Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Are You Giving...?

So I've been reading through the Pentateuch lately (that is the first five books of the Bible) and have been amazed at how specific all the rules and instructions are.

For instance, today I read Numbers 7 which relates the offerings the people made for the dedication of the tabernacle and altar (the traveling church structure where God's presence was to dwell). After bringing six wagons and twelve oxen to be used to transport the tabernacle and altar, each of the twelve tribes brought a dedication offering, one tribe per day for twelve days.

And they each brought the same thing: a silver platter weighing 3¼ pounds and a silver basin weighing 1¾ pounds. These were both filled with grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil. A gold container weighing four ounces, which was filled with incense. A young bull, a ram, and a one-year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a male goat for a sin offering. For a peace offering, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five one-year-old male lambs.

Amazing. How crazy that they were so specific to the weights and numbers. How unbelievable that they all agreed to give the same and so much. How compelling that they were so dedicated as to take almost two weeks to celebrate this religious structure.

And all evidence points to that they did this willingly and spontaneously (that is of their own decision). But the key to this faithfulness and dedication I believe is in the end of the chapter. After the offerings were all made it says:

Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him. (Numbers 7:89 ESV)

What wouldn't you give to have God's actual presence dwell among you? What wouldn't you do to have God's audible voice give you guidance and direction?

And yet for us, that offering has already been made on our behalf. Jesus is our sin offering. He is our mercy seat. He has prepared the way for us to enter into God's presence forever. We have only to put our hope and faith in Him.

May we as the Israelite tribes respond to the truth that God wants to dwell among us with joy and generosity and devotion and faithfulness.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fun with Water

Here is a little reminder video we made to raise awareness of our fundraising project for the year:

Our Youth Ministry has chosen to raise funds and awareness for the Global Water Crisis, with the ultimate goal of raising $5000 to install a well in a place that doesn't have access to clean water. Our current plan is to facilitate this goal through Living Water International.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Who is Jesus?

A friend of mine posted this as their status this week on FaceBook:

"Who do YOU say Jesus is?"

It's an interesting question. If you've been joining us on Wednesday nights over the past couple months, you know that we have been going through the Gospel of John, and in John's own words: "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31 ESV)

So as we've studied this book of the Bible, we have seen how purposely the author shows us who Jesus said He was. This last week as we looked primarily at chapters 18 & 19, we saw that Jesus proclaimed to be King.

But not the kind of king the Jews thought He was going to be. And not the kind of king Pilate and the Roman government thought He was going to be. But the kind of King that God had promised since the beginning of time.

A King of authority. A King for all eternity. A King of a spiritual realm that will never pass away. And a King who doesn't need His subjects approval to maintain His power or reign.

He is King no matter what!

And yet He wants us to respond to Him - to who He is...because He wants us to experience the joy and freedom of His kingdom.

Interestingly enough the morning after our study, I was reading Acts 13, and my jaw just about hit the floor. Even though I hadn't looked at this Scripture or even thought about it while preparing Wednesday's message, Paul's words to the people of Antioch almost exactly paralleled what I shared the night before. Even down to referencing many of the same Old Testament scriptures.

And the people Paul was speaking to responded with joy and excitement and humility. And they asked him to come back the next week and share so they could bring their friends and family.

They responded to who Jesus was.

After receiving responses on her FaceBook status, my friend posted here response:

"[Jesus is] God's only son, the only sinless person who took on the sins of the world so that those who confess Him as Lord of their lives would be saved and set free from the bondage of sin from that moment for all eternity. That's my Jesus & He wants to be yours too! Don't wait! Would you stay in jail if someone opened the door & took your place?"

How are you going to respond?