Burkina Faso is populated by amazing, kind, gentle, honest, loyal, polite and loving people. Into this delightful and peaceful mix of animists, Muslims and Christians, religious persecution has intruded.
Extremists hell bent on maiming and killing anyone who holds views different from their radical Islamic beliefs are methodically, intentionally, and ruthlessly being killed.
I am just one of many deeply concerned fans of the Burkinabe. But I am one. I have voice. With God’s grace I can shout this injustice from my internet rooftop.
My prayer is for information to lead to transformation.
Burkina Faso, having no significant natural resources, minimal GDP (123 of 186 according to the 2018 report of the International Monetary Fund) and very little for which more powerful nations lust, is often ignored at best and abused at worst.
Will you join me in praying, communicating and giving to bring an end to the senseless slaughter of these our sisters and brothers?
The sustainability of our new heartedness and fresh startedness is crucial to the successful Christian life.
Consider the sustainability of the king salmon in the Kenai river.
King Salmon are the Kenai and Kasilof River’s most treasured species. Not only are they the largest species in each of these watersheds, they’re the largest of their kind in the entire world! Because these fish are genetically unique, relatively rare, so important to our community, and extremely special, we put their sustainability at the top of our priority list. https://akfishology.com/king-salmon-policy/
The examples of non-sustainable new heart and fresh start adventures are too numerous to count.
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my love.
- For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…2 Timothy 4:10
- But living a just and holy life requires one to be capable of an objective and impartial evaluation of things: to love things, that is to say, in the right order, so that you do not love what is not to be loved, or fail to love what is to be loved, or have a greater love for what should be loved less, or an equal love for things that should be loved less or more, or a lesser or greater love for things that should be loved equally. (On Christian Doctrine,27-28, Augustine)
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my desires.
- 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life —is not from the Father but is from the world. 1 John 2:16
- The new heart and fresh start adventure is unsustainable when I mismanage my receptivity to God and His word.
- 15 And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. 16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. 17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.[a] 18 And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, 19 but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Mark 4:15-19
The Apostle Paul asks you and me a pointed and penetrating question.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7
As Paul was concerned about the sustainability of the new heart and new start of the Galatians, he we mindful of himself.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27
God’s word is very clear, sustainability of my new heartedness and fresh startedness adventure is doable, likely and to be expected.
- 20 But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:20
- 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11
In the experience of two women, Naomi and Ruth, God reveals your four most crucial sustainability decisions.
A short version of the narrative is:
- There is a famine in Bethlehem.
- Elimelech moves cross culturally to Moab with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons.
- Elimelech suddenly dies. Naomi is now a widow.
- Their sons have married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.
- Suddenly, both sons died too. Naomi is a widow who is childless. Orpah and Ruth are now widows.
- Naomi decides to move back to Bethlehem and encourages Orpah and Ruth to enjoy their Moabite lives.
- Orpah agrees.
- Ruth disagrees and reveals to us the four most crucial decisions every human being makes.
15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
||My Crucial Decision
|For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.
||With which persons will I journey and stay?
|Your people shall be my people
||Who will be my people?
|and your God (shall be) my God
||Who will be my God?
|May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.
||Will I fully commit to these decisions?
With which persons will I journey and stay?
- The wise selection of my spouse and closest friends is crucial.
- 24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
- As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 1 Samuel 18:1
Who will be my people?
- The wise selection of my primary group or tribe or cohort is crucial.
- 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. Hebrews 11:25
- 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
- What would Daniel have been without Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego?
Who will be my God?
- The wise selection of God, as revealed in the Bible, is crucial.
- 14 “Now therefore fear the Lordand serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
Will I fully commit to these decisions?
- Have I developed the wisdom to courageously and loyally serve these three decisions?
- 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
- “And when Naomi saw that she was determined……”
To become a person of fully realized potential I must develop and maintain a positive faith attitude.
Pastor Neale Sheneman, founding pastor of MCA Church, read Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” every year.
The following comparison between negative self talk and positive thinking is from “Positive Thinking: Stop Negative Self Talk to Reduce Stress” on the Mayo Clinic Healthy Lifestyle web site.
