Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fight to Reach Your Friends for Jesus.

     Wow guys, this is our last week of the semester! It's been a great one, but I'm ready for it to be over. In light of us being in our hometowns for almost a month, I want to encourage you that God wants to use you, here in college, with your friends back home, at your Christmas dinner table, and in line at the grocery store.
     This bible study is diving into what God has to say about reaching our friends and how we can go about doing so.
     I want to start by showing a quick video. [Miracle Maker: lowering of paralyzed man from roof]
     Let's get into scripture and read the story ourselves. Mark 2:1-12 let's just read all the way through. 
  • Paralyzed were seen as worthless.
  • Can you imagine the joy of this man when his 4 friends picked this man up?
  • Everyone gathered to see the man who saves, the man who heals, he calms the storms, he was very popular.
Stop at Mark 2:4. This is where most friends stop. We have the heart to bring our friends to Jesus but when we hit a barrier we stop. let's read on... 
  • What are barriers that may stop us from reaching our friends?
  • How can we overcome those barriers, how can we be creative?
Mark 2:5 Jesus saw the faith of his friends! This is one of the coolest part of the story. 
Jesus met the man's deepest need.
  •  What are our friends deepest needs?
  • What about all the other paralyzed people. The hundreds or thousands of paralyzed friends that didn't have friends to take them to Jesus?
  • If it were not for these friends where would the man still be?
  • What traits did these friends show?
John 15:13 "Greater has love has none like this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
  • What does this mean. How do we die for our friends?
  • What does this mean in terms of taking them to Jesus?
Acts 17:26-27
  • Why did God place us in this time and place here and at home?
  • What does the term "Sphere of influence" mean to you?
Romans 10:9-15 
  • What must someone do to be saved?
  • What does it take for our friends to hear the Gospel?
  • Who has God chosen to bring the "good news"?
Colossians 4:2-6
  • How does prayer relate to reaching our friends?
  • What qualities should come from our words as we share the Gospel?
1Peter 3:15
  • How can you "always be prepared" to share your faith?
  • What are some questions friends may ask us that are opportunities? 
  • What would you say to a friend that asked "how do you become a Christian?"

I admit this can be scary: We have help:
Acts 1:6-8 "So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his won authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

This should be our prayer: 
Ephesians 6:19-20 "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words my be give me so that I will fearlessly make know the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chins. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as i should.

Let's end in prayer:


(*i need to note that this bible study was inspired by desperation podcast.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Encouragement (Growth Bible Study)

     Encouragement is a huge blessing from following Christ. As a body, we are called to lift each other up and encourage one another's walk with God. If this opportunity to live giving encouragement is applied, following God alongside other believers will be so awesome!

     In John 13, Jesus washes his disciples feet. In that culture only the lowest class servants would wash other's feet. Jesus goes in to say, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should  was one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (John13:14-15). 
     Jesus served, loved, and encouraged us to the ultimate level. He tells us that his example of loving each other is the one we should follow.

  • Jesus says, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all me will know that your are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35)
  • "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may befit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29).  
  • "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25).
  • "... There fore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
  • "See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today", so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness" (Hebrews 3:12-13).
  • The early church did an awesome job of loving each other. See Acts 2:42-47.
  • Acts 14:21-22


     [Life Application] James 1:22 & 1John 5:3
     * As a immediate application of God's Word, let's do a circle of encouragement.
     * As a larger life application of God's Word, let's be intentional. Let's go out loving, encouraging, and serving one another. Not only because Christ commands us to, but out of love for both the people and for Jesus. Let's make this a life habit that draws more and more people to Christ.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jesus is Relevant

    

     Wow, it's midterms now on campus. Students all around me are stressed more than ever. Even if you are not a student, life can be plain hard sometimes. 

Let's start with this short little story:

     There was this college professor. A week before midterm exams, she revealed to her students that they are going to have to cover a crazy huge amount of material on the exam. As she told this, all kinds of tension built up in the room. The students were sighing and gasping, thinking this is going to be impossible to pass. The following week, the professor walked in, tossed the stack graded papers on her desk, and announced, “Class, after I left here last week, the Lord spoke to me. He said, “Thanks, professor. I haven’t heard from some of those students in years!”

On a serious note, who has been feeling drained, lacking sleep, getting homesick, and stressed out?

I want to address the question; how relevant is Jesus? or What does Jesus matter to me right now? Not only does Jesus matter right now, Jesus matters on a significant level.
1.      First of all, we are all in need.
a.       We have to deal with loneliness, guilt, worthiness, stress, emptiness, falling short, missing the mark, sinning, feeling drained, depressed, burdened, longing for something more, and searching for acceptance and security…
b.      Quick statistics
                                                              i.      American College Health Association reports almost 50% of college students will be so depressed during college they will be unable to function.
                                                            ii.      Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among these students.
                                                          iii.      In a recent survey by MTV, 80% of college students said they felt stressed out
                                                          iv.      42% Felt lonely
                                                            v.      Students are tempted to turn to alcohol, drug, and sexual experimentation to fill those needs.
Jesus offers a solution to those needs.
a.       (Matt 9:12-13) Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick… For I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”
                                                              i.      Calling the sick, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and calling the sinners to him.
b.      (Matt 11:28-30) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
                                                              i.      Greek: Rest= Anapauo (an-ap-ow’o). to permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect his strength
                                                            ii.      Some see God as an angry God. Wanting to punish people. No, he offers rest and revovery. He goes on to offer even more.
c.       (Matt 6:25) “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, about your body, or what you will wear…”
d.      (Matt 6:33) “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
e.       (2Peter 1:3) “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through knowledge of him…”
                                                              i.      This was written to believers
f.       (John 6:35) Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
g.       (James 4:8) “Come near to God and he will come near to you”
                                                              i.      Connect’s theme verse
h.      (John 7:38) Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
i.         (1 John 4:16) And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
                                                              i.      Relying on God and living in his love will only help us love others.
j.        (Matthew 28:20) “And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
                                                              i.      Untill we die or Jesus comes back.
Accepting Christ Fills us with the Holy Spirit
a.       The Holy Spirit:
                                                              i.      In short: Similar to a human consisting of body, soul, and spirit, God is one God in three parts: Father (God), son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.
                                                            ii.      He lives in you (Ephesians 1:13)
                                                          iii.      He encourages, comforts, and helps you (John 14:6, Romans 8:26)
                                                          iv.      He guides you (Romans 8:14)
                                                            v.      He is the source of abundant life (John 7:37-39)

