Ever since we started the renovations at our place in the country, it has always been a treat to go sit on the back porch and soak in the beauty of the Texas countryside. I can sit out there in the morning and listen to the birds awakening with the dawn and then enjoy the croaking of what must be ten thousand frogs and crickets in the evening. It is peaceful, quiet, and still – the way I long for my heart to be in the midst of the chaos of life. And it is in those quiet moments – when I am "still and know that He is God" – that God speaks to me and calms the storm within. That is what I want to share with you in these posts. I want to share my view from the back porch. Some of my posts will reflect a few of the things I have learned in my journey through life. Some will simply be statements of what I see in our culture and how we as Christians should respond. I teach a Bible study class each week to an extremely eclectic group of adults and some of the posts and videos I share will be taken from those lessons. I have no delusions of profundity but rather I hope to cause you to think, to laugh, to ponder anew your life as Christ would have you live it. Furthermore, I hope this will be a conversation and not just a monologue. I would love to hear your thoughts, hopes, fears and anything else you would feel comfortable sharing with me. It's wonderful to relax here on the back porch enjoying the view, so pour yourself some coffee (or the beverage of your choosing) and let's talk.
In his first letter to the Corinthian church he begins with his usual pleasant greetings and fond remembrances, but he then he gets straight to the point that is of foremost importance – division within the church. Satan loves to drive wedges between believers and he will stop at nothing to get a group of Christians to look away from God by focusing on their own opinions and attitudes. And if that misdirection involves the things of the church it is even better.
Paul addresses the issue by reminding the church of what is really at stake. Unity. Jesus in His high priestly prayer asked the Father for His people to be one – even as He and the Father were one. Jesus knew that a church divided against itself could not stand. (Mark 3:25) He also knew that His church would have to be known by the love they shared. (John 13:35) Paul knew this also and he understood fully that the gospel message of Jesus Christ had to spread without hindrances like squabbles over something as insignificant as a personality contest.
The fact is that we must be unified, as Paul instructed the Corinthians, and in order to be unified we must have the same heart and mind as Jesus. If we will but look up and focus on Him, we won’t become preoccupied with the junk around us. Furthermore, we won’t be annoyed by people around us because we are focused not on their idiosyncrasies, but on Jesus. And as the final illustration in this lesson shows, the closer we get to Jesus, the closer we get to our brothers and sisters in Christ and the more we become of one mind and one heart.
The gospel message must be proclaimed but it will only be successfully proclaimed by a united body of Christ.
This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, August 14, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: email@example.com
One of the most, if not the most, neglected and underrated events in the life of Jesus is the transfiguration. Before the beginning of time itself, the Glory of God was. From the beginning of time till now, the Glory of God is. From the end of time throughout all eternity the Glory of God will be. He is the Great I AM!
But as Jesus walked on the earth (as the Glory of God shone in the heavenly realms) the transfiguration is the first time we see the Glory of God at its source – Jesus Himself. We had seen the power of God in the miracles. We had heard the wisdom of God in the parables and teachings. Indeed, Jesus was Emmanuel, God with us. But this is the first time we had seen the Glory of God in God Himself, Jesus Christ.
Jesus, Moses, and Elijah discussed the impending crucifixion and the debt that had to be paid. The One who was light itself had to take on the darkness of man’s sin. And then He placed His light in us. Unbelievable, but true. And we must respond.
We must see the Glory of God, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
We must seek first the Kingdom and Glory of God and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)
We must urgently join with John the Baptist and Jesus in proclaiming, “Repent! – For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2 & Matthew 4:17)
We must fall down and worship Him so that He can lift us up and use us to accomplish His will. (1 Peter 5:6; Matthew 23:12; James 4:10)
How will you respond when confronted with the Glory of God in Christ Jesus? You can’t ignore the light – you have to respond.
This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, October 31, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Evil is real. Demonic forces are active in ways we witness everyday in every aspect of our lives. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) So, if that’s the case, our response to the evil in our world must be in the realm of the demonic and the response to evil must be in the name and power of Jesus. In Luke 8 we see one of many times when Jesus displayed His authority over demons. When we go up against Satan’s demonic forces in our own power, we lose. When we go up against Satan’s demonic forces in the power and name and authority of Jesus we win. Furthermore, the only hope that our family, friends, and acquaintances have in this realm of such forces is in Jesus. Therefore, we must be diligent in introducing them to Him. A chaotic life that ends in eternal death is what lies before them. The man in Luke 8 was living in chaos and headed for a tragic end before he met Jesus. Our world, our nation, our state, our county, our town, our neighbors, our work associates, and our family members need to know the victorious power found only in Jesus. That’s how we should respond to the evil in our world.
This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: email@example.com
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It’s almost mind-boggling that Jesus prayed. Jesus knew the Father more intimately than any other man who walked on this earth, because He and the Father are One. And still He prayed. If was so important for Jesus to pray it is even more so for us. We will be looking at the teachings of Jesus concerning prayer from Luke 11 & 18. At the beginning of Luke 11, one of the disciples came to Jesus with a profound request – teach us to pray. That should be our request as well. And so we say, “Jesus, Teach Us to Pray.” This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 5, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at firstname.lastname@example.org