Jessie Noblitt

The Word from God in 1 Peter Chapter 3:8 through the end of the book consists of many commands from God that call us to be holy and set apart from the world because of who we have been made in Christ through his sacrifice.  Instead of focusing on all of these, I will highlight a few that stick out to me. Here it goes!

 1.  I really love what Peter says in Chapter 3:15.  It states, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.”  I cannot help but be reminded of VBS when I read this passage.  One of our main pieces of scripture that week was “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”, and verse 15 ties perfectly into that.  We are called to put God first in our lives and have passion and joy through Him. This passion for Christ should leads others to ask “what makes us different” because of our behaviors. Thus, I just want to challenge everyone in this coming year to put Christ FIRST in their lives so that you might lead others to Christ.  Remember!  It’s all about making followers of Jesus Christ who in turn make followers of Jesus Christ!

2.  As Peter continues on in his commands for us, he really just desires that we live more for God.  However, that can be much easier said than done!  Because of the difficulty that comes with following Jesus because of the evil one, he gives us some advice.  In verse 4:7 he states, “The end of all things is near.  Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray”.  Furthermore, he also warns in verse 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowl around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”, and he calls us to resist him.  That’s a big task!  I know that I can sometimes become bogged down in sin, and I feel so very far away from God, but I think we need to remember those verses during times like that.   Stuart Hall even touched on this at BigStuf.  He said, “Above all else, guard your heart because from it flows all things”.  Thus, I also want to challenge everyone (including myself) to take these words seriously in the coming year and resist the evil one THROUGH CHRIST because we have been purged of the sin of the world because of his pure and holy blood!

3.  Finally, Peter leaves us with a PROMISE.  He mentions in Chapter 4 that we will suffer as Christian in this world because of our beliefs, but we should take heart in these sufferings because it develops our faith and we will be rewarded in due time.  In Chapter 5, Peter reminds us that the God of all grace will restore us to his glory after we have endured our suffering here on earth.  I hope that we can all strive toward this promise of God during the coming year because it is the only thing worth living for!  

 It has been a phenomenal summer with you all! I hope and pray that we will all hang on to the word of God as we do life wherever we are.  I love you guys and I’m sad summer is coming to a close, I have had a blast!

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2 Timothy 1-4 By:Tony D

Tony D: 2 Timothy 1-4

Chapter 1
When I first read this chapter I did not realize that Timothy was Paul’s Son. After rereading the chapter weeks later with the mindset of a father writing a son a letter I was able to take this chapter to heart and really watch and listen to what was likely some of Paul’s last words to his son Timothy.
As Paul gives thanks to God he reminds Timothy of how much he misses him. Paul encourages Timothy to lean into the spirit of God and explains to him the power that comes with it. 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline”. As Christians we are reminded to not be ashamed of God and Paul is the perfect example.” 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” Paul’s love and confidence in Christ revives me and reminds me that God did something I could not do on my own, he saved me and called me one of his own.
The best way for me to relate to this is to think of God as a father. At times I am embarrassed of my earthly father who may say or do something that may let me down, or at times I am embarrassed to talk about God with my family or a stranger because I care to much about what people think of me, but Paul made it clear. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about and in Paul’s situation he was in jail. Despite jail he still proclaimed the gospel and claimed Jesus as his Lord. It is safe to say that Paul was not embarrassed or ashamed of the one who saved his soul. This is encouraging and pushes me to be less timid with my faith and to become bolder in my walk. We have nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed of with Christ. He has saved us from death, and last time I checked people are not ashamed of fireman and police officers when they save lives.

