“Get This” for May 27

From Pastor Ken:

I was speaking with a member of our church family yesterday who has walked through some medical challenges within his own family. He commented that when people learn what he and his family have recently gone through, they usually respond with, “wow, I don’t know how you are dealing with this.” He then replied, “I just tell them, ‘IT’S JESUS’.”

I love his story, for this defines the difference between religion and a relationship with Jesus. Not once has religion ever given someone that sweet presence of a loving Heavenly Father when going through an unimaginable crisis. Not once has religion caused the spirit to rest well in the midst of life’s storms. But a relationship with Jesus? Absolutely! There is no other way to walk through life than with Jesus.

This Week’s Quote: “A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” – Martin Luther

I really want you to get this! – Today, don’t fall into the trap of simply practicing religion. Discover afresh and anew the powerful reality of living daily in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” He said this to demonstrate to a very religious crowd a truth that is just as significant today as when Jesus first spoke these words: Jesus is the light of the world because He openly reveals God to us, leads us from the darkness of sin, and provides an opportunity to walk in the light (the truth) of His love. Only through Jesus can we really live. Religion may help someone demonstrate faith, but religion should never be understood as equal to faith. Placing your total trust in a relationship with Jesus is indeed the only definition of Christian faith.

One’s religion is only as good as one’s faith in Jesus Christ. Today, cherish a relationship with Jesus more than the simple practice of religion.

This Sunday, May 27, I will share a message from John, Chapter 8, titled, “Jesus Argues Against the Traps of Religion.” (This Sunday will also offer a moment to pause as we commemorate Memorial Day by thanking God for those who have laid down their lives for the freedom of our nation.)

I look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Five Ways to Honor Your Mother

5 Ways to Honor Your Mother (Radical Love)
John 19:26-27

Honoring Mothers (Jesus’ example)

  1. Otherness
  2. Recognition
  3. Priority
  4. Care
  5. Follow-through

Loving Radically (Our Calling)

  1. Radical love always comes from within a context of otherness.
  2. Radical love always perceives deeper needs and not just a common expression of care.
  3. Radical love never allows larger commitments to cancel your commitment to those closest to you.
  4. Radical love reinforces the bond of a spiritual relationship.
  5. Radical love always seeks to bear the burdens of others.

Questions for Further Discussion:

  1. What sort of sacrifices did your parents make for you?
  2. What to you is the most humiliating situation you can imagine?
  3. To where was Jesus forced to take His own cross? (John 19:17)
  4. What did the soldiers do to Jesus? (John 19:18)
  5. Who was crucified with Jesus? (John 19:18)
  6. What notice did Pilate have fastened to Jesus’ cross? (John 19:19)
  7. How did the chief priests want Pilate to change the sign over Jesus’ head? (John 19:21)
  8. What did Pilate tell the chief priests? (John 19:22)
  9. What happened to Jesus’ clothes? (John 19:23-24)
  10. Why were Jesus’ clothes divided among the soldiers? (John 19:24)
  11. Who stood near the cross of Jesus? (John 19:25)
  12. What did Jesus say to His mother and the disciple with her? (John 19:26-27)
  13. Why do you think Pilate had the notice placed on the cross?
  14. If you had been a member of Jesus’ family or one of His disciples, how do you think you would have reacted to His crucifixion?
  15. How was Jesus humiliated?
  16. What sort of humiliation did Jesus suffer?
  17. What humiliation have you suffered for being a Christian?
  18. How can we sacrifice our wants and desires so that others might benefit?
  19. In what way has God’s family become your family?
  20. To what degree are we responsible for caring for the needs of other believers?
  21. What want or desire can you sacrifice so that someone else might benefit? How?
  22. How can you care for another Christian’s needs this week?

“Get This” for May 13

From Pastor Ken

Jesus’ words, “He who believes in Me, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38), represent a beautiful invitation to lay aside doubt and fear, and to come to Him for forgiveness, cleansing, and renewal…to come to Him for LIFE! Do you trust in Him to the point that His life flows liberally from you. Sometimes, negative emotions, frustrations, and expressions of a sinful heart seem to flow more readily. But, the more that you trust Him and the more that you cling to Him daily, the more His life flows from within you like rivers of water… living water that spiritually satisfies your deepest longings, cares, and needs.

