2-1-10-1-Internet


2-1-10-Internet/Email Ministry

Jesus Turns Water into Wine

Read John 2:1-12

Jesus was on a mission to save the world, the greatest mission in the history of mankind.  Yet he took time to attend a wedding and take part in its festivities.  We may be tempted to think we should not take time out from our “Important” work for social occasions.  But may be these social occasions are part of our mission.  Jesus valued these wedding festivities because they involved people, and Jesus come to be with people.  Our mission can often be accomplished in joyous times of celebration with others.  Bring balance to your life by bringing Jesus into times of pleasure as well as times of work.

Weddings in Jesus day were week-long festivals.  Banquets would be prepared for many quests, and the week would be spent celebrating the new life of the married couple.  Often the whole town was invited, and everybody would come-it was considered an insult to refuse an invitation to a wedding.  To accommodate many people, careful planning was needed.  To run out of wine was more than embarrassing; it broke the strong unwritten laws of hospitality.  Jesus was about to respond to a heart felt need.

Mary was probably not asking Jesus to do a miracle.  She was simply hoping that her son would help solve this major problem and find some wine.  Tradition says that Joseph, Mary’s husband was dead, so she probably was used to asking for her son’s help in certain situations.  Jesus answer to Mary is difficult to understand, but maybe that is the point.  Although Mary did not understand that Jesus was going to do what was right.  Those who believe in Jesus but run into situations they can not understand must continue to trust that he will work in the best way.

Mary submitted to Jesus’ way of doing things.  She recognized that Jesus was more than her human son-he was the Son of God.  When we bring our problems to Christ we may think we know how he should take care of them.  But he may have a completely different plan.  Like Mary, we should submit and allow him to deal with the problem as he sees best.

The six stone jars were normally used for ceremonial washing.  When full, the pots would hold 20 to 30 gallons.  According to the Jews’ ceremonial law, people become symbolically unclean by touching objects of everyday life.  Before eating, the Jews would pour water over their hands to cleanse themselves of any bad influences associated with what they had touched.

People look everywhere but to God for excitement and meaning.  For some reason, they expect God to be dull and lifeless.  Just as the wine Jesus made was the best, so life in him is better than life on our own.  Why wait until everything else runs out before trying God?  Why save the best until last?

When the disciples saw Jesus miracle, they believed.  The miracle showed his power over nature and revealed the way he would go about this ministry-helping others, speaking with authority, and being in personal touch with people.

Miracles are not merely superhuman events, but events that demonstrate God’s power.  Almost every miracle Jesus did was a renewal of fallen creation-restoring sight making the lame walk even restoring life to the dead.  Believe in Christ not because he is a superman but because he is the God who continues his creation, even in those of us who are poor, weak, crippled, orphaned, blind, deaf, or with some other desperate need for re-creation.

Capernaum because Jesus’ home base during his ministry in Galilee.  Located on a major trade route, it was an important city in the region, with a Roman garrison and a custom station.  At Capernaum, Matthew was called to be a disciple (Matthew 9:9).  The city was also the home of several other disciples (Matthew 4:13-19) and a high-ranking government official (4:46).  It had at least one major synagogue.  Although Jesus made this city his base of operations in Galilee, he condemned it for the people’s unbelief (Matthew 11:23; Luke 10:15).

Weddings were an important part of Jewish culture.  An entire village or town often participated in the festivities.  Jesus is concerned about us because we are his children and his friends.

Picture six men walking on a narrow road….

The men’s faces are eager, but common.  Their leader is confident, but unknown.  They call him Rabbi….

Where are they going?…. They haven’t been told, but they each have their own idea….

Then a chorus of confusion breaks out and ends only when Jesus lifts his hand and says softly, “We’re on our way to a wedding.”…

“Why would we go to a wedding?”…

The answer?  It’s found in the second verse of John 2.  “Jesus and his followers were also invited to the wedding.”…

Big deal?  I think so.  I think it’s significant that common folk in a little town enjoyed being with Jesus…. Jesus was a likable fellow.  And his disciples should be the same.  I’m not talking debauchery, drunkenness, and adultery.  I’m not endorsing compromise, coarseness, or obscenity.  I am simply crusading for the freedom to enjoy a good joke, enliven a dull party, and appreciate a fun evening….

(From When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado)

how long has it been since you had a good laugh?  A hilarious time of fun with Christian friends?  Jesus wants us to rejoice and enjoy life.  Celebrate!

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” John 2:5

Among the key events in Jesus’ earthly life that His mother witnessed, and which Mary surely treasured and pondered in her heart (Luke 2:19), was the wedding in Cana. That wedding marked the occasion of her Son’s first miracle – and of her becoming His disciple.

When the wine ran out at the wedding feast, Mary turned as usual to her Son that He might act quickly and save the wedding hosts from embarrassment. Jesus responded, however, that she was not to involve Him in the matter; His “time” had not yet come. Mary grasped at that moment that the relationship between her and Jesus had changed. Jesus would act in His own time, which she knew had to be His heavenly Father’s time.

Accepting the changed relationship, while still believing that Jesus would help the hosts in their predicament, albeