Thursday, September 22, 2022

Prayer Service Outline Format - Lent Stations Setup - 10 Stations

This is a setup for a 10 station prayer service for a church. Certain supplies are needed for each station. Supplies are listed under each of the headings for the stations. The goal is to draw closer to Jesus and live out our faith on a daily basis. 

1. The Birth of Christ 
Supplies: (plastic gift bags)
When we consider the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus, we often default to the most famous verse on the matter: Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

It’s a beautiful verse that speaks of hope and the promised Savior.

But today, let’s look at the book of John, and specifically, chapter one, verses one and 14. These verses say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

They remind us of the magnitude of this moment in history. We already know that this wasn’t the birth of just any baby. This was the physical birth of the eternal God in the form of man. Jesus didn’t come into existence at the first Christmas because He has always existed.

He came for us. He came to save us.

Sit down and pray that God would help you understand just how amazing it is that the word of God himself grew in the womb of a woman and was born 2,000 years ago.

Thank the Lord for this amazing gift.

Then take one of the bags available, and sometime next week, fill the bag with food or hygiene products, and give it as a gift to a friend, a neighbor or a complete stranger, or leave it at someone’s door.

2. Jesus Loves Me – in Color
Supplies: Paper Pictures of the Cross and crayons/markers
Here you see blank white crosses. But God is a God of beautiful colors. In the past we lived empty, miserable lives, they were dull, gray-scale, sad. But then we came to know Jesus, and he made us alive. He brought color into our lives and it was beautiful.

At station two, sit down, and consider the various colors, and as you color your cross, let God speak to you about how he brought color into your life.

Red - In the Bible, the Hebrew word for red is Oudem. Its actual meaning is “red clay”. Many biblical names (Adam, Esau and Edom) are derived from this Hebrew word which means flesh.

Yellow - The second primary color is yellow. The counterpart of this color is also mentioned in God’s principle and in I Peter 1:7, God talks about trials and purging. (The trial of faith will be more precious than Gold and be tried with fire). Here the meaning is: yellow is associated with purification through difficulty

Blue - Blue is the third primary color. It spiritually signifies the Healing Power of God. It is the most sublime subject and color which biblically represents the Word of God. The very fact that the Sky is blue stands for the presence of Yahweh. God’s chosen nation Israel is also denoted as blue from the time of David.

Green - Green is obtained by mixing yellow (trials) with blue (Word of God). Therefore, the biblical meaning of the color green is immortality. (The leaf shall not wither (psalm 1:3). Green is also symbolic of resurrection which we see each Spring.

Orange - Orange is obtained by mixing red (flesh) and yellow (trials). The result is a color of fire which represents the Fire of God, deliverance and passionate praise.

Purple - Purple is obtained by mixing red (flesh) and blue (Word of God). The resultant color meaning in the Bible is royalty or priesthood.

Take your colored cross to remind you of God’s beauty in your life.

3. Turn to the Cross – Receive Jesus Christ
Supplies: Mini free-standing crosses marked with "grace" "blessing" and "courage and strength" 

The Cross

Where He who knew no sin,

Died that we may be free from sin.

The Cross

Where He was wounded for transgressions;

And bruised for our iniquities.

The Cross

Reminds us that at the end of that Holy Week

Jesus suffered death upon such a cross.

The Cross

His crucifixion was a despicable act of mankind;

Yet an act of incredible love by God.

John 19:25-27 - “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

Take time to prayerfully contemplate the cross.

Thank the Lord for the cross.

Consider how much it cost Jesus to do this.

Praise the Lord for His gift.

What message do you need to see from the Lord? What reminder do you need from the cross of Christ?

Take a Cross of “Grace” or Take a cross of “Blessing” or Take a cross of “Courage & Strength”

4. Waiting on God – A Candle to Celebrate
Supplies: Gift candles, one per person

Are you waiting on the Lord for an answer to prayer? Sit down and talk to God right now. What is a prayer request that you’ve been praying for a while that God is telling you: “I will answer! Wait on me!”

Seek God right now. What is he asking you to wait on? Then read these scriptures several times:

Psalm 27:14 - "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

2 Peter 3:9 - "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

Isaiah 30:18 - "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!"

Prayer: “Father God, We trust you. We wait patiently on you. We wait humbly for our Master to act. We do not grumble or complain. We trust you completely. We love you. We know God you will answer, and we already see your answer coming, indeed it is here, in Jesus name, Amen.”

Take one of the candles home, and set it in a place where you’ll see it at home. When the day comes that God answers the request you are waiting on, light the candle to celebrate God’s faithfulness.

5. Light a Salvation Candle
Supplies: Tall candles (enough for the each person to light one)

We all have people in our lives that we desperately want to know Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.

Think about the person you would like to light a candle for. Consider the salvation of Jesus Christ. Then pick one or several of the following prayers and pray for that person.

Open Their Eyes and Minds Prayer

Mighty God, I pray that they may get to know you and know how great you are. Deliver them from the hands of Satan, who has blinded them from seeing the light of the Good News. Open their eyes to see your goodness. Open their minds to understand your sacrifice of your son, Jesus Christ. Save them. Amen.

Experience Your Peace Prayer

Lord, My heart bleeds for my loved ones. They are entangled by sin. Their hearts are hardened. They take your love for granted. As our light and our salvation, Lord, save them. Let them understand the peace of Christ. Draw them close to you that they may experience your peace which surpasses understanding. Let your Spirit guide their way home. In Jesus name, Amen.

Let Them Look up to You Prayer

Jesus Christ, You laid down your life on the cross so that our sins are forgiven. You endured so much pain and humiliation so that we have eternal life. I pray that my loved ones look beyond this physical life, and see you in all your glory. Weaken their dependence on their power. Lead them to you. Amen.

