Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why I Need Jesus

I'm always a little surprised and sad when I talk to people about Jesus and they don't seem to feel the same way I do about him.  It seems often to be no fault of their own, except maybe unwillingness to check out what they have heard about Jesus.  I'm lucky because I grew up in a family where God and Jesus were a big deal, and I've known about the benefits of living life with them, if not first-hand, at least by exposure to the Bible and to other believers.  And because of this I've always loved Jesus.  But I don't think I finally felt my real need for him until the things I usually thrived on failed me and I landed hard on my hind end.  Then I got up, looked around and realized this wasn't the first time this had happened, but was in fact probably the hundredth, and maybe I should re-evaluate what I think I need in life.

And that's the thing - anything, anyone, that isn't God or Jesus Christ is going to hurt you, let you down, leave you.  Including yourself, if that's what has gotten you by in life so far.  Sometimes feelings seem like facts, and other times facts are not backed up by feelings.  It might not feel true to you that everything will fail you, because perhaps it seems that you have always done okay and been okay.  You don't need Jesus because you can't even see him, maybe.  But let me tell you, you WILL see him, and I hope you meet him before you have to stand in front of him when it's time to sort out the people he knows and doesn't know.  Because he is good and he loves you and not only will he save you eternally, when the time comes, from the long, dark shadow and the creeping death Satan has cast over this earth, but he will also give you everything you need to live a truly full life right now - that being a relationship with him.

I need Christ because I live on this planet and this planet and all of us on it are tanking.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beth Moore Simulcast - Salt & Certainty

Point #5: We can revel in the certainty of the things we have been taught.

The point of Bible study is to know God and have a relationship with him - it's not just about knowledge!  The people of the Bible, those who wrote the Bible, KNEW Jesus - they had proof.  What theses people wrote isn't a fond hope, it is their experience, it is reality.

John 20:29
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

That means WE are blessed!!
Here's a secret about Jesus:  The more you need him, the more you will see him.

God intends to be faithful to you.  Don't you ever think he's not there for you or that he's left you.  Go to him because he will help you and give you love that nobody else will ever be able to give you.

Acts 1:1-3
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Imagine how trying it would have been to be with Jesus and for him to keep coming and going over this time period. It was obviously a time of testing, confirmed by the fact that it was a period of 40 days, which all over the Bible is a number that indicates testing. Here are some other 40 day testing periods of the Bible:

-The rains while Noah and his family were in the ark
-Moses' time on the mountain with God
-The spies' time scouting the land of Canaan
-Elijah's time without food
-Ninevah's time limit on repenting
-Jesus' period of tempting
-(and babies take 40 weeks to be born!)
The apostles had to live in faith and not by sight at this point as Jesus was no longer constantly with them.  BUT they had those many convincing proofs, and because they did, so do we.

I'm going to have to skip Beth's explanation of the Greek word sunalizo because I couldn't find the stuff in a concordance and I don't want to tell it wrong!  But this section was about communing with Christ constantly and spicing up life because we are intended to be "the salt of the earth."  Salt is a cleanser, a flavor-er, and a preservative.

Point #6: Jesus passed us the salt also.

It's time we become the flavor of Christ!  Let's enjoy life and be people that other people can be attracted to because of our excitement for and communion with Christ.

And finally, Point #7: We can ALSO be many convincing proofs that Jesus is alive.

Notice the reference to also??  I thought that was clever.

Think about and look for the things God has done in your life that prove him and Jesus Christ.  We, too, have proof of God because of the transformation he has worked in us, the miracles He's performed for us, His love for us that burns in our hearts and completes us.  The responsibility is now on us to show the Truth that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and to tell everyone what he has done for us!

These were Paul's last penned words:

Acts 28:28-31
30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Although Paul was technically under house arrest, it says that he preached unhindered!  Do what you have to do to be unhindered to do what God has called you to do.

