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.

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Episode 38

Disciple Up #38
A Month of the Great Commission Pt 2
Go On – Get Out of Myself!
By Louie Marsh, 1-10-2018

1  Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (ESV)

1  After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2  He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:1-2 (ESV)

1  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. Exodus 9:1 (ESV)

1  After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2  “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Joshua 1:1-2 (ESV)

16  But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Ruth 1:16 (ESV)

6  Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7  But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. 8  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 1:6-8 (ESV)

8  And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” 9  And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Isaiah 6:8-9 (ESV)

QUOTES:

“The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” ― Carl F.H. Henry

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

When James Calvert went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying, “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.” To that, Calvert replied, “We died before we came here.”

GOING FROM & GOING TO:

  • Go from (get out of) my comfort zone (myself)
  • Go into testing and spiritual growth
  • Go into ministry and speak the truth in love
  • Go forward and face your worst fears
  • Go and serve God regardless of any perceived shortcomings (like age, etc.)
  • Don’t wait, don’t dawdle, go and share the love and Gospel of Christ.

The Disciple Up Low Down on Going

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Episode 37

Disciple Up Show Notes #37
Great Commission Month Pt. 1 – Making Is the Main Thing
By Louie Marsh, 1-3-2018

January is the Great Commission month here on Disciple Up – the Disciple Empowering Podcast. For the entire month we’ll be looking at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 in depth. As well as discussing all the Great Commissions found in the New Testament.

More Than One Great Commission you say?

Yes, there are five “commissions” that are generally recognized by scholars as great commissions.

15  And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17  And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18  they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18 (ESV)

45  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46  and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47  and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48  You are witnesses of these things. 49  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:45-49 (ESV)

21  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” John 20:21-23 (ESV)

8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (ESV)

18  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

The Four Verbs in the Great Commission:

 [https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/great-commission-how-its-4-verbs-tell-us-our-purpose/]

The heart of the commission is in the one word μαθη-τεύσατε. This imperative, of course, means, “to turn into disciples,” and its aorist form conveys the thought that this is actually to be done. The verb itself does not indicate how disciples are to be made, it designates only an activity that will result in disciples. It connotes results not methods and ways. – Lenski New Testament Commentary – Lenski New Testament Commentary – The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel.

GREAT COMMISSION QUOTES:

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/great-commission

“God’s command ‘Go ye, and preach the gospel to every creature’ was the categorical imperative. The question of personal safety was wholly irrelevant.”  ― Elisabeth Elliot

“Go, send, or disobey.”  ― John Piper

It is an incredibly difficult task to lead people from self-centered consumerism to being servant-hearted Christians. It is not a task for fainthearted ministers or those who don’t like to get their religious robes wrinkled. But it is what the Great Commission is all about – Rick Warren [source: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/907190?ref=great-commission]

“Of course it’s dangerous. But it’s a lot more dangerous for all of us if we don’t do it. Even in a conquering army there are casualties. Safety is not the issue when we look at the Great Commission. The purpose of the church cannot be to survive, or even to thrive, but to serve.”  ― Brother AndrewSecret Believers: What Happens When Muslims Believe in Christ

 PART THREE – what we are supposed to be doing:

 Notice that I said “without a noun”?  That’s right.  The Greek word is a verbal command, not a verb followed by a noun.  In other words, the text does not say “make disciples” (verb/noun) like “build a house” or “grill a steak.”  It does not say to verb a noun.  It says simply… “DISCIPLE!” which is like saying “RUN!” or “JUMP!”  In reality, you can’t “make” a disciple.  You can only disciple. So, in the great commission in Matthew, disciple is not an outcome (like a product that you end up with), but it is rather a process that you are doing.  The grammar is not telling us to make an object.  There is no noun in the text at all.  There is only a single imperative verb.  Only a command.  Only an action word.  Only something to do.  And what is it? It is “disciple!” – Think Theology [http://thinktheology.org/2013/11/07/greek-geeking-the-great-commission-in-matthew/]

 This is supported by Youngs Literal Translation which says; 18  And having come near, Jesus spake to them, saying, `Given to me was all authority in heaven and on earth; 19  having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them–to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20  teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days–till the full end of the age.’ Matthew 28:18-20 (YLT)

The Disciple Up Low Down on the Great Temptation of Theology

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Episode 36

Show Notes, Disciple Up # 36
Tales From the Scrypt – The Christmas Story
By Louie Marsh, 12-19-2017

 This episode of Disciple Up is a special Christmas edition features me reading the scripts I have written and recorded for air on KLPZ, 1380 AM right here in Parker. Each week I do a short form, prerecorded, radio show called Tales From the Scrypt, Stories You Can Believe In.