Negative Self Talk
I’ve never done it before.
|It is an opportunity to learn something new.
|It’s too complicated.
I’ll tackle it from a different angle.
|I don’t have the resources.
Necessity is the mother of invention.
There is no way this will work.
|I can try to make it work.
It’s too radical a change.
|Let’s take a chance.
Our founder loved positive thinking. Yet he stated regularly, “Positive thinking isn’t enough! You must develop a positive faith attitude.”
There are similarities between Pastor Peale’s positive thinking and Pastor Sheneman’s positive faith attitude.
First, both feature the power and effectiveness of one’s thoughts and attitudes.
- Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
- 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Second, both feature positivity and optimism.
Optimism is a mental attitude reflecting a belief or hope that the outcome of some specific endeavor, or outcomes in general, will be positive, favorable, and desirable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimism
Optimistic people (from the Latin word optimum) are always looking on the bright side.
There are significant differences between positive thinking and a positive faith attitude.
- Positive thinking alone is temporary. A positive faith attitude anchored in saving faith is eternal.
- 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17
- Positive thinking begins and ends in the human mind. A positive faith attitude begins and ends with God.
- 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. James 2:22-24
- Positive thinking relies on the capacity of the human brain. A positive faith attitude relies on the capacities of the Almighty God.
- 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us… Ephesians 3:20
- Positive thinking is something you hold. A positive faith attitude holds
- 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
We can learn much about Hope (the Christian’s positive faith attitude) in Romans 15:13.
| May the God of hope
with all joy and peace
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
|This hope is sourced in God.
This hope is God’s and He pours it into you.
This hope is characterized by God’s joy and His peace.
This hope is God’s response to your believing.
You abound in this hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Place your faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
- Determine to live each moment with the God of hope filling you with all joy and peace.
- Remind yourself many times each day, “Like Abraham, I believe God.”
- Several times each day state, “I am abounding in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
People of fully realized potential are aligned with the nature, character and will of God in their spirit, soul and body.
Today’s primary Bible text is 1 Thessalonians 5:23-28.
23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
25 Brothers, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.
27 I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Considering the interactivity of the spirit, soul and body, I come to understand the effect the soul has on my spirit and body.
For the sake of our conversation today, let’s view the soul as the inner being of a human. The most common Greek word translated in the New Testament as soul is “psyche.”
Although your spirit, soul and body are one unity, the Bible also reveals there is also diversity between spirit, soul and body.
Everything you allow into your soul greatly impacts all of you, spirit, soul and body.
One loves and laughs and hopes and grieves and thinks and feels and wills in the soul.
We do not need expensive scientific research to know the following are truly possible.
- He worried himself sick.
- She laughed herself out of a depression.
- He died of a broken heart.
- She is so much healthier since she fell in love.
Our founding Pastor, Neale Sheneman, often stated, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.”
In the Old Testament the promises of God are given to covenant keeping people. “If you keep my covenant, I promise to do these great things for you.”
In the New Testament the promises of God are given to those who keep the New Covenant. Hebrews 9:15-18
15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.
God has made almost unbelievably glorious promises to you, if you join His family. Being adopted into His family puts you into His will (covenant). Everyone in His family has the most AMAZING inheritance.
To those in His will (covenant) He gives the inheritance of:
- The pardon of all sin.
2. The merit of His own most glorious righteousness.
3. His own most Holy Spirit.
4. But the most glorious part of the property bequeathed by Jesus to His people is that “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,” which is “reserved for them in heaven.” https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/morris/christ’s_last_will_and_testament.htm
With these glorious things done by God in your spirit, can you imagine the HUGE effects upon your soul and body?
Just as the spirit significantly influences the body and soul, the soul influences the spirit and body. Consider Proverbs 17:22
A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Joy is fantastic medicine for your soul and body. Joy actively works against disease.
A crushed spirit actively works against health and “dries up the bones.”
What are the skills of developing and sustaining a positive, faith-filled, joyful heart?
- Behold your belief.
- Tackle your troubles.
- Find your funny.
- Hold your happy.
