Posts Tagged: Christ

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First three sections of Matthew chapter 9 explained:

Jesus heals a paralytic

context: many Jews had the mistaken belief that disabilities were caused by sin (see John 9, where Jesus’ disciples ask why a man was born blind, whether it was because of his or his parents’ sins), but Jesus emphasizes that disabilities are not caused by sin, and that they can be healed, just as sins can be forgiven as well. both physical healing and spiritual forgiveness can be received through faith in Jesus.

i think what’s tough about this section is that i find it hard to answer Jesus’ response to the teachers of the law: “which is easier to say, ‘you are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘get up and walk?’”

more context: Jews lived in a system where the religious authorities (teachers of the law, Pharisees, Sadducees, priests) were in power, because they either mediated the interactions between people and God (through sacrifices and religious rituals) or made rules that governed how people should live to please God (e.g. no working on the Sabbath). when Jesus was alive, these rules had gotten way out of hand, to the point where the demands were ridiculously impossible (e.g. no walking a certain number of steps on the Sabbath) so Jesus came to fulfill the law through His sacrifice on the cross, so that we can have a direct relationship with God, regardless of our sins, and outside of the rules of the man-made religious establishment

i think when Jesus asks this question, He is challenging the teachers of the law, who are outraged by Jesus’ forgiveness of the sins of the paralytic. He is saying that He has authority, as the son of God and God incarnate (in the flesh) to forgive sins. He is challenging their assumption that forgiveness of sins is impossible without earning it through obedience of rules and perfection. when He heals the paralytic, He proves that He is the son of God and that He does have authority to forgive sin.

Calling of Matthew

context: (from the Bible Quizzers’ study guide for Matthew)



Romans (who ruled the land occupied by the Jews) sold a franchise of an area to the highest Jewish bidder, allowing them to collect taxes in the area. tax collectors were told how much they had to pay the Roman government, and could keep any extra they collected. as you can probably guess, the tax collectors were often corrupt and taxed people higher than they needed to, and pocketed the extra money. the Pharisees were probably justified in lumping Matthew the tax collector along with other sinners.

so emo, rite?

but Jesus cites Scripture to emphasize how God is concerned more about humility (a humble attitude) than about works (living a perfect life). “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” comes from Hosea 6:6, an Old Testament book written by Hosea, a prophet who married a prostitute, Gomer, who was unfaithful to him, as a metaphor for how the nations of Judah and Israel were unfaithful to God. Jesus’ uses this Scripture to show that God loves us so much that He would rather have us in close relationship with Him than be alienated and isolated by impossible rules and standards (sacrifice). in the same way, the Pharisees should have mercy on the Jews, rather than demanding that they make sacrifices that don’t bring them closer to God.



Jesus is saying that a) the sick, the sinners are the ones who are more humble and open to Jesus’ message of mercy and b) the sick and sinners are the ones who need a doctor and God’s grace the most, respectively

Jesus questioned about fasting

context: fasting was done for mourning, and to bring people closer to God



this is a lot simpler to explain— Jesus is like the bridegroom. as long as He is with his disciples (like the bridegroom is with the guests), the disciples should celebrate, because they do not need to do things to become close to God… He is right there with them!



more context: wine skins are made of animal skin (as I understand it), and burst when new wine is poured into old ones, because they have been stretched to their limit



no one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, no one pours new wine into old wine skins, just as you can’t add a new system onto old rules. Jesus is saying that with Him, there is a new system for approaching God. you have a direct relationship with God through faith that Jesus is the son of God (and later, that His death erases our sins and allows us to approach God without shame). although Jesus is the fulfillment of the old Jewish law (matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”), He is asking us to accept this new system for approaching God, and to become new themselves.



…basically circles back to making Christianity personal :)

YAY CAT YAYYYYY

i really encourage you to find some way of consistently reading the Bible— it will help you understand and make the most out of what you are learning.

