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Has Life Got You Spinning?

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llm-mar15_discipleshipMy wife and I recently visited our son and his family. One morning, my son entertained our 18-month-old grandson, Jack, by spinning several wooden rings on the floor at once. When all the rings were spinning, Jack was truly mesmerized.

My son eventually became weary of the activity and quit. Jack expressed his obvious displeasure, so my son began spinning again.

I was reminded that we have a lot of plates spinning in our lives, and we have to keep all of them spinning all of the time.


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The Sabbath

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llm-mar15_historyA tract against the Sabbath has been sent us. It is no wonder that haters of God and man seek to destroy the Sabbath. Where the Sabbath is not observed, irreligion prevails, and man is degraded.

Nothing can be plainer than that the Sabbath was instituted at the beginning. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3 KJV).

This was even prior to the fall of man. It was doubtless owing to its being so early instituted, and so carefully observed, that, on the dispersion of mankind, they carried the Sabbath with them everywhere.


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What’s Rest?

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Bishop Matthew Thomas  To read more from Bishop Thomas, visit fmcusa.org/matthewthomas.

“Rest” is a great idea. What does it mean?

Some of the most familiar and potent Bible passages use the words “Sabbath” or “rest.” God rested on the seventh day for some inexplicable reason. He went a step further and blessed the day of rest “and made it holy” (Genesis 2:2–3). He wrote about the Sabbath day on a stone tablet and had Moses carry the command down the mountain (Exodus 20:8–11). Jesus promised rest to those who come to Him (Matthew 11:28). The ultimate offer of God for His people (Hebrews 4) hinges on its full expression.

Christians understand the theological and practical importance. God wants us to better understand His work through our rest. Most pastors have emphasized that we physically, emotionally and mentally need rest. However, few people consistently agree or understand what rest should look like in their lives. A few understand rhythms, their own limitations and active rest, and they commit to wholeness.


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A Gift, Not a Burden

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llm-mar15_foundationGreat-grandfathers called it the Holy Sabbath. Grandfathers called it the Sabbath. Fathers called it Sunday. Today we just call it the weekend.

The Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8–11), and it gets more discussion in the Old Testament than any of the other nine.

Most Sabbath references in the New Testament are simply a time reference for events, and the Sabbath commandment is the only one of the Ten Commandments not quoted verbatim in the New Testament. Jesus was regularly criticized for not honoring the Sabbath. Paul expresses freedom about honoring the Sabbath on different days (Colossians 2:16).

Does the New Testament minimize the call to Sabbath? Is it now obsolete?


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Five Ways to Change the Environment in Your Home

By Doug Fields

Traits of Poor Communication in Marriage

I ran into a friend who filled me in on some distance/frustration/angst within his family. After his transparent sharing, he went practical asking, “Do you have ideas on what I should do?”

Mending wounded relationships is NOT easy and Band-Aids are rarely effective, but there are some simple, practical, and transforming actions that can be taken to change the environment within your home.

Try these five actions for a week and see if the temperature in your home doesn’t change a little. Plus, even if your relational temperature is “fine,” these ideas may make it even better.


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Sabbath: God’s Response to the Rat Race

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llm-mar15_feature“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

What a wonderful promise our Lord gives — rest as response to life’s demands. The continuity of God’s character is boldly declared, emphasizing an essential weekly rhythm established at Creation (Genesis 2:2–3). An Old Testament prescriptive pace becomes solidified in New Testament promise. The first book of the New Testament mirrors the first book of the Old Testament.

What is God’s message to us through this continuity? How can this link more deeply illuminate both God’s nature and humanity’s need? A mixture of curiosity and conviction prompted me to thoroughly investigate questions such as these in light of the 169 Sabbath references interwoven into 23 books of the Bible. I discovered personal and corporate implications that have forever deepened my understanding of God, the church and the Christian life. Below are three that strike me as essential as well as some of the questions that accompany each one.