- Rest in your relationships.
Today’s primary text is filled with blessed guidance for our souls.
- The God of peace is making me holy, spirit, soul and body.
- He is making my whole spirit, soul and body blameless.
- I won’t doubt Him, because He is faithful and will surely do it.
- In this process, Paul recognizes the value of praying one for the other.
- He also knows this process is best accomplished in a strong fellowship of God’s love.
- All of this, Paul reveals, is by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Becoming a person of fully realized potential requires embracing the world of possibilities.
What are the possibilities for you when your spirit, soul and body are all in alignment with the thoughts, nature and character of God, in whose image you are created?
What is the nature of the link between the non-material spirit and soul to the material body?
Although limited research into the spirit/body connection exists, we have significant data regarding the mind/body dynamic.
Dr. Ellen Langer is prolific among “Psychology of Possibility” researchers. The research she published in “Counter Clockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility,” includes a most delightful and interesting project.
To what extent can the mind influence the body? If I smelled a fresh donut and imagined eating it, would my blood sugar rise? Would people fully convinced that their teeth are in excellent condition have healthier-looking X-rays at their annual checkups? Do men who become bald at a young age and thus see themselves as prematurely old test as older physiologically than men their age with a full head of hair? Do women who undergo cosmetic surgery and see a more youthful self in the mirror age more slowly? The questions may seem a bit “out there,” but they were worth asking. Langer, Ellen J.. Counterclockwise (p. 5). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Michelle Gielan, in Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change, summarizes Dr. Langer’s initial study.
The brilliant maverick Harvard professor Dr. Ellen Langer has been designing studies for four decades that prove our mental story affects our health. In a single study Dr. Langer cracked the code and scientifically reversed signs of aging. She did not accomplish this with expensive creams or plastic surgery but simply by telling a different story about aging. This happened almost three decades ago, but it still has yet to be learned by the general public. “Welcome to the year 1959!” Dr. Langer said in 1979, as she invited a group of seventy-five-year-old men to go on a weeklong retreat as part of a large-scale psychology experiment.7 The men had been told one thing only before coming to the retreat: They could not bring any newspapers, photographs, or books from the past twenty years of their lives. Langer and her team took these men twenty years back in time to the late fifties by refitting the retreat center with items recalling the year 1959, when these men were fifty-five years old, such as Saturday Evening Posts and Life magazines. Each man received a badge with his name on it and a photo of himself from 1959. They were told to talk only about their jobs and lives from that time period. Langer had a daring hypothesis: The human aging process was mediated by what we tell ourselves about our life stories. And this seemingly off-the-wall study showed she was right. Langer tested the men for signs of aging before and after the week, and the results were mind-blowing. Gielan, Michelle. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change (pp. 11-12). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Dr. Langer explains the day to day activities of the research group.
Once at the retreat, we met daily to discuss current events such as the 1958 (“last year” in the case of the experimental group) launch of the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1; the need for bomb shelters; and Castro’s advance into Havana. A talk on communism became very heated, as did a recap of the Baltimore Colts’: 31–16 defeat of the New York Giants in the NFL championship game. We listened as Royal Orbit won the Preakness, watched Sgt. Bilko and Ed Sullivan on a black-and-white television, and shared our thoughts about “recent” books such as Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger, Leon Uris’s Exodus, and Philip Roth’s Goodbye Columbus. Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason made us laugh; Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat “King” Cole sang on the radio, and we watched movies like The Diary of Anne Frank, Ben Hur, North by Northwest, and Some Like It Hot. Langer, Ellen J.. Counterclockwise (pp. 9-10). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Michelle Gielan summarizes the results of the research.
After one week of reliving life in their mid-fifties, the men showed, on average, statistically significant improvements in strength, posture, flexibility, memory, and intelligence. Even more incredible, the men’s eyesight improved by an average of 10 percent! Even naive raters—people who had never met the men—viewed pictures of the men at week’s end and judged them as looking an average of three years younger.
Gielan, Michelle. Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change (pp. 11-12). BenBella Books, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
God’s word has much to say about the possibilities that exist in the spirit/soul/body link within the Christian person.
