Fishers of Men…with Nets!

The Gospel of Mark tells us about Jesus, but it goes far beyond that in showing us what it is to be a disciple of Jesus!

One of the eye-opening things that we miss about Jesus’ calling of the disciples is that He called them to follow him in “team.” In both occasions in Mark 1, Jesus calls a pair of brothers to follow Him.  So the calling of discipleship is to a new “family” and as a team!

Beyond that, Jesus’ calls them to be “fishers of men” as His disciple. Their perspective of fishing was totally different than ours. Immediately our thoughts go to a fishing pole that “I” use to go fishing.  These first disciples thought immediately of fishing with NETS…together!
boat-before-dawn-casting-net_

One of the things we took time to do on Sunday was ask the question:

Who can you invite to be fishing with you…as a team?

So who did/can you invite to fish with you?

Would you today start a conversation about a plan for how we can reach out to others TOGETHER?

Listen to the message online here >>

Jesus’ Silence and Solitude

JesusSolitudeThe priority of Jesus’ solitude and silence is everywhere in the Gospels. It’s how he began his ministry. It’s how he made important decisions. It’s how he dealt with troubling emotions like grief. It’s how he dealt with the constant demands of his ministry and cared for his soul. It’s how he taught his disciples. It’s how he prepared for important ministry events. It’s how he prepared for his death on the cross.

Jesus’ solitude is how he went deeper in his love-relationship with the God he knew as “Abba”.* Won’t you take a chronological journey through the Gospel of Mark and see where He stopped for silence & solitude?

Download/Print the Worksheet
Jesus’ Solitude & Silence

*Special Thanks to Bill Gaultiere who outlined most of this concept and content for us.  I did enhance the Bible Passages through the Gospels and made it a self-study worksheet.  You can see Bill’s article online at http://www.soulshepherding.org/2013/02/jesus-solitude-and-silence/ 

Understanding Grief

Today, I did a heart wrenching funeral service. In preparation and in ministering to the family over the last week or so, I shared a booklet I wrote on Understanding Grief.  This outlines stages of grief, how to help those experiencing it (from the Book of Job) and also Bible Verses for Truth and Comfort.

In getting things together for today’s service, I realized I haven’t posted this helpful resource yet.  So, to remedy that, I’ve now posted it here. See below for a teaser…

UnderstandingGrief-MikeJentes

Understanding Grief by Mike Jentes (PDF)

Introduction

Two young children were trying to know how to cope with the death of their grandma. In the midst of the turmoil, the parents were trying to know how to care for their children. On the day of the funeral the whole family stood in front of the casket. Many preparations had been made with the children. Knowing they would be curious, the parents instructed them that they could touch her hands if they wanted, but grandma’s skin would be cold. The children’s mother was transported to another time when her mom cared for skinned knees, dinner preparations and broken hearts. Interrupting the memories, the four year old whispered, “Is she breathing?” The parents hadn’t anticipated this question. It certainly required more that a simple “No.” This business of explaining death became very difficult. Finally the mother said, “Well. . .” and nothing more would come. The oldest child then turned from his study of the casket and faced his sibling, “No, she’s not breathing. Remember? The breathin’ part’s in heaven.”…   …Read the Rest>>

Top Ten Bible Passages on Satan

1) Job chapters 1-2Interaction & reality
Satan’s awful work, but still under the authority of God.

2) John 8:44 Devious Description by Jesus
Jesus describes him as: devil, murderer & father of lies.

3) Revelation 12:9-10More Descriptions
Also named: satan, devil, serpent, dragon, deceiver.

4) 2 Corinthians 4:4“God of this age.”
Called the god of this age who blinds people from Jesus.

5) Mark 4:15Steals good seed
He snatches away the Gospel from “hard soil.”

6) John 12:31; 16:11“Prince of this world”
Called by Jesus the prince of this world.

7) 1 Peter 5:8 Intimidator
He prowls around like a roaring lion.

8) 2 Corinthians 11:14Masquerade
He masquerades as an angel of light.

9) Revelation 20:1-10Final Deception & Destruction
He deceives nations and his final destiny of destruction.

10) James 4:7Victory is ours -Resist!
Resist the devil and he will flee!

*11) Possible descriptions of satan’s fall: Isaiah 14, Ezek 28:11-19

*somehow every top ten list has one I just can’t leave off.

LOVE: My Top Ten Bible Passages on Love

1) 1 John 4:7-8 – God is Love
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God–for God is love.

2) Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus says Love God & Love Others
Jesus replies to a question about “What is the greatest commandment?” with this profound statement.

3) 1 Corinthians 13 – Love:What it does and what it doesn’t do
The “wedding” passage is beautiful because it is applied to all of life…not just matrimony.

4) Romans 8:35-39 – Nothing Can Separate Us From Jesus’ Love
The bottom line of Jesus’ love for us…nothing can get between us!

