< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: June 2013

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I was listening to Focus on the Family on the radio this morning while weeding in the yard. They interviewed Bono. I had no idea he was such a committed Christian! I'm a new fan! One of the things that I really liked that he said was, "A minister once said to me, "you have to quit asking God to bless the things you are doing and start doing the things He's doing because they are already blessed!"

He also appears to know the Bible inside out!

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Important things to remember

Here are some important things I want to remember from the book The Lifestyle of a Prophet by James W. Goll.
1.      God is good! All the time!  Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all he has made. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever
2.      All things work together for good for those who love the Lord. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
3.      Keep your expectations high. Just because some people won’t get saved, don’t quit sharing the Gospel. Just because some people won’t be healed, don’t quit praying for healing.
4.      Rely on a trusted community of believers. 1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. “Our faith” not “your faith”. The body of Christ is Jesus with flesh on. Be a committed part of the community of believers called the church.
5.      Be open to change. Because it will come!
6.      Fear not! 1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. Fear is the opposite of faith.
7.      Never, never, never give up! Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
8.      You are not a victim. You are a victor! 2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. And Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
9.      The best is yet to come!
10.  Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. The purpose of a lifestyle of intimacy, wisdom and revelation is so we can walk in all that “God prepared beforehand” for us.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Lifestyle of a Prophet

I just finished reading The Lifestyle of a Prophet by James W. Goll and wanted to share his list of how to grow in the prophetic:

  1. Go to church – be around God
  2. Love mercy. Micah 6:8 says to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with your God.
  3. Pray in the spirit
  4. Ask God! Listen! Seek!
  5. Don’t share everything God tells you. Sometimes it’s God’s secret. Ask permission.
  6. Love the anointing. The presence of the Holy Spirit. “Some things are better ‘caught’ then ‘taught’”.
  7. Risk! Move out of your comfort zone. Step out in faith. Keep taking progressive steps and you’ll grow. Climb out of your boat and trust the Lord.
Goll tells us we are to have intimacy with God. We must lean on Jesus. Surrender to Him. Be passionate about the cross. And like good friends hang out together. Have a relationship that is established over time. Share your heart with Him. The way we hear His voice is through a relationship with Him. And what we hear we share.

I received this book from Chosen books in exchange for an honest review. The book is not an easy read if you are really trying to “get it”. But it is worth the effort.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Jesus and Pilot

Mark 15:1-15 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
2 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate. “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” 5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.

6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.

12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them. 13 “Crucify him!” they shouted. 14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Pilot was governor over Judea and Samaria for 10 years. His job was to collect taxes for the emperor Tiberius, keep peace and oversee building projects. Keeping peace between the Jews and Rome required calm leadership. But Pilot was a prideful man. He had done several things that really riled the Jews in the past. For instance; the Jews never used images. Normally Roman soldiers had a picture of the emperor on their shield, but past governors of this area, out of respect, would have the soldiers use plain shields in Jerusalem.

Not Pilot.

At the time he was living quite aways away in Caesarea and a huge number of Jews came to him to complain. He ignored them for about 5 days and when they didn’t go away he sent in his soldiers to surround them and threaten them with death. They presented their necks to him willing to be killed. Jews are very stubborn and very principled! Of course he couldn’t be the cause of such a large massacre so he backed down. But it really hurt his pride.

Another time he did something similar and this time the Jews wrote to Tiberius who rebuked Pilot. Pilot was totally shamed. So at this time he was caught between a hard place and a rock! He didn’t want to rile the Jews again – especially during Passover when there were so many of them in Jerusalem, but then again he knew Jesus was an innocent man.

At first he tried to just get them to deal with it themselves. But they weren’t allowed to crucify anyone in a public way and that’s what they were after for Jesus. He also tried sending the problem to Herod since Jesus was from his district, but Herod sent Him back. Then he offered up the chance to release a prisoner as was his custom during Passover, hoping they’d let Jesus go. He even gave them a choice of just Jesus or Barabbas who was a notorious murderer. Surely they wouldn’t let him go!

But they did! And when he asked what he should do with Jesus the frenzied crowd shouted “Crucify him.” Over and over.

Jesus never defended Himself so He could go to the cross. For us.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

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Sunday, June 02, 2013

Mark 14:66-72 The Rooster Crows

Mark 14:66-72 66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.

68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

This passage starts out at Annas’ house. He’s the high priest. His house would have had a large courtyard and it would have been gated. We know John got through the gate because he knew someone; possibly the gatekeeper. But Peter only made it as far as the courtyard.

This is a sad story of a man who denies Jesus. But it’s also a story about how God knew it would happen. Jesus prophesized about it before hand. And later we’ll see that He restores Peter.

For three years Peter had been taking steps of faith forward and it seems just as many steps backward. When he stepped out of the boat that time when Jesus was walking on water, it was a huge step of faith. But then he took his eyes off Christ and began to sink. Another time when Jesus was telling the disciples what was going to happen in Jerusalem Peter said basically “this must never happen!” And Jesus rebuked him saying “Get behind me, Satan!” He did many impulsive things. But his denying he even knew Jesus was his lowest point.

But Jesus has a plan for losers. His grace is profound. His grace is amazing! Christ will meet us at any point of our life. Do not resist His grace. Receive it through repentance.

During Peter’s first and second denials he started to back away from the courtyard to the porch (or gate area) and the girl who was accusing him kind of went after him. The third accusation happened about an hour later at the home of Caiaphas. This is verse 70 where the people standing near Peter said, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

A Galilean’s speech might sound a little different. They might dress a little different. And they knew Jesus was a Galilean.

This time Peter actually cursed in a panic of self preservation.

And in verse 72 the rooster crowed. The sound pierces Peter’s heart and wakes him up to what is happening. He remembers himself saying to Jesus that “no matter if everyone leaves You – I won’t!” And six hours later he had denied Jesus three times. And Jesus had told him he would!

The rooster’s crow was a warning. Our warning could be financial ruin, a lost job, some kind of trial. Something that should stop us in our tracks and get us to stop doing something we’re doing. When it happens the right thing to do is recognize what you’ve done, repent and get your eyes back on Christ.

When Peter realized what he’d done he began to weep. We see his repentance here. He knew everything Jesus had ever done for him and he saw at this moment what he had just done to Jesus.

We do things to Jesus too. We deny Him. And when we do the Holy Spirit produces sorrow in us.

Luke 22:61 says when the cock crowed Jesus turned and looked at Peter. In spite of all of the stuff that was happening to Jesus (and He wouldn’t have been able to hear Peter’s words – He wasn’t close enough) –  Jesus knew. He knows everything. And can you imagine the look Jesus gave him? It wouldn’t have been a look of “I told you so.” Or a look of anger or condemnation. It was a look of kindness and love. Of grace. The look that says I know everything about you and I love you. I’m willing to restore you.

Jesus forgives! Jesus pursues us! God doesn’t bring us to Himself through fear or warnings of judgment. God brings us to Himself by His great love!

2 Timothy 2:13 says that if we are faithless He is faithful. Our salvation isn’t based on our works or getting it all right. HE is faithful. At one point Jesus had told Peter that Satan had asked to sift Peter and Jesus wouldn’t let him. Peter was His! And Jesus will not lose one of His own!

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