It’s not a Religion but a Relationship (not quite!)

Its not a religion (610x351)

This is our pastor’s newsletter article for the December 2014-January 2015 edition of our congregational newsletter: The Shepherd’s Voice.   We’ve all heard others say it. Maybe, you’ve even said it: “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with Christ.” Yes, we live in the age of the sound-bite, where “truths” are distilled into small, […]

How to Discern God’s Will in Your Life

Making Decisions (610x351)

How to Discern God’s Will in Your Life (Or how I learned to stop worrying and make decisions like a real Christian) By Pr Rich Futrell How does a Christian figure out God’s will in his life? Closer to home, how can you know what life choices God wants you to make? That’s the topic […]

Acts, Lesson 22: The Ugly Intersection of Religion and Money

Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (610x351)

Paul is still in Ephesus, preaching, teaching, and being an evangelist. Earlier, after three months of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah in the synagogue, many of the Jews there became flustered with Paul. Today, we learn that many Gentiles became angry with Paul, but in a way where monetary income was as important (or more […]

The Theology of Suffering

Crown of Thorns (610x352)

Today’s lesson comes from a request to explore how to understand suffering in our lives. How are we to view suffering and, then, based on such a view, handle the suffering that comes our way?   The Theology of Glory versus the Theology of the Cross Before we look into suffering, we need to look […]

Acts, Lesson 21: Paul Still in Ephesus–Healing through Paul’s Facecloths and Work Aprons

Work Aprons (610x351)

Paul Still in Ephesus–Healing through Paul’s Facecloths and Work Aprons By Pr Rich Futrell Paul Serving as Evangelist and Pastor  Read Acts 19:8 In Ephesus, where does Paul first go?   How long does he stay preaching and teaching there?   What does this say about the resistance that Paul first experienced there?   Read […]

The Personhood of the Human

Jesus Mosaic (610x351)

Today’s lesson comes from a question asking, “What’s the difference between a person’s soul and his spirit?” To look at that, we’ll look at how Scripture, primarily the New Testament, describes who a human is in his personhood.   The Soul distinguished from Heart and Mind Matthew 22:37: [Jesus answering what is the greatest Commandment]: “Love […]

Acts, Lesson 20: In Ephesus: Confirmation and Speaking in Tongues

Ruins at Ephesus (610x352)

Paul in Ephesus In the last Lesson, we saw Luke hurriedly describe many events in passing (Acts 18:22-23), wanting to bring us to Ephesus. Luke now does that, telling us what took place there with the Apostle Paul.  Ephesus was located in what today is the western coast of Turkey. It was the fourth largest […]

Why go to Church?

Worshiping with the Saints and Angels (610x351)

This lesson topic stems from the idea that if God is a loving God, then why do we “have” to come to church? Like last week’s lesson on “God’s rest” for us from the book of Hebrews (4:1), we also look in the book of Hebrews to understand why God tells us not to neglect […]

Acts, Lesson 19: Paul’s Second Missionary Journey Ends and His Third One Begins

Corinth (610x357)

Paul had preached on the Areopagite in Athens and some “joined him and believed.” Paul then travels to Corinth, the capital of the Roman province of Achaia (Greece). Silas and Timothy join him later. In Corinth Read Acts 18:1-4 Corinth: In Paul’s day, Corinth was a city known for its moral depravity. It was a […]

The Promise of Entering God’s Rest -vs- the Fear of God

Rest (610x351)

Hebrews 4:1: Therefore, let us fear so that, while the promise of entering God’s rest still stands, none of you will fail to reach it.   Fear of God “The fear of the LORD” is a key idea throughout Scripture. In Hebrew, the word y’rah is usually translated as “fear.” And y’rah can mean to […]