Posts Tagged With: God

Let There be No Doubt”

“Let There be No Doubt.”

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, If you were going to compose a title for this, only the second sermon Peter ever preached, you could not do much better than this: “Let There be No Doubt.”

By the time Peter draws this homiletic masterpiece to its rousing conclusion, there will be no doubt in the minds of his hearers.

  • No doubt about who Jesus is.
  • No doubt about who they are.
  • No doubt about what they have done.
  • And no doubt about what they now need to do.

“Let There be No Doubt.” A sermon made all the more remarkable given who preached it: an uneducated fisherman who just weeks before had denied, disowned, and so completely denounced Jesus that he quit as a disciple and returned to fishing.

A man who wept bitter/angry tears in the wake of his profound disappointment and deep disillusionment as he watched in horror as Jesus was led away in chains, to be killed as a common criminal by the very people—the barbaric, interloping, country-occupying, universally-hated Romans—whom Peter thought Jesus had come finally to vanquish completely, to expel from the land permanently, and to send sailing back to Italy disgracefully.

To channel Peter’s own words (2 Peter 2), no doubt written with his own dismal failure in mind, Peter had become

“A dog that had returned to its vomit, a washed pig who had returned to the mud.”

Yet in spite of all of that, Jesus met Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where they had shared so many precious memories together. And there, Jesus graciously gave Peter a second chance.

  • Yes. Peter! Who had recently pompously proclaimed (in John 13) “I am ready to die for you.”
  • Yes. Peter! Who then proceeded on that same night to completely collapse under the gaze of a servant girl.
  • Yes. Peter! Who for a second time was asked by Jesus to “Follow Me,” this time with the caveat that if Peter said “Yes” to that offer, it would cost him his life.
  • Now, barely two months later, here in Acts 3. Yes. Peter! Who now would make good on Jesus’ offer by literally putting his life on line as he stood before thousands, and thundered in the Temple courts for all to hear these extraordinary words…

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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A Dazzling Day of Astonishing Amazement

“For more than forty years.”

As you will hear in this PODCAST, five simple words, easily missed if we hastily read the account as recorded for us by Dr. Luke.

Five astonishing words that unlock this entire episode in the life of the first early church in Jerusalem.

“For more than forty years.”

For more than forty years, everywhere this man went someone had to carry him.

For more than forty years this man never knew the simple pleasure of standing on his own two feet.

For more than forty years this man knew nothing of the joys of going for a walk, let alone a jog.

For more than forty years he could never once kick a soccer ball, hit a baseball, throw a football, or run through the waves as they lapped upon the shore of the Mediterranean.

For more than forty years this man never knew a healthy day—never knew for even a minute what it would be like to have two legs that weren’t as limp as dishrags.

For more than forty years this man had in his legs no feeling, no movement, no sensations of any kind.

For more than forty years this man could go up to the Temple courts to beg, but never into Temple to worship since he was prohibited from doing so in Leviticus 21.

For more than forty years this man knew nothing but the prospect of yet another day spent stretching out his arms, reaching out his hands, and begging for alms.

For more than forty years he was forced to endure being ignored, refused, looked down upon, and judged as a sinner.

Such was the life of one man for more than forty years.

This poor beggar, bereft of health, robbed of any hope of self-respect, devoid of any semblance of a life.

Until this day when Peter and John showed up.

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 (An Encore Podcast)

While I am away speaking at a Junior High/Middle School Camp at a place near and dear to my heart–Hartland Christian Camp–may I welcome 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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Right Stage Thinking in a Left Stage World

While I am away speaking at Hume Lake, please enjoy this Encore Podcast.

You are about to hear an amazing story about a remarkable man, AND an encounter with Jesus that includes one of the most important and practical biblical principles that you will find anywhere in the pages of the Bible.

Quite a claim, I know. One that I will absolutely prove in this PODCAST.

A principle that I will be presumptuous enough to suggest that you and I need to hear, and of which we need to be reminded, perhaps often.

This is on the surface a story about a man born blind (which would be remarkable enough). But it is also a story about sheep, about a sheepfold, about the door of the sheepfold, about Jesus who identified Himself as the “door of the sheep,” and about life in the desert in which the sheep and shepherds in Israel lived and continue to live.

Before we get to the story itself, I need very briefly to remind you of something we talked about way back on February 2, 2013, nearly 3 years ago. When God appeared to Moses in the Burning Bush, He made a most remarkable statement: “I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Interesting phrase, “milk and honey.” Honey (a jam made of figs and dates) refers to the land of the farmer, and the bounty of the fruit of the land that is grown by the farmers. Milk refers to the land of the shepherd, and that which is produced by the flocks that are raised and cared for by the shepherds. In Israel, both lands — milk and honey — come together in a breathtaking variety of geography and climate that (NOW GET THIS) puts into its proper perspective EXACTLY the kind of lives that we are living today. More specifically, HOW and WHY we think the way we do today.

We have SO MUCH to learn from this story.

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. Words worth waiting for, I assure you.

God bless you as you listen.

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Proof Positive

It was proof undeniable.

A reality on the ground about which every person in that vast crowd on this most significant Day of Pentecost knew.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, Peter triumphantly trumpeted to that crowd, and to us,

“As you yourselves know.”

Boy, did they know.

How could they not have known?

Fact is, reports of this wonder-working man from Galilee had circulated far and wide throughout the whole of the Roman Empire. Eyewitness accounts of His “miracles, wonders, and signs” had spread to every corner of the Mediterranean world.

Fact is, if the people who had gathered in the Holy City on this Holy Day were honest with themselves and honest with the facts, they knew that what Peter’s voice boomed in Acts 2:36 was undeniably true:

“So let everyone in Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, to be both Lord and Messiah.”

