Friday, August 30, 2013

Prayer Brings Peace (Philippians 4.4-9)

Scripture: Philippians 4.4-9

Translation: 4Be happy in the Lord all the time! I’ll say it again, be happy! 5Your graciousness had better be known to all humans. The Lord is near! 6Worry about nothing, rather in everything by prayer and asking with thanksgiving your requests had better be made known to God. 7And the peace of God that surpasses every mind will guard your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are pleasing, whatever things are commendable, if something is a virtue or if something is a praise, think about these things. 9And what things you learned and received and heard and saw in me, practice these things! And the God of peace will be with you!
1.      Structure
a.       Grammatical
                                                              i.      Vv.4-7
1.      2pl impv.
2.      3sg impv.
3.      3sg indic.
4.      2pl impv.
5.      3sg impv.
6.      3sg indic./future
                                                            ii.      Vv.8-9
1.      List + ταυτα λογιζεσθε = 2pl impv.
2.      List + ταυτα πρασσετε = 2pl impv.
3.      3sg indic./future
b.      Content
                                                              i.      Vv.4-5
1.      Rejoice
2.      Graciousness
3.      The Lord
                                                            ii.      Vv.6-7
1.      Don’t worry
2.      Prayer
3.      God and Jesus
                                                          iii.      Vv.8-9
1.      Virtues
2.      Think
3.      Forms of learning
4.      Practice
5.      God
c.       Rhetorical
                                                              i.      Repeated command to rejoice
                                                            ii.      Command to be known for being gracious
                                                          iii.      Basis/motivation for i. and ii.
                                                          iv.      Command to worry about nothing
                                                            v.      Command to pray instead of worry
                                                          vi.      Basis/motivation for/result of iv. and v.
                                                        vii.      List of virtues
                                                      viii.      Command to think about things that fall under the category of vii.
                                                          ix.      List of the ways Paul taught the readers
                                                            x.      Command to practice the things that fall under the category of ix.
                                                          xi.      Motivation/result of vii-x
2.      Themes
a.       Peace
b.      Prayer
c.       Emotions
d.      Virtues
e.       Teaching/learning
f.       Commands
g.      Cause/effect, if/then
h.      Doing
i.        Thinking/mind
j.        Knowing
3.      Doctrines
a.       Jesus is coming soon, He is close
b.      Jesus is close to us, He is with us
c.       Prayer helps us when our emotions are out of control
d.      God is the source of all true peace
e.       Peace is connected with proper thinking and proper living
f.       The presence of God is experienced when we are thinking the way He thinks and living the way He has told us to live
g.      Existential peace as well as interpersonal peace is connected to focusing on the coming of Christ and the presence of God, as well as through prayer
h.      Prayer is for every situation, time, or opportunity
i.        Christians should seek to be known for something, that is Christians should seek to have a certain reputation that is backed up and generated by lifestyles that cultivation a particular kind of reputation
j.        All prayer should be offered with thanksgiving, thankfulness both for the fact that God listens to our prayers, but also for the fact that He answers our prayers, the thanksgiving especially seems to imply a faith that God will answer our prayers
k.      Teaching is achieved not only through formal instruction, but informal
1.      The temptation that many of us face as we go back to school and start new experiences either in college, or high school, or middle school, or even post college will be to be scared or nervous or worried about what could happen, what it will be like, or whatever, but the proper response is not to give into those fears and worry, but to direct our mental activity towards God and all that He is. The best response to worry about the new school year, and the best proactive step to take to avoid fear, nervousness, and worry is to pray. Prayer does not just get you answers, it gets you closer to God, and since God is the God of Peace, the closer you are to Him the closer you are to true and lasting peace. Yes, it does give us peace and gratitude to know that God will answer when we pray, we know that He will give us peace and help with what is coming to us in the new school year, but it also is one way how we connect with God and deepen our relationship with Him, how we experience Him,
2.      We should put our energy not into worry and fear, but into being happy and celebrating all the time, and to being gracious to others
3.      There are thinks that you should be thinking about and things you shouldn’t. think on things worth thinking about, but there are also things that you should be doing, do things that God has told us to do
4.      We will experience God being with us when we thinking about Godly things and live the Christian life, that’s why we feel wrong when we are not thinking about what we should be and when we are doing things God has told us not to do. What we are thinking about and what we are doing has an affect on whether we experience God close to us, if we are thinking about what is good and doing what is good, then we are guaranteed to have God with us, this is true whether we feel Him or not
5.      While surely there is a great focus on what we experience, these statements by Paul also constitute truths we need to hold on to even if we are not feeling them to be true at one time or another. If you are thinking Godly things and doing Godly things, that God will be with you, He is with you, but Paul mostly here is talking about what we will experience.
6.      Also, it might be wise to think about whether we as a community are helping each other thinking Godly things and do Godly things

