Posts tagged jesus

The Reality of the Cross

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Jesus is Alive! (R3)

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I can’t think of any bigger understatement than saying, what we celebrate this weekend is ‘significant’. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus absolutely changed everything!  When Jesus died and rose again – three days later – it reversed the centuries old curse of sin and death that was over all humanity.

Resurrection
Jesus fulfilled hundreds of impossible to fulfill prophecies about the messiah that had been written centuries before but the most amazing of all was that after three days in a grave, he was alive! What did this mean? In the history of the world no one had ever lived and died a sinless life. Jesus – God in the flesh – did. In that instant the sin that we’re all born into was stripped of its power. Things on this Earth would never be the same.  As John ends his account of Jesus life he says, But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.His resurrection proved he was who he said he was.

Reconciliation
What does this mean today? It means absolutely everything! What Jesus did made a way to be free from the power that sin once held over us. Where sin makes us strangers and even enemies of God, Jesus death and resurrection makes us sons and daughters of God. This type of reconciliation had never been known and now it’s accessible to anyone who believes. In Romans 5:10-11 the Apostle Paul says, For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Restoration
Not only did Jesus resurrection set into motion the reconciliation available to all who believe but we now get to be agents of his reconciliation while we await the restoration of all things. The book of Revelation tells us of this day that will come: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

Resurrection, Reconciliation, and Restoration; this is the good news of the Gospel of Jesus! This Easter and in the days following let’s not only be reminded of the power of what Jesus did but let’s be actively living in the reality of it.

For the next week spread the word about the Gospel of Jesus and the Easter message by changing your profile picture to R3 - which represents Resurrection, Reconciliation and Restoration.
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Free Resource Friday

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The Story Of Jesus As Told By His Friend John is the the Gospel of John put into contemporary English and told as a first-person account. Where John uses the pronoun “we/us/our” he is referring to himself and the other disciples. Let John be your narrator. He was there when it all happened and will tell you the story in his own words. Download this great title to read within The Bible Study App for Free HERE!

Resources for Easter

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What is the resurrection really about?
Is there actual proof that Jesus lived, died, and was brought back to life?
How does this impact both the believer and the non believer? Why should we care?

In a few weeks, millions of people all across the Earth will be asking these questions and more, as people gather to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Some will be reaffirming their faith in this history changing event and others will be skeptically pondering whether it’s even true. Whether you’re a pastor preaching on Easter Sunday or not, much like the Christmas season, this time of year focuses us on the events which happened 2,000 years ago that have huge implications for our life today.

Whether you’re preparing a sermon, having conversations with friends, or teaching your kids, here are some great resources that help unpack the reality of what Jesus did for us!

Resurrection: The Capstone Arch of Christianity
Hank Hanegraaff offers a detailed defense of the Resurrection

Evidence for the Resurrection
Presents evidence and logic for conversations about the Resurrection

No Wonder They Call Him Savior: Experiencing the Truth of the Cross
Max Lucado takes you through the drama of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ

Death By Love: Letters from the Cross
A compilation of heartfelt letters written from a pastor to his people that explains Jesus’ work on the cross

Christ’s Words from the Cross
C.H. Spurgeon discusses the seven words that Christ uttered from the Cross: Forgiveness, Salvation, Affection, Anguish, Suffering, Victory, and Contentment.

 

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Free Resource Friday

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It’s Aloha Friday! Today we feature Da Jesus Book as a free download for The Bible Study App. This translation was written by 26 native speakers of Hawaii Pidgin in the islands. They worked from the original Greek, with the help of the Wycliffe Bible Translators, and also referred to English translations and commentaries. Here’s a sample of what Da Jesus Book has to offer:

3 Da guy dat watch da gate, he open um fo da sheep farma. Da sheeps hear da sheep farma’s voice wen he call dem by dea name, an den he take dem outside. 4 Afta he take um outside, he go in front dem, an da sheeps go wit him, cuz dey know his voice. —John 10:3-4

 

Ho brah, it’s da kine, Get it here!

Be brave? For what?!

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By guest blogger: Jeremy West

If someone advised you to “Take courage!”, how would you respond?  “Why?” might be my immediate response.

In Joshua 1:6-9, we see the Lord commanding Joshua to be “strong and courageous three times. But if we take a closer look, we also see the Lord commanding Joshua to obey the Law three times as well.  The Lord actually exhorts for bravery only once on account of the battles he would fight (verse 6).  After that, all of Joshua’s courage would be needed regarding loving and keeping the Law.  Why would he need this?  Deuteronomy 31-34 gives us the answer. Once in the Promised Land, the people would all “turn to foreign gods…”(Dt. 31:16, 20).  Immediately after this, in verse 23, God exhorts Joshua to courage.

Tackling “giants” is nothing to God.  Joshua had seen giants before and had hoped for the chance to overcome them 40 years earlier (Numbers 13-14).  However, Joshua had also witnessed unbelief and rebellion and their effect on people.  Joshua needed a love for God and His Law even more than strength, courage, and determination.  It would take all these things to complete the mission God had given him.

It takes courage to obey God and even more courage to lead unwilling people to do the same.  Giants are one thing; tackling the hearts of rebellious people is another.

For those of you in leadership, Joshua’s story also offers another valuable truth: we don’t get our validation from people.  Affirmation is wonderful, but man’s approval (or lack thereof) does not determine our identity in Christ.  I realize that affirmation is important and valid, but is it vitally important? …Important enough to tempt us to rebellion?  In our world today, it takes more courage to be obedient and pursue holiness than it does to simply be “relevant.”  Obedience in the life of a disciple is the natural overflow of a life impacted by the Gospel.  The validation that counts to those who follow the master comes from the master.  Joshua needed to understand this truth and it’s this truth that would ultimately make him a better servant and leader for the people.

As you go out into the next chapter of your life, don’t forget the things God has told you, shown you, and promised you.  The giants you may be facing are one thing, and God can take care of those.  Sickness, pride, divorce, child trafficking… are all giants God wants to and can slay.  It’s the giant of our heart—our devotion to Him—that God won’t force (see Rev. 3:20).  Give Him access to this “giant,” and there is nothing God can’t do through any of us.

Open the door to Him daily.  Be faithful with His Word—spoken and written.  Be strong and courageous!

Here are some questions to consider:
1. Are you trying hard to be relevant, or do you simply need more courage to be obedient?

2. As you look at a situation today, are you more concerned with what people think, or what God thinks?

3. In your leadership (or followership) are you more concerned with failing people, or disobeying God?

4. What safeguards (good habits and relationships) do you have in your life that help you see Jesus clearly in every decision?

 

Jeremy West has been on staff with Youth With A Mission since 1995.  He teaches and runs training programs in the fields of discipleship and leadership development, worldwide.
“Leadership is a responsibility, not an identity; we are all disciples, first.” 

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