Quiet Time Coaching, Episode 77, “God’s Remarkable Restraint”

A super-bright moon led me to contemplate the blend of power and compassion as twin aspects of the nature of God. What difference does it make to our devotional times that God has such power and such compassion?

“..what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4 NIV11)

“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.” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV11)

“it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.” (Luke 10:14 NIV11)

Let me share with you what I learned while musing on these ideas today.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Tuesday Teaching Tips, Episode 141: “Awesome Apollos”, Part 3, “Feed the fervour”

“When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” (Acts 18:27–28 NIV11)

  1. Learned man
  2. Self-motivated
  3. Passionate

zeo – to boil, to be hot, to be fervent, ardent, zealous
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11 NIV11)

parresiazomai – to speak plainly, freely, boldly, and confidently, Acts 13:46; 14:3
“Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:46 NIV11)
“So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.” (Acts 14:3 NIV11)

eutonos – intensely, vehemently, strenuously,
“The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.” (Luke 23:10 NIV11)

  1. His passion took him into hostile places – synagogues; “vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate” (Acts 18:28 NIV11)
  2. His passion helped to win the day – needed vigour to endure tough situations
  3. His passion was characteristic of the most effective church planters and speakers of the early Christian movement

Don’t bore your hearers!

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm

“Heaven-Sent” Luke 10.1-20, Watford Church of Christ

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”     The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”” (Luke 10:1–20 NIV11)

  1. Who is God?
  2. What is God’s experience?
  3. What’s relevant for you?

Summary

  • Which of the revealed characteristics of God challenges you the most?
  • Which of the revealed characteristics of God inspires you the most?    

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“The Eagle’s Eye”, Class 3, John’s Gospel chapters 5 & 6

1. “Believe!”

  • ‘pisteuo’ – 100
  • God: 14:1; God as the one who sent Jesus: 12:44; What the Old Testament says: 2:22; 5:46-47; Jesus as the one sent by God: 6:29; Jesus’ name: 2:23; Jesus himself: 3:18; 4:39; 10:42; 12:42, etc.; Jesus as the son of man: 9:35-38; Jesus’s miracles: 10:38; Jesus as the Messiah:11:27; 20:3; What Jesus says: 8.45-46; 14:11; The fact that Jesus is in the Father and that the Father is in Jesus: 14:10; 7:21
  • Faith as ‘allegiance’
  • John 3.36; 8.31-32
    1. Mental affirmation
    2. Professed fealty
    3. Enacted loyalty

2. Digging Deeper: John 5.1-15

  • Bethesda’s pool and 5 Colonnades up
  • Luke’s geography
    • 32 _________________
    • __ cities 
    • 9 __________________
    • __  mistakes

3. “It is I”: John 6.16-21

  • From mountaintop experiences to storms of doubt
  • Power or presence?

Summary

  • “What has stood out to you from tonight?”
  1. Read John 7-8 between now and Sunday
  2. Discuss what you’re learning and your questions with your spouse/friends.
  3. Ask God to reveal what aspect of Jesus he would like you to focus on through this series.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here

PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Sources of spiritual courage”, Part 4

Quiet Time Coaching, episode 66

Recently I preached a Sermon based on Luke 4.19-30 and the visit of Jesus to the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth (synagogue video).
“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28–30 NIV11)

Where did his bravery come from?  In Luke chapters 3 and 4 I can see four sources of his bravery.  If we can understand them, they can help us with our growth in spiritual courage. The first one is God’s approval, the second is God’s refining,  the third is God’s Word and the fourth is:
God’s calling, or mission. 
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.” (Luke 4:42–44 NIV11)
Jesus knew that God believed in him to be effective in the calling he had been given. When we have something to live for that is bigger than us, and when someone we trust believes in us, it makes a huge difference to our bravery.
God has something important for you to do. That can make you more courageous – not because of your own competency, but because of the Spirit of Christ living in you. What will help convince you of this reality? How would being convinced of it increase your spiritual courage?
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.
God bless, Malcolm
PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“New Year, Newer You!” Ephesians 2.19-22, Thames Valley churches of Christ

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19–22 NIV11)

Audio

1. New Identity, v19 – this is what has been done for us by Christ: vv4-22
2. New Foundation, v20 – Revelation 2:1–7
3. New Purpose, v21-22 – We have a new purpose – Ephesians 2.10

Therefore we…

a. Pay attention to our personal relationship with God: Matthew 4:4; Luke 6:46–49; John 15:42.

b. Pay attention to our relationships with one-another in church: 1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:15–16.