Consider Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Jesus is I AM in all three. Not so for you and me. I was, I am, I will be.
What I am is not my greatest limiting factor. An inadequate understanding of what I can be is the major limitation.
- My understanding of what I was can limit my understanding of what I can be.
- My understanding of what I am can limit my understanding of what I can be.
Knowing what I am and knowing what I can be are two different things.
What are the possibilities before you when you tune your spirit, soul and body to the frequency of God and His word?
Consider the possibilities of your spirit impacting your body as revealed in Proverbs 18:14.
A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
Notice the positive impact the healthy spirit has on the human body with infirmity. Also, we see the negative impact a wounded spirit has on the body.
Look what possibilities exist when you present your body and mind to God. Romans 12:1, 2
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Soak in the positive results of presenting your body and mind to God.
- Holy and acceptable to God
- Spiritual worship
- Discern the will of God
- Discern what is good and acceptable and perfect
What you view as impossible in your spirit significantly impacts your body and soul.
What you view as impossible in your body significantly impacts your spirit and soul.
What you view as impossible in your soul significantly impacts your spirit and body.
I can become a person of fully realized potential when I embrace the world of possibilities of a God aligned spirit, soul and body.
Jesus said, in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
With the Psalmist in Psalm 43:5, let us talk to ourselves.
- “Spirit, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- “Soul, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- “Body, with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Listen – My Story
- Do you have a personal story of a time when your emotions (soul) impacted your body?
- Do you have a personal story of a time when your body impacted your spirit?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Please talk about the interrelationships between the spirit, soul and body in the following passages:
- Proverbs 17:22
- Proverbs 15:13
- Proverbs 15:15
- Proverbs 14:30
- Please read Philippians 4:8. What might be the benefits of obedience to this passage for your spirit, soul and body?
Lift – Prayer
- Please pray for the team who traveled from Texas to upgrade the MCA Children’s Ministry Center for the upcoming Champions Club.
- Please pray for the role you will serve in the July 4th outreach event.
- Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon the July 4th
- Please pray for things or situations in the spirit, soul and body of your life group members.
Life – Taking it Home
- Is there something you need to add or subtract in your spirit, soul or body?
- What possibility in your spirit, soul and body do you need to encourage today?
Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples
What is Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples?
Yeshiva is a Hebrew word that means “sitting” and is the name of residential Torah schools where the Bible is studied, in Judaism, in the Hebraic model of master and apprentice.
Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples is a master-apprentice-based internship program that encourages, empowers, and equips disciples for global engagement.
Through the Northwest Partnership Program (NPP), Yeshiva for Globally Engaged Disciples partners with Northwest University to offer Associate and Bachelor’s degrees with the highest level of accreditation as an integrated part the internship program.
What are the available degrees through the Northwest Partnership Program?
Associate of Arts Degrees
- BA in Ministry Leadership
- BA in Business Management
- BA in Organizational Management
- BA in Organizational Leadership
- BA in Psychology
What are the dates for 2019-2020?
Fall Semester (15 weeks) Spring Semester (15 weeks)
Session A – Sept 2 – Oct 21 Session A – Jan 13 – March 2
Session B – Oct 28 – Dec 16 Session B – March 9 – April 27
What does the internship/practicum look like per Semester?
The internship course will operate during the dates listed above and will include a weekly meeting (2 hours per week), serving once a week in a ministry (2 hours per week), attending master-teacher class (2-4 hours), missions trip participation (1 trip per semester; 5-7 days), required reading (1-2 books), required writing assignment (5 pages double-spaced).
What is the cost?
For fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters combined
Full-time Tuition ($310 per credit hour) $ 7,440
Registration Fee ($0/semester) free
Internship Fee ($1,300/semester) 2,600
Ministry Practicum Tuition (6 credits) Fulltime = free
Two Missions Trips (1 per semester) 4,000*
*The cost for the missions trip is to be paid directly to MCA church at the beginning of each semester and is not eligible for financial aid or scholarships. First year missions trips will be to Judea (Alaska) and Samaria (U.S. or close to the States); second year missions trips will be to Jerusalem (Anchorage) and the uttermost parts of the earth (TBD); third year missions trip will be to Israel, Lord willing.
