The Chosen Reading Plan – Week 7

Two more episodes to go! There are some powerful moments of Scripture depicted in episode 7. We hope that you are encouraged and your faith is strengthened.

Day 1
Numbers 21:4-9 
The bronze serpent
Day 2
Mark 2:13-17
Matthew 9:9-17
Luke 5:27-38
Jesus calls Matthew
Day 3
John 3:1-21
John 8:28-30
John 12:27-36
The Son of Man will be lifted up
Day 4
Luke 5:16
Luke 6:12-15
Mark 1:35
Matthew 14:22-27
Jesus’ prayer life
Day 5
Matthew 5:3
Isaiah 61:1-2
Matthew 7:21
Luke 17:20-21 
The poor in spirit
Day 6
Watch Episode 7

Questions to Consider:

How was the bronze serpent on the rod a foreshadowing of what was to come?


Jesus often went away by himself to pray. What can we learn from this?


If Jesus were on earth today as he was back then, how would you respond to his miracles: in complete faith or with doubt/disbelief?


Matthew seems to be portrayed as having possible autism/ obsessive compulsive tendencies. What do you think about this portrayal? Isn’t it encouraging that Jesus calls us despite our weaknesses?

The Chosen Reading Plan – Week 6

It’s week 6 of our “The Chosen” reading plan! We hope these last several weeks have encouraged you and given you renewed vigor in your mission as a disciple of Christ. If you aren’t yet committed to be a disciple of Jesus, we hope that going through these readings and watching these episodes has been the encouragement you need to follow the one and only way, truth, and life (John 14:6).

If you’re behind, take the time and catch up. I guarantee you it’ll be worth it.

Day 1
Psalm 63:1
Psalm 104:31-34
Isaiah 40:3
Romans 8:27-39
Day 2
Matthew 8:1-4
Mark 1:35-45
Leviticus 13:45-46
Jesus heals a leper
Day 3
Luke 12:35-40
Genesis 49:8-12, 50:15-21 – the Jews didn’t recognize the Messiah just like Joseph’s brothers failed to recognize him
Luke 10:13-16
Keep your lamps burning
Day 4
Matthew 6:1-8
Luke 18:1-14
God knows what we need
Day 5
Mark 2:1-12
Luke 5:17-26
Matthew 9:1-8
Jesus heals the paralytic
Day 6
Watch Episode 6

Questions to consider:

Why is it so provocative that Jesus calls Matthew to follow him? How might that Romans 8 passage apply to that, and how does it apply to you?

Leprosy was a disease which the Jews supposed to be inflicted for the punishment of some particular sin, and to be, more than other diseases, a mark of God’s displeasure; and therefore Christ, who came to take away sin, and turn away wrath took particular care to cleanse the lepers that fell in his way. Jesus’s apostles were amazed when they saw the leper healed. Do we still see the works of God with amazement? If not, are we following Him close enough to see them?

Concerning the Luke 12 passage, we need to keep our lamps burning! Matthew told Gaius in this episode, “Conquest is not simply conquering nations but imposing a way of life.” What parallel is there between this statement to Jesus’s purpose as well as this scripture?

Simon doesn’t understand why Jesus asked him to join him. Do you ever wonder why Jesus asked me to join Him? How does Simon figure out his purpose? How can you figure out yours?

Being Salty

Jesus called us to be salty. What could he have possibly meant by that? In modern-day, the term being salty is look at as such a put down for having a bad attitude, but what did Jesus mean when he said it?

We look at salt today as a mere seasoning to sprinkle on food to make it flavorful. Yes, in biblical times they used salt to season food, but it was so much more than that. They used salt for seasoning, preservation, disinfectant, for ceremonial offerings, and for a unit of exchange.  Jesus was so intelligent he spoke to them in ways he knew they would understand. Salt was such a great part of their daily life.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” – Matthew 5:13

Jesus tells his followers: You are the salt. God sees us as the most precious thing in the world. We are so valuable and we preserve this world. We should be a preserving fruitful influence on the world. Without our fruitful influence, the world would spoil with evil. God calls us to preserve the goodness of this world.

Jesus also tells us to be full of flavor.  “But if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled.”  

