Episode 70

Disciple Up # 70

How to Overcome Resistance & Do What God Calls You to Do.

By Louie Marsh, 8-22-2018

Give-A-Way – Grasshopper Myth – available to the first person who e-mails me at louie@discipleup.org.

1:17a: Get to work – be professional

But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you… Jeremiah 1:17a (ESV)

THE UNLIVED LIFE – taken from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

 The War of Art – https://goo.gl/YLbrQr

 Gates of Fire – https://goo.gl/weqXDJ

What is Resistance?

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. Romans 7:14-20 (ESV)

1:17b-19: God’s promise of strength to Jeremiah

… Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:17b-19 (ESV)

What Strength really is:

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (ESV)

For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 1 Corinthians 4:9-13 (ESV)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal
. 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 (ESV)

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV)

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 (ESV)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:6-7 (ESV)

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Express & Live My Mission

Disciple Up # 64
Life Lessons From Jeremiah, Pt 2 Express & Live My Mission
By Louie Marsh, 7-11-2018

Mission Statement Quotes: http://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/mission-statement.html

The most effective way I know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed. It focused on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based. – Stephen Covey

A mission statement is not something you write overnight… But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life. -Stephen Covey

Without a mission statement, you may get to the top of the ladder and then realize it was leaning against the wrong building! – Dave Ramsey

PART TWO: EXPRESS & LIVE MY MISSION

1:10: His Mission Statement

 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10 (ESV)

John the Baptist;

 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3 (ESV)

Jesus:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
 Luke 4:18-21 (ESV)

Paul:

But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles— to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ Acts 26:16-18 (ESV)

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:17 (ESV)

Examples of Non-Profit Mission Statements today https://topnonprofits.com/examples/nonprofit-mission-statements/

 TED: Spreading Ideas. (2 words)

The Humane Society: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty. (4 words)

Smithsonian: The increase and diffusion of knowledge. (6 words)

Wounded Warrior Project: To honor and empower wounded warriors. (6)

Public Broadcasting System (PBS): To create content that educates, informs and inspires.

My Mission Statement:

To go anywhere, at anytime & teach anyone God’s Word, and to Empower Disciples.

1:11-12: 1st Assurance of his Call

And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:11-12 (ESV)

1:13-16: 2nd Assurance of Call

The word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” Then the LORD said to me, “Out of the north disaster shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the LORD, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah. And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands. Jeremiah 1:13-16 (ESV)

“I believe in getting into hot water,” said G. K. Chesterton, “it keeps you clean.”

Jeremiah was shaped by God’s Word and Vision, nothing else!

  • What is my mission?
  • Is it really mine? Or did it come from elsewhere?
  •  Can I describe it concisely?
  •  Is all this Biblical?

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Episode 48

Disciple Up # 49
The Cruel Curse of Christian Cliches
By Louie Marsh, 3-21-2018

What’s coming up –

THIS EPISODE -The Cruel Curse of Christian Clichés

49 – 3-28- Tales From the Scrypt – The Easter Story

55 – 5-9- 1st Anniversary!

Don’t know what I’ll do – if you want to say anything about the impact of this podcast on your life in it’s first year e-mail, put it on FaceBook, etc.

NEW SEGMENT – WOULDA-COULDA-SHOULDA

 Thoughts on last week’s topic that I missed including.

I probably didn’t stress enough that being transparent with others starts with being transparent with yourself! This is why it’s such a boost to our spiritual and emotional growth and our overall growth as a person.

The Disciple Up Low Down On Why Clichés Matter.

THE CLICHES:

“God needed another angel.”

God doesn’t NEED anything – because He’s God! See my sermon from 2-25-2018

“When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

But if God closes a door in your life, there’s no guarantee He’ll open a window. He may not open anything. He may want you to realize you have the wrong address.

6  And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7  And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8  So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10  And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. Acts 16:6-10 (ESV)

“The greatest distance in the universe is the eighteen inches between your head and your heart.”

This isn’t Biblical and displays the anti-intellectual strain in large parts of fundamentalism. It’s bad – God designed your heart and mind to work together!

“You’re never more safe than when you’re in God’s will.”

