The Gospel According To Judges

Welcome back to our ongoing series about the gospel of each book of the Bible. Our premise is a simple one—what if there was only one book from the Holy Bible, as our sole source of divine Scriptures? What would this one book teach us? What Gospel would we find there?

In this way, we not only find out that all the books in the Bible are useful for edifying and equipping, but we also see the consistent story that is found throughout all Scripture. We see that the Bible is a coherent story of God’s love for us, throughout the different eras, different authors, and different genres of writings.

The book of Judges is a truly unique book. There is no main character. Previous books have focused on Moses or Joshua, but not this time. This is almost an anthology, a grabbing together of historical stories after Moses and Joshua, and before the days of kings in Israel.

Such a book gives us a unique look at Israel’s history. And as we do in this series, looking at this book as if it was alone paints a very interesting, but familiar, picture. It is a picture worth looking at and learning from.

The Gospel According to Judges points out three things that we need to remember. Three things that we see here and ultimately in Jesus. Continue reading “The Gospel According To Judges”

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I DARE YOU: To Care

Welcome back to our ongoing series, I DARE YOU. This is our look at the unique parables of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels found in the New Testament. Once a week, we will examine one of Christ’s stories and let his challenge to his first-century audience speak to us now and provoke us to live in the Kingdom of God better, more fully, more wholeheartedly. We see these parables as dares to step outside of the norm of the world and enter into what God has for us. We hope that you will be likewise challenged and that you will take the dare to live a more Christlike, Kingdom of God-focused life.

They are timeless. They are not restricted to a geographical location. They always pack a punch. They always demand a response.

These are the things that I keep finding as I examine the parables of Jesus. There is not getting around these 4 things, no matter how popular or unpopular a parable may be. Even the small one that are only a few verses as we’ve already seen.

While we may have heard the parable before, the challenge Jesus makes is just as fresh as ever. And it demands that you and I respond. Now. Continue reading “I DARE YOU: To Care”

I DARE YOU: Don’t Doubt It Because It’s Small

Welcome back to our ongoing series, I DARE YOU. This is our look at the unique parables of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels found in the New Testament. Once a week, we will examine one of Christ’s stories and let his challenge to his first-century audience speak to us now and provoke us to live in the Kingdom of God better, more fully, more wholeheartedly. We see these parables as dares to step outside of the norm of the world and enter into what God has for us. We hope that you will be likewise challenged and that you will take the dare to live a more Christlike, Kingdom of God-focused life.

“Again he said, What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”” – Mark 4:30-32

It’s a simple parable. With the imagery of a mustard seed being very popular in Christian culture this may be one of those parables that we skip over because “we know it”. We have heard it enough times that we don’t need to rehash these two verses. But that would be a mistake.

In these two verses, Jesus offers a valuable encouragement to all Christians; to missionaries, to evangelists, to pastors and teachers, to anyone that has every shared their faith in Christ in one way or another. And in a world that is routinely beating us down, diminishing our work, mocking our efforts, this may be a most timely message.

And a dare that will give you strength to keep going. Continue reading “I DARE YOU: Don’t Doubt It Because It’s Small”

I DARE YOU: Don’t Do It! (The Parable of the Seed)

Welcome back to our ongoing series, I DARE YOU. This is our look at the unique parables of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels found in the New Testament. Once a week, we will examine one of Christ’s stories and let his challenge to his first-century audience speak to us now and provoke us to live in the Kingdom of God better, more fully, more wholeheartedly. We see these parables as dares to step outside of the norm of the world and enter into what God has for us. We hope that you will be likewise challenged and that you will take the dare to live a more Christlike, Kingdom of God-focused life.

It’s a short parable, one most of us may not be unaware of. But within a few verses, there is a grand challenge. A dare that the original disciples faced, and one that we must face today and respond to now.

So, let’s get right into it!

