Friday, May 27, 2016

Embracing God: Why I’m a Seventh-day Adventist

Exploring the "So What?" of being a Seventh-day Adventist in today's World.

What do I believe? Why does it matter?

Series Introduction:

The purpose of this series of six Bible studies is to explore the thematic reasons I find the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Jesus and His mission for the church to be the most compelling option available to me as a thinking and passionate Christian today. 

Before we get into this study, I think it imperative to declare here – at the beginning of all things – the primary reason I find an Adventist understanding of Scripture to be the most engaging and inspiring: The Great Controversy. This phrase "The Great Controversy”  is the Adventist phrase for “The Story of God” beginning long before the Bible was written and ending well after its conclusion.

The Bible is the story of God’s presence, plan and purpose for Earth. While there is so much more to God than what we could ever fathom, the Bible introduces us to a God who reveals himself to us through us – His people, penning His inspired Word. This was His strategy in ancient times and it continues to be His strategy today – using fallible people to do His Self-revealing work on Earth. God’s Kingdom on Earth is revealed and developed through His people.

The Great Controversy is the epic narrative constraining and compelling God’s will and work on Earth. There is a problem called Sin. There is a solution called Salvation. There is a process called Reconciliation. All of these are demonstrated in and motivated by the story of God as revealed in the Bible. This is a story, entirely, about God’s love for His ultimate creation – Humanity.

God loves us. We Sinned. We fell out of love with Him but His first love for us has never wavered.

He is doing everything within His power to reconcile us back to Himself.

This is His story.

Embracing God: Why I’m a Seventh-day Adventist

Discussion Guides:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Embracing God: Study 2 – Covenant: Order from Chaos

Study 2: Covenant – Order from Chaos

Introduction: Life without God is Chaotic. By entering into a covenant with God, life is given order, purpose and relationship. By living to fulfil the covenants you have agreed to – in God – you are given identity, community and eternity.

Creation – A Covenant of Image Bearing

Genesis 1:1 – 2:3
What patterns do you see in the creation story? (Evening/morning, good/very good, Day 1-3 environment, Day 4-6 filling environs)
How is this a journey from chaos to order?
How is the ‘creation of man’ different in pacing and content? Why?
What does it mean to be ‘the image of something’? (Gen 1:27: Idol, Engraved coin)
What is the covenant (agreement) God gave mankind? (Gen 1:28) Why is this important?
How is Day 7 different? Is the 7th day ‘good’, ‘very good’ or what? (A unit of time ‘blessed’)
So, in this environment (day 1-3) of all the objects made (day 4-6) one is created in God’s image (humanity) and given a holy sanctuary in time (Sabbath) in which to worship the Creator. How does our ‘image-bearing’ quality make us uniquely able to worship?

Matthew 22:15-22
What reason did Jesus give for the coins belonging to Caesar? (picture and title stamped on it)
If Caesar’s image means the coins are his, what does “Give to God what belongs to God” imply? Whose image was stamped onto humanity at Creation?
In Roman times, every coin was loaded with idolatrous images of Roman rulers whom they worshipped and pagan gods. Before coins, every pagan God had a shrine – an Eikon (Image) entombed in stone – to worship. But our God has living breathing Eikons who stop time each week. Rather than a God set in stone, we worship a living God during a time set in stone – the 7th day of each week, for eternity! When we do this – stop time to worship – we declare our God is the Creator. We are created in His Image and we, like Him, are very much alive.
As His image bearers, how do we “Give to God what belongs to God?”
How does the Genesis 1 Creation Week story declare our Covenant of Image Bearing? What does it remind us to do? What is our Covenant – our agreement with God? (To care for Earth and Celebrate the Creator on Sabbath).

Marriage – A Covenant of Companionship

The Second Creation Story (Genesis 2:4-24)

It would be one thing if there were two creation stories in two separate books of the Bible or even a few chapters away from each other. But, writing them right next to each other tells you one thing – these are meant to be compared and contrasted. So, let’s do it. We saw what the first Creation Story taught us – Image Bearing Humanity and Sabbath Celebrations of the Creator. But, what about this second story? Is it different? If so, why? What are we to learn from the similarities? What are we to learn from the differences? There’s only one way to find out … Let’s get into it!

