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Thanks for visiting our website! Picture of the Month: sharing the word in Pilanqui, Ibarra, Ecuador; a view of part of the crowd, two baptisms. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Preaching in Pilanqui

Ministry is always a team effort--Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 48+ years! Countless others have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. My favorite breakfast is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of quality coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature in Jesus. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by countless people around the world!

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Archive for November, 2014

It’s Sunday Again: Knowing the Jesus who came for everyone [Luke’s Gospel]

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Do You Know My Jesus? Do you know the Jesus who came for everyone?  Good questions, and foundation for understanding the Gospels of Jesus.

  • Matthew’s portrait of Jesus is of royalty–the Jewish Messiah (Christ, Anointed One) who comes as King in the Kingdom of God, but a different kind of King, benevolent and persuasive rather than coercive, a king who is also servant of all.

  • Mark’s picture is of a suffering servant who bridges the divide between God and humanity–Son of God and Son of Man.

  • John paints a cosmic picture, bigger than this world, bigger than life, pointing to genuine life
  • Against the other gospels, Luke’s picture of Jesus often seems plodding and deliberate. Long chapters, long verses, the longest Gospel, packed with unique stories despite being identified as one of the Synoptic Gospels with obvious parallels to Matthew and Mark. All of that plays into the picture Luke provides:  Jesus is for Everyone! He is Messiah, Lord, Savior. He is “for” us. He seeks to save all who are lost. He comes for everyone–rich and poor, the “ins” and the “outs”. He cares for the outcasts of first-century Jewish and Roman society–women, children, tax-collectors, half-breeds (Samaritans), beggars, people who have made mistakes.  He comes teaching and demonstrating prayer, the gift of God’s Spirit, the spirit of universal care and concern and compassion and salvation.

    The Gospel of Luke is not always easy reading–but it’s worth it! Especially if you need a reminder that the story of Jesus applies to YOU! It is both eye-opening and heart-opening (but that’s another theme that I encourage you to discover for yourself).

    It’s Sunday Again: People Jesus Touched [Gospel of Mark]

    Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

    When I present seminars on Mark’s Gospel, I like to include a series of lessons I call, “People Jesus Touched.”  Many of these lessons come from Mark 5-8.  [Outline Note: Mark 1-4 answers the question, “Who is Jesus?”  Mark 5:1-8:21 asks, “Who can be a follower of Jesus?”  Mark 8:22-10:52, deals with the question, “What does following Jesus look like?”]

    Jesus came touching people.  He came helping and healing the hurting and hungry.  He confronted the powers of demons, was compassionate when doctors had taken advantage, and bold in the face of ridicule.  He gently guided his disciples to new understandings.  He understood fear, admitted its reality, and used it as a beginning point to generate faith.  He called the Pharisees on the carpet when tradition got in the way of caring for people.  He touched the untouchable, he reached out to the unreachable. He rescued, healed, saved.
    As people thronged about him, he saw the results of sin’s entry into the world–illness and infirmity, sickness and sorrow, hopelessness and hunger.  He sighed.  He hurt when others hurt.  That his heart was touched may explain his reason for touching others with healing and salvation.

    Two thoughts echo in my mind during this week:  I am grateful that Jesus has touched me and continually touches me; I wonder whom Jesus wants me to touch.

    It’s Sunday Again: Seeking Kingdom Things [Matthew’s Discourses]

    Sunday, November 16th, 2014

    What does the Gospel of Matthew reveal about the Kingdom? How does one seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness?

    Matthew’s Gospel has five major discourses or teaching sections. These are clearly marked in the text by parallel concluding phrases (Mt. 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1). One can easily identify the teaching sections by looking at what immediately precedes these verses (and the red letters in some Bibles). For example, the first of the discourses is the Sermon on the Mount (5-7), the middle discourse includes several “kingdom of heaven” parables (13:1-52), and the last discourse includes the parables of the virgins and talents, and the judgment scene (25).

    In good oration and teaching, discourses include a conclusion. (An exception is those sermons that ramble and eventually just stop rambling!) Good speeches end by answering the question, what is the point? What should one remember? So it is in the teachings of Jesus. Each of the discourses has a point. The final words indicate to us the point of the teaching. What conclusions does Jesus want his listeners to reach?

    When I present seminars on the Gospel of of Matthew, one of my favorite approaches is to examine these teaching discourses, based on the concluding words.  (Outlines and notes are posted on my website.)  This week would be an excellent time to read or re-read the discourses. The following may help you identify and remember the content.

    • Kingdom Blessings: Who is blessed in the Kingdom? Those who develop “kingdom hearts” (5-7, Sermon on the Mount)
    • Kingdom Commitment: Authentic Kingdom Discipleship (10, instructions when sending out the Twelve)
    • Kingdom Thinking: Understanding the Surprising Hiddenness of the Kingdom (13, parables)
    • Kingdom Principles: Life in the Kingdom (18, settling controversies in the kingdom of heaven)
    • Kingdom Priorities: Will Be Clearly Seen When the King Comes! (25, parables and judgment)

    It’s Sunday Again: Life in Christ’s kingdom

    Sunday, November 9th, 2014

    For many in churches of Christ, historically evangelism has been primarily a cognitive process focused on the acceptance of certain truths or propositions by an individual. The goal and primary emphasis has been simple–salvation. More recently some of us have been asking about transformed lives and genuine discipleship, seeking to be and help others become learners who follow Jesus (Savior) Christ (King). Do not miss the difference. Jesus never asked, “Do you accept me as your personal Savior?” He did said, “Follow me.” The purpose of a disciple must be the same as that of the Teacher.

    How could a follower of Jesus, a disciple of Jesus, have a mission other than the mission of Jesus? If Jesus is our Lord, if he is our Teacher, if he is our King, does it not follow that his task is our task? That what matters to him matters to us? Jesus began his ministry and defined his own mission in the world by reading an Old Testament text in a Nazareth synagogue. He did not take up the prophecies of Isaiah 7, 9 or 53. He took up the words of Isaiah 61 (Luke 4:14-21).

    Jesus declares to us the meaning of life under the kingdom rule of God. He alone can save. In Jesus Christ, salvation signifies deliverance from one kingdom (of darkness) to another kingdom (of light). Without doubt, we who are genuinely his disciples imitate his concern for the poor, persons in prison, the blind, and the burdened. We follow his example of righteousness, compassion, and love. These are part of the renewed kingdom. But until these are coupled with preaching the Good News and helping people experience the transformation from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of Jesus, the kingdom renewal of our own lives is incomplete.

    For whose soul are you praying today? Whose soul are you seeking for the kingdom? “If the souls all around you are living in sin…will you not tell them the good news today?”

    It’s Sunday Again: Life in the Kingdom

    Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

    The question resounds as we sing, Do You Know My Jesus?  A few moments later we sing the simple request, Jesus Let Us Come to Know You!

    Familiar words, favorite songs, not always easy to bring to life.  Knowing Jesus is seldom easy, often quite difficult. The Jesus of Matthew is both servant and royalty.  The paradox must not escape us.  The lineage is right, but the circumstances seem wrong.  The markers line up (Jesus, Emmanuel, Christ, Son of God), but the purpose catches us off guard (to serve, not to be served).

    Life in the kingdom of this King is possible only because he is continually present.  He leads us in kingdom living which is generally not at all as we thought it would be or should be.  The life to which he leads and challenges us is internal more than external.  It is sacrificial and faces rejection more often that victory.  It is both present and future.

    We sing, O To Be Like Thee. Our servant king comes teaching and preaching and healing; but he ultimately comes dying. How much do I really want to be like him?

    Jesus, Let Us Come to Know You!

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