Soften Their Hearts Prayer

Loving Father, I humble before you, asking for your help in bringing my unsaved loved ones to you. They are caught up in the world of sin. Soften their hearts to understand that you’ve paid the full price for their sins by sacrificing your only son. All they have to do is accept the gift of your forgiveness. Let them give up their worldly pleasures and seek your kingdom first. Let everything they do bring glory to you. Hold their hands to salvation. Amen.

Then Light a candle for your unsaved love one, believing God can do anything.

6. Fridge Magnet – Repeat
Supplies: Fridge magnets with encouraging scriptures on them

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” -Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NIV

We as humans are stubborn and hard-headed. We need to hear and see things repeatedly before they work themselves into our mind and heart.


O Lord God, we praise you that your word is powerful. It cuts down deep into us, bringing change and healing. Please God repeat your truth to us over and over until it becomes part of who we are, in our minds and in our hearts. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ask God which reminder he wants you to place on your fridge, then take it, and read it every time you open the fridge at home.

7. Bookmark
Supplies: Names of Jesus bookmarks (available online)

Take one of the bookmarks with the names of Jesus written on it. Sit down with the bookmark and contemplate who Jesus Christ is to you and to the human race.

Repeat each of the names of Jesus listed on the card out loud, thinking about what each means. Let God speak to you about who He is to you, for you, and for the world, for His glory.

Names of Jesus: Alpha & Omega, Immanuel, King of Kings, Light of the World, Morning Star, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Lamb of God, Savior of the World, The Good Shepherd, The Way, Lord of Lords, Anointed One, Bread of Life, Chief Cornerstone, Great High Priest, Heir of All Things, Holy and Righteous One, Lord of Glory, Messiah, Teacher, The Most Holy, The Truth, Word of God.

Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you that you are our Lord, our God, our Friend, our Counselor, our Savior, our Master, our Brother, our Beloved, in your name we pray, Amen.

Keep the Bookmark as a reminder of who Christ is to you.

8. Jesus Fish – Glow Brighter
Supplies: Jesus fish key chains, glow in the dark

The Greek word for fish is "ichthys." As early as the first century, Christians made an acrostic from this word: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

The fish has plenty of other theological overtones as well, for Christ fed the 5,000 with 2 fishes and 5 loaves (a meal recapitulated in Christian love-feasts) and called his disciples "fishers of men."

Water baptism, practiced by immersion in the early church, created a parallel between fish and converts. Second-century theologian Tertullian put it this way: "we, little fishes, after the image of our Ichthys, Jesus Christ, are born in the water."

Prayer: Lord God Almighty, we thank you that you are our provider. Your multiplied the loaves and fishes for the five thousand, and similarly you are the bread of life, you are our provider. We trust you to provide for all our needs. Nothing we have belongs to us, it all belongs to you. We are little fishes Lord, after the image of Jesus Christ, born again of the Spirit, in Jesus name, amen.

Take one of the fish, as a reminder you a little fish of Christ, or take one of the glow in the dark key chains, to remind yourself that you glow in the dark when Christ fills you. Remember it all belongs to God. You are just a steward.

9. Body of Christ – Bread
Supplies: Bread or croutons

On the Thursday evening of Holy Week Jesus gathered with His disciples in the Upper Room. These croutons remind us of the disciples gathered in the Upper Room for the Passover and the Last Supper. Those persons gathered about the table found new meaning and purpose for their lives. As Jesus took a loaf of bread, the very basis of life, and shared it, He said, “As often as you eat of this bread, do it in remembrance of me.” The symbol reminds us that we are part of His gathered community in this world. The last supper Jesus shared with his disciples, indeed, we are part of today. The same is true of the call to ministry which we accept as members of His community.

Matthew 26: 26-29 - “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

Take a crouton and eat it to symbolize your part in the body of Christ. You are part of the family of Christ around the world. You are the hands and feet of Jesus.

Prayer - Dear God, we are thankful for the community which Jesus your Son brought into being. We ask that we have the continuing spirit to be faithful members of the community. Amen.

10. An Empty Grave

FINAL GREETING: The proof of the Resurrection of Christ is not an empty tomb, but an Easter people whose lives have been transformed and who love and follow Jesus.

Let's celebrate that with a responsive “Hallelujah!”













Friday, September 16, 2022

7 Myths of Christianity Spread by the Lukewarm Church


Lukewarm Christianity is everywhere today. And with that comes a myriad of bad doctrines and misleading statements about Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the practice of our faith.

1. You can never lose your salvation - The quintessential lukewarm doctrine of the lukewarm church, receive salvation, then go do whatever you want, one and done, just like fast food, grab and go, get saved then go live however you want because hey, you can never lose it right? Let's restore the concept that falling away is real, and we must guard against it by abiding in Christ! 

2. Just Believe - The removal of repentance from the equation of salvation has been quite complete. Can you find a depiction of the gospel on a tract or graphic that includes repentance? Good luck. Let's work to restore repentance as something done in concert with faith.

3. Tithing is optional - a recent study showed that about 50% of pastors don't even teach or believe tithing is biblical, which is truly astonishing. But boy does this topic get people fired up. That's what happens when you hit someone close to their idol. The idol of course being money. Let's restore the reality of stewardship in regard to our finances, the value of tithing and giving offerings, not just 10% but above and beyond, which is the New Testament standard. 