Today, remember why you can trust Him with absolute abandon to your own fears and doubts. Today,remember a very fundamental and inarguable truth: Jesus cares! He truly cares, and desires that you come to Him to lay your cares down. He carried the cross, and He will carry you.

From the truth of John 7, fast forward to John 19, where we encounter the words of Christ from the cross.

I really want you to get this! Jesus spoke from the cross to Mary, His earthly mother, words of care and comfort as He placed her well being into the provisional and protective hands of His beloved disciple, John. There is something significantly moving in the fact that Jesus, in the agony of the cross, with the salvation of the world on His shoulders alone, thought of the need of His mother. (John 19:27) In the midst of the greatest love every shown, Jesus cared for the personal life of His mother.

As I reflect on this scene, the passion Jesus has for one solitary life is overwhelmingly reinforced. (He also demonstrated such a passion with the thief on the cross beside Him). At this crucial moment, Jesus cared for the individual life.

The Cross of Jesus!
What an amazing sacrifice offered to the world! What a personal and passionate expression of love and care for one life!

Today, take a moment to realize that He cares for every detail of your life; He desires that you trust Him with every detail. I realize this is a basic truth of Christian faith, but how easily forgotten this truth becomes as we attempt to solve our own problems and deal with life in our own strength. Trust Him. He cares.

This Sunday, Mother’s Day, (May 13), I will share a message from John 19:26-27 on this radical love of Jesus toward his mother, toward the world, and to you and me. Join us as we discover 5 ways to love radically from the example of Jesus’ love for others, including his own mom.

If Anyone is Thirsty, Come to Me

If Anyone is Thirsty, Come to Me
John 7:1-53
Why do we tend to doubt?

  1. The Disciples – John 7:1-11 – We don’t fully understand the mission of Jesus.
  2. The Crowd – John 7:12-31 – Fear can paralyze us – like the loss of comfort or change.
  3. The Religious Leaders – John 7:32-53 – Our hearts become hardened toward a downward spiral of unbelief.

Questions for Further Study:

  1. In what do people today put their faith?
  2. What ideas tend to cause division among the people you know?
  3. What questions did the people begin asking about Jesus? (John 7:25-26)
  4. Why was it significant that people knew where Jesus was from? (John 7:27)
  5. What did Jesus cry out in the temple court? (John 7:28-29)
  6. What did the people try to do? (John 7:30)
  7. Why were the people unsuccessful in trying to seize Jesus? (John 7:30)
  8. What reason did some of the people give for putting their faith in Jesus? (John 7:31)
  9. What did the Pharisees do when they heard the crowd talking about Jesus? (John 7:32)
  10. How long did Jesus say He would be with His audience? (John 7:33)
  11. What did Jesus say the people would be unable to do? (John 7:34)
  12. How did the Jews respond to what Jesus said? (John 7:35-36)
  13. What invitation did Jesus offer on the last day of the Feast? (John 7:37)
  14. What result did Jesus promise for those who believed in Him? (John 7:38)
  15. Why hadn’t the Spirit been given yet? (John 7:39)
  16. What conclusions did the people come to about Jesus? (John 7:40-41)
  17. Why did the people get confused over Jesus’ identity? (John 7:41-42)
  18. What effect did Jesus have on these people? (John 7:43)
  19. What did some of the people want to do? (John 7:44)
  20. What has the world as a whole concluded about Jesus?
  21. What can you tell about a person from his or her hometown?
  22. How has your background shaped you into the person you are today?
  23. When do you feel most refreshed in your relationship with Christ?
  24. How has Jesus caused division among groups of people with whom you are associated?
  25. How has Jesus satisfied your thirsts and longings in life?
  26. In what way do we attempt to satisfy our thirsts and longings in life outside of Christ?
  27. What specific thirst or longing do you need to trust Christ to satisfy this week?
  28. How can you refresh your relationship with God today?

“Get This” for May 6

From Pastor Ken…

Have you ever considered that we look for satisfaction in other places than in a relationship with Jesus because we really don’t know Him as we should?

A Moment in the Life of Jesus

After the feeding of the 5,000, the crowd continued to look for a convenient blessing of physical bread. Jesus redirected their superficial desires by teaching that He himself is the “bread of life” that alone satisfies man’s soul (John 6). Jesus then revealed Himself even more personally during a popular Jewish festival (the Feast of the tabernacles). On the last day of this event, after the priest had given a visual reminder of when God provided water for Israel during the wilderness years, Jesus cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). Wow! At the very moment when Israel was looking back to when God provided physical needs, Jesus invited everyone to have a deeper need satisfied: the need of the human heart.