The last image Beth showed us was a photograph somebody had taken from the driver's seat of a truck.  It was two cowgirls galloping beside the truck on horses, but it also caught the view in the truck's side view mirror of a raging fire close behind (the simulcast took place during some really terrible fires in Texas).  Beth said it's time to get on our horses and ride to freedom with Jesus.  We don't have long on this earth, the women on the horses didn't have long until the fire caught up to them - we have to choose how we spend our time.  Let's choose to be unhindered - it is available through Christ!

The end!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beth Moore Simulcast - Healing and Friendship

In Acts 1:1, Luke uses the word Theophilus, which means Theos = God, philos = friend, or friend of God.  Some scholars say this was a pseudonym for an actual person who it would have endangered to name in a letter.  Others say that it was a name for all readers.

In Luke 1:3, Luke adds "most excellent" to the front of that word, making it an "honorific":

(3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.) This is further evidence that Theophilus was a real person instead of a name for all readers. (I personally don't agree, but I'm no Bible scholar, so, you know).
Beth mentions that Luke focuses on friends and friendship more than anyone else in the Bible (or the New Testament or the Gospels... not sure which or if it matters).

Luke 7:31-39, and skip down to 47

31"To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,
"'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.'
33 For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' 34 The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' 35 Yet wisdom is justified by all her children."

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

The pharisees accused Jesus of being a friend of sinners, and yet they were the ones who were truly sinners in this scenario because they were self righteous.  And yet, Jesus is a friend of sinners, so he was still a friend of the pharisees as well as a friend of the sinful woman.  In the realm of Christianity, outcasts become insiders.  Luke was an outcast before - he was a gentile.

Beth then spoke about Luke's viewpoint of Christ and that God used his physician perspective to emphasize all of the healing and to use doctor's language and really bring out that dimension of Christ's ministry.

In Luke 13:10-16
10 On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, "There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day." 15 Then the Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?"

This section was especially powerful as Beth talked more about her past and how she "could not straighten up" no matter how hard she tried.  She needed Christ to put his hands on her and she needed to be under his authority (following his will, working with him rather than trying over and over to do what nobody can do alone).  This is where she says that memorizing scripture and using it when your struggle arises is the way to freedom.  Ask God what verse you need to combat your particular problem and then memorize it and bring it to mind when you see potential to encounter that problem.  Over time (or even immediately) this will purify your mind so you will no longer have the same struggles!

Also, you can ask God "what preceded my defeat?"  Try to find out your triggers so you can deal with them or avoid them.  You have to let God get to the root of things and show you in his timing how to overcome the problem.  It's not about treating symptoms, it's about getting complete healing.  Don't be like the pharisees and make up a bunch of rules around healing.  It can happen any time any place and to any degree, including miraculous, sudden healing.  But don't make it up to be a certain way in your head and don't restrict it, whatever you do.

And as far as our struggles go, we have to take them one day at a time.  God gives us grace for each day, and we are NOT to worry about the future.  (Matthew 6 has a good section about this that really helps me to stave off anxiety).

At this point, Beth showed a picture of a baby squirrel.  It was curled up in the palm of a woman's hand and it was naked and really ugly.  A cat dragged it in and the Beth's friend saved it.  Seeing the squirrel picture made a question come up for Beth:  "What did we look like?"  Then she read Ezekiel 16:4-7:

4 And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 5 No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.
6 "And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' I said to you in your blood, 'Live!' 7 I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment.

Point #4:  Jesus became a friend of sinners so we could become a friend of God.

And thank God he did!

Beth also made the point here that we need to make sure we aren't making ourselves bent over from bitterness and unforgiveness by withholding grace from other sinners.  The word forgive in the Greek means to "send something forth" - to let go.  If we don't do that then our unforgiveness becomes a lifestyle and eventually becomes who we are.  We have to give things up to God because he can and will deal with them in time.

Even more than that, we have been called to overcome through LOVE.  Don't you know that some people enjoy having power over you?  If you don't give in, it will make them furious and it will set you free.  Being kind to somebody who treats you badly is God's will and it will really throw that person off.

