Chronicles of Classic Christianity Conferences

BC explains the Lord’s Supper

This is another area I never tire of hearing. Unfortunately, I was so enthralled with the message, I forgot to take new pictures–well, a couple, but not as much as I would have liked.

You see, this part wasn’t part of the manual, but it is a part of every child of God’s privileges to be able to partake in. Think for a moment what the communion is where you participate at. What happens? What do you do? What instructions are you given?

I grew up in several different denominations, and as I’ve said before, I stopped taking during my teenage years, for fear of drinking damnation to my soul. I refused, refused REFUSED to go to hell over a glass of welches. I knew that was ludicrous, but, just in case, I wasn’t taking any chances.

This Lord’s Supper is surprisingly different. To think, sitting in a room with several strangers, but knowing we were one in Christ. There’s just something intense about that. We didn’t know each other before then, might not ever see each other again, but one thing we knew: We belonged to Christ, therefore we belonged to each other.

The bread was past out first. This represented the body of Christ which was broken for every human being on the planet–yep, that includes you. We each pinched off a piece of the bread (all off the same loaf) and ate it immediately. This represented the fact that each one of us came to accept Jesus at different times, that it was personal. My story isn’t your story, although the two may have similarities. As the bread was passed around, we told each other, “We belong to Christ, we belong to each other”.  Precious.

BC breaking the bread.

Next, the glass of grape juice was passed out. With the grape juice, we all waited until everyone got their cup. This represented the New Covenant that Jesus ushered in. He did this at a specific time–on the cross. He did this once and for all; for all mankind–back to Adam forward to the last person born. He did it all. It was finished. Together, we drank of the New Covenant, representing our acceptance of His gift to us. As we passed this around, we told each other, “I love you, God loves you”

There was no dimming of the lights, no pausing a minute to confess our sins, and forgive each other so we don’t drink ourselves into damnation, no morbid music playing. Actually, quite the contrary, bright lights, soothing piano music, and if I’m not mistaken, a few bits of laughter as the bread and grape juice were being passed around. Oh yeah. Definitely did this in remembrance of Jesus and what He’s done for each and every one of us.

I encourage you–the next time you partake of the Lord’s Supper in your local church, or at a family gathering… however you do it, pause and give a word of thanks to Jesus, and for Jesus, as well as for the entire body of Christ that He’s placed you in. It truly is a family reunion of the Body!

Love. That’s the name of this session, and quite frankly, covered a topic I never tire of hearing about. You see, love isn’t always the warm fuzzy feeling we associate with at Valentine’s Day. Granted, that could be a by-product, but agape love is solid. Agape love loves, even when the object of said love is unloveable.

When we come to Christ by faith, the love that God has for us resides within. We were reminded that God initiated this love for us in I John 4.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son as the propitiation for our sins-I John 4:10

We love because He first loved us–I John 4:19

God loves me? All the time? Even that time that I lost my cool with my kids? Yeah. Even that time when I ranted and raged over the fact that traffic was a snail’s pace? Yup. Every time I show my hind end, the thought comes over me of God’s love. Then I’m washed in awe and humility, when I realized that in spite of me just acting like a nincompoop, God still loves me. Have you ever realized that?

Now, granted, just because God loves us even when we’re nincompoops, doesn’t mean we should remain in our nincaompoopness.  No, we learn to walk in the Spirit, as to not gratify the desires of the flesh. The Holy Spirit that loves me, that lives in me, is working His will in me. His will is the will of love. He never leaves me alone, He never stops working in me (or any of His kids). We learn on a daily basis as struggles arise, to be led in the Spirit, and not gratify the flesh. It’s not an overnight process, for sure.

A neat thing that registered with me during this particular sessions was the forgiveness Jesus asked God to give. In a couple of different conversations, here’s what Jesus said:

19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself;he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.  John 5:19-20

The context was Jesus healing a blind guy, and the Pharisees were livid–he healed someone–on the SABBATH?!? (Nice to know they had their priorities straight–humph!) Jesus had told them that His father was always working, therefore he was always working. Pharisees didn’t take too kindly of Jesus equating Himself with God. Yet, Jesus is God. Oh wait–that’s another topic.. sorry!

Then, another verse:

49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” John 12:49-50.