I really want you to get this!

Jesus gave this invitation to an audience comprised primarily of those who doubted Him (the Jewish Leaders, the crowd at large, and even the disciples). To overcome the doubt that constantly swirled around Him, Jesus simply gave an invitation to believe that He alone can satisfy the deepest longing of the heart. In fact, Jesus actually promised that through faith in Him, life will be as rivers of living water flowing from within (John 7:38). Now,that’s a full life.

JESUS WANTS TO MOVE YOU FROM A LIFE OF DOUBT TO A HEART THAT TRULY OVERFLOWS WITH LIFE!

But, maybe you feel anything but rivers of life coming from within. Maybe bitterness, discouragement, regret, or fear seems to flow more readily. If so, remember the invitation of Jesus: come and drink, which means, come and receive by faith Jesus’ love and forgiveness that alone can satisfy your soul.

  • Jesus gives you this invitation today. Isn’t it time you RSVP?
  • What doubts swirl about your mind and heart today?
  • Do these doubts keep you from desperately thirsting for Jesus?

I will be preaching a message this Sunday, May 6 on why we doubt and why we shouldn’t (from John 7). Please join us!


Do you want to receive “Get This” directly to your inbox? Use our online contact form and let Ken know.

I am the Bread of Life

Knowing Jesus, Knowing Real Life:
I am the Bread of Life.
John 6:26-71

  1. Three Life-problems Jesus Exposed (John 6:26-34)
    1. A superficial commitment (John 6:26) What’s in it for me?
    2. An ignorance of the spiritual (John 6:27-29) A love for the material where faith is devalued.
    3. An attitude of entitlement (John 6:30-34) Wow me or else I’m out of here.
  2. Three Reasons Jesus Referred to Himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:35-59)
    1. Jesus is Essential (John 6:35-40) Both are essential for life.
    2. Jesus fulfills the “I Am.” (John 6:41-51) “Flesh” here means “flesh,” not “soma” (body).
    3. Jesus Satisfies (John 6:52-59) Living bread will provide lasting satisfaction.
  3. Three Ways This Truth Affects My Life (John 6:60-71)
    1. A challenge to our basic knowledge of Jesus and our idea of following Him (John 6:60-61) The gospel is offensive, scandalon.
    2. An openness to the spiritual work of God through Christ in our lives (John 6:62-65)
    3. The resolve the Jesus is the absolute and only answer for my life (John 6:68-71)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What kind of bread do you like most?
  2. How do people attempt to satisfy their need to feel secure and significant in life?
  3. What needs do you spend the majority of your time trying to satisfy?
  4. Why did the crowd seek Jesus? (John 6:26)
  5. What did Jesus say the Son of Man would give to these people? (John 6:27)
  6. What did Jesus say was the work of God? (John 6:28-29)
  7. What did the crowd ask Jesus to do? (John 6:30-31)
  8. Who did Jesus say was the true bread of life? (John 6:32-33)
  9. What did Jesus say would be the result of coming to Him? (John 6:35)
  10. What did Jesus say He would never do to those who came to Him? (John 6:37)
  11. Why did Jesus come down from heaven? (John 6:38)
  12. What did Jesus say is the Father’s will? (John 6:39-40)
  13. Why did the Jews begin to grumble? (John 6:41-42)
  14. Who did Jesus say could come to Him? (John 6:43-44)
  15. What did Jesus say would be the result of believing? (John 6:47)
  16. What contrast does Jesus make between manna and the bread of life? (John 6:48-51, 58)
  17. What did Jesus say about His flesh and His blood? (John 6:53-57)
  18. What things do we seek from Jesus?
  19. In what ways do you have a demanding attitude toward God?
  20. When and why did you come to Jesus?
  21. In what way has Jesus satisfied your hunger and thirst for acceptance and meaning in life?
  22. In what ways do you still feel empty?
  23. What situations cause you to feel insecure?
  24. When do you feel secure in your relationship with God? Why?
  25. How has the Christian life turned out to be different from what you expected?
  26. In what way is Jesus an example for us to follow?
  27. What can you do today to rely on God, rather than on things or people, to satisfy your needs?
  28. What demanding attitudes do you need to ask God to help you change?

