The Psalms are a collection of praises, complaints, pleas, declarations, & questions. They teach us how to go to God at all times & trust Him in all things to be our God & Good Father. When we do that – we are worshippers in Spirit & in Truth.
God is speaking to us in many ways. The question is: “Are we listening?”
In Psalm 19, we learn two ways that God communicates with humanity; through creation and His Word.
The reality of the cross is meant to wreck our lives in the most beautiful of ways. It changes everything inside of us and calls us to live holy lives that honor what Jesus has done for us. We often think of holiness as simply 'the act of right living', but we learn in 1 Peter that holiness is much more than that.
Paul traveled to many different places and spoke to many different cultures influencing them for the sake of the gospel. How did Paul posture himself to act as a good and faithful servant to such a multiplicity of people? We learn from Paul, who was a follower of Christ, first and foremost, what that looks like and how we might model our lives in the same way.
Paul was "all things to all people" for the sake of Christ. Now it's our turn. We are to go to the people and preach Christ. Our Lord calls us to be "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). But how? We learn in Acts that the method may very well be there is no method but, rather, a willingness to be used by God in very unique ways.
Today the gospel is too often being proclaimed apart from the Bible and catered specifically to it’s audience. The early Church, however, had a very different approach that we should follow. How do we turn the world upside down? What do we talk about? What is our method? In the book of Acts we find out.
God has a mission and He calls His church to join His mission. What we see in the book of Acts, is that the mission of God is to draw people in to Himself through faith in Jesus Christ. But what kind of people does God use to turn the world upside down?
As the Hebrews prepare to enter the Promise Land, God instructs Moses to gather up ALL the people to hear His Word for them. Oddly, in this critical moment in the history of God’s people, God is giving parenting advice. In Deuteronomy 6, we learn that whether we have children or not, we have a role in the next generation.
Whatever is different about us, we all have some sort of family. Some of us loved our growing up years and loved chances to be with our families. Others couldn’t wait to move out and start fresh; wishing to never go back. However, as Christians, we are called to go back. In the book of Genesis, we learn that Jacob’s path of reconciliation with Esau began with God. It’s the same for us. Reconciliation is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian.
The resurrection is about the victory of God, but for individuals the resurrection meant special things. For Mary Magdalene, the resurrection meant learning what God is really like. For Thomas, the resurrection meant empirical proof that Jesus was alive. For Peter, in a very tangible way, the resurrection meant a second chance, a real opportunity at forgiveness. This second chance is for us as well and it’s all our hearts have longed for.
Like a storybook or a fairy tale, the impact of the Cross can be powerful but quickly forgotten once the book has closed and the season has passed. Paul, however, believed there was no life apart from knowing God. He said, “To live is Christ. To die is gain”. In Philippians 1 we learn that this oft-quoted passage has more to it than we realize.
The events of Palm Sunday inspire, confound, convict and reveal the goodness of Jesus to us in amazing ways. Although the Jews were looking for a king who would bring a revolution, we learn in John 12, that Jesus had a different plan. He knew there was an eternity-wide chasm between what the Jews wanted and what they needed. This story, just beneath the surface, would change everything. For them and for us as well.
We give power to all kinds of things around us to determine how we feel about our lives and view our situation and futures. We think we are secure when we have money, control, health, and success. If we’re lacking, however, we become filled with worry. In this passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us that is only one thing we can seek that will free us from worry.
The Lord’s prayer isn’t a prayer designed for us to simply recite the words. It’s a model for us to follow. Jesus didn’t say "pray these words exactly". Rather, He encouraged His followers saying "this is how you should pray". The first approach becomes a ritual, the latter shapes a relationship. In Matthew 6, we learn the significance of this special language called prayer.
Jesus taught about radical truthfulness. In a time when the Pharisees tried to evade God’s commands by creating modified vows and loop holes, Christ responded with a challenge to practice and cultivate a life of integrity. He said our lives should be marked by such a demonstration of truth that it makes promises unnecessary. In this passage in Matthew, we find out how.
When Jesus began teaching on the side of a mountain about the Kingdom, He was teaching His hearers a new paradigm in which to understand God’s desire for them. Although, the Pharisees prided themselves in following the law to the letter, the condition of their heart was not considered a part of the equation. In the book of Matthew, we learn God is not as concerned with the outward appearance of faith as he is with what is happening on the inside.
Jesus’ passion was the Kingdom of God. It was the major theme of His teaching & mission. He told stories & used metaphors & similes in order to expand our understanding. It can be hard for us to grasp this Kingdom of God, however, when we’re so deep in other kingdoms. In the book of Matthew, we find a perspective shift that can help us live in His kingdom now.