Friday, November 30, 2007

Ordination #3, Art. 4a: The Person of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is vital to the Christian life, but is often misunderstood, over-emphasized, or ignored. The Holy Spirit is fully God, the third Person of the Trinity (Acts 5.3-4; Heb. 9.14; Mt. 28.19-20), not an impersonal “force” or “influence.” He is a person as evidenced by personal pronouns, as opposed to neuter (Jn. 16.13-14). He does what “persons” do, including glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 16.14; Jn. 15.26), teaching (Jn. 14.26), exerting His will (1 Cor. 12.11), and expressing emotion (Eph. 4.30).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Way of Jesus: The Outcasts

Josh did a great job tonight walking through a big chunk of Scripture (Luke 5:12-32) looking at social outcasts that Jesus touched and ministered to, bringing them into God’s people when they were previously marginalized.

Near the end we settled on the importance of reaching the people God has placed us in a unique position to reach – like Levi could reach the tax collectors like nobody else (not that many people were eager to reach them).

To see the diversity of places God has put a witness within this little community, let us know some “communities” where God has placed you where you can be a witness for Him.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of the keys to Mary’s joyful response despite the challenges ahead of her was that she remembered God’s goodness to God’s people in the past. Because of God’s faithfulness she could be confident for the future.

How has God been good to you this year? What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ordination #2, Art. 3b: Christology, Death, Burial, Resurrection

The rest of Article 3 - Christology.

Jesus died a humiliating death on the cross (Lk. 23.32-46), a sacrifice for our sins (Mk. 10.45; Rom. 3.21-26) according to the Scriptures (Lk. 24.23-27; Isa. 52.13-53.12). Three days later He arose bodily from the dead. The physical nature of His resurrection is evident in the showing of His physical wounds and eating (Lk. 24.36-43). Jesus’ resurrection is a guarantee that we will one day follow Him in resurrected bodies (1 Cor. 6.14; 2 Cor. 4.14), which serves as a motivation for us to serve God faithfully (1 Cor. 15.58) and with confidence (1 Cor. 15.17-19). After His resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1.6-11; Eph. 1.20). This ascension is significant because it is His exaltation after His humiliation of incarnation and crucifixion (Phil. 2.9-11). Jesus’ ascension was necessary for Jesus to prepare a place for His followers (Jn. 14.2-3) and so the Holy Spirit could come and work in and through the disciples (Jn. 16.7). Currently Jesus sits in a place of honor and authority at the right hand of the Majesty on High (Eph. 1.20-22; 1 Pt. 3.22) where He serves as our High Priest and Advocate (Heb. 7.25; 1 Tim. 2.5).

On to Pneumatology!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tell Me Something About Mary

I’m starting off the Christmas series for our church this Sunday and I’m teaching on Mary. While she’s obviously vital to the Christmas story, we evangelicals tend to shy away from her. I know where I’m going with the message, but I’m open to any insight you have, or experience, on how Mary’s story and life have impacted and directed your journey with God.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ordination #2, Art. 3a: Christology, Person & Birth

I have my next ordination anti-procrastination check in on Nov. 30th. The next two posts make up what I've come up with for the Evangelical Free Church's third point on their doctrinal statement. Please let me know if you've got any advice for content or clarity. Thanks. Here's the actual doctrinal statement.

That Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.

