Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ah-Ha! Burning from Within

The angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.  Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.”
Exodus 3:2-3 (NIV)

Ah-ha! The flames appeared from within the bush and the bush did not burn up.

A person ‘on fire’ is enthusiastically passionate about something. You might say I’m on fire for God and one of my goals in writing Seeds of Scripture has been to set your heart ablaze too.

Ah-ha! Only a fire lit from within and fueled by God himself doesn’t burn out.

I can’t light your fire (hee-hee). I can merely let God’s light shine from within me and pray that you will come over and see this strange sight. Are you curious enough to investigate?

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses, Moses!” (Exodus 3:4)

When Moses showed interest, God called him by name. Repeating his name indicated a personal, affectionate voice. God already knew Moses and was waiting for his response. As soon as Moses showed interest, God revealed Himself from the bush.

Are you curious about God? He calls you by name and awaits your response. (tweet this)

Do you know someone who’s on fire for God?
Does it draw you in or push you away? Why?
Would you listen to their experience of Him?

And because I know you’ve been humming:
Come on Jesus, light my fire
Come on Jesus, light my fire
Please come set the world on fire…

#SeedsofScripture #callingyourname #onfireforGod #burnfromwithin

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Aroma of Jesus

Through us, [God] brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation – an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (MSG)

Have you ever caught yourself smelling like bagels and coffee?

When I meet friends at Blue Moon Bagel CafĂ©, I often notice later in the day that I smell like fresh bread. It doesn’t happen in the afternoon when the kitchen is closed, only in the morning when the kitchen is buzzing with baking.

Hanging out with Jesus has the same effect.

When we spend time in His presence or with people who are alive with His Spirit, we pick up His scent. We then emanate His aroma in personal encounters and decisions. Our attitudes, actions and reactions create a scent by which people begin to identify us.

Admittedly, some days we smell more like Jesus than others (I don’t mean needing a shower and some deodorant). Why do we represent Jesus some days better than others? Do we skip ‘breakfast’? Do we need some quality coffee time with Jesus to re-absorb His ideas and reapply the Jesus fragrance?

We absorb the aroma of Jesus the longer we hang out with Him.

Do you know someone who ‘smells’ like Jesus?
How do you think they acquire His scent?

2 Corinthians 2:16-17 continues:
This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No – but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.

#SeedsofScripture #smelllikeJesus #Jesus #coffeeandJesus

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Where to Look for Help

I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!
Psalm 121:1-2 (NLT)

This verse has always inspired me. I love nature and see God revealing Himself in all of creation. Sunrises, mountain views, any kind of water - lake, river, ocean, even rain – bring peace to my soul, renewal and strength. I lift up my eyes to the hills and feel God’s presence.

So I was surprised to learn that I completely misunderstand the psalmist’s message.

This ‘Psalm of Ascent’ is for pilgrims journeying to the Temple in Jerusalem which sits atop the hill. A clue to what the psalmist refers to as hills (plural) is found in the story of Solomon who builds altars to foreign gods on the mountains east of Jerusalem, east of the Temple mount (1 Kings 11:7). Other kings also build altars to false gods on high places “in every corner of Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 28:24).

In this hymn, the worshipers approaching the Temple scoff at the false gods as they lift their eyes to the altars atop the surrounding hills. Then they reaffirm their commitment to the One who created all things, the only God who has the power to help.

Does your help come from the One who can truly help? (tweet this)

Where do you find your help - your strength, peace and renewal?
Do you look to the false gods of materialism, career, popularity and self?
Or do you lean in to the One who can truly help you?

#SeedsofScripture #strength #falsegods #worshiptheoneGod #psalms

Personal note: This is the time of year when many small groups get started. Carve out time in your schedule to connect with others over scripture and build relationships. My small group will meet on Thursday eves from 7-9:30 through May.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Believe Jesus? Or Know Jesus?

If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.
John 14:7 (NLT)

My summer was crazy exciting, but I strayed from blogging. The fall routine has arrived and I’m bursting with inspirational thoughts! I don’t know where to begin so I’ll start with Jesus.

I love Jesus and I came to this love by discussing scripture in a small group. I believed in Him my whole life, but my belief didn’t make an impact on my life until I came to know and love Him.

What’s the difference between believing and knowing? Everything.

Belief is a head thing. A decision. We decide Jesus is the Son of God and sign on to follow (most of) His teachings as a good person should.

We don’t follow the ones that are hard or don’t make sense. Many are completely counter-intuitive. They seem unreasonable. We feel vulnerable. We don’t understand why His way is a good idea. But we're good people because we love others like Jesus did.

Knowing Jesus is understanding His heart. Absorbing every detail of the stories about Him to discover why He modeled humility and abhorred hypocrisy, touched the outcast and insulted the powerful, eagerly taught the hungry crowds but stormed out of the Temple. Jesus is a real person. Not a set of rules.

When we get to know the complete person of Jesus, His teaching makes more sense. Opening our hearts to see the world through Jesus’ eyes leads to transformed attitudes and perspectives. We follow Jesus because we want to, not because we should.

I learned the difference between believing and knowing by reading and discussing the Bible in a small group. Every ah-ha thrilled me as I pieced together the big picture and discovered rich, personal meaning in familiar stories. I had tried reading scripture on my own. I had signed up for online studies but never finished. The assignment and discussion made all the difference.

The shift from believing in Jesus to knowing Him is when transformation occurs! (tweet this)

How can you seek the heart of Jesus?

#SeedsofScripture #Jesus #Biblestudy #JustDoIt #SmallGroupStudy #theheartofJesus

Personal note: Pastor Phil and I will be leading two groups through the Disciple I Bible study on Thursday eves September 13th – early June. There are a few spots left in each group. Email me if you’re interested in learning more about this life changing study (cathychungblog@gmail.com). Sign up at http://www.uccmedfield.org/adult-education.html.

Lots of small groups are forming in September. Find one and get to know Jesus. Click on http://www.uccmedfield.org/adult-education.html for other day and evening studies at UCC Medfield. All are welcome.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Preaching Sunday 8/26

I’m excited to let you know that I have the privilege of giving the message at my home church this Sunday 8/26 at 9:30am. We’d love to have you join us for worship at UCC Medfield if you live nearby.
I’ll be remembering the game show To Tell The Truth. Do you remember it? Believe it or not, they’re still making new episodes...

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Good News!

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ.
For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes… This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Romans 1:1-6, 16-17 (NLT)

Good News! You are included among those called to belong to Jesus.

Good News! Jesus is indeed the Son of God, fulfilling more than 300 Old Testament prophesies. God kept his promises.

Good News! Jesus was raised from the dead and seen by more than 500 people who were still living when the accounts were written down. Jesus sightings were verifiable.

Good News! Jesus offers life to everyone who believes. It just takes faith.

Good News! You are called to belong to Jesus! (tweet this)

How can you celebrate this Good News?
Will you tell someone what God has done for them?

#SeedsofScripture #GoodNews #faith #Jesus

Personal note: Pastor Phil and I will be co-leading the Disciple I Bible study on Thursday eves September-May. Email me if you’re interested in learning more about this life changing study (cathychungblog@gmail.com). Signups are ongoing at http://www.uccmedfield.org/adult-education.html.