Chapter 2
Paul explains the importance of serving Christ and no one else. He says that our acts an services should be for an audience of one. We don not have to impress others, our one and only person we should be striving towards perfection for is Christ. Paul then gives a trustworthy saying, “11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him;12 if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
 for he cannot disown himself.” The saying reminds me that we are in it to win it with Christ.
What Paul addresses next is a big temptation that anyone may find himself or herself falling victim of it. “6 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” What we say makes a hug difference in the lives of others, especially as leaders of the youth. We need to make sure we are encouraging others daily, and not tearing people down, or gossiping about kids, or other leaders. “Godless chatter” does not sound like a good thing. This transitions into another issue Paul talks about “22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” Paul is really backing up the importance of our words working towards Christ and our conversations being God honoring.
Chapter 3 opens with Paul addressing Timothy about staying away from people who radiate evil. 3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. In my opinion I think we are called to be lights to these types of people. They are not suppose to be in the chair to the left or the right of us, or even 5 chairs down(Bigstuf Stuart Hall). Our actions and words should be lights to people who only know evil. Paul transitions to what it looks like to follow Christ and what to expect.
3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
At times it seems that good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. This passage reminds me that following Christ may come with some persecution, or tough days, but the hope and life found in Christ is totally worth it. Even if it means loosing everything just to gain Christ is worth it. I love that Paul mentions the holiness of scripture in this passage. That all scripture is God-breathed and useful. Isn’t that the truth.
Chapter 4
Paul’s final farewell to his son is an encouraging gift of wisdom, to go and preach the word, to encourage, rebuke and to guide others in the name of Christ. I am sure he waited until the end of his letter to say this for great reason. Some of the last words Paul will read and remember coming from his father are In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
It is a great reminder to all of us to do what is right in the Lords eyes.

1 Timothy 1-3 – By Brent

As I read this letter from Paul to Timothy it seemed to jump around a lot to random topics in no logical order.  But after reading these chapters a few times, it became clear that Paul is advising Timothy in choosing leadership at Ephesus.  Because most of us are aspiring leaders of the church, the rest of this blog will be my rendition of a letter from Timothy to all of us after he received this advice from Paul (obviously, this is only my imperfect interpretation):

            Timothy, an apostle of the Church and of Christ Jesus through God our Savior,

To all who aspire to be overseers and leaders of the Church:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I have been in constant prayer, as I urge you to be likewise, offering supplications and intercessions, and thanksgivings for all of you and other leaders in the Church.  And not just for the ones in authority over the Church, but all of those in authority over us, both locally and federally.  I pray that we may live peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way so that people may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, as our God and Savior desires.  For this purpose I have been appointed to be a leader in the Church, and this is your purpose as well.  Before you are appointed as leaders also, there are some things we must go over.

Do not be distracted or get carried away with useless arguments.  These arguments may appear at first to be “spiritual” and useful, but in the end do nothing but distract and divide.  Always be conscious of whether or not you are trying to make a point or a difference.  It can be very easy to be distracted with arguments that appear useful, such as arguments on Spiritual gifts, or predestination, or _____ (insert the argument of your choice), and lose sight of our purpose here!  And this is our purpose: love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  If you swerve from these, beware that your motivation to lead is not in the right place.  For without a pure heart, you may desire to be a leader, but only to be in authority, to appear intelligent, to be given power, or solely for the very honor of being a leader.  These wrong motivations can be very easy to slip into, so always be on the lookout, checking and testing your hearts to see if they’re pure.

It is never a waste of time to remind you all of this: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners like all of us.  And we received mercy so that in us, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who are to believe in him for eternal life, may God be the glory forever and ever.  Hold on to this, because this is the main thing.  If you get this, you are well on your way, because the foundation of all we do is a sincere faith.  From this sincere faith, comes a good conscience.  From our good consciences, comes a pure heart.  These pure hearts are required in order to lead the Bride of Christ effectively.  If you posses all of these things, you are already leading the Church, regardless of your position.

Hold yourselves at higher standards than you do others.  In the words of our Savior, “how can you expect to take the spec out of your brother or sister’s eye when you have a plank in your own?”  But once you have taken the plank from your eye, you can see clearly to help your brothers and sisters with their own eye problems.  Do your best to live holy lives, worthy of the gospel of Christ.

 

I love you all and will continue to be praying for every single one of you, that your work for the Kingdom may flourish.  I look forward to hearing all of the incredible things God is working out in all of you.  To Him be the glory forever and ever.

Timothy.

1 John 3:11-5:21 by Leo

I thought this was just such a fantastic bit of scripture!! John goes to the next level on what it means to love one another. in a brief summary, throughout the three chapters it is stated that us as Christ followers should show our love unto other people (Christian and non Christian).
 
