Monday, April 24, 2017

Are You Religious?

Are you religious? That’s the question I was recently asked by a taxi driver. Not wanting to get tangled up in semantics, I said that I was a Christian.  He replied that he wasn’t and didn’t believe in God. Let’s look at what he Bible says about this and how it can help inform your response when asked a similar question.  We’ll look at his over the next couple of weeks as there is a lot of ground to cover.
Psalm 14:1
The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God”

Things to think about:
·       Have you ever been asked this question before? 
o   Did it make you feel uncomfortable?
o   How did you reply? 
·      What does the word “religious” mean to you?
o   How do you think most people outside of the Church think about this word?
·      Many people equate “religion” with:
o   Laws
o   Judgment
o   Tradition for tradition’s sake
§  what else would you add to the list?
§  why do you think they are often barriers not bridges to God?
·      Who were the only people Jesus got angry with? Why?
o   “sinners”?
o   Unbelievers?
o   “religious” people?
o   see John 2:13-17 – story of the moneychangers
o   Mark 3:1-6
·      So what should our response be when someone asks us if we’re religious?
o   the conventional answer is “It’s about a relationship, not religion.”
§  Have you heard this? Do you believe it?
o   Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
·      As mentioned in the introduction, there are two paths we are going to look at because there are at least two places who ask this question may find themselves:
o   Unbeliever – this is my taxi driver; he has made a conscious decision that he doesn’t not believe in God
o   Pharisee – this person does believe but there is something fundamentally flawed in their theology
·      Unbeliever
o   What’s the best argument you have to convince someone that the God of the Bible is real?
§  Experience – how has your life been changed in such a way that it can only be attributable to God?
·      John 9:25 – “Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know. One thing I do know – I was blind but now I see.”
§  Evidence – what is the most compelling evidence you are aware of to defend the existence of the God of the Bible?
·      Fulfilled prophecy? Isaiah 41:21-23, 46:10
·      The harmony and integrity of the Scriptures being written over thousands of years by 40 different authors?
·      Why would the apostles be martyred for a lie or hoax?
·      Creation - Romans 1:18-20
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

·      Conscience – Romans 2:14

14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

There certainly is a lot here for us to consider why someone who isn’t a believer can trust in God and His Son.  Let’s take a stand with boldness and confidence. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Making the Connection

 Hebrews 2: 14-18

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil — 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Things think about:

  •           The previous chapter emphasized Jesus’ equality with God. This passage underscores His full humanity.
  •          It says that since we are flesh and blood He became flesh and blood so that He could die. As God, He isn’t capable of dying so He had to become man in order to die 
  •           His purpose in dying was to break the power of the one who holds the power over the one thing that holds people in slavery – their fear of death
  •          While angels do not need the gift He gives, neither can they know the power of grace and forgiveness
  •          So He became like us, fully, not partially, so he could show us His mercy and be the payment for sin that we could never be
  •          His temptations were real, not superficial. It says He suffered when tempted. But because He did suffer, He is able to help us in our temptations.
  •          How does Jesus’ model of compassion, empathy, and self-sacrifice speak to you today in understanding how much you’re worth to God?
  •          How does Jesus’ example speak to you in terms of how you show grace and mercy to others?
  •         What power is available to you when confronted by temptation?

Monday, April 10, 2017


I like Fritos – a lot. I try not to eat too many at a time but that little bit of saltiness can really hit the spot.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses the metaphor of salt to paint a word picture for His disciples to help them understand their purpose. Let’s look at how Fritos and Jesus can be used in the same thought!

Matthew 5:13
“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 underfoot.

Things to think about:
·      Salt’s purpose is to enhance and bring out the flavor in food. Fried corn chips on their own are not very flavorful. But add some salt and voila, you have Fritos! That savory taste is the perfect complement to make them irresistible.
o   We too have a purpose to enhance and improve the lives around us.
o   What are everyday ways we can enhance the flavor of life for others?
o   Have you had a chance recently to be that life-enhancing agent for someone?
·      One thing about salt though is a little bit goes a long way.  Dumping too much salt on food makes it inedible.
o   Likewise, we don’t have to lay it on thick to have the desired effect.  In fact, most times, a little pinch will do the job nicely.  We wouldn’t pour a pound of salt of a steak, we don’t need to pound others with the gospel.
§  Sometimes, we can fall victim to the phrase, “If some is good, more is better!”
o   Why is sensitivity important to getting the appropriate seasoning right with our life and testimony?
o   How have you seen a little kindness go a long way?
o   Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of too much "salt" being poured and actually making Jesus a negative?
·      One of the main qualities of salt is that it makes us thirsty.
o   In John 4:14, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, “…whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
o   When has someone brought the Savior’s salt to you that in turn made you thirsty for His living water?  Said more simply, when have you benefited from someone’s Christian example that made you want more of Him?
·      Jesus actually spends more words here on salt losing its saltiness and being good for nothing.
o   When salt loses its saltiness it gets trampled by men. We can become indistinguishable from everything else "under foot"
o   How do people lose their spiritual saltiness?
·      Here is an acronym to help us be mindful of our purpose:
o   Savor is found in the Savior
o   Available for use
o   Little goes a long way
o   Take care to remain fresh