The Miracle and Me

The Miracle and “Me”
John 6:1-25
5 Ways Jesus Impacted His Disciples
in the Feeding of the 5,000
and Walking on Water.

  1. He centered their focus on the spiritual impact of the moment. (John 6:1-4)
    1. The reason people were following Jesus. (John 6:2)
    2. The how – Jesus sat and taught his disciples. (John 6:3)
  2. He built their faith. (John 6:6-9)
    1. The why – Jesus was going to test them. (John 6:6)
    2. Jesus’ question showed how differently people can think about life.
      1. Managerial.
      2. Missional.
  3. He involved them personally in His work. (John 6:10-13)
    1. The disciples are involved. (John 6:10)
    2. The Father is involved. (John 6:11a)
    3. The Savior is involved. (John 6:11b)
  4. He proved His presence with them in the storm. (John 6:14-18)
  5. He settled their fears. (John 6:19-21)
    1. Storms = struggles
      1. Soul care (John 6:20) – his care for us, our care for others.
      2. Jesus stands above that which brings us fear. (John 6:19)
    2. They were WILLING to let Jesus in the boat? (John 6:21)
    3. How often are people unwilling to let Jesus into their lives?

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What is the most difficult situation in which you have ever found yourself?
  2. In what exciting events have you recently participated? What made them exciting?
  3. Where did Jesus go? (John 6:1)
  4. Why did the crowd of people follow Jesus? (John 6:2)
  5. Where did Jesus and His disciples go? (John 6:3)
  6. What Jewish feast was near? (John 6:4)
  7. What question did Jesus ask Philip? (John 6:5)
  8. Why did Jesus ask Philip a question? (John 6:6)
  9. How did Philip respond to Jesus’ question? (John 6:7)
  10. Who was Andrew? (John 6:8)
  11. What role did Andrew play in feeding the five thousand? (John 6:8-9)
  12. What solution did Andrew propose to Jesus’ question? (John 6:8-9)
  13. What miracle did Jesus perform? (John 6:10-11)
  14. How much bread was left over? (John 6:12-13)
  15. How did the crowd of people respond to Jesus’ miracle? (John 6:14)
  16. What did the crowd of people intend to do? (John 6:15)
  17. What was Jesus’ reaction to the crowd’s intention? (John 6:15)
  18. For what reasons do people follow Jesus today?
  19. What makes you want to follow Jesus?
  20. What is your typical reaction to situations that seem to present no readily available solution?
  21. With what situations in life do you have a difficult time trusting God?
  22. What does God provide for us on a daily basis?
  23. In what ways do people attempt to use Jesus or His name inappropriately?
  24. What misconceptions have you had about Jesus or His role in your life?
  25. How and when has God miraculously provided for your needs?
  26. How can we trust God with our needs?
  27. What things do you need to thank God for providing?
  28. What tough situation do you need to trust God to work out in your life this week?

Proven by Jesus

PROVEN BY JESUS
What is the Real Truth of Christianity?
John 5:18-47 reveals two responses to the volatile attacks against the truth of Jesus.

  1. The First Response: the Self-Disclosure of Christ (John 5:18-30)
    1. Jesus: the fulfillment of God’s Word, Work, and Will (John 5:19)
    2. Jesus: God’s Only Son (John 5:20)
    3. Jesus: the Only Source of Life (John 5:21)
    4. Jesus: the Highest Place of Honor (John 5:22-23)
    5. Jesus: God’s truth and the Object of Our faith (John 5:24)
    6. Jesus: Relevance for every life (John 5:25-27)
    7. Jesus: The One Who Holds Eternal Life (John 5:28-30)
  2. The Second Response: The Testimonies of Heaven and History (5:31-47)
    1. God testifies (John 5:32, 37).
    2. John the Baptist Testifies (John 5:33-35).
    3. The Works of Christ Testify (John 5:36).
    4. The Scriptures Testify (John 5:38-40).

