Crossroad Bible Study

February 27th, 2009

Sword Drill

Posted by Alan Collins in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Luke 22:1-46

Reading this passage I found myself asking why would Jesus command His disciples around the passover table to sell their cloaks and buy swords? The disciples seem to take it quite literrally  saying that they had two swords already. Perhaps they thought this was the time when they were going to lead a rebellion against the Roman Government. Peter later used one of these swords to cut off the ear of a man who came to arrest Jesus. Jesus rebuked Peter for this. I was thinking perhaps the sword that Jesus is talking about here is Gods’ Word, the Bible. This is the primary way God communicates to us today and it is often refered to later in scripture as a sword. Another option is the Holy Spirit but that doesn’t fit with the frame, because you can’t “purchase” the Holy Spirit. What does everyone else think on this?

February 26th, 2009

The Glory of God

Posted by Alan Collins in Uncategorized

I was struck when reading this story about Lazurus. Jesus said that Lazarus has died so that God could be glorified.  What does it mean to glorify God? its a saying we use a lot in Church. I have been realising lately that the Gospel of John paints a picture that the glory of God is in fact the Revelation of God. In other words God is glorified when we get a revelation about him. The funeral mourner certainly received a radical revelation about who God was when they saw Lazurus came out of the grave. Can you imagine their faces! It makes me wonder if my life is glorifying to God? Is my life being used, seeking out revelations about God both for myself and the people around me.

February 24th, 2009

comforting

Posted by johncatmur in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Luke 22:1-46

 I found hope in the fact that Jesus really suffered under the emotional pressure of everything that was going on around him.  And that an angel came and ministered to him…was great. I was feeling pretty down yesterday and to think that God  cares for me in the midst of that and provides the same resources was really comforting.  God spoke through his word.

February 14th, 2009

Don’t worry about what to wear!

Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Matthew 6:5-7:29

Naturally, I have read these verses many times. In fact, I had to read a whole book about the Sermon on the Mount in seminary. But, somehow, it just dawned on me that these verses about clothing are NOT about trying to decide which shirt color goes with the best skirt color. Jesus is talking to people who are worried about having anything to wear. They are worried if they are going to have enough to eat or enough clothes to cover themselves. All these years I have been applying these verses to mean that God doesn’t want us to worry about what outfit I should wear to work the next day or to the wedding next weekend. And although I am sure that He doesn’t want us to worry about that, I don’t think that is the point! I think Jesus is talking about provision here. God provides for our needs – for our sustenance and for our protection from the cold and outdoors. I realized that there is such a broader scope in these verses. God certainly cares about every little detail of our lives (including what outfit will be best to wear to work the next day or to the wedding next weekend) but He wants us to trust Him with everything including all of our needs even when it seems hopeless. Praise God, our Jehovah Jireh!

February 11th, 2009

St Francis

Posted by Alan Collins in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Matthew 5-6:4

“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.” St Francis. This was in the Essential 100 devotional for this week. I really have a problem with this cute saying that is commonly flung around our churches today like a frisbee. I don’t think it stacks up biblically (“Preach the Gospel, and don’t let your lifestyle contradict the truth you speak” would be more in line with scripture). The news that Christ has died for all of us as an atoning sacrifice to make us right with God, if only we put our faith in Him, is communicated to us through Gods Word. Words are needed to communicate this truth. If we never do this and instead focus solely on works then we are guilty of reducing the gospel down to a call to do more social work. I often here people say that they didn’t preach but they “loved people with the gospel”. I would argue that if there is someone you know who you have never explained with words what the Gospel of Christ means, and they will burn in hell tonight should the Lord come again, then you have seriously misunderstood what love is. It seems to me that we use this saying to massage away our sinful consciences when we know we have been unfaithful in our witness. Its sad to see that so many Christians in New Zealand get most of their theology from hippy dippy quotes like this and lyrics from parachute music, rather then the Word of God.