In biblical times, if salt lost its flavor or preserving abilities, they threw it away on the streets and it would be walked on, because what good to them was it? None.

Jesus is warning us as Christians, if we lose our flavor (fruitful influence) in this world, we are no longer valuable for His Kingdom.    

No longer valuable for His Kingdom… That’s not a place I want to find myself, and I’m sure you don’t either.

So how can you be the salt of the earth? Constantly pursue a relationship with God! A relationship requires interaction. This is done by reading His Word and speaking to Him openly and honestly through prayer.  We are here to be the salt of the world, a blessing to His people. We cannot do this without showing them absolute love as He did.

The Chosen Reading Plan – Week 5

We hope you are enjoying this series so far as we start week 5 today!

Day 1
Exodus 23:14
Deuteronomy 16:16
Luke 2:41-52
Passover Feast
Day 2
Proverbs 30:4
Luke 3:2-9
John 1:19-24
John 10:40-42
Matthew 17:11-13
Preparing the way for the Lord
Day 3
1 Kings 19:19-21
2 Kings 2:11-15
Matthew 13:44-46      
Luke 9:57-62
Don’t look back!
Day 4
Exodus 15:1-21
Jeremiah 33:10-14
Psalm 118:22-24
Isaiah 28:16-19
Rejoice, praise, and thanksgiving
Day 5
John 2:1-11
The wedding at Cana
Day 6
Watch Episode 5

Questions to Consider:

John is the only gospel to tell the story of water into wine. What do you think John wanted to relay by noting this passage? What does it relate to you?

In this episode, both Peter and Mary the Mother of Jesus urge Jesus to make himself known. What do you think were their motives, and why was Jesus moved by Mary and not Peter’s approach?

Nicodemus is uncomfortable, in every aspect of the word, talking to John, yet as he notes, it is through his discomfort that he even sought John. What does this suggest about our spiritual Journey?

The Chosen Reading Plan – Week 4

The fourth week of reading through and watching The Chosen is here! See our previous posts if you need to catch up.

Day 1
Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
John the baptizer’s birth
Day 2
John 1:19-42
Matthew 3:1-17
John the baptizer’s ministry, Andrew and Simon
Day 3
Genesis 26:1-5
Hebrews 11:8-12
Matthew 16:13-20 (Peter <later> ultimately gives a confession of Jesus as the Messiah)
Peter recalls this promise of God as he questions his faith
Day 4
Matthew 13:44-52
Matthew 25:31-46
Matthew 13:13-17
The dragnet of the Kingdom
Day 5
Luke 5:1-11 (Isaiah 6:5 reflects Peter’s humble response to Jesus)
Matthew 4:17-22
Mark 1:14-20
Fishers of men
Day 6
Watch Episode 4

Questions to consider:

1. I think we can all relate to Simon in a way. We all have various stresses, deadlines, and are pulled between right and wrong. How can you personally relate to his predicament?

2. John the Baptist is referred to as a “loud man in camel skin” by the Pharisees, who were upset at the questioning of their authority. Does Nicodemus seem to begin to realize what is going on at this point? 

3. Simon is at first in doubt upon hearing the news of the Messiah. Have you ever struggled with doubt? How did you find God during your time of doubt?

4. Jesus performs the miracles of the catching of fish, which solves Simon’s biggest stress. When has Jesus come into your life and poured down his grace and love when you least expected it? How?

5. Did you see Jesus’ look when Peter and Andrew were hauling in the massive amount of fish, knowing they were having a breakthrough moment in their faith? How do you think Jesus looks at us when we also have those moments?

Other passages to check out:

Title of the episode based on Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah – Matthew 16:13-20

A later miraculous catch, possibly serving as a renewal and restoration for Peter after his denial – John 21:1-19

Later passages on John the baptizer – Matthew 11:1-19, Matthew 14:1-12

The Chosen Reading Plan – Week 3

We’re in our third week of reading through and watching The Chosen. See our previous posts if you need to catch up!