Read Genesis 2:4-6
What would the world have looked like?
Why would there be two stories that seem so different? (Different teaching purpose)

Read Genesis 2:7-9
What does God make the man from?
What makes them come to life? What does he become? (Living person ‘soul’)
Where did God ‘place’ the man?
What was in the middle of the Garden?

JUMP! Read Genesis 2:15-17 – Skipping four verses, we find to the logical next point in the story.
Why has God put the man in the Garden?
What warning does God give the man?

BACK! Read Genesis 2:10-14 – Now let’s look at the interjected verses
What was there LOTS of in the Garden? (Water)
What does lots of water create? (Fertility, beauty)
The author is really slowing the story down – between the tree and the command – to show the reader something. Why put these four verses here? What is the purpose of the Garden of Eden?

Read Genesis 2:18-20
What problem does God decide to solve? (Adam is alone)
What does God do to solve the problem? (creates animals)
Does this seem strange? Why doesn’t it work?
What do you think God is creating within Adam before creating Eve? (desire)
How has the author been creating the same frustration/desire within us? (by stretching this second creation story out - almost painfully – between the creation of Adam and Eve)

Read Genesis 2:21-22
Why does God use one of Adam’s ribs? Isn’t it just dirt anyway? Why not just make a woman?
How do you think Adam felt when he finally saw Eve?

Read Genesis 2:23-24
“At Last!” – did you feel the same? Why?
How do you like Adam’s Song? What’s your favourite part?
What emotions could you feel in the song?
What is the punchline in Genesis 2:24?
What does this second creation story teach us about humanity? (marriage is worth the wait!)
What does it teach us about finding a spouse? (it is a time-consuming and worthy pursuit)
What does it tell us about God’s involvement? (He takes pride [and time] in growing relationships)
What does this second creation story teach Covenant of Companionship?

Conclusion and Call: Chaos to Order

Think back to the first Creation Story: How does the Covenant of Image Bearing show chaos becoming order?
How does the Sabbath celebrate this Covenant?

In the second Creation Story: How does the Covenant of Companionship show chaos becoming order?
How does Marriage celebrate this Covenant?

God created you in His image. Would you like to Covenant with Him by promising to bear His image in a world of Chaos – showing care for Creation and celebrating Him as Creator each Sabbath?

God created you with Companionship in mind. Would you like to Covenant with Him to – like Adam in the Second Creation Story - struggle through the Chaos of waiting – waiting for the person that completes you as a perfect Companion in marriage?


Saturday, May 21, 2016

SSS521 - Upon this Rock

In Matthew 16:16 Peter articulates the key article of Faith for the early Christian church. 

“You are the Messiah, 
                the Son of the living God!”

This declaration by Peter is not the first time this idea has shown up in the book of Matthew. Other characters seeking Jesus’ help, healing or wisdom have said as much. One key story – in which all the disciples worship Jesus and declare His divine nature is found in Matthew 14:33. Having seen Jesus walk on water and still a raging storm – they all fall at his feet, worship Him and say, “Truly you are the Son of God.” The unique thing happening in Matthew 16:16 is that Peter formulates it as a statement of faith: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." This is the core tenant of the Christian faith - and upon this Rock of Truth the church is built.

In His reply, Jesus makes it clear that in that moment Peter’s heart was right with God. They were in right relationship and God’s Word was able to flow through Peter. In telling this story about Peter, Matthew is giving the reader further understanding of ultimate verse of the Beatitudes (Matthew 7:21-23) in which Matthew shows that the most dangerous thing for a human to have is a knowledge of Jesus without a relationship with Jesus. Jesus explains there will be people who believe they should be welcomed into His Kingdom but are not. Why? Because He didn’t know them. They were doing miracles, driving out demons and prophesying – all in the name of Jesus! But Jesus says, “I never knew you!” To follow Jesus faithfully we need two Rocks: To know the "Rock Hard Truth" about Jesus and have a "Rock Solid Relationship" with Jesus. Truth without relationship becomes an anvil of pride tied around your neck, pulling you into the depths of the sea – where all sin ends up, in the long run!

Just moments later – in the hearing / reading of the Gospel of Matthew – Peter is chastised by Jesus for bringing up an old temptation that is very real for Jesus. Just as the Devil said in Matthew 4:9 – Jesus can have the entire world without dying. He just needs to bow the knee to someone other than the Father. This was Satan’s ultimate temptation. Dying isn’t easy for anyone – particularly the Son of God who is sinless and undeserving of Death. Peter telling Jesus to stop talking about Death and that “this will never happen to you!” caused Jesus to call Peter Satan.

