Posts Tagged With: church

The Most Important Person of Whom You Have (Perhaps) Never Heard

His name was Matthias.

I wouldn’t blame you a bit if you had no recollection of this selfless servant of Christ.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, Matthias is mentioned only twice in the NT, both times here in Acts 1 (verses 23 and 26).

At first blush, Matthias may appear to be just a footnote in the ever-developing drama of redemption. But I can assure you that he is anything but.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Great Commission (AKA Jesus Ministry Model)

Welcome to the conclusion of Jesus in HD!

It’s been 205 podcasts in coming, but here it is. On deck, Peter in HD and the bright and beautiful book of Acts.

That will be next week. But for now, it is universally referred to as “Great Commission.”

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST… Yes, I will readily agree that Jesus’ words here at the tail-end of Matthew’s glorious gospel are indeed “great.” And yes, they do in fact contain a “commission.”

Jesus’ final commission to His disciples, to make disciples.

But I would prefer to think of this as Jesus’ Ministry Model — both in terms of what He wants us (all of us, each of us) to do, and how He wants us to do it.

A ministry model that Jesus intended for us to follow (as Jesus said) “to the very end of the age.”

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Jesus’ Leadership Manifesto

45615Welcome to the Upper Room, and Jesus’ farewell address to His beloved disciples.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, as we break the seal on this, Jesus’ final night before the crucifixion, I do so with something of a lump in my throat and the pinkish hue of embarrassment upon my otherwise rosy cheeks.

This because this particular portion of the grand story of Jesus’ life and ministry hits me most personally. And if, as they say, “Confession is good for the soul,” then I make my confession to you, my beloved little Safe Haven family, tonight.

There is embedded within this most amazing scene, Jesus washing His disciples’ feet, a timeless lesson that, if only I could turn back the hands of the clock and the passage of time, I would have taken to heart way back when I was just starting out in my ministry.

This pointed and practical warning is as timely today as it was that night in that Upper Room when Jesus gave it to His disciples.

A timeless truth that has come to define my life and, more to the point, my ministry today. A living lesson of which you are the beneficiaries.

As we detailed last week, this so-called “Last Supper” was a modified Passover seder. I say modified because as we learned last week, the word seder means “order.” As in a carefully choreographed, specifically scripted order to the meal.

Yet, at certain significant points along the way, Jesus purposefully departed from that thousands-year-old order and added to that script.

Just as Jesus did here, in John 13, at the very beginning of their meal together.

It was certainly customary — very much a part of the script — for the host (Jesus) to wash His hands ceremonially as meal began. But why did He then wash His disciples’ feet?

Especially given that every other departure that Jesus made from the seder script expanded or enhanced the significance of their celebration of Passover, especially in light of His coming death as ultimate Passover Lamb.

Every departure, except for this one: Jesus washing His disciples’ feet.

A beautiful gesture, to be sure. The quintessential picture of loving humility and servanthood. So much so that foot washing in some Christian traditions even today, has been elevated to a sacrament or ordinance equal to that of Communion and Baptism.

You talk about, Paint the picture, Rabbi? How about Jesus kneeling as a slave to wash His disciples’ feet (including Judas’ feet) as a three-dimensional, high definition picture of this? (The this to be explained in the remainder of this Podcast.)

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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You’ve Got Talent. (You Really Do!)

CfR3IQgWIAAlttkSpoiler Alert: This PODCAST will not be paradigm-shifting. This podcast will be paradigm-shattering.

There is so much going on here in Jesus’ conclusion to His landmark End Times Olivet Discourse that I hardly know where to begin.

Last week, we saw that Jesus told a parable about ten bridesmaids, five who were wise and five who were foolish.

This week, we’ll note that He told a follow-up parable about three servants, two who were faithful and one who was unfaithful.

We are fast-winding down our study of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus’ End Times sermon that He gave to His disciples high atop the Mount of Olives.

We are soon to pivot from the Tuesday of Jesus’ final week, to the Thursday of His final week, with detailed discussions of His final Passover Seder with His disciples, Judas’ betrayal, the Upper Room Discourse, Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, His subsequent confinement in Caiaphas’ house, plus Peter’s denial.

The countdown clock to Jesus’ crucifixion is ticking; the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry is fast-approaching.

