Tuesday, September 30, 2008
You have in this chapter the church at it's very beginning. In this chapter you see both people who are serving Christ and following Him and you have some people who seem to think they can gain control or maintain power by pushing undo rules and regulations on the new Christians (btw this is exactly what they were doing under the Old Testament!).
So, while they argued they also showed humility in the church. When they argued and couldn't come to a conclusion they went to Jerusalem, which was the center of Christianity at the time. It was there that some Apostles, along with James the brother of Jesus who would become the leader of the church in the known world, as well as Elders who had been appointed, presumably by the Apostles.
They went to Jerusalem, gave their side of the story and then the Apostles and Elders met together and came to a conclusion with the help of the Holy Spirit.
But notice, Paul and Barnabas were the ones who were arguing and they also went and set on the "board" when the Apostles and Elders met. But there was no issue there. They trusted each other, to an extent, even when they were on opposite sides of the issue.
And in the end a very positive decision for the church was reached. It did not segregate but brought people together, not because they believed the same thing, but because they agreed willingly to submit themselves, in humility to these leaders.
Even here there is humility and submission. Great lesson for leadership.
PS: Please say a prayer for me today. I should be on the plane, when you read this, heading to Vegas. The school I teach for, National American University, is sending me to Vegas for a conference. It is an honor to go but I am a bit apprehensive. I have never been to "sin" city before and do not like traveling without Andi. So... you get the idea. Pray also for Andi and the kids - lots to do with one less pair of hands!
Monday, September 29, 2008
Today we get back to Acts with a piece of history that really has several things we could talk about. The continued power to heal displayed by the Apostles. The Irony that Barnabas and Paul show up to tell the people about the God of the universe and they end up trying to keep the people from sacrificing and worshiping them. Or how about Paul's death...or so it seemed. The Jews stone him (they hit him with big rocks until he was dead) and then they dragged him out of the city supposing that he was dead. Then the Apostles come and pray over Paul and he gets up, walks back into the city and leaves the next day. Lots of stuff we could discuss.
But I don't want to talk about any of that. I want you to consider verse 3. It says that God confirmed the message, that was being boldly delivered by His apostles, by enabling them to perform miracles. This is something that is often forgotten. The miracles that the apostles and that Jesus performed were not for the benefit of those who believed or to make the apostles more popular, they were to confirm the message.
When I say something about God I can pull out the bible and say "see, here's what God did." You see it in His Word and so you believe. They didn't have that in the first century. The message was not confirmed by the truth of the Word but by the astonishment of the miracles. If you heard someone talk and all you got was words...then another guy comes along and talks and then heals someone who are you going to listen to?
But remember and please realize. Miracles were not the thing that was important. The miracles were simply confirmation that was was being said, the Word was true. Consider this; many Christians were sick and died in the New Testament when there were ample opportunities for the Apostles to heal them. Including one guy who Paul says was a great help to him...but he is not healed. Why? because He and those around them already believed. They didn't need the confirmation of the Word because they accepted and believed the Word.
What do you need to believe? Are you always looking for some physical confirmation? Or do you accept the Word? Jesus told Thomas, blessed are those who believe but have not seen.
Good to be back with you!
by the way, for those of you who know me and my family...I got to play catch with a football with my son, Trent, this afternoon. I was late to NAU to teach because I was having such a good time. We stood in the living room and tossed the ball back and forth and he caught it at least as good as T.O. and threw, well, he didn't throw very well. But he's 10 and it is the first time we ever played catch. He was laughing and we had a great time. Thanks God for simple times and simply confirmations that you are there and you care.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Let's pray that the women this weekend really make a connection with God, that they are able to be free for a few days of the distractions and plans and duties of their lives and focus, if even for a minute just on Jesus.
Enjoy your time ladies and we'll be praying for you!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Here's the deal. The members of the early church would, from time to time, sell some possessions and bring the money to the apostles who would distribute the money to those who were in need.
Now it appears that they had some sort of mechanism in place to distribute the food but they also realized that overseeing this ministry was taking them away from their more important job of prayer and preaching. It wasn't that this "job" was not important, in the grand scheme of things they were neglecting a "more important" role in order to do something that someone else could easily do.