He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.””Mark 4:26-29

Continue reading “I DARE YOU: Don’t Do It! (The Parable of the Seed)”

I DARE YOU: Count It Again. And Again. (The Parable of the Tower and War)

Welcome back to our ongoing series, I DARE YOU. This is our look at the unique parables of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels found in the New Testament. Once a week, we will examine one of Christ’s stories and let his challenge to his first century audience speak to us now and provoke us to live in the Kingdom of God better, more fully, more whole heartedly. We see these parables as dares to step outside of the norm of the world and enter into what God has for us. We hope that you will be likewise challenged and that you will take the dare to live a more Christlike, Kingdom of God focused life.

I was dealing with a customer, telling him the prices of certain mechanical services that he may want to have preformed on his truck. It was an expensive truck, and the gentleman seemed eager to take care it, to make it last.

He asked about two particular items, and I responded, “That one is $129.99 and the other is $199.99.”

This guy couldn’t say ‘no’ fast enough. And I understand that. That is a lot of money to throw down all at once. Not just on vehicle maintance, but on anything. Not everyone has that kind of money just laying around or hiding in a bank account.

But it struck me as strange that a man would spend over $90,000 on a brand new pickup truck (trucks are ridiculously expensive in Alberta), but didn’t consider what it would cost to keep that same truck on the road. To him, this figures were outrageous. He won’t be doing those mechanical services anytime soon.

He may have counted the cost once. But he should have kept counting.

Jesus called Christians to count. And not just the once. He dares us to do much more.

Continue reading “I DARE YOU: Count It Again. And Again. (The Parable of the Tower and War)”

I DARE YOU: The Answer To “What Does God Want Me To Do?”(The Parable of the Talents)

Welcome back to our ongoing series, I DARE YOU. This is our look at the unique parables of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels found in the New Testament. Once a week, we will examine one of Christ’s stories and let his challenge to his first century audience speak to us now and provoke us to live in the Kingdom of God better, more fully, more whole heartedly. We see these parables as dares to step outside of the norm of the world and enter into what God has for us. We hope that you will be likewise challenged and that you will take the dare to live a more Christlike, Kingdom of God focused life.

It is one of the more famous parables that Jesus shared. Not because it has any real Gospel message-ness about it that Christians could use it as an evangelistic tool. Rather it is a famous parable because it can be utilized for children.

But are we missing something by making this just a parable for kids? Are there truths, even simple truths, in this parable that we need to be reminded of? Even as adults? There is.

An answer to “What does God want me to do?” lies within the parable of the talents.

Continue reading “I DARE YOU: The Answer To “What Does God Want Me To Do?”(The Parable of the Talents)”

I DARE YOU: Grab A Microscope (The Parable of the Sower)

Welcome back to our ongoing series, I DARE YOU. This is our look at the unique parables of Jesus Christ from the four Gospels found in the New Testament. Once a week, we will examine one of Christ’s stories and let his challenge to his first century audience speak to us now and provoke us to live in the Kingdom of God better, more fully, more whole heartedly. We see these parables as dares to step outside of the norm of the world and enter into what God has for us. We hope that you will be likewise challenged and that you will take the dare to live a more Christlike, Kingdom of God focused life.

This is a very unique parable. For starters, this parable is recorded in 3 out of 4 Gospels. We’re looking at the parable as recorded in Matthew, but Mark and Luke both record the exact same thing. And not just the parable itself, but they also include the other thing that makes this parable unique.

This is one of the few parables that Jesus actually explains. The verses that follow in Matthew share Jesus’ walk-thru the entire parable with his disciples. Jesus explains what the seeds are represtative of, and what the soil is as well (We’ll talk about that more in a minute).

With Jesus clear explaination, it would be hard to find anything else in this parable, right? How do you say “there is more here” when Jesus kind of nails down what it is about?

Hard? Maybe. But not impossible. There is a deep, personal challenge that Jesus has for us within this parable. Something that will shake the very ground you stand on. Continue reading “I DARE YOU: Grab A Microscope (The Parable of the Sower)”