4. Only Love - This false concept of love has gone so far in the wrong direction, you even have Christian rock songs that don't even call God by his name anymore, they just say "love." God is love, but he is much more than love, he is just, righteous, holy, a God of judgment and infinite power. When we over-emphasize love we create an idol of God that fits our preferences. Let's restore the concept that God came full of grace yes, and truth, and that God came not to judge the world but to save the world through Jesus (John 3:16) but remember to include the next verse which says, but those who do not believe in God's only are condemned already (John 3:17-18). 

5. Fear is bad - We've lost the concept of the fear of the Lord in our modern era. We think fear is mean and bad. But sometimes fear is a good thing. Not fear of man, but fear of God. To tremble before a holy God is wise, and the word says "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Let's remember that the fear of the Lord is not only an Old Testament concept, but it says in Acts 5:11, "Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events."

6. Only heaven, no hell (or neither!) - When is the last time you heard hell mentioned from the pulpit? And even further, many pastors no longer talk about heaven either, well people don't get that kind of thing, they want to talk about stuff in this place. A gospel without heaven or hell is not the gospel. Let's restore the preaching of heaven, the New Jerusalem, New Heavens and New Earth, as well as Hell, the eternal judgment, conscious eternal torment, both realities are quite real. 

7. Removal of Sin - many a modern gospel presentation goes something like this, well, you're hurting, you're lost, you can't find meaning so come to Jesus and he'll complete you. Fair enough, all that's true. But what's missing? Sin is missing. Sin is the reason Jesus died on the cross, to remove our sins. If we don't talk about sin, how can we preach the gospel of freedom from sin? Let's restore the teaching of sin as the issue which Jesus came to save us from. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Jesus eats with Sinners and Tax Collectors: The Parable of the New Wine into Old Wineskins

The last few weeks we were in the vineyard, working the fields, sweating, watering vines, pruning vines, getting sweaty, talking servanthood, talking pride vs. humility, talking about the kingdom of God pattern in regard to gifts received, timing, all of it.

Now we’re coming in from the vineyard fields, and we’re sitting down at a banquet to speak of other matters.

But first, we follow Jesus as he comes to a certain tax booth, and he calls a man that few others would have even spoken to. Jesus calls a tax collector.

Now, we today don’t think of tax collectors too poorly. It’s just another profession. We might dislike it, if someone maybe worked for the IRS, we would probably understand well it’s just their job.

Very different in ancient Israel. Israel had been conquered by the Roman empire, and the tax collectors were Jews working for Rome. So think of something quite different, what if the USA was conquered by Russia or China, and you had Americans who were working for the Russian government, collecting taxes on behalf of a foreign power. Additionally, tax collectors would collect above and beyond what the Romans required, and keep the extra for themselves.

We would probably see such a person as a traitor to the United States, serving a foreign power. Yet Jesus isn’t concerned about that. He looks past these kinds of distinctions directly to the person.

That is our calling as well. Keep this in your mind, and in your heart, incredibly important what I’m about to tell you…

See the person himself, or herself, not what they appear to be.

If I see a drunk guy, I don’t see a drunk guy, I see a man made in God’s image.

If I see a democrat, I see a person made in God’s image.

If I see someone high on drugs, I don’t see an addict, I see a woman made in God’s image.

If I see a police officer, a pedophile, a poor man, a rich woman, a politician, a sexually promiscuous man or woman, a girl with pink hair, a man with piercings all over his face, a gay or lesbian couple, a trump supporter, a far left progressive activist, a salesman at a marijuana store, a catholic, a protestant…

Train yourself to see past your first reaction to the person made in God’s image.

That is not easy, we as humans are wired to stereotype, to make assumptions, to otherize people, Jesus looks right to heart, and instead of seeing what they were, Jesus sees what they can be in Him.

And Jesus did the same for every single person here, when we were in sin, that’s when Jesus came to us, and changed us.

Take a look in your Bibles at Luke 5:27-32 which is the context for our parable today. It says:

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, 28 and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

This is something we considered several weeks back, that Jesus came for those who had been humbled by sin. Jesus came and the people that followed Him were simply people who were willing to admit, hey I need God, and I’m humble enough to admit it. So often you would see Pharisees reject Jesus, because they thought they had all they needed. Yet even near the end of Jesus ministry, many of the Pharisees did believe in Jesus.

In any case, we have to avoid two traps in our Christian mission. The first trap is the trap of the Pharisees. We’ve all here been set free from sin and made righteous in Christ. Sometimes though we can fall into the attitude of condemning those still caught in sin. So the Pharisees said to Jesus, why do you eat with sinners? We can end up the same way if we aren’t careful, we end up condemning others. Instead of offering them the same free gift we received.

Here's the second danger though, scriptures like this are sometimes used to justify sin. Well, Jesus ate with sinners, so that must mean that sinning is OK. Which is why when Jesus replied to the Pharisees, he said, “I have come to call sinners, to repentance.” One of those things you don’t hear about in the modern church much anymore, repentance, putting aside old ways and living the new way.

For some progressive Christians today though, they almost change the wording and want it to say, “I have come to learn from sinners and sin with them.” No, no, no.

That is not it either. Not even close.

So we find ourselves in this sacred balance, we have been made new and freed from every sin, and rightfully so, we despise those sins that used to keep us chained. I despise those things that used to control me and destroy me. How couldn’t I? Indeed, God hates sin far more than I do.

And yet, my job is not to condemn people caught in those sins. Or to look down on them. Or to think of them as less than. But to see them as people worthy of being treated with dignity, respect, kindness, love, and gentleness. People to be called to the love of Jesus, people to be called to repentance, to leave the dead ways and enter the way of life in Christ.

That is the sacred balance. See infinite worth and value in someone who may be blitzed, brutally drunk, smells bad, out of control, boisterous, rude, and to see still have the love of Jesus in your eyes for that person, learn that, and you’ll be on the golden road.