Day 1
Matthew 18:1-6
Matthew 19:13-15
Mark 10:13-16
Luke 18:15-17
(Jesus and the little children)
Day 2
Matthew 4:2
Luke 9:57-58
John 1:14
John 4:6
John 19:28
1 John 4:2
(humanity (and humility) of Jesus)
Day 3
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (the Shema)
Matthew 22:36-40 (the Greatest Commands)
2 Kings 2:23-24 (story Jesus was telling the children)
Day 4
Psalm 133:1-3 (song Jesus was singing with the children)
Daniel 7:13-14 (the everlasting Kingdom)
Isaiah 9:6-7 (the everlasting Kingdom)
Romans 12:9-21 (“Vengeance is mine, says the Lord”)
Day 5
Luke 4:18-19
Isaiah 61:1-2
1 Thessalonians 2:6-12
(The mission and community)
Day 6
Watch Episode 3

Questions to consider:

Jesus was an artisan/builder (Greek = tekton) as was his earthly dad (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3), but his “job” was never his mission. What should we take from this?

The children had such a pure and perceptive outlook (“maybe he is a prophet…”). Jesus said we should receive the Kingdom like a child—what should that look like for us?

Abigail had zero qualms at all inviting all of her friends to meet Jesus. What about you?

Why did the Jews think their Messiah would come to lead them against the Roman government?

The Chosen Reading Plan – Week 2

We’re back for the 2nd week of reading Scriptures and working through The Chosen Season 1. Check it out here.

If you missed the first week, it should be easy to catch up. Check out the first post here.

Day 1
Genesis 2:1-3
Exodus 16:1-36 (the first sabbath)
Exodus 20:8-11
Deuteronomy 5:12-15
(Shabbat, or Sabbath, background)
Day 2
Exodus 12:26-27
Deuteronomy 11:18-21
(importance of teaching children about God)
Day 3
Proverbs 31:10-31
(Jewish tradition was to sing this passage before Shabbat dinner)
Day 4
Mark 1:19-20 (James and John intro)
John 1:43-51 (“Can anything good come from Nazareth?”)
Matthew 23:1-12 (Pharisees)
(Intros)
Day 5
Matthew 17:24-27
Matthew 18:15-17
(the status of tax collectors)
Day 6
Watch Episode 2

Questions to Consider:

God rested on the 7th day. He wants us to rest in Him (Matthew 11:28). Rest is a gift! Are you accepting that gift? How can you honor God through rest?

Knowing that Matthew becomes one of Jesus’ disciples, what significance is presented by Praetor Quintus’s comment to Matthew (about betraying his people)?

Simon Peter and Andrew were in a difficult position. What do you think about Peter’s attempt and methods to handle the situation?

Mary shares a great testimony to Nicodemus saying, “I was one way, and now I am completely different, and the thing that happened in between was Him.” Not even sure who Jesus was at the time, she makes a powerful statement: “I will know him for the rest of my life.” Thoughts?

Which Sabbath dinner depicted was Jesus a part of? Which Sabbath dinner would you have been at?

Share your thoughts with us!

Again, thanks to “Down the Hobbit Hole Blog” for some ideas on Scripture readings and thought-provoking questions.

The Chosen Reading Plan – Week 1

We’re going to be reading through and watching the first season of “The Chosen”–an awesome production showing the ministry of Jesus and his apostles. Check it out here.

We hope you’ll follow along with us in the daily readings, and watching one episode per week in this 8-week series.

Day 1
Isaiah 43:1

Deuteronomy 7:6-8

1 Peter 2:9-10 (We are his chosen people now!)

1 Thessalonians 1:4-7

2 Thessalonians 2:13
CHOSEN!
Day 2
Luke 8:1-15 (Mary Magdalene intro)

John 7:32-52 (Nicodemus intro–John chapter 3 will be covered in a later plan)

Luke 5:27-32 (Matthew intro)
Day 3
Matthew 4:18-20 (Simon and Andrew intro)

Matthew 3:1-12 (John the baptist intro)

Matthew 15:10-20
Day 4
Matthew 23:13-39

Ephesians 2:1-10 (We’re all beyond “human aid”)

Psalm 46:10

Matthew 11:29-30
Humility
Day 5
Mark 4:10-12

Luke 10:21

Ephesians 3:1-13

Colossians 1:24-29
(the mystery of the Kingdom)
Day 6
Watch Episode 1

Questions to consider:

It’s interesting to see how the religious and political environment looked in Jesus’ day. What kind of people did Jesus spend the least and most time with? What do you think of Nicodemus’ comment “we are men God, it is not our custom to enter the red quarter”?

