Friday, July 27, 2012

Info:  I would love to create a video series of short 5-10 minute teachings on some observations of God that we maybe don't think about all of the time.  If I ever do that, I think I would make this the first in the series. 

I walked into our kitchen the other day and it looked like an artist's studio.  There were paint brushes scattered around.  There were cups of colored water on the counter.  There was even an easel set up in the middle of the room with a big piece of paper clipped to it with all kinds of color and designs on it.  My kids had been acting like little artists.   

This led to a reflection about God.  I know it's easy to get into discussions, or even heated arguments, about God's sovereignty and power, but do we ever pause to ponder God's creativity?   

God is an artist. 

All the inspiration that has moved men and women throughout the centuries to paint, to sculpt, to draw, or to create comes from the One who is an artist Himself.  Have you ever sat down and just admired God's creation of trees, grass, and sky?  They are beautiful! 

As a child art is fun. 

So, what happens to so many of us as we grow up?  I mean, do you consider art to be fun?  When is the last time you visited an art museum just to enjoy a marvelous masterpiece?  Many of us just don't have time for art.  I mean it takes time and energy to paint a picture.  It takes time and energy to observe and admire good art.  Time is money for us.  We don't have time to stop, observe, and create something.  It's interesting that God made time for something like this.  What's even more interesting is that God took time at the end of His creation to stop His work and take it all in. 

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

I mean God didn't rest on the seventh day because He was tired.  Think about it.  Why did He rest?  He didn't need a break.  He's all powerful.  He could easily outlive and outlast any of us.  God rested for another reason.  He was stopping to admire His artwork.  This was His masterpiece.  He even goes so far as to call earth and His creation good.  Have we ever observed that God stops after each point of creating to look at His creation and call it good?  There's an admiring and pleasure God takes in creating. 

He's an artist. 

Maybe the best thing some of us adults could do is to do/create or pause and observe art.  When I walk into my kitchen next time and see that it has been turned into an Michelangelo's studio, I'm going to jump in and participate.  In a way I'll be doing what God Himself did when He created our world.  Take a moment today and enjoy the art around you.     

Saturday, April 07, 2012

We had a wonderful Good Friday service yesterday.  It's so hard to try and be somber when we Christians know Sunday is coming!  Nonetheless, we tried our best to focus on Jesus' death on the cross. 

Tomorrow we have a combination of a cantata and preaching.  The message will based on Luke's account of the resurrection (see Luke 24).  One particular verse grabs my attention,

"but when they went in they did not find
the body of the Lord Jesus." 

It's been said by really smart people that all of Christianity hinges on the empty tomb and Jesus' resurrection.  If so, that demands a response from us.  Have you responded to Him?  Why not investigate Jesus for yourself like Luke did (Luke 1:1-4)? 

My prayer is that God will draw men and women to Himself this Easter season.  May our church buildings be full of people tomorrow from every tribe and language to hear the Good News about our risen Savior.  May we be mindful enough to share and proclaim Him.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Back for more of Revelation.  Today we dug into Revelation 1:9-20.  In this passage John describes his encounter with Jesus.  I broke John's vision of Jesus down into 3 groups here (all relate to Jesus):  His voice, His appearance, His action.  Here is what we discover:

His voice:  v. 10 - like a trumpet, v.11 - gives John instruction to write, v.12 - speaking directly to John, v.15 - voice sounds like rushing waters, v.16 - like a two-edged sword

His appearance:  v.13 - like a son of man, long robe, golden sash around chest, v.14 - white hair, eyes like blazing fire, v.15 - feet like bronze growing in a furnace, v.16 - holds 7 stars, words/mouth like a sword, face like the sun shining in full strength

His action:  v.10 - speaks to John, v.17 - touches John and tells him to not be afraid, v.19 - tells John to write down what he is about to hear

There is great news and what a revealing of God's Son!  Wow!  Could you imagine encountering Jesus in this way?  John's response is, "I fell at his feet as though dead."  Would you do that?  Jesus tells John to not be afraid.  This section reminds me of something I read on how to correclty read Revelation.  One of the main points was that the central image of Revelation is Jesus.  This book is a revealing of Jesus.  In other words, don't get caught up in trying to figure out what events are next or when exactly it is Jesus is going to come back.  Get caught up in Jesus.  Look at what John writes about Him and worship Him.  Praise Him.  Let this book give you a new vision of Jesus. 

