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Showing posts from May, 2013

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 23)

"And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.' Matthew 9:35-38

We think of multitudes in a non-personal, distant way. But Jesus didn't just see a crowd. He saw individuals--real people with real needs ... He healed a centurion's servant (Mt 8:5-13). He restored and aged mother-in-law (Mt 8:14-15). He rescued two demoniacs (Mt 8:28-34). He healed and forgave a man who was physically and spiritually paralyzed (Mt 9:1-8). He reached out to tax collectors and sinners (Mt 9:9-13). He delivered a man's daughter from death (Mt 9:18-19, 23-26). He h…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 22)

There is no other name ... by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

The greatest controversy in our world today isn't political or economic. It's not about Bible translations or worship style. All of those issues have their place--and adequate share of controversy--but the great controversy in the world is that 'there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved' (Acts 4:12). There are people in the world on this day who will be thrown out of their homes or face prison or even death because they believe this. And closer to home, just try telling someone on the street or at the mall that Jesus is the only way of salvation. It will quickly be evident that the controversy isn't just on the other side of the world. 

The Great Controversy--The Name-that-is-above-every-name Controversy--is not about arguing . It's about speaking of the Savior clearly, humbly, and boldly, and doing so in a way that reminds people of Jesus. 

Let the Gospel embolden …

Katrina"s Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 21)

"Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: 'Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never  be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions." Daniel 6:25-27

Consider Daniel 6. The Median king Darius is tricked into signing a law banning prayer. Daniel will soon be caught in the act, then sentenced to the den of fangs. Darius is livid at his unscrupulous cabinet members. And he is the king! ... Darius understood a judicial principle that 'the great religions of the world' do not: law trumps mercy ... Though Darius felt compassion for Daniel and realized how deceptively the new law had been contrived, he was still bound to enforce it.…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 20)

"Men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 15:26

"While the dauntless, advance-at-any-cost spirit of missionaries is heroic, the church at home must do a better job of alleviating their burdens.....We get to be a part of the cosmic cause--the turning of rebels into worshipers who will one day bow with us around Jesus' throne (Ephesians 1;6, 12, 14). We go and give for Christ's name.

Let the Gospel make you live with reckless abandon for Christ's name."

Gospel Meditations for Missions--For The Sake Of His Name--Day 20

Cookie Baking Night--The Outtakes

Tonight is an off night for Cookie Baking Night. I thought this might be a good time to share some of the pictures taken last week while Emily had the camera in her possession. Sears portraits they're not, but they are pretty funny nonetheless.

And my personal favorite (and theirs)........

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 19)

"The Lord had called Paul to carry His name before the Gentiles and to suffer much for the sake of His name (Acts 9:15-16). Thus, Paul's great passion was that Christ be 'proclaimed' and that Christ be 'honored' in [his] body, whether by life or death' (Philippians 1:18-20). If you had asked Paul, 'Why are you evangelizing?' he would reply, 'Because I want the name of Jesus to be magnified in all nations.' Is God's name your heartbeat? Does it bother you that the non-Christians around you are not magnifying Christ's name? If not, ask the Lord to give you a fresh glimpse of His unrivaled majesty today.

Let the Gospel's advance be your heartbeat.
Gospel Meditations for Missions--The Evangelist's Heartbeat--Day 19

My Thoughts:
If you have a copy of "Gospel Meditations for Missions", I would highly recommend reading the devotional for Day 19. It would be silly for me to quote the entire entry for the day on this blog, so…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions--Days 18)

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28: 19-20

"Everything Christ commanded: The command isn't all that complicated. It requires that we read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John with our baptized disciples (not neglecting the rest of the New Testament, which is really 'The Gospels Unpacked'), and then obey all the commands by the power of the Holy Spirit. We're not talking about a million commands or even a thousand. I doubt that you could even come up with a hundred.  Yet, as simple as the directive is, how many of us are systematically helping Christ's apprentices obey His commands?

Let the Gospel change hearts and families and cities and nations--in that order."