Jesus seems to disagree:

 16  You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17  You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18  But not a hair of your head will perish. Luke 21:16-18 (ESV)

Look at all the Christian martyrs including all the Apostles except John!

Justin Martyr (AD 100–165) was almost certainly reflecting on this passage when he said, “They can kill us but they cannot harm us.”

“God will not give you more than you can handle.”

The problem, though, is that God will give you more than you can handle. He’ll do it to make you lean on Him. He’ll do it because He loves you.

8  For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. 10  He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 11  You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (ESV)

John Newton (1725–1807), the former slave trader who penned “Amazing Grace.” Wrote this in a letter:

“Though our frames and perceptions may vary, the report of faith concerning [the time of death] is the same. The Lord usually reserves dying strength for a dying hour … When the time shall arrive which he has appointed for your dismissal, I make no doubt but that he will overpower all your fears, silence all your enemies, and give you a comfortable, triumphant entrance into his kingdom. You have nothing to fear from death; for Jesus, by dying, has disarmed it of its sting, has perfumed the grave, and opened the gates of glory for his believing people.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

Ever hear of the Gospel? Salvation by Grace?  This isn’t all false but reflects a mind set upon earning God’s approval by works.

“Let go and let God.”

As J. I. Packer once put it, “The Christian’s motto should not be ‘Let go and let God’ but ‘Trust God and get going.'”

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Yes, that scientifically true but that doesn’t mean it’s a good reason or a healthy one or that God intended it to happen.

“God said it. I believe it. That settles it”

True BUT – that shouldn’t discount struggles

“Sowing a seed” when you mean give money

 That’s “My Truth”

The Christian Side Hug

Really? We can’t just hug people naturally?

Christian Cliché video

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Episode 43

43 Disciple Up Show Notes
Why Did God Let This Happen To Me? Pt. 2
Louie Marsh, 2-14-2018

Why God Allowed My Pain

 3) To Teach Me To trust God more.

 We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  2 Cor. 1:8-9

 4) To Give Me a ministry to others.

 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good  Genesis 50:20

 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  2 Cor. 1:4

Story of Joseph.  He was so mistreated by his brothers, and others in Egypt. He was a good guy who had a ton of bad things happen to him! His 11 brothers sold him into slavery and then told their Dad he’d been eaten by a lion!

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

 Sources of Strength:

1) The plan of God.

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

2) The promises of God.

 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Did you know that there are over 7000 promises from God in the Bible? Learn which ones apply to you and hang on to them!

3) The people of God.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 2 Cor. 1:3-4

4) The presence of Christ.

 Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (Message)

The Disciple Up Low Down

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Email – louie@discipleup.org

 

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Episode 39

Disciple Up #39
The Great Commission Pt 3 Baptism – More Than Just A Dunk
By Louie Marsh, 1-17-2018

Welcome back – third week on the Great Commission verbs – today we look at baptizing. Why did Jesus put this in the Great Commission? It’s left out by many Evangelicals today, yet it was important enough to Jesus that he commanded us to do it.

So let’s look at what it is, what it’s important and why this symbol is critical to our discipleship and our following of Jesus.

The starting point for any discussion of baptism ought to be what the word is and means. Right here we discover the first reason people are confused about it – it’s a Greek word!  That’s right, baptism isn’t English at all! It’s a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo.

Baptism is the normal Greek word for immerse, dip or plunge. They had other words for sprinkle or pour, just as we do in English. It was used of ships sinking, of dipping a cloth into dye to change the color, etc.

All the great church leaders of the past clearly stated this was so – even when their own church traditions and practices didn’t conform to the Biblical command!

Martin Luther (founder of the Lutheran Church and the one who began the whole Protestant Reformation) said, “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word imports and the mystery signifies.”

John Calvin (a younger contemporary of Luther, the Presbyterian and other churches look to him as a founder) said, “The word “baptize” signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.”

John Wesley (founder of the Methodist Church) said, “Buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the first church.”