5) Psalm 136 – God’s Love Endures Forever
This Psalm repeats how “His love endures forever” after every phrase of the history it records. A powerful and repetitive lyric of how God’s love connects with our history.

6) Exodus 20:6 – God’s Love Lavished on a Thousand Generations
Packaged in the Ten Commandments (sometimes thought to be not very loving) this verse shows how much God blesses those who love and obey Him.

7) Psalm 23:6 – God’s Chasing Love
At the end of one of the most famous passages in the Bible, David finishes his poem with God’s “unfailing love pursuing him all the days of his life.”

8) John 15:12-13 – Jesus’ Love Leads to Laying Down Life

Jesus in this passage defines the greatest love as laying down your life for a friend. Then a couple of hours later, He dies on the cross.

9) John 13:34-35 – Love Proves Following Jesus
After the footwashing at the last Supper (where Jesus “shows the full extent of his love—see 13:1), Jesus says show the world you are my disciples through love.

10) Matthew 5:44-46 – Love Your Enemies
Jesus urges His followers to go beyond natural love to “supernatural” love…to choose to love our enemies.

*11) Luke 7:41-47 – Forgiven Much, Love Much
The immoral woman was forgiven much and she loved Jesus much. Jesus tells a story which links “much forgiveness” to “much love.”

*So many good LOVE passages in the Bible I had to add this one! 😉

Honor-Shame Conversation in Long Beach!

I’m so excited to learn alongside an expert on Honor-Shame cultures. I find myself interacting with many people from Asia and this conversation will help me understand them and myself much better. I hope you can be there!

Have a conversation with an expert on HonorShame cultures! Jayson Georges is the missiologist-in-residence from Encompass World Partners. He will be here from Atlanta to share some of his latest learning on HonorShame cultures and how we can better sow the Gospel and grow relationships across cultures!
Did you know that there are three major cultural worldview orientations? The one which predominates the Western world is Justice-Guilt, but the Asian world is predominantly Honor-Shame. These orientations are important to undertand as we continue to live in a globalized world. They are really important as we look to live and share the Gospel across the street and around the world! Continue reading “Honor-Shame Conversation in Long Beach!”

How Jesus Sends YOU

I found this post from JS Shaw on the Verge site and wanted to share it:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” (John 20:21 ESV)

As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. That means that if we can discover how the Father sent Jesus, then we will see how we have now been sent.

sentSo, how was Jesus sent?

Tweet this: As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus has sent us. So, how WAS Jesus sent? @VergeNations

The Father sent Jesus. . . .

Continue reading “How Jesus Sends YOU”

God’s Characteristics from the Bible

HisCharacteristicsWhat is God like? God’s characteristics are described for us throughout the Bible. It is important for us to understand as much as we can about what the Bible says about God. Read each passage below and write out what you find out about God from the Bible verses.

To make it easy for you, each one listed is hyper-linked to Bible Gateway*:

GodCharacteristicsTable

(a picture of the chart contained in the study From Genesis to Jesus)

*Linked to the New Living Translation

Note: This list is an excerpt from Lesson 1 of a full beginners study on the Bible called From Genesis to Jesus.  It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but a simple and comprehensive list of key characteristics of God for someone new to the Bible and the faith of Christians.

Differences between Eastern and Western Cultures – Minimalistic Visualizations

Germany-based artist and visual designer Yang Liu has created a series of truthful graphics that explains the differences in Eastern and Western culture.

Yang Liu was born in China but has lived in Germany since she was 14, and thus she is able to explain the differences in cultures.

Based on her own experience, she created minimalistic visualizations using simple symbols and shapes to convey just how different the two cultures are.

In the visualizations below, the blue side represents western culture, while the red side represents eastern culture.

 

[via bSix12]

P.S. Thanks Eric Marsh (@CityMarsh) for recommending this!

Challenge From Chad

Mike & HutIt was a privilege to be asked by our Community of Elders to share with our entire Los Altos Grace family about my trip to Chad.  I hope that you were challenged, informed and encouraged by my sharing on Sunday.

If you weren’t able to join us, here is an overview video of the work in Chad (by Encompass). This video is really helpful and you should see it!

Synthesizing two weeks into a few sentences isn’t easy, but here are a few of the things I brought home:

Our Brethren in Chad spur us on!
In spite of poverty, our Brethren brothers and sisters have figured out how to survive, how to spread the Gospel, how to use medicine for the Gospel, how to start churches and more. They have as many churches as we do in the USA!

Mission isn’t about civilization
The economic contrast glared out on my flights between Paris and Chad. Yet we need workers in Paris to make disciples, train leaders and start churches in the same way we need them in the capital city of Chad (N’Djamena). If we can use tools of medicine and education for the Gospel, that is awesome. Living and sharing the Gospel is vital no matter what the “civilization” level of the culture is.

