Contributed on Jul 19, 2009
If you look at it one way, Jesus came from a very dysfunctional family and a dysfunctional family line. If God has set about to save the world, shouldn’t He have made things a little better along the way? Actually, it’s really a cool part of God’s salvati
Matthew’s gospel was one of the first written in the decades after the resurrection (50 A.D.). At the time the many forms of Judaism were on the wane. After the fall of Jerusalem, in fact, only two remained: one was Rabbinic Judaism (which came from the Pharisees) and Jewish Christianity. It was ...read more
Contributed on Aug 3, 2009
Many times we think of Mary’s role in the birth of Jesus, but Matthew records the difficult road Joseph had to travel in protecting this little life that the enemy wanted to snuff out.
Have you noticed that the first chapters of Matthew are really Joseph’s story? Luke records Mary’s version of events and has her genealogy, but Matthew one is Joseph’s lineage, and her in Chapter 2 we find God again speaking to Joseph about caring for the safety of the Messiah. As a father, the ...read more
Contributed on Aug 16, 2009
One of the most difficult things for a Christian is to resist temptation. Satan brings temptations to us and tries to make it easy and logical for us to fulfill legitimate needs. Jesus shows us just how crafty he is, and how to resist.
We love the great times, don’t we? The times when we feel God’s Spirit flowing through us and when others recognize the Lord in us and rejoice. Wouldn’t it be great if every day was like the baptism of Jesus—with the Spirit of God descending like a dove on us and God telling us He is pleased with ...read more
Contributed on Aug 23, 2009
The Beatitudes (it means "blessing") are probably the most famous words Jesus uttered. They are also among the most mis-understood. To understand the Beatitudes we need to know Jesus person and His mission.
The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the most famous part of Jesus’ earthly ministry. I think it’s safe to say that more people are familiar with at least parts of this series of sermons than are the account of the cross. In Matthew’s gospel (which is ordered topically more than chronologically) ...read more
Contributed on Sep 13, 2009
There is a way to do wonderful things for God and fade into the background. Our human nature wants to get the credit and be the focus. Our godly nature tells us otherwise. Learn how to be an active part of God’s plan by disappearing.
Where have we been so far? Chapter 5: rely and focus on the Lord, not on ourselves. Make, keep, and fix broken relationships as God fixed the broken relationship with us. Now in Chapter 6 we move to being an active part in focusing others on God—the source of life. What’s the use of having ...read more
Contributed on Sep 20, 2009
Did you know that this age seeks to distract you from becoming like the Lord and serving in His story? Plenty and want are two sides of the same coin and they seek to keep us from freely loving and being used by God. Find out how to beat them at their own
So far in our study of the book of Matthew we have seen Jesus proclaim that only by realizing our lack or rightness and God’s provision of life can we have hope and a future. We saw that God intends for us to be light and salt—communicating His message to a dark and bland world. We saw that God is ...read more
Contributed on Sep 27, 2009
This portion of Matthew is one of the most misquoted and misunderstood parts of the Bible. Jesus isn’t talking about political correctness but about correctly presenting the story of sin and salvation.
What’s your approach in sharing the gospel? There are probably as many ways of doing it as there are people—mostly because Jesus told us to be His “witnesses.” A witness tells what they experienced. Preaching the gospel—the second of the two reasons for our existence as Christians here on ...read more
Contributed on Oct 4, 2009
Pretty much everyone under the right circumstances prays. The key question is are you praying to the right person in a way that they will hear you and respond? Learn some important key ingredients to powerful prayer.
Last time we talked about not condemning people—because we don’t know their eternal state, nor are we qualified to make a decision about someone’s position with God. We talked about how God is the only one qualified to know the heart, and He is capable of making a fair and just decision. A lot ...read more
Contributed on Oct 11, 2009
Who you listen to matters. It determines who you belong to - who owns you. We can choose the easy road or the hard one, depending on who we listen to. Does it really matter what road we take. Absolutely!
When I say “The Golden Rule” how many of you know exactly what I’m talking about? Jesus, as the big “A” author of God’s Word, can go into great detail about what His character means in our everyday relationships and actions, but He can also sum it up in just a few short words. The Golden rule ...read more
Contributed on Oct 18, 2009
You may feel like you don’t deserve God’s love. You may have walked away from Him or have areas of your life that you don’t want Him to see. Today’s study should be a huge encouragement to you to seek out the One who is willing to touch you just the way y
“Talk is cheap” the old saying goes. Jesus has spent a lot of time talking about the truth—that we as humans are helpless to have the character of God on our own. He has presented a simple yet hugely significant choice—the way of life or the way of destruction. It’s not an easy way (to our flesh) ...read more
Contributed on Oct 25, 2009
We as humans have a hard time giving up control of anything, but in order to find the abundant life Jesus offers, we must cede authority of our lives to Him, even if that means going into choppy waters.
We began last time by looking at Jesus as He came down from giving the Sermon on the Mount. He begins to demonstrate that it isn’t all talk—that He really is the coming King and controls His creation, both the visible and invisible. We see Him first approached by two people who really have no ...read more
Contributed on Nov 2, 2009
Jesus tweaks the argument of who is in control just a little bit to introduce the real sickness in mankind - sin. He is in control of that too. Are you willing to give Him control over your total cleansing from evil?