So, if Jesus only spoke what God told Him to speak, does it make sense, then, when Jesus cried out, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do!” that God told Him to say that? Why would God tell Jesus to say something, if the answer was no? That just sort of solidified His love for me a little bit more deeper.

I’m forgiven (So are you)

I’m loved by God (so are you)

Another point that was brought out, was who or what are we going to be controlled by?

Will we allow ourselves to be controlled by our addictions? Our need to be popular? Whatever it takes to be part of the ‘in crowd’?

Or will we be controlled by the love of God? What does love look like? Patient, kind, not envying not boasting, not proud, not rude, not self-seeing, not easily angered, no keeping records. Well, pretty much love is “not” most of the things I do when I get made. Love is, on the other hand, patient, kind, long suffering, forgiving, all those things that God demonstrates towards us.

God’s love is made complete in us. If God loves us, then we should love one another. Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and the love is made complete… a complete circle, if you will. God loves; and lives in us. Therefore we love each other.

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.

Oh yeah. I rely on the love God has for me. Honestly? It’s when I’m at my worst, acting like the biggest jerk ever, that in the back of my mind, I’m crying out for help, can’t seem to wrestle my flesh into behaving, and knowing God’s going to come get me out of it. So, in the midst of me acting out, I know God can be trusted to turn me around, when I can’t seem to turn myself around. He has never, ever, EVER failed me, nor left me. All the more proof that I can trust His promise to never leave me nor forsake me.

Thank You, Lord, for your love for me!

BE A VOICE!

So, session 6, Be a Voice! Just reading the title made me squirm in my seat. Why? Glad you asked. I just don’t like talking audibly in a crowd, and half the time, not even one on one. Not about hot topics. When someone starts talking with someone of the opposite viewpoints concerning religion or politics, it’s been my experience that neither side listens. Have you experienced that? Whether it’s concerning a political candidate, or religious doctrine… if you’re speaking to someone of the opposing view–good or bad, is either side really listening?

I think, after sitting here thinking about it, I might have missed the point. For a while now, I enjoyed hiding behind this verse:

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,–I Peter 3:15

Notice it says be prepared for when folks ask you about your hope, not go seek them out and run them up a flagpole and demand that they listen to our presentation of the gospel. To be honest, I’d had enough of that in school,  when I attended different churches that would give a challenge each week: If you witnessed to 3 people last week, try witnessing to 6 this upcoming week! No matter how many we witnessed to, it was never enough. Sadly, I confess, I was one of those people that would run classmates up a flag pole trying to ‘witness’ to them. If you’re reading this, and you went to school with me, I truly apologize for any flagpole you might’ve gotten caught on!

For my classmates!

 

Wait! I have to witness to you!!

Here’s another verse out of I Peter that was covered in the session. It stands to reason that I really should read I Peter in context. I can still hear Richard’s remark ringing in my ears when reading scripture. It’s all about “Context, context, context!” In fact I can’t even read scripture without that mantra ringing in my ears.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession,that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.–I Peter 2:9-10

Here are a few other scriptures that were shared throughout the meeting.

I. Our Mandate.

A. We are ministers of a New Covenant.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant —not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory,transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! II Corinthians 3:6-11

B. We are Ministers of Reconciliation

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. II Corinthians 5: 17-19

–A side note–these two verses NEVER cease to bring a smile to my lips! Have you read these? I know I have read the book of Corinthians, both I and II over and over again. How I missed these two sections is beyond me. You did get that, right? Sure, we’ve read the old has gone and new is here, but look at the later part: God is NOT counting our sins against us! Which people? All people–yes, that means all the horrific serial killers or other such criminals that we’d just as soon lock ’em up and throw away the key–God has even forgiven THEIR sins. Wait… hold on… before you explode, hang on–just because God has forgiven each and every one of us, doesn’t mean that each and every one of us are in Christ. Christ came to give us Eternal Life, but before He did that, He had to take care of what eternally killed us–our sin. That’s why we all have an opportunity to come and accept, not only forgiveness but eternal  life in Christ. So, yes, God forgave the horrific criminals (and us) but, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they accepted Christ, which is where the Eternal Life and forgiveness is. Have you accepted Christ? Not your church’s teaching, but Christ Himself? Not your grandparents’ faith, but Christ Himself? As well as the church doctrine, grandparents’ beliefs may be, you have to come to Christ yourself, all by yourself. Get to know Him. You’ll be glad you did!

