great power … is … the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead … (Eph. 1.19-20)

God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … (Eph. 2.6)

… buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. (Col. 2.12)

… you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus … (1 Thes. 1.9-10)

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. (1 Pet. 1.21)

The resurrection of Jesus? God our Father did it. That’s the point. And it’s a big deal. God did it.

And what difference does it make whether Jesus did it or the Father did it?

A lot. A whole lot.

To you. To the way you understand God. And to the way you live your life.

How so?

Rise up, come hear my sermon tomorrow morning at MoSt Church, and I’ll tell you.