So while the meaning of the word is clear, is there any support for this in Scripture? The answer is yes, there are several passages that make it clear that baptism is immersion.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. Romans 6:1-5 (NIV)

In the book of Acts there’s a great story of Phillip being sent by the Lord to share the Good News with the Ethiopian eunuch. After he presents the Gospel from an Old Testament passage, look what happens.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:36-39 (NIV)

If baptism can be done by pouring or sprinkling why did they have to wait till they found a body of water and then go down into it? Why not use stop and use some water from a water bag they surely had on hand?

The evidence is clear and overwhelming, baptism is to be done by immersion!

Who Should Be Baptized?

Jesus made this about as clear as it’s possible to make anything at the end of His Ministry in the Gospel of Matthew.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

This is called the Great Commission and is repeated in various forms in Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21 and Acts 1:8.

Jesus expected all those who put their faith in Him as their Leader and Forgiver (Lord and Savior) to be baptized as part of becoming His disciple. This is clear as crystal from this command. Remember this is a command, not a suggestion! Baptism isn’t optional because it’s part of Christ’s very commands to His Apostles before they launched out on their mission to bring salvation to the ends of the earth!

If that’s true, you would expect to see the early church in the book of Acts follow this pattern. And that’s exactly what they did. When you study the Bible you find that the normal patter for people coming to Christ involved hearing the Gospel, believing it, turning away from their sin (repenting) confessing their faith in Christ to others, being baptized into Christ. Often they are then called saved.

Look at the chart below to see how often these important factors are mentioned in the book of Acts as Luke, guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit, recorded the major or historically noteworthy conversions in the early history of the church.

Conversion Chart From the Book of Acts

Heard Believed Repented Confessed Baptized Saved
Pentecost – 2:22-41 Vs. 37 Vs. 38   Vs. 38.41 Vs. 41
Samaria – 8:4-15 Vs. 12     Vs. 12-13  
Eunuch – 8:26-39 Vs. 36     Vs. 38 Vs. 39
Saul – 9:1-9 22:10     Vs. 18 22:16
Cornelius – 10:1-48 Vs. 43 11:18   Vs. 48 11:1
Lydia – 16:13-15 Vs. 14-15     Vs. 15  
The Jailer – 16:25-34 Vs. 31,34 Vs. 30 Vs. 30 Vs. 33 Vs. 34

Interesting isn’t it? The only things that are mentioned in every conversion occurrence is  belief and baptism! That’s probably the exact opposite of what most of us would expect, yet that’s precisely what we find in God’s Word.

Baptism Quotes:

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/baptism

 Baptism is not only a sacrament of our union with Christ; it is also a sacrament of our communion as the body of Christ. – Michael Horton
In baptism, new Christians become part of a body of fellow believers who are called to spiritually encourage one another and hold one another responsible for consistent Christian living. – Tony Campolo

All of us who desire the kingdom of God are, by the Lord’s decree, under an equal and rigorous necessity of seeking after the grace of Baptism. – Saint Basil

Vaccination is the medical sacrament corresponding to baptism. Whether it is or is not more efficacious I do not know. – Samuel Butler

Religion needs a baptism of horse sense. – Billy Sunday

When Paul was exhorted to be baptized and to wash away his sins, there was an evident allusion to the use of water in the ordinance of baptism, and had there been no application of water on which to ground such an allusion, we may be certain that we should never have heard of washing away sins in baptism. – Adoniram Judson

The Sign of the Covenant:

 The important place that baptism holds in the life of the Christian is not only hinted at by how often it’s mentioned in the book of Acts, it’s spelled out by the Apostle Paul for us in a way that is often over looked because it’s tied into the Jewish heritage our Christian faith rests on.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:8-12 (NIV)

Notice here again Paul uses the imagery of burial in connection with baptism. He also ties baptism into the ancient Jewish rite of circumcision, thus confusing a lot of Christians who don’t really understand what circumcision was in the Old Testament.

God established circumcision as the sign of His covenant with Israel before the Law of Moses. He gave it Abraham as a sign and as something that absolutely must be done if a man wanted to be part of God’s Community.

You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner–those who are not your offspring. Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” Genesis 17:11-14 (NIV)

Baptism is different from circumcision in a crucial way, a difference that illustrates and celebrates what a wonderful covenant that all people have with Christ. Baptism is for everyone – both men and women!

