< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Review of Do Baby Bears Have Mommies?

Do Baby Bears Have Mommies? has a list of questions your child might ask on each page with an answer. (I even learned some things!)

The illustrations are charming and both the questions and answers are in the form of rhymes, so fun to read to your children. And I like how it ends with telling the reader that it's God who makes all these unique animals and bugs.


This is the first in a series of Question books the authors are working on which includes the book Does God Take Naps. These would make a fun and educational edition for your kid’s library.


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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Eye-opening book on prayer

I just finished reading the book 'The Lifestyle of a Watchman - A 21-Day Journey to Becoming a Guardian in Prayer' by James W. Goll

This book was eye-opening. I had no idea there are so many “watchmen” praying 24/7 all over the country.

The author used examples of Biblical characters as well as current folks who pray God’s Word back to Him and explains that’s why the prayers are so effective.

He’s divided the book into 21 days, each chapter not too long, but filled with Bible verses and ending in a wonderful prayer. There are also questions for you to ask yourself to help you really understand and think about what you just read.

This book makes a good prayer resource for your library!


*I received my copy from Chosen books to write an honest review on it.

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Sunday, April 09, 2017

John 6:16-21

John 6:16-21 When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. 18 A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

The Sea of Galilee is an inland, freshwater lake, fed by the Jordan River. It lies almost 700 feet below sea level. The surrounding hills rise about 2000 feet above sea level, with the peaks beyond rising even higher. After nightfall when the air at higher elevations cools, this cooler air races down the slopes to the warmth of the low-lying lake. Strong winds are common and often stir up storms unexpectedly. Because the lake is relatively shallow, when storms strike, the wind whips up high waves that can easily swamp a small boat. This is the situation the disciples found themselves in. The men rowed until almost dawn. (the fourth watch of the night). The fishermen in the group would know how dangerous their situation was. They were afraid and struggling.

This story is in 3 of the Gospels, so it’s an important story. And there’s a reason it comes right after feeding the 5000 which is in all 4 of the Gospels. These 2 miracles are nature miracles. People were given more miracles back then to show that Jesus was God’s Son. He only had 3 years for his mission. He had to grab people’s attention. Plus, they didn’t have CNN or in-depth interviews like we do today.

Nature miracles reveal the character of God. Nobody could do either of these, but God Himself. You might be able to explain away healing, but it’s impossible for anyone else to calm a storm or feed 5000 from the little He started with.

The story is a little different in each Gospel. John doesn’t mention Peter walking on water out to Christ. And there’s a whole lesson in Peter’s part of the story – how he took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink, but he still had a flicker of faith and called out to the Lord to save him and Jesus did. But I’m only going to talk about the John story.

And to understand it we have to go back to John 6:15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

They wanted to make Him king because He miraculously fed them. There are a couple things we can say about this. One is they were caught up in the excitement – like crowds, especially big crowds often are. But also these people were ruled by Rome and they didn’t like that. They were Jews who only wanted God as their ruler. So there was kind of a resistance group at this time always looking for ways to overthrow the Roman’s hold over them. If they could have unlimited food, that would be a help, it would be one less thing they would have to depend on Rome for.

And I already mentioned that they may have remembered how Moses wrote in the Torah about the prophet (or Messiah) coming who would feed them manna. Well, Jesus just fed them manna. So maybe Jesus was the Messiah.

But again. God’s plan was never an earthly king. And Jesus is already the king over every believer’s life. Remember Satan tried to tempt Him with this very same thing.  “I’ll give you the kingdoms of the earth.” Now the people were trying to tempt Him and He resists by going off to pray.

Jesus didn’t come to earth to be popular or even to make people’s lives easier. He came to be Savior of the World!

One mistake people often still make is seeking Jesus for the wrong reasons. To get them out of a fix or to give them something they thing they need, instead of having a relationship with Him, believing he is who He says He is.

We should praise and worship Him, yes! But we should also just talk to Him. And listen to Him. And try to be more like Him.

Verses 16 and 17 again - When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, 17 where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them.