Gospel Meditations for Missions--Two Great Omissions--Day 18

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions--Day 17)

"Then Jesus told his disciples , 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25

"Let the Gospel remind you of the cross--His and yours."
Gospel Meditations for Missions--He Showed Them His Hands--Day 17

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 16)

"For ten days following Jesus' ascension, His followers waited in Jerusalem, as ordered (Acts 1:4-5). 'Suddenly,' on Pentecost morning, the Holy Spirit came upon them in a new and powerful way (Acts 2:2). His arrival was announced by three signs: a rushing wind (Acts 2:2), flames of fire that hovered over each of their heads (Acts 2:3), and the ability to speak in unknown languages (Acts 2:4). The last of these gets the most press, but the first two are stunning. They take us  back to two Old Testament parallels--other times when God 'moved in' to a new home. When Moses dedicated the tabernacle, Jehovah showed His presence  by filling the tabernacle with His glory and hovering over it as a cloudy or fiery pillar (Exodus 40:34-38). Similarly, when Solomon dedicated the temple, God's 'housewarming' was demonstrated by an overwhelming cloud of fire descending from heaven as God's glory filled the temple (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). Those same signs--mo…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 15)

"There are several contrasts between the Old and New Testaments, but God's heart for the nations is not on of them! From Abraham's call (Exodus 14:18) to David's battle with Goliath (1 Samuel 17:46) to Solomon's magnificent temple (1 Kings 8:60), God has always been concerned that His glory be recognized by people from every nation. Solomon's prayer at the temple's dedication reveals that God had at least two missionary purposes for the temple in Jerusalem. Each of them directly applies to the missionary mindset of the New Testament, which is the temple of the living God? (1 Corinthians 3:17, Ephesians 2:29-22, 1 Peter 2:5)."

Gospel Meditations for Missions--Solomon's Temple & Missions--Day 15

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day14)

Finally, brothers,pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5

"Missionaries mean it when they tell you, 'What we really need is your prayers!' We can do without money (Paul sometimes made tents), but we can't do without prayers. The 'Gospel-destitute areas' see us as criminal combatants, not friends. We're up against reigning principalities, religious powers, radical politicians, and recurring persecution. We get attacked from the front, from the rear, and from the sides, and, yes, even from within. Missionaries aren't special. There …

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 13)

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations. Romans 1:1-5

Let the Gospel's goal of magnifying God's fame in every corner of the world be the passion of your life. 

Gospel Meditations for Missions--From God, Through God & To God--Day 13

Cookie Baking Night 05/20/13

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa.

Tonight, after a little much-needed after-supper cleanup ... 

We made Monster Cookies (oatmeal, peanut butter, M&Ms, butterscotch chips, etc.--what's not to love about that?)

We also read lesson 5 from God's Names by Sally Michael. Tonight we learned the name El Kana, meaning Jealous God. At first hearing, the children had a hard time attaching this characteristic to God. This lesson did a good job explaining it and then backed it up with Scripture like Exodus 34:14 "You shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is jealous, is a jealous God." The Cookie Baking gang is familiar with the 10 commandments and the idea that "you shall have no other god before me" so the concept started to make sense to them. We had a good discussion around this lesson. 

We ended the evening by playing a game with the cups we had labeled last time with the books of the Bible. It…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions--Day 12)

Persecution and opposition have always accomplished the advance of the Gospel, but we miss something very important if we look at persecution as simply "bad things happening to good people." Persecution is tied to the very nature of the Gospel and is essential to its progress. Our persecution is linked to Christ's own sufferings (Philippians 3:7-10, Colossians 1:24, 1 Peter 4:12-13). Our persecution has many divine purposes, even if they don't make sense to us (Genesis 50:15-21, Acts 7:54-60, Acts 9:10-15). And our persecution glorifies God. His Word advances as His people demonstrates trust, hope, love, and grace while suffering for Him (2 Corinthians 6:3-10, Philippians 1:12-14, Hebrews 10:32-36, 1 Peter 4:14-16). 

Let the Gospel be evident in your response to persecution. 