Scripture is clear that Jesus Christ is true God, meaning fully God. Jesus Himself does the things God does (forgives sins – Mk. 2.5; judges the world – Mt. 25.31-46), the gospel record indicates His deity (Jn. 1.1; 8.58), as does the rest of the NT (Heb. 1.3; Col. 1.15-20). At the same time Jesus is also true man by His own testimony (Jn. 8.40) and others’ (Acts 2.22; Rom. 5.15). Jesus developed in essential aspects of personhood (Lk. 2.52). Physically, He faced limitations at times (hunger – Mt. 4.2; thirst – Jn. 19.28; fatigue – Jn. 4.6) and He died. Psychologically, we see Jesus exhibit human emotions (compassion – Mt. 9.36; sorrow – Mt. 26.37; joy – Jn. 15.11; anger and grief (Mk. 3.5) and indignation (Mk. 10.14). Yet being fully man, Jesus was without sin (Heb. 4.15). His sinlessness does not negate His humanity, but shows Him to be what humanity was intended to be without the corruption of sin. He needed to be truly man to offer an appropriate sacrifice for mankind’s sin (Heb. 2.14-17) and to offer us an example of godly living (Rom. 5.18-19). Two natures, human and divine, in a unified person is a biblical assumption (1 Jn. 2.1-2), but an unexplainable mystery. Jesus is fully God and fully man united in one Person – two natures, one person (Council of Chalcedon 451 AD). This God-man was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 1.18; Lk. 1.35) and born of the Virgin Mary (Mt. 1.18-25; Lk. 1.26-35, 2.7).

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Way of Jesus: Calling the Disciples

Ryan did a great job on Thursday night looking at Jesus' calling the disciples for the first time in Luke. They leave their nets after Jesus leads them to a miraculous catch of fish as well as calling them to follow Him. I know you shared it in your small group, but it might be good for all of us to share where God might be leading you. He might be leading someone else the same way. So... "What is one thing God may be telling you to do recently that you haven't responded to yet? What will you do this week to start responding right away?"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Satellite Churches

One of the vision points our church has is to develop satellite churches. Let's suppose we were going to start a "satellite" in an area near you. Say, La Palma, Long Beach, Los Alamitos, etc... Knowing that it will keep Cypress Church's core vision (5 purposes, small groups, numerical and spiritual growth, hospital for the hurting, being in the world, and missions), what would you want the expression of these to be like, or what stylistic things would you like if you were to be part of the "satellite"?

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Importance of Sports ... Their Relative Unimportance

This is a fun post by John Mark Reynolds on the unimportance of sports as valuable for bringing people together and a call to keep it relatively unimportant and enjoyable.

But I personally have much more enjoyable when the Mighty Seattle Seahawks look a little mightier than they have been lately.

The Way of Jesus: The Platform

Last night we studied Luke 4.14-44 and Jesus’ declaration of His mission (His platform as a leader, if you will), including His first trip to actually live it out. Here’s what He said…

And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4.17-21)
As Jesus’ disciples, what are some tangible ways we can live out His mission in our world? What are you doing? What is God calling you to do?

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Way of Jesus: The Temptation

Last night Ryan did a great job of leading us through the temptation passage (Luke 4.1-13). One of the closing applications was that Jesus was likely meditating on a few chapters in Deuteronomy. That's where He pulled the Scriptures to combat Satan. In light of Jesus' model, what are you reading and how is God using it to help you live well?

God isn't detached from our pain

This isn't so much an argument on why evil exists as the fact that God is not a detached deity unacquainted with grief. Rather, He is intimately aware of it and experiences it. I hate it when people ignorant of basic Christianity speak like they know what they're talking about so I'll try not to do the same to them, but I think there are some faiths (Christian Science and some eastern religions) that say pain is an illusion, something that only affects the ignorant or unfaithful (I'm open to correction here, but I think I've read that from some). That's not what happens in Jesus. Whether we have a great answer for the problem of evil or not, we see that Jesus was willing to suffer at the hands of evil men to spare us the consequences of our own sin and evil. God doesn't ignore it and tell us to whistle in the dark. He recognizes it is real and He runs into the middle of it in Jesus to identify with us as one who suffers evil (even though He is innocent) and conquers it. I don't know about you, but I think it is powerful to know that, in those times where answers don't really matter anyway, in the midst of suffering, Jesus is right there alongside us, feeling our pain, grieving alongside us. Not as a distant, untouchable God, but as one who has suffered and walks with us in our grief.