Bible reading

Since we are to allow Scripture to speak to us communally (no Scripture is given for private interpretation), I figured I would provide space for us to talk about Scriptures that are speaking to you (us). So, why don’t you comment on here with some of the Scriptures that God is walking you through (or He may just be straight up messing you up with!!). I will comment and choose a few for us to discuss. So, 1, 2, 3…GO!


Acts 2:42 tells us that THEY devoted THEMSELVES to the Apostles doctrine. How much effort are we to muster to disciple someone? Many ministers can recount stories of devotion of time, energy, teaching and resources for the spiritual formation of a convert in their care, only to witness this person fall from the faith. Other stories demonstrate the small seed planted by one, watered by another and then supernatural increase by God’s own hand and their insatiable desire for His Word and His Presence.

Acts 8:34-39 further illustrates the point with Phillip and the Eunuch. Obviously, there are multiple passages that encourage studying the Word of God with one another, bearing burdens, and bearing the weaknesses of fellow believers. I just wonder (out loud-I guess) how much of our efforts should be placed on pushing Christians toward discipleship? Shouldn’t most of our efforts be toward salvation? Again, obviously, we should and must provide opportunity (and make that opportunity easily accessible) for Christians to engage in discipleship. We should provide structures, processes, trainings, resources to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. However, Christians/Disciples must devote THEMSELVES to the Apostles’ teaching, fellowship, prayer and breaking of bread (one of my first sermons focused on this passage as the four pillars of the church–discipleship based message–still believe it by the way).

However, shouldn’t most our resources be placed on sending the Gospel out into the community? Cultivating an atmosphere on Sunday mornings where God’s Presence reigns? (Thus, confronting, convicting and converting the sinner). Resources of creativity, money, talent, prayer, preparation, planning, recruiting (inviting lost), and anticipation should be poured into creating an atmosphere of God’s Presence on Sunday mornings that is soooo real that NO ONE can deny His existence. Lives are transformed. It’s not about seeker-sensitive, it’s not about culturally relevant, it’s not about performing excellence—it’s about creating an atmosphere where He reigns and demonstrates His power for salvation. Now, that doesn’t mean that all of those aren’t elements, there just not the main thing!! HE IS.

Discipleship MUST be about moving Christians toward salvation machines. It’s ALL about not letting people die and go to hell. Not just having a better marriage, not just having sweeter kids, not just saving/making money God’s way—-DON’T let your friends die and go to hell.

Let us be DOERS of the Word and not HEARERS only—deceiving ourselves and letting our religion become useless.

Last post ended with verse 8 of chapter 1. Receiving power to be witnesses is truly the ultimate requirement for leadership. (We could reminisce about David and his leadership in the Spirit, Moses, Judges, well I guess the OT for that matter!) Verses 9, 10, 11 are just awesome! “As they strained to see Him rising into heaven…” That totally describes many church leaders today. We have received instruction from God, yet we strain to see Him where He WAS. (Reminded about a cloud and fire and a man named Moses–we won’t go unless you go with us LORD.) These Apostles needed another visitation; they had just talked with GOD!! But they still needed angels to tell them to do what God/Jesus had instructed them to do.

Down to verse 15…the Apostles DO work. I think often, when we hear from God, we tend to pray (some) do (little) and wait (a lot). But by knowing the Word, they understood there was preparation to DO during the praying. Peter understood that “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled”…They had to prepare for revival and growth. Prayer and preparation for revival and growth are important (we need to know we CAN’T plan revival-but we can pray and prepare). The Apostles talked through replacing Judas and followed the Word and Spirit and appointed Matthias.

One thought about chapter 2 (for now)—once they had prayed (obeyed), prepared (appointed Matthias –or hired for growth?) then God GAVE them the increase He desired. See, jumping back to Christ’s ascension, He spoke to His Disciples-not the masses. He knew pouring into them prepared them for the HUGE harvest to come. 3000 added in ONE day!!! Added to EVERYDAY!!!! Only the Holy Spirit CAN do this!! He will only do this when WE are prepared!!

Acts seems to be THE best book out there on leadership. Acts 1:2 gives great insight to leadership. Christ worked until the VERY end. He leveraged EVERY opportunity to pour in further instruction. This verse also lets us know that Christ LED through the power of the Holy Spirit. Christ spent time with the chosen disciples. Most leaders would want to be in front of the largest crowds, hopefully empowering, reaching the most with the best efforts. However, Christ understood His purpose: to empower those that were called and chosen to carry out the mission. Leadership development.

Verse 3 illustrates Christ passion to model and lead by example. He PROVED through many ways to His apostles that He had done what He said He had done! How often do we get offended and off track when we sense our team needs more evidence from us? How is it that we drift off point so easily? Christ talked to them about the Kingdom of God.

Verses 4 and 5 give us a specific example of His teaching. Basically, He told them to drop everything to ensure they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Do leave Jerusalem….” He reminded and reinforced of the promise and the baptism coming. Do we continue to remind and reinforce the promises of God are coming? Do we really believe they are coming? As David states in Psalm 5:3 do we wait in expectation? Or are we now leading and moving through the motions?

