We’re Believing the Message of Christ: Days 2-5

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Note: 

Greetings all! I’d like to apologize for the SRC Blog not automatically updating for a couple of weeks. I believe that is an administrative error on my part. Below is a list of all of the posts that have not been sent out to all followers automatically over the previous 1 1/2 weeks. Tomorrow’s post will go out as scheduled.

 Day 2: Believe in Jesus 

Years ago, somebody challenged me (Pastor Justin) to read through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and to do my best to identify what was unique about the Gospel of John compared to the other three. At the time, I really enjoyed a good challenge. So I spent the next few weeks reading through the Gospels, looking for patterns or words that were different in the Gospel of John compared to the other three. 

Spoiler Alert: If you’re the kind of person who enjoys these kinds of challenges, feel free to stop reading now and skip over to the reading/questions on the right. On your own, you can see if you can discover what’s unique about the Gospel of John. 

Compared to the other three Gospels, the Gospel of John is quite unique. While there is much to be discovered and pondered in all of the Gospels, John focussed tremendous attention on the concept of belief. In fact, John used some form of the word believe over 100 times throughout his Gospel. This is more than than the other three Gospels combined! More than anything, John focused on belief in Jesus. He quotes Jesus in 14:1 saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” As you read today, consider this: What would you say it means to believe in Jesus?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11

What would you say it means to believe in Jesus?

What questions, if any, do you have about Jesus? Where will go to find the answers to these questions?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Malachi 1

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I think I know what it means to believe in Jesus, but I confess there are times when I don’t feel confident in answering that question well. And I recognize that if I’m unable to answer that question well, there’s a tremendous challenge when it comes to me taking opportunities to share what I believe with others. Today, as I continue to wrestle with the questions of what I believe and why I believe it, I pray for continued wisdom in knowing You and knowing the purpose You have for my life. I also pray that I will not overthink these questions, but will instead rest in the simplicity of the answers; in the simplicity of Your love, grace, and truth. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Day 3: Why [Not] Believe in Jesus?

We live in a world in which people, in general, believe in good and evil, or right and wrong. For example, if you were to ask the average American if he/she believes in God, the majority would say yes. Similarly, if you were to ask them how one gets to heaven, the majority would say that by being a good person, we get to be with God after we die. But this leads to a much more difficult question the average American cannot easily answer: how good is good enough?

That’s a difficult question to think about, is it not? How good is good enough? But let’s take it to yet another level, who gets to decide how good is good enough? You? Me? Somebody else? 

This line of questioning is what separates Christianity from every other major belief system in the world. Within Christian belief, nobody can earn eternal life by their goodness. Nobody. But this is a good thing, because it means that nobody has to figure out how good is good enough. Instead, we can recognize that we cannot earn eternal life, but can simply accept it by recognizing who Jesus is and making a decision to follow Him. As you read today, consider this: Have you taken the opportunity read and study the life of Jesus? If so, can you think of any reasons as to why not believe in Jesus?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:12-34

Have you taken the opportunity read and study the life of Jesus? If so, can you think of any reasons as to why not believe in Jesus? (If not, will you consider reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in order to study the life of Jesus?)

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Malachi 2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I know that the Gospel of John ends with him writing that if everything Jesus said and accomplished was written down, there wouldn’t be room in the whole world for all of the books! I also know that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the best starting point for reading and studying the life of Christ, and that by reading them, I will continue to grow in my understanding of Him. Today, as I think through what I do know of Jesus, I acknowledge that I cannot think of any reason as to why I would not want to follow Him. So today, I will continue to (or begin to) follow Him, and pray that my understanding of Him will continue to increase. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Day 4: Eternal Life Starts Now

Think for a moment about the things that may be preventing you from experiencing contentment in life. Some things that are fairly common within our culture include, “I’ll be more content when I get a promotion.” Or, “I’ll be more content when I get married.” Or, “I’ll be more content when I graduate.” Or, “I’ll be more content when (you fill in the blank).” Just so you know, this level of thinking doesn’t work. Contentment doesn’t come based on something you buy or earn. It comes by acknowledging who you are. 

Unfortunately, this same level of thinking is common among Christians today. Some even take it to the extreme level of, “I’ll be content when I die and get to be with Jesus.” But these kinds of thoughts often stem from the belief that eternal life doesn’t begin until death. But the Scriptures teach us that eternal life begins as soon as we profess faith in Jesus. 

Yes, there will be troubles, tears, sickness, death, and other heartaches that we will all experience, even after professing faith in Christ. But these can all be overshadowed by the truth that eternal life begins now, and our future hope in being with God can lead to inner peace no matter our circumstances. As you read today, consider this: How often do you pause to consider that you are, right now, beginning to live out eternal life?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:35-58

How often do you pause to consider that you are, right now, beginning to live out eternal life?

Be specific: In what ways does beginning eternal life right now impact any circumstances you’re currently experiencing?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Malachi 3

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that there are many times when I have thought about eternal life beginning sometime after death, instead of the truth that for all who believe in Christ, it begins now. Today, I simply want to celebrate this truth, and rejoice that my life was forever changed the moment I decided to be a follower of Jesus. I celebrate that this decision doesn’t just impact what my life will be like after death, but that it impacts everything I’m currently experiencing in life right now. Thank You for this wonderful gift! I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Day 5: Reflection

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 7:1-40

What did the Scripture readings this week reveal to you about the grace and love of God?         