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29 (NIV)

Salvation in Christ is offered to all, whether you are Jew, Gentile, woman, or man. It makes no difference because the Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all! In Christ men and women have equal status before God as His redeemed children, with full access to his throne!

Baptism as Metaphor

1  For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2  and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 (ESV)

5  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:5 (NIV)

I like to think of Baptism in a metaphorical sense and a symbol for real and total commitment as well as being tightly focused on God. You can think of it as being immersed in the things of the Lord.

 The Disciple Up Low Down

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Episode 34

Disciple Up # 34
What Is Christmas Anyway?
By Louie Marsh, 12-6-2017

HISTORY:

The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.

Info from the book Christmas: A Biography,  by Judith Flanders.

Flanders begins her biography of Christmas with the early church observances of Christ’s nativity, where the name and calendar date of the holiday have their beginnings. But she insists that the role of religion is often overemphasized in accounts of the holiday’s origin. Independently of the Christian holiday, midwinter celebrations had long been held in Greek, Roman, British, and Germanic lands. From the start, there was never one Christmas. Instead, Christmas has always meant many things.
The modern observance of Christmas—marked by familial, commercial, nostalgic, sentimental, and religious elements—began to take shape in the late 18th century. Consider the Philadelphia Quaker Elizabeth Drinker, who kept a diary throughout the second half of the 1700s. Her earliest entries show that she, like her fellow Quakers, did not initially recognize or partake in the holiday. Over the next 20 years, we find spotty references to the activities of neighbors on “Christmass, so call’d.” But by the end of the century, we see her shamelessly celebrating with family dinners and visits from friends. Christmas, so it seems, sort of crept up on her.
by the late 1700s, as Elizabeth Drinker was writing in her diary, the old practices were already giving way to new traditions, such as decorating the home with holly, ivy, and kissing boughs made of mistletoe. The first decorated indoor Christmas tree appeared as early as 1605 in Strasbourg, France, but the practice only attained widespread popularity in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Indoor trees came with particular perils to the host home since they would be fitted with candles to be lit on Christmas Eve. The effect was both delightful and dangerous.

Gift-giving was not new to the modern age. The old practice followed the expectations of hierarchal protocol—social superiors gave Christmas boxes and monetary tips to their employees, servants, and various tradespeople. At the other end of the social scales, tenants offered fowl and fresh meat to their landlords. Such hierarchical gifts punctuated differences in social and economic status. But, by the early 19th century, gift-giving began to soften with the new emphasis on home and family. Parents gave to their children presents of books, nuts, wood-carved toys, and ribbons.
Around the same time, newly popularized carols spread from Germany to England, France, and the Americas. The habit of young carousers wassailing from door to door for money or mead gave way to church choirs and neighborhood caroling groups. Lyrics concomitantly shifted from making merry and imbibing deeply to Christ’s birth and wistful domesticity. In Flanders’s words, the new tradition “took what was secular and made it religious; and, most importantly, took what was working class and of the street and made it middle-class and of the hearth and home.”
Take Christmas cards, for example. An invention of the mid-19th century, the first card printed in the United States illustrated Santa Claus with a family opening gifts. The holiday message read, Pease’s Great Varety [sic] Store in the Temple of Fancy. The card was nothing more than a commercial advertisement. A survey of the more than 100,000 cards in circulation before 1890 reveals that religious images, such as the Nativity scene, appeared on extremely few. The majority featured “holly, mistletoe and Christmas pudding, Father Christmas or Santa, Christmas trees, bells and robins, food and festivity.” Biblical or religious themes on holiday cards were numerically “insignificant.”

QUOTES:

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. Thomas S. Monson

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection. Winston Churchill

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united. – Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace. Pope Francis

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. Charles M. Schulz

Don’t let the past steal your present. This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. Taylor Caldwell

I don’t think Christmas is necessarily about things. It’s about being good to one another, it’s about the Christian ethic, it’s about kindness. Carrie Fisher

What Is Christmas Really All About?

What I hear all the time from Christians and non-Christians alike is that Christmas is all about family.

Don’t care how you answer the question.

But I’d love to know HOW you know that, or WHY you believe that.

