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The Commands of Jesus

I have been reading the gospels in chronological order. This time as I read I tried to note all the commands of Jesus that apply to us. So I didn’t include those like – go and wash your eyes. I tried to only list one when it is duplicated elsewhere. This is not a complete list but the one I compiled as reading. They are in the order as they appeared in the chronology of the gospels. All passages are from the NLT.

I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3)

Repent of your sins and believe the Good News! (Mark 1:15)

Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16)

If you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment (Matthew 5:22)

Leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:24)

Anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28)

A man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery. (Matthew 5:28)

Do not make any vows Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t. (Matthew 5:34)

Do not resist an evil person! (Matthew 5:39)

Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (Matthew 5:44)

Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (Luke 6:31)

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. (Luke 6:35)

You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. (Luke 6:36)

Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others Give your gifts in private (Matthew 6:1)

When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private (Matthew 6:6)

Don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. (Matthew 6:7)

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:9-15)

When you fast, don’t make it obvious (Matthew 6:16)

Don’t store up treasures here on earth Store your treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19)

Do not to worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear (Matthew 6:25)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33)

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. (Luke 6:37)

Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

Give, and you will receive. (Luke 6:38)

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds (Matthew 7:7-8)

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. (Matthew 7:12)

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. (Matthew 7:15)

The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. (Luke 10:2)

Give as freely as you have received! (Matthew 10:8)

Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)

All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone (John 8:7)

Go and sin no more. (John 8:11)

Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. (Luke 11:35)

Guard against every kind of greed. (Luke 12:15)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.  (Luke 12:31)

Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven (Luke 12:33)

When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward.  Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.  Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you. (Luke 14:12-14)

If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison — your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14:26)

But don’t begin until you count the cost. (Luke 14:28)

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. (Matthew 20:26)

Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. (John 12:25)

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. (Mark 11:25)

“The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:29-31)

Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. (John 13:35)

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. (Matthew 28:19-20)

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Boise State and Student Ministry

Boise State was ranked in the top 5 all season until they lost to Nevada by 3 points. They finished the season 11-1 ranked #10 and they will get to go play in LasVegas at the MAACA Bowl on December 22. How sad is this? You loose one game in two years, you are ranked in the top 10, and you get to play in a bowl game on Dec 22. Think about the teams that get to play on New Years Eve or Day – University of South Florida (7-5), Georgia (6-6), Clemson (6-6), Texas Tech (7-5), Northwestern (7-5), and many more teams with worse records. The difference between at Dec 22 bowl and a Dec 31 or Jan 1 bowl is millions of dollars and viewers. I just feel bad for Boise.

I guess they are like the student ministers in most churches. They get over looked, viewed as second class ministers who maybe one day will get a real job (join a real conference), and get paid a fraction of the money. On the plus side that blue carpet covers a multitude of spills.

Does Youth Ministry Work?

I have been in youth ministry full time for 12 years. I have learned many lessons and had shifts in philosophy. Over the last year I have been struggling with the idea that youth ministry doesn’t work. I have found that very few students (who parents are religious) will ever exceed the spirituality of their parents. Last week we gave a survey out to our students. The results confirm what I thought.

55% of our students and parents rarely or  never pray together outside of meals.

56% of our students and parents rarely or never read their Bible together or have a family devotional.

32% of our students and parents rarely or never talk about God or religious themes.

Notice This

37% of our students rarely or never pray on their own outside of meals.

50% of our students rarely or never read their Bible outside of church or a Bible class.

37% of our students rarely or never talk about God to their friends.

Do you see how closely they are related? When I went through the surveys the parallel between the two were undeniable. As the parents go so go the kids.

Prodigal Son

A few years ago I stumbled across Scot McKnight. I don’t know how but since then I try to read all his books. You may not always agree with him but he writes with great clarity, depth, simplicity, and insight. He is in my top three favorite authors.  I have just started reading his most famous book The Jesus Creed. Every page I have highlighted some thought, carefully crafted phrase, or insight he shares. On pages 29-30 he gives this amazing insight on the all too familiar story of the prodigal son.

Some Bible scholars observe a Jewish custom between the lines: when a son disgraces his father through sinful behaviors, runs away from him, and then later returns, the elders of the city take the young man to the village center and break a pot at his feet. The broken pot is a legal act of banishment. These scholars also think, in this parable, the Abba (his father not the singing group) runs to his son so that he can prevent the really awful event he fears: others banning him from the community if they reach him first. So, the Abba sprints to the son and announces, “Quick! Bring the best robe”.

I love this. Think about how this impacts the story. The father is looking for the son day after day because he longs for him to be with him. As the son is on his way home if he is spotted and recognized people will come to take him into custody and ban him from the community. The broken and repentant son will now be cut off from everyone. The father loves his son and wants to save him from this doom. When he sees him, the father is in a race between him and any who may want to condemn the boy. When he arrives he immediately does what it takes to forgive and bestow upon him son-ship. He doesn’t even let his son apologize because he must restore his son to his place in the family and community before others can cast him away and ban him.

