Thursday, March 30, 2017

This week's lesson (March 25-31): the Person of Peter

When was Peter "born again"?

When he began following Jesus part-time?

When he began following Jesus full-time?

When he recognized that Jesus was the messiah?

When he saw the empty tomb?

When he saw the risen Lord -- and was told to feed His sheep?

When he received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost?

When he recognized that Gentiles could be members of the church?

Or . . . when?

And how many times?

Friday, March 24, 2017

This week's lesson (March 18-24): the work of the Holy Spirit

Jesus is a carpenter.

And so is the Holy Spirit.

Way back in Genesis 1, remember, the Spirit "brooded" over the chaos of creation, much like a contractor mulls over an especially difficult job-site. And with that done, the Spirit rolls-up its sleeves and gets to work.
  • On the first three days, it creates homes for everything.
  • On the second three days, it creates everything that's going to live in those homes.
  • And with that job done, the Spirit now had a place for everything, with everything in its place.
Likewise, the Book of Acts is another creation story.
  • First, the Spirit creates a home for all of God's people: the church.
  • Then the Spirit creates the people who live in that home: church-members.
  • And when it's work is finally done, the Spirit will have a place for all of God's people, with all of God's people in His place . . . 
But we're not there yet.

No, we're living on a construction-site.

And God's Holy Spirit is still on the job.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

This week's lesson (March 11-17): grieving and resisting the Holy Spirit.

There's one sin you never see -- that's the unpardonable sin.

You can't spot it in someone else, after all; that's because you don't know how grace has been offered to that person, or how it's been received.

Moses committed murder, remember.

David committed murder AND adultery.

Peter denied Jesus.

Yet all of them ended up forsaking their sin and following God.

No, you just can't tell if someone else has committed the unpardonable sin.

But if you think they have . . .

Then what does that say about you?

Friday, March 10, 2017

This week's lesson (March 4-10): the Holy Spirit, the Word, and Prayer

When you pray, you talk with God.

And what you say, of course, depends on the God to whom you're praying.
  • If your God is an impersonal force, for instance, then your prayer will be a recipe, i.e. a list of directions that must be followed precisely in order to get the results you want. (See also Magic.)
  • If your God is a grudging bureaucrat, on the other hand, then your prayer is an attempt to make sure the right forms have been completed in order to get the results you want. (See also most books on "How to Pray with Power.")
  • But if your God is a loving Father, then you talk with Him -- and even if you "say something wrong" (whatever that means), then you know that's okay. Yes, you know He knows you well enough to know what you were trying to say, and loves you enough that He doesn't hold this against you.
In short, it's not so much how you pray that counts.
It's who's listening.

Friday, March 03, 2017

This week's lesson (February 25-March 3): the Holy Spirit and the Church

What if there was no Holy Spirit?

Yes, what if your church was on its own, with:
  • No Spirit to guide -- just your own wits.
  • No Spirit to gift -- just your own talents.
  • Not Spirit to empower -- just whatever enthusiasm you could drum up on your own.
In short, imagine that God had nothing to do with your church.
Would you notice any difference?
And would you do anything different if He showed up?