     Where does all of this leave us? What does Jesus matter to me right now?
Review: We are so in need. Statistics so it, my own life shows it. We can’t do this alone. Jesus makes it very clear he is the only answer. He is the answer to my problems right now right here.

     If you are not currently following Christ: Christ is calling you, “Come to me, believe in me, seek me, I will give you rest, I will quench your thirsts, I will give you life, I will give you everything you need, and I will never leave you.”
·         You can respond in prayer (talking to God all about the heart) “Jesus I believe in you and I want to seek you. Please forgive me of my sins and allow me to be who you planned for me to be.”

     If you are following Jesus: I challenge you to evaluate where you are now.
·         How much are you pressing into Jesus? Where do you turn for your problems? What or who is your source for everything you do? Take a deep look at your struggles and press into Jesus.

It all comes down to two words: ONLY JESUS!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Light in the Darkness: A Good Example

video
     Throughout the whole bible there is a theme of light and darkness. Jesus takes it to the next level when he calls for us to be a light in the darkness. 


     What does this theme of "light" mean? And what exactly was Jesus meaning when he called us to be a light. Well, let's see what the word has to say about this...

  •       Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:3-5 NIV)
  •      When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)


    •  Who is the light?
  •      "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
  •       "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
  •      Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. (Philippians 2:14-16)
  •      Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
  •      For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:8-16)


    • What are we called to do?
    • Have you ever seen anyone almost physically radiating with light?

  •      If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)
    • What if we don't walk in the light? And if we do?
    • What are actual ways we find our selves walking in darkness? actual ways to walk in the light?
  •      Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
    • What is the significance or reason we are called to be in the light? (1Peter 2:11-12)
  •      (First read Acts 13:47, then read the context 46-48) Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: " 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth."When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. (Acts 13:46-48)  
    • What is the significance or the reason that we are called to be in the light?
      • What other good things from being in the light?
     In conclusion, Jesus calls us all to be in the light. Doing so will bring others to Christ and will bring glory to him. See this study as a challenge or an opportunity to evaluate areas in your life that may be in darkness and areas in the light. Try to begin to look at things through a filter of dark vs. light. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

WHY JUSUS?

So someone may ask you (or you may be asking) "Why Jesus?" 

I mean, there are lots of religions, world views, famous people in history, so what's so unique about Jesus? Well, there are lots of reasons. For time and simplicity, we can focus on what Jesus's message was strait from his mouth in the bible. His message is very unique and is an awesome reason to choose Him. 

First of all, Jesus loves you and wants to give you a full life.

a.       As the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (Jn 15:9)
But there’s the Sin separation.
a.       Sin is the unbelief in me (Jn. 16:9)
b.      Everyone who sins is a slave of sin. (Jn. 8:34)
c.       They will go away to punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Mt 25:46)
Jesus is the “way” to fix that sepperation
a.        God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone how believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (Jn 3:16)
It’s your decision to accept Jesus personally.

You can watch my "Why Jesus" talk on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watchv=Uxsf0Egb77k&feature=player_embedded

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why a God blog?

     This is simply a God blog to share cool things that God is up to, encourage people in their own walks with God, and to share with people how to even have a relationship with God in the first place.

     In Matthew 5:14 Jesus calls us to be "The light of the world and a city on a hill". I imagine we can all agree that the internet can be a dark and sketchy place. As followers of Jesus, we should use our computer/technology access to be that light in the darkness. Not only should we be good examples, we should encourage each other, and we should share the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ Matthew 28:18-20

     There are a few different ways to share Jesus. Natural sharing, meaning just sharing Jesus with friends and people around you. Body sharing, to bring someone to a body of believers such as church, youth group, a Christian conference, etc. Finally, there is mission sharing and that means to go out and share with strangers and tell people about Jesus even before you solidify a friendship. That all being said, I believe there should be a fourth way to share Jesus. In our current generation technology is a strategic tool to reach masses of people. I think blog sharing is a new way to reach people online and share Jesus with them. We shouldn't do any less of the first three ways of sharing, but add this way on top of the others.

     My vision for this blog is to post (and allow others to post) what we're experiencing in God's word and in life. I plan to almost use this as a journal during quiet times, bible study planning, books I'm reading and stuff like that. This should encourage people in their own walks with God. In general, this blog is all about cool things going on in our and others journey with God. Good stuff. -Brandon