And…. there I go. Off task again. Where was I? Oh yeah… the verses shared.

Here’s a verse that always sounded like a “have to” verse to me. Whatever happened to being free in Christ? I don’t WANT to talk! I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna!

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15

Every time I hear a sermon on this, I feel guilted to preaching to everything that moves, and a few things that don’t move.  Surely I’m not the only one that feels this way. Anybody else out there? Let us hear from you please!

Then, closing with my favorite verse:

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,–I Peter 3:15

So, in conclusion, the tie up was to simply be available. There’s a lot of legalism to work out of my mindset, as I’m realizing while writing this post. The folks that put on this conference are all about the New Covenant. All about being free in Christ, and all about Grace NOT being a license to sin. So what about all of these “have to” verses? Context, context, context!

Be prepared to give an answer. Be prepared to be available. Be prepared to be a voice!

Be a Voice!

“Men of Issachar  understood the times”.

GP in his workshop

This was the heading of the last workshop I attended. Apologies, I was late for this one, so I missed the beginnings of it. However, looking through the hand outs later on, I was curious as to who these Men of Issachar were. Come to find out, they’re mentioned in I Chronicles 12:32. Warriors were joining King David left and right.  Here’s the verse in its entirety:

32 from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do —200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;

 Also, a few verses later:
38 All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king. 39 The men spent three days there with David, eating and drinking, for their families had supplied provisions for them. 40 Also, their neighbors from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun and Naphtali came bringing food on donkeys, camels, mules and oxen. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, raisin cakes, wine, olive oil, cattle and sheep, for there was joy in Israel.
Folks had come together for one purpose: To make David King of Israel. There were warriors, there were the smart guys (from Issachar) and there were friends and family that supplied food and drink for them.
So what’s our purpose? To get the Good News out to everyone. For something to be good news, it’s got to be as true in New Guinea, as it is in New York. The fact that all of our sins are forgiven, no matter who you are, is good news. The fact that God loves us, in spite of our behavior, is good news. To know that salvation is available to anyone who wants it, regardless of behavior or social status, is good news. This is true in both New Guinea and in New York.
Let’s face it. Social media, digital communication is here to stay. Why not utilize it?  There are so many platforms that can be utilized, the choices are almost mind boggling. Here are a few things that People to People Ministries have in the works. Visit and see what you think:
  1. Realanswers.net
  2. store.ReaAlnswers.net
  3. Metrobiblefellowship.org
  4. FirstLifeThenChange.com
  5. RealAnswersRadio.wordpress.com
  6. BobGeorge.net
  7. ClassicChristianity.com
  8. GoodbyeisNotForever.com
  9. Metrobiblefellowship.tv (Only on Sunday mornings 10:15 AM CST)

But that’s not all! Of course, there’s email, but with the availability of podcasting, they’re able to stream their 30 minute radio broadcast through the internet waves each weekday at 3:30 PM CST. Then, on Sunday mornings, they video stream their church services at Metrobiblefellowship.TV

VF keeping an eye on things…

 

Then, you have the social media platforms–facebook, twitter, google+, and YouTube.

So what about you? Have you ever thought about expressing yourself through written format? Penning your personal testimony of how you came to trust Christ and accept His offer of life? Several free platforms. A few that come to mind are WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and Typepad are just a few. These blogs of mine are on WordPress. So, if you like it, and want to share the Good News… sign up! 🙂

There’s also video sharing. A few that come to mind, naturally #1 is YouTube, but there are others, if you would just like to talk, and let whoever listens, listen. There’s also uStream. Live stream the good news and allow visitors to chat while they watch. You can share the Good News with Skype, Face Time, ooVoo to name a few. Know some house bound friends? Long distance relatives? Get together on a video/IM platform and have a Bible Study.

Yes, the ideas for sharing the Good News via digital media are practically endless.

If you have any ideas that aren’t mentioned here… please share!

Who are you?  Simple enough question. By now, most of us knew the answer: “I’m a child of God”. But there’s so much more wrapped up in that specific identity. Because of us being children of God…God has granted us so many other things… it’s humbly mind boggling, if you ask me.