Praise the LORD for this new vision of Jesus. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Revelation 1 again this morning with a good friend.  We read aloud the greeting and doxology section (1:4-8).  Some good stuff here about Jesus’ identity and our identity and purpose.  We are moving very slowly through this book.  I read somewhere that the best way to read Revelation is slowly and with a lot of prayer.  How do you read it? 
In the following verses (4-8) Jesus is described as:

·         Him who is, who was, and who is to come

·         The faithful witness

·         Firstborn from the dead

·         Ruler of the kings of the earth

·         Him who loves us

·         Him who has freed us from our sins by his blood

·         Alpha and Omega

·         The Almighty

Man, look at this list describing Jesus and His identity!  Great stuff!  What a vision John had of Jesus. 

Our identity and purpose

·         Freed from sin by His blood

·         Made us to be a kingdom and priests 

Look at this list of what He has done for us and what He has given us to do!  We have freedom from sin and we have purpose (to be a part of the kingdom and to be priests).  Questions I'm thinking about?    

What does it mean to be a part of His kingdom? 

What does it mean to be priests? 

Saturday, December 31, 2011

We took a day off from studying Revelation yesterday.  I did look again at verses 1-4 in chapter one.  Love the prologue! 

This Sunday I begin a mini-series (2 weeks) on the top 10 things to commit to for 2012.  This Sunday we are looking at just 5 of those.  They are:

1.  Read through the entire Bible
2.  Memorize new scriptures
3.  Become a member of our church
4.  Help 1 person become a follower of Jesus
5.  Invest your life in somone else's

I think these are some great things to commit to for the New Year!  For the first one, (read through the entire Bible) Olivet Nazarene University was gracious to give me 200 Bible reading plans that tuck nicely into a Bible.  Thanks Olivet!  We will pass these out to whoever would like to commit to reading through the Bible this coming year and wants a reading plan.  They are nice reading plans and mix things up a little so you aren't doing just a straight read through. 

I'll be back back next week with more thoughts on Revelation. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Revelation Study

Back to Revelation 1 again this morning with a good friend.  This book is certainly an amazing book and offers me a fresh vision of Jesus.  
Why does that matter? 

Because we need vision to drive us to live like Him.  Keeping a vision before, and in, one’s mind can drive the transformation process.  It’s what drives a person to run, run, and run for running a race.  Want to get in shape?  Set before yourself a vision of what your life and your body could look like in shape.  Want to become a great quarterback?  Watch last season’s Colts games when Peyton Manning was playing ;-).    Vision drives us.  Of course the Spirit does the transforming, but we certainly get to help and push the process forward to a certain degree.  

So, Revelation begins by telling us what this book is all about.  There are a couple of different ways to interpret the beginning words of this book.  

NIV 84:  1 The revelation of Jesus Christ

NIV 11:  1 The revelation from Jesus Christ

ESV:  1 The revelation of Jesus Christ

NLT:  1 This is a revelation from Jesus Christ

Obviously the words of/from are debatable to scholars and this is reflected in the different translations.  Is this a revelation of Jesus or is it from Jesus?  I’m not falling off the log for one or the other, but satisfied to say it’s both.  This book is certainly a revealing of Jesus and the Lamb slain since the foundation of the world.  It is also a revealing by Jesus.  He is the revealer of God’s plan.  The incarnation teaches us that.  Jesus tells us He has come to do the Father’s will and part of that will is to reveal the Father and His plan to us. 

Someone said we should read Revelation prayerfully.  So, I close with a prayer.         

Reveal to me Your word, Father.
Reveal to me Your Son and give me a fresh vision of Him.
My heart is open to obey and respond to You. 
Give me understanding and wisdom. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Studying the book of Revelation with a friend from church this morning.  Excited!  Great things in store.  Is Revelation an ignored book in your church?  Why is it that the only ones in churches talking about Revelation are the crazy ones who seem to be just concerned about the rapture and the global wars that are soon to take place?  Is this what Revelation is concerned with?    

This morning we hung out on verse 1 (really the first part of verse 1), "The revelation of/from Jesus Christ."  My reminder in this first part of Revelation is that this book is all about Jesus as the Lamb slain.  He is the central figure of the book.  The Christians in John's day needed an encouraging message.  They needed a fresh vision of God and His kingdom to keep them going and seeking Him amidst suffering and persecution.  Revelation gives them that.  It gives them/us a fresh vision of Jesus.  I'm excited and pray that God would give me a fresh vision of Jesus. 

More details to come...