But to get there, we must first consider Jesus’ words here. Specifically, who are the faithful servants, and who is the unfaithful servant? What distinguishes between the two — faithful versus unfaithful? And what does all of this have to do with our lives in the here and now today?

So with all of that, let me now walk you thru Jesus’ conclusion to His Olivet Discourse. A parable that I truly believe you will discover to be #Oh.So.Encouraging to you.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Demystifying Church Discipline

The Lost Sheep A U SoordI was away this week, sharing a precious memorial service for my dearly beloved mom with my family. Consequently, I have selected one of the MOST IMPORTANT podcasts that we have recorded in our Jesus in HD series.

In this Encore PODCAST, as we continue in our chronological study of the life and ministry of Jesus, we come to Matthew 18:15-17 — one of the most seriously significant passages in all of the New Testament, the so-called “Church Discipline” passage.

Church Discipline, a teaching in many local churches that really rose into prominence in the late 1970’s and became quite the trend.

I can remember attending church leadership conferences back then and hearing pastors — I’ll use word “boast.” — of the fact that they recently removed individuals from their congregations, thereby “preserving the purity of their churches.” Others would then oooh and ahhh at the boldness of these pastors in confronting the sin in his church and taking decisive action in order to preserve the purity of his church by the process of Church Discipline as outline by Jesus here in Matthew 18.

Today, one of this nation’s leading Church Discipline proponents insists that church discipline, as outlined in Matthew 18, is one of the marks of a healthy church. He writes this on his website, clearly articulating the prevailing view of Church Discipline, and indeed includes this as one of his main talking points as he addresses pastors’ conferences throughout the country, encouraging them to do the same:

“Church discipline is the act of correcting sin in the life of the body, including the possible final step of excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Supper because of serious unrepentant sin.”

Consequently, it has become standard practice to “exclude” or remove or excommunicate (you choose the term) unrepentant sinners from their local churches. This notion of Church Discipline is certainly included in many if not most of our evangelical churches’ bylaws.

Well, in light of the above definition — More importantly, in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18 — I must ask, Is that really what Jesus taught to His disciples and to us?

Let’s discover the answer together.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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A Scandal in the Making

348With this PODCAST, we break the seal on the last year of Jesus’ life here on earth.

And admittedly, His last year begins on a rather ominous note.

Immediately following this story, Jesus will leave the country. That is no exaggeration. For the first time in His storied 3½ year ministry, Jesus now has to get out of Dodge, fast!

As we have seen in past podcasts, Jesus was run out of His adopted hometown of Capernaum. He was then run out of Nazareth, His boyhood hometown. On top of that, Herod Antipas was hunting Jesus in order to kill Him (this in the wake of Herod’s senseless execution of John the Baptizer). 

And NOW we read this in Mark 7:24:

Then Jesus left Galilee and went North to the region of Tyre (in modern-day Lebanon).

Yes, indeed. Jesus was literally run out of Galilee and run out of the country. Something significant happened in this story, here in Mark 7, that forced Jesus to go North and out of the country, rather than South to the familiar environs of His beloved Jerusalem. 

What in the world happened?

What did Jesus do?

Or more accurately, what did Jesus fail to do?

A failure that caused a cataclysmic religious scandal. A scandal so serious that Jesus fled to the North. Which, by the way, is the exact same word that Matthew used in his telling of this story: “scandal.”

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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What I Wish I Knew Then That I Know Now (A First-Person Rendition)

if-i-knew2As you will hear in this PODCAST, I have now reached a point in my life and ministry where I am easily bemused. Bemused by a question that I get asked more and more frequently.

When I am out speaking at a camp or a conference, often times a young man or woman just starting out in the ministry, or headed for his first ministry, will with furrowed brow and pen poised at the ready ask me this singularly significant question:

What do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Meaning, if I could turn the clock back and start over completely…

What is the ONE THING that you know now that you wish you had known then?

What one lesson have you learned over your now forty-two years and counting of ministry that you wish you had learned right out of the chute, right at the beginning?

Ironically enough, it is the very lesson that Jesus sought to communicate to His men here in Matthew 10, this right at the beginning of their first missions trip.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

HAPPY LISTENING.