How Can I Finance My Education?
Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to determine your financial aid eligibility. Financial Aid may include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Stafford Loans, Parent Plus Loans, or Non-Northwest University Scholarships
Please complete the FAFSA as early as possible to allow time for processing. Financial Aid questions can be answered by the University at nppfinancialservices@northwestu. edu.
How do I get Ministry Practicum credit for free?
Full-time students enrolled for at least 24 credits for the academic year may receive 6 additional credits per year by participating in the NPP Partner’s internship program when approved by NU and overseen by NPP Coordinator.
What should I do if I want more information?
Call Pastor Fay Niemann at 907 337-9495 or email her at fayniemann (at) mcaonline.org.
You can also go to the Northwest University Partnership Program info site at https://eagle.northwestu.edu/academics/ northwest-partnership/.
Today I was asked a most sobering question.
“My family member knowingly, intentionally and thoughtfully rejected the saving grace of Jesus Christ and has died in deep disbelief and rejection. How do I deal with this grief?”
Someone who is far wiser than I am could respond much more effectively than I can, but I am the one who received the question and should share my feeble thoughts.
In responding to this heart-breaking question, my mind journeys in several directions.
First, it seems important to feel, thoroughly and extensively feel, the grievous loss. A person you greatly love has died without the hope of eternal life and without a public confession of faith in Jesus for salvation. Your sorrow is well founded.
Our Lord, Jesus, wept at the death of His friend who, without a doubt was righteous. No one knows the response Jesus would have experienced at the death of an unrighteous friend. The Bible doesn’t give us a glimpse into that possibility.
Recently, a very well respected theologian stated, “When Jesus wept, it was Jesus the man weeping. Jesus, as fully God, could never weep.” This troubled my soul. Jesus is fully God and fully human. He can’t be divided into the God part and the human part. He is Him. He is both God and human at the same time and in the same place.
Equally troubling is the notion that God can not cry. I suppose the argument is that a Sovereign, Almighty and All-knowing God would have no sorrow because He fully knows the beginning from the end and everything is both happening and already happened. All reality is, they might argue, past tense for God.
From my perspective, the Bible reveals God as interacting with reality in real time, with real emotions and genuine experience. I am convinced the death of your unsaved family member or close friend deeply moves the emotions of God. When you sorrow, you are experiencing an emotion placed in you by being created in His image. Because He can grieve, you can too.
There may be some comfort in knowing your grief is shared by God Himself. You are not alone, emotionally or in any other way. God understands. He too felt the sorrow of a family member’s death. His Son died with the sin of the whole world on His shoulders. God gets it.
With the inner workings of the human spirit, soul and body being so little understood, there is a measure of comfort in knowing the One who knit your loved one together in their mother’s womb knows everything about everything in their lives. There are no uncovered facts. God knows it all.
God is always fair and just in His judgements. He will always do what is right and just and holy.
Sometimes it feels as if the grief will never end. The Bible mentions the possibility of “sorrow upon sorrow.” The revelation of Jesus to John powerfully reveals God ends the season of grief by “wiping every tear from their eyes.”
It doesn’t feel like it right now, but this sorrow will come to a close because “weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.” There is a measure of comfort in knowing this season of sorrow will end by God’s Personal action of drying our tears.
Turning the loss into longing is vital. People weren’t designed and created for eternal separation, grief and loss. We were hand formed by God for Ideal Condition. Developed for the ideal condition of God’s perfect Garden and to be in His Personal presence, we are not at home and settled in to this existence of our messed up world.
Everything inside of everyone longs for a return to God’s Ideal Condition. Redeeming the loss by transforming it into authentic deep longing for God and His eternal home, is most helpful. In our loss we can find our truest longing.
“So my soul longeth after thee, oh God.”
We become people of fully realized potential when the Holy Spirit comes upon us (including our body).
We are investigating the complete integration of the spirit, soul and body for purposes of reaching our maximum potential in Christ.