Love can be shown in many different ways, but from what I observed in the reading John calls us to show our love by respecting our peers, God, and authority figures. He states in chapter 3 that sin is lawlessness. So not sinning would be respecting (following) laws. I think that is so important for us to hear. Although we aren’t criminals, we all break rules, so if we are called to love through respect, we should follow the laws given to us. John makes it very clear that people will notice if Christians live a life with minimal sin. In chapter 4 John tells us that we can tell who is from God by whether or not they act Christ like, and since Christ lived a sinless life we should try to be more like him, therefore sinning less. 
 
This all again ties into love. People will judge is as Christians for living our lives differently than they live theirs. In chapter 3 John says that others will judge us because of our love (respect; therefore lack of sin), but we know as Christ followers that only Gods judgement on us matters. I think Tom’s message on righteousness with love ties in Jett will with this scripture. Basically in his message it says that if we live our lives with love we will be closer to God, but if we are selfish and unloving we will sin and be farther from God. 
 
Chapter 5 is a perfect recap of the rest of the scripture. John calls us out as Christians, telling us that we do not love well enough, and that we can never love as much as God does. Because of this we should always be striving to love more. 
 
Eventually through our love for others, and hopefully our lack of sin we can reach others for Christ. That was John’s goal for us 2000 years ago, and it should still be our goal now.
 
PS sorry my blog was so late I was having WordPress issues and then got lazy on putting it up. I hope you all enjoy it!

2 John, 3 John, Jude by Herc Noblitt

These are 3 very short books in the Bible.  It’s kind of strange that such short letters were even chosen to be a part of the 27 New Testament books.  The message is pretty clear, however.

 

We are to love each other.  Jesus said it and it is repeated over and over in the other New Testament books.  The Christian life is all about LOVE…loving others and loving God.  

 

I don’t know anyone who would be against love; Christian or not.  But I think that what we have to be aware of and what John and Jude are both emphasizing is that to truly love correctly, the way God would want (not necessarily the way of culture), we must know the truth, the Word of God, the Bible.  We must be diligent in our study and understanding of who God is and what He is all about.  

 

As we learn more about Him, more about the Truth, as we trust Him more because we know His character and His promises, we will become better lovers of Him, others, and even ourselves.  

 

So on this last day of the 2013 Obternship, I want to thank you and encourage you.  This has been a rough summer for me.  I have been in a place where I never thought I would be.  I have not been around much for the last month.  It has not been easy.  But God is good.  He is my foundation.  He is my rock.  He is faithful.  He is our hope.  That is clearer now than ever before.

 

Yesterday, Sunday, was my best day by far in the last month.  It was good to be back at church, to see you guys and to be blessed by last night’s Edge Service.  You are Next Level.  I needed yesterday.  It was good for my soul.  It confirmed the importance of what is taking place at Oak Bridge.  Every week at our church, the Spirit of God is working and moving in the lives of broken people.  Every week we give people hope.  Every week we point people to JESUS, the HOPE BRINGER.  This is a broken world but Jesus is in our midst putting people and situations back together.

 

Many of you will be heading off to school within the next couple of weeks.  You have had a great summer.  You have been thermostats who have done great things for the Kingdom of God.  As John and Jude wrote, continue in love.  Continue to seek the truth.  Continue to be diligent in your faith.  Get involved in the right kind of community.  Make Jesus your number one priority.  It is SO IMPORTANT and SO WORTH IT!  You can have an ETERNAL impact on those around you.

 

Jude 24-25:

 

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

1 John 1-3:10 by Demsko.

1 John is a letter written by the apostle John to encourage Christians in their faith and in their walk with God. John starts by stating his credentials, the fact that he walked with Jesus, saw him heal people, listened to his teachings, saw him be crucified, met him after he arose from the dead, and also saw him ascend. John was with Jesus through it all, which very few people can claim.

John encourages us to keep walking in the light, which is God. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin (v.1:7).” Through walking in the light, we will always be made righteous because Jesus’ sacrifice for us. And while we continue to walk in the light and stay in fellowship with God, our desire to sin becomes less and less. We are the city on a hill that cannot be hidden.

John then moves on to love. “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him (v.2:4).” Love is so important, especially being a Christian. God IS love and if we follow Him, we should be loving others extravagantly–I know it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. “Love should be the unifying force and the identifying mark of the Christian community. Love is the key to walking in the light because we cannot grow spiritually while we hate others. Our growing relationship with God will result in growing relationships with others.” –so true! If we are not extending love towards God and others, then what does our faith really mean to us? (Make followers who in turn make followers). Yet I find myself not always be loving and open towards people I don’t know. It’s a process for me and a comfort zone that needs to be stepped out of, but is possible to do.