Yes, they knew. “For certain,” they knew!!!

Of course, the obvious questions are: Why did they know for certain? How could they have known for certain?

The answer to those questions is equally obvious, for them, and for 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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THE Most Important Holiday That We (Sadly) Never Celebrate

Ready to hit the ground running? This is so exciting. And just remember, I Love this stuff!

As you will hear in this PODCAST, in the culture of Jesus’ day, the agricultural cycle of sowing and reaping, planting and harvesting, was absolutely central to the existence of the Jewish people. So much so that the agricultural calendar was an essential part of the day-in and day-out rhythm of their lives, including Jesus’.

You can understand why. They could not simply go to Roths, Winco, Alberstons, Safeway or some other grocery store to buy their food. Their lives literally depended upon, revolved around their agricultural calendar. Hold onto that thought for a second.

Allow me now to shift gears ever so slightly, to this thought:

God wants you to know with absolute certainty, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that death is not the end, but is a gloriously grand beginning. Think about that for a second.

We live (in theory) with an awesome, palpable sense of anticipation for the day when we will get brand new bodies, just like Jesus’ resurrected body. That day coming in the Future.

Here in the Present, we are now watching the fulfillment of God’s promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit as He moves throughout earth in real time, every single day, saving the souls of precious people from Hell, and guaranteeing them, and you, an eternal place in Heaven. We are talking about the redemption of our bodies in the future, and the redemption of our souls in the present.

In order to paint that picture, God inserted Himself into the very soil of the culture of the New Testament. And He did so on two separate specific, picturesque days — separated from each other by exactly 50 days. Two Holy Days, Jewish holidays each, that were exactly 50 days apart. Both of which were agricultural. Both of which the people felt keenly.

And after hearing this podcast, you will feel it too.

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 Forgotten Half of THE Greatest Story

Today is Easter Sunday.

BUT, as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, today is infinitely, eternally so much more than that.

A day of incomparable significance. 

“Christ IS risen. He is risen INDEED.”

But that is only half the story.

Ready to hear the other half?

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 richly as you listen.

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Unhindered!

So it is with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye that in this PODCAST we bid adieu to Jesus in HD.

Lest you regret that we will now no longer hear all-things-Jesus-related, fear not, my friends. For as we now break the seal on the amazing book of Acts and our study of Peter in HD, which of course will then pivot to Paul in HD somewhere around ch 13, and as I will demonstrate in mere moments, the book of Acts is very much a book all about Jesus primarily; Peter, Paul and other apostles secondarily.

In this podcast, our goal is to lay the foundation for this entire study.

A study that will include:

1. Entire of book of Acts; the lives primarily of both Peter and then Paul, along with an entire array of some of the most interesting individuals you’d every want to meet;

2. The birth, growth, and establishment of what Jesus called in Matthew 16:18 His ekklesia — this when He declared for all the world to hear,

“I will build my ekklesia, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”

3. The non-stop-yet-failed attempts of “all the powers of hell itself” to conquer it, destroy it, and in any way possible to frustrate its expansion to the whole world.

4. The way in which redemptive history unfolded in the immediate aftermath of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

5. The glorious heritage that is ours as the present-generation of Christ-followers, with a direct link all the way back to these amazing men and women of faith. Individuals who literally put their lives on the line in order to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission that we detailed for you last week in our final Jesus in HD podcast.

This is our heritage. You and I are standing on the shoulders of giants: the fathers and mothers of our faith.

I can assure you that they would not have seen themselves as anything but frail, faltering, certainly faith-struggling individuals; never as giants. Yet, giants they were. People who lived literally day-to-day as they tried to navigate the shark-filled waters of their spiritually-hostile, Rome-dominated world.

What an example they set for us; what a legacy they left for us as they humbly bore the name of Jesus before a watching, often unwelcoming world. We cannot know, nor appreciate, who we are as CCFs, nor what this is all about, nor where this is all going, unless and until we understand from where we’ve come. That is what this study will provide.

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 Rip Heard ‘Round the World

screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-11-21-04-amThink of it. As you will hear in this PODCAST

Promptly at 3 PM…

Exactly at That.Very.Moment when Jesus breathed His last…

Precisely to the second when Jesus exclaimed, “It is finished. Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit”…

This happened:

“Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

Do you have any idea what that means? It will take the remainder of this discussion for us even to begin to understand What.That.Means.

Why did God tear the veil?

It was obviously God who ripped it. No human hand could possibly tear it. That veil was an elaborately woven fabric that stood 60 feet high, equal in height to a seven-story building. No one could tear that curtain. Only God could tear that curtain.

Which only amplifies the question, Why?

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 Gold Standard of Our Faith

psalm-22They say that “For every sigh, there’s a psalm.” As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, they are 100% correct.

What an absolutely, beautifully inspired collection of very real, honest, soul-soaring, gut-wrenching human expressions is contained within its 150 chapters.

So many verses of its 150 songs are profoundly personal prayers that you and I can pray right back to God, giving us an immediate connection with the principle players in the biblical drama.

Psalms, the single most emotion-filled book in the Bible. Yes, indeed. For every sigh, there IS a psalm.

If variety is the spice of life, then the Book of Psalms

is a pretty spicy book. One that includes hymns of praise, thanksgiving, godly wisdom and sound theology, expressions of our doubts and fears balanced by an unshakable faith in God through good times and bad. Imprecatory psalms that are cries for God’s justice and vengeance in an unjust world. Songs of lament that give voice to the many challenges of our painful lives.

There are also historical psalms that remind the worshipper of God’s faithfulness in the past. And for our purposes in this podcast, prophetical psalms. Songs that flood our souls with the confident hope that God will keep His many precious promises in future, just as He has in the past.

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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