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How to Fix the World (Ephesians 3:8-13)

Are you happy with the current state of the world? Do you wish things could change? Do you want the world to improve? Do you want to fix the world? In this study of Ephesians 3:8-13, we discover Paul’s solution for how to fix the world. It’s a shocking, challenging proposal, but it is the plan that God has put in place since the beginning of time, and it is the only plan that God has. There is no Plan B. Before we consider God’s Plan for How to Fix the World, we consider a question from a reader about Pentecostalism. Question from a Reader A new member of my discipleship group named John Redic recently sent in the following question. What is your analysis of Pentecostalism? How should the Azusa Street Revival and Movement be assessed and interpreted? I am not a fan of Pentecostalism. Don’t...

A Prisoner for Peace (Ephesians 3:1-7)

In Ephesians 2, Paul encouraged his readers to live in peace with people they used to hate. Since this is much easier said than done, Paul begins Ephesians 3 by showing how he himself is living in peace with those who used to be his enemies. Indeed, Paul is prison as a result of his stand for peace, but Paul knows that this will only serve to prove the truth of what he is teaching. Paul leads by example, just as we, the church, are to be an example to the world. This is what we begin to learn in this study of Ephesians 3:1-7. Prior to that, however, we consider a question from a reader about the traditional teaching on hell. Question from a Reader Hi, Jeremy! I would just like to ask because I still get anxiety over hell. What are we to do with testimonies about hell? Sometimes I think tha...

Superstition

Do you have a lucky number? Do you make a wish when you see a star fall or cross your fingers when you hope for something? Those are all little things that show you’re a little superstitious. But what is superstition? Believing in something supernatural that is different or derived from an existing ‘official’ belief is called superstition. All over the world people have forms of superstition that sometimes differ a lot and sometimes differ little from each other. Nearly everyone does something with it, maybe you too! Examples of superstitions Friday the 13th One of the most famous superstitions is that the number 13 is an unlucky number. Did you know that many buildings do not have a 13th floor and many hospitals do not have room 13? When the 13th falls on a Friday, it’s an unfortunate com...

What does God say about your future?

“You will be a millionaire next week!” Good news right? But how about, “You won’t live past the age of 35.” That’s a bit more scary. But you don’t get this message in the hospital, but from a fortune teller. And what do you do with this prediction for the future? Predicting the future is something that has been done for centuries. From a fortune teller with her crystal ball at the fair, to a psychic who reads tarot cards online. The ways in which people predict the future seem endless. Cultures also differ in their ways of predicting the future. For example, Romanian witches read about the future in wheat grains or your palm. In Russia, the future is predicted by dripping molten lead, tin or beeswax into water. They all think they can make an accurate prediction about the future. Sometimes...

Bijgeloof

Wat is bijgeloof? Heb je een geluksgetal? Doe je een wens als je een ster ziet vallen of kruis je je vingers als je op iets hoopt? Dat zijn allemaal kleine dingen die laten zien dat jij een beetje bijgelovig bent. Maar wat houdt bijgeloof in? Geloven in iets bovennatuurlijks wat anders is of sterk afwijkt van een bestaand ‘officieel’ geloof, noemt men bijgeloof. Overal op de wereld kennen mensen vormen van bijgeloof die soms veel en soms weinig van elkaar verschillen. In Nederland alleen al kennen we veel vormen van bijgeloof. Bijna iedereen doet er wel wat mee, misschien jij ook wel! Voorbeelden van bijgeloof Vrijdag de 13e Eén van de meest bekende bijgeloven is dat het getal 13 een ongeluksgetal is. Wist je dat veel gebouwen geen 13e verdieping hebben en veel ziekenhuizen geen kamer 13? ...

Jouw toekomst, wat zegt God er over?

“Jij wordt volgende week miljonair!” Goed nieuws toch? Maar wat dacht je van: “Je zal niet ouder worden dan 35 jaar.” Dat is dan toch even wat meer schrikken. Maar deze boodschap krijg je niet in het ziekenhuis maar bij een waarzegster. En wat doe je dan met deze toekomstvoorspelling? Toekomst voorspellen is iets wat al eeuwen gedaan wordt. Van een waarzegster met haar glazen bol op de kermis, tot een paragnost die online tarot kaarten leest. De manieren waarop men de toekomst voorspelt lijken eindeloos.  Culturen verschillen onderling ook in hun manieren. Zo lezen Roemeense heksen over de toekomst in tarwe korrels of je hand palm. In Rusland voorspelt men de toekomst door het druppelen van gesmolten lood, tin of bijenwas in water. Allemaal denken ze je een accurate voorspelling over ...