This episode we are featuring all five of the scripts I’ve written that comprise the Christmas Story. I hope you not only enjoy these but find your knowledge increased and your faith built up this Christmas Season.

Thanks for listening, God bless you and please help me spread the word about this podcast.

Merry Christmas – Louie

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Episode 35

Disciple Up Show Notes #35
Should Disciples of Jesus Celebrate Christmas?
By Louie Marsh, 12-13-2017

Dealing with the whole Paganism thing – it’s “tainted” with paganism.

Exampleshttps://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/christians-who-dont-celebrate-christmas-heres-why

I cannot find Christmas in the Bible nor can I find that Jesus Christ told us to observe Christmas. Santa Claus is a lie that some people teach their children every year. For that matter, Christmas is false since it has nothing to do with Christ or His birthday.

“Beyond this, business people, who make most of their income during this time of the year, have increasingly promoted Christmas. Well-meaning people go in debt during Christmas time to give gifts to other people, which in turn motivates other people to give gifts to them. It makes no sense to keep a religious holiday that is not biblical, that Christ never sanctioned, that promotes lying to children, that puts people in debt and that blinds people to what Christ really taught.”

—P.A., Georgia

“It is a historical fact that Christmas is not the day or the season when Christ was born. So why observe a day that is a lie? Most people do not want to admit this fact. For example, how does the use of Santa Claus depict the birth of Christ? How does the Christmas tree depict Christ? Celebrating Christmas violates at least the First, Second and Third Commandments of God’s Ten Commandments. Observing a pagan holiday is a sin. God condemns the worship of pagan gods.

“The Bible does not command people to observe the birth of Christ as a holiday. This day, Dec. 25, is the date that has been observed for centuries as a pagan holiday in honor of the pagan sun god. God commands those who want to serve Him not to observe pagan holidays or any custom that breaks His holy laws.”

—D.S., California

Do you know anyone who worships their Christmas tree? Do you worship it?

What if the first book printed on the printing press hadn’t been a Bible but a copy of the Koran, or the Satanic Bible or the Bhagavad Gita? Would the press and all subsequent books be “tainted” with paganism??

Has it become so commercial that it’s lost it’s meaning?  This is the real question to me.

 Personal story of my thinking on this.

Two Great Quotes relating to this:

C.S. Lewis –

Three things go by the name of Christmas. One is a religious festival. This is important and obligatory for Christians; but as it can be of no interest to anyone else, I shall naturally say no more about it here.

 The second (it has complex historical connections with the first, but we needn’t go into them) is a popular holiday, an occasion for merry-making and hospitality. If it were my business to have a ‘view’ on this, I should say that I much approve of merry-making. But what I approve of much more is everybody minding his own business. I see no reason why I should volunteer views as to how other people should spend their own money in their own leisure among their own friends. It is highly probable that they want my advice on such matters as little as I want theirs. But the third thing called Christmas is unfortunately everyone’s business.

I mean of course the commercial racket. The interchange of presents was a very small ingredient in the older English festivity. Mr. Pickwick took a cod with him to Dingley Dell; the reformed Scrooge ordered a turkey for his clerk; lovers sent love gifts; toys and fruit were given to children. But the idea that not only all friends but even all acquaintances should give one another presents, or at least send one another cards, is quite modern and has been forced upon us by the shopkeepers.
– From “What Christmas Means to Me” in God in the Dock

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For the great and powerful of this world, there are only two places in which their courage fails them, of which they are afraid deep down in their souls, from which they shy away. These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ. No powerful person dares to approach the manger, and this even includes King Herod. For this is where thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the lowly. Here the rich come to nothing, because God is with the poor and hungry, but the rich and satisfied he sends away empty. Before Mary, the maid, before the manger of Christ, before God in lowliness, the powerful come to naught; they have no right, no hope; they are judged. 
– From God Is In the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

What does the Bible Say?