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Parable of the Rude Friend (Luke 11.1-13)

Scripture: Luke 11.1-13
Translation: 11.1And it happened while He was in a place praying, as He stopped, one of his followers said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just like John taught his followers. 2And He said to them, “Whenever you would pray, say, ‘Father, make Your Name treated as holy, make Your Kingdom come. 3Give us our daily potion of food that we need for today. 4And forgive our sins for us, because we ourselves forgive everyone who owes us. And don’t bring us into testing.’”
5And He said to them, “Who of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night and would say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6because my friend arrived from the road to me, and I don’t have what I will set before him. 7And that person to answer from the inside of the house would say, “Don’t cause me trouble/bother me. The door is already closed and my kids are with me in the bed. I can’t by getting up give to you.” 8I say to you, even if he wouldn’t give to him by getting up because of being his friend, for sure because of his rudeness after getting up he will give him whatever things he needs. 9And I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened for you, 10because everyone who asks receives and who seeks finds and for the person who knocks it will be opened. 11But your son will ask which one of you who is a father for a fish, and instead of a fish will give him a snake? 12Or even he will ask for an egg, will he give him a scorpion? 13So, if you who are truly evil know to give good gifts to your children, how much more the Father from Heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

The Point I’m Stressing: Ask and Get an Answer From God, Don’t Let anything hold you back from asking, just Ask God, because He is your Father in Heaven and He will answer!

1.      Structure
a.       Intro: Teach us to pray (v.1)
b.      Model Prayer (vv.2-4)
c.       Prayer will be answered
                                                              i.      Parable of Two Friends (vv.5-8)
                                                            ii.      Application of the Parable: Ask and Get an Answer (vv.9-10)
                                                          iii.      Assurance of an Answer: Comparison to Earthly Fathers (vv.11-12)
                                                          iv.      Conclusion: God will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (v.13)
2.      Themes
a.       Asking
                                                              i.      The whole relates to asking, actually while there are times when you can have a conversation with God in prayer or praise God in prayer, this whole passage main presents prayer as asking our Father in Heaven for stuff we want/need.
                                                            ii.      All of Jesus’ model prayer is just one request after another, all of them are requests
                                                          iii.      The parable is all about a person who is shameless in his asking
                                                          iv.      The application of the parable is that we should ask, seek, and knock, which is a way of say really ask
                                                            v.      The analogy of a son asking a father for food is still about asking
                                                          vi.      The conclusion is all about asking for the Holy Spirit
b.      Relating to God as our Heavenly Father
                                                              i.      The model prayer has us assume a posture of approaching God as our Father
                                                            ii.      The analogy to earthly fathers assumes we should be relating to God as our Father
                                                          iii.      The assurance in the conclusion is that God the Father is our Good Father who will give good gifts, specifically the Holy Spirit
c.       Prayer
                                                              i.      This is the overarching theme of the whole section, clearly introduced by the first verse of the chapter.
                                                            ii.      Prayer here is main explained in relationship to asking for things
d.      Rudeness/shamelessness
                                                              i.      The person begging his friend in the middle of the night doesn’t seem to notice that he is being very rude, he is oblivious to the fact that it is in the middle of the night and not a good time to ask, because he needs an answer, so he asks
                                                            ii.      Jesus says that even if his friend wouldn’t provide what he needed because of their relationship, the sheer shamelessness of the friends begging, the sheer desperate boldness of his begging would compel the friend to give what he needed.
                                                          iii.      The point being that if a human can compel another human to give one way or another, our prayers to God are even more effective, He will do it because He is our Father
e.       Getting what was asked for
                                                              i.      The man in the parable gets what he asked for, Jesus says that we will get what we ask for, the children in the comparison to earthly fathers get what they ask for, and Jesus again says that God will give us what we ask for, especially/specifically the Holy Spirit!
f.       Holy Spirit
                                                              i.      This is a theme in Luke-Acts
                                                            ii.      The similar passage in Matthew 7 has “good gifts” instead of the Holy Spirit, so Luke is clearly want to stress that God will give us the Holy Spirit if we ask Him
3.      Doctrines
a.       God is our Father in Heaven
b.      God is Good
c.       God wants to send the Holy Spirit
d.      God wants our requests
e.       God answers prayer requests
f.       God will answer
g.      We should ask God for the Holy Spirit
h.      The Holy Spirit is especially what God wants to give us and will give us if we ask
i.        We should not be afraid to ask, or feel rude or awkward while we are asking
j.        While all Christians have the Holy Spirit, we can receive greater filling of the Holy Spirit in our lives, that is we can have the Spirit work more powerfully and fully in us and through us if we ask God to send us more of the Holy Spirit
k.      We really will get what we ask for

