This Week's Memory Work - Peacemakers

Church Bible Study Website Graphic.png

This week’s memory work is Matthew 5:9-10. As we work through the Sermon on the Mount, we come to a blessing to peacemakers. I think most of us would say we are peaceful people, and likely would say we want peace in our families, in our communities, and even in the world in general. Peace is our desire, but is it our way of life? Do we exist to bring about peace within our sphere of influence? Gossip has no part in our lives. Slander, malicious speech, or any other divisive action have no place in the life of a peace – maker. Be a peace maker, not simply a peace lover.

 

Matthew 5:9-10 (HCSB)

9 The peacemakers are blessed,

for they will be called sons of God.

10 Those who are persecuted for righteousness are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Joshua Fowler

If you enjoyed reading, please click the share icons found at the top and bottom of the page to share on social media.

If you would like to join our mailing list, please click here. 

Written on Your Heart

Church Bible Study Website Graphic.png

What is it about committing scripture to memory that is so important? In the technological culture we are coming up in where information is only a few clicks away, it is easy to fall into a dependence on electronics when we are in need of or seeking the counsel of God. How much better is it to have the words of the Father inscribed in our minds and hearts so deeply that they come to mind as easily as a thought or emotion? When a scriptural response to the events in life comes to us like a second nature, we are well on the way to being steeped in the will of the Father. 2 verses each week will enable you to have the Sermon on the Mount committed to memory by the end of the year. If you didn’t get started last week or miss a week or two along the way, 2 verses is very easy to make up. I hope you will join me as we rededicate ourselves to the discipline of memorization.

The Beattitudes begin the Sermon on the Mount by setting a tone that will not disappoint. Jesus flips not only the cultural norms but also the religious norms upside down as he delivers the truth about the Gospel, about his presence, and about God’s desire for mankind in the days to come.

Matthew 5:5-6 (HCSB)

5 The gentle are blessed,

for they will inherit the earth.

6 Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed,

for they will be filled.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Joshua Fowler

If you enjoyed reading, please click the share icons found at the top and bottom of the page to share on social media.

If you would like to join our mailing list, please click here. 

Committed to Memory

Church Bible Study Website Graphic.png

As was mentioned last week, I am encouraging us each to commit to memorization of scripture this year. Also as promised, the commentary will be brief each week. In the busyness of our culture, our focus will be primarily on time devoted to memory. The commentary given is simply to help fram our minds around the text in a way that hopefully helps the memorization process. Maybe you have your own plan or desire, but if you don’t, then follow along with this guide. 2 verses each week will enable you to have the Sermon on the Mount committed to memory by the end of the year. If you didn’t get started last week or miss a week or two along the way, 2 verses is very easy to make up. I hope you will join me as we rededicate ourselves to the discipline of memorization that has been largely put aside for too long. May you be blessed on this journey.

Matthew 5:3-4 (HCSB)

3 “The poor in spirit are blessed,

for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

4 Those who mourn are blessed,

for they will be comforted.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Joshua Fowler

If you enjoyed reading, please click the share icons found at the top and bottom of the page to share on social media.

If you would like to join our mailing list, please click here. 

A Challenge For 2019

Church Bible Study Website Graphic.png

I am introducing a series here on Walking in His Footsteps that will appear every Monday throughout the year. It is in part a challenge, and in another part an encouragement to maintain a life steeped in the Word of God. The memorization of scripture has largely been abandoned in today’s culture. It is likely because of the way technology has made the Bible so readily available on a phone or computer screen. But there is great value in committing the Holy Word of God to memory.

So here is my challenge to you. This year, memorize the Sermon on the Mount! Before you tune me out, hear me out. Even though the SotM is 3 chapters long, much of it is familiar already. Additionally if you commit 2.5 verses to memory each week, by the end of the year we will be there. Now that it is broken down like that it doesn’t seem nearly as daunting. So the second issue is, “Why the Sermon on the Mount?” And the answer to that question is simple. There is no other collection of teachings that so completely covers the gauntlet of out trials and tribulations. Whenever you get into a difficult spot, whether someone is getting on your nerves, testing your limits, pushing you to anger, or if you find yourself in a difficult situation of a different sort you can acknowledge the presence of the emotions and begin reciting in your head the words or our Savior. It will not be long before the Spirit of God will speak into your own heart and into the circumstances of life you have found yourself within. I tell you from experience, there is nothing more effective in aligning my will with the will of God than allowing the Word of God to fill our hearts and consume our thoughts.