Not because Peter was Satan. But, because he was speaking words Satan had spoken – and providing a temptation that Jesus knew all too well. This verse should clear up, for anyone wondering, whether Peter is the Rock on which the church is built. Not at all. One-minute Peter speaks from God, then he speaks for the Devil. Peter is just like you and me – human. The only thing worth building your faith on is the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

After rebuking Peter, Jesus turns to the rest of the disciples and says (Matthew 16:24) that anyone who wants to be a true follower of Jesus must put all selfish ambition aside, pickup your own cross and follow in His footsteps. Our cross is to pair ourselves with Him – being yoked with Jesus. In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus calls the disciples to take His yoke (understanding of Law) on themselves and to leave their own understanding behind. This is how we combine Truth and Relationship. If we choose to keep relying on ourselves and our own personal goals, we will be tied to our own list of achievements for our sense of self and personal value. If, on the other hand, we choose to put Jesus’ yoke around our neck we will be guided into His Kingdom through truth and humility – by letting Him lead us – like one ox yoked to another who knows where he is going and what he is doing.

Matthew isn’t done explaining the Rock to his readers just yet. In Matthew 17:1-9 we are, again, taken back to the final temptation. It says that Jesus takes Peter, James and John and led them up a “high mountain.” The last time the phrase “high mountain” was used in Matthew was when Satan took Jesus up a “high mountain” to show Him all that could be His if He would only bow down. Nobody would need to die. Jesus only needed to kneel before Satan and all power over Earth would be given to Him (said the Devil, of course!). But this time, on THIS “high mountain” Peter, James and John watch as Jesus is lit from within, Moses and Elijah appear and start talking to Jesus and then a bright cloud envelopes them and a voice from the cloud says, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him. Listen to him.” The disciples fall on their faces – like in the boat – worshiping. Then Jesus goes over, touches them and tells them to get up. All has returned to normal and Jesus stands alone with them.

It's fairly clear. Jesus is the way to the Kingdom. This is no homeless, wandering vagabond with a few good ideas. This is the Messiah, the Son of God – and those who follow Him are following the God of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah) and living within the pleasure of God by worshiping His Son, Jesus Christ.

Matthew really leaves no room for any other interpretation of “upon this Rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18) than this: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God and He alone defeated death and the Devil! Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the Rock.

Let us be about building a Rock Solid Relationship with Him so that all the Rock Hard Truth about Him, the Law and the Prophets lead us into the Kingdom instead of leaving us outside – wondering what we missed. Those left outside in Matthew 7:23 didn’t get the facts wrong. They knew everything there was to know about God, the Law and the Prophets. It’s not that they missed out on knowing something. They missed out on knowing someone. Jesus. The Messiah. The Son of God. Without Him there is nothing beyond death. No Jesus, no life.

Know Jesus, know life.

Build on this Rock!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Embracing God: Study 1 - Character: Pride Before the Fall vs Humility Before the Cross

Study 1: Character - Pride Before the Fall  vs  Humility Before the Cross

Introduction: Two Kings – One Devil. In two different times and places, in the lives of two different kings, two Godly prophets show where prideful power comes from and where it leads.

The King of Tyre – and his guardian cherub

Ezekiel 28:1-10   
Who is this talking about?
What positives are revealed about the Prince of Tyre?
What does God have against the Prince of Tyre?
What character trait put this Prince into God’s bad books? (pride)
What will happen to this Prince, according to the prophet? (die)
How does this prove that the Prince of Tyre is not a god?

Ezekiel 28:11-19   
The prophet shifts focus from the Prince to the King of all prideful thinking. Who is this?
What positives are revealed about this ‘guardian cherub’ - Lucifer?
What does God have against Lucifer?
What character trait put Lucifer in God’s bad books?
What will happen to this ‘cherub’ according to the prophet? (death in ashes)
How does this prove that Lucifer is not like God?

The King of Babylon – and his shining star

Isaiah 14:3-21 records a song the prophet says the people of Israel will sing about the King of Babylon. Similar to Ezekiel’s prophecy about the King of Tyre, this King also has Lucifer embedded into his story – this time the beginning and end focus on the Earthly King, sandwiching the Devil in the middle. This passage reveals the true nature and agenda of Lucifer.