1.      Pray for things you really want
2.      Pray for things you should really want too
3.      Pray for things you really need. They can be practical physical things like food, clothes, a house, schooling, money, a phone, a car, or whatever else you might actually need or want. They can be spiritual needs too like not being put through a testing or tempting circumstance, or like help understanding a passage in the Bible or overcoming a sin or forgiveness of a sin or help forgiving other people or strength to endure a difficult situation or to know God’s will or whatever else you might need spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually!
4.      Expect God to answer
5.      Truth God to answer
6.      Ask God like He is Your Heavenly Daddy, because He is
7.      Go ahead, risk being a bit rude. The point of the story is that of course that the person will definitely get an answer one way or another, that God will answer your prayers for sure. God is not like the sleeping man who is reluctant, but we should be like the asker who doesn’t let anything hold him back from asking, so ask even if it feels awkward, or rude, or even like something you’re not sure you should ask for, ask. God would rather have you ask and trust Him to answer than you to feel too awkward to ask.
8.      God won’t give you something bad in return for what you asked for. He doesn’t give you nasty gifts. You don’t ask God for him to give you a good spouse one day and then expect him to give you a horrible one? Or for him to help you get into a good school and then expect to get into a horrible one. Don’t expect God to give you a bad gift
9.      Ask for the Holy Spirit, the main thing Jesus wants us to ask for is the Holy Spirit and the main thing we should expect to get is the Holy Spirit! 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When and How God Answers Anyway (Acts 12)

Translation: 12.1And according to that time, Herod the King thrust out his hands to harm some of the people from the church. 2He killed James, John’s brother, with a sword. 3And because he saw that it was something pleasing to the Jews, he took additional action to arrest Peter too (Now, those were the days of Unleavened Bread), who after he also arrested he put into prison by handing [him] over to four four-man-squads of soldiers to guard him, because he was planning to bring him out to the people after the Passover. 5So, on the one hand Peter was being kept in the prison, but on the other hand prayer was constantly/passionately*** happening by the church to God for him. 6And when Herod was about to lead him out, at that night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers cuffed with two chains and two guards were keeping watch in front of the door. 7And look, an angel of the Lord stood near and a light shined in the room. And hitting Peter’s side he woke him up by saying, “Get up fast!” and his chains fell off from his hands. 8And the angle said to him to get ready and put on your sandals. And he did it. And he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me!” 9And going out he followed and he didn’t know that what was happening through the angel was real. Rather he thought he was seeing a vision. 10And going through the first guard they also came to the second at the iron gate that goes into the city, which opened all by itself for them. And coming out, they proceeded for one street, and immediately the angel left him. 11And as he came to his senses Peter said, “Now I know for real that the Lord sent out His angel and he rescued me from the hand of Herod and all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12And realizing [this] he came to the house of Maria, the mother of John, who was called Mark, where many people were gathered and praying. 13And when he knocked on the door of the gateway a slave girl by the name of Rhode came to answer. 14And when she recognized the voice of Peter, because of her joy she didn’t open the gateway. And running in she announced that Peter was standing in front of the gateway. 15But they said to her, “You’re crazy!” But she insisted to hold on that way. And they were saying, “It’s his angel.” 16And Peter stay [there] knocking. And when they opened [the door], they say him and were amazed! 17And after he motioned to them with his hand to be quiet, he told the story how the Lord brought him out from the prison. He also said, “Tell James and the brothers these things. And going out he traveled to another place.
18And when it became day, there was not a little commotion among the soldiers [about] what place Peter possibly went. 19And Herod after searching for him intensely and not finding [him], after questioning the guards he commanded [them] to be lead away. And going down from Judea, he spent time in Caesarea.