I’m not criticizing or disagreeing, I’m asking an epistemological question. HOW to you know WHAT you know (or think you know at any rate).

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, I Peter 3:15 (ESV)

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Episode 33

Disciple Up Show Notes # 33
No Discipleship without Discipline
By Louie Marsh, 11-29-2017

The Bible Teaches Disciples Must Be Disciplined.

7  Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10  For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:7-10 (ESV)

My personal struggle with discipline – Discipline Sucks!!

1  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

7  It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12  Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13  and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:7-13 (ESV)

Quotes

 “I must take care above all that I cultivate communion with Christ, for though that can never be the basis of my peace – mark that – yet it will be the channel of it.”
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“So do not expect always to get an emotional charge or a feeling of quiet peace when you read the Bible. By the grace of God you may expect that to be a frequent experience, but often you will get no emotional response at all. Let the Word break over your heart and mind again and again as the years go by, and imperceptibly there will come great changes in your attitude and outlook and conduct.”  Geoffrey ThomasReading the Bible

“From matters as crucial as the death of Jesus, to those as mundane as eating and drinking, the Bible presents the glory of God as the ultimate priority and the definitive criterion by which we should evaluate everything.”
― Donald S. WhitneySimplify Your Spiritual Life: Spiritual Disciplines for the Overwhelmed

3  Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4  No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5  An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6  It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7  Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 2 Timothy 2:3-7 (ESV)

7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (ESV)

24  Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)

12  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15  Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16  Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV)

 The Disciple Up Low Down On Spiritual Discipline

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Episode 29

Disciple Up #29
Always Be Questioning
By Louie Marsh, 11-1-2017

ABQ – Always Be Questioning.

This episode started when someone I hadn’t heard from in years got ahold of me recently. I won’t use her name but she’s an old friend of mine from High School. She was part of my Youth Group – call the Key Teens (yeah, the title hasn’t aged well but then neither have I! – and she’s working with others who in the Group to start a FaceBook page and work on getting us all back in touch.

In her message to me she said in part: You were such a big part of opening discussions in our Bible Studies/other occasions, questioning things most of us would not have thought to question. I will always appreciate that.

Imagine that. It’s been about half a century and she still remembers and appreciates me mouthing off with all my teenage questions! Pretty amazing and it just goes to show you that you never know what kind of an impact what you say and do will have on others – and like most things that works for good and ill.

So todays podcast is dedicated to someone I’ll just call Mrs. KeyTeen, a lovely lady who was a good friend and who I had a my first HUGE crush on, but never acted on it because even then I knew she was totally out of my league!

And with that let’s get on with the show!

What Should I Question?

As a teen I came into Christianity from a pretty secular background. I questioned creation VS evolution, the truth of the Bible, etc. In those days during the Vietnam war I also questioned if Christians can fight in the military.

I questioned so many things – which shows I didn’t know or understand much, but I wanted too. Now some 50 years later, I’m still asking questions and this episode is my attempt to get you to do the same thing as well.

Question Everything!

Things to question: Faith and the Bible – YES! BUT, also question the culture you live in and all the strange and often contradictory things it demands you believe.

Doesn’t the Bible Say Questioning God is Wrong?

NO!!

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (ESV)

As an old Pastor once said to me, and he said this at a Key Teens summer camp called Planning Conference: “Doubt your doubts.” It was good advice then and even better advice to the moral and spiritual morass that surrounds and penetrates us today.

11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11 (NIV)

God not only commands us to question – He honors and approves it.

It’s our culture that forbids questioning. It, like all cultures, demands submission to whatever it’s saying this week and only wants you to question others, not itself. As I’ve said before in other shows of Disciple Up, this is the nature of all culture. Conform and submit. I felt that demand as a teen and I feel it now even though the culture has changed so much that what I’m supposed to submit too has radically changed and in some cases are the exact opposite of what I was told then.

God knows the only way to learn is to question.

Like culture, most religions also forbid questions and demand unthinking obedience. But Jesus wasn’t that way. When Christians and churches forbid honest and sincere questions they are sinning. Just look at this encounter Jesus had.

