What Jesus Said About: Life After Death

Day of Discovery has a series of videos called “What Jesus Said About…” and the names include topics such as “Suffering”, “Following Him”, “Resurrection”, and many more. The topic today, April 9, 2017 is “Life After Death”. How do we know that Jesus’ claim about eternal life is true or simply wishful thinking? Have you ever had any doubts about Jesus’ claims even though you have a strong Christian faith? The participants in this session discuss and examine Jesus’ promises not just in an academic way, but also in a personal way.

Today is the beginning of Holy Week in the life of the Christian Church, and we know that the one feature that makes our faith unique among the religions of the world is the physical death followed by a bodily resurrection of Jesus. When someone among us “passes over” it is sometimes hard for us to apply the notion of resurrection to the situation, and today’s video deals with that in a somewhat “gritty”, but helpful way. When the going is tough for us here on earth it is often hard to remember God’s promises and to have faith enough to rely on them for comfort.

We have already seen some of the videos in this series and are familiar with several of these narrators who add so much to our understanding by explaining things from their own perspective of study and experience. Dallas Willard, Darrell Bock, Nancy Pearcey, and Gary Habermas are a few of the 10 participants along with Mart DeHaan who lead us. Through these discussions we discover answers to our deepest questions about eternity and why we can believe and rely on the words and promises of Jesus.

“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.”
– Jesus (John 5:24 NLT)

Here is a link to the video we watched today.

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Peter, a Fragile Stone – Part 3

Today, April 2, 2017 we watched the third of a four-part story about Jesus’ disciple, Peter. It is a Day of Discovery video and our leader on this trip is singer and songwriter, Michael Card, who takes us to Jerusalem for the final days before Jesus’ crucifixion. We learn a lot about Peter… and about ourselves.

In this episode, we learn quite a lot from Michael Card about ancient customs, specifically about eating meals. The image of the Last Supper, usually depicted in paintings as Jesus and His disciples seated or standing along one side of a very long table, is carefully reconstructed for us in terms of how meals were eaten in that day and the importance of the positioning of the guests. Instead of using upright chairs, as we use today, meals were eaten in a reclined position with each guest’s physical position around the table having significance as it relates to the host. On the occasion of the Last Supper it is interesting that in a peculiar way Jesus is both the host and the “guest of honor”.

Peter demonstrates his impetuousness at various times throughout these few days, is rebuked several times by Jesus, but keeps going on and trying his best with the limited understanding that he has. Sometimes he is confused, sometimes he just goes over the top showing his love for the Savior, but always being genuine. Somewhere in there I suspect we can all relate to Peter’s responses.

Next week we will learn about “What Jesus Said About: Life After Death”. It is a look not only of his Easter Resurrection, but also what that resurrection means for us today.

Here is a link to the video we watched today.

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Peter, a Fragile Stone – Part 2

Today, March 26, 2017 we watched the second of a four-part story about Jesus’ disciple, Peter. It is a Day of Discovery video and our leaders on this trip are singer and songwriter, Michael Card, who takes us to the Sea of Galilee, to Peter’s house, and to the places he frequented.

In part 1, Michael said that “the best way to get to know someone is to get to know their best friend.” Peter may have been Jesus’ best friend and we are following the life of Peter. He was from Galilee and we are wrapping up this portion of the journey and getting ready to leave this area to follow him to Jerusalem. Peter felt quite out of place in Jerusalem but before we leave, Michael Card shares some of his thoughts and insights of the Galilee.

The Sea of Galilee (really a fresh water lake) is about 64 square miles in area and 141 feet deep. For comparison, Lake Tahoe is 191 square miles in area and 1,640 feet deep. The Sea of Galilee is also the second lowest lake in the world except for the Dead Sea. The Jordan River flows from north to south and travels right through the lake which also has some springs to keep it full.

Listening to Michael Card’s impressions of Peter was interesting for me because I know what it is like to exactly “follow in someone’s footsteps”. You get to know how they think, how they would make decisions, and what their next move might be. It is a type of personal learning that can never be obtained from a book, or even the Bible. There is nothing like being there, in the exact spot, to learn about someone.

Jesus’ call to Peter and to the disciples was “come, follow Me…” After two thousand years it is the same call that He makes to each of us. It is so easy to say but sometimes so very hard to do. We can learn a lot from Peter about his successes and failures during his journey of trust.

Here is a link to the video we watched today.

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Peter, a Fragile Stone – Part 1

Today, March 19, 2017 we watched the first of a four-part story about Jesus’ disciple, Peter. It is a Day of Discovery video and our leaders on this trip are singer and songwriter, Michael Card, and bible teacher and tour guide, Avner Bosky, who take us to the Sea of Galilee.

The Apostle Peter may have been the most outspoken of the twelve apostles in Jesus’ ministry on earth, but in any case he certainly became one of the boldest witnesses for the faith. He was born about 1 B.C., died sometime around A.D. 67, and may have been Jesus’ best friend.