John then talks about not loving the things of the world. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world (v.2:15-16).” Loving things of the world will steal the joy from your heart. It’s no wonder that when I am down in Haiti I am so joyful and filled with the fullness of Christ because I am not focused on loving things of the world. I am focused on God and people. Serving God and loving people and I’m not worried about anything else. It can be that way for me in America too, but it’s harder because it’s easier to get distracted and conform to how media/society tells us to be happy. Doing things that honor God is eternal, but the things of the world will pass away.

I thought about this letter as I was reading it and I was so encouraged. Just the fact that SO many Christians were/are persecuted for their faith during and after Jesus’ life, yet still the Word of God is living and active today–that’s a miracle in itself. 2000 years later. People are being saved DAILY. You just can’t deny that.

We are not alone in our walk! I encourage you guys to stay in community as the internship ends so that you can remain encouraged and continue in your walk with God. He’ll do amazing things through you if you just are available to Him, as he did with John!

Love you all!

LD

2 Peter by Kayla

So First Peter was so great, I was an underlining, highlighting fool for those five chapters. It was all about encouragement and hope, loved it. Second Peter was written three years later (loved it too). The little outline/summary at the beginning said that these were his last words, a warning about false teachers. I’ve loved the outlines in the study Bible; I’ve never really read them before but it gives you a lot of good background info. Verse three is so cool, ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for life.’ This hit me pretty hard. I’m always trying to do things on my own, or trying to “get more stuff” but God has given me everything I need for life. Not just air or water but EVERYTHING! Verse four goes on to say, ‘Through that he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.’ Through Him we are born again and are able to live in the world but not of it. We are able to live and experience life to the fullest, with no regrets. Peter tells us that because of this we need to put our faith into action; we need to always be working on our faith and relationship with God. Putting our faith into action isn’t going to be easy but it is our responsibility and we should be doing it full heartedly. Putting our faith into action allows us to learn and grow in our faith. This is pretty neat because I think that’s what we’ve been doing this summer during the internship, putting our faith into action and serving one another and God.

I love this last part of the first chapter. Peter says, ‘So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.’ It kind of made me laugh (at myself) for a couple of reasons. One being that I am such a horrible reader, like I have to reread things a million times and then I still forget it, and he was just giving me a little reminder. And second because I literally need to be reminded every day of the promises, hope, and grace that God has given me through His word. He goes on to say that the Bible isn’t just stories told by some people but it is all God breathed. Peter talks about a ‘morning star that will rise in our hearts’ which I’ve never heard before and it kind of confused me and then I read those glorious little study notes at the bottom. Jesus is the morning star and when he returns he will BE the light but until then we have the Bible as a light and ‘the Holy Spirit to illuminate scripture for us and guide us as we seek the truth.’ I love how he describes Jesus as the morning star; I have such a cool image just painted in my mind right now! How cool is that day going to be?!?!?

Chapter two gets into the warnings about false teachers. I think we all understand what a false teacher is, but what we probably don’t understand or pay much attention to is that false teachers/teachings are everywhere, especially with television and the internet. Most of the shows, movies, books, and music today are full of false teachings that our culture is throwing at us; encouraging things that only lead to shame, regret and death. Both of the speakers last week at BigStuf did such an amazing job telling the students (and me) about these things and encouraging us to turn to God and not to the worldly things. Our culture makes sinning look so desirable and ‘free.’ I like verse nineteen, it says, ‘They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.’ The freedom that comes from believing in the Lord is that we are no longer slaves to our sin!

Chapter three wraps it up and Peter gives us a couple things to remember. Like verse eight, ‘but do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ I love that and it is another thing that I need to be reminded of daily; God is going to work everything out for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28)

I am so sad that this summer is coming to an end but so thankful for everything He has done through this internship. I’m so thankful for the amazing friendships that I have gained and for the way all of you have pushed me helped me grow in my relationship with Christ. So even though the internship is ending I pray that we don’t stop putting our faith into action, that we keep serving one another, and growing in our relationships with each other and God. I love you guys so much!!

-Kayla