1 Timothy 1-3 by Abbey Kriegel

1 Timothy 1-3 : Abbey Kriegel

Hey fellow Obterns! I know this is a tad late! I did my blog last year at BigStuf and thought I could accomplish it again because I didn’t have to lead but I just got too busy with helping Tracy and such and totally forgot to do the blog. Okay…there’s my explaining as if I needed to do that. So I love 1 and 2 Timothy–they are stinkin’ great!

1 Timothy 1–
I love 1 Timothy 1:12 –“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who have given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.” God used Paul despite Paul’s past and God uses us too.
But so often, I get blinded that I used to be so caught in sin, not being the woman I strive to be, or comparing myself to anything around me. Which ultimately steals my joy. I often think that I’ve done “too much” wrong that I can’t be “good enough”. This reminds me about Jon Acuff’s message during the second session of BigStuf about who we put in the lead of our story. When it’s not God, then it’s us trying to be the “enough” part. So we chase the sense of being enough and we never accomplish it. We aren’t supposed to accomplish it. Jesus is our enough.
And then we look at people like Paul and we actually connect to him. We connect to some of the major things that He did or the person He is. And like Paul-we should be thanking Jesus–that He showed us grace, gave us mercy, and pour those out abundantly. He took our place, once and for all. And here comes the beauty of this scripture (1 Timothy 1:15-17) Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. — And so trustworthy are those sentences!

1 Timothy 2–
In 1 Timothy 2 tells us about instructions on worship — our everyday living. Our goal should be to have a right relationship with God and others. It also talks about men and how they should “lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or dispute” and also talks about women “to dress modestly with decency and appropriateness (courtesy).” This was a good reminder for me to read on how I should be dressing and ultimately desiring to dress to respect brothers in Christ. The study notes talk about how it’s not a bad thing to want to look good ladies, however, to what degree should women take this advice. Paul reminds us that we should not be drawing attention to ourselves through this.
Ladies-remember that beauty begins on the inside. Ready for these study notes, too good! “A gentle, modest, loving character, gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by even the best cosmetics.” I mean that is so true. And I think as women it is so hard to not have insecurities and not want to try to be the most attractive, especially when the media and our world scream at us on how we are supposed to look. But, when we are keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and becoming how and who He wants us to be — a confident woman in Jesus — then that character does give light and it can’t be duplicated. That was a good read and reminder for me!

1 Timothy 3–

1 Timothy 3 ends with beautiful scripture. “Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
 was vindicated by the Spirit, (This shows the spirit’s power — His resurrection) 
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
 was taken up in glory.”
Such a mystery is true. But a beautiful mystery to be apart of. “As a man, Jesus lived a perfect life, and so He is a perfect example of how to live. As God, Jesus gives us power to do what is right.”

Thanks for reading y’all! Again, sorry it’s a tad late!

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Hebrews 3-4:13 by Kphilly

Hebrews 3-4:13 is a short read, so this is going to be quick and to the point.

Hebrews 3:6 says, “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” Because Christ lives in us as believers, we can remain courageous and hopeful to the end. We are not saved by being steadfast and firm in our faith, but rather our courage and hope do reveal that our faith is real. Without this enduring faithfulness, we could easily be blown away by the winds of temptation, false teaching, or persecution. To prevent having an unbelieving heart, stay in fellowship with other believers, talk daily about your mutual faith, be aware of the deceitfulness of sin, and encourage each other with love and concern. You may ask, “How do I do this?” and the answer is simple, join a small group and surround yourself with good community. Many people will admit that joining a small group was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made and I would have to agree with them. This past week at BigStuf (a summer camp for middle/high school students) all the students had small groups twice a day and some of the kids new one another before that week and some did not, but by the last day every student would tell you that their small group had encouraged one another and shown them love that some students may have never felt before. What am I trying to say? I am trying to tell you that while our courage and hope reveal our faith is real, it takes a community of people to keep a person from being blown away by the winds of temptation, false teaching, or persecution.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive an active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” I could say something on this, but the study notes sums this up best…The Word of God is not simply a collection of words from God, a vehicle for communicating ideas; it is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in us, with the incisiveness of a surgeon’s knife, God’s Word reveals who we are and what we are not. It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. The demands of God’s Word require decisions. We must not only listen to the Word; we must also let it shape our lives. God is constantly speaking to each and every one of us, while most of us continue on and ignore what he’s trying to tell us, for those that listen and make decisions their lives are changed for the better.

 

I hope y’all enjoyed the read 🙂 

[Hebrews 4:14-7:28] Christ is Enough!

