All Access - Day 22 - May 7

Read – Hebrews 13:20-21

Near the end of the book of Hebrews, the author – we don’t know who that is, you’ll recall – offers this amazing benediction. A benediction is an in-conclusion blessing offered at the end of a religious service or at the end of a sacred text.

The author recognizes that God resurrected Jesus and that Christ’s blood has ratified God’s covenant. That covenant is simply this: God has made a way for us to be reconciled with him. Jesus is the mediator between humankind and God. There is no more barrier between us and God. We have all access to the Father.

That access means that we can boldly come to God with what we need. But it also means that God will prepare us for all he desires. Everything you need to accomplish God’s will for your life is at your disposal because of Jesus.

God has uniquely equipped you to live out his will. The Same God who raised Jesus from the dead will equip you to live out his purpose for your life. Now go and live it!

Posted on May 5, 2017 .

All Access - Day 21 - May 6

Read – 1 John 4:7-12

John’s “love” letter reaches a crescendo in these verses.

John writes a variant of the word, “love” fifteen different times in these six verses.

We are called to love one another. But how?

When someone in your small group annoys you, how do you love him?

When you co-worker cheats you out of your commission, how do you love her?

When your parents’ pressure doesn’t ever seem to stop, how do you love them?

When you’re served divorce papers on your anniversary, how do you love your spouse?

The only way you can love like that is Jesus living in you and loving through you. God demonstrates how to love. He sent his Son to show us how to love. God demonstrates his love to others. He sent his Holy Spirit to live in you. “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

The only way I know to love the unlovely people in my life is through Jesus living in me.

Posted on May 5, 2017 .

All Access - Day 20 - May 5

Read – 1 John 4:1-6

If you were reading this for the first time it might seem confusing. Without question, there are false prophets in our world. But this talk of testing “… them to see if they spirit they have comes from God …” the mention of “the Antichrist,” can seem perplexing. When contemporary Christians want to discern if a prophet is genuine, we simply compare his or her words to what Scripture says.

John’s readers couldn’t do that. 

The New Testament – the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and the apostolic letters that we read had not yet been collected into the Bible. That process wouldn’t be complete until the fifth century. That left the early church open to false teaching. One particularly sinister heresy was Gnosticism. Among its philosophies was the belief that all matter was evil and everything spiritual was good. Gnostics taught that Jesus was a spirit being, but that he did not actually have a human body. No virgin birth. No actual death and resurrection. 

John gave the early church a simple test to know if the Gnostics, or any prophet, was from God: whether or not that prophet acknowledged the incarnation of God’s Son into the man, Jesus.

That’s why the declaration we make when we choose to follow Jesus – I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God – is so monumental. It means the Holy Spirit dwells within you and it ties you to the millions of Christ followers who have gone before you.

Posted on May 4, 2017 .