Peter’s original name was Simon, but it was Jesus Who changed Peter’s name. Peter means “rock” or literally Petra. He was a Galilean fisherman, was the brother of Andrew, and they both came from the village of Bethsaida. Peter was also a follower of John the Baptist, and was probably the very first disciple that Jesus called along with Andrew.

After Jesus left Nazareth he went to Capernaum to live with Peter, Peter’s wife and mother in law in a house… the same house where the crippled man was lowered through the ceiling to be healed by Jesus. It was Jesus’ only earthly home during his adult ministry, and Michael and Avner take us there.

Jesus’ call to Peter and to the disciples was “come, follow Me…” After two thousand years it is the same call that He makes to each of us. It is so easy to say but sometimes so very hard to do. We can learn a lot from Peter about his successes and failures during his journey of trust.

Here is a link to the video we watched today.

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Motives – Interesting Observations about Pride

Today, March 12, 2017 we listened to another conversation by the Discover the Word team about “Motives – Interesting Observations about Pride”. It is far easier for us to question someone else’s motives than it is to recognize those same motives in our own lives. That’s because prideful-ness in our own lives can show up in the most unlikely of ways, is largely invisible to us, and can even paint our ugliness in sin as beautiful and commendable.

The basis of the conversation is from Matthew chapters 6 and 23 that “the motives behind our acts of piety are not meant to be seen by other people to receive their praise, but they should be done in secret so that our Father in heaven will reward us openly” (my paraphrase). If what we do is seen then it should be seen for its purpose (honoring to God) and not for its display (honoring to us).

What is your motive… is it to be seen to give an impression of our humbleness, or is it to carry out your mission honoring God with the mission he has given you? I think that was Jesus’ gripe with the Pharisees. It wasn’t so much what they said, but why and how they said it. On the other hand, we can appear humble by purposely telling others, for example, not to call us by a certain title. By insisting on that infers that we are such a humble and gracious person.

Someone who carries a big bible may not be doing it for show, but doing it because they need to read the larger print. Ultimately, we need to ask ourselves “why I am doing this?” We are accountable to God and no one else. If we are outsiders looking at what someone else does we cannot judge them by what they do, because only God knows their heart and the reason they are doing it.

These are good observations for us to be aware of daily, and we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us recognize them.

Here is the link to today’s conversation.

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Random class discussion

Today, February 19, 2017 we carried on a class discussion based on today’s “Guardrails: Anger” sermon. Sometimes enough sermon discussion is generated (and catching up with one another’s lives) that it actually becomes our lesson for the day.

Tim Burchill’s sermon today addressed the issue of anger and the magnitude of it on a daily basis at many moments throughout our day. First, we recognize it in our own lives… although we don’t like to admit it. We see it sometimes when we are standing in line when some unhappy person unleashes on the clerk for some absurd reason. We see it in the media and particularly in social media. Anger seems to have become more acceptable these past few years, although all of us hate it.

So, how do we change or at least handle the situation? We can wait for everyone else to change and become nice, or we can do our part by applying God’s grace and love when a situation arises. Not that every situation will resolve as we would like, but we can do what we can… in the moment that we have… in the best way that we can. It starts with us.

I’m not sure how long this link will be valid, but here is the link to today’s 8:45 am church service. The sermon starts at about the 40:30 mark: https://livestream.com/3umc/events/7027040/videos/149867274

Also, a reminder that there will be no class next Sunday (Feb 26) because of an all church conversation at 10:00 am in Fellowship Hall

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For Valentine’s Day: A Letter from Fred

Today, February 12, 2017… the Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we watched a touching video that demonstrates the true values of this holiday. “A Letter from Fred” is a 40-minute documentary of the love that Fred and Lorraine Stobaugh shared for 75 years.

They lived in north central Illinois and fairly recently Lorraine passed away. This video is the story that was 96 years in the making, showing us that everyone has a story to tell and that it is never too late to tell it. It involves some chart-topping songs and interaction with Jr. High students (and their educators) that seemed life changing for them.

All of this would not have been possible without newly formed Green Shoe Studio who recognized the importance of Fred’s story, made his songs come to life, and documented it all… without any spin on their part. Fred’s stories stand on their own. Moreover, Green Shoe did it without any budget! The power of this video demonstrates what can happen when people take the time to listen and to help one another. Thank you, Green Shoe Studio! (their Facebook page).

Fred died late in November 2016, but his story lives on and is inspirational to millions of people. Whom do you know with a story? What story of your own do you have? As a storyteller myself I can only encourage you to preserve these stories in some way. Generally, the stories that come to our attention are from someone famous. However, the best ones come from people just like us… “Extraordinary Stories from Ordinary People”.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

Here is a link to the video that we watched today.

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