So they considered among the church at the time that it would take about 7 men to oversee this big ministry and so they wanted to find 7 guys who were "full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom."
They did find 7 men, who are named here, and this became their job and also introduced us to the role of Deacon.
The word deacon literally means servant and so the role, the function and the name all mean the same thing.
In some churches this "position" is formal and is an elected position.
Here at Real Life this is a role or position that we believe should be the function of every believer. Deacon or Deaconess (the female version) should be the aspiration of us all, even if we fill other positions or functions or roles in the church.
Here's to a church full of servants!, er, I mean Deacons and Deaconesses.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In this message we wrap up the Dirty Jobs Series by looking at the church which can, at times, look more like a mud puddle then the pristine, white, clean bride of Christ. In this message Corey will look at the purpose of the church and how you and I, the church, fit into that purpose and plan.
Sorry it took so long...technical difficulties. I actually had to go back into the church and record teh last 15 min of the message. See if you can tell when it changes! I left subtle hints, differences to see if anyone would pick up on it. If you can find the differences in the background, clothing, lighting, etc. comment on this post and tell you if you got one...or not!
Monday, September 22, 2008
You've got the bad guys, the religious leaders, threatening the apostles and commanding them not to speak about Jesus anymore.
Here's part of their reply: We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard... Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness...
Wow! Sign me up! right! I want to be a part of whatever they're a part of! And others must have felt the same way 'cause here where it their faith and stand ends up...
All the believers were one in heart and mind...With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
So what about you? Can you say what they said? We can't help speaking about... what we've seen and heard? ...Jesus? ...church? ...the changes in my life?
Can you make this a part of your prayer? "enable your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness. If made this our prayer, we might experience some of what the early church did!
Have a great Tuesday!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
When I am faced with someone who wants something from me I often focus on what I don't have. You want some food? I'm hungry too. Need a car? Mine is broke. If you're looking for money, don't look here.
But what do I have? We often leave that out.
I don't have enough money, but I pretty much buy whatever I want.
I don't have an extra car, but some people don't any vehicles.
I don't have all the food I want or like, but I'm not hungry.
So Peter says, "I don't have any money to give you, but what I do have I will give to you." What did Peter have that you and I have? A connection with Jesus Christ. Peter was plugged in to Jesus so he could give this man what he had, the Name of Jesus and a relationship with Him.
So next time I am faced with the delimma of not having what someone needs I hope to stop and think, "what do I have in Jesus that this person might need?"
Then I am not relying on my ability to meet anyone's needs but instead, I'll be relying on the power of Jesus to meet the needs of the people I come in contact with.
What do you have in Christ that someone this week might need?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
first, Luke is the writter of Acts and was probably the most educated disciple and is somtimes refered to as Dr. Luke. He is the author of the book of Luke as well. Acts is a technical history of what happened after Jesus' resurection.
Theophilus is perhaps the money behind the account. People were often hired to catalouge someone's life for the benefit of others. This guy probably had money and wanted to know what was up with this new sect called Christianity.
The other thing you need to know is that the disciples still didn't have a clue about what was going on. Even after the resurection but before the church really begins they still think Jesus is going to usher in some physical Jewish rule over the world.
they also go back to 12 disciples with Matthias and if you noticed, Jesus brothers have now joined the crew of believers...one of them, James will come into play later.
So in the book of Acts Luke takes us from the resurection through the beginning of the church.
Hang on it's going to be a great ride! I love this book!
John 21 / Sept 19 - "Do you know what the meaning of life is? One thing, that's what you've got to figure out..." Curly
If you have the website saved, you might want to go back and make sure it is saved as www.reallifecc.us and not reallifecc.us/drupal, since that site is no longer with us.
Now, let's see what God has to say to us today.
You've heard me talk in this blog about Peter, an impetuous man (though I don't really know what that means!). He was like a 30 year old 12 year old. Again in this passage we see him act first and think later. When Jesus is seen on the shore Peter thinks the boat won't get there fast enough and dives in, about a hundred yards from shore and swims in. But it is not clear from the text whether he beat the boat or not!