Quotes: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/questioning.html

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. Albert Einstein

I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself. Elon Musk

Religious belief, like history itself, is a story that is always unfolding, always subject to inquiry and ripe for questioning. For without doubt there is no faith. Jon Meacham

The marvelous thing is that for thousands of years people have continued questioning and searching and ultimately concluding that reasons for certain occurrences are not given to man to know. Robert Vaughn

http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/faithquotes.htm

Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. –Paul Tillich

The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid. –G.K. Chesterton

21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. Mark 9:21-27 (ESV)

Why Don’t People Question More?

• Taught not too
• Hard work
• Don’t know how – find the resources you can use
• Set priorities

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Episode 25

Tim Keller Quote from last week:

“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice.”

Disciples of Jesus have ONE and ONLY ONE Lord – Jesus.

But that does NOT mean we don’t need to listen to and learn from a multitude of others.

14  I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15  For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16  I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 17  That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. 18  Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19  But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20  For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21  What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? 1 Corinthians 4:14-21 (ESV)

10  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11  For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12  What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 (ESV)

Those I Consider Disciplers

Watchman Nee

Dr. Walter Martin

Francis Shaffer

Rick Warren

Tim Keller

John Stott

CS Lewis

Chuck Smith

Personal friends including my father

“A man went into the ministry and said he was going to be original or nothing, and he was both.” – Rick Warren

The metaphor of dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants (Latinnanos gigantum humeris insidentes) expresses the meaning of “discovering truth by building on previous discoveries”.[1] This concept has been traced to the 12th century, attributed to Bernard of Chartres. Its most familiar expression in English is by Isaac Newton in 1675: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”[2]

 My advice to people today is as follows: if you take the game of life seriously, if you take your nervous system seriously, if you take your sense organs seriously, if you take the energy process seriously, you must turn on, tune in, and drop out. Timothy Leary
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/t/timothylea158268.html?src=t_advice

Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.[3]

1  But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2  I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3  for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4  For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? 5  What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8  He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9  For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10  According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11  For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12  Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13  each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14  If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15  If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:1-15 (ESV)

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Episode 24

Disciple Up # 24
Unity, 9-27-2017
By Louie Marsh

We talked last week about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. One of the big issues that flows from this historic event is divisions in the church. They didn’t start with the Reformation, but they certainly accelerated because of it. So today I want to talk a little bit about the topic of unity, why it’s important and some overlooked aspects of it.

http://reformingcatholicconfession.com/

http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/september/how-many-churches-in-america-us-nones-nondenominational.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecumenism

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Last_Will_and_Testament_of_The_Springfield_Presbytery

Unity Quotes:

https://www.christianquotes.info/top-quotes/15-powerful-quotes-about-unity/#axzz4tkD2Ife2

One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always. – A W Tozer

Believers are never told to become one; we already are one and are expected to act like it – Joni Erickson Tada
Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell. – J C Ryle

Jesus prayed for unity – why?

 20  “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21 (NIV)

 It’s essential if we are to reflect God’s nature – unity in truth, and essential if we are to win the world.

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Romans 14:19

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  Eph. 4:3

ANY attitude that causes disunity is sin.

Col. 3:15, 1 Cor. 1:10, 2 Tim. 2:14, Pr. 17:14, 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 1:27; 2:1-3, Col. 2:2, Phil. 4:2, 1 Peter 3:8, 1 Cor. 14:33, John 13:34-35, 2 Tim. 2:23, Rom. 12:16-18, Col, 3:13-14, Ps. 133:1.

“In Essentials Unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love.”

It comes from an otherwise undistinguished German Lutheran theologian of the early seventeenth century, Rupertus Meldenius. The phrase occurs in a tract on Christian unity written (circa 1627) during the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), a bloody time in European history in which religious tensions played a significant role.

 Source: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/essentials-unity-non-essentials-liberty-all-things/

  • In Essential Beliefs – We Have Unity.

There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–  one Lord, one faith, one baptism;  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  Eph. 4:4-6

  • In Non-Essential Beliefs – We Have Liberty.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters…Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand…So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.  Romans 14:1,4,12,22

  • In All Our Beliefs – We Show Love

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  1 Cor. 13:2

Disciple Up Low Down on Christian Unity

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