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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Awakening (Message outline)

Matthew 1:18-25
Waiting: Christmas 2013

How do we change our thinking when we desperately need to see the world differently? When we are stuck, how can we reframe to look at the situation with new eyes?

We need to slow down to catch up with God’s purpose

1.    Expect the unexpected

Matthew 1:18–19 (ESV) 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

2.   Put yourself in position to see from God’s perspective
Matthew 1:20–23 (ESV) 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us).

3.   Live out your new vision
Matthew 1:24–25 (ESV) 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Friday, November 22, 2013

How to Get a Tattoo

I have never wanted a tattoo. When I was growing up only people “on the fringe” had them, but its very different now. A Pew Study done in 2012 found that Americans spent $1.65 billion the previous year on ink. 40 % of U.S. adults ages 26-40 have a at least one tattoo. Currently, on average, a small tattoo costs $45 and a large one costs $150 per hour. So cost is one reason I don’t want one. The other is that it looks like it hurts. I don’t want unnecessary pain. I don’t like to pierce my skin, unless there’s a real need to do that. I did once allow some pre-med students to practice giving IV’s on me, but we were stuck at the time (or I was) with not much else to do. (Not that you were asking, but I'm fine with you having a tattoo, unless you are one of my children and want me to pay for it.)

There’s a different kind of tattoo that has my interest this week. Paul closes the letter to Galatians in an interesting way saying, “Let no one cause me trouble for I bear on my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” The root of the Greek word translated “marks” means to prick, to stick, or to sting. Slaves had the names or stamp of their owners on their bodies. It was sometimes done for soldiers also.[1] Like them, Paul didn’t choose his tattoo, rather they were scars received at the hands of those who persecuted him for his allegiance to Jesus. Near Galatia he was once stoned and left for dead. It’s possible that some of those who received his letter had vivid memories of that gruesome experience.

Paul’s undisputed willingness to suffer for the sake of Christ put an explanation point on his letter.

The willingness to suffer for your relationship with Jesus demonstrates that Jesus is worth suffering for. It creates credibility and shows a determination you have decided that no matter what, I will die on this hill if necessary.  That's the kind of tattoo every disciple of Jesus needs, but the only way to pay for it is time; time choosing to suffer for the sake of Christ and bearing it with grace.

I look forward to sharing these last few verses with you Sunday. If God grants that I may communicate to you a fraction of what he has done in me through my study this week, it’s going to be an awesome time for us as a church body. I promise you this, we will not boast in greatness of our church or of our ministries, but we will boast in the cross of Christ.

Everyone you care about needs to hear this message. You can get a sneak peak at the outline here. The video should be available on the Bethany Place website on Monday.

[1] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Ga 6:17.

How to Get a Tattoo Message Outline

How to Get a Tattoo
Galatians 6:6-18
Guarding Freedom, Part 4

Bethany Place Baptist Church, November 24, 2013

_______________ wisely

Galatians 6:6–10 (ESV)

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Apply ______________ liberally

Galatians 6:11–16 (ESV)

 11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

__________________ your tattoo

Galatians 6:17–18 (ESV)

17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Questions for further reflection and discussion:
How would you describe sowing to the flesh? How would you describe sowing to the Spirit?
Do you think that the reaping described in these verses happens now, happens in eternity, or both? Why?
What good are you in danger of giving up doing?
How does the phrase “as we have opportunity” help you to not be overwhelmed?
What do you think that it means to boast in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?
How would you describe Paul’s statement that through the cross “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world?”
What outward spiritual practices might we be in danger of elevating, that ultimately don’t matter?
Is there any way which you are avoiding suffering for Jesus through compromise?

How did Paul’s suffering lend credibility to the authenticity of his ministry?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Taking Some Churchy Phrases to Task

I love this post by pastor and professor David Murray. The first paragraph made me laugh, hard.

All of it is excellent, but I particularly agree with points 2 and 3. I have never liked the phrases "God will never give us more than we can handle" and "Love on" as in "as leaders we are just here to love on these kids."

It's not long.

Five Churchy Phrases That Are Scaring off Millennials