In terms of its relevance to this passage, I don’t think the devotional really got to grips with what Jesus was teaching here. The Beatitudes for me show that Christ has come to make us a holy people, not necessarily a happy people. I’ve been a little frustrated with the devotionals lately. They seem to express Jesus as some sort of example of how to be an effective christian leader rather then the son of God. Last week the devotion talked about how John the Baptist’s ministry influenced Jesus and how we can be influential as well. To me that is downright belittling to the creator of the universe. Whose with me on this?

February 7th, 2009

God and brains

Posted by Anna S in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Luke 1

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As I read Luke 1, I was struck by the questions that Zechariah and Mary asked.

Being a fairly analytical person (that might be putting it mildly!), I tend to think through something before leaping into it enthusiastically. I can imagine that if I were in Zechariah or Mary’s shoes, my first reaction probably wouldn’t have been “Yeah! Bring it on!!”

Some years ago the church that I attended had a prevailing culture that questioning anything showed a lack of faith. I really struggled with that, and with the role of the mind in Christian life – to the point where in utter frustration I wondered why God gave us brains, if He meant for us to leave them behind every time we met with other Christians.

I’d be really interested to know if other people have had similar experiences, or struggles.

Anyway, back to Luke 1

I like the fact that both Zechariah and Mary had questions. Sure, Mary’s question came from a place of greater faith and trust, but she still asked the question.

I like the fact that even though Zechariah got it wrong, it didn’t screw up the whole plan (God didn’t say “Oh well, if you’re going to have that attitude, I’ll just give the baby to some other geriatric couple.”) It reminds me again of how astounding grace is, and how God is prepared to work through fallible people!

I’m really thankful that my faith is a work in progress – God continues to work in me, and I’m not still stuck in the spiritual space I was a few years ago.

And I’m really thankful for being in a community of faith where others around me (you guys!) can challenge me to grow, and where I can use my brains for (hopefully) Godly purposes.

February 5th, 2009

genealogies – yawn!

Posted by johncatmur in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Luke 3

…but before I talk about that…ever wondered why John the baptist is suspected as being the Messiah?  Maybe we all know but I sense its not often thought about. One of the roles of Messiah was to restore righteousness to Israel, to purify the nation (i.e. not just to deliver them from enemies as is the common view).  John of course contributed to that. But someone was coming who would do that in a greater measure…

Anyway, geneologies.  If you’re like me then looking at other peoples family tree is extremely boring and tedious…except when you spot someone famous way down the line!  We see that kind of thing on TV.  Well the Jews, like Maori, put great importance on their whakapapa so it was natural to give lineage at important times like this.  And indeed we spot some ‘stars’ along the way…David, Jesse….Judah, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham…Adam….God!  So it is interesting after all, see? Now in Matthew the emphasis is on Christ’s lineage to David, but why does Luke here want to trace it back to the father of the human race, and even the Creator himself?  Anyway got any insights there?

February 4th, 2009

Callings

Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Luke 2

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I was struck while reading Luke 2 about how God had a specific calling for each person in the chapter and how important, yet different, each of their callings were. Mary’s calling is rather obvious as it is the focus. She becomes the mother of the Savior. But the others in the chapter are quite unique as well. The shepherds were called to come and worship the King. Simeon and Anna were both waiting for the Messiah and their calling was simply to be another sign of the validity of His birth. Although the Charlie Brown part in the devotional was a bit silly, I did think the author made a good point about how God uses all sorts of people in His church. It makes me excited to think about what sort of callings He has for all of us.

It also reminds me to be very sensitive to the Lord speaking to me about my calling. For the Shepherds, the Lord made sure that they wouldn’t miss His call. As He used lots of angels and loud shouts! Sometimes that is how God speaks! But then, with Simeon, it was through the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit that he knew that this baby was the Messiah and he knew where to find Mary and Joseph. It seems that the Lord speaks to us in many different ways and we should be ready for however He decides to communicate to us.

February 2nd, 2009

The name of Jesus Christ

Posted by johncatmur in Uncategorized
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 Tagged John 1

I just love the way John doesn’t mention the name of the Word until right near the end of the passage.  Its very dramatic when he finally speaks the name ‘Jesus Christ’ – like a film trailer when all the action is building up and then the hero is finally revealed explicitly.  Lovin it.

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