So Jesus sends the disciples away. He didn’t want them to get any ideas about making Him king too! We know from other places in the Bible they didn’t always understand His mission either and at least one time the mother of James and John came to Jesus asking if her sons would have prominent places when Jesus came into His kingdom. They could have easily gotten caught up in the crowd.

So he sends them in the boat back to where they came from and He goes up the mountain to pray. Jesus often went somewhere to be alone in prayer and because it’s written about in the Bible it’s an important lesson for us.  We need to get away and be still with God at times. We need to pray – just God and us.

Then the storm kicks in. And the disciples were 3 and a half miles out which would have been about dead center in the lake. There was no going back. They were rowing with all their might.

The disciples straining against the oars can represent Christians today trying to do what is right. They were out there because Jesus had sent them. Yet, they still ran into trouble. A couple things to learn from this – Christians are not promised a life with no trials. And we can almost always expect them after a mountain top experience.

The disciples had just witnessed a huge miracle. They were probably ecstatic! They had chosen the fight guy to follow! They were doing exactly what Christ told them to do. And then…Boom! Big trial!

It will happen! Sometimes because Satan will go after you if he sees you victorious, sometimes it might be God humbling you, “Hey, don’t let all that go to your heard!” “let me bring you down to earth where you belong!” And sometimes you’re just on a spiritual high and you let your guard down. Maybe even sometimes God is doing a little test on your faith. Not that He needs to know how much you have, but to show you how much you have!

So Jesus comes out walking on the water. And the disciples thought they saw a ghost! It’s amazing that some people are more ready to believe in ghosts then the Creator!

The disciples were in the dark…very symbolic because they were without Christ right then! And when they were without Him, first they were afraid of the winds and waves, and then they thought they had a ghost to deal with! At least the storm was natural! One thing you can take from this is, our real distresses are often increased by our imaginary ones.

So Jesus had been up on the mountain praying. For a long time. From sundown til between 3 and 6 a.m. Anyone in here ever prayed that long? And He saw the disciples. One thing about being God – He can see in the dark! Not sure if you knew that!

We can use this picture for today. In the story, Jesus is on the mountain praying. Today He is in heaven praying. In the story, He sees the disciples struggling and needing help. Today He sees us struggling and needing help. In the story did he come right away? No, they managed to get half way across the lake before He came (after 8 hours). But, we know He came at exactly the right minute! He is the on-time God. Many times when people have gone through bad times you’ll hear them say, “You know, I just don’t think I would have lasted one second longer! God showed up in the nick of time!”

God watches us. When we’re alone, when we struggle, when we run out of support, when we don’t know what to do. When we row and row and row and just don’t seem to be getting anywhere. He has His eyes on us! We may not be paying attention to Him, but He’s paying attention to us!

Later in John you’ll see Jesus considers us His love gifts from God! Don’t you think He’s going to take care of those gifts? We are never out of His thoughts and He is going to bring every one of those gifts home to His Father.

Jesus tells the disciples “It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Sometimes people will tell you not to worry, but you still do because there’s always the chance they don’t what what they’re talking about! Or they have no control and there are certainly a lot of things to fear in life! Whether someday some doctor will tell us we have a terminal illness or someone we love and needs does, or we lost our job, or terrorism, tornados, so many things,, but Jesus is more powerful than anything on earth or in the universe! We have no reason to fear when we rely on Him. And He will come to us even when our faith is imperfect. When we have doubt. All we need is just enough faith to call out to God to save us. And He will.

In the Bible there are 2 stories about Jesus and storms. One time He calmed the storm and another He calmed His children. That’s the same with our trials. Occasionally He might resolve our problem for us. More often than not though He’ll just be with us through it. Because our trials have a purpose.

It might be to teach us patience. Or to trust in God. To be humble. It might be to teach us about His priorities, to focus on Him instead of worldly things. To be more compassionate, how to help others in their troubles. How to be grateful for what we do have. Or to stop us from doing something we shouldn’t be doing.

This story is teaching us the only thing that calms our fears is faith. Faith in the Lord who comes to us in the midst of the winds and waves of life. Who speaks to us and says, “Take heart, it is I: do not be afraid.”