Happy Monday fellow OBterns! I got the privilege of being assigned to some chapters of Hebrews that are such a great reminder that Jesus should ALWAYS be the center of our affection and attention. Here are three main points that really stuck out to me:

1. Christ is greater than EVERYTHING.
Throughout Hebrews,the author discusses how no high priest will ever surpass the greatness of Jesus. The author encourages his audience to see Jesus as so much greater than even the highest priest of the time. What I took this as is that we should see Jesus as so much greater than ANYTHING [school, parties, etc]. Coming off of Bigstuf a couple of days ago, our students and even we are feeling that Bigstuf high. This feeling makes us feel so close to God because our heads are filled with the truth that God’s way is greater than any other way. However, this feeling starts to fade once we start prioritizing worldly things over our Savior. There is a verse at the end of Hebrews 4 that encourages us to cling to our faith and to fight for Jesus, whom we know has saved us and been through the same temptation we have. [Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-160]

2. We don’t have to be perfect.
Hebrews 5:8-9 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
So we know that we should honor God before anything else. But sometimes we feel as if we aren’t worthy of doing so.
Thats all wrong. Jesus was made perfect and became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. Did that verse say he became eternal salvation for all who are perfect??? No! It said Jesus was made perfect so that we can be saved through him! And if thats not reassuring, I’m not sure what is. So we need to drop those standards for ourselves that say we have to be at a certain level of holy before we can approach God. God calls you to COME AS YOU ARE.

3. Train Hard and Run Well.
Hebrews 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
“we do not want you to become lazy”. Well thats a pretty high demand for a bunch of college age students. And not becoming extremely lazy when it comes to our faith can seem impossible, but the study notes for this verse say “Hope keeps the Christian from becoming lazy or feeling bored. Like an athlete, train hard and run well…” And then they say something profound, “… remembering the reward that lies ahead“.
I love this. Remember the reward that lies ahead. That reward being LOVE. PEACE. SALVATION. GRACE. MERCY. JOY. All of God’s promises! If you really do what the study notes say and remember the reward that lies ahead, there is no excuse for being lazy. Theres no excuse for not chasing after Jesus with your whole heart. Theres no excuses for putting anything before God.

CHRIST IS ENOUGH! That reward that lies ahead is ENOUGH! Theres no reason to get off that Bigstuf high! Keep reminding your students of the truth that there is nothing greater than the life God promises and that the end result is amazing. Lets keep ourselves and our students on fire.

Love you guys!
a bergs

Philemon by LD

So you’ve read Philemon and you might be thinking, “Dang, that was a quick read.” Maybe you’re wondering why God would even add the book Philemon to the Bible, because I was kind of wondering the same thing….until I looked deeper. I looked online for summaries and lessons learned from this letter sent to Philemon from Paul, in order to gain a better understanding.

In this letter, Paul starts off by thanking God for Philemon and all of the great work he is doing for the Lord through the love of Christ. He specifically states, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” He then goes to plea with Philemon to forgive Onesimus (Phil’s former slave who ran away from him). In his plea, he states that he could order him to forgive him (as another brother in Christ would make him accountable to forgive like Christ does for us). But, Paul even approaches his brother in Christ with LOVE (yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love 1:9). They say that Onesimus was not a Christ follower before Paul taught him the gospel. And now Paul is sending him back to Philemon, selflessly, with two expectations in return: for his heart to be refreshed in Christ and for Philemon to forgive Onesimus for running away. Can you imagine what Paul is asking of Philemon? Back in that day, running away from your slave owner put you in the path of death. If you were caught, you were most likely killed. Not only is Paul asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus for his actions, but he’s also asking that he work with him as a brother in Christ instead of treating him like a slave.

I’d have to say one of the hardest parts of being a Christ follower is forgiving people. Forgiving people who know they’re in the wrong, forgiving people who won’t admit they’re wrong, and forgiving people who never even knew that they did something wrong. It’s definitely not easy to do, as the world tells us everyone deserves to be treated for the actions they commit. But, can you imagine if God treated us this way? Thank Him that He doesn’t, because we would never have the chance to even have a relationship with Him if He didn’t forgive us DAILY.

Therefore, we should forgive daily. And not even forgiving others “for ourselves” so that we may be free, but forgiving for Christ. As we proclaim the good news of all that He is, people will find radical forgiving is something supernatural (as in, God like and God powerful). Something that they can’t explain. How about the Christ followers who forgave the doctor that dropped their baby at delivery causing a life-long disability? Talk about radical forgiving. Or the Christ followers who forgave the person who murdered their son? That’s supernatural.

Any kind of forgiving in your every day life can be radical. It doesn’t have to be drastic. Just what we would and should do as Christ followers. I am learning to forgive my dad daily as he can be very brutal sometimes. My hope is not that I become free out of the forgiveness, but that He would see something super powerful going on in my life (Jesus) that I am able to turn him the other cheek. For you will not change people by your opinions, but rather by your actions. The world’s watching.

Love,
LD.

Ps. Can’t wait to see, hear, and experience all of the life change that happened this week! Thanks for being kingdom bringers to the younger generation! You guys rock!!

