Each Sunday, your child will learn the Bible and how it relates to Jesus in an age-appropriate way.
The night was drawing to a close. Within a few hours Jesus’ captors would come to arrest Him. It was all too real for the disciples. They knew, because of what Jesus had said to them, that He was going to be leaving them, but they had no idea why or how or when. It wasn’t that Jesus had failed to communicate, Jesus had told them again and again that He would be arrested, suffer, and die, but they had failed to understand. They just could not get their head around the idea they were going to be without their Lord, the One they had followed all over the countryside of Israel for the past three years. In the opening verses of our Scripture for this morning we will learn that what Jesus had to say only added to their anxiety and confusion. Let’s read John 16:16-24 together. Read more
Last week we began our study of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples, on the night before He went to the Cross, the Holy Spirit would “testify” and they would “testify” as well. We learned two ways in which the Spirit testifies: First, the Holy Spirit testifies through the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit has moved upon the minds and hearts of the human authors of the Word of God in such a way that they recorded exactly what God wanted His people to know. The Word of God is proof that Jesus is who He claimed to be and He fulfilled everything that was written about Him in the Old Testament. That led us to the second way in which the Holy Spirit testifies and that is through persuasion. You who were shown the proofs concerning Jesus, but you needed more to believe than mere proof, you needed to be persuaded, you needed to have your heart changed in order to believe and submit your life to following Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit that moves our hearts and minds so that we might believe. Read more
Last week we began studying a new section of Jesus’ discussion with His disciples that runs from John 15:18-16:15. In this section of Scripture Jesus suddenly switches topics. He ends His conversation about His love for them, His choosing them as His own, and their need to love one another. In verse 18, Jesus says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” Then, in verses 18-25, Jesus tells His disciples why the world will hate them, He reminds them that they do not belong to the world, and He quoted from the Psalms, either Psalm 35:19 or Psalm 69:4, when He let them know His adversaries “hated Him for no reason.” In John 16:1-4 Jesus will pick up this theme again, the theme of how His followers will be treated by those who reject Him. What’s really interesting is that tucked in the middle of these persecution verses from John 15 and rolling into John 16 we find our Scripture for this morning. Read along with me from John 15:26-27. Read more
At first glance it seems like Jesus’ statement is out of place. He had just told His disciples, “This is my command: Love each other.” It seems really odd that the next words out of His mouth were, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” It may seem odd, but if we stop and think about Jesus’ life and the disciple’s future, He couldn’t have given them better counsel. Read more
Love is longed for around the globe. Love will lead us to do some crazy things to prove our love for the one who has captured our heart. I remember one time, not too long after Connie and I moved to Oklahoma City, I snuck out of our house in the middle of the night. It was the night before Connie’s 30th birthday. I wanted to do something special for her. I had planned meticulously, bought everything I needed to do the job, and in the middle of the night I spray painted a huge red heart with “Mike + Connie” in the middle of the heart on the old graffiti bridge that use to be just south of the church on Western. I was Banksy before he ever bought his first can of spray paint! I knew I could be arrested. I knew Connie could possibly have opened The Daily Oklahoman on her birthday and read the headline, “Local Pastor Arrested for Defacing Graffiti Bridge!” I knew all of that, but I wanted to do something way off the grid to show her my love for her so I took the chance. Read more
This is our third and final week taking a look at John 15:1-8. We’ve taken time to take a long look at Jesus, the True Vine, the One who is the fulfillment of everything God called His Chosen People to be as a kingdom of priests to the nations. We took another week to take a look at God the Vinedresser, or Gardner as we read in the NIV, and the intimate care that He takes in planting and tending the Vine and His branches. This week we’re going to spend our time trying to understand the pruning process that the branches go through to ensure their productivity. Let’s read our Scripture and then we’ll see what we can learn. Read more