RELATIVE – Three Key Relationships
The last verse in chapter 14 tells us that Jesus and the disciples are about to leave the upper room, John 14:31 says, “Arise, let us go from here.” This small band of brothers is headed to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus will pray his great High Priestly prayer and will later be arrested by the mob led by Judas. Apparently, Jesus speaks the words which make up chapters 15 and 16 in route to the garden.
In this chapter, Jesus is pictured for us as the True Vine. I can imagine Jesus and his men going through the darkened streets of the city, and then passing beyond the city walls into the surrounding countryside. During this time of year, mid-April, the grape vines would be beginning to blossom with the promise of a fresh harvest. … [ Continue Reading ]
[ The opening video illustration was purchased from BluefishTV ]
Gear Up for the Game
VBS is finally upon us! All the busyness, activity, setup and tear down… all for what? To provide children in our church and community 15 hours of concentrated emphasis on the Bible, which leads to new life in Jesus Christ. Many kids don’t have a church, and some that do, perhaps that church doesn’t emphasize personal faith in Jesus Christ as the only way to receive everlasting life.
Before I talk about everlasting life, let me first address THIS life.
We face so many pressures in life. Adults are juggling busy schedules, paying bills, making sure kids have what they need, and raising a family. Kids are facing pressure to perform their best in school and all their extracurricular activities. It all can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, God knows everything we … [ Continue Reading ]
Jim Putman’s book called DiscipleShift is filled with great information. Here are a few quotes from my reading…
What we need in our churches today are fewer “Christians,” at least in today’s popular definition of the word. Now, I don’t want fewer saved people. Far from it. I want as many to be saved as possible. But the point is that fewer than we think are actually saved. What I want are full-fledged followers of Jesus Christ, and to produce that in our churches today, we need a radical shift. We need more of the engine that Jesus used to change the world, the engine he instructs us to use. This engine will not create perfect churches, but it will create effective churches. It’s relational discipleship.
The solution to our ineffectiveness as churches is to train people to be spiritually mature, fully devoted followers of Christ, and then in turn … [ Continue Reading ]
I read and recommend Jim Putman’s book called, “Church is a Team Sport.” As followers of Jesus, we know that the Bible uses the imagery of a shepherd to describe the leadership in a church, but many pastors and leaders fail to lead the sheep as God intends. Here are a few quotes from the book…
Jesus gave us the example of a true shepherd when He gave up His life for us. In Acts 20:28, Paul tells the elders to shepherd the flock of which he had made them overseers. He reminds the leaders in that passage that the sheep were purchased by God.
God describes His expectations of a shepherd in Ezekiel 34:2–10. [ read more about shepherds here and here ]
We see God judging the shepherds because they failed to fulfill their responsibility—they had not fed the sheep but only themselves.
In Ezekiel 34, the … [ Continue Reading ]
I read and recommend Jim Putman’s book called, “Church is a Team Sport.” As followers of Jesus, we know that the community of faith is important but we often forget that the goal of a team is to win. What is winning in the church, it is not making converts, it is actually making disciples who in turn make other disciples. Here are a few quotes from the book…
PLAYER OR COACH? When I was a player, I had a player’s mind-set. I wanted to compete at the highest level, so I concentrated on acquiring and honing the skills and stamina that I would need to win on the mat or field. My focus was on my position, and I hoped everyone else would carry their own weight. If each part of the team did their job, we would win. When I became a coach, my job was no longer … [ Continue Reading ]