In a previous message we considered the two-tiered philosophy of our day. For example, the SCOTUS determined in Roe vs. Wade that an embryo and fetus are human but not person.
The dangerous two-tiered philosophy may show up in Christian thought in relationship to spirit, soul and body. “I am spirit and soul with no emphasis upon body.”
In this life, I have no potential without or outside my body.
One of the most important, yet extremely difficult things in life is to properly approach the Bible.
We can first hold our beliefs and then read and understand the Bible through our beliefs OR we can first read and understand the Bible and then form our beliefs.
In the first scenario, I force the Bible to say what I want it to say. In the second, the Bible forces me to believe and respond to what God has said.
Let’s lay aside all of our beliefs about our relationship with the Holy Spirit and see what the Bible says and then come back and form our beliefs.
God gives us three primary position terms for our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The three position terms of our relationship with the Holy Spirit are with (para), in (en) and upon (epi).
The Holy Spirit is With
- 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. John 14:15-17
- “I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
The Holy Spirit In
- 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17
- 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:11-14
- 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19
The Holy Spirit Upon
- 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
What happens in the human body when the Spirit comes upon? 1 Samuel 10:1-7
Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage.2 When you depart from me today, you will meet two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah, and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys that you went to seek are found, and now your father has ceased to care about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you shall go on from there farther and come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine.4 And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall accept from their hand. 5 After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim, where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.
In this passage we see:
- Anointing 1
- Obedience 2-5
- The Spirit Rushes Upon 6
Samuel declares two results of the Spirit coming upon Saul, prophesy and becoming a new person.
When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, throughout the entire Bible, Spirit inspired speech follows.
- Speech Inspired by the Holy Spirit
- Speech in a language previously unknown
- Speech in a language of the spirit
When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, the person experiences…..
- Creativity beyond human natural capacity. Genesis 1
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1, 2
30 Then Moses said to the people of Israel, “See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, 32 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, 33 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. 34 And he has inspired him to teach, both him and Oholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan. 35 He has filled them with skill to do every sort of work done by an engraver or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, or by a weaver—by any sort of workman or skilled designer. Exodus 35:30-35
- Empowered living beyond human natural power. Judges 6:34
But the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called out to follow him.
- The birthing of things of God beyond human natural capacity. Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Jesus, our Great Example, experienced the Holy Spirit descending upon Him. Luke 4:18, 19
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Again, notice the connection of the Spirit and anointing.
In this portion of our weekend worship, we will anoint one another with the following prayer.
“As I anoint you with oil, may the Holy Spirit come upon you as He came upon Jesus, those in the Upper Room and millions of Christians since then. May you be clothed with the Spirit’s speech, creativity and power. May new things of God be born within and through you as the Spirit rushes in upon you and you become a new person.”
MCA LIFE GROUP HOMEWORK
Listen – My Story
- When was the first time you heard about the Holy Spirit or your first experience with Him?
- Do you have a favorite Holy Spirit experience? Maybe a time when he was with, in or upon you?
Learn – Digging Deeper
- Pease read Joel 2:28-29.
- Which preposition for the relationship with the Holy Spirit is used?
- Who will be the recipients of the relationship?
- What will these recipients do as a result of this relationship?
- Please read Acts 2:1-16
- How might Peter have known the Acts 2 experience was a fulfillment of Joel 2?
- As God fulfills Joel 2 in your life today, how will you know?
Lift – Prayer
- Please pray for the many MCA folks who are asking the Spirit to come upon them with creativity, empowerment and a longing for new things of God to be born in and through them.
- Pray for those who desire to have Holy Spirit inspired speech and to experience the “rushing in upon” that produces a brand-new person.
Life – Taking it Home
- What in practical day to day things, do you desire the Holy Spirit to do in and through you?
- What do you need to consider changing in order to become more comfortable with the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit?
We are investigating the two paths or two ways of the Bible. The Psalms are the prayers and hymns of those on the righteous path and their warnings for those on the wicked path.
