Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jesus All Over

My best friend from Jr.High School was Jewish. I remember her family celebrating things like Yom-Kippur and Hanukkah. I remember them praying and singing in Hebrew, fasting, and making weird food on Friday nights. I remember going to temple with her, and feeling so religious, so close to God even though I had no idea what their Rabbi was saying or why they read their bibles in the wrong direction.

Now I study through Leviticus and I see. I see how devout they were. I see why they practiced their traditions so closely. I see what Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur meant to them (it wasn’t just a funny word or weird holiday). I also see why I was allowed to watch and not fully participate. I was there, but not really invited.

You know what else I see?


I see Christ and I recognize that through the cross, as a Gentile (not a Jew), I not only get invited in, I get grafted in.

I read through Leviticus with new eyes . . . eyes that appreciate what my Jewish friend’s family showed me, but eyes that see beyond just tradition . . . eyes that see Jesus, the Holy root. The one who came to fulfill the law. The One whom these traditions, celebrations, feasts, offerings, all foreshadowed.

See for yourself. Look at the words that were repeated or stated in this book:

Without blemish
Pleasing aroma
Anointed priest
In place of
Bear his iniquity
Become holy
Washed with water
Holy crown
Holy place
Inside the veil
Mercy seat

Do you see Him too?

Jesus is all of these things. He is our High Priest, He is our offering, His blood is our atonement, a pleasing aroma, God’s firstfruits, He is our sacrifice, His death is in place of ours, He bore our iniquity, our flesh was unclean, He washed us with Living Water, restored us, consecrated us, sanctified us, invites us to dwell in the Holy place, tore the veil, redeemed us, blessed us in the New Covenant.

Jesus is all over Leviticus. Thankful to see, and thankful to be grafted in . . .

“Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” (Hebrews 7:26)

“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”
(Romans 11:17-18)

Saturday, January 19, 2013


{The Birth of Israel. Power of God. Laws & Worship. No Other Gods}

God cares about His people. He provides freedom for the people of Israel in powerful ways, and within chapters the people are grumbling. He gives laws and rules to worship, and the people are so impatient they create their own worship service to a golden calf.

And again, our God is just, but also relents and shows grace and mercy.

I can't tell you how much I relate to the people of Israel in this book. Sadly, how often has God done something huge, amazing, or wonderful in my life and within moments I've taken my eyes off of what IS and focused on what is NOT instead?

Why? Why can't I remember? His goodness? His grace? His power?

Instead I become impatient and ungrateful.

Oh God, help me . . . help us. We are too often like Israel who is impatient, ungrateful, proud, and sinful. Save us from ourselves, oh LORD, and help us meditate on your goodness instead.

Application Questions
1. Ch.3-4: Moses is called by God, for God’s purposes. Instead of accepting the call he lists reasons of insecurity, inadequacy, and fear. Are there things you know God has called you to do that you’re not doing because of insecurity or fear?

2. Ch.7-12 You see God do miraculous things and Pharaoh continues to harden his heart. Are there areas of your heart that are hardened, despite all the things God has done to prove His power?

3. Ch.14-16: God shows His power by parting the Red Sea and destroying Israel’s enemy. And just 2 chapters later, the people are grumbling again. When have you grumbled against God?

4. Ch.18: Moses gets counsel from Jethro, his father in-law and does what he says. Wise men seek counsel from other wise men. Who do you seek counsel from? Is there someone in your life discipling you in the ways of the LORD?

5. Ch.20-31 Over and over you see God bring up the Sabbath in his law. There is pattern of work and rest. Do you honor the Sabbath? Do you regularly slow down to delight in the LORD and rest?

6. Ch.32: Moses is getting specific instructions from the LORD on how to worship properly. Meanwhile, Aaron and the people are creating their own worship service according to their own desires. Are their things in your life you do according to your own understanding/desires, not God’s way? Do you go to God’s word for instruction, direction, and guidance in how you do church? Life?

7. Ch. 33: Moses intercedes for the people and prays that God would not destroy everyone. God relents. Do you regularly intercede for others? How often do you pray for God to intervene and save lost friends, family members, neighbors?

8. Towards the end of the book, you see the people of Israel contributing their time, talent, or treasure to help build the tabernacle. Do you contribute to the work of the LORD? Where are you giving your time, your talents, or you treasures for His kingdom?

To hear the sermon on Exodus & download the chart, click here: The Well Community Church


Theme: Israel's Roots

When I think of Genesis I think origin, creation, or beginning. GREEN

Genesis can easily be divided into 2 parts: Planks & Patriarchs

Planks: The foundation of our faith {Ch.1-11}

Patriarchs: The fathers of our faith {Ch.12-50}

Often when we read through the Old Testament we think of God as being a God of wrath and judgment, not grace and mercy.