Perhaps becasue of Peter's in-your-face behavior Jesus chose him to ask mutiple times if he loved him. Knowing Peter would get defensive and anxious about the answer. In the end Jesus gets to the point, "Peter, your job is to follow me."
Now, being the Peter that Peter was, he looks back and sees another disciple "the one Jesus loved" following them while they walked (everyone was probably following them but Peter seems to have an issue with this particular one so he singles him out) and asks Jesus, "what about him?"
I guess Peter's question was two-fold. He wanted to know first why Jesus didn't ask the other guy three times if he love Him. And second, he may have been asking if Jesus was going to instruct this other guy to "follow Me."
The other disciple Peter is refereing to is the writter of this book, John. So, it is only natural that John wants to quickly add "He didn't say that I would live forever, but only that if He wanted me to I would..." John is trying to be careful with his position as the "one Jesus loved."
Two points to keep in mind as you go about the rest of this day and week.
1. Quit worrying about other people. What they're doing, what they're not, why and how and when. If Jesus wants to do something with them it's up to Him, not you anyway. They don't need your permission to follow God's leading in their life.
B. You worry about just one thing (think of Curly from the City Slickers movie holding up one knurly finger) You...follow...Him. Today, follow Him. When you are at work, follow Him. When you're driving down the road, follow Him. When you're arguing with your wife, follow Him. You, follow Him.
That is all.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I will do my best to post for Thursday.
thanks for all the props by the way!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
That "way" is the truth and the truth is God's Word. When we live by the Word of God we can stand up to Satan's attacks while we remain on this earth to do what He has called us to do, to point people to Jesus.
So, you are here for a reason. To continue to carry out the mission of God, the Gospel (good news) about Jesus Christ and forgiveness of sin. And don't worry, Jesus has prayed for you, that God would sustain you and protect you by the truth, His Word.
So, get into the Word, remain strong, Stand up and find comfort in the fact that Jesus prayed for you.
Have a great Monday!!!!! Go Cowboys!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
I hope you remember this narrative because we just discussed it in the message last Sunday. But I want to focus on something that I didn't really get to talk about on Sunday.
During the dinner Jesus took some bread and let his disciples know that the bread represented his own body, which would be sacrificed for them (and us). After that he took some wine and blessed it and let the guys know that the wine represented Jesus' blood which he knew would be spilled for the forgiveness of their sins (and ours).
Near the end of the meal Jesus is troubled and reminds the disciples that he really is going to be betrayed to his death. But this time He is ready to reveal quite pointedly who it is.
The one who Jesus gives the bread dipped in wine. Just think of this, the bread represents His body the wine His blood. Didn't Jesus just symbolically hand himself over to be "devoured" by His betrayer?
Jesus willingly went to the cross and symbolically handed himself over. What a great love He must have for us.
I remember that morning. I was in the bathroom and Andi and the kids were getting ready to leave the house and she hollers at me and says that something is happening. That morning I barely left the TV as I watched, what at the time seemed like a crazy action movie.
Right now, I'm watching the re-cap on Fox News of the events of that morning...still as terrifying as it was that day 7 years ago. Can imagine reading a book to some elementary school children when an aid comes in and tells you the country is under attack.
What an incredible day that changed the course of this country and several others. Not only have the lives of Americans changed; recall what it took to board a plane 7 years and one day ago. The lives of those who lost family and friends. But we also have the lives of our military families after going into Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon. The field where the folks on flight United 93 ended their lives.
In an instant. In the blink of an eye life has a way of changing. Our plans, our plots all come to nothing in these moments.
So today, what does your life count for? Have you continued to put off things you know you need to do? it doesn't have to be a plane and a tower, in fact the vast majority of the time it isn't, it could be a car, a medical issue, some other accident. You never know. Take care of what you need to today, don't put it off, it may not ever get done.
those are my struggled ramblings this difficult morning.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Jesus then "cries out" in an attempt to get these folks to understand, it wasn't just about Him but about His Father. If you believed in Jesus, you believe in God...so it was imperative that you believe in Jesus. And in verse 45 Jesus says "When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me."
And that is the heart of the issue. When people looked at Jesus they saw His Father because the two were one. When people look at you and I who do they see? Are we close enough to Jesus that they see Him when they look at us? And if they see Him what they are really seeing is the Father. So we become the lens through which others see our God. How clear is the lens of your life?
Hey all, I tried to post a "I'm not blogging tonight" post but it wouldn't go through, weird. anyway, it is working now so hopefully we will be okay for tomorrow!
Love you all!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Hey all you faithful readers of coreyblog (okay, hey you two faithful readers of coreyblog!)
I'm wiped out! It's late, Andi is in bed and I think that I will head that way too, by the way, she is doing great after eye surgery! We took the bandage off today at about 4 and she could see w/o her glasses or contacts!!! YEAH!!! (though Shane says that once she can see she is going to dump me!)
Have a good Wednesday! 4 days to go to church!
Monday, September 8, 2008
here's my challenge to the people of Real Life, that always and no matter what, we follow the shepherd.
Now, personally I've been in spots when I didn't think I wanted to follow Jesus, but I'm glad I did. It wasn't always easy, it hasn't been always financially, emotionally or physically beneficial to me but I was always the right thing to do.
So, I make you this promise; I will always try to do what Jesus wants and not be afraid or follow any other shepherd. And if you are willing to go with me and follow Him we'll see some incredible things get to hear those wonderful words when we see Him face to face, "well done, good and faithful servant."
So here's to following without hesitation our shepherd, Jesus.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
This is what Jesus does best. He changes lives.
Whether you are physically blind or spiritually blind Jesus has the ability to give you sight. To change your life. and Real Life is experiencing life as God intended, with sight, with the ability to see the truth and live with your eyes wide open.
Would you like to see? give Jesus a try! (that rhymed and I didn't even plan it!)
Have a great Monday with your eyes wide open!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
All of this is good and hopefully on some level I have succeeded in each of those relationships but look at what Jesus said in the last half of verse 30, "I do not seek to please myself, but Him who sent me."
Who are you seeking to please? Yourself? Your family? Your church?
What if you could please only one person? Who would you choose? I think I'd make it God. And in the end, it would be best for my family, my parents, my church and even myself.
Have a great Friday!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
If you knew someone was giving out $100 dollar bills to anyone "who asked for one" you'd tell everybody, wouldn't you! Strangers, friends, it wouldn't matter - you'd tell everybody!
In this chapter Jesus sits by a well and woman comes to get water and he says, I know where to get water for you so that you will never thirst again. She wanted to know where! And she told her friends... and strangers!
Were not talking about money or water. Were talking about quenching that spiritual thirst and you know where to get it! Don't you think that someone you may come in contact with might want to know what you know? And maybe just one of the people you tell might go back to their home town and tell everyone there and just maybe, they'll believe too!
Here's to handing out what we have, they want and we know how to get... Real Life!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Up to the time when Jesus began His ministry John was the man. He spoke for God and to the people. thousands of people came to hear John speak during his short ministry span and all the sudden there was a new guy in town. Today we might say that Jesus "stole John's thunder."
But John's response is only, He must increase in the eyes of the people and I must decrease.
This is always a difficult thing but it is always, only and all about Jesus. He must increase. It's not about me so I must try and slowly decrease so that He can increase in my life, in my job in my work at the church.
Today, I'll try and find a way that I can decrease so that He can increase in the eyes of those around me.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Let's get to John 2. It starts out with the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Now, I never could figure out why that story was in the Bible, but a thought came to me today... the master of the party told the bridegroom "most people serve the best wine first and then the cheaper stuff later, but you've saved the best for last."
Here's my thought, maybe the wine represented Jesus? Everything that came before was just water, but when Jesus came it was the "best." God didn't send His Son first, it wasn't time, people needed to figure out that they couldn't get to God by themselves. Jesus came and completely changed the way things were done! Jesus changed the paradigm and I'm so glad that He did!
Have a good day and I'll see you tomorrow!