 5  One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6  The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7  For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8  For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10  Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11  for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12  So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13  Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:5-13 (ESV)

20  Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22  The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23  But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. Romans 14:20-23 (ESV)

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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 32

Disciple Up # 32
Merry Go Round Morality & Sexual Harassment
By Louie Marsh, 11-22-2017

Bible talks about it:

2  And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he seized her and lay with her and humiliated her. Genesis 34:2 (ESV)

5  Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6  And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7  She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” 8  Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9  Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” Ruth 2:5-9 (ESV)

The Bible Expressly Forbids it:

 “But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her.” Deuteronomy 22:25-27

3  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. Ephesians 5:3-4 (ESV)

THE CULTURAL MERRY-GO-ROUND:

 From a largely Biblical sexual view to extremely libertine and now – in this one area – back to Biblical. Strange isn’t it?

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Episode 31

Disciple Up
The Not Always Natural Act of Giving Thanks!

THANKSGIVING DAY PROCLAMATIONS

Washington’s

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor — and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Ronald Reagan’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
September 27, 1982

Two hundred years ago, the Congress of the United States issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation stating that it was “the indispensable duty of all nations” to offer both praise and supplication to God. Above all other nations of the world, America has been especially blessed and should give special thanks. We have bountiful harvests, abundant freedoms, and a strong, compassionate people.

I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by a people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom. Our pioneers asked that He would work His will in our daily lives so America would be a land of morality, fairness and freedom.

Today we have more to be thankful for than our pilgrim mothers and fathers who huddled on the edge of the New World that first Thanksgiving Day could ever dream of. We should be grateful not only for our blessings, but for the courage and strength of our ancestors which enable us to enjoy the lives we do today. Let us affirm through prayers and actions our thankfulness for America’s bounty and heritage.

Thanksgiving day isn’t a duty to disciples – it’s an opportunity

Quotes:

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction.”  – Harry Ironside

There should be a parallel between our supplications and our thanksgivings. We ought not to leap in prayer, and limp in praise.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.” – A.W. Tozer

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – G.K. Chesterton

The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.” – Henry Ward Beecher

“The Christian who walks with the Lord and keeps constant communion with Him will see many reason for rejoicing and thanksgiving all day long.” – Warren W. Wiersbe

“Careful for nothing, prayerful for everything, thankful for anything.” – Dwight L. Moody

Praise isn’t always natural

“Why do you complain about me? All of you have rebelled against me,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 2:29 (GW)

It can be extremely painful

17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17 (ESV)

Praise at it’s most precious is an act of the will

6  With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good. Psalm 54:6 (ESV)

 15  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15 (ESV)

Real Praise Costs Us -often very precious things

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. 2 Sam. 24:24

Real Praise shows in how I act…

25  I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need… 29  So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30  for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. Philippians 2:25,29-30 (ESV)

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Episode 30

Disciple Up # 30
Losing & Engaging Our Culture

Show Notes:

Sites I read from and refer too in podcast:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-u-s-is-retreating-from-religion/

https://allendowney.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-retreat-from-religion-is.html

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-religious-consolidations-20171010-htmlstory.html#nws=true

1) I engage my culture by overcoming evil by DOING GOOD.

14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17  Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19  Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21 (ESV)

  • I respond to cultural rejection by HELPING THOSE who hurt me.

14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

17  Repay no one evil for evil,

19  Beloved, never avenge yourselves

20  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink

21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

  • I resist the temptation to always try and CHEER PEOPLE UP.

15  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

  • I focus on lifting up others NOT MYSELF.

16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

  • I leave the bringing of justice to GOD.

20  To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good

3) I engage my culture by living a LIFE OF LOVE.

 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:8-10 (ESV)

  • Get & stay out of debt so you are free to love as GOD COMMANDS YOU TOO.
  • The moral/sexual law of God is fulfilled by RESPECTING & NOT HURTING OTHERS.

4) I engage my culture by BEING LIKE JESUS NOT THEM.

11  Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12  The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:11-14 (ESV)

The Disciple Up Low Down

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