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Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -James 1:27

Maybe it is easy to ignore need in the world if we label people. When people in need are “the poor,” “the hungry,” “the Africans,” etc., then they become those other people rather than our own. Labeling people does not allow us to think of them as individuals, which is how God sees them, and we start making the mistake of lumping them all together as the same. FYI, Africa is not a country and we cannot assume that we have nothing to learn from people in Africa and that every African is poor, hungry and sick.
On the other hand, there is very real need in Africa, just as there is real need in the United States, in California, and believe it or not, in Cupertino. We just need to look.
When Jesus says that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we should note how we think about ourselves all the time and that maybe the attention and care we pay to ourselves ought to be turned outward to other people. Not because they are those other people, but because we, alike, are valued by God, so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us, so that we all can turn to Him in times of need.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -James 1:27

Maybe it is easy to ignore need in the world if we label people. When people in need are “the poor,” “the hungry,” “the Africans,” etc., then they become those other people rather than our own. Labeling people does not allow us to think of them as individuals, which is how God sees them, and we start making the mistake of lumping them all together as the same. FYI, Africa is not a country and we cannot assume that we have nothing to learn from people in Africa and that every African is poor, hungry and sick.

On the other hand, there is very real need in Africa, just as there is real need in the United States, in California, and believe it or not, in Cupertino. We just need to look.

When Jesus says that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we should note how we think about ourselves all the time and that maybe the attention and care we pay to ourselves ought to be turned outward to other people. Not because they are those other people, but because we, alike, are valued by God, so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for us, so that we all can turn to Him in times of need.

(via living-ark)

Source: chaotic-fantasy
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The road to Christ in every text.

A good reminder that all thoughts about God, all Scripture points to Christ, and that if we don’t think about Christ when dwelling on Scripture, we miss the point.

Source: johnnyis
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The way I judge whether someone is intelligent is if they have the ability to see what lies below the surface. -Giang

Here is info about the Halo Effect and Attractiveness Bias. Remember, “Man looks at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). We have a choice to conform (judge people without getting to know them, based on what they wear or look like, where they go to school, what car they have, what they study… etc.) or to be holy (set apart, to listen and to talk to others to know their hearts, to meditate and pray to know what parts of your heart needs changing).
You can learn more about Dr. Harriger’s study about the thin ideal, which starts as early as age 3. We need to remember that judging people based on appearance is the default, so we should fight against that because God considers us all people of worth.
How much worth? 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” That’s a lot.

The way I judge whether someone is intelligent is if they have the ability to see what lies below the surface. -Giang

Here is info about the Halo Effect and Attractiveness Bias. Remember, “Man looks at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). We have a choice to conform (judge people without getting to know them, based on what they wear or look like, where they go to school, what car they have, what they study… etc.) or to be holy (set apart, to listen and to talk to others to know their hearts, to meditate and pray to know what parts of your heart needs changing).

You can learn more about Dr. Harriger’s study about the thin ideal, which starts as early as age 3. We need to remember that judging people based on appearance is the default, so we should fight against that because God considers us all people of worth.

How much worth? 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” That’s a lot.

Source: yourimperfectperfection
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I was talking to one of the teens about 30 Hour Famine and his response was:

who
what
when
where
why
who’s going
what’s happening
when is it
where is it
why are we doing it

Whoooooo that’s a lot of questions!

Let’s do this.

Who: New Life Church Youth

What: 30 Hour Famine. We will learn about world hunger (specifically in the country of Malawi), experience hunger by fasting for 30 hours (juices only) and we will overcome hunger by fundraising ($30 can feed a child for a month; partnering with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and World Vision) and serving in the local community to raise awareness.

When: We started learning about hunger and painting signs last Gathering (4/13).

Did you know that we have nail artists and chefs in our midst? Yes. Yes we do. We will start fundraising with Manicure and Meal for Malawi next Sunday after church. Invite friends!

Where: New Life Church, duh!

Why: You ask me a why and I raise you several questions…

1. What is pure and faultless religion?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (translation: the poor in society) and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

-James 1:27

2. What is a righteous man like?

He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.

