Philemon was a guy who wanted to seek revenge on a former slave, for some crime done against him. The Apostle Paul sent Philemon a letter, along with the former slave, Onesimus, himself. Paul was asking Philemon to extend the kind of forgiveness to Onesimus that Jesus Christ himself had extended to Philemon (are you still following?). And on top of all this, Paul himself is the one who brought Philemon to faith in God, and brought Omesimus to faith in God also. So Paul is asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus based on the debt he owes back to Paul, “his very life”. I don’t know if we know how to forgive in our western culture, like Paul is asking Philemon to forgive. And even beyond this little book, Paul is asking you and I to learn to forgive like this, so that our witness to the world is like that of Jesus Christ. (click here for video).
Tag Archives: lost
Nearing the end of his life, the Apostle Paul is thanking friends for walking with him in faith while in prison for sharing the gospel. The gospel is many things. It is sharing the love of Jesus with the world. The word evangelism is getting a bad rap these days. Maybe it’s the word evangelical, which is diving the country, depending on which way you’re looking at it. But the Apostle Paul still wants you to share your faith in Jesus with others. So, the gospel is relational, the gospel is tenacious, and the gospel includes suffering. We don’t like to embrace suffering, as much as we can help it, but even Jesus himself suffered for representing God. How are you representing God through your life today? Does it align with how people in the Bible shared the gospel? If so, good. If not, why not? (click here to view the video)
Paul is in prison, and writes about how we can encourage one another in the faith. He gives us admonition to be ready to answer anyone for the faith you believe. He recommends that our speech always be seasoned with salt, rather than vinegar. He asks the faith community to pray that God would open doors for the gospel to be shared. I think this “praying for open doors” is a ways of saying we all can look for opportunities to share our faith in God. The clear vision of Paul was that the gospel is relationships and that gospel is life saving in relationships, and that in relationships God is opening doors for His Kingdom to grow and flourish. How are you praying for open doors and open hearts in the lives of your friends? Keep the main thing the main thing, and keep sharing your love for Jesus in this dark world. You never know what God can do.
Have you ever thought of the 10 Commandments as a gift? God wanted the former 400 years of slavery in Egypt to be removed from His peoples’ thinking, so God gave them a Sabbath Principle. Remember the Sabbath day, and make it holy. How do you remember the Sabbath day in your life? And, how do you make it holy unto God? Do you have sabbath practices that break your chains of slavery? What are you enslaved to in your life? Cookies, caffeine, sugar, shopping, entertainment and even working can become a slave driver in our lives, I know that even ministry (heaven forbid) can become an idol for me. This week we want you to learn to rest, and trust that the God who made you doesn’t make mistakes, and He wants you to rest in Jesus and trust that the world will continue to spin without you holding the steering wheel. Learn to take a weekly sabbath to rest in God’s grace.
You have more power to change your thinking, than you might realize. The Bible tells us that we are renew our mind daily, on God’s Word for us. Many of us get defeated by our own wayward way of thinking. Many people don’t live a victorious life in God. People tend to believe the lies of satan and don’t end up believing in themselves at all. How do we overcome a negative mindset? One of the tactics of overcoming negative thinking is to identify strongholds in your life, and then replace the strongholds with biblical promises of God. It can be so defeating to live with lies from the enemy, but so freeing to live into the truth of God through the Bible. We need to create a new way of thinking.
Have you ever concentrated on one word for the day, or for a week, or month, or even a year? We are practicing our one word for a year as a church together. God may be speaking one thing to you for the year, and He might be wanting you to focus on a single attribute of His, or a single thought for the year. We take a look at Philippians 3 and see that Apostle Paul wants us to forget what is behind (in his case, legalism) and press on to what is ahead (our identity in Jesus Christ), and see that God is calling us to lean forward into faith this coming year. What is your one word for the year?
We often sing songs because they are familiar to us. We sing words and listen to the music, but do we take the time to think about the meaning of the lyrics, or the theology represented? In this series, we break down the lyrics and pay attention to what God is trying to tell us today.
Away in a Manger, a nursery rhyme song from Martin Luther regarding the baby Jesus, is catchy, but it’s only about the baby. What if God were trying to tell you more about Himself than Jesus simply remaining a baby? Listen today with a heart that asks God the question, how better would you like me to follow you?