Thursday, February 22, 2024

Getting back to the heart of worship with Jeroboam

 Jeroboam was meant for greatness in the Kingdom of God. What happened? 


1 Kings 11:37–38 (CSB): 37 I will appoint you, and you will reign as king over all you want, and you will be king over Israel. 

38 “ ‘After that, if you obey all I command you, walk in my ways, and do what is right in my sight in order to keep my statutes and my commands as my servant David did, I will be with you. I will build you a lasting dynasty just as I built for David, and I will give you Israel."


Read the rest of the story in 1 Kings 11. Why did Jeroboam fall? Avoid answering quickly. Put yourself in his shoes. Imagine his life. Where was his "leader's heart" emotionally/relationally when he established Israel's new worship scene? Was it all about worship? Or was some deeper fear playing on Jeroboam's heart? 

Sunday, February 11, 2024

PCF - An Invitation to Bible Study

When visiting Christian schools for a week of Bible storytelling (they call it Week of Prayer, or other names) I often tell a story on the first day that challenges the kids to read the Bible for themselves. It goes like this:

Last night, your chaplain, took me to a new all-you-can-eat restaurant in the city! It was yum. And, it was weird! There were three serveries. The first had a big sign over it "Square Meals". The next was "Raw n Fresh!" And the final one, "PCF". 

There were a few people in the Square Meals line getting a plate of meat n veg or Lasangna and salad, etc. And there was one person at the Raw n Fresh buffet. But, the line for the PCF servery was huge! It actually went out one of the doors and into the car park! 

I went up to the PCF servery just to look - it was trays of differently coloured sludge - chunks floating in a soupy mess. It was weird. I saw the chef through the window and mouthed, "What is PCF?" He laughed and waved me to the kitchen door. Once inside he showed me a group of chefs preparing gourmet meals. Next, he showed me rows of people eating those meals. 

"To properly digest your food," He said, "You must chew each bite 27 times before swallowing, did you know that?" I shook my head, getting a bit queasy. "Who has time for that?" he continued, "So, we help!"

I then saw that the 'eaters' were spitting each bite into a bowl next to their plate of perfectly prepared cuisine. Those bowls were collected by food prep hands and put into the large serving trays at the front. 

"Pre Chewed Food," The chef said proudly, "PCF. The world loves it. It's everywhere!"

By then, the audience of kids are not being quiet and respectful. They are making grossed-out noises, conversation blurts and all kinds of cacophony. 

I stop and face them, "What? You don't believe me?" They all shout, "NO!"

"Why not?" After taking a few answers, I say, "Because PCF is disgusting, right? Nobody would eat that!" 

"And yet we do. There's Adventist PCF. Baptist PCF. Mormon PCF. Catholic PCF. Christian PCF comes in all flavours and chunkiness! Every time you listen to a sermon - PCF. Every time you read a devotional - PCF. Someone else has already chewed it up and regurgitated it for you!"

Kids - still grossed out. Concerned looks from staff members...  

"So, this week, I challenge you to get "Raw n Fresh" spiritual meals by reading the Bible for yourself. And get some Square Meals by studying the Bible with a group of friends. And yes, enjoy my PCF. I loved chewing it up for you. But, goodness gracious, please don't live on the stuff!"

Friday, February 09, 2024

Psalms 82: Ye are gods - Group discussion guide

Introduction

Ensure you have a coin with you. Invite group members to take out a coin and look at it.


Q. What do the images on the two sides represent? Why are these things important to your nation? Why is there always a person on at least one side? What does that person represent?



Read Matthew 22:15-22


Q. Even though they were trying to trick Jesus, these Pharisees saw the core attributes of a Godly leader in Jesus. What did they see? (Matt 22:16 - truthful, taught Gods ways, impartial)


Q. What does Jesus' coin lesson teach us about the best way to live a Godly life? (Matthew 22:21 - honor and serve God while also respecting leaders)



Read Psalms 82:1-8


Q. It's hard to miss, so let's go there first! Who are the gods in verse 1 and 6? 


The same Hebrew word begins and finishes Psalms 82:1 - Elohim. Often translated as “God” it can be translated in other ways. Let's take a look at a passage that will help.