How Homeless Aliens Change the World (Ephesians 2:18-22)

Ephesians 2:18-22 is the final section in Ephesians 2 which shows us how God brings peace and unity to this world through the church. If we want peace and unity in this world, then it begins by living in peace and unity with other members of the family of God. Ephesians 2:18-22 shows us how this happens. Before we study this text, we consider a question from a reader about why he no longer senses God’s work in his life. Question from a Reader I’m 63 and I grew up in church. I used to do small things in the church. I would give out tracts and talk to people. I believe Jesus is the son of the living God and became human. I used to read my Bible all the time. But recently, I don’t get any spiritual understanding when I read the Bible. The Holy Spirit does not witness to me. I cry out to God t...

Vaccination Discrimination and Ephesians 2:13-17

Vaccinated or unvaccinated? Surprisingly, Ephesians 2:13-17 speaks to the issue. Sort of. In this study of Ephesians 2:13-17, we begin with a question from a reader about COVID vaccinations, and then turn to our ongoing study of Ephesians, where we discover that Jesus actually revealed to us what to do with people who have different views than we do, whether they are religious, political, social, or cultural differences, or even whether they are views about vaccination status. It’s going to be quite the study, so let’s dive in! We begin with a question from a reader about vaccination. Question from a Reader My pastor says that wearing a mask and getting a vaccine is a way to follow the command of Jesus to love my neighbor. I have some serious misgivings about the vaccine, but I want to fol...

Mindfulness | an invitation for rest

I hear a strange sound coming from my phone. Different from what I’m used to. I grab my phone out of curiosity. “Your average screen time last week was 2 hours and 38 minutes a day.” Wow. That much?! I let the numbers sink in. Of the 16 hours that I am awake on an average day, I apparently spent 15% on my phone. That’s so much! It’s also just bizar. In my head I’m pretty busy. I get overwhelmed by the tasks that I still have to do. My thoughts are everywhere except for where they should be. And I actually lost the overview. So how does that work with my phone? Apparently I do have time to spend about 18 hours a week on my phone. I did not realize that at all!  It is time for some change. Time to be more aware of how I spend my time.  But where do I start?  Mindfulness I grab...

​​What does Jesus say about prayer?

“I don’t want to be afraid anymore.”  “Life will bring you down, but you can choose to rise again.” Have you heard this quote before? No, this is not a statement from the Bible. It is from the blockbuster Karate Kid. A young guy moves to China and is bullied there. When he meets an old kung fu master, this man teaches him all the tricks of the martial art. He gives him confidence. By watching the master, by practicing a lot himself, he gets better and better. The most important lesson he learns: focus & always keep going! And strangely enough, that is exactly what we hear from Jesus about prayer. Let’s look at the “master of prayer” and find out how you can learn to pray. [embedded content] ‘Master’ Jesus about prayer; If you want to learn something well, you look to the master. T...

Famous people who pray

This list of famous people who pray will no doubt surprise you. You’ll see names that make you think, really?!  Do you feel like praying is something for dull, boring people? Not according to these worldwide famous artists and actors! Read here what place prayer occupies in their lives. Famous people who pray:  1. Matthew McConaughey A celebrity who certainly does not hide that he believes in Jesus is Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar, The Wolf in Wall Street). Even during his Oscar speech, he mostly thanked God. Prayer plays an important role in his life and helps him to remain standing in Hollywood. “What I love about prayer is that in that moment I am ‘just’ a child of God. Not that famous actor, not the husband of, not the father, but simply a man in conta...

Serenity Prayer

Do you recognize it? The feeling that it’s all a bit too much? The feeling that you are overwhelmed? That you just want to run and flee from a situation, cover yourself in blankets and forget everything? Pray this Serenity Prayer and let God help you. You are not alone! God is with you. He wants to give you his peace and rest. Do you want to pray but are you having a hard time coming up with words? Do you wonder how you should pray? Maybe this Serenity Prayer will help you. Serenity Prayer God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did...