The conversation continues. Jesus is sitting at this banquet table with tax collectors who work for Rome, and sinners, prostitutes, drunks, and you’ve got pharisees, asking him questions.

Next…Luke 5:33-39, "They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”

34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

The Pharisees know that John the Baptist’s ministry is associated with Jesus’ ministry and John’s ministry they somewhat respected, even though it seemed odd to them. So they seem to try to drive a wedge here between John and Jesus’ disciples.

But they are simply trying to trip up Jesus in his words so they can accuse him. As a teacher, a rabbi, the Pharisees know if they can catch up him in his words and make him look wrong, they can use it as a basis for having him arrested for breaking jewish law.

Jesus is not concerned. He indicates that while he’s here, the people are celebrating, this is a great time, with Jesus on Earth with the people. Of course they should celebrate.

But Jesus doesn’t condemn fasting either. Fasting is a biblical practice. He says that after he is crucified, and resurrected and goes to heaven, then of course during those times the disciples will fast. Similar for us today, Jesus is not physically with us on Earth, he’s in heaven, so, we often fast and pray, fast and pray, in fact in this church we tend to fast together once a year at the beginning of the year as we seek God’s will for the year to come. Praise the Lord.

Next, Jesus tells a parable to illustrate the point he’s making. But actually, you could say it’s two parables.

It says: 36 He told them this parable: “No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’”

This is a fascinating parable. And there is not necessarily a consensus in theological circles about exactly what Jesus meant when he said this.

Here are some of the possible interpretations given…

1. Jesus’ teachings pitted against traditional Judaism (old replaced by new)

2. Jesus’ teachings greater than traditional Judaism (old gives way to the new)

3. Fasting question answered: Don’t replace the oral tradition with following the Torah, replace it with Jesus’ teachings

4. Fasting question answered: Fasting isn’t appropriate for the disciples of Jesus prior to Pentecost when they receive the Holy Spirit

In any case, what we see here is that Jesus is talking in terms they could understand. He’s telling a parable based on two concepts. First of all he talks about clothing.

If you have an old shirt, that you really like, you wouldn’t want to take cloth from a brand new shirt to patch it, because a new shirt will shrink when you wash it. So after you patched the old shirt and wash it, the new cloth on it would shrink and the patch wouldn’t hold properly.

Then Jesus talks about wineskins. In the ancient world to make wine you would have to gather the juice from the vineyard grapes you’ve harvested, and then you’d have to combine that juice with yeast, a living organism, into the juice, that converts the sugar in the grapes to alcohol during the fermentation process. But a massive biproduct of this process is carbon dioxide gas. So in the ancient world the juice would be placed with the yeast in these large wineskins, made from animals hide, because during the fermentation process the skins will expand and then detract as the gas is released.

So if you were to place the fermenting product in an old wineskin, it would expand and burst the skin. So you would need to place it in a brand new wineskin, which could handle the expansion due to the carbon dioxide gases.

So what is the point Jesus is trying to get across here? From my study, I think he’s trying to indicate several points to the Pharisees questioning him as well as to his disciples gathered around the table.

First that the way of perfect love which is the way of Jesus, which is also the way of the Old Testament, is something that we can only live out as a new vessel. It’s something we can only live after being born again, receiving forgiveness of our sins in Christ, and receiving the Holy Spirit as our guide and comforter.

And how often, in our day and age as well, do we see people who have not encountered Jesus Christ and been born again, attempting to live out a sort of religious practice. They have the practices, the formalism, the rituals, even the prayers, and the readings, but they don’t have Jesus Christ, they’ve not been made new, they are not born again of the Holy Spirit.

But secondly, this is told in response to a question about fasting. The disciples can’t fast while Jesus is with them, they’re rejoicing being with Jesus, but later, they Jesus will ascend to heaven, and then they will fast, because after this, they’ve received the Holy Spirit, the master is not there, and they will be filled anew.

Thirdly, he is speaking to the Pharisees about their entire attitude. They had questioned why he has sitting with sinners. Then they asked him why his disciples weren’t doing religious rituals. Well, Jesus the Lord is telling them, you’ve got it all backwards. You’re trying to create holiness in people without first seeing their fundamental nature changed.

And that was the practice of Torah, live by the rules of the Torah, by faith and you’ll be right with God. But Jesus had came to complete the work of the Torah, by changing people fundamentally from within.

The Pharisees had the attitude of many today, do religious things and you’ll be right with God. Those are certainly good things to do, Jesus did not reject things like fasting, prayer, church attendance, no but he is saying, you must be born again, made new, then you can practice the religious practices properly, then you can live the way God wants you to live.

His disciples would fast and pray, but not until after they’d been born again and given the Holy Spirit, and as well once Jesus had been taken away.

Jesus had flipped the pyramid structure upside down. Previously it had been a journey up a mountain, slowly learning the Old Testament laws and practicing them. Jesus flipped it and said no, actually, many of the worst sinners are going to enter first because they’re humble enough to realize they need me, they need Jesus to fundamentally change who they are. Then, they can live the way God wants them to live, working from a clean slate, a fresh start. That is the deep truth here.

Could anyone be a Christian who is not born again? Of course not. Like new wine in old skins, the skins burst, it doesn’t work.

But if the person is made new, born again, old gone, new here, then, they may live the Christian life, and the Holy Spirit, the new, can make a home in them.

So what does this mean for us today?

It means stop trying to make yourself good enough, and receive Jesus Christ as your savior first. Be fully born again and receive the Holy Spirit, then, you will fast and pray, and grow, and learn, and develop, and you’ll be supernaturally empowered to be all God has called you to be.