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LLM: March 2015

Every month we post articles from Light and Life Magazine, a publication of the Free Methodist Church. Read the welcome and check out the articles.

llm-mar15_covGive Us Rest

I grew up in a family with strict Sunday convictions. While other church members rushed to “beat the Baptists to the buffet,” we ate at home because we didn’t want to make restaurant workers cook our food instead of attending church or resting. We avoided Sunday football except for the church Super Bowl party that

occurred during the Sunday night service, which we
attended every week. Sunday was a day set aside for holy activities and rest.

When my wife was growing up, Sunday was her family’s biggest workday of the week. She’s a pastor’s daughter. Many other people also have jobs that don’t allow Sunday to be a day of rest.

Still, it’s important to take a Sabbath rest sometime each week. Like our Savior, we need to step away from our daily busyness and focus on the Father: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).

Changes Ahead

Four years ago this month, I got the call saying I had been hired to help launch a new format for Light & Life Magazine. It’s time for a change again, and an exciting new design debuts next month that incorporates many readers’ advice. The magazine will be bigger and have a fresh look. Turn to the News section (Page 11) to learn more.

finley_jeff

Downloadable PDF: LLM March 2015

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Features



Exegeting the Exegete

Exegesis is a term with which most pastors are familiar.  Exegesis simply means to “expose or explain through careful and objective analysis.”  Pastors should know this because it is of high importance in the interpretation of Scripture.  All seminarians have had classes on it and classes that employ it in the study of Scripture.  Some of the most bizarre interpretations of Scripture come because the interpreter is simply reading into the Scriptures (eisegesis) what they want to see or what they subjectively believe to be true, rather than trying to understand what the writer on behalf of God is actually trying to say (exegesis).  I hear both varieties of Biblical interpretation many times every year.

I hear people talk about Scriptures in ways that are inspiring because they have been able to mine meaning, intent and truth out of passages in ways that make it clearer to me and in ways that I never saw before- God’s Word more fully revealed.  I also hear passages of Scripture interpreted in very subjective ways where the interpretation bears little resemblance to the passage’s actual meaning.  When I hear or read those kinds of remarks and re-read and study the Scripture for myself, I end up scratching my head, wondering how that person ever understood that passage that way.

In the latter case, I find myself doing another kind of exegesis.  I try to exegete the exegete. 


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New Trends for Selfies

An article from David R. Smith at TheSource4YM.com

Dynamic ImageYou may know what a selfie is, but what about a “wealthie”? And do you know the tremendous importance a young woman places on a picture of herself that’s broadcast to the world?

In a world that’s so image-conscious, taking pics is taken very seriously.

Taking Selfies to a New Level
Last year Jonathan McKee wrote an eye-opening post about the fascination teens have with selfies. Has anything changed?

A recent trend has developed in our (largely) narcissistic culture, taking (and posting) a “wealthie”. If you’re wondering what “wealthie” is, just think “wealth + selfie” and you’ll get a pretty good idea. A “selfie” is a picture you take of yourself standing in front of the high school art club’s winning entry; a “wealthie” is a picture you take of yourself standing beside the Mona Lisa…wearing a Rolex.

Celebrity examples of this trend include Johnny Manziel holding a fistful of cash at a casino, Floyd Mayweather’s diamond-encrusted iPod that cost $50,000, Taylor Swift posing with Haim on a yacht, or any of the extravagant cars Jonathan McKee rents while on speaking trips (okay, maybe not that last one).

Personally, I blame this guy for starting it all.


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SET THEM FREE!

If all are made in God’s image, set-free[1]

If all human beings rightly belong to God,

 

If God is love,

 

If we can see love most clearly and powerfully in God’s own Self-Giving in the Person of Jesus,

If Jesus has called us to follow Jesus on Jesus’ path,

If Jesus makes the way clear, removes the obstacles, goes before us, and has our back as we walk with him—

 

If Jesus came to set captives free, whatever the captivity, whomever and however it holds,

 

Then …


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