One of the earliest Christian “curricula” is the Didache. Likely written less than 60 years after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The Didache, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise, dated by most modern scholars to the first century. The first line of this treatise is “The teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the twelve apostles”. The text, parts of which constitute the oldest extant written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization. The opening chapters describe the virtuous Way of Life and the wicked Way of Death. The Lord’s Prayer is included in full. Baptism is by immersion, or by affusion if immersion is not practical. Fasting is ordered for Wednesdays and Fridays. Two primitive Eucharistic prayers are given. Church organization was at an early stage of development. Itinerant apostles and prophets are important, serving as “chief priests” and possibly celebrating the Eucharist. Meanwhile, local bishops and deacons also have authority and seem to be taking the place of the itinerant ministry. The Didache is considered the first example of the genre of Church Orders. The Didache reveals how Jewish Christians saw themselves and how they adapted their practice for Gentile Christians. The Didache is similar in several ways to the Gospel of Matthew, perhaps because both texts originated in similar communities. The opening chapters, which also appear in other early Christian texts, are likely derived from an earlier Jewish source. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didache
THERE are two paths, one of life and one of death, and the difference is great between the two paths. The Twelve Apostles. The Didache . Acheron Press. Kindle Edition.
The Path of Life
|Now the path of life is this—first, thou shalt love the God who made thee, thy neighbour as thyself, and all things that thou wouldest not should be done unto thee, do not thou unto another.
And the doctrine of these maxims is as follows.
Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies. Fast on behalf of those that persecute you; for what thank is there if ye love them that love you? do not even the Gentiles do the same But do ye love them that hate you, and ye will not have an enemy.
Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If any one give thee a blow on thy right cheek, turn unto him the other also, and thou shalt be perfect; if any one compel thee to go a mile, go with him two; if a man take away thy cloak, give him thy coat also; if a man take from thee what is thine, ask not for it again, for neither art thou able to do so. Give to every one that asketh of thee, and ask not again, for the Father wishes that from his own gifts there should be given to all. Blessed is he who giveth according to the commandment, for he is free from guilt; but woe unto him that receiveth. For if a man receive being in need, he shall be free from guilt; but he who receiveth when not in need, shall pay a penalty as to why he received and for what purpose; and when he is in tribulation he shall be examined concerning the things that he has done, and shall not depart thence until he has paid the last farthing.
For of a truth it has been said on these matters, Let thy almsgiving abide in thy hands until thou knowest to whom thou hast given.
The Twelve Apostles. The Didache . Acheron Press. Kindle Edition.
|Path of Life
· Love the God who made thee
· Love your neighbor
· Do not do what you don’t want done
Called a doctrine
· Bless them that curse you and pray
· Fast on behalf of persecutors
· Love them that hate you
Abstain for fleshly and worldly lusts
· Don’t fight back – turn the other cheek
· Go beyond the demands of your oppressors
· Give to those who steal from you
· Give to everyone that asks of you
Be careful what you receive as an alm without being in need
Know to the details of the person to whom you are giving an alm.
The Path of Death
|My child, flee from every evil thing, and from every likeness of it.
Be not prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Be neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor of hot temper, for out of all these murders are engendered.
My child, be not a lustful one. for lust leads to fornication.
Be neither a filthy talker, nor of lofty eye, for out of all these adulteries are engendered.
My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads to idolatry. Be neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to look at these things, for out of all these idolatry is engendered.
My child, be not a liar, since a lie leads to theft.
Be neither money-loving, nor vainglorious, for out of all these thefts are engendered.
My child, be not a murmurer, since it leads the way to blasphemy.
Be neither self-willed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are engendered.
|Evil things and every likeness of it
Anger and it’s final fruit of murder
Jealousy, quarrelsome, hot temper
Lustfulness and its final fruit of fornication.
Filthy talk and lofty eye and final fruit of adulteries.
Omens, enchanting, astrology nor a purifier
Do not be willing to look at these things
Lying and its fruit of theft.
Money-loving and vainglorious and their fruit of theft
Murmuring and its fruit of blasphemy.
Self-willed and evil-minded and their fruit of blasphemies
The two paths are the primary call of God through Moses in Deuteronomy 30:15.
15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.
Elijah features the two paths too. 1 Kings 18:21
20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”