And if you are encouraged by this message, PLEASE “Share” a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

God bless you as you listen.

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Oh What Might Have Been…

CentsTruer words were never spoken. It is an axiom of life. An undeniable reality that is obvious on its face:

You can’t put toothpaste back in the tube.

Now what in the world does toothpaste have to do with Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 10, you ask? Everything, my friends. Everything.

For the fact of the matter is that there are some things in this world of ours which, once they are done, there’s no going back. Which is so ironically true about the passage in this PODCAST.

I suppose on the one hand, one could ask: Then why even discuss this? If indeed it is how it is… If it’s how the game is played today… If it’s how the game has been played for years… If it’s not going to change… Not by you. Not by me. Not by anyone…

Then why even discuss this?

Because on the other hand Matthew 10:8 IS in the Bible. Because Jesus did indeed say this. Because Matthew did indeed include this in his Gospel masterpiece. Because these ARE the words of Jesus. So God obviously WANTS us to discuss this.

So despite the fact that I have no illusions about changing anything, the precious truth contained in this passage is well-worth our consideration and understanding. And the fact is, WE don’t have to play this game the way it’s always been played.

We can play by a whole different set of rules. Rules of Jesus’ own making.

As He sent out His disciples, Jesus clearly and unambiguously told His men six words that are paradigm-shattering in their impact. So let’s talk about these six words: What they meant to His followers then. More to the point, what they mean for us, His followers, today.

Or at least what it ought to mean to us today.

And as we do so, please permit me to speak in this podcast with a distinct tone of wistfulness in my voice and body language as we contemplate together what might have been… What might have been, if only our evangelical world had simply taken these words of Jesus seriously and applied in our churches consistently.

Oh, what might have been…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

And please share a link to this podcast with your family and friends.

HAPPY LISTENING.

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“These were His Instructions:”

jesus_and_disciplesWe have come in this PODCAST to a monumentally significant section of Scripture.

And yet ironically one of the most ignored.

As we will learn over the next several weeks, here in Mark 6, and its much more complete parallel passage in Matthew 10, we read of something that was for Jesus enormously emotional, and for us incredibly instructional.

Emotional because of its context (Jesus’ compassion for people will shine ever so brightly against dark backdrop of His own rejection); instructional because of its content (that includes wonderfully practical principles we can readily apply).

There is no way for me to overestimate the value of the insights that we will discover together here as we sort of eavesdrop on Jesus as He prepares His men for ministry.

Just to give you a sneak peak of just some of the things that we will learn together as we dissect and digest this that we could call The Master’s Message to His Men, we will discover:

  • How Jesus wants His ministers — both then and now — to conduct their ministries;
  • How Jesus wants His present pastors to pastor;
  • What the template for any ministry that Jesus develops here in Matthew 10 actually looks like;
  • Where the lines of the ministry blueprint are drawn;
  • Jesus’ purpose statement for all future ministries;
  • Jesus’ own philosophy of ministry, and how it translates into our own ministry contexts today.

You could say that Jesus wrote the ministry manual that He intended each of us who dare to minister in His name to follow, and that Matthew 10 is that manual. A chapter of epic importance that was completely overlooked, and never-once-considered throughout my four years of Bible college, three years of seminary, and five years completing a doctoral program.

#Never.Mentioned.Once.

I cannot help but to wonder how different the church landscape would look today if we actually taught future pastors what Jesus taught His men. Jesus planted here in Matthew 10 the seeds of ministry principles that will come to full bloom in rest of New Testament. In short, how we view the ministry and discharge our own ministries begins right here.

Please note that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it might take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

HAPPY LISTENING.

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The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

wheat fieldReady to have a somewhat sobering, definitely enlightening, and #Oh.So.Encouraging discussion?

Then welcome to this week’s PODCAST!!!

An encouraging discussion, certainly to me personally, and hopefully to you, because Jesus’ 2nd parable, The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (the 1st we discussed last week, The Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seeds) is spot-on as far as Jesus predicting with pinpoint accuracy EXACTLY what would be taking place in our contemporary Christian culture and communities today…

…And why!

A thought-provoking portrait upon which you and I need to gaze with insight and understanding.

This is one of those messages that puts so much into its proper perspective. Honestly, I can’t wait for you to hear it.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU LISTEN!!!

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