Titus 1-3 by Michelle Kyle

Hey lovely people! So Bigstuf has been quite awesome, and I hope everyone has been able to witness how faithful God has been to us this week. To those of you who could not come I hope you are keeping up with your readings and such.

So Paul wrote Titus. As most of you have figured out.. Paul is a pretty sweet dude. I just wanted to point out that Paul calls himself a servant of God, and in other books he calls himself a prisoner in Christ. As followers of Jesus we are automatically put in chains. We will be persecuted. We will be mocked. The only way to overcome the pain of this world is to own the fact that Jesus is bigger than us and loves us more than we could ever imagine. If knowing and living a life for Jesus means death then I would rather die right now then not know Jesus.

Titus 1:10-11 “For there are many rebellious people full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of circumcision. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach-and that for the sake of dishonest gain”. I think this tells us that there will always be people that try to convince us that we are wrong. Some “Christians” think one thing and another thinks something else. A lot of what a Christian knows about Jesus is how they are taught it, Not everyone reads and studies the bible enough to understand things on their own and when faulty pastors are out there twisting Jesus’ words it makes our job of spreading the Gospel much more difficult.

Titus 1:15-16 “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure, In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” This part is pretty straight forward and blunt. If you do not believe in Jesus or believe his word then you are no good. It our society today it is so easy for children and adults to have corrupted minds, Social media, movies, music, etc. What we fill our minds with effects our heart. It is impossible to be completely pure but we can do a better job and guarding our hearts and our minds. Movies with sex scenes and bad language do not bring you closer to Jesus. There is nothing good about it, Sometimes entertainment gets in the way of living a pure life. I know that is something that I have struggled with. I do not want to fill my mind with dirty language and inappropriate movies that is close enough to being porn that it should not even be legal. On one of our trips last year Tom would not let us watch Pitch Perfect, and I did not really understand what the big problem was. I knew that some things were inappropriate, but I did not really think of how much it can mess with our minds and hearts.

Titus 2 is also somewhat about purity. Disciplining ourselves to be as pure as possible is a really hard concept. It talks about slaves being respectful to their masters and do not talk to them. This is crazy to me because I do not treat my parents with the respect they deserve, and I was never their slave. They love me and have given me so much, but i have caught myself so many times being so rude. The second part of 2:10 says that the teachings on God should be attractive. People should see Jesus in the way you live your life and be attracted to that lifestyle. 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people, It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to love self-controlled..” Just say no.

Titus 3 is all about devoting ourselves to doing good and avoiding foolish controversies. 3:10-11 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” We can only do so much to help a person find and get closer to Jesus, but at some point we have to let them make the decision for themselves. We plant the seed and be the influence they need in their life.

Well that is all I have guys. Love you!!

READ! Because 2 Timothy is awesome!

So I know a majority of you are on the beach, takin selfies, beating the bigstuf interns in volleyball, and getting sweet one piece tan lines. But here me out on this blog ya’ll! Actually, hear Paul out. Because this here is my favorite book in the entire bible! And lucky me, I was able to blog about it. So lets dive in.

This letter to Timothy is all about encouragement. That is one reason why it’s my absolute fav. A little background behind this letter: This was the last letter written by Paul before he died. Paul was in prison in Rome at the time and had lost a lot of his followers. He was writing this letter to Timothy (a pastor in Asia minor) to encourage him to follow in the way of the Lord.

So, here is paul, in prision and knowing death is near, yet check on the first chapter! He simply starts by letting Timothy know how important he is to Paul. You see this when Paul acknowledges him as his son (vs 2), and when he is telling him how thankful he is to God for him and that he’s praying for him. Who wouldn’t be encouraged by that? but he doesn’t stop there. He continues by saying he is longing for him and how he is reminded of his sincere faith.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – 1:7

This verse has pushed me through some tough decisions, always reminding me that the spirit lives within me and that means timidity does not live within me, but power, love, and self-discipline does!! Those words are enough to change how you live! With that being said, the next verse goes into not being ashamed to share our faith. We already know our spirit is not timid..so why are we so afraid to share our faith? Well I would go as far to say we are not walking in the Spirit when we make that decision. So pray everyday that you would be walking in the spirit, and what could possibly go against that power? That’s right, nothing!

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. -2:1

What a powerful statement, that is hard to live out every single day (can only speak for myself). We are human. When we follow the Lord, our sin becomes more exposed in our lives. Unfortunately for us, the world tells us that forgiveness is hard, and that it is often easy to be bitter to those who have wronged us. With that being said, we put that mindset on God. Thinking there is no possible way He could have forgiven us for all the junk in my life. Junk that I have been to ashamed to even talk about. Well this verse brings that into the light, reminding me that GOD IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. Our struggles are not his struggles because he is over all of them. So for us to put a worldly standard on God, is us belittling Him. “Be strong in the grace…” be confident and assured every single day that Jesus died for you! Don’t allow yourself to put worldly standards on God any longer. THAT is the gospel. Man, I love this stuff.