One last point Beth made for this section was that we shouldn't be afraid to be a little vulnerable.  She realized that it's so much easier to say "love you" or "love ya" than to say "I love you."  We are afraid of rejection, but it's ok if the love doesn't come back to us because God always always loves us and He is enough for us.  We were made to love.  Take ownership and don't do it casually!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Beth Moore Simulcast - Me's and We's

Point #2
An individual calling can only be fulfilled in a "we" context.

No matter what your ministry is, you can't do it alone. You have to have a godly support system. Note that this was true even for Luke and Paul - they were together and they were always working with other believers.

Beth has an acronym that reminded us during the simulcast to drop our pride and get into what she was saying (including looking at the person next to us and saying Point #2, and doing funny things). TCTBB.


Don't do it. Or else all you'll have is your personal dignity and everyone else will have the blessing and joy God intended for them.

We have to get rid of our self-absorbed, self-centered view of the Bible. Go to God asking what he has to say. Period. What does HE have to say? Not "what do you have to tell ME, God?" Not that there's anything wrong with that sometimes, but we should be in it for him more than for ourselves.

In Bible classes you will learn the word hermeneutic - "a method or principle of interpretation." Don't let the her in your HERmeneutics be ME: HER-ME-neutics. Let the HE in your HE-rmeneutics be JESUS! We can't get caught up in studying the Bible just for knowledge, it has to be so we can know our Savior.

Beth used the esxample of the meatball man. There is a meatball parlor in her town by her office and the mascot stands on the median in the road. He started out at the beginning of the summer super enthusiastic and hugely round and red. As the summer (the hot, hot summer) went on, he began to shrivel up and lose his enthusiasm. Beth called her girlfriends and told them "Remember The meatball guy? He's a sundried tomato now!" Being in the spotlight was fun at first, but the heat of it and the pressure of it just shriveled up his meat-ball-y soul. That's what happens to us if we focus on us instead of Jesus.

That being said:

Point #3:
God never overlooks a single "me" in the bigger "we."

While Paul was under house arrest, he was "unhindered" (I can't find the verse for this!  But it's in there).  Luke was with him, and was apparently unhindered too because he wrote two books, totalling to more verses (2,157) than Paul even did (2,032).  Beth said it's not nice to compare numbers UNLESS you need reminding that you aren't a me that's been overlooked.

Luke 1:1-4 (other theme verses)
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.


We don't like being also's. We like to be Originals. But there's nothing wrong with being an also. Beth rattled off about 10 verses with also's in them, which I did not copy down (sadly). But maybe I can reproduce the effect:

Mark 3:14
And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach

Mark 15:41
When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Luke 12:8
And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God...

Luke 16:10
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much...

Romans 6:8
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

Romans 8:11
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

2 Corinthians 1:21-22
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

Ephesians 2:22
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Colossians 3:4
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Timothy 4:8
Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

1 Peter 2:21
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you...

"Oh blessed also!"




Luke 1:2-4
2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you,most excellent Theophilus, 4that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

Sometimes doing things that seem good to us is the way God is working through us - he's not always going to thunder out commands for us, and in fact, it's much more common for us to do our ministry (and we all have one!) through just making the best choice we can.

Beth told a story of one of her friends staying in a hotel with her mother-in-law before an event. They had decided that the daughter-n-law would shower the night before so the mother-in-law could shower in the morning. The daughet-in-law was thinking in the shower about the things God had been teaching her recently. She got out and the mirror was all steamed up, so she used her finger to write out what God had been saying. Not thinking another thing about it, she went to bed. In the morning, she heard the shower turn off, the shower curtain open and a little shriek. Her mother in law came out in her towel saying "I think God is trying to tell me something!" And the daughter-in-law had to explain that maybe God was using her, who knows, but that she was the one who wrote the words on the mirror.

Beth hoped that God would steam up our image of ourselves in the mirror so that we can see ourselves through his eyes. That we could see our value.