Crossroad Bible Study

April 8th, 2009

Gods last words to mankind

Posted by Alan Collins in Uncategorized

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Reading the last entry in our series for essential 100, Revelation 21-22 I was struck how like every great story the ending was connected back up with the start. Just read about the Tree of life in Genesis 2 before reading the last chapter of the last book. There are many similarities between the New Jerusalem described in Rev 22 and the Garden of Paradise described in Gen 2.

The last thing that really challenged me was this. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book. At this point I would naturally think of the Mormons, but this morning I felt challenged as to whether we at crossroads are like this. The Bible doesn’t seem to hold a lot of importance to us. Instead we add community, evangelism strategy, good service production, and so on to our theology. Not that any of these things are necessarily bad but it is when we use them to replace Gods Word. Isn’t the Bible the primary way that God communicates to us? We can certainly know our Bibles well without knowing God well, but we can not know God well without knowing our Bibles well.

The second thing that challenged me.  If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city. Naturally I think of the Quakers. Who show little respect for the authority of God’s Word and instead rely more on learning to be guided by their “inner light”.  But then I realised how little respect we at crossroad  seem to have for God’s Word. Certain people have already said that they don’t believe Genesis 1 and 2 is entirely factual. You will have to say that Revelation 22 wasn’t fact too to be consistant. We have little respect for the authority of Gods Word. We can say we do but do we truly believe its the word of the living God? that changes lives? Just look at how many of us have been bothered to follow the essential 100 reading plan that John organised. You could argue that people were reading their bibles but not necessarily the reading plan. This would be fine but considering the emphasis we have always placed on community I don’t think this is true. The reason why people aren’t  up to date with essential 100 is because they haven’t been reading their Bibles daily for the last few months. How hypocritical of us when we claim that it is the spoken Word of the creator and don’t treat it as such.

I came to realise earlier this year that I have now been a member of four different churches. Of those crosssroads has by far the worst general bible knowledge. We should take the promises of God in these last few verses very seriously. And repent.

I’m sorry if you take offence to this. I’m not trying to put myself on a higher moral standing then anyone else. This is as much a challenge to me as it is to you.  This series has renewed a passion for Gods Word that I haven’t had for a long time. Lets apply it!

April 7th, 2009

No More Guilt

Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized
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 Tagged 1 John 3:11-4:21

And by this we know that we are of the truth, and persuade our hearts before him, because if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.

There are some of us who struggle with feeling guilty often. And then there are some of us who are too prideful to feel bad for things. Christ already paid for it, right?

But to those of us who struggle with guilt, I thought this verse would be very comforting. Often, we may feel that our hearts our condemning us. But we are not condemned! God is greater than our hearts and His judgement is what really counts! Sometimes, we may feel that we should feel bad for something because then we know that ‘we are good’ because we feel bad. I know that sounds weird but I bet others can identify with that. We judge ourselves based on our own judgment rather than God’s. So, sometimes, it is in pride that we feel guilty because we feel better about ourselves in our guilt. But, in reality, sometimes the humble attitude is one that accepts God’s grace upon us. We trust the Lord’s judgment, even though He judges us clean. And we trust that He knows everything and yet, has still pardoned us.

March 24th, 2009

Family management

Posted by Anna S in Uncategorized
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 Tagged 1 Timothy 3

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If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?

I don’t really know what to think about this bit.    When I was younger, I would have consigned this passage to the “yeah, whatever Paul!” category in my mind.  But now I think that it is something worth grappling with.

I think it is hugely important for people in leadership to have the support of their family.   And there have been plenty of people in leadership who have come to grief through the actions of their family members.  Having said that …

When I was growing up, there was a lovely Godly couple in my church that were involved in lots of areas of the church life – particularly stuff to do with kids ministry.   One day I asked Mum why Mr Cox wasn’t an elder (he seemed like the ideal elder-type).  Her answer was that he didn’t feel that his children were good enough for him to meet the criteria of 1 Tim 3.  I thought that was a bit harsh.  For one thing, all his kids were adults by that stage.  And furthermore, they were all adopted.  But I had a tremendous amount of respect for Mr and Mrs Cox, so I didn’t question it further.

My own family isn’t exactly a shining example of a Good Family Management.  Over the years that my parents have been involved in youth ministry, there have been a few people that have decided to remove their boys from Boys’ Brigade on the basis that “if the Seccombe’s can’t keep their own son under control, how are they going to be able to discipline MY boy?”.  So from that respect you could argue that their ministry has been less effective because they haven’t complied with 1 Tim 3.  But on the other hand, there have been others that have appreciated my parent’s honest struggle with stuff (particularly if their own sons have become difficult).

Does anyone have any thoughts on this??

March 9th, 2009

Doing good

Posted by johncatmur in Uncategorized
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 Tagged Acts 10-11:18

I was just catching up today on Friday’s reading.  Its a great passage, showing God’s power and the wonderful gift of the Spirit coming on all who believed the message about Jesus and the forgiveness of sins, even to the gentiles.

But following on from my message last night at the meeting there were a couple of small details that stood out to me: 

10:2 – Cornelius ‘gave generously to those in need’ and God acknowledged this as valuable in his eyes

10:38 – Jesus ‘went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil’. The breaking in of the kingdom was characterised by God generously ‘doing good’ to his people (thus fulfilling many prophecies) through his Son.

11:29 – ‘the disciples…decided to provide help for the believers living in Judea’ (those struck by the famine).  The supported one another in the family of believers. 

We need to let these verses sink in, and do them, alongside preaching the amazing message of forgiveness of sins for all who believe.  How can we REALLY hold these two together, without either dumbing down the other?

March 3rd, 2009

Conversion?

Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized
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 Tagged John 20-21

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I wanted to ask everyone’s thoughts on John 20:8-9 which says:

“Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understnad from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)”

These verses are talking about John arriving at the empty tomb, going inside and then “believing”. It seems to be that this belief is a belief that the body is really gone. Mary had told them that someone had taken the body and so Peter and John had ran to see for themselves. They arrived and believed her words: the body was gone. The  next verse (9) seems to explain that they didn’t understand yet that Jesus needed to rise from the dead so that is why they were assuming that someone took the body.

However, our devotional seems to think this was a true conversion experience for John. The author states, “John had his real conversion experience when he made a decision to believe in Jesus based on the evidence (20:8).”

What do you think about that? Is this a real conversion or is it just a belief in an empty tomb?

Hannah Venable

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?

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