March 2015


Luke 23:39-43
39 One of the criminals hanging next to Jesus insulted him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”40 Responding, the other criminal spoke harshly to him, “Don’t you fear God, seeing that you’ve also been sentenced to die? 41 We are rightly condemned, for we are receiving the appropriate sentence for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus replied, “I assure you that today you will be with me in paradise.”

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The difference between the two men being executed with Jesus was simple yet significantly complex. The difference was humility. To the casual observer it looks like there are three convicted criminals with no redeeming qualities. At first glance it appears that there is no need to acknowledge their individual and unique characteristics. If you were to operate with the initial presentation of facts you would miss the significant moment that Jesus shared on the cross.   (more…)

Determined Discipleship
Mark David Ribbins

The Death of Lazarus

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you,and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

 

It’s easy to follow Jesus, as long as He’s popular in the places where you’re following
— a lesson His disciples learned while watching the course of His ministry.

“ Called to be fishers of men? How cool to hang with Jesus!
Watching a temple crowd pick up rocks to stone Him, not so great.
Helping to feed 5000 with a bag lunch? Amazing experience!
Castigated by Pharisees for picking grain on the Sabbath, what a royal pain!”

(more…)

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Father forgive the Pharisees

Forgive the religious leaders who were more concerned about religious rituals, proper clerical attire and using the right liturgy rather than having their hearts in right relationship with you

Father forgive the Sadducees-

Forgive the aristocratic religious rulers who were more concerned about their positions rather than the justice

Father forgive the political leaders

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Public Sees Religion’s Influence Waning

Posted: 26 Mar 2015 05:52 AM PDT

Nearly three-quarters of the public (72 percent) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010 to the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past decade. And most people who say religion’s influence is waning see this as a bad thing.

http://factsandtrends.net/2015/03/26/public-sees-religions-influence-waning/#.VRRAS8so5Fs

Around the year 1510, a delegation of Christians from Sudan, which had been recently overrun by Muslim conquest, went to the Christian Ethiopian court and begged the emperor to send them bishops and priests. The Christians remaining in Sudan needed clergy to lead worship, administer the sacraments, and teach the people. But the emperor refused, sending them away empty-handed.

With no Christian worship, within 100 years Christianity in Sudan became extinct and forgotten until the twentieth century.

That historical moment is a useful example for Christians today.

http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2015/01/23/christianity-cannot-survive-the-decline-in-worship/35932

For an idea of how Broadway United Methodist Church is turning the model of the urban church inside out, look for a moment at its food pantry, clothing ministry and after-school program.

They’ve been killed off.

http://www.ministrymatters.com/reach/entry/5906/death-and-resurrection-of-an-urban-church

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Register today at http://www.exponential.org
@Path1tweets @pastorchaney #path1 #exponential #rethinkchurch #discipleship

Questions for Reflection

What does the kingdom of God look like?

What heavy burdens are you worrying about that you need to hand over to God?

Can God handle taking care of me tomorrow if I am overwhelmed today?

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God

AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCH PLANTING AND MULTIPLYING: THE NEXT GENERATION

Expo 2015 Spark Booklet Path 1

Mon, April 27 | 1pm – 5pm
Idlewild Baptist Church | Tampa, FL
Attend this Free Bonus Session by Registering for a Pre-Con Forum or Lab as part of Exponential East for only +$59

Hosted by Path 1 and AACPI facilitated by Dr. Candace Lewis and Rev. William T. Chaney Jr. 
Featuring Olu Brown, Lia McIntosh, George Ashford and Alex Shipman

Connect with successful African American Church planters and receive insights on planting and multiplying Ministries in a new church reaching African Americans as next generation leaders!

Our forum includes planters leading new churches of various sizes! What they have in common is a calling from God to share the gospel, impact their community, and multiply ministries. Come hear succinct Ted Talk style presentations w Q & A and receive cutting edge research & resourcing in African American Church planting.

In this session you will experience:* The importance of Vision & Momentum as you Plant & Multiply

* Connecting w your community & creating successful partnerships
* The Heart & Soul of an African American Church Planter
* Making Disciples & Multiplying Leaders
* The mindset and essentials of a multiplying movement
* The Emerging Black Church & The Next Generation

John 3:14-21

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.’

“I’m grateful for work more important than how I happen to feel about it on any given day.” – Fred Croddock

Let us Pray

Metaphor – Light

Nic at night – Jesus in the Light

Evil in darkness – Justice in the light

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent. Being that it is the fourth week there are some people who are celebrating the fact that they are the fourth week in to their discipline of fasting from a specific food or activity that has given them more time to be with God in prayer and devotion. There are others who are totally frustrated because they have not been able to keep their commitment to God and their focus on being closer with God.

During this fourth week of Lent some people are clear about what they need to do as we approach the time of remembering Jesus on the Cross and celebrating the resurrection of our Lord to deal with the temptations, frustrations and distractions that keep them from being able to hear the voice of God, move with the will of God and experience God’s best for their lives.  There are others who are clueless about what to do next because they have allowed the issues and vicissitudes of life to overwhelm them and obscure their vision of having a closer walk with the Master.

This fourth week of Lent is a time deep discernment for both groups of people. The people who are celebrating their commitment and discipline are asking the question do I continue fasting lunch on Wednesdays and giving the money to the soup kitchen.  Do I continue taping Scandal and Empire so that I can spend an entire evening in prayer and studying God’s Word.  The group of people who have not kept their commitment are asking the question to I pick myself up and recommit or do I continue to make excuses which builds walls of nothingness rather than disciplines that keep us connected to the Master of the Universe.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

For both groups of people I would like to encourage you to keep focused. Resurrection Day is approaching and the good news is that God’s grace is available to all.  Those who have kept their Lenten commitments may be finding it difficult to maintain and the temptations that you didn’t experience in the first three weeks is not staring you in the face and even hunting you down. God’s grace is available to you to have strength to endure.  Those who experienced challenges may be asking what the point is.  God’s grace is available to you to start today ad to remain faithful to the commitments to fast, pray and study.

In this fourth week of Lent we are engaged in looking at a possibly the most familiar text in the New Testament.  John 3:16 is a theme for signs at football games, street corners, soccer games, Facebook pages, Instagram pages, billboards and tracts left in airport restrooms. Non believers can even quote the text

“ ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

This verse is first a Word to Nicodemous to clarify for him the need to be born again and what that means.  This verse is also the glue and connection that explains verses 17-

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