1. See beyond the exterior, see infinite worth in every person you meet “Made in the Image of God”

2. Despise sin, while valuing the person like gold

3. Refuse to pass judgment, while also discerning/using wisdom in all interactions

4. Invite sinners for dinner, but don’t join in their sin

5. Share the gospel as being born again, not just doing religious things

6. Do practice the discipline of fasting & prayer

7. See yourself as a Christian, as one who is a vessel for the Holy Spirit to minister through

In conclusion, I love a good feast, and there is one that I’m really looking forward to it’s called the marriage supper of the lamb, where we gather with Jesus Christ as the body of believers in heaven, to sit down and feast and fellowship together. That sounds wonderful to me, imagine it, thousands of tables, in all directions, the finest food, friends and fellowship, maybe we’ll be at the same table, since were a body of believers who do meet together on Earth, I would love that, but that is the dinner meal you want to be a part of.

And you can only get in by being born again, by receiving Jesus Christ as your savior, calling up His name alone, and receiving forgiveness for your sins, as well as a new nature, the Holy Spirit within, and repenting of your old ways, and living out the new way. Then God willing, we will be there together, to celebrate our eternal merging with Christ, as our representative before God, right now is the engagement period, but at the marriage supper, is the wedding, and so we shall be wed to our savior, forever and ever, to begin a new life, free from sin, with adventures that lead into an infinite future, beyond the sorrows of this life.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

What is the Dinner Church Movement?

What's the big deal about Dinner Church? The dinner church movement is growing across the country. It's simple, yet effective. Structured, yet chaotic. It's food, but more, it's faith.

Come to the table, that's the motto. Dinner church is simple: Sunday evening service, big meal, worship music and devotions, dessert, even a response time, and it's powerful. 

We've been doing it at our body of believers for a little over three years now. The biggest take away I saw was this: You see a lot of people who aren't comfortable walking into a church chapel who felt like they could come to this. That's a big deal.

But it was messy and challenging at first. Sometimes I could barely hear myself preaching over everyone talking at the same time. It definitely took time to make the model stick and make it work.

We would get a lot of people who were not professing Christians, or felt estranged from God. We would have a lot of homeless and low income people joining us. These are people who were often afraid of the Sunday morning chapel. Yet they felt comfortable in a dining room, or basement, or kitchen area, to come hear about God in that format. 

For me it echoed back to times of the early ministry of William and Catherine Booth, when William would preach in bars. He would get jeered at, he would have beer bottles thrown at him. And yet lives were being changed. People began coming to know Jesus. 

There were numerous times at dinner church when I would be preaching and people would sneer or start arguing or make rude remarks. It was really hard at first, but I began to see it as just the kind of ministry The Salvation Army has always been involved with.

To this day we love dinner church. We do worship, times of prayer and testimonies, devotionals, and lots of food. Just like the early church did, around the table, meeting together, feasting and talking about Jesus. After the sermon we have an open response time when people can raise their hands to give feedback and ask questions. 

Several who started with dinner church have joined our morning services as well, and several have become soldiers (church members). It's amazing! But to this day, we have people who attend our morning services, and an entirely different group who attend our evening dinner church. And it works. In both instances, people are learning about Jesus, and how to follow Him. 

I’m really grateful for dinner church it’s been a wonderful model to do church in a new way. We do it downstairs in our dining room. We got it started by putting up fliers around town, going door to door around the neighborhood, getting the word out at our daily meals at our corps facility, and by doing pickups around the community. We have a driver who will go to the local apartment complexes and trailer parks, and pick up people who want to attend. Many struggle with transportation in our area, so it's a great way to help people get there. We also relied heavily on social media platforms to get the word out, posting a great deal from our Facebook page. and Facebook group, as well as cross-posting to other local city groups for our area. And eventually word got around town and for the first year and a half we had about 25-30 people every Sunday. After COVID our numbers have dropped, today it’s more like 12-20, but we’re holding strong thanks to God’s grace. Truly Jesus is present when we gather around the dinner table to talk about Him!

The logo that we use for dinner church is Van Gogh's "Cafe Terrace at Night" with a close up on the cafe, with a man in white serving the tables. While I was still in seminary, at an internship in St. Louis I asked for the Lord's leading and he led me to a plate I found at a Goodwill distribution center with the image embossed on the plate. Powerful stuff! Maybe God is calling you to start a dinner church at your church? 

Wanna learn more? You can learn about it at

Otherwise the basic format we use is as follows: 
  • Welcome & Announcements
  • Opening Prayer
  • Time of Testimonies (people share blessings from the past week)
  • Time of Prayer (people share prayer requests, then we pray over them)
  • Praise and Worship (we lead the group in 2 songs, and a third reflection song)
  • Prayer over the Meal 
  • Dinner served Buffet style (we play Christian rock in the background as people get their food and eat)
  • Sermon Message (after people are done eating, we share a 10-12 minute sermon message)
  • Tithes and Offerings 
  • Dessert & Response Time (dessert is served and attenders are invited to ask questions and share what they learned from the message)
  • Closing Prayer

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Jehovah Shalom: The God of Peace in the Dangers

If you go on Youtube or other streaming services, you can find livestreams from nature centers. Something I like to do is watch live streams of eagles. The nature preserve will set up cameras pointed at the nest, and you can just watch the birds hanging out. And last night I put on the livestream from the BirdLife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park. Sure enough, there was a beautiful eagle sitting in her nest, caring for her young.

The tree was blowing back and forth in the strong winds. And I settled in to watch thinking ah, wonderful, perfect to reflect on our message for dinner church today, the name of God Jehovah Shalom, which means God our peace.