Here’s a recap of what we’ve studied:

1. Who are you?

  • You are a Child of God. (John 1:12)
  • You are a Joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17 & Ephesians 1:3)
  • You are a New Creation (I Corinthians 5:17)
  • Christ is in you (this always humbled me–Christ LIVES in us–not just visiting, but actually taking up residence in us, in spite of us!) (Galatians 4:6, Romans 8:9, Colossians 1:27)
  • You are in Christ (I Corinthians 1:30)
  • You are part of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-14; Romans 12:4&5;)
  • You are No Longer Under the Law (oh yeah, them’s fighting words to some!) (Galatians 3:24-25)

2. What did Christ Do?

  • Christ Fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17-18; Romans 10:4)
  • Christ Redeemed us from the Law (Galatians 3:13-14; Galatians 4:4&5)
  • The Law Has Been Fulfilled in You (Romans 8:3-4)

3. So Given This, How Should We Live?

  • We are to be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18)
  • To Be Led By the Spirit means that We have Died to the Law (Galatians 2:19; Romans 7:1-7)

4. We should Also Recognize the purpose of the Law

  • The Law is For the Lost (Romans 3:19-20)
  • The Law Shows Man His Need for Salvation (Galatians 3:19-24)
  • The Law’s Standard is Perfection (James 2:10; Matthew 5:48)
  • The Law Applies to the Heart (Matthew 5:21-22)
  • The Law Stirs up Sin (I Corinthians 15:56; Romans 6:14;  Romans 7: 5, 8, & 10)

5. Therefore, What do We Conclude?

  • Offer Yourself to God (Romans 12:1-2; Romans 6:13)
  • Trust God’s Spirit to Teach you to Say “NO” to Sin (Titus 2:11-14; Galatians 5:16)
  • Stand Firm in Your Freedom as a Child of God (Galatians 5:1; Romans 8:15-16)

There was a lot to take in during this session. It was mainly the difference between Law & Grace, which is a stumbling block to many well meaning Christians. We start out with good intentions, then, because we’re not conscious of the difference, or purpose, between the Old Covenant and New, we try to live by all of it. We try to keep the ten, we try to give “a cup of water in His name”, and everything in between. Folks, it can’t be done. Jesus died for our sins, but also to usher in the New Covenant–the book of Hebrews is all about how a will, or a testament goes into effect AFTER the one who made it dies.

I think many people get worried that to say we’re not under the Law, is saying that we’re free to sin up a storm; that our actions no longer matter. This could not be further from the truth. What does grace do? It teaches us to say NO to ungodliness. So, if Grace were a license to sin, why would it be teaching us to say no TO the sin? Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t to me. Notice Grace is really a who, not a what. The Holy Spirit, living inside of us, is constantly working, living, doing His good will and purpose, and we reap the benefits.

As a child, I accepted Christ for my Savior, but really had not a clue as to what all that entailed. I just figured that I’d gotten my ticket to heaven, Jesus would swoop in and help me every now and again when I got in a jam, but other than that, I was on my own. Make sure I obeyed the Ten Commandments, made sure I never got mad (Yeah rite LOL!), and all those other things. It was never made plain to me, that when I accepted Him by faith, He MOVED IN!! He didn’t just stop by to visit whenever I got into a jam… He’s HERE! NOW! As I’m writing this!! Is that not just the most exciting thing? In spite of my sour attitude, in spite of my temper tantrums, in spite of just me period; He’s living in me, because He wants to. Thank You, Lord, for Your patience with me. Thank you that You’re not finished with me yet.

Thank You Lord, for Loving Me!

Now this was a workshop right up my alley. As a 4th grade teacher, it’s become a job hazard of always looking for things to help teach, or in this case,  share the gospel. Some of these resources I already have, and some suggestions that were given made me stop and think.

First, the tools for ministry come in two flavors: ( I immediately wanted some ice cream when I read this)

Spiritual & Relational.

Never thought about it, but it makes sense.

For Spiritual:

i. The indwelling Holy Spirit

ii. The Bible

iii. A good concordance (apparently this is where we find all the Greek words used…I really want to dive into this)

iv. Bible study guides and graphics.

Oh yeah, I’m all about graphics. A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? I love looking at maps, and I’d really like to do my own search with that. How many times when we say, “Paul traveled to such and such place” do we think he walked down the road a mile or two? Or in the case of today’s generation, just mysteriously transported there. I LOVE it!