Isaiah 14:12-15
To what does the prophet compare Lucifer? (a falling star)
What prideful things did Lucifer say to himself?
What will be the ultimate result?
Why do you think prophets juxtaposed Lucifer with evil Kings?
What character traits did they share?
How does pride lead us into a downward spiral and ultimately a pit?

Two Humans – One God

Genesis 3:1-19
Do the words of the serpent sound familiar to the two “King” stories? How?
Who shows up in the middle of this story, just like the two “King” stories?
How did the serpent convince them to eat the fruit?
What does God have against the man? The woman? The serpent?
What results came from their actions?
Genesis 3:15 is called the “protoevangelion” – the first good news. How is this verse the first telling of the good news of what Jesus is going to do?

Pride vs… ?
Have you seen an example of “Pride before a fall” in your life or the lives around you?
What is the answer to pride? How can we defeat it?

James 4:10
How much of what happens in the universe is seen by God?
What does this text tell us about being exalted by God? What must we do?
How can we humble ourselves?

Philippians 2:5-11
How is this the opposite of what caused the Fall of both Lucifer, his angels and humanity?
When humans live God’s way who is revealed in their Character? Who shows up in their story?
What did Jesus do for us? Why?
What impact will our lives have when Jesus is in the middle of our story?

Conclusion and Call
The Protoevangelion – the first good news in Gen 3:15 – was that Satan’s head would be crushed. How did Jesus’ action crush Satan’s plan?

Pride > Fall Humility:

     No God = Death (Judas)
Know God He lifts you up (Peter)

When pride shows up in this world – like in the stories of the two Kings – whose nature and plan is being revealed?
When humility shows up in this world – whose nature is being revealed?
Would you like the humility of Jesus to crush the pride of the Devil out of your life?
Let’s pray now and ask Jesus to fill us with His humility so pride and selfishness have no place in our lives!


Friday, May 13, 2016

SSS513 - Kingdom Crumbs

In chapters 14 and 15 Matthew serves up three stories about crumbs with a few teachings thrown in, like salad and vegetables, to round out the meal and fill the plate. But make no mistake, the theme of these two chapters is the Kingdom of God being served up so the hungry might be filled, the hurting might be healed and the dead might have life.

These two chapters are focusing on the banquet feast of the Kingdom of God. There are two stories of mass feedings with meager supplies. Both times Jesus takes what’s available, gives thanks and then, without making a fuss, tells the disciples to “Feed the people.” Both times there are left overs.

But, I’m getting ahead of the story. Before each meal, there are healings. Jesus walks into one crowd and the other walks up to Him. The first crowd is on the shore, Jesus has compassion and he goes ashore and heals them. The second crowd discovers him sitting on a mountain and rushes to him –  with their lame, blind, deformed, deaf and dumb – and he healed them all. The difference between the two crowds was their heritage – and the size of the baskets they brought to the banquet.

The Israelites followed Jesus’ boat from the lakeshore hoping for an audience with Him. In compassion He went to them – although, as a people they failed to recognise Him time and time again. His compassion knew no bounds and when He saw the need – even of His fickle fellow Jews – He provided all He had to meet all they needed.

The Gentiles flocked to Him because of the testimony of those who had met him previously. Mark tells us this was the same place where Jesus healed two demoniacs. They went to their homes and towns. They told their Jesus story. And when Jesus returned the people rushed to Him and begged to touch the tassels of His robe, such was their faith. They fully expected to be prostrate before Him as He walked by – and then they could just reach up from their humble lowly place and touch the hem of the Master’s garment. Instead, Jesus sat down – at the level of a child – and healed all who were brought to Him.

After the two stories of healing we read about the feedings. In the first feeding, the quantity is precise – five loaves and two fish – and the result is a filled multitude and 12 baskets of left overs. In the second feeding, the quantity is unsure – seven loaves and a few small fish – again resulting in a filled multitude and 7 baskets of leftovers. The meat in Matthew’s Kingdom crumb sandwich is completely missed in the English word “basket” and yet it is the entire point of these two stories.