Read Exodus 21:2-6


Q. Which word in this story do you think is a translation of Elohim? (Exodus 21:6 - judges)


Q. If you guessed “master” you are not far off. Does anyone know the Hebrew word translated four times in this passage as “master”? (Adonai - Another word commonly translated as “God”) 


Reread Exodus 21:5 replacing the word Master with Adonai. Beautiful, isn't it?


Q. What can we learn about leadership, parenting, governing and even relationships from the way the Hebrew language freely uses words for God to represent people in authority?



Two Sides of the Same Coin


Reread Psalms 82:1-8


Imagine this Psalm as a script for a stage play.  

Verse 1 is the setting. Psalms 82:1

Verse 2-4 are God's lines addressing the other actors. Psalms 82:2-4

Verse 5 is narration for the audience's sake.  Psalms 82:5

Verse 6-7 are God's lines addressing the other actors. Psalms 82:6-7

Verse 8 is Audience's line. (Shouted in unison!) Psalms 82:8


Q. Which part is your favorite? Why? 


Q. Which part challenges you most? Why?



Conclusion


We have a rare treat in our study today. Jesus has done some of the interpretation of our Psalm for us! 


Read John 10:31-39


Q. Who does Jesus say the phrase “you are gods” refers to? (John 10:35 “those to whom the Word of God came”)


Q. In Jesus’ day, the Word of God was what we now call the Old Testament. To whom were the writings of Moses and the Prophets given? (Israel, the people of God)


Q. Because of the cross, who are the people of God today? (followers of Jesus)


Q. Where does this place us in Psalms 82? (as ‘gods’ - leaders under God's authority)


Q. How will this inspire you in the way you live your life?

Saturday, February 03, 2024

The Gospel and You

What is the Gospel? Is there more than one? What does it mean to live the Gospel?



The word "Gospel" is an Anglo-Saxon word derived from the words "Good Spell" or, more literal in meaning, "Good Story". And that it is. The Gospel is a great story that makes a difference in our lives!

When we read the word Gospel in the New Testament it is a translation of the word "Evangelion" which means "Good News." When Jesus used the word, it was a particular kind of good news. It was Kingdom News. 

When the Roman Empire coronated a new Emperor - they sent out the Evangelion to the far reaches of the world. "Good News! There is a new God King in Rome!" When the Roman army won a battle, they sent the Evangelion to the Emperor in Rome. "Good News! We've won the battle!" 

So, when Jesus used the word, He meant it in that cultural context. He was using it the way the locals did, not the way we do! He took the Roman meaning and put a God-centered spin on it. You can see it clearly at the beginning of Mark's good spell. "After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!' " Mark 1:14-15 

With Jesus, the Kingdom of God sends Evangelion. The Kingdom of God has come near! Good News! Luke spells out the good spell Jesus was teaching in Luke 4:16-21. It was "good news to the poor." This Kingdom sets captives free, heals the blind and proclaims the year of the Lord's favor! 

After Jesus, the word Evangelion went through another reworking because of the way the Early Church used it. The Roman meaning was left behind and it became a new "Good News". Jesus died for us. He rose to life again. He lives interceding for us. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. His death, His resurrection and His love are ours to take to heart today. Now, that's Good News! 

As the New Testament closes, in the book of Revelation, Evangelion takes on an even more amazing meaning: "Eternal Good News!" What could that be? How is it different from the Gospel Jesus preached? How is it different from the Gospel of the Early Christian Church? Which is the most important Gospel?  

Watch my sermon for the rest of the Gospel story! It's a wild ride (and some beautiful scenery!)

Then, let me know what you think!


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,...