The UnOfficial Christian Newsletter for August 25, 2004
|The following edition was written by jmaranez.
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In this Edition:
Editor of this Edition: An Introduction
Article: What did Jesus do?
Scripture for Reflection
Music and Books
Links to Check Out!
Welcome to another edition of the UCN!
We are here to serve God, and serve our Community of Believers. Each of us desires to be instruments of God’s handiwork. We each have something that God has put on our hearts to teach, and to preach the Good News of The Gospel - always lifting Him up!
Expect Him to meet your needs. With His anointing, we pray that the Holy Spirit has His way in our lives. In this newsletter, may the Word not succumb to a watering down, or to the teaching of a social gospel. We care nothing for political correctness - we care about scriptural correctness!
Editor of this Edition: An Introduction
Greetings! My name is Jhoanna and I am a wife and mum, living in wintry Melbourne, Australia. I currently work as an I.T. Analyst, while my husband runs an online webshop. Both my husband and I are active members of our local church and we're trusting the LORD for guidance into full-time ministry in the future. We have a 6-month old baby girl, who is our absolute joy.
I am honoured and humbled to be involved in this edition of the UCN. My prayer is that through this newsletter, God will touch your heart and move your will to fully surrender to Him. My handle "Laus Deo!" is the Latin phrase for "Praise be to God!" - may all the praise and glory go to Him and Him alone!
This edition is jam-packed so please make sure you have your favourite drink, a snack, and most importantly an open heart to God's leading.
God bless, your sister in Christ,
Article: "What Did Jesus Do?"
We may have come across the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" many times - in fact, we may use the question to prompt our decision-making on a daily basis. However, are we truly able to answer this question if we are unaware of what Jesus actually did during His ministry on earth?
The following article provides an outline of Jesus' ministry - an overview of what He actually did. If I say that I am a Christian and therefore a follower of Christ, am I honestly ministering and living by His example - or have I allowed the temporary and fleeting joys of this world to become my master instead?
May this article challenge us to live as a true follower of Christ everyday in His strength and power - no ifs, buts or maybes!
What Did Jesus Do?
The seven priorities that guided Jesus' decisions can help us in our daily choices.
By Mike Fleischmann
First Peter 2:21 says that Jesus left us "an example, that [we] should follow in his steps." So, it's admirable and biblical to ask "What would Jesus do?" in the decisions we face each day.
However, this hypothetical question presupposes we have already answered another equally important, yet less obvious, question: What did Jesus do? If we don't know what Jesus did in his life, how can we expect to guess what he would do in ours? I looked at the four gospels with these questions in mind and discovered seven priorities that guided Jesus:
1. He sought the Father
Jesus demonstrated intimacy with God by seeking him continually in prayer. Forty-five times the gospels tell us that
Jesus went alone to pray. Every aspect of his life and ministry was saturated with prayer.
Mark 1 gives us a glimpse of Jesus early in his ministry. His life was swirling with people, needs, and opportunities. Jesus ministered around the clock. Still, he would make time to commune with the Father and concentrate on his purposes. He might sleep less or work less, but he would find time to pray.
2. He embraced the outcasts
Jesus demonstrated the love of God by accepting the castaways of society. This provoked great disdain from the religious establishment. But Jesus was much less squeamish than most about embracing the sinful and sickly, the unseemly and unimportant.
Luke 5 offers a good example. Shortly after accepting Jesus' invitation to follow him, Levi (later known as Matthew) "held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them" (v. 29). On the social-ethical scale of the day, tax collectors landed somewhere between a pimp and something that crawls out from under a rock. An upstanding individual would not associate with them at all. But Jesus not only talked to Levi, he asked the man to become his disciple.
3. He restored broken lives
By the power of God's Spirit, Jesus provided for people's physical and financial needs (Matt. 14:14-21, 17:27). He cast out demons (Luke 4:36), healed broken bodies (Luke 5:17), raised the dead (John 11:1-44), and forgave the sins of the guilty (Matt. 9:6). Jesus proved that God's power is sufficient to meet every need. And the Scriptures promise us that the same power works in and through our lives today (Phil. 2:13).
Jesus operated on the assumption that we have a wonder-working God who delights in restoring lives that seem irrevocably shattered. Jesus saw the people around him as miracles waiting to happen.
4. He confronted hypocrisy
Jesus demonstrated the heart of God by standing against lifeless religion. He openly confronted religious hypocrisy (Matt. 23:13-39), inciting great opposition that ultimately led to his execution. Jesus repeatedly rebuked religious people who buried the true heart of God in their manmade traditions (Matt. 19:3-8, Luke 13:10-17). He cleansed the temple because people were using God's house for their own gain (Luke 19:45-46).
What would Jesus do? He would go on record against people who act in the name of God to hurt others. He'd stand up against crusaders parading with signs that venomously attack and label others. And he'd speak out against those who profit from the oppressed but who claim their God is full of compassion.
