March 31, 2015

Sunday's sermon:: my notes

My Dad has been preaching through 1 Peter the last couple of Sunday's and this past Sunday's sermon was exceptional .  I had my journal with me, and took a lot of notes, which I will share with you all now.

Text: 1 Peter 2:18-25

Part 1. Jesus Died for Me
Part 2. What Jesus Shows Me
Part 3. The feels uncomfortable part

v. 21-25 Peter takes us back the Cross.  Who is Jesus?  He is the sinless example setter.  He is also the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).

v. 21 "Christ suffered for us," He endured horrific physical torture, and also, the agonizing separation from His Holy Father, while He bore all our sins in His body on the tree (v. 24).  He died for my sins, for my soul, so that, having died to sin, I will live for righteousness!

v. 21-23 "when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten...."

Jesus shows us how to suffer:


  • Silently (Isaiah 53:7)
  • Sincerely (v. 22-23)
  • Sinlessly (v. 21, 24) 
He did not waver, He did not falter, He did not give in and let Satan win.  Our salvation is intact.

"but He kept en-trusting Himself to the One who judges righteously." (v. 23b)

v. 21 "Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow His steps." 

As a Christian, I am called to suffer, and that when I suffer, I do so as Christ did: 

  • Silently
  • Sincerely
  • Sinlessly / Righteously 
If my ultimate allegiance is Jesus Christ, I will most likely suffer for my faith. 

Jesus, give me faith, strength, endurance, grace to stand out / stand up for You.  And to have the obedience and strength to do so in the same manner You did.  Humble me, Jesus.

v. 24-25 (Rom. 6:1-11) 

1. Because Jesus suffered for me, sin is no longer my master

2. I am now alive to righteousness, I have a new master. 

3. I have been returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul.  And He helps me! 

March 23, 2015

Lately

I haven't really shared anything super personal on here in a while, some of that is due to time constraints, some due to the lack of space on my blog for more pictures... sigh.  But, I thought a personal update with pictures might be nice.  

My birthday cookie 

One the first day of this month, I turned 25, and celebrated my birthday with my family, and my small group family.  We had a lovely dinner, complete with homemade skillet chocolate chip cookie, and homemade vanilla ice cream which Phoebe so sweetly made.

Earlier in the day, my sisters and I had the fun opportunity to go to a friend's baby shower.  I decided to dress like a hippie. 

My bohemian outfit 
My friend Elizabeth sent me a nice package full of lovely presents 
I got lots of lovely gifts and cards from my family and friends.  One of my favorites was, this cute and really warm beanie my brother and sister-in-love gave me:
 
Because life is too short not to take silly pictures

I got to visit with my uncle and aunt who were here from Germany, which was a nice blessing.  
If you've never gone for Bubble (Boba) tea, you are missing out!
While we were in Dallas visiting family, we went for Bubble tea with them, and had such a fun evening playing Uno, and chatting.  

Cheers!
Minions? 

My siblings and I are "fans" of the Despicable Me films, and we have acquired a few t-shirts displaying our affection.  We decided to get a group picture, since we all matched. :) 
Since turning 25, I have gone one several adventures, and continued to do ministry.  And I have come to understand better what I am supposed to do with my life.  God is ever faithful and gracious, and His light leads and guides my life.  
I am so thankful for another year of life, and my prayer is that I would know Christ and make Him known - famous, in this new year of life! 

March 5, 2015

IF: Equip - Hebrews

So, I have not posted about my study in the book of Hebrews in several days, and I am now 12 days into this wonderful study, learning many new things, and having old truths hammered deeper into my heart.  

___________________________________

"He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance."  Hebrews 9:15 

"But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him."  

Hebrews 9:26b-28 

Q: Why does understanding the old covenant matter?

Because without the bad news (i.e. animal sacrifices are not enough to forever purge away our sins), we would not understand the significance of Jesus' death - as a final sacrifice for all sin.  We cannot understand the new without the old, the old being the foundation for the new.  

We also see the superiority of Jesus' salvation to that practiced under the old covenant. His was a one time, complete act, whereas before the priests had to offer up yearly sacrifices for themselves and the people.  

  

March 4, 2015

Who are we?

As a Christian, and a youth sponsor / mentor at my church, I have the opportunity to speak truth into the moldable lives of young people who are seeking answers to all sorts of questions.  In a few weeks, I will have the privilege of giving this talk to them.  I hope that it blesses and challenges you in your walk with Jesus.


Q: Do you know who you are (your status), because of Jesus?

I want to talk with you for a few minutes about the importance of understanding our new identity, as Jesus followers, and explain a few things that God expects of us, as His children. 

  • ·         You were chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and going along with that, you were specially created, different, separate from all the other things God made (see Gen. 1:26-27).
  • ·         You were given a way to be saved from eternal punishment and death, through Jesus (Rom. 5:15, 17, John 3:14-17, Hebrews 9:26b-28).
  • ·         Once you are born again, even when you sin, you are not condemned (Rom. 8:1-2), and when we confess our sins, God forgives them (1 John 1:9).
  • ·         We are made to do good works, after our salvation (Eph. 2:10) and even though our good works don’t save us, they are an important aspect of our Faith.
  • ·         We have been made alive, whereas before we were dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-5).
  • ·         We have access by the Spirit, to the Father (Eph. 2:18).
  • ·         The Comforter, Helper, Spirit of Truth, now lives in us, and helps us to walk in victory over sin, and to guide us into all Truth (John 14:15, 26, 15:26, 16:7, 13).  He enables us to produce and live the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control) – see Galatians 5:22-23
  • ·         We are no longer yoked to sin (Galatians 5:1), but we are yoked to Christ (Matthew 11:28-30).
  • ·         We are a work that Christ will complete (Philippians 1:6).
  • ·         We are adopted, co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:5)


These are all wonderful, encouraging things to hear and believe, and I hope that your faith is built up and made stronger by hearing and knowing them.  But, being a Christ-follower is not always easy.  As you know, there have been many Believers who have given up their lives for Jesus. 

Jesus told all those who would follow Him, that it would be a difficult, and often times, lonely journey of obedience and sacrifice:

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”  Luke 9:23-25

This daily cross bearing is something that is hard, but God gives us the strength to do it through His Spirit. 

Paul is one of my favorite examples, because he was a lot like us.  He had real struggles with his flesh, with sin, with living a consistent life for Jesus, and yet he was faithful even to death.
One of my favorite passages describes how Paul thought about his life compared to being found in Christ:

“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” (Philippians 3:9-11)

He was willing to die for Jesus, because He loved him and believed in His Truth so much.  I often ask myself “Am I willing to die for Jesus?”  It is not something we want to think about, but it is something we should ask ourselves, because we might be put in the position where that question is asked of us, and we have to decide to either die for Jesus or deny Jesus. 

I don’t want to scare you or make you feel guilty if you have never considered these things, but I do want you to know that Jesus said (through Paul) that “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”  2 Timothy 3:12

We should encourage one another by “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

Through His strength, we can endure whatever hardship He allows us to experience.  Isn’t that encouraging?  My prayer is that we would speak these truths into each other’s lives on a daily basis, and that we would pray for stronger faith, and a bolder witness as we seek to be Jesus’ hands and feet of love and mercy in this lost and dying world.  

To close, I want to pray one of my favorite prayers from the Bible over you all:


“And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”  Amen.