Thursday, May 31, 2018

Expressions of Faith. Acts Ch 1. Wait


On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:4-8
1. Wait
·       Luke starts this travelogue by informing his audience that this is a continuation of his biography of Jesus—the book of Luke.
·  He emphasizes Christ’s command to wait in verse 4.
·  The disciples get fired up. They ask if this is when the Jews recapture their nationalistic glory.

·  Verse 7 reiterates the wait instruction. This time the command is both subtle and chastising.
·  The disciples had to be embarrassed by the question.

·  As is common with things of God, the rationale for a command is a promise. This time, the promise is the coming of the Holy Spirit.
·  There is no way the disciples could have imagined the significance of verse 8. The Pentecost described here is one of the three most significant events in the history of Christianity.

·  Are you chafing because God’s got you waiting?
Do what you know to do.
·  God’s got something in store for you . . .

. . . just wait.


The next Expressions of Faith is Do Over?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Timeless Truths. Filling the Void. My Last MVHS Baccalaureate - 1985


This is the 5th and final posting of a Baccalaureate address I gave during the 1980s at Monte Vista High School. 
I could not find the title or the date for this, so I made up the title that is in the name of the post. It sounds like what I might have used back then.
In terms of the date, I found 1985 crossed out of what I said on one of the pages of notes I had for that occasion. I don't know why it was crossed out, but I suspect the date is accurate.

A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
Mark 2:1-12

The magic trick is The Thumb Cap or The Fake Thumb. Click on the name of the trick to go to a video of how the trick works. It was woven into this message from beginning to near the end. Instructions to me on what to do with the thumb and when to do it are in bold red. It’s not the same trick, but it’s got all the parts to it.

Have some BB's inside the thumb to begin.
Put "our body," the thumb, inside my curled hand.

When we come to Christ, too often we ask for forgiveness for our sins and then we refuse to let God forgive us.

The crippled man in the story could have joined the teachers of the Law and called Jesus a blasphemer when Jesus told him that his sins were forgiven. I mean, the crippled man’s friends brought him to the house, tore open the roof, and lowered the man to the ground in front of Jesus SO JESUS COULD HEAL HIM not forgive his sins.

When Jesus realizes what the teacher of the Law are muttering, He asks,
“Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”
Mark 2:8b-10
Then, Jesus heals the man.

When God forgives, He forgets. Your sins are removed from God's memory. In Psalm 85:2, the Psalmist says the sins are, “cast into the sea of his forgetfulness.”

If you keep going back to look for your sins, it’s like refusing to let God forget them. The seeds of sin remain in your heart and mind.

Pour the BB's out of the hand into a dish and slip the thumb back on.

We keep checking to see if our sins are still there instead of letting Jesus get rid of them.

1 John 1:7 states that 
"the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin."

Hold up the red silk.

Sins of all kinds must be forgiven by the blood of a sacrifice to be removed from your life. That was God's plan from the beginning of time. Revelation 13:8 reports that “Jesus was slain before the foundation of the world.” Sacrifice was part of the Law from Moses time.

Old Testament people use their finest animals to sacrifice for their sins. When it was God’s time, He provided the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ. He allowed His son to choose to die—the last sacrifice—for each of us as individuals.

You don't need animal sacrifices. Christ's death on the cross was sufficient for all of us and all of our sins.
  
You might be saying,
"Hold on here. I'm a nice person. I haven't done anything that bad. Why do I need to be forgiven?”

The answer’s found in Romans 3:23.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."

God wants me to give myself to him and allow him to wrap his love around me.


Put thumb on my palm and cup my hand around the fake thumb again.

Then He can take my sins . . .

Pour BB's back into the cupped hand.

. . . and cover them with the blood of Christ.

Spread the red silk over the closed hand and stuff it into the thumb. Slip the thumb back on here!

As we let go of our sins, God removes them 
"as far as the east is from the west." (Psalm 103:12)

If you let go of your sins and allow God to remove them, you don't have to keep going back and checking to see if your sins are still there.

Peer into the cupped hand.

When God takes our sins away as he promised, they are gone!