Verses 6 and 7 are interesting to me…the disciples are asking (still) if the promise in NOW and earthly. This question reveals another aspect of leadership. Christ didn’t pretend to know things He didn’t know. He didn’t want His leaders to waste time on off point issues. Wow, “Lord has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our Kingdom?” —is this question off-point?!! Do we let the good become the enemy of the best? Do we entertain really good questions, causes and agendas at the cost of THE MISSION?

For now, verse 8 will be a great ending point (or beginning). The Baptism of the Holy Spirit launches the Apostles and disciples into passionate and empowered ministry. Empowered to DO all that we envision doing. (Greater works-kinda stuff). It is amazing that the authors of the New Testament were baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit, the recipients of these gospels, epistles and writings were baptized in the Holy Spirit, however, we often treat this empowerment as optional. A command from Christ to drop everything until this gift is received. Many of you know, I have earned a degree in leadership, however, NOTHING can replace the empowerment, wisdom and direction that the Holy Spirit brings. He is the Spirit of Wisdom. Think about the Comforter, the one who brings back everything to memory, the one who breaks every yoke. Shouldn’t we desire to yield fully to His Spirit and Voice?

The rest of this passage is full of leadership, preparation, planning and yielding to His will for ministry advancement.

What are your thoughts on sin in the believer’s life? At what point does one break fellowship with Christ? Can one loose salvation? If so, when does this occur? Instantaneously, at the commission of the slightest notion of sin? Or after traveling down the road of habitual sin? If so, where on this road? Must one commit apostasy to break fellowship? Was God’s righteous judgment on sin once and for all at the cross appropriated to all immediately at the cross (a sort of universalism), or immediately at confession (a sort of eternal security), or continuously accompanied with continual confessions (a sort of perfectionist legalism)? Does one need to live a life of spiritual paranoia repenting without ceasing? If sanctification is truly a process of being set apart and being made holy, is salvific grace nullified at the commission of one sin?

Is it not the enemy who accuses the brethren? Is it not the Spirit who sets us free? Does not the Spirit convict the world of sin, Christ save through faith/grace? Do we not grow in grace and knowledge (sanctification-purification) through the wooing of the Spirit in intimate agape relational peace, joy and deliverance?

Or is there a both/and grace-filled relational arena in which Christ judges the deepest recesses of one’s heart. (Who can know the heart but The Spirit?) Is it more about passionately pursuing His nature in intimate relationship with Him within the covenant community of the Body of Christ, than strict adherence to interpretative theological constructs one deems right?

My next post will address the second movement of Yielding to the Spirit in Bible Study: The importance of owning a shared (accountable) story with a community of faith as we search the Scriptures and listen to the Voice of His Spirit convict and transform. His Word moves us toward action. Never damning us to the prison of condemnation and paralyzing fear of hopelessness in obtaining His love through our works righteousness of filthy rags. Well, more on that later, for now let’s focus on the questions above.

well, it’s been way too long since I discussed Bible Study? on here. It was this topic that drove me to start this new blog site. I began this discussion with the thought that we experience God when we approach His holy Word. We are not simply approaching a book of principles and ideals to apply to our lives for good living, success or even salvation. No, we are approaching God Himself. Christ is the Incarnate Word of God. This Book is inspired by God and infallible, inerrant and eternally alive and active. Our encounters with the Holy immutable God should demand responsive actions and engage our emotions. We are to taste and see that He is good. We actually become new creations-total life transformation-not mere behavioral-cognitive adaptation, but totally new birth and life IN Christ. Wow, bout to preach here a little!!! Well, on to the first movement of approach of His Holy Word. Cheryl and Jackie Johns have written extensively on this subject in Yielding to the Spirit: A Pentecostal Approach to Group Bible Study” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 1992 1: 109-134.
The first movement of corporate Bible Study is Sharing our Testimony
Sharing our testimony calls for each member of the community to share themselves with one another. There is a sense that one moves beyond sharing story to sharing one’s self. As we know one another we become one body with many members owning one another’s story and joining stories together to form the covenant community in the Spirit. As Johns and Johns explain “there is a commonness to everyone’s knowledge, struggles and expectations, a shared sense of incompleteness in time.”

Sharing our testimony is much more than story-telling. It is the participation of testifying about the tensions of life in Christ.
Finally, sharing our story is the offering of one’s self to the community of faith for the purpose glorifying God through ministering to the Body of Christ. The provision for opportunity for all members to contribute to the community of faith through sharing their story for reflection and future anticipation is crucial for transformation. This aspect of testimony brings the participants toward God’s future activity in response to and for the community of faith. Sharing one’s Testimony provides the Pentecostal basis and framework for participating in authentic community. (Gal. 6:2)

Are we to primarily read and study the Word individually or in community, as the Epistles were intended to be read? Is Scripture for private interpretation or communal exegesis in the power of the Spirit?

What do you think? I want to know….

First thing I read this morning was, Psalm 41–Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive. He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies.

Can’t imagine what God has in store for those that love His Word and trust His Voice an obey Him by loving others!!! Btw, stayed tuned for more on Bible study.

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