Several people have asked me about the promises that Jesus makes about prayer in Mark 11:12-25. People have used those verses to justify a "pray it and claim it" approach to Christianity. There are many important questions it raises that need to be answered. Here are some I've been asked recently:
- Are these promises for everyone, or at least all disciples?
- Why don't I get these results? Is my faith weak?
- Why doesn't God answer my prayers? What's wrong?
Those are really big questions. This is my partial answer. I don't really address the last question now, but I have some ideas on that one as well.
"Hallelujah!" is a glorious Hebrew loan word that we have absorbed into our praise cultures around the world. As I have journeyed to know the word of God better, refining my strengths and committing weaknesses to grace, I have become fascinated with the Hebrew language. As a believer and worship leader, this has helped me to serve the Lord and his church. God has given me something to share with others as he keeps helping me grow!
The Making of a Disciple class is an in-depth exploration on how to study the Bible with people and bring them to Christ. This class goes well beyond the basics of First Principles to establish a rigorous expectation for world evangelism, a keen, biblical understanding of conversion, solid exegesis of Scripture, and effective guided discovery to lead seekers to become disciples of Jesus.
The Purpose of ImmersionReferences to baptism in the patristic literature abound. It is clear that for the first few centuries everyone was in agreement that baptism was for the forgiveness of sins, and was the gateway to salvation. Of course Jesus is the gate (John 10:7), but the water is where we meet Him. We will limit our survey to the earliest patristic writers.
Hermas, c. 140-150 AD:
... when we went down into the water and received remission of our former sins...(Shepherd IV.iii.1) Note: Remission is simply another word for forgiveness.
When God's people gathered together for the great festivals of Israel, they prepared their hearts by meditating and celebrating the Psalms of ascent (Psalm 120-134) on their pilgrimage. Think of it as a roadtrip playlist as they approached Jerusalem. And when we gather together in St. Louis this summer for Reach2016, we will collectively study the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.
Yes -- Wade in the WaterInsights from the Syriac:
The Syriac translation of the New Testament dates from the 2nd century. Syriac was a dialect of Aramaic, and was the language spoken by eastern Christians. (Most likely Jesus' mother tongue was Aramaic.) From Syria missionaries traveled east to Persia, and when persecuted there journeyed even further: to India (where they connected with the Christian movement started by the apostle Thomas), China, Mongolia, and other distant lands.
The word for baptize is hamad. Its derivative mamaditho appears in John 5:4 (later manuscripts) and 9:7, and means pool. In the Syrian authors mamaditho is a bath or baptistery. This we can see that immersion is the action of the word hamad -- not affusion, pouring, or sprinkling.
I believe the Jesus Manifesto effectively taps into one of the most important shifts in our time. As we are witnessing a fundamental shift in beliefs and practices of Christianity across all denominations I believe Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola expertly reveal the missing element of most church paradigms.