Throw open both hands.

FOREVER!

Of course, this was just magic. I don't expect you to believe in that.

God is not a magician. God's promises are real. They are true. And they are for you.

People try to fill the spiritual void in their lives.
Some try sports.
Some try living for their job
Others try chemical release through alcohol or drugs.
None of those fill the void.

"I'm doing pretty good," you say.

Congratulations . . .
. . . for a while.

Sports. Job. Chemicals. Sex. Money. Fame.
All those sound like great ways to show our success, our independence.

However, those things are more like flowers, than solutions. The prophet Isaiah puts it like this
"For the grass withers and the flower fades, but the 
word of the Lord endures forever." (Isaiah 40:8)

That’s right. Only God’s Word can solve your sin problem.
ONLY GOD CAN FILL THE VOID IN YOUR SPIRIT!

I urge . . . I beg you to let God take your sins away and fill the void with His love.

He won’t force you to do it, and He won’t do it without your permission.

God limited himself by giving you the power to choose whether you want him to be a part of your life.
You must allow God to work in your life.

Ask for forgiveness.
He keeps his promises.
He will forgive you!

Take God at his word.

Be like the crippled man’s friends in the story. They were willing to go to Jesus no matter what the cost.

God will fill the void in your life with His love
because He cares for you as an individual.


God bless you all.
     The next Timeless Truth is The Miracle Tree – Fruit of the Spirit. #1 LOVE

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Thoughts on Study Questions from Acts Chapter 1. 5/27

My Sunday school class/Life Group is studying the book of Acts. Monday, I posted the questions we discussed the day before. Today, I’m posting some of the comments from the class discussion.

If you’d like a PDF file of the questions, email me at crd.author@gmail.com 

I invite you back to this blog on Friday's during this study. For the next 52+ weeks, every Friday, except just before Christmas and Good Friday, I'm posting a short Expressions of Faith based on verses from Acts.


General Background
Who wrote this book? When?
Luke, a Greek medical doctor and former slave.
Best estimates are between 63-70 A.D. The early end of the range is favored by many scholars because none of the following events are mentioned.

  • Emperor Nero began persecuting Christians in 64 A.D.
  • The first Jewish/Roman was was from 66-70 A.D.
  • The Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. 


What is the purpose of the book?
To document 

  • the acts of the apostles.
  • the spread of the church.
  • historical events.

One resource indicated that the theme was the spread of the Gospel from the Jewish to the Gentile world.

How does the author's perspective change in 16:10?
The narrative goes from third-person to first-person as Luke joins Paul on his journeys.

The KJV title for this book is “The Acts of the Apostles.” Whose acts are really reported here?
Peter, Luke, and Paul.
The apostles.
"Acts 29 is your story."
My personal answer is the acts of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians. (CRD)

List some major characters
Peter, John, Paul, Luke, Holy Spirit, Barnabas, Timothy, Mary and Jesus' brothers...

Look at these verses: What "section" of the book does each begin?
1:1 Introduction/Prolog. A recap of the end of Luke's Gospel. Setting the stage.
2:1 Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit.

2:14 Peter takes Charge

We got this far this week. 

This Friday, my Expression of Faith is Acts Ch 1. Wait

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Study Questions from Acts Chapter 1. 5/27


My Sunday school class/Life Group is studying the book of Acts. Every Monday, I’ll post the questions we discussed the day before. I encourage you to jot your thoughts down.
On Wednesdays, I’ll post some of the comments from the class discussion.
If you’d like a PDF file of the questions, email me at crd.author@gmail.com


General Background
Who wrote this book? When?

What is the purpose of the book?

How does the author's perspective change in 16:10?

The KJV title for this book is “The Acts of the Apostles.” Whose acts are really reported here?

List some major characters

Look at these verses: What "section" of the book does each begin?
1:1
2:1
2:14
We got this far this week. 
8:1
9:1
10:1
13:2
25:12
A Basic Outline
I.  Beginning the church in
II. Moving the church to
III. On to
IV. To

This Friday, my Expression of Faith is Acts Ch 1. Wait.

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