He said it to the disciples then and says it to us now. Earthquakes, Aids, Mindless senseless killings, fears that wake you up in the middle of the night and weigh you down during the day – it may not look like He’s in control, but He is. And you know how we know that? Because all of these things were prophesied in the Bible. He foretold them since before the beginning of time. So there is a purpose in them. And He can and will make good things come from bad. Faith overcomes fear. Faith that Jesus is the Son of God sent for our salvation. He has overcome death. When He says be not afraid it is I – He’s saying “it is I, JESUS! THE SON OF GOD! Able to do all these things!!

Whenever we have any kind of trial, particularly those into which we know God directed us, we can remember 3 things promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempte] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1. Trials are common to all people. We think no one has it as bad as we do – no one has suffered as much as we have – that no one understands what we’re going through, but we have to face our trials with courage. Even as Christians, maybe especially as Christians, we can’t avoid trials. In this situation Jesus actually sent them into the storm.

2. God is faithful. He will never let us be tempted or tried beyond what we can bear. Jesus stands by God’s throne in constant intercessory prayer for us and remember the story of the 3 men thrown into the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel? How the king looked in and saw 4 men – and one like an angel? And no one ended up being hurt? That was Jesus. The worse times we are going through – the closer He is.

3. In every trial God will provide a way out. Just as Jesus didn’t let the disciples struggle on the sea indefinitely. He will come to us – but like this example of Him walking on water, it may not be as we would expect Him to. The way out may be a helpful friend God sends us. A promise we read in the Bible, an offer of a job, a good book to read that ends up inspiring us or giving us hope or even a solution. It could be a sense of His presence when you’re praying, or the knowledge that, hey this thing I’ve been going through has actually helped me! It’s made me stronger or opened doors to me in ways I would never have thought of myself. Like kids going through cancer and deciding to become a doctor after.

We should never just wallow in self-pity. OR try to get others to pity us. We should never become bitter or resentful. We shouldn’t even choose to feel we’re alone because it’s not true. We always have Christ. When He sends his help, like the disciples we need to reach out and pull Him into the boat with us. The saying, “Jesus never promised it would be a smooth ride, just that He would get you to your destination and that it would be worth it” may have come from this story!

Jesus is greater than anything that happens to us. Whatever His purpose for us, whatever He’s told us to do – even if it takes us into a storm at sea – He is responsible for us – we are His love gifts from His Father.

Look at verse 21 again: Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

Did you notice? They had struggled for 8 hours to get half way. But, once Jesus was with them they got immediately to the other side!

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Friday, April 07, 2017

John 6:1-15

John 6:1-4 Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near.

So, in the past chapter Jesus spoke mostly to Jewish officials who were out to get Him. We don’t know how much time passed between then and the current scene set in the north of Galilee, but instead of people who openly opposed Him, Jesus now spoke to people who were interested in Him: the Passover pilgrims who had heard of Jesus’ miracles, casual disciples who wanted to benefit from Him and the 12 disciples He chose to walk with Him.

The Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke fill in the background details of this next miracle. Jesus and His disciples needed to rest. Only recently Herod had executed John the Baptist, who remember was also Jesus’ cousin. (And some of Jesus’ disciples had first been John’s disciples.) Plus, the crowds were relentless.

The time was the Jewish Passover, springtime in Israel. Most Jewish men as well as their families traveled to Jerusalem for it, but Jesus decided not to this year. He was in Galilee, too far away for the temple to require Him to be there. Instead they went to the hill country above the Sea of Galilee, known today as the Golan Heights.

The men borrowed or rented a boat. They rowed across the lake to the opposite shore near where the Jordan River flows into the lake at its north end. Many people saw Jesus leave Capernaum with His disciples. There were a lot of pilgrims out and word spread quickly. People in the western towns began walking around the northern shore in search of Jesus. Pilgrims to Jerusalem who took the eastern route to avoid Samaria, would have joined in. Some of the Gospels said these people ran (about 9 miles) to see Him!

A lot of these people were sick and wanted to have Jesus heal them. And He of course had compassion for them. So, He gave up His own rest, went up the slope and sat down.
This signaled the crowd that He intended to teach them. And of course He did much more than that!