What did you learn about yourself this week, and/or what you believe about the message of Christ?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Malachi 4

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

We’re going to pass on the message of Christ

Day 1: Positive Influence Part I

Years ago, Coca-Cola set out with an absolutely audacious goal: they wanted every person in the world to know their name. Today, 94% of people in the world recognize the Coca-Cola logo. That’s over 7 Billion people! Even in countries that will not allow Coca-Cola products to be shipped or sold, the majority of people still know the name of Coca-Cola. 

Despite Christianity being the largest belief system around the world, the name of Jesus has not been made known to 94% of the world’s population. While different sources provide different numbers, there’s still a consensus among statisticians that more people around the world have heard the name of Coca-Cola than have heard the name of Jesus. Even more disconcerting is this: those who know the name of Coca-Cola know exactly what it is, while many who have heard the name of Jesus, have received incorrect information about who He is and the good news about His death and resurrection. Let that sink in. More people today have more accurate knowledge of Coca-Cola than they do of Jesus. 

As you read today consider this: God is inviting you to have a role in passing on the message of Christ to others. What is one step you will take this week towards fulfilling this role?

READING: JOHN 3:16-21

God is inviting you to have a role in passing on the message of Christ to others. What is one step you will take this week towards fulfilling this role?

Write down the names of 3 people you know who do not currently have a relationship with Christ. Commit to praying for them every day this week. 

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Luke 1

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that I don’t regularly think about what it would look like for me to take on a role to help spread the message of Christ. There are times when I think it is the church’s job to do that, or the pastor’s job, or…anybody else but me. But I know that You have invited all of Your followers to help spread the good news of Jesus. Today, I simply pray for wisdom and understanding as to what my role in that is, and I pray for the confidence to fill this role well. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Day 2: Positive Influence Part II

It was Christmas morning is in the early 1990’s. My family and I (Pastor Justin) had all opened up our Christmas gifts, and wanted to share our excitement with other family and friends. This was long before cell phones were common, so what did we do? We used our Windows 95 computer and dial-up internet (remember that high-pitched crackle when logging on?) to email our friends.

The above story is shared just to say that we all really wanted to share our excitement with other family and friends. And today, the majority of people want to share things they’re excited about with their family and friends. Whether it’s graduation, a birthday, a wedding, a new baby, a promotion, or something else, we all want to share good news with others. 

Jesus’ death and resurrection was good news for His followers. According to Paul, over 500 people had Jesus appear to them after His resurrection, and it’s likely that many of them wanted to share this good news with others. And those who heard this good news – fishermen, shepherds, and even kings – were also so excited that they wanted to share this good news with others. Today, this news is still being shared worldwide. As you read today, consider this: What are some things you have been excited to share with others? Do you find yourself excited to share the good news of Jesus?

READING: 1 CORINTHIANS 15:6, JOHN 14:1-4

Be honest: What are your 3 greatest fears when it comes to sharing the Gospel with others?

What are some things you have been excited to share with others? 

Think about it: why would anybody not be excited to share the good news of Jesus?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Luke 2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I confess that one of the first things I feel when I think about sharing my faith with others is fear. There’s a fear that they will think less of me, or a fear that they will get angry with me, or a fear that (fill in the blank). Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Jesus regularly taught, “Be not afraid.” Perhaps You really are inviting me to lay my fears aside, and take the opportunity to share my faith with others. Today, I pray for an opportunity to do just that. I pray that You lead me to share something about my faith today. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

 

Day 3: Positive Influence Part III

The majority of historians today agree on two important aspects of Christianity. First, there is agreement that Jesus was a real person. Even non-Christian historians acknowledge that Jesus was a real person and was a huge influence on history. Second, historians agree that Christianity most likely would not exist if it were not for the Apostle Paul. 

Paul’s life story is quite fascinating. He was trained in making tents and canopies out of leather, and was also trained in the religious laws of the Old Testament. In his young adulthood, he was zealous for what he referred to as The Law, and because of his hatred for Christianity, he had Christians put to death. But after experiencing an encounter with Jesus, he not only converted to Christianity, but was instrumental in spreading the Gospel message throughout major cities in the Roman Empire. And in his first letter to the people of Corinth he writes, “Always give yourselves fully to the world of the Lord (15:58).” He didn’t ask them to do anything he wasn’t willing to do on his own. He worked. He experienced tremendous hardships. But he could think of no reason not to share the gospel. 

As you read today, consider this: Can you think of any reason as to why you should not help spread the good news of Jesus? 

READING: ACTS 5:27-39

Can you think of any reason as to why you should not help spread the good news of Jesus?

What’s the worst thing that could happen from sharing your faith with somebody else? What’s the best thing that could happen? Which is more likely?

F260 READING: (A Scripture Reading Plan for Busy Believers)

Read: Matthew 1 & 2

Reflect: What did you H.E.A.R. from God today?

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, as I examine the life and the teachings of Jesus, I acknowledge that I may not fully understand everything he taught. Nevertheless, I can’t think of any reason as to why I wouldn’t follow Him, nor can I think of any good reason as to why I would not accept a role in spreading the good news of Jesus to others. Today, I continue to pray for all of my friends and family who do not know Jesus. Specifically, I pray for (person 1), (person 2), and (person 3), and I ask that You will provide me opportunities to share my faith with them and/or others. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

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