You are Needed!
No matter who you are, as a follower of Jesus, you are needed to continue to sow the Gospel and make disciples. YOU are needed across the street and across cultures as Jesus builds His Church!

A recording of the entire message is on the @LosAltosGrace website

A “movie” of the powerpoint slides is online too is on

Behind the “Goers” – What did the Church do in the Book of Acts?

book_of_actsI just wanted to share with you a little Bible study that was enlightening to me.  In reading through the book of Acts, I looked at the back story…not the leading characters who were “going” but the churches and believers who were literally behind the scenes.  I then compiled all these “incidental” verses which survey what happened “Behind the Goers.”  I thought there were some interesting things to be uncovered.

What did the church do? You will see it for yourself in these verses!

Examine for yourself the support and relationship that sending / receiving churches had in the story.

Download / Print “Behind The Goers” (PDF)

 

Shocking Statements of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew: My Top 20

Today I was reading Keith Minier’s blog and realized their church family @GracePick is just starting a series on the Shocking Statements of Jesus. ShockingStatementsMatthew

A while back I did a series on that, but just pulled statements from the Gospel of Matthew. In a quick tour of the first half of  Matthew, we outlined a list  the Top 10 Shocking Statements by Jesus. Then we continued in a second week with the second half of the book and did 10 more…so we ended up with a Top 20.

Here’s my list:

Shocking Statement #1: And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” bible.us/Matt4.19.NASB

Shocking Statement #2: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but..bible.us/Matt7.21.NASB

Shocking Statement #3: “So that you may know that the Son has authority on earth to forgive sins…Get up, pick up your mat… bible.us/Matt9.6.NASB

Shocking Statement #4: “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” bible.us/Matt9.12.NASB

Shocking Statement #5: Do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you…bible.us/Matt10.19.NASB

Shocking Statement #6: But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. bible.us/Matt10.30.NASB

Shocking Statement #7: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, & I will give you rest.” bible.us/Matt11.28.NASB

Shocking Statement #8: “But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.” bible.us/Matt12.6.NASB

Shocking Statement #9: For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother & sister…bible.us/Matt12.50.NASB

Shocking Statement #10: The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls & finding one pearl… bible.us/Matt13.46.NASB

Listen to the Message on the first 10 Online
Check out the Powerpoint of the first 10 Online

Top Ten Shocking Statements by Jesus in the second half of the book.  

Shocking Statement #11:  I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. http://bible.us/Matt16.18.NIV

Shocking Statement #12: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves & take up their cross & follow me… http://bible.us/Matt16.25.NIV

Shocking Statement #13: Whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven… http://bible.us/Matt18.4.NIV

Shocking Statement #14: If your brother or sister sins, go & point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen…http://bible.us/Matt18.15.NIV

Shocking Statement #15: Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… http://bible.us/Matt20.25.NIV

Shocking Statement #16: The tax collectors & the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you… http://bible.us/Matt21.31.NIV

Shocking Statement #17: Jesus took bread broke it & gave it to his disciples, “Take and eat; this is my body.” http://bible.us/Matt26.26.NIV

Shocking Statement #18: My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. http://bible.us/Matt26.42.NIV

Shocking Statement #19: Jesus cried out in a loud voice…My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?http://bible.us/Matt27.46.NIV

Shocking Statement #20: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me…I am with you always…http://bible.us/Matt28.18.NIV

Check out the Message recording of the #11-20 online

Check out the Powerpoint of #11-20 online

 

Teaching on Resolving Conflict @LosAltosGrace

I had the privilege of teaching on Sunday @LosAltosGrace about Resolving Conflict. That very phrase, “resolving conflict,” often makes us squirm. The challenge from Sunday was to see it as “normal” and part of life which we as believer’s in Jesus are perfectly equipped to resolve. Below is a brief outline of what we covered together:

Resolving Conflict

The two key points for when we have been offended:

1) Overlook It.
Proverbs 19:11
“A person’s wisdom yields patience;it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Sometimes when we are hurt, we can just care for it in our own heart and mind. This isn’t advocating denial, but rather emphasizing FORGIVENESS and grace.

We reminded ourselves that forgiveness means:

  • I will Not to Dwell on it
  • I will Not to Bring it Up
  • I will Not to Use it Against Someone
  • I will Not allow it to Hinder the Relationship

Bitterness is a choice, just like forgiveness.  And bitterness results from the opposite choices!

2) Reconciliation
When the relationship has been significantly damaged, then reconciliation is needed. So what do I do to reconcile?  We gave 4 Biblical principles:

  1. Glorify God – Seek first to bring Him glory, not defend yourself or prove that you are right.
  2. Get the Log Out of Your Own Eye
  3. Go and Show your Brother or Sister the fault
  4. Go and Be Reconciled!

 

View the Powerpoint Presentation online here

Listen to the message online here: Resolving Conflict.

You can find it on iTunes here

 

Thanks to the influence of Ken Sande and his book the Peacemaker:

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