Speaking of the gospel. Paul literally sums it all up in one simple verse. So of any “life verse” or verse to memorize..this should be it. Because this is what we as Christians strive everyday to live our lives by. Ready for it?

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel. -2:8

Paul explains that this is the very gospel that he is in chains for, but he goes on in saying that even though he is in chains God’s word isn’t. This all speaks for itself. Paul is one imperfect person in chains for teaching the perfect Gospel. That is exactly who we are, and exactly what God has entrusted to us. Pretty exciting stuff, right?

If we died with him, we will also live with him. If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us. If we are faithless, he will remain faithful. For he cannot disown himself. -2:11-13

So…if we die with him, we live? if we endure, we will reign? If we disown him, he will disown us? Pattern seems pretty typical right? NO. If we are faithless God will be faithless? Not a chance. God is always faithful. Good stuff.

All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. -3:16-17

Remember this truth this week as you pour into these middle school and high schoolers! This is the very reason why we are taught the discipline of being in the word and reading about our God. We have been equipped for every good work. Now it is our turn to equip others! The Lord promises an crown of righteousness for all those who are longing for his presence (vs 4:8). Paul encourages Timothy, and ultimately all of us, to run the race. And when we run a race, we are in it to win the prize. And when we are in something to win, we don’t do it half heartily. We go into it equip, we go into it with others, we thrive off of those around us who are headed for the same prize, we run hard and fast through the obstacles because we know what is ahead, and most importantly we have faith that what has been promised will be given. Hold on to God’s promises today. Allow Paul’s encouragement to Timothy, be an encouragement to you as well.

This is the same God you guys get to see up close and personal this week through the kids, worship, and beach time. Soak it all in 🙂

 

Magalicious

 

 

 

2 Thessalonians: 10 reasons why Obama is the Anitchrist

Just kidding! I was thinking that the blogs might not be as popular as at the start of summer, so I needed a eye catching title to draw you guys in. I’m on a bus with a bunch of 9th graders so it’s a little hard to concentrate, so this is going to be short.

When I first saw that I was going to be blogging on 2 Thessalonians, the first thing I thought was, “What the heck am I going to blog about 2 Thessalonians? 2/3rds of the book is about end times and the ‘man of lawlessness’.” But after reading through it, a few things stood out to me that I thought would be good to point out and for us to focus on for a little.

1) Notice how genuinely thankful Paul is for these Christians in Thessalonica. Reading through it, you get the sense that he really loves these people, and is protective of them like a father. We should have this sort of love, thankfulness and jealousy for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be this eager to build up our brothers and sisters, this ready to protect them from lies of the devil, and this ready to encourage them along in their journey.

2) Notice how earnestly Paul speaks about the end times. This is something I notice a lot about New Testament books that I can’t say I reflect in my own life. There’s an appropriate focus put on the last days. Jesus died to save us from our sins, which were going to separate us forever from our Creator in death. He’s coming back, and we’re all getting closer to our last day. That may sound very morbid, and I don’t want to bum anyone out; quite the opposite! This is why we’re here. This is why we believe what we believe. We’re here on earth, so our responsibility right now is to make famous the name of Jesus and to spread the gospel. But, the goal of our faith is our salvation (1 Peter 1:9). This is the hope that we have! This is the hope that enables us to love those who persecute us. This is the hope that enables us to abandon our comfort zones and seek first the advancement of the kingdom. If our focus isn’t on this hope, then we’re in danger of living our lives for the world.

3) Notice how urgently Paul treats his mission of advancing the gospel. Chapter 3, verse 1: Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. In my ESV, it says “pray that the gospel may speed ahead”. He takes his mission extremely seriously. But he also opens up the opportunity for ministry to these Thessalonians: he tells them to pray. Praying is not a passive activity; the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16). We should be treating our mission just as eagerly: we are just as close (actually closer) to the end than Paul was, our gospel is the same gospel as his, and the world is still in deep darkness and in need of the gospel just as it was in Paul’s day. Let’s treat it with the proper respect and urgency it deserves.

We’ve got the perfect opportunity to focus on all these things. Y’all have been doing an awesome job of bringing the kingdom down in tangible ways. Let’s keep it up! We should be thankful for the kids we have been put in charge of this week, and we should be as protective and zealous for them as Paul was. We’ve got an urgent mission, but our mission is simple. We get to love. So go love these kids. Point them to Jesus at every chance you get. Pray for them. Pray for the other leaders. And God will be doing the work He’s always doing: drawing them towards himself and changing hearts.

Have a great BigStuf everyone!
Peace.