This is an amazing story of love and this little extra piece of cultural history helps it become even more amazing. As an added bonus f you love knowing the story behind the story one of the best I know at this is J. Duncan M. Derrett.

Prayer Chapel 2010

Last night was our prayer chapel and it was amazing. It is one of my favorite things to do and students who come will always walk away connecting with various stations. The way we do our chapel is we have 10-15 stations that you a prompt for praying for something and usually give you something physically to do as you pray. I will give you a brief description of the ones we did this year and you can go to http://www.studentminister.com to get to complete list and details. Here is last years link

A few things to know if you plan on doing a chapel of your own.

1. It takes a lot of time to set up.

2. The more private the space the more students are willing to open up. We use dividers from screens they have at our wedding showers at church and also dishwasher boxes we got from a local appliance store.

3. You will need some background music to help with noise. We use instrumental only with no vocals. I like nature scape/ spa music.

4. Depending on your flooring you may want people to take off their shoes to keep noise down.

Prayer Chapel 2010

1. Light of the world – each person lights a candle and prays for God to help them to be a light to a specific person this week.

2. Bandaids – We got this from Lilly Lewin. Take a cross and have student think of someone who needs to be healed. Have them write their name on a bandaid and attach it to the cross as they pray for them.

3. Bubbles – This came from the book “Imaginative Prayer for Youth Ministry”. You think about all your worries and blow the bubbles. The bubbles represent your letting go of your worries and giving them to God. As they pop you imagine as if God has taken those cares away from you.

4. Holey-ness – We got this from a Contemplative Prayer Blog. You take two sheets of paper that are cut out like gingerbread men. One represents you. Take a hole punch and as you read a list of sins for each you have committed you punch a hole in your man. Then you take the other man that represents Jesus and paste him to the back of your man to represent how Jesus heals the wounds sin has created.

5. Wash Away Your Sins – You take a bowl of water with a little bit of bleach added. Then take cloth cut into strips and have them write sins they are struggling with on the cloth with a washable marker. Then they wash away their sins. The bleach will cause the color from the marker to disappear and the water will still be clear.

We did 7 others and you can get them on our website.

God’s View of Sin

I have been thinking about how God views sin in light of the Law and Jesus. To me it seems that there are three categories of sins that God sees as worse than others. We all know that all sin is wrong, it separates us from God, and deserves a punishment but it seems that there are three categories of sins that are more severe and could carry a heavier punishment if any degree of hell isn’t bad enough.

Sins that Cannot be Undone

Some sins can be corrected. If I tell a lie then I can tell the truth. If I steal from you I can give you back what I took. In the Law if you stole you were to pay back 5 times the amount stolen. The eye for the eye law was to replace or make amends for whatever you damaged, destroyed, or injured. But there are some sins that cannot be undone. Murder, rape, adultery, perjury in capital punishment cases (lying to convict), kidnapping. These sins required the death penalty because you took something from someone that could not be replaces: life, purity, emotional security, etc. Due to the nature of these sins God required the death penalty.

Sins Against God

The second category of sins that required death was sin involving worshiping God. Blasphemy, witchcraft, idolatry, or breaking a worship law. God wanted his people to respect him and understand that not worshiping and honor God as the only and one true God was not acceptable and death was the price for not honoring him.

Sinning When We Know Better

This category did not call for death but is one introduced by Jesus. Jesus said many times that the people who know the truth but who sin anyway will face a more severe punishment. That is a scary thought for all Christians as we should know the truth and our rebellion or apathy will be factored into judgment.

We often think of God in the Old Testament as one of wrath but in truth one was killed unless they committed a sin that couldn’t be undone or they sinned against God. I walk away from this thinking that God loves us and tries to help us value others by installing the death penalty for some sins against men. He also wants a relationship with us and doesn’t want anyone or thing to come between us. It also makes me think about our attitude toward God. We are to be in awe of him but not fearful of him. I think we have done a good job of helping people not be afraid of God but not so good at helping people be in awe of God and show him the respect he deserves.

Health Care and Ministers

Health Care has passed and there is still a lot of political questions about how this will play out. Will the senate pass reconciliation, will people sue and force this to the Supreme court, how long will we be forced to hear about this?

As I read blogs and facebook status’ it seems everyone is sharing an opinion on this. I can’t help but to wonder as a minister what should be our role in sharing our politics with people?

I have begun to question this more and more. I know that no matter what my opinion is I will alienate some. I will be honest I dislike most republicans right now. I avoid some at church because I don’t believe Obama is the anti-Christ and to some this makes me the anti-Christ. And we all know you can’t openly profess to be a democrat and a Christian so I have no gripe with them at the moment because I don’t know who they are.

I just wonder if I am avoiding some Christians right now because I don’t want to hear another speech about politics if there aren’t some non-Christians who are avoiding us for the same reason.

So as a minister what should be our role in sharing our politics with people and what could be the dangers of either way?

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