John 6:5-9 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”


The other Gospels speak of the disciples’ concern to send the crowd away to find food for themselves before it became too dark. John, the only Gospel to mention Passover, jumps from the mention of that feast to this feast the Lord Jesus provides. An unexpected gift to 5000 hungry men, plus women and children. (Probably 20,000 people total).

Jesus needed no help to feed the crowd. Remember God sending the Israelites Manna from Heaven? But He had the disciples get involved and help so they would learn how much they could accomplish working with Jesus. The question He asked Philip was “to test him.”

Philip figured out what it would take and it would have been humanly impossible for them. But the disciples needed to clearly hear that first.

Phillip looked at how large the problem was. And Andrew focused on how small their resources were. Both of them had been at the wedding in Cana. Probably even drank some of the wine Jesus made… They witnessed many healings!

The boy with the loaves and fish must have been poor because that was peasant food. Bread made with barley flour. The 5 loaves would have been small, round flatbread, kind of like a pancake! The fish would have been small also – just enough to flavor the bread.

There have been a lot of sermons about this boy. Bringing all that you have – little though it is – to the Lord and God multiplying it.

John 6:10-13 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.


Other Gospels tell that it was the 12 Disciples who distributed the meal. Wouldn’t you have liked to have been there? How does 5 loaves of bread, each the size of a pancake and 2 fish even get passed out to 12 Disciples to begin with? What did this look like?
But the lesson is: God can do ANYTHING! At ANYTIME! And He does it lavishly! Everyone ate til they were satisfied and then there were lots of leftovers!

John 6::14-15 14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Remember it was Passover, so the thoughts of the crowd jumped to Moses and Israel’s time in the wilderness. When God gave them manna. Now, here they were in the wilderness without food and Jesus provided. So they thought this must be the Prophet that Moses talked about. It was believed that Messiah would come and reign from Jerusalem and lead the nations of the world. (Which He will one day!)

But at that time the miracle was meant to show Christ’s divine authority and the compassion of God, not a government official passing out free food.

They were ready to crown Him king though if it meant never worrying about food anymore.

The world wants us to conform. Jesus shows us the example of what to do when that happens. He goes up into the mountain and pours His heart out in prayer to God. Only God can strengthen us against temptation. We all really really need alone time with God!

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Thursday, April 06, 2017

John 5:21-47

John 5:21-30 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.

24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. 25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

Immediately, at the time of accepting Christ, Jesus gives us eternal life. We’ve already crossed over from death to life. This life doesn’t end because it comes with Jesus’ promise that we won’t be judged. If we’ve received Christ we are free from God’s condemnation. Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Where Jesus said “those who have done what is good” – that means have chosen Christ. To “do evil” is to reject Christ. Eternity holds no second chances.

John 5: 31-47 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.
33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

Where Jesus said if he testified about Himself it wasn’t true. That refers to the Law of Moses which required 2 testimonies in a court of law. You couldn’t have just 1 person’s word. So He gave more. “There is another” refers to God the Father. When Jesus was baptized God’s voice said “this is My Son whom I love. With Him I am well pleased” – He repeated these words at the Transfiguration. And God also spoke of His Son in the Old Testament. The entire Old Testament pointed to Jesus as the fulfillment to prophecy.

He also mentioned John the Baptists testimony. And then His own works.

But the religious leaders shut their minds to the truth. “You refuse to come to Me to have life.” Knowledge of Scripture isn’t good enough. You have to apply it. Obey it. Believe it! And you have to love God! To put Him first. To have His opinion of you mean more then other people’s opinion of you.

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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

John 5:1-20

In John chapter 5 Jesus’ identity is clearly revealed and both faith AND unbelief grow. So does conflict. Before the end of the chapter Jesus’ life is threatened. This chapter shows that no one can stand on the sidelines when Jesus proclaims His equality with God the Father. Everyone has to make a decision about Him.

John 5:1-5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.  5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.

At this pool, crowds of disabled people gathered because of a belief that an angel occasionally imparted healing powers to the water. One man there was alone, with no friends to help him reach the water. After 38 long years, his physical inability seemed permanent. Jesus walks by and notices him.

John 5:6-7 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

Why did Jesus ask him if he wanted to get well? He saw his condition. He knew the people came to this spot hoping to get in the water at the right time to be healed….