Gospel Meditations for Missions--Lambs Among Wolves--Day 12

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 11)

Kneeling down on the beach, we prayed and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home. Acts 21:5-6

For those of us who aren't called to be missionaries but are instead called to "return home", I suggest the following questions: 

"If the Apostle Paul made a seven-day stop in my town, would he be likely to find me faithfully advancing the Gospel with the rest of the disciples in my church?"

"Do I have a deep admiration for our church's missionaries?

"Can I really say that my heart is entwined with the burdens, joys, and concerns of the missionaries that my church supports?" Have I done anything that would convince them of my care for them? 

Let the Gospel's advance on the frontline drive your oh-so-normal life at home. 

Gospel Meditations for Missions--And They Returned Home--Day 11

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 10)

"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 9)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

"We have come to misuse the text [of Romans 8:28] as a cliche: Whenever someone loses a job or has a fender bender, several church members are bound to quip, 'All things work together!' Then they unwittingly butcher the application by asserting that God 'must have a better job in store'; He 'must have been protecting you from a worse crash down the road.' That all may be true, but it's not the point of the verse. 

Let's not cheapen Romans 8:28 by confining it to the temporal or making it all about us. God is at work in 'all things' to conform us to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29). This inner transformation demands missional outflow, seeing that we are conforming to the One who is constantly seeking the lost. So in the dungeon, Paul's interpretation of 'all things working together for good' was no…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 8)

So there is one flock, one Shepherd......John 10:16

"A need for unity isn't simply about 'getting along with each other.' It's about something so much bigger--It's about the cross. In Ephesians 2 we are reminded that Christ's work on the cross not only brings us into fellowship with the Father, but also into fellowship with all other believers. The most stunning--perhaps even uncomfortable--point Paul made to his initial, first century audience was that there was no spiritual difference between two culturally different groups--Jewish believers and Gentile believers. Their cultural distinctions were deep and defining, but the significance of those differences was abolished by His death on the cross."

Let the Gospel free you to love Christians who are different from you. 

Gospel Meditations for Missions--The Cross Is The Center--Day 8


Today is Thursday, and I'm writing this at the end of the day. Thursday is the day our church meets for Bible …

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 7)

"Why do Christians have the responsibility--and the audacity!--to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ across cultural and national boundaries? Because Jesus owns the earth. All authority in heaven and earth is His alone. Not only does He have the authority to issue the command: He has the authority to accomplish it. An otherwise impossible task is inevitable because an omnipotent hand is behind it." 

Gospel Meditations for Missions--The Great Commission(s)--Day 7

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 6)

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8

What do we learn from the prophecy in Acts 1:8 fulfilled?

Jesus is Lord! God is real! The Bible is trustworthy! The Gospel is powerful! Every tribe and nation will come to Christ! Jesus will return!

Gospel Meditations for Missions--Check It Off The List--Day 6

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 5)

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8

If this new thing called "the church" (in the New Testament) was going to take over the world with the Gospel, the Holy Spirit isn't going to do the same thing He did in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament it was "Come and see. Come, Naaman. Come, Queen of Sheba. Come to Israel where God's Spirit-filled priests are ministering in God's temple." But Jesus inaugurated the new age of Holy Spirit power. It's no longer "Come and see," but "Go and tell." Every city becomes the holy city; every people becomes the chosen people; every church and every believer becomes the holy temple."

Gospel Meditations for Missions--What Acts 1:8 Really Means--Day 5

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 4)

Psalm 2
1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 
3 "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us."
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 
6 "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." 
7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." 
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 
11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickl…

Katrina's Musings (Gospel Meditations/Missions-Day 1)

As part of a missions focus at church right now, our ladies ministry is working through the small devotional book "Gospel Meditations for Missions". Prepare to see a "quote a day" from this book until I finish it.

From Day 1 - God is the Great Missionary

"God is seeking worshipers. It's amazing. It's life-shaping. It's the plotline of the whole Bible. God made us for His glory. Though we rebelled, God planned to save us for His glory, and He carried out that plan through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of His Son. God is the Great Missionary. He's not distant and ambivalent, perhaps willing to forgive sinners should we seek after Him. On the contrary, He's the planner of salvation. The Initiator. The Accomplisher. The Goal. 

--Gospel Meditations for Missions (Church Works)