-Ezekiel 18:7

3. Does it really matter if I help alleviate hunger? Can’t someone else take care of world hunger?

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

-Matthew 25:34-40

(Of course, I am not saying that you have to help alleviate world hunger or you are a bad person, but I think we are called to have an others-oriented mentality. To be concerned about need in the world and meet that need in our own way.)

Who’s going: I hope you are! Even if you’re not a youth, please contact me at karen.lynn.yang[at]gmail.com if you want to be involved! Invite your friends!

What’s happening: We hang out. We watch videos. We make signs. We cook. We paint nails. We have a sleepover. We play games. We pick up litter. We drink juice. Whatever you think will help us alleviate hunger.

When is it: June 22-23 is Famine Weekend. Mark your calendars!

Where is it: We are giving our funds to help overcome hunger in Malawi

Why are we doing it: Hunger is a global problem.

Also, THROWBACKKK.

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"God died for you and for me and for that leper and for that person dying of hunger and for that person on the street…. It’s not enough to say that you love God. You also have to say you love your neighbor. Love, to be true, has to hurt. This requires people giving until it hurts. Otherwise it is not true love… Be the good news to your home people first. Find out about your next-door neighbor."

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-Mother Teresa, as she dedicated a convent in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1995; c.f. “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas; “Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” Charlotte Observer (June 14, 1995)

Honestly, I think I would be terrified to meet Mother Teresa. Honored, but terrified. From what I’ve read, it seems like she was a spitfire, not afraid to tell people her mind, sometimes to the point of bossiness. But this came from a place of conviction, her confidence in what she was doing was right.

What she says here is incredibly challenging. “Love, to be true, has to hurt.” This week in women’s Bible study, we discussed Jesus’ crucifixion and the question: Why did Jesus have to suffer physical pain as He died?

When I think about the sacrificed that the Israelites once offered as atonement for sin, I don’t envision the flogging of a lamb. I envision the clean slitting of a throat, a quick death. But for Jesus, the sacrifice was different— it was messy, it was horrific, it was profoundly unfair. And through it all, his mother Mary watched and as Simeon prophesied to Mary in Luke 2:35, “And a sword will pierce your very soul” as she watched Jesus suffer and die in excruciating pain.

As hard as it is to imagine what Jesus’ sacrifice is like, it does convey that the sacrifice was important and authentic. That God takes seriously anything that might make us distant from Him (sin) and that Jesus’ love isn’t about words or little actions. It’s about giving up a life.

For us, words and little actions are important. Because love starts with being willing to give up our entire lives to God and other people. But it’s not about what’s safe, what little part of our lives we are willing to give on certain times when it’s convenient.

Sometimes it’s the giving up of a grudge against someone who has wronged us. Sometimes it’s spending time with someone who you don’t really like to show them that someone cares. Sometimes it’s choosing to work in a field that doesn’t pay very much so you can serve. Sometimes it’s holding your tongue when someone makes a false accusation against you. Sometimes it’s giving up a friend who makes you think about the world in a cynical way. I don’t know what it is for you. But these are the little ways we can choose to hurt for the sake of love.

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"Some people say that God ain’t real ‘cause they don’t see how a good God can exist with all this evil in the world. If God is real, then He should stop all this evil, ‘cause He’s all-powerful, right? What is evil, though? It’s anything that’s against God. It’s anything morally bad or wrong. It’s murder, rape, stealing, lying, cheating. But if we want God to stop evil, do we want Him to stop it all or just a little bit of it? If He stops us from doing evil things, what about lying, or what about our evil thoughts? I mean, where do you stop, the murder level, the lying level, or the thinking level? If we want Him to stop evil, we gotta be consistent, we can’t just pick and choose. That means you and I would be eliminated, right? Because we think evil stuff. If that’s true, we should be eliminated! But thanks be to God that Jesus stepped in to save us from our sin! Christ died for all evilness."

- Lecrae (via lifeofpraise)

(via living-ark)

Source: lifeofpraise