It was recommended to use the Closer Look study guides. I concur. My family and I have worked through the entire series, and found it to be very much of an eye opener. Again, the bottom line is that the Holy Spirit will teach us, prepare us, guide us into whatever work He has for us, but these study guides–some of the questions made me squirm. Usually those verses that religious groups kind of gloss over, because it’s not about what we have to ‘do’. In fact, I remember working through, “A Closer Look at Faith, Hope and Love”. Sounds all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it? Even safe? Non-threatening? NOT! Several times I found myself knocked flat on the floor in realization of a truth. Go ahead–work through it. I dare you. If you apply the truths there, you won’t have a warm fuzzy bunny feeling; but instead a solid, trustworthy foundation in the love of Jesus Christ for you. Rock solid.

RP in his workshop

Then, there was the relational resources. Relation with who? The Holy Spirit of course. No matter how many pictures, books or tapes we pass out, the bottom line is, the Holy Spirit does the teaching. No matter what we pass out, folks need to know they’re not alone. You are not alone; I am not alone. Folks need to know that someone has “been there, done that” and that there is hope: Jesus Christ.

Then, the icing on the cake was a CD of Graphics. I am sooo jazzed about this! If you’ve ever read through the book, Classic Christianity Illustrated, you’ll know the graphics that I’m referring to. PERFECT for sharing in blogs, presentations and the like. I cannot wait to start utilizing them. Again, if you’ve read the book, you can appreciate what wonderful resources those are. I have always wished for my own copy of those things, and now that I have them–watch out!

Workshop #1. Building the Foundation w/BC and BD

So here’s the first workshop. Giddy with excitement, I settle down and see what this all about. The name of this workshop is, “Building the Foundation”, led by Bob Christopher and Bob Davis.  Since the whole idea behind the conference is to equip believers with resources to share the Good News, we start with our own story.

Each of our stories are unique and personal, and could impact someone else’s life. Reading through the booklet entitled, “Your Story”, I saw that it touched on some things I had mused over in the past.

What if I didn’t have a story?

Actually, everyone does have a story. All stories aren’t centered around how satan’s right hand man became a child of God. Some stories are seemingly rather mundane… a good kid that went to church for most of their lives, lived a good, obedient moral life, came face to face with the Savior. I used to wonder if that would do anything for anyone else. I mean, it did something for me! I was one of those go-to-church-every-time-the-doors-were-opened kinda gal. I was one of those never-say-no-to-any-ministry kinda gal. I started out sincere, but, regardless, if we put anything as our God… church activity, relationships with family and friends… as good as those might be, if we consciously or unconsciously substitute those for a relationship with God, we’re toast.

Growing in grace–it seemed forever before I could tell I was growing, is a personal walk with God. I finally realized that it didn’t matter what others saw in me, the growing was being done by God, not me. Little by little, as trials and victories came through my life, I was learning that the only thing that counts, was faith, expressing itself through love. The verse, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” was becoming my reality. Sure, I’d read it countless times before, but it didn’t mean anything until I NEEDED to know He was with me.

Oops! Got off track again. That tends to happen when I start thinking about how God brought me to point A to point B to point C. I promise you, only God could orchestrate it just perfectly. Life might not be a bed of roses right now–well, maybe it is in Christ, but every so often I wind up laying in the thorns…but anyway, this workshop reiterated what we knew to be true, that Jesus is our source of life; we’ve come to know this life, so now, how will we share our own personal story with others? Not necessarily preach sermons, not elevate ourselves as the speaker of the hour; but share Jesus with someone who’s on their last leg. Someone who’s desperately looking for answers. Of course the answer is Jesus, but how do we share Jesus without sounding “holier than thou?’

We have this little booklet we read through, just for personal reflection. It guides us into telling our own story with some pointers to make it not about ‘me’, but just as a stepping stone to Jesus. Remember, the whole focus is Jesus. We simply point folks back to Him. This reminds me of a verse I don’t read often enough:

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. I Peter 3:15-16

Something occurred to me, the last time I read this–Peter mentions to be ready to give an account when someone asks; not to seek them out and run them up a flag pole. Also, this needs to be done with gentleness and respect, not out of ambitious pride.

So, what’s your story? What were the circumstances that finally allowed you to just fall on your face and accept Christ as your Savior? What was the deciding factor where you decided that yes, Christ can be trusted? Would love to hear about it!

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