We’ve spent a couple of weeks in Matthew chapter 8 talking about control and authority. Matthew shows us that Jesus has it—over the seen and unseen universe—but that we as humans are loathe to give up control over our own lives and give it to Him. We saw a couple of notable examples in a Gentile ...read more
Contributed on Nov 8, 2009
How many times do we go through our lives thinking we have it all together, only to encounter a crisis that blows us away? Life is a lot more tenuous that we like to think. But into that crisis comes One who says "do not fear, only believe." Are you willi
Think for a moment about a time of crisis on your life—a time when something significant went wrong and you really didn’t know how you were going to come out of it whole. It might be violence, sickness, accident, financial burden, relationship gone very bad—something that tore a hole in your ...read more
Contributed on Nov 22, 2009
Want to be a part of bringing God’s love to the world but think you have to be a missionary to the jungles of Africa to do it? Think again. Share the gospel without speaking a word.
As I’ve said on numerous occasions, there are two purposes for redeemed humanity: to glorify God by becoming like Him, and to therefore be more effective in bringing others into relationship with Him. To do the first we must come into relationship with Jesus—invite Him to do a friendly takeover of ...read more
Contributed on Nov 29, 2009
Ever think that you could never be a missionary? Think again. Just as Jesus sent out His 12, He sends you out as an undercover operative in hostile territory to spread His love. Find out how and how to be prepared for your mission!
5 – 6 The Field of Operation: we have a specific field of operation and Jesus doesn’t send us out on the big stuff until training us on the small. 7 The Message: we are to say what Jesus said: the kingdom of God is at hand. The message is as different as each individual but the content is the ...read more
Contributed on Dec 6, 2009
Have you ever stopped to consider what you expect from Him? A helper, a rescuer from your troubles, a self-help guru, someone that thinks like you? In this chapter Jesus punctures the expectations of others and ask that you really listen to Him.
What do you expect from Jesus? It’s a natural question. If you ask you’ll probably get answers like: • I expect Jesus to get me out of my tough situations • I expect Jesus to give me good advice on how to live my life • I expect Jesus to tell me what I need to do to get to earn my way to ...read more
Contributed on Dec 13, 2009
A lot of people have had questions about the purpose of the Sabbath. Jesus takes it head on and reveals a lot about how we should live our lives.
Last time we ended with Jesus promising rest and peace for anyone who would come to Him and take His yoke—a yoke where He does the heavy lifting—no more striving to earn God’s favor by being good—only submitting lordship over your life to Him. The Jews got a picture of the rest of God through the ...read more
Contributed on Dec 28, 2009
Ever wonder what that really is - and worried you might have done it? Let’s spread some truth into this very misunderstood idea from Matthew 12:22-32
The Blaspheme of the Holy Spirit is among the most feared and least understood concepts in the Bible. For many people they think if they accidently say something bad about the Holy Spirit God will damn them to hell for eternity with no possibility of repentance. Well, it’s not that easy. Today ...read more
Contributed on Jan 3, 2010
We are more like the Pharisees than we would like to admit - hiding our true selves from others and from God and blaming external things for the consequences of our own behavior. But Jesus offers real hope if we will open up to Him in relationship.
The act of projection involves blaming things outside of yourself for your problems. The act of denying personal responsibility means it is the fault of your spouse, your boss, the government, the weather, or even that tool you were using. The Pharisees were masters at projection, and as it turns ...read more
Contributed on Jan 10, 2010
Jesus presents a familiar story with a real spiritual punch - take a listen and figure out if you are rocky, weedy, pathy, or pliable. It may be more significant than you ever dreamed.
Last winter I collected bags of leaves as a covering and mulch for our garden. I got the bags from a street corner where someone had raked them off their lawn. I spread them around and was satisfied. Then in the spring when it was time to plant our beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, and cucumbers, a ...read more
Contributed on Jan 18, 2010
Why does evil exist in the world and what are we to do about it? Jesus tells a good story and has some sober advice as we look at ourselves - are we weeds or wheat?
Today we are going to talk about three parables that give us an idea of the effect of the gospel in the world. Last time we looked at the parable of the sower, which describes how the individual is or is not open to the gospel. Now we turn outward to look at how the gospel spreads. First century ...read more
Contributed on Jan 24, 2010
Just how valuable is Jesus to you? Is He more of a common rock you use to skip across the water or buried treasure so valuable he is worth everything you own and more?
Most American kids love pirates. I was also among them—I’m not sure if it was the adventure of the open seas, the outfits, or those great accents that did it for me. Of course, the reality of pirates is something quite different than the romanticized “Pirates of the ...read more
Contributed on Feb 1, 2010
How does suffering affect our ability to minister? As Jesus is overcome with grief how is it that He ended up with compassion, not bitterness?
Back in 2006 my wife and I were presented with an opportunity—go to Kenya and minister to folks who have been unreached by other organizations. On one hand it was an obvious opportunity and a way to serve God by spreading the gospel. On the other hand I was scared to death. We were going to a ...read more