What did you think of how Matthew the tax collector and Simon Peter were portrayed?

What do you think about Nicodemus’ question, “What if we’re not seeing the whole picture?”? How do you think that will influence his perspective moving forward?

“I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine.” How can we remind ourselves of this truth and live it out practically?

The plan starts today! Join us! We’ll post each week’s plan here.

Thanks to “Down the Hobbit Hole Blog” for ideas on Scripture readings and thought-provoking questions.

Anger: Righteous Indignation or Wrath?

Anger is a tough subject to tackle because it touches on so many things.  It is a common motivator in our lives for both good and ill.  It can make you say things you would never say to a loved one or make you stand up to a bully at school or at work.  There are a many good reasons to be angry as well as bad ones.  Anger itself is not inherently bad but there is a balancing act to it.  On the one side, being assertive is biblical and Christians are supposed to rebuke wrongdoing and sin among brothers and sisters in Christ.  Jesus whipped the moneychangers out of the Temple for usury (John 2:15).  However, the Bible makes it clear that anger should be used sparingly and warns us against wrath.  The Scriptures repeatedly tell us to be slow in anger.  Proverbs 14:29 states that “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.”  James 1:19-20 asserts that “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Notice that these Scriptures say to be “slow” in anger.  It does not say that anger is unwarranted or bad, but anger must be kept in check.

We must distinguish the two forms of anger: righteous indignation and wrath.  Righteous indignation is the anger moves us to resolve an issue or correct someone out of love.  For example, Paul rebuked Peter for showing partiality with the Jews at Antioch.  Peter ate with the Gentles until some Jews came, and then he only ate with the Jews.  Peter “fear[ed] the circumcision party” and did not want the other Jews to see him eating with the Gentles.  Paul reprimanded Peter of his hypocrisy in front of everyone, saying that he “walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:11-14).  Scripture outlines how to handle a sinning brother.  If a brother sins against you, go to him in private.  If he does not repent, get a third party to intervene and if he still does not repent then take before the church to be rebuked.  (Matthew 18:15-17).  Righteous indignation rebukes sin in the moment but it does not linger or fester.  Rebuking is not meant to destroy a person’s esteem but correct and point them to God’s glory.  It teaches others to enforce the God’s principles, but it does not judge others like God.  Anger, in this state, is a tool for the moment and must be replaced with forgiveness as quickly as possible.   

In contrast, Wrath is an uncontrollable anger devoid of love and compassion.  It does not reprimand out of kindly regard, but eviscerates all goodwill.  Wrath takes control over the mind and arrests the heart into submission.  It spreads like a wildfire consuming all the love and goodness it can get.  As fire destroys without regard to life or property, so does wrath.  Wrath makes itself an idol sitting on the heart’s throne like a god casting judgement and finding everything wanting.  Wrath sows discord among friendships, destroys familial bonds, and separates the church fellowship through its vindictiveness and malice.  The more we give power to wrath, the more it consumes us bringing us to despair. 

Ephesians 4:26-31 sums all of the argument up nicely: 

 “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” 

Jesus should be on the throne of our hearts, and we should listen to the Holy Spirit for guidance.  When we do this, our anger does not become wrath but a tool rarely to be used.  The key difference between wrath and righteous anger is whether or not it’s motivation is love.  Without love, anger is wrath and as Psalm 37:8 proclaims, “Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.”  

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” Colossians 3:8

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  James 1:19-20.

The How and Why of the Kingdom of God

I can’t describe this topic better than is contained in this short soundbite from the After Class Podcast. Please take 15 minutes to listen. I hope you’ll consider listening to more of their material as well.

“The Kingdom is not advanced top-down, by the sword, by the legal gavel, through the pen of legislation—the Kingdom comes as a GIFT.” – John Nugent

The After Class Podcast, Episode 2.9 – Explaining the Kingdom – How and Why
(https://afterclass.libsyn.com/explaining-the-kingdom-how-and-why)

If you found that to be of value, here’s an excellent follow-up episode: https://afterclass.libsyn.com/228-embracing-the-kingdom-part-1

Thanks to John, Ron, and Sam at the After Class Podcast!