Questions for Further Study:

  1. What different groups of people have suffered persecution throughout history?
  2. What are some of the positive aspects of your relationship with your parents?
  3. Why did the Jews persecute Jesus? (John 5:16)
  4. Whose work did Jesus do? (John 5:17)
  5. Why did certain Jews want to kill Jesus? (John 5:18)
  6. What did Jesus say that the Son could do? (John 5:19)
  7. What did Jesus tell the Jews that He would show them? (John 5:20)
  8. What did Jesus say He was able to do? (John 5:21)
  9. To whom did God entrust all judgment? (John 5:22)
  10. Why did God entrust judgment to Christ? (John 5:23)
  11. How did Jesus say a person can gain eternal life? (John 5:24)
  12. What time did Jesus say had already come? (John 5:25)
  13. What did Jesus say the Father has in Himself that He has granted to the Son? (John 5:26)
  14. What time did Jesus say was coming? (John 5:28-29)
  15. Whom did Jesus say He desires to please? (John 5:30)
  16. In what way does the world persecute Christians today?
  17. How have you been persecuted as a believer?
  18. When have you experienced pressure not to practice or share your faith in Christ?
  19. Why does the world persecute Christians?
  20. How can we honor the Son and the Father with our lives?
  21. How can we know for sure that we have eternal life?
  22. Why should we feel secure in our relationship with God?
  23. How should we prepare ourselves for Jesus’ judgment?
  24. In what way are we like Jesus with respect to our relationship with God the Father?
  25. In what way is Jesus an example for us to follow?
  26. What steps can you take this week to enjoy more fully your relationship with your Heavenly Father?
  27. What can you do today to bring honor to God?
  28. How will you allow Jesus’ example in this passage of Scripture to influence your life this week?

Dangerous Substitutes for the Real Truth

Dangerous Substitutes for the Real Truth…
(and how Jesus corrected each)
John 5:1-17

  1. Substitute #1: culture.
    1. Three false conclusions: the lame man’s culture said,
      1. this is as good as it gets
      2. there is nothing you can do
      3. this is your normal. (John 5:5)
    2. One powerful truth: Jesus said, do you want to get well? (John 5:6)
  2. Substitute #2: limitations.
    1. Limitations bring helplessness and hopelessness. (John 5:7)
    2. Jesus brings restoration to your lost years. (John 5:8)
    3. Your mat: you carry IT, no longer let it carry YOU.
  3. Substitute #3: legalism.
    1. Jesus restores and frees: walk by My restoration in your life. (John 5:8-9)
    2. Legalism confines and restricts: walk by our rules. (John 5:10)
  4. Substitute #4: the status quo.
    1. The status quo always seeks a human standard of blessing.
      1. Don’t walk around like everyone else.
      2. Don’t sin any more; new life is now yours.
    2. Jesus always offers an eternal blessing. (John 5:14, 17)

Questions for Further Study:

  1. Why might someone prefer rules and regulations to freedom?
  2. In what way are relationships more important than rules and regulations?
  3. For what event did Jesus go to Jerusalem? (John 5:1)
  4. Who came to the pool near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem? (John 5:2-3)
  5. How long had the one invalid man been at the pool? (John 5:5)
  6. What did Jesus ask the invalid man? (John 5:6)
  7. How did the invalid man respond to Jesus’ question? (John 5:7)
  8. What did Jesus command the invalid man to do? (John 5:8)
  9. What happened to the invalid man after Jesus spoke to him? (John 5:9)
  10. On what day of the week did this miracle take place? (John 5:9)
  11. What did the Jews say to the healed man? Why? (John 5:10)
  12. How did the healed man respond to the Jews’ question? (John 5:11)
  13. What did the Jews ask the healed man? (John 5:12)
  14. Why didn’t the man know who healed him? (John 5:13)
  15. What did Jesus tell the man he had healed on their second encounter? (John 5:14)
  16. What did the healed man do after he spoke with Jesus a second time? (John 5:15)
  17. In what way do you think life is unfair?
  18. When have you felt as if life has dealt you a bad hand?
  19. When have you felt that God was waiting too long to do something you’d trusted Him to do?
  20. When do we tend to get impatient with God’s timing in our lives?
  21. On what in life, other than God, do we sometimes depend?
  22. Why do we attempt to take matters into our own hands, rather than trust God to work them out?
  23. When has someone tried to squelch your freedom in Christ with religious rules or regulations?
  24. Why do some people care more about keeping certain “religious” rules than they do about developing a meaningful relationship with Jesus?
  25. What rules tend to interfere with your enjoyment of your relationship with Christ?
  26. In what way has Jesus made you well?
  27. What is something you need to trust God with today?
  28. Who is someone you can encourage to enjoy his or her relationship with Christ this week?
  29. What “religious” rule that hinders your relationship with Christ will you make secondary to that relationship this week?