But then I noticed there was an unwelcome visitor to the nest area. This big black and white bird began swooping back and forth, from one branch to another, swooping over the eagle. It kept cawing and swooping over, hoping to draw the eagle off of her young so it could get at them, I assume. So instead of a peaceful scene, instead, there was conflict. This bird did not give up, it kept swooping over and over and over. And the eagle had no rest, it kept striking with it’s beak toward the bird as it flew over again and again and again. It would turn it’s head and watch the bird, careful not to move from the protective position over it’s young.

We see a similar situation in the context of the name of God Jehovah shalom. It had been 200 years since God had revealed himself to Israel as Jehovah jireh and Jehovah rophe and Jehovah m’kaddesh. Moses was gone. Joshua had long since died. Israel was in the promised land. They had made it. But all was not well.

You see the generation that saw God’s miracles, saw God leading Israel, they served God all their days, stayed close to Him. But the generations after, having never seen the miracles of God, they drifted away from God. They went their own ways. And eventually they had abandoned God all together.

That’s where we meet Gideon. And to illustrate just how far they had gone from God, there is a statue to other gods over the city he was in. The people were serving the idols and false gods of the people who had originally inhabited the promised land.

How terrible!

And living in the United States today, we could say the same thing. There are many idols, and Michigan has forgotten the God who planted us here in this land. We worship at bars and clubs and theaters and marijuana shops and party stores. We worship money, and influence, and power, and entertainment. Yet there are still many churches, and many believers even in our city. There is a faithful remnant. It’s similar to Gideon’s day.

A faithful few still knew Jehovah God, and followed him, but most had abandoned Him.

We see in Judges chapter 6, God sends his messenger to meet with Gideon.

It says, in Judges 6:11-24, “The angel of the Lord came, and he sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior.”

13 Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about? They said, ‘Hasn’t the Lord brought us out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.”

Gideon is wondering, where is God in all our struggles and difficulties? Where was the God of peace and provision and healing? Gideon was right, God was not with them. Because they were not with God. They had abandoned Him. And when a nation abandons God, there is no peace. There is no rest.

Just like the Eagle whose nest was being harassed by a bird, so Israel, having left God, were being harassed and attacked by a foreign enemy called the Midianites.

It continues in verse 14, “14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and deliver Israel from the grasp of Midian. I am sending you!”

15 He said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s family.”

16 “But I will be with you,” the Lord said to him. “You will strike Midian down as if it were one man.”

There we see the solution in verse 16. God says, I will be with you. That is the solution. God will be at the center, and all will work out. And if we keep God in the center of our lives, not on the side, but at the very center, then we will be victorious in our Christian lifestyle.

It continues, “17 Then he said to him, “If I have found favor with you, give me a sign that you are speaking with me. 18 Please do not leave this place until I return to you. Let me bring my gift and set it before you.”

And he said, “I will stay until you return.”

19 So Gideon went and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from a half bushel of flour. He placed the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot. He brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat with the unleavened bread, put it on this stone, and pour the broth on it.” So he did that.

21 The angel of the Lord extended the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight.

22 When Gideon realized that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, “Oh no, Lord God! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”

23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace to you. Don’t be afraid, for you will not die.” 24 So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. It is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites today.”

Gideon asks for a sign, and God gives him a sign. Gideon gives an offering to God on a stone, and fire consumes the offering. Then the angel disappears.

Gideon is terrified because he realizes he’s been talking with the living God.

But God says to him, peace to you.

And Gideon built an altar to God, and called it Jehovah shalom, The Lord is Peace.

This idea of peace really gives us a picture of the state God wants us to operate in. And the purpose for which he gives life. The purpose of the universe, the purpose of the garden of eden was truly, peace, a Hebrew word often translated as perfect, or whole, or finished, or completed, or to pay or to fulfill obligations, but it’s best stated as peace, rest. “The greatest possible measure of contentment and satisfaction in life” -Nathan Stone, Names of God, p. 113.

That’s what we all long for isn’t it? We all long for peace. For rest. For sabbath. We long for a peace that transcends all understanding. And God knows that. That’s what God made us for in fact, God made us for Eden, a place of rest, of peace, a permanent peace.

But we know things went wrong. Now we very much lack peace. But we find peace again in Jesus Christ, the prince of peace.

Gideon had found his purpose in life in God, and so he declared “The Lord is Peace.” Gideon would go on to win great victories against the Midianites and bring the people of Israel back to God.

Our desire for peace is good. And we find it in Jesus. But, we know the fullness of perfect peace doesn’t come until the New Jerusalem, heaven, the next life. That is the dream realized.

But we can also have peace now with Jesus Christ in our heart. We can find shalom, rest.

But for the wicked there is no peace. There is only restlessness, which is the root idea of the word often translated in the Hebrew for “wickedness.” Restlessness. There is no rest there. And for those who go to heaven after they die, they will receive perfect shalom, peace, but for those who go to hell after death, they will receive permanent restlessness, sorrow, suffering, torture.

In 2nd Chronicles 15:2 the word of the prophet to the King of Judah was, “Jehovah is with you, while you be with him, if you seek Him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”

Israel had forsaken God, but Gideon found favor with God, and restored that connection once again, and God again became Jehovah Shalom to his people, since they sought after Him.

Have you sought after God? Have you named Jesus as your personal messiah? You can have that peace that comes from knowing the Prince of Peace.

From W.H. Griffith’s The Power of Peace, from a sermon outline he put together: “An exposition of 2 Thess. 3:16, "Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means." His outline should prove helpful to Christian workers.

