Acts 1:6-11: Christ’s Ascension Doesn’t Mean He’s Now Trapped in Heaven

This was our pastor’s sermon for the pastoral circuit meeting (winkel)  on Tuesday, May 9, 2018.   The book of Acts tells us of the first Christians as they brought Jesus to others in their words and deeds.  The Scripture pictures for us the earliest Church, unfolding who the Church is and what she does, […]

John: Lesson 5: Jesus Points the People to His Word (John 4:27-4:54)

Recap and Intro Like Nicodemus, the woman did not get the “greater” sign (living water).  She did, however, recognize Jesus came from God by the “lesser” signs He gave her: Her lifestyle of multiple marriages and living with men outside of marriage.  The disciples now return from the village, who went there to buy food. […]

Unnoticed Connections in Scripture: Lesson 3: Blood

God’s Prohibition In the Old Covenant, God forbade His people to drink blood.  After the flood, God commanded Noah, “You must not eat meat with its life, its blood, in it” (Genesis 9:4).  Later, during Israel’s wilderness wanderings, God explained more fully why they were not to drink blood or eat meat with the blood […]

Ascension: Jesus is Gone into Heaven.  Now What?

This is our pastor’s article for the May edition of our newsletter.   This year, Ascension Day falls a May 3rd.  Such a neglected and almost-forgotten festival.  Consider how few congregations celebrate this day on Thursday, its actual day.  For Jesus going to heaven’s throne almost lacks a sense of the heroic victory of a […]

John 15:5-9: Fed From the True Vine

The Old Testament often describes God as a gardener or vinedresser, who tends to His vineyards.  The vines He cares for, which He planted and tended with loving care, are His people, Israel.  The Psalms tell us, “[God] brought a vine out of Egypt, expelled the nations, and planted us into his land” (Psalm 80:8). […]

John: Lesson 4: Jesus’ Early Ministry: John the Baptizer and the Samaritan Woman (John 3:22-4:26)

Recap and Intro We now explore the fourth sequential section, revealing Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Old Covenant. Jesus provided new wine, implying He surpasses the best Judaism can provide (John 2:10). He showed Himself as the Temple’s fulfillment and what took place there (John 2:29-21). He revealed He, who came from heaven, fulfilled […]

Unnoticed Connections in Scripture: Lesson 2: Water

The Flood Last week, we looked into creation, God first creating from nothing and then using what He made to finish His creating work.  The pattern continues with God using what He made for His purposes.  Now, however, we find a contrast with His earlier creation. Read parts of Genesis 6-8 as needed   Creation […]

Psalm 23:1: The Lord is My Shepherd

Most of us understand little about the ways of shepherding and sheep.  The few places where sheep wander in the fields are like an alien world to the rest of us.  Included in this life are rugged men, who provide for flocks atop the hills and mountains of the American West, hailing from shepherds in […]

John: Lesson 3: Jesus’ Early Ministry: The Temple and Nicodemus (John 2:13-3:21)

Jesus Cleanses the Temple (John 2:13-25)   Excursus: One or Two Temple Cleansings? Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell of Jesus cleansing the Temple: Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, and Luke 19:45-46.  John’s account, besides being much longer, differs in several ways:   John Other Gospel Accounts Refers to oxen and sheep Not mentioned Jesus uses […]

Unnoticed Connections in Scripture: Lesson 1: Creation

God’s First and Later Creational Acts Genesis 1:1 begins with bereshit bara, with a word order that doesn’t match the way we think in English: “beginning create.”  Bereshit always means the beginning of something, not the first in an absolute sense.  To express the first of something in an absolute sense, the Hebrew for this […]