Mercy: Not giving what you DO deserve
Grace: Giving what you DON'T deserve

Genesis 3
God speaks.
Satan tempts.
Adam & Eve sin.
God gives mercy and grace.
He told Adam & Eve not to eat of the fruit . . . they did anyway. God told them it would lead to death. While sin does ultimately lead to death, Adam & Eve did not die right there (mercy). Instead, you see God sacrifice animals on their behalf and God gives them coverings (grace).

I continued to see this pattern throughout the book . . . mercy & grace everywhere. All the way until the end, the story of Joseph. His brothers sell him to slavery and when they're finally reunited, Joseph not only withholds judgment (mercy) but lavishes his brothers with love and goods (grace).

I think one of the most powerful verses in this book is in Genesis 15:6. God makes a covenant with Abraham, promising land, seed, and blessing. “And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Before any of this is fulfilled, Abraham believes. And it’s His belief in the promise of God, the character of God, that makes him righteous. Abraham sleeps with Hagar.
He believes first, is made righteous, and then sins.

This is so POWERFUL for us to remember! It is not our actions that make us right with God, it is our belief. Abraham was made righteous at the point of belief. He was not chosen because of his actions (good or bad) but because of his faith.

God moved first. God called Abraham. God made the covenant. God declared him righteous.

As you watch the rest of the story unfold . . . you see this pattern over and over.

God doesn't choose the “good one”, the better one, the first one. He chooses whom He chooses. And often they are not the one we would choose.

Why would God choose Jacob over Esau? Because then God gets all of the glory for making Jacob a new man.

Why would God allow Christ to come from the line of Judah, a hypocritical adulterer, instead of Joseph a faithful, gracious servant? Because God gets all the glory for choosing the scandalous, the sinful, the shady lineage and making it righteous through Christ.

That’s our God. Here in Genesis. The God who chooses relents, who is gracious, who is merciful, who is just, and who keeps His covenant.

Through Genesis, God has made it clear:
In the beginning, God . . . (Genesis 1:1) it starts with Him, through Him, for Him, by Him. It's all about God, the Creator and Sustainer.

Christ was the plan from the beginning (Genesis 3:15)

God chooses, God calls, God promises. (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob)

God is Creator, Initiator, Redeemer. He is just, merciful, and gracious.

Application Questions
1. Genesis 15:6 God declared Abraham righteous at the point of belief. How does this change your view of attaining righteousness? Sin? Grace?

2. Sarah laughs at God in disbelief. Has there been a time when you’ve laughed at God in disbelief?

3. Isaac, the son laid on the altar to sacrifice was Abraham’s prized possession. Are there things getting in the way of you loving God the most? Things you need to lay on the altar to make God your most prized possession?

4. Jacob wrestles with God through the night. It is then that Jacob finally encounters God and God gives him a new name Israel. When have you truly wrestled with and encountered God? Have you truly accepted your new identity in Christ?

5. Joseph was beaten, thrown in a pit and left to die, and then sold into slavery by his brothers and yet he was able to forgive and lavish love upon them. Are there people in your life you need to forgive for much less?

Visit our church's website to hear the sermon & download the chart: The Well Community Church

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bible In a Year

We have a unique opportunity this year! Our church The Well is teaching through the Bible in a year.

So a group of us ladies are going for it! We have decided in our book club and life group that rather than read outside authors, we'll read the bible as our literature this year.

Our goal is to read through the Old Testament by June. We will be reading the Torah together, then read it chronologically from there. It will be about 4-5 chapters a day. A chapter in the bible is equivalent to about a page in a regular book. So think just 4-5 pages a day?! That's TOTALLY doable!

We are going to read about a book a week. Here's a rough outline of what it might look like:

1/13 Genesis
1/20 Exodus
1/27 Leviticus
2/3 Numbers
2/10 Deuteronomy

So we'll have the Torah read by February!

I'll post updates on the blog as to the reading schedule and insights I'm gleaning.

Now I know you're asking yourself, what?! Why?! That's crazy! Why even try??

Here's why:

1. You can't grow in your relationship with the LORD apart from His word and apart from community. It is the closest thing we'll get this side of heaven of to being in His presence! Spending time in His word and seeking Him in prayer will deepen your relationship and spur you on in life.

2. You can't do it alone. We've created a group on Facebook that will hold each other accountable and meet monthly to discuss. Even if you don't live near, the group on Facebook will help!

3. We can follow along with the church: The Well I'm not a big "read the bible in a year" person but I don't when else our church will teach like this? What an opportunity to have devoted & dedicated teachers explaining the text to us.

4. You will read it differently. You're not studying the book of James for 6 months. You're getting a big picture overview, reading the bible as a book/magazine. Let go of the pressure to study deeply ever single chapter and read it as the story of God's redeeming love for His people. It's all about JESUS.

5. It's the bible. It's the Living Word of God! Jesus is the Word made flesh! We are spending time with the LORD daily . . . what more do we need??

I'll also participate in memorizing scripture on Beth Moore's blog this year too. The details are here: Living Proof Ministries I'll be looking for Christ as I read through the Old Testament and memorizing verses as they pop up!

Let me know if you'd like to join. We can do this! Today is the day!