20And he was fighting angrily with the Tyrians and the Sidonians. And they came to him with one impulse. And having convinced Blastus, the one over the kings bedroom, they asked for peace because their region was fed by the kingdom. 21And on the appointed day, Herod after he put on his royal robe and sat on the judge’s bench, he gave a public speech to them. 22And the public shouted out, “[You’ve got] a god’s voice, and not a human’s!” 23And immediately an angel of the Lord hit him because he didn’t give the glory to God. And having become worm-eaten he breathed out for the last time. 24And the message of God grew and multiplied! 25And Barnabas and Saul returned, having fulfilled their ministry in Jerusalem, taking John, the one called Mark, along with them.

The Point I'm Stressing: God Answers Prayer!!! Sometimes He will even answer when we don't trust Him to answer and He will still answer better than we even asked!!! But because He is like that we should pray with greater faith, but also have comfort in knowing that God sometimes answers even when our faith is weak!

1.      Structure
a.       The Set Up/Intro/Transition out of the Paul Narrative (vv.1-5)
b.      God Answers the Prayer they Prayed (vv.6-19)
                                                              i.      Angelic Deliverance for Peter from Jail (vv.6-11)
                                                            ii.      The Church Doesn’t Believe Peter has been Rescued (vv.12-17)
                                                          iii.      Herod and Guards Can’t Figure Out what Happened (also serves as a transitional element to the next larger section) (vv.18-19)
c.       God Answers the Prayer BETTER than they Prayed (vv.20-23)
d.      Conclusion and transition back to the Paul Narrative (vv.24-25)
2.      Themes
a.       The Message of God won’t be stopped
                                                              i.      This is a main theme in the book of Acts as a whole.
                                                            ii.      This is just one instance where the spread of the message of Jesus as the Lord and Savior of the world encountered opposition, but here like the other times in the book of Acts, the Lord intervened and makes sure that the Gospel reaches the whole world
b.      Prayer
                                                              i.      Prayer is a main theme of the book of Luke and the Book of Acts
                                                            ii.      Here Luke is specifically showing us the power of the praying church, v.5 specifically proposes two forces battling for supremacy, Herod’s guards and prison or the prayers of the Church
                                                          iii.      Prayer here is interesting, because the church doesn’t seem to actually believe that God is going to save Peter. In a lot of ways it parallel an earlier Passover where another Important Church Figure was restored to the church, but the church didn’t believe it at first, that is Jesus.
                                                          iv.      Prayer is answered in exactly the way one would expect, Peter is miraculously freed, but then God goes beyond what they were asking by killing Herod, which then frees up Peter for public and free ministry again
                                                            v.      The prayer’s answer is also an instance of Yahweh’s justice, because the soldiers who were going to ensure Peter’s destruction were themselves destroyed, and the person responsible for the death of James and the attempted killing of Peter is himself killed for his profound arrogance and self-absorption
c.       Angels
                                                              i.      Interestingly angels do not pop up too much in Luke-Acts, but here is one instance where the Lord sends and angel to save, this happened earlier in Acts 5, where all the apostles were arrested by the religious authorities and then freed by an angel to preach the Gospel
                                                            ii.      Thus, we are shaded towards knowing that the release of Peter will result in the further preaching and spread of the Gospel
d.      Prison/guards/guarding/chains
                                                              i.      This is a major theme in this section, and the main purpose for the constant repetition of the terms related to the theme is that they represent total sum of human power, and the opposition of man to God’s message
                                                            ii.      They represent the best Herod could do to somehow secure his prisoner, the serve to contrast the true and total control and power of God in response to prayer
e.       Glory belongs to God
                                                              i.      This is shown both in Peter’s crediting of God with his salvation and not the angel directly
                                                            ii.      It is also shown in Herod’s demise for hoarding the praise of people
f.       God will use Paul
g.      Christians are generous
h.      Faith
i.        Doors
j.        Death
k.      Rescue
l.        Sovereignty
m.    Joy
3.      Doctrines
a.       All glory belongs to God
b.      Prayer works
c.       Total Faith is not always the most important component in prayer
d.      God Answers prayer better than what we pray for
e.       God is the God of Justice
f.       God is the God of Salvation/Mercy
g.      Prayer is core to what the church does
h.      God is the Only One Who is Truly in Control, and always can overrule our control
i.        Answered Prayers should produce joy
j.        God is Omnipotent: He can do anything, and sometimes does crazy things
1.      We should be a community that goes to God in prayer when we need something as our first response and not our last response
2.      We should pray and ask God for things that seem impossible, and trust Him to take actions
3.      We can take comfort in knowing that God still answers prayer sometimes even if we don’t completely believe that He will
4.      We should be the kind of community that believes other Christians when they tell us crazy stories of how God worked, because we worship that kind of God, the kind of God Who does crazy things
5.      We should try to trust God when we pray, and if we don’t have the faith we should ask for it
6.      We should expect and wait with excitement for God to answer our prayers, but not just answer them, but answer them better than we expect!
7.      We should give God the credit for things that turn out good for us, for our answered prayers
8.      We should understand however, that God does not always want to save or intervene for the people who love Him and that He loves, sometimes He has a better plan that doesn’t involve being saved from something, sometimes it means trusting Him in the midst of suffering, or trusting Him as He answers our prayers better than we expect, by answering “NO”
9.      We should be encouraged because God will not ever have the message of Jesus stop spreading—nothing can stop people from hearing good news and being transformed by it! Every time someone tries to stop it, they fail to stop it. This means that we can share the Gospel without fear of failure, because we literally cannot fail. God will do what He needs to do to make the Gospel explode!
10.  We should be a generous community, buying food for each other when others don’t have enough, supporting each other when some of us are in need, whether those needs are physical like food, water, clothes, spiritual like accountability, prayer, forgiveness, and partnership, or emotion like the need for encouragement when sad, celebration when happy, patience when tire, and listening when someone needs to talk—we give from what we have to benefit everyone else 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts

1 Corinthians 12
12.1Brothers, I don’t want you to be ignorant about spiritual things. 2You know that when you were pagans with the voiceless idols however you might go you were misled. 3Because of this, I made known to you that no one who was speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit! 4Now, there are distributions of gracious gifts, but the Same Spirit. 5And there are distributions of ministries, but the Same Lord. 6And there are distributions of in-working, but the Same God, Who works all things in all things. 7But to each person the manifestation of the Spirit was given for what is beneficial. 8See, on the one hand to one person a message of wisdom was given through the Spirit, but to another person a message of knowledge according to the Same Spirit, 9to somebody else faith by the Same Spirit, but to another person gracious gifts of healings by the One Spirit, 10but to somebody else in-workings of powers, but to somebody else prophecy, but to somebody else discernment of spirits, to another person kinds of languages, but to somebody else interpretation of languages, 11but One and the Same Spirit works in all these things, distributing to each on his own gift just as He has planned. 

12For just as the body is one and it has many body-parts, and all the all the parts of the body, although they are many, are one body, so too the Messiah, 13because also by One Spirit  we all were baptized into one body, whether Jew or Greek, where slave or free. And we all made to drink One Spirit. 14And see the body is not one part, but many. 15If the foot would say “I’m not a hand! I’m not part of the body!” Because of this, is it not part of the body? 16And if the ear would say “I’m not an eye! I’m not part of the body!” Because of this is it not part of the body? 17If the whole body was an eye, where is the sense of hearing? If the whole is the sense of hearing, where is the sense of smell? 18But now God placed the body-parts, each and every one of them in the body just as He wanted. 19But if all the parts were one part, where is the body? 20But now, one the one hand there are many parts, but on the other hand there is one body. 21And the eye can’t say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you!” 22But how much more the parts of the body that seem to really be weaker are necessary! 23And what things we think to be more dishonorable of the body, these things we confer more abundant honor. And our shameful parts have presentability. 24And our presentable parts don’t have need [of more honor]. But God designed the body giving more abundant honor to what was lesser, 25so that there would be no schism in the body, but the same thing, the parts would care for one another. 26And if one part suffers, all the parts suffer together. And if one part is glorified, all the parts celebrate together! 27But you are the Body of the Messiah, and parts from a portion. 28And who God appointed in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, next powers, next gracious-gifts of healings, helps, administration/governing, kinds of languages. 29Not all are apostles are they? Not all are prophets are they? No all are teachers are they? Not all are powers are they? 30Not all have gracious-gifts of healings, do they? No all speak in tongues, do they? Not all interpret, do they? 31And desire aggressively the greater gracious-gifts! And still I will show you according to a surpassing way.