Unless you’re fairly confident in your understanding of the basics of walking with Jesus, you should probably read “Foundations 101” (http://barneywiget.com/writings/foundations101.html) before “enrolling” in 201. In it we introduced six topics necessary for new Jesus followers to study and understand in order to be strong in their faith. The six topics that we covered in 101 were:
1. THE CROSS – (on being forgiven by God)
2. THE INNER-CHANGE – (on being changed by Jesus)
3. THE INTERACTION – (on having conversations with God)
4. THE CHURCH – (on having fellowship with other believers)
5. THE SPIRIT – (on being empowered to reach out to others)
6. THE WORD – (on being a student of the Bible)
These same themes will now be discussed here on a bit more advanced level for those who have been born again for a while. In 101 you learned how to get started as Christian; in 201 you’ll learn how to keep going. The approach taken here is still very much foundational and fundamental, but on a somewhat more mature and challenging level.
Read and digest these six biblical topics. By doing so, you’ll be “digging down deep and laying your foundation on the rock.” (Luke 6:48) The alternative, Jesus said, is to build your house “without a foundation.” He warned, “The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:49) But with your foundation deeply dug, your “house” will be sturdy and lasting. You have every reason to be a strong disciple of Jesus influencing others to be the same. I hope these chapters help you toward that end.
(A Brief Summary of the Bible’s Teaching Concerning the Kingdom of God)
The game was about to begin and our Coach huddled with the team for final instructions and pep talk. He stressed to us the fundamentals of holding onto the football and not turning it over to the other team. But sure enough, in hardly any time at all, our first player to handle the ball fumbled it to the other team! Strangely, on the replay it appeared that the captain of that team had simply talked the ball carrier out of it. He literally handed the ball over to the enemy! From that moment, the other team took complete charge of the game, and any hope we had of winning was all but gone.
Later, yet at just the right time, the Coach called a time out and gathered his defense around him. He calmly slipped into a uniform and, inauspiciously, ran onto the field with the rest of the team! The other team, knowing his prowess and power, cringed at the sight of this Man lining up with his team. As soon as the ball was snapped, our Coach and Star Player hit the quarterback so hard that he knocked the ball loose, and recovered the fumble. Our hope of victory came to life again! To read more…
In a previous chapter we talked about a set of gifts which we’re calling, “The Motivational Gifts,” listed in Romans 12. It seems that these gifts are ones that are sort of “possessed” by members of the Body of Christ. Paul indicates this by his language in describing them, “If a man’s gift is… If his gift is…” These gifts seem to function through an individual’s personality and be part of the way he or she views the needs of others, and how they might meet that need.
But now we’ll look at another set of gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, which we’ll call, “The Gifts of the Spirit.” These gifts seem to function quite differently than the previous ones. In this paper we’ll focus on these gifts, what they are, how they work, and what they’re used for. The following is the passage we’ll pay most attention to in this chapter. You’ll do best to read the entire 12th, 13th, and 14th chapters of 1 Corinthians in order to get the whole context of Paul’s teaching on the Gifts of the Spirit. To read more...
A lot of Jesus followers let someone else have all the fun of reading and studying the Bible. It’s a shame, really, mostly because it is fun, and rewarding to learn God’s book for yourself.
Don’t be a sea gull!
One of the coolest things about the beach is the sea life that you don’t get to know in the inland locales. While not really a bird enthusiast, I noticed right off the two most prominent birds on the Californian coast – sea gulls and pelicans. I mention them together because the different ways these particular birds feed themselves illustrates to me the two different ways Christians take in spiritual food. To read more…
“Strange isn’t it? One man’s like touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
In the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Clarence the angel said these words to George Bailey. The angel had been sent by God to keep George from committing suicide. He succeeded by showing him how his life affected so’ many others around him.
As a part of the Body of Christ, everything each individual does is so important because it affects all the other parts of the body. Each person is necessary, and no one can do another person’s job. And no one can reach their potential without the love and support of the other members of the church. To read more…
Let’s talk about “The Conversation” between us and the Lord. Call it prayer, devotions or quiet time (not my favorite terms). I’m partial to the term, “Conversation” since it depicts a back-and-forth, an exchange, an interchange between heaven and earth. I think praying is more of a dialogue than we probably know. It’s not just us talking and him listening. When we pray, something is coming from him, and then there’s something going back up to him from us. Then he sometimes sends something back to us in the form of a response to our prayer. What we have with God is a relationship, a fellowship with him that makes “The Conversation” possible. To read more…
I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Christians are not perfect – just forgiven!” To my mind, this tells a truth and an untruth. The truth is that Christians are not perfect – most definitely. We do have a perfect record before God, called, “Justification.” We saw that in the previous chapter. But as far as living that out on a day to day basis, we are far from spiritual perfection. To read more…
This summary study of a theme in the Bible called, “Justification” is intended to inform you and inspire you. Your Christian walk will never again be the same once you begin to understand how incredible it is to be “justified” by what Jesus did for you on the cross. How you perceive this truth will make your Christian life enjoyable and solid. Martin Luther said, “The mark of a standing or falling church is its perception of Justification.” If you want to be a sturdy and prolific Jesus follower, this brief study should help you immensely.
Salvation from Sin’s PRESENCE (Man’s Eternal Dilemma)
Salvation from Sin’s POWER (Man’s Moral Dilemma)
Salvation from Sin’s PENALTY (Man’s Legal Dilemma)
The writer of Hebrews says, “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Christ” (Hebrews 7:25). The salvation He gives us is complete, and deals with every aspect of our sinful dilemma. It fixes our legal, moral and eternal dilemmas. He provides deliverance from sin’s penalty, sin’s power and sin’s presence. To look at it another way, God has made a “declaration” in redeeming, justifying, and adopting us to consider us righteous. He has also made a “determination” in regenerating and sanctifying us. He also has a final “destination” for us in glorification when He takes us to heaven and makes us perfect. Continue reading →