Before we explore these baskets – and the amount of crumbs they held – we need to visit a lady with a demon possessed daughter. She is a Gentile. Jesus is a Jew. She knows her place – lower than the Master’s tassels – but puts herself under the table instead. She asks Jesus to heal her daughter. At this point in Matthew’s Gospel he is hoping the reader is starting to get the point that whenever Jesus gets cryptic, He’s talking about the Kingdom of God – the new Kingdom of God. She begs from a distance. Jesus keeps moving. She gets closer – crying out in prayer for her daughter’s healing – She says, perhaps quoting Psalms, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David.” She knew Jesus for who He truly was. Jesus keeps moving. Finally, the disciples beg him, “Quiet her!”

Jesus stops and enters into dialogue with the woman. He talks about the first Kingdom saying, "I was sent to Israel." Finally able to catch up with Jesus, she crumples to the ground and reaches for his tassels, “Lord Help ME!” Then, reflecting on the common practice of keeping pet dogs in the house, Jesus says, “It’s wrong to take the children’s bread and feed it to their pet dogs!”

Quick on her knees, the woman replies with a truth of the ancient world, “Yes, Lord, but everyone feeds the crumbs of that same bread to the dogs once the children are done!” In a world without puppy chow, the pet dogs ate last at the masters table.

Jesus laughs. I’m not sure if you can hear it but I sure can! “Too right, woman! Your faith is great. As much as you have asked, you have received!" And from that moment her daughter was cured.

Jesus contrasts the woman’s faith with the few crumbs typically left for the dogs. It’s not just falling off the table like left over crumbs, it’s pouring onto the floor and bursting out the door of the house and into the streets of the Gentiles – much like the Kingdom of God.

Matthew is ready, now, for the next mass feeding. Again, healings come first. Three days later, Jesus suggests that the people might be getting hungry. The story follows the pattern set by the first one. The disciples are asked for what they have. Jesus thanks the Father for it. The disciples distribute it. This time seven baskets remain. This time its Gentiles being healed then fed. This time it’s the people who, like the woman of ‘great faith’ have been healed to a man, woman and child. And this time there are a lot more left overs.

To our ear, it’s less. 7 is less than 12. But look again. The first story – with the 12 baskets – says just that in Matthew 14:20. Twelve baskets full. The second story – with the 7 baskets – says …  (have a look at Matthew 15:37, it’s more fun if you see it yourself!)… Seven LARGE baskets full.

How large? Before we answer that – lets talk about the 12. The Greek word used for those baskets is a basket the size of a lunchbox. The 12 disciples, busy feeding the crowd, probably hadn’t eaten. Collecting the leftovers, they each had a basket of fish and chips to fill their hungry bellies. Israel was fed. Sufficiently.

Now to the 7 baskets. Remember how Paul escaped from the men who wanted to kill him .. In a large basket – lowered by a rope? That’s the word used here. 7 man-sized baskets of crumbs. The translation 'large baskets' is understated to say the least!

The Kingdom of God is no longer restricted to Israel – it’s being served to anyone who needs God’s grace – whether your need be for a slice of His Divine mercy or a basket full of Kingdom crumbs so big you can climb in, eat until you are full and then fall asleep in the basket of His love.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

SSS507 - Kingdom Shift - SS Bonus

Sabbath School Starter - May 2-7

 * - Teaching a great Sabbath School lesson - *

* - Teaching Plan - *

Kingdom Shift

Right after Matthew wraps up Jesus’ answer to John the Baptist – “Yes I am the Messiah, have a look at all I’ve said and done so far.” – he presents two short sections that make it abundantly clear that Jesus had every reason to shift the focus of His Kingdom from Isreal to the World.

In Matthew 11:20-24 – Matthew reveals Kingdom Lost
In Matthew 11:25-30 – Matthew reveals Kingdom Gained

It a huge shift. From the Kingdom of failed expectations to the Kingdom of God. It is a Kingdom Shift illustrated in the story of Jesus entering the world that parallels the story of what happens in our lives when Jesus enters.

The people expected the Messiah to punish the oppressor, eradicate the corrupt. But instead, Jesus empowers the oppressed and encourages the humble.

Kingdom Lost

Matthew reveals Jesus’ Kingdom Shift by first focusing on the ever present reality of God’s Judgment. The Kingdom of God is a careful juxtaposition of God’s Law and God’s Love. One Bible Commentary says, “God’s judgment is at the center of Jesus’ proclaimation of the Kingdom of God and keeps it from becoming a message of harmless love.”

Matthew tells story after story – packed tightly – of Jesus doing miracles in town after town and being received with apathy. Instead of falling over backward when the King of the Universe returned His created people to healthy body and mind (back into the ‘image of God’ in which they were created) the people of Karazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum shrugged their shoulders and said, “Yeah, that’s what healers do. Heal people. Blah blah blah.”