Questions for reflection

1. How “joined together” do you feel with God, and with the rest of the church?

2. What is it about Jesus (see the rest of Ephesians 2) which will provide the inspiration for you to grow, serve and sacrifice for others in the year ahead?

3. How do you anticipate us experiencing the presence of God by His Spirit dwelling in us as a congregation in 2019?

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

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Malcolm 

“Sources of spiritual courage” Part 3

Quiet Time Coaching, episode 65

Recently I preached a Sermon based on Luke 4.19-30 and the visit of Jesus to the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth (synagogue video).
“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28–30 NIV11)
Where did his bravery come from?  In Luke chapters 3 and 4 I can see four sources of his bravery.  If we can understand them, they can help us with our growth in spiritual courage. The first one is God’s approval, the second is God’s refining and the third is:
God’s Word
God’s word gave Jesus courage in the wilderness. His response to the devil was: “It is written…it is written…it is said…”
He clearly had the Word in his heart, not just as head knowledge. This is the difference between simply reading the Word and being devoted to it. His love and knowledge of scripture were such that when temptations came they were deflected by the word already seated within him.
What does it mean to you to be devoted to the Word? What would that look like in your own life?
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.
God bless, Malcolm
PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Sources of spiritual courage” Part 2

Quiet Time Coaching, episode 64

Recently I preached a Sermon based on Luke 4.19-30 and the visit of Jesus to the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth (synagogue video).
“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28–30 NIV11)

Where did his bravery come from?  In Luke chapters 3 and 4 I can see four sources of his bravery.  If we can understand them, they can help us with our growth in spiritual courage. The first one is God’s approval, the second is:
God’s Refining
    “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.     The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”     Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”     The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”     Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”     The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:  “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”     Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”     When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:1–13 NIV11)
Jesus is taken to the same place where John heard the word – the desert. For John this was the place of hearing the word of God, for Jesus it is the place where he hears the words of the devil! His convictions are being tested in the most brutal of conditions and while he is in a weakened state.
“The Christian discipline of fighting temptation is not about self-hatred, or rejecting parts of our God-given humanity. It is about celebrating God’s gift of full humanity and, like someone learning a musical instrument, discovering how to tune it and play it to its best possibility.”  Wright, N.T. Luke for Everyone.  4. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.1. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011.
We are refined in order to create the greatest beauty for God. Accept his refining and you will see greater beauty in your life and thus greater courage.
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.
God bless, Malcolm
PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Sources of spiritual courage” – Part 1

Quiet Time Coaching, episode 63

Recently I preached a Sermon based on Luke 4.19-30 and the visit of Jesus to the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth (synagogue video).

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28–30 NIV11)

Where did his bravery come from?  In Luke chapters 3 and 4 I can see four sources of his bravery.  If we can understand them, they can help us with our growth in spiritual courage. The first one is:
God’s approval

“When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” (Luke 3:21–22 NIV11)

Jesus not only experienced God’s approval but was determined that others would sense it as well. Perhaps this is best illustrated in the way Jesus loved Peter.

“After his work on the cross was finished, however, Jesus went looking for love, and he sought it from the one who had just failed him most. Could this be what he most wanted the cross to produce in his followers? Was his death designed to reach past their fears of God and begin a new relationship based on the intimacy of love instead? What else could it be?”  From, “He loves me!” By Wayne Jacobsen, p78

In light of the significance of this need we do well to do whatever we can and whatever we must to understand, accept and live within God’s approval. Then we will live lives of inspiring bravery. Then we will see the Spirit’s power work through us to live the kingdom life.
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.
God bless, Malcolm
PS: If you would like some coaching in spiritual disciplines, look me up here.
PPS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Where should the shock come?”

Tuesday Teaching Tips, Episode 133

My friend Stefan Wolmerans preached recently using a video illustration with a sizeable shock factor.
It made me consider how we decide where to put our surprises in our lessons. At the start, later, at the end? Where would you put it?

Croatia’s win against Russia in the quarter final on Saturday sent them crashing into the semi-final of the World Cup, but these firefighters had to rush out to an emergency moments before the crucial penalty. As the Zagreb Fire Department watch the final penalty by Ivan Rakitic the callout bell rings, launching the firefighters into action. Without hesitation and without even glancing back at the screen they race over to their protective gear and get it on within seconds of the bell ringing.
At the start?
“Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.” (Luke 15:11–12 NIV11)
Later on?
“In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.” (Luke 10:30–34 NIV11)
How do you decide where to place the surprises in your lessons?
Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist.
Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.
God bless,
Malcolm