Monday, June 26, 2017

Who is The Greatest?

Who would you consider to be the greatest person you know? If you had asked Muhammad Ali, he would have told he was (“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”) Not surprisingly, if you had asked Jesus, you would have gotten a completely different answer.

Matthew 23:11
“The greatest among you will be called your servant”

Things to think about:
·      The context for this was the Pharisees trying to show off their importance
o   Best seats at the banquet table
o   Overt symbols of their prestige
o   Great titles of respect (rabbi, teacher, father)
·      When do we unwittingly act like the Pharisees?
o   Front-row seats to important events
o   Prestige symbols like houses, cars, whatever hobby we’re into
o   Striving for important sounding job titles
·      Why is the tendency of man to seek the approval and admiration of others?
o   How do people use social media in this way?
o   Do you know the term “humblebrag”?
§  “I am truly humbled and honored to have been named the most amazing, successful, handsome person the universe has ever known”
·      Jesus said in Matthew 23: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
o   What reasons come into your mind as to why God has deemed this to be His way?
o   When we seek or claim the honor for ourselves, where does that leave others?  Where does that leave God?
·      Jesus tells us that the greatest among you will be your servant
o   Philippians 2:3-11 says in part, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage, rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
o   Why can it be so hard to make ourselves nothing?
o   How does seeing Jesus live this out inspire us to follow His example?
·      God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name
o   what rewards accrue to us when we humble ourselves?
o   a quick tour of Proverbs offers some glimpses, which of these sound like something you want?
§  Proverbs 3:34 – He gives favor to the humble
§  Proverbs 22:4 – the reward of humility is…riches and honor and life.
§  Proverbs 11:2 - …but with humility is wisdom
§  BONUS verse: Matthew 18:4 - Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

·      What are practical ways you can think of to take on the very nature of a servant?
o   with your wife
o   kids
o   co-workers
o   neighbors
o   church
o   the “random” people God puts in your way everyday

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Matter of LIFE and life

There is a great tension that we are always in the midst of, namely between good and evil. Daily we have choices to make that define the quality of our lives. Let’s look at the LIFE Jesus offers and the life that the devil is selling.  The choice is ours and we will either have an abundant LIFE or fall for an awful life

John 10:10
“I have come that they might have LIFE…”

Things to think about:
·       LIFE or life?
o   Love or lust
o   Integrity or infidelity
o   Faith or fear
o   Eternal or earthly        
·      Love or lust
o   1 John 3:16 – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
o   1 Peter 2:11 – “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”
o   How are love and lust in opposition to one another?
o   Why is lust a cheap imitation of the real thing?
·      Integrity or infidelity
o   John 14:15 – “If you love Me, you will keep my commands.”
o   Genesis 3:1 – “ …did God really say…”
o   Infidelity means to be untrue to one’s commitments.
o   Why is consistency in obedience to God’s commands so important?
·      Faith or fear
o   Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.”
o   The phrase “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible 365 times!
o   Oftentimes, the facts are on the side of fear.  How can we override them with Faith?
·      Eternal or earthly
o   John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
o   Matthew 6:19 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”

o   How does the knowledge of this truth affect decisions you make regarding your time, treasure and talents?