I. The Nature of Peace

1. Peace of a quiet conscience (Rom. 8:33-35; three questions)

2. Peace of a restful mind (Phil. 4:7)

3. Peace of a surrendered will

4. Peace of a hopeful heart (Isaiah 50:7)

5. Peace of loving fellowship

II. The Source of Peace

1. Peace with God (Rom. 5:1)

2. The God of peace (Rom. 15:33)

3. The peace of God (Phil. 4:7)

4. The Lord of peace (2 Thess. 3:16)

III. The Channel of Peace

"The Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means" (2 Thess. 3:16)

IV. The Duration of Peace

"...give you peace always."

V. The Secret of Peace

"The Lord of peace Himself give you peace..."
-W.H. Griffith, The Power of Peace.

Today, do you understand this peace? If you’re a Christian today, apply this peace to your life. Live in it. Soak in it. Soak in God’s presence which is perfect peace.

If you don’t know Jesus today, maybe you’re like the eagle trying to fight off the bird attacking it’s nest. But you can have peace, turn to Jesus, and he will give you rest and peace over your nest.

I turned back to the livestream later on, and God had blessed the eagle and it’s nest. The intruder had been driven off, and the mother eagle had brought a fish from the river and was serving it to the two chicks. The father eagle was guarding the nest, having returned just in time. Beautiful picture. If we trust God, and we do not forsake him, he returns to us, protects us, he drives off evil from us, and gives us peace, and feeds us from his abundance of peace. Amen.

The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard: The Ranking System of the Kingdom of God

Today we’re in the vineyard. We’re in the grape fields. Very important in ancient times. Very important today, the wine and juice industry is huge. But we’re in the vineyard again. Last few weeks we’ve been in the vineyard. Jesus as we know very often used common practices to explain deep spiritual truths.

So we’re in the vineyard. You can smell the dirt. You can taste the cool in the air. It’s like 6 in the morning. You’re tired but awake. It’s quiet as you approach the fields of the vineyard and you know a long day of work is ahead. But you’re kind of excited. That’s how I am in the morning.

I’m drinking my coffee, kind of trying to decide how I’m going to respond to the day, usually it’s a struggle of the mind between I don’t want to do this, and I’m excited for what God is going to do.

So we go out on the fields, and the foreman is there, we punch in on the sheet, and we grab our work gloves slip them on, and we get to work in the vineyard, watering the crops, caring for the vines, as the sun slowly rises and the day begins

Today we’re looking at a parable from the beginning of Matthew chapter 20. But first, flip back to Matthew 19, to the end of the chapter. This is a classic moment in scripture, a rich young man comes to Jesus and asks what he must do to receive eternal life. And in the end, Jesus tells the man to sell all his possessions and give them to the poor, and the young man left sad. Jesus then tells his disciples how hard it is for a rich person to inherit the kingdom of God.

The disciples then exclaim in Matthew 19:25, “Who then can be saved?”

And in verses 26-30 it says this: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”

That is the context of our parable today.

Secondary indication about the context today, right after the parable is the incident where the mother of James and John asks Jesus for her two sons to sit at his right and left hand. And Jesus tells her, those seats are not for me to decide but for God the father to indicate.

This incident is from Matthew 20:20-28, but in particular here is what it says is the response to this request, “24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Both of these incidents are outlining the kingdom of God order, how the order works in the kingdom of God. For the wealthy it’s hard to enter. But if you give up everything for the messiah, you will certainly gain an incredible inheritance. Also, don’t try to be great in this life, don’t try to show how awesome you are in this life, don’t try to lord it over others, which is apparently what James and John wanted, instead be a slave to all, which is an imitation of the messiah himself who did just the same.

Keep those two contextual incidents, they outline the parameters of the kingdom order of greatness. Many who seemed to be first will be last and many who are last will be first. So time to dig in and get to work in the fields, as a servant.

Our parable today, is in Matthew 20, beginning like this:

Matthew 20:1-16 NIV ““For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.”

The value of a denarius was one days wages. Fair enough. This landowner apparently doesn’t have workers, so he’s seeing these people standing around, and he hires them to work for the day.

Fairly common in the country, you might hire someone for the day, my dad did that with me when he would flip properties, one time he owned a farm, and he paid me to help him get it cleaned up and ready to sell.

Another time I got hired for a day, temp, to set up tents for an event happening. Got done, paid me out of pocket, off I went.

It continues, “3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went.

“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’

7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.”

“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’

As the day goes on this landowner sees more people just standing around and he invites them to work in his fields for pay.

So OK pause here for a second. What is this actually talking about? What did Jesus mean? Well, Jesus is the landowner. And the people he hires are lost sinners who God brings to Jesus, and Jesus saves them, and puts them to work in the world winning people to salvation in Christ. The vineyard is the world and the people who need salvation.

That’s what I do each day. I’m living my life, and God prompts me to do things for Him and his kingdom on a daily basis. Does God do the same in your life? If not, you might not even be truly participating in the vineyard. Maybe you’re still on the side and you need to get hired, which is getting born again through Christ. Because if you’re of Christ, and in Christ, he’s got you working in his fields, loving people, meeting needs, blessing others, praying with and for others, and guiding people to Jesus.

In the parable we’re going to see that the passage of time of the day, is correlating to the amount of time someone works in the field, so if they started at 6am, well, they got saved very early in life and serve God long in the fields. Think of someone who gets born again when they’re 7, 8, 9 years old. If they get saved later in life, at 5pm, they’ll be serving in God’s vineyard field for less time, think of someone like the thief on the cross, for who gets saved literally an hour or two before his death. Or someone who is maybe very elderly, I recall, I led a bible study at a nursing home in the U.P. for a while. And a saw an elderly woman get saved in that group, in her 90s, and she was super excited. But obviously she wont be working in the fields as long, until her time of service ends.