Perhaps Jesus saw that the man was so settled in his condition that he was afraid to change. Health and wholeness bring responsibility and effort that some may wish to avoid.

The man doesn’t answer Jesus’ question – just pitifully says he has no one to help him.

John 5:8  Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Jesus challenged the man to act. To take up the risk of obedience. His command has three parts, each full of spiritual significance for us today:

“Get up!” All of Jesus’ commands carry His life-giving power to obey, but the obedience and the power are joined together and never separate. Only those who obey in faith experience His power. (Remember the royal official?)

If we are feeling helpless about some sin we have that we ask God to take away – after we ask Him we need to make every effort to stop the sin. If we are praying for healing, we need to do everything we can think of to get well. Go to the doctor, eat the right things…

Rev. Malkamus who started Hallelujah Acres wrote a book called “Why Christians Get Sick” and he said that people in his congregation prayed and prayed for health and healing, but then they’d keep smoking, or eating processed foods and bad fats and too much sugar. We have to do our part! “Do you want to get well?”

Second, Jesus said, “Pick up your mat.” Before this the man had needed someone else to do everything for him, but Jesus gave him the strength now.

And third, “Walk.” Move from where you are spiritually to where Jesus wants you to be. Choose to begin a new life with all the responsibilities that belong with it.

Today, Jesus might be telling us to “Get up and do the work I’ve prepared for you.” And remember that might very well be to tell someone about Him.

John 5:9-15 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ 
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Jesus ordered this man to stop sinning. He looked for him because He desired more than physical healing for him. To be spiritually well, the man needed to know Jesus’ identity. “Stop sinning” may have pointed to something particular the man was doing, or it may have meant leave your sinful life, believe in me and be born again.

This whole thing about the Sabbath…God ordained one day in seven for rest. In the law of Moses, God gave the Sabbath ordinance to Israel as a sign of His covenant. It was for the people’s good. For rest, worship and enjoying God’s blessing. Jesus was born under the law so He could fulfill it perfectly for us. His death put an end to the legal demands of the law and Christians aren’t called to a legalistic attitude toward this one day in seven. However, it is good for us to do so. God designed this one day to be a delight and not a burden.

What the Pharisees did about the Sabbath that was so wrong was they added (on their own) hundreds of extra rules about the Sabbath that God never said. Like carrying your mat. Or mercifully healing someone. And following those rules became more important than following God and loving neighbors.

John 5:16-20 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” 18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.

Wouldn’t you think people would have been excited that this man got healed? But instead of remarking on this glorious work of restoration, Israel’s leaders saw only their broken rules.

This miracle was the spark that ignited the open conflict that erupted soon afterwards. Jesus’ loving compassion for this suffering man aroused the opposition that eventually cost Him His life.

God IS always at work, even on the Sabbath. Babies are born, crops grow, the wind blows…

When Jesus said “I too am working,” the Jewish leaders immediately grasped that the Lord had made a tremendous claim to deity. From now on they were out to get Him.

Where Jesus said “The Son can do nothing by Himself.” Jesus made the choice to place Himself fully in His Father’s hands. He didn’t mean He COULDN’T as much as He WOULDN’T do anything on His own initiative. Every moment, every day, Jesus chose perfect obedience and submission to God, even to His death on the cross.

Where He talks about greater works coming – there’s Lazarus’ resurrection, His own resurrection, His ascension into Heaven and the birth of the church through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Our lesson? Do nothing, but what you see Jesus doing in the Bible. Know Him. Depend on Him and He will show you His plan for your life and give you His power.

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Saturday, April 01, 2017

Review of The Jesus Club

I just finished reading the book The Jesus Club by Brian Barcelona.

This is a wonderful story about a young man who has obeyed God's calling for his life and is bringing Jesus back into the schools. Brian Barcelona was saved at 16 and by the time he graduated from high school he heard God tell him He wanted to save the high school students in America. And use Brian to do it.

The book tells how that all came about over a period of six years and is not only interesting and entertaining, but inspirational and hopeful!

I was given a copy of the book from Chosen Books for my honest review and I'm going to pass it along to our Youth Pastor.

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