Blessings to you on your journey. Each week we will have a brief thought on the 2 or 3 verses for memorization that week and the memory verses. The verses in this series will be taken from the Christian Standard Bible. However the first rule of memorization here is to choose a translation that is suitable for you. See you on Monday!

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Joshua Fowler

If you enjoyed reading, please click the share icons found at the top and bottom of the page to share on social media.

If you would like to join our mailing list, please click here. 

A Minister's Take Aways From STORY 2018

A Minister's Take Aways From STORY 2018

I had the privilege to help with STORY, a two day conference-style gathering designed to inspire, challenge, and equip artists, creators, and storytellers who work in a variety of industries. 

I was there for a week to help set up, take down, and do whatever I was asked to do during the conference. Fortunately I was able to see most of the presentations. This year the theme was “Wonder” from Alice in Wonderland. We want to create wonder in our storytelling.

Read More

Character Arc

Character Arc

Great writers of fiction give us far more dynamic characters than static ones. Change is relatable to us, since we know inconsistencies within ourselves. We love observing the process of growth in people, whether we’re watching Ebenezer Scrooge, Jean Valjean, Jack Shepherd, or our own children. On the other hand, the character arc is not always an upward trajectory. We also encounter the tragic downfalls of Macbeth, Michael Corleone, and Walter White. In its historical narratives, the Bible gives us plenty of examples of both directions the character arc can take.

Read More

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 4)

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 4)

We have moved from the need for cleansing of the inner and outer self…to the reality of the cleansing work of Christ…to the results of the cleansing work in creating a new self which is a temple for God to live within. So what are the implications of the new self belonging to God as His sanctified space (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Well, most of Paul’s epistles contribute answers to this question when he reaches the ethical and practical sections (often in the 2nd half of the letters - passages like 1 Thessalonians 4, Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 6, 2 Corinthians 6, Colossians 3, and Ephesians 4-5). Each of these sections of Scripture provide an angle of how the new-creation-holy-temple-of-God-life should look. But I ask you to consider some thoughts from another of these passages - Romans 6...

Read More

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 3)

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 3)

All of us have poisons within and stains without. So the first part of Isaiah 4 is about God taking “survivors” (a remnant who are willing to surrender their brokenness to Him), cleansing them inwardly, cleansing them outwardly, thus making them holy, and bringing them home from exile. The use of “Branch of the LORD” (4:2) points to the ultimate meaning of this passage reaching beyond Israel’s geographical return from Babylonian/Persian Exile…to a fuller sense of return and restoration only realized in Jesus. 

So the chapter ends with God’s subsequent action...

Read More

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 2)

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 2)

Last week we established how cleansing must start within. The heart is in need of re-creation (Psalm 51:10) and a new redemptive story written upon it (Jeremiah 31:33-34), replacing the record of sin which was engraved with a diamond-pointed iron stylus on the old heart (Jeremiah 17:1). Since “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick” (Jeremiah 17:9), the cure cannot be merely a topical treatment of the outside. It must be a fundamental, surgical change from within - a circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 30:6; Romans 2:29)

Let’s go back to where we were in the early chapters of Isaiah last week. Between 2 judgment sections (2:12-3:26 and 5:1-30), the 6 verses of Chapter 4 interweave the hopeful threads of remnant, return from exile, cleansing, and re-creation.

Read More

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 1)

Cleansing: Inward and Outward (Part 1)

When Peter says baptism is not just a cleansing of the flesh but is an appeal to God for a clean conscience (1 Peter 3:21), he is connecting the experience of baptism into Christ with a strong biblical theme - the need for both inward and outward cleansing. In Matthew 23, Jesus chides the Pharisaic “hypocrites” for their attention to detail on outside cleanliness while leaving leaving filth inside a seemingly well-polished cup and rotting flesh inside a white-washed tomb. Even the purpose of 2 goats being involved in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) has connection to the need for both inward and outward cleansing. The blood of the slain goat was sprinkled where no one save the high priest and God Himself would witness - a private, inward cleansing. The live goat was sent into the wilderness with confessed sins laid upon it as a public witness to all - an outward removal of the filth...

Read More

Singing as Faith Confession

Singing as Faith Confession

To make a confession of faith in Jesus as my Lord, as Christ, and as the Son of God (Matthew 16:15-16; Romans 10:9-10) is an essential component of becoming a Christian. But our confession of Jesus continues in multiple forms as our walk in the light proceeds. One of the avenues in which we continue to confess Jesus before fellow humans (Matthew 10:32) is in our congregational singing. Consider this powerful thought from Hebrews...

Read More