So the work day has ended, and let’s see what happens next:

8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’

9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’

So next we see those who have worked longer upset because they’re paid the same as those who only worked an hour. It’s not entirely odd to wonder at it, is it? If you’re working a shift at your job, and you work 8 hours, and then another person works 1 hour and you get paid the same you might ask yourself what’s the deal here? So they are complaining against the landowner. Not a smart thing to do since the landowner happens to own the universe.

It continues, “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’

16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

This really indicates the attitude of mind that we should have as Christians. And as much as we can intellectually hear the concept that we are “servants” it’s amazing how quickly we forget we’re servants. As I’m driving and people are driving slow, my attitude is often not that of a servant. When I’m done with work and someone stops me to ask for help, sometimes my attitude is not that of a servant. When someone wants to talk after dinner church and I’m really tired, where is my servant attitude?

The rich young ruler is not willing to be a servant and give up his wealth. So he leaves. Additionally James and John are not interested in being servants but instead want the places of highest honor in the kingdom of God, just below Christ’s seat.

Rulers of nations lord it over citizens, America is no exception. Our rulers lord it over us. Other nations are much worse of course. But even pastors here lord it over their congregations. Bosses lord it over their employees. Organizations lord it over their workers. But where is our servant attitude?

That is the mystery Jesus reveals to us in these three portions of scripture. In the parable the workers are told, listen, it’s God’s kingdom, he can do with it what he wants, and he will certainly do right. So listen up, even if they were saved in the 11th hour at 11:59 seconds before they died, they will still receive the same eternal life you will. So deal with it. Even if you got saved very young, and then had to serve for 95 years for God before you died, working to share the gospel day and night, still, same eternal life as one who believed 2 seconds before death.

Sometimes we probably wonder, I know I’ve wondered, maybe once or twice, man, maybe I should’ve waited til the very end, and then got saved. Because living as a Christian in this world is not easy. It’s a challenging life. I don’t want to say it’s hard, his burden is easy and his yoke is light, but how often we yearn for salvation for the lost, we fight off temptations and sins, we share the gospel without much success, we get discouraged and feel lonely. So you think well I could’ve just partied and done whatever I wanted and get saved the last minute. What a stupid thought that is, but sometimes we’ve probably had it.

Why is it stupid? Because it’s an honor to serve God for one. And we’ll be rewarded for our labor in heaven, above and beyond eternal life, and because a life of sin is 10 times more miserable than the difficulties of being a Christian. That’s the truth. Sin is miserable. Not knowing God is miserable. Those are all reasons why it’s a stupid thought. But probably the biggest reason that it’s a stupid thought is that there is no guarantee if I were to wait til the last minute, what if I die the day before I get the chance to believe? And what if on the last day I’m not able to believe in the right way, or fully repent, because my heart has been hardened against God from a life of sin? Then what? I’m a big trouble.

But I think we’ve all had that thought, hey that’s not fair, the thief on the cross didn’t have to get baptized, didn’t have to live out good works, or overcome the world, or become a church member, or die for his faith, or do any of those things, how is that fair? We’ve probably had that thought.

This parable reminds us, hey, listen, you’re a servant in the creator’s fields. If God wants to do it this way, believe that it’s right. And it is right, because how else would God do it? Say alright you can only get saved when you’re young, after you turn 25 it’s too late because that wouldn’t be fair to people who got saved when they were younger? Praise the Lord that he didn’t set it up that way because I got saved when I was 27, it would’ve been too late for me.

It's a timing issue. The door is open while you are still alive. As long as you are sucking oxygen in and out you can still believe in Jesus and receive eternal life. However, once you die, it is officially too late. There are millions and millions of people in hell at this moment who would give anything, anything at all, for just one more chance to believe in Jesus before it’s too late. But they can’t. The door is closed.

Sometimes I get upset with God when I think about that. I was bike riding the other day saying Lord, what about all the people in hell can’t we get them out and get them saved somehow? No, there’s no way. Why? Why can’t be let them out? Give them another shot. It’s too late for them. Too late, too late. Why? Because the door is closed now. That’s it. I don’t fully understand it. But maybe that’s why the opportunity before us is so vital. Believe now, and continue in that belief to the end. It’s such a big deal. And a whole life, all those years, isn’t that fair, that’s enough time to believe in Jesus isn’t it? The average life expectancy is 77.3 years. That’s 28,233.83 days. Enough is enough. Believe in Jesus.

But it’s more than a timing issue, it’s a servant mindset issue. That is the key to our parable for today, is the servant mindset, which is really, the mind of Christ. And if you take a look at what Jesus does in Matthew 21, 22, and 23, he then models the servant mindset.

At the end of chapter 20 he heals two blind men. Healing. He clears the temple in 21. Boldness. We might see the clearing of the temple and say hey that’s not being a servant. Yes it is, a servant of God does that. He teaches several parables. Teaching the truth. And of course later, he gives his life up on the cross.

The mind of Christ, we have as believers, we live in that reality, which the Holy Spirit builds in us. But here is what it looks like, Philippians 2:5-11

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Now that is the pattern. Take the form of a servant in this life, just as Jesus did. So then when Jesus was resurrected and taken to heaven, he received great glory and power.

In the same way, if you take the form of a servant in your lifestyle as a Christian, when you are welcomed into paradise, you’ll be one of the first of the kingdom of God, because you lived a servant life. But if you lord it over people, live like an American, smug, entitled, you may still enter the kingdom of heaven, maybe, but you’ll be one of the least of the kingdom of heaven.

The first will be last and the last will be first. Amen.