5. He taught God's Word
Whether addressing curious crowds or the committed core, Jesus took advantage of every teachable moment. He was always helping people discover his Father. He lived and spoke the truth, a perfect expression of God's character (John 1:14).
But even though he was the incarnate Word, Jesus often directed people back to the written Word. When a religious expert asked Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replied, "What is written in the Law?" (Luke 10:25-26). The rich young ruler asked the same question, and Jesus answered him from the Scriptures as well (Matt. 19:16-21).
Jesus taught when he conversed one on one with Nicodemus and when he preached to thousands of people. His life shows us that teaching doesn't demand an outline with three points that begin with the same letter. Teaching simply requires being so filled with God's Word that it naturally overflows from our lives into the lives of those around us.
6. He served
Service marked Jesus' life from start to finish. He served through sacrifice, putting the needs of others above his own. At the last supper, he put on a towel and washed his disciples' feet (John 13:2-17). His life of service culminated at the cross, where the Son of Man died to pay our spiritual debt.
7. He equipped leaders
Finally, Jesus demonstrated God's character by equipping leaders who continued his mission and changed the world after his departure. He refused to let the ministry pressures of today stop him from identifying and investing in the leaders of tomorrow (Matt. 10:1-4).
Beyond the fad
So what would Jesus do? He would seek the Father for the strength and wisdom to embrace, restore, confront, teach, serve, and equip the people around him.
These seven priorities should drive us back to the gospels to take a fresh look at how Jesus lived. The fad phase of WWJD may be over, but we need to hold on to those bracelets and keep asking ourselves-What would Jesus do? It's a great question. But remember: If you're not sure what Jesus actually did in his life, then you're just guessing at what he might do in yours.
Adapted from Discipleship Journal (Nov./Dec. 2000), © 2000 Mike Fleischmann.
Copyright © 2003 by the author or Christianity Today International/Books & Culture magazine
View the full article here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/areas/biblestudies/articles/cr-200...
Scripture for Reflection
1 Corinthians 9:19-27
19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.
22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Music and Books
Got a Christian Artist or CD, or Book that God has used to touch your heart? Why not share it here? Just send the Editorial Team details of your recommendation and a blurb (50 words or less) on how it has blessed you.
Cat in Daytona, Jeane go recommends Kemper Crabb's "The Vigil"
She says "I have many books but one piece of music that is old but so beautiful is by Kemper Crabb . . . the one song that is so beautiful (is) Dulous... the rest of the songs are wonderful as well, (but) that one is a personal favorite."
If you would like to listen to some songs on the CD, you can legally do so here: http://magnatune.com/artists/music/Christian/Kemper%20Crabb/The%20Vigil/
I'd like to recommend Third Day's "Offerings II"
It's a collection of worship songs, done in their distinctive southern-rock style. I listen to it at work and it helps to keep my mind on God and my heart singing praises all day!
To find out more about Third Day (and listen to samples of their songs), visit their online home:
Looking for Christian Fiction but not sure where to begin? Follow this link to find recommended and reviewed Christian Fiction (includes reviews on the latest Christian fantasy and science fiction novels) http://www.christianfictionreview.com
Links To Check Out!
There are many, many, many talented Christian authors on this site. All you need to do is select "Religious" from the "Site Navigation: Item Jumps", and you will find many great gems! Here is just a very small sample - please encourage the authors by rating and reviewing these items .
Encouragement in the Christian Walk:
Chicken Soup (as in Chicken Soup for the Soul) is also looking for non-fictional stories to inspire and encourage, for inclusion in future books. For details please check out: http://www.chickensoup.com
Prayer Requests & Answers
Please do not hesitate to send your prayer requests to the Editorial Team so that it can be included in this Newsletter - we are here to pray for one another! In the same way, please let us know if you believe God has answered prayer requests that you have shared with us - we all can be built up in Christ with your answered prayer!
Please continue to pray for the full reovery of mysoftheart As some of you may know, she was involved in a car accident and has been in and out of a coma the last few days. You can send your best wishes to her and get updates on her progress via "Invalid Item"
On a macro-scale, please also remember to uphold the following in your prayers:
The Sudan Crisis - for more details see http://www.worldvision.com.au/appeals/sudancrisis/
The ongoing debate on Abortion laws, not just in the US but all over the world. Christians must protect the unborn.
Upcoming Government elections in the US and other parts of the world - we may not agree with their politics but we are called to pray for our nation's leaders.
Unofficial Christian Newsletter Links
Thus, this edition of the UCN concludes. On behalf of the Editorial Team:
grandmapenny , and
we hope that you have been challenged, blessed and inspired! Please do not hesitate to provide feedback or raise questions on the content of this Newsletter.
Shine on and write on!