May 16, 2017

Today you should read: Colossians 4

The apostle Paul concludes his letter to the church of Colosse with specific instructions to these 10 people and the “brothers” at Laodicea.

Tychicus

Onesimus

Aristarchus

Mark

Jesus/Justus

Epaphrus

Luke

Demas

Brothers at Laodicea

Nympha & the church in her house

Archippus

Based off what was said, we know that these are not just surface level friendships but true burden bearing, life-giving friendships and partnerships in the Gospel. Before getting personal with these individuals the apostle Paul addresses 3 very important things in verses 2-6.

First, he talks about the importance of prayer (v. 2). He encourages us to never give up on prayer and that we start with, continue with, and end with prayer when reaching out to others. We know that not only does God move when we pray but that we also change when we are spending that type of intimate time with our Heavenly Father.

Second, we see how our everyday actions and words matter with others (v. 5a, 6). We are to live our lives, always remembering our Gospel witness in what we say and do. We are to live in such a way that points people to Jesus, not away from Him, and many of us can do one or the other through our words or actions.

Lastly, we are to make the most of every opportunity to share the Gospel (v. 5b, 3-4). This is having a missionary mindset, to maximize every chance we are given to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Out of the three (prayer, actions & words, making the most of every opportunity for the Gospel), which do you struggle with the most? How can we help you as a church to take steps in that area? Please leave a comment below so we can encourage you in it.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

May 15, 2017

Today you should read: Colossians 3

There is a lot going on in this passage, so we are going to focus in on the first couple of verses. Paul is transitioning to a period of addressing the Colossians about how they are to live in a manner pleasing to the Lord. This chapter starts with Paul calling out Christ followers—people who know Jesus and have new life through Him. He tells Christ followers to seek the things above. Paul is referring to the truth that the world is broken and deceitful. So as someone who knows Jesus we should not be focused on what will have no benefit for our life. Yet we do it every day. We see the temporal things that will fade and not have any eternal impact and for one reason or another we allow those things to consume our attention.

Paul is directing believers to pursue a deeper knowledge and understanding of Jesus rather than the worldly things that have no value. Paul goes on to remind us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God. Which means that Jesus is in a position of authority that allows Him to intercede on our behalf. So the question that I ask myself is “why on earth am I so focused on things of this earth instead of the things above?” Just as Paul is telling the Colossians to examine this in their life, we as Christ followers also need to take this truth and examine our life and see if we are truly focused on things that are above.

By: Dakota Gragg — Student Ministry Associate

May 13, 2017

Today you should read: Colossians 2

Quick recap of what you learned in the introduction to Colossians from yesterday:

Author: Paul & Timothy
Written To: a young church, planted by one of their disciples (Epaphras)
Date: 60-62 A.D.: around the same time as Philemon, Philippians, Ephesians, while Paul was imprisoned (often called the “prison letters”)
Theme: 1/2 Theological, 1/2 Practical

Today, we pick up in chapter two, in which Paul/Timothy express their pastoral hearts and their affection for the Colossian believers. Chapter one deals with a lot of big theological truths (which are affirmed in many verses), but it also deals with some awesome implications of the gospel to those who believe in Christ. It reflects the same idea given in 2 Corinthians 5:17, that new things come because of Jesus, and old things certainly pass away. Here’s what I saw (and what really ministered to me as I studied the passage) that are promised to us when we come into a relationship with Jesus:

NEW LIFE (2:6, 13-14) — We don’t follow ourselves or our selfish path anymore! We get to follow Jesus just as we received Him: in a life of repentance and faith.

• NEW PRESENCE (2:9-10) — We now have union with Christ! Christ lives in us. We receive the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 6:19) because we have a relationship with Christ. Jesus is Immanuel: God with us (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23).

• NEW POWER (2:7, 12-15) — No more striving on our own strength. We grow strong in the truth because the resurrected Christ gives us His power!

What a rich reading! What did the Lord teach you? Anything in correlation to the current teaching series (The Resurrection Changes Everything)? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor

May 12, 2017

Today you should read: Colossians 1

Welcome to a quick read through the book of Colossians.  We’ve been studying chapters 3-4 pretty closely over the last few weeks in our series on how the Resurrection Changes Relationships.

Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul from his prison cell in Rome during his first imprisonment there.  Timothy was there assisting him – now that’s discipleship in action!  It was written sometime in the Spring of AD 57 – that’s about 23 years or so after Jesus’ death.

The letter was written to the church in Colossae located about 12 miles below Laodicea near the well-traveled road from Ephesus to the Euphrates river.  Colossae was a trade city known for making dark red wool known as colossinum.  Philemon lived there – the church was in his house. Epaphras was the founder of the church.  Colossae is in ruins today due to a severe earthquake in AD 60 and decline.

Paul is writing to the church to address doctrinal issues and practical living in the real world.  In the rich introduction, Paul expresses his desire for this young church, and for the believers in it.

You can tell by verses 3-5 that these new converts are growing and taking root.  What changed them of course, is the Gospel (v. 6).  Paul’s prayer for the fledgling church is for them to have complete knowledge of God’s will, spiritual wisdom, and understand. (v. 9)  These are great things for us to pray for as well and to ask God to give to our disciplees.  The strength for these comes from His glorious power (v. 11).

All this comes through the wonderful gift of salvation.

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (v.13-14)

Verses 15 and following remind us that Christ is the image of the invisible God, that He existed before creation and created everything by His word. He holds everything together and through His death He reconciled us to Himself.  He exhorts the church to continue to be faithful (v. 22) and to stand firm in what they believe.

By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor