Jesus

"Good Friday"

Edmund Brooks

Its seems a little backwards that "Good Friday", a day of absolutely pain and torture, is seen as such a blessing. In reality, it was Earth's saddest day, but it marked the start of our salvation, which is why we take time to witness Christ's Passion. However, this gift came at a tremendous cost, one of which caused pain physically, emotionally, and spiritually, that only the Perfect Son could pay.

Letters For Living: "The Outstanding Debt"

Edmund Brooks

Onesimus has broken the law. He has robbed his employer Philemon. Onesimus deserves to be punished. Onesimus deserves to be executed for his crimes. But Paul pleads for Philemon to show mercy to Onesimus. The reason for this mercy is the gospel itself.

LETTERS FOR LIVING - The Outstanding Debt study guide

Radical Joy: "Jesus is All That Matters"

Edmund Brooks

Have you ever been mocked for your faith? Have you ever found yourself in a situation being embarrassed because of what you believe? In this section we will see why Paul is not embarrassed or frustrated by his current persecution.

RADICAL JOY - Jesus is All That Matters study guide

The Christmas We Forget: "Out of the Darkness"

Edmund Brooks

For many of us, Christmas is about joy, smiling children, people giving grace to each other in the “spirit of Christmas”. But Christmas is—and always has been—also a time of darkness and despair. When we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus with the shepherds and animals giving Him glory, we often forget that what followed was the slaughter of any baby boys born in that area over a period of two years in an attempt to kill the baby we celebrate. In this slaughter humanity showed the depths of sin and darkness it is willing to embrace. But God didn’t allow the story to end there. In the Christmas event He took the darkness and He turned it into light. The very act of gift giving is a way of remembering the gift of light God gave the world.

THE CHRISTMAS WE FORGET - Out of the Darkness study guide

Remember: "Everything Is New"

Randy Christian

When He comes, everything will be made new. That includes us. How then should we live? As he ends the letter—his encouragement to “Remember”, he insures that we know how someone who will be living in this new world lives.

REMEMBER - Everything Is New study guide

Remember: "Where Is He?"

Randy Christian

It is popular for people to talk about the promises of God. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t really what God has said, but what people want Hm to say. But God has promised some very important things, and one of the most important of these is that Jesus will return. When? How? We don’t know, but we know He is coming, and that one fact gives Christians all around the world the encouragement to stay faithful.

REMEMBER - Where Is He study guide

Remember: "Fake News"

Randy Christian

It would be nice to be able to listen to anyone and believe them.  But the truth is not everyone speaks the truth.  Some fail to do so out of ignorance.  Others knowingly out of various motivations.  So what do we do, and what is God doing?

REMEMBER - Fake News study guide

Remember: "Eye-Witnesses"

Randy Christian

Peter is one of the few—those remaining who were eye-witnesses of the ministry of Jesus.  He claims the authority of one in this position, but also lets himself revel in the memory.  Then he reminds the church of the nature of God’s words, where they come from, and why they should be listened to.

REMEMBER - Eye-Witnesses study guide

Remember: "Everything We Need"

Randy Christian

The Apostle introduces himself and his letter by reminding Christians that we have been given everything we need to live—and to live loyally to the King.  The prophets and the Apostles have given us insight into this life—and Peter insures we remember.

REMEMBER - Everything We Need study guide

The Culture for Christ: "We Serve"

Randy Christian

Success is often measured by how many serve us rather than how many we serve.  This is the world’s approach.  But Jesus said very clearly we would not be like the world if we belong to Him.  So, service becomes a simple expression of love and devotion from us to Him—regardless of whom we are serving.

THE CULTURE OF CHRIST - We Serve study guide

The Culture for Christ: "We Forgive"

Randy Christian

Christians forgive.  We don’t just talk about it, we do it.  We do it because we understand how much we have been forgiven—and that no ultimately no one has sinned worse than we have, when we understand that our sin caused the death of Jesus.  But our forgiveness of others is related to our awareness and appreciation of our own forgiveness.  It is essential for spiritual health that we understand the connection between these two.

THE CULTURE OF CHRIST - We Forgive study guide

The Culture of Christ: "We Love"

Randy Christian

Jesus said people would know we belong to Him because of our love for one another.  Understandable when you remember that John said the very nature of God is love.  Of course, that bets a question.  What love?  Whose definition of love?  What exactly are we commanded to do?  Whether our spouse, a neighbor, a friend or an enemy, this commands pretty much covers how we respond to everyone, so it is important for us to understand what Christians do when we say “we love”.

THE CULTURE OF CHRIST - We Love study guide

The Culture of Christ: "We Are Loyal"

Randy Christian

We have a King.  What does that mean?  It commands loyalty.  If we can’t serve two masters, and Jesus is the master, then we serve Him.  Not out of duty alone, but loyalty to the King.  Loyalty beyond question or opinion—extreme, fierce loyalty.

 THE CULTURE OF CHRIST - We Are Loyal study guide

The Culture of Christ: "Our True Heritage"

Randy Christian

The heritage of a culture is the richness of values, beliefs and behaviors which characterize that culture.  For Christians, this means looking into the Word and understanding what God has already told us about belonging to Him.  We have a heritage—that which is passed on to us as members of the Culture of Christ.  We need to understand it, cherish it and live by it.

THE CULTURE OF CHRIST - Our True Heritage study guide

Ancient Tweets: "Friends"

Edmund Brooks

Friends are important to us.  Casual friends, close friends, BFFs.  Friends are not just important to us—they influence us.  How many of us remember the peer pressure of adolescence?  Of course peer pressure—and the need for peers—doesn’t change as we emerge from adolescence.  We all have peers.  The difference between adolescents and adults is we can do a better job of choosing our friends and governing our friendships?

ANCIENT TWEETS - Friends study guide

Ancient Tweets: "Parenting"

Randy Christian

Pretty much every parent has had this experience:  we bring our first child home from the hospital.  Emotion is running rampant.  We’re so happy and thrilled—and scared to death.  How can the doctors and nurses let us take this baby home—by ourselves!?  From the beginning of their lives, these little ones (who become big ones) present some of the biggest and most important challenges to us.  But God hasn’t left us entirely without guidance!

ANCIENT TWEETS - Parenting study guide

What's In A Name?: "Christian and Cross"

Randy Christian

Many years after the resurrection, people began to use the cross as a symbol of Christianity—and of Jesus Himself.  While this must have seemed very strange to those who first saw it, the cross is indeed central not only to Jesus’ life and work, but to those who would follow him.  What does the cross represent to us today, and how do we faithfully live that out?

WHAT'S IN A NAME? - Christian and Cross study guide

What's In A Name?: "Practicing Jesus"

Randy Christian

With those who call themselves Christian split into so many denominations today, any organization wanting to unite them has to come up with some idea of who is and who is not a Christian.  One organization came up with the idea that anyone who accepted Jesus as Lord should be considered Christian.  The problem with that is that Jesus said “no”.  In this study we explore what He said about those who belong to Him, and what that might look like for us today.

WHAT'S IN A NAME? - Practicing Jesus study guide