In Matthew 11:23 Jesus compares them to Satan falling from Heaven when he drops some references to Isaiah 14:13-15 by saying, “Will you be exalted to Heaven? No, you will be brought down to the place of the dead!” (NLT) This short section – Matthew 11:20-24 – demonstrates why God’s Kingdom was taken away from Isreal and given to those passing by the banquet feast.

Jesus shows that how we receive Him, His presence in our lives and the changes He brings to the world will result in our connection or disconnection from Him – judgment comes to those who ignore the Kingdom of God as it moves across the surface of the deep bringing order from chaos. Jesus’ Kingdom is recreating the world by healing the broken, blessing the poor, empowering the powerless. Behold, He is making all things new!

Kingdom Gained

And this newness is built on the humble. In Matthew 11:25-30 we join Jesus for prayer. There are only a precious few of these moments in the Gospels. When Jesus prays, we should be listening with a desperateness to understand.

In this section we see Jesus shifting his focus from those who deserve judgment to those who giddily go about the Kingdom’s business. Jesus starts His prayer by thanking His Father for hiding his Kingdom from the “wise” and revealing the Kingdom of God to the “childlike”. To demonstrate the foundation of the Kingdom of God that Jesus brought about, Jesus spins a reversal of Daniel 2:20-23 where Daniel thanks God for giving wisdom to the wise. The word Jesus uses for childlike is just as easily translated “simpleminded, uneducated or stupid.” Jesus is praising His Father that the Kingdom has been taken from those who believe themselves wise enough to grasp God’s ways and given to those who hug it tight like a teddy bear and squeeze for all they are world.

As Jesus was walking around in the first century there was a movement of ‘holy men’ called Essences who believed God came to people through understanding. By being wise you could grasp God. Jesus used one of their favourite verses as background for this prayer and then flipped it completely upside down saying it pleases God to give His Truth to the ones in kindergarten rather than those in the combined lesson pontificating knowledgeably on the wise things of God.

Once Jesus finished is tiny prayer, he moves onto a statement about His authority in the world. One commentator called Matthew 11:27 a revealing of “The entire mystery of Christ” while another said it was “the most precious pearl” of Matthew’s Gospel. Why? Because within it we see into the workings of the Trinity. Only God knows Jesus. Only Jesus knows God. Jesus reveals God to those who He chooses. He has authority to do this because His Father has given him authority over everything. It’s at once cryptic, creative and contemplative.

Finally in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus presents a Rabbi’s call. In Jewish circles – particularly the circles of the religious – a leader’s “yoke” always referred to his way of approaching the Law of God. When a Rabbi invited others to “settle in next to me under my yoke” he was saying, “Come join me, think like me, act like me and become like me.”

In the previous verses (Matthew 11:20-28) which we have just explored, Jesus revealed his yoke. His interpretation of God’s Law calls down judgment on those who expect the Kingdom but do not embrace it when it arrives, it empowers the simpleminded with the wisdom of the Kingdom and it is built on Jesus’ deep connection to His Father and His teaching to those who are under his yoke – to whom he reveals God.

A Rabbi only called followers after a long training period. Once he knew these were the best of the best he would say to a select one or two – follow me and I will teach you my yoke. Jesus throws this completely on its head.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

Wow. I hope you see it. Jesus has opened the Kingdom of God to the highways and byways. The spiritually rich and famous have made their excuses and are not attending the Father’s Kingdom Party for His Son. The servants of God (like Matthew in writing this Gospel) are calling out to those struggling to take the next step – spiritually and physically – and promising them rest in Jesus. He will take the burden of feeling ‘less-than’ off your shoulders and give you rest. He will teach you gently and humbly. You will find rest for your very soul.

Jesus’ yoke is a perfect fit and the study load is light. Because He bears it all. You know all you need to know when you know Him. The rest – and you will want the rest – is just icing on the cake.

Come one, come all. Bring your brokenness, your unworthiness, your simpleness – and celebrate life under the yoke of one who has been broken, felt unworthy and lived the simple life.

Dave Edgren ~ Story: Teller, Author, Trainer ~

BOOK DAVE NOW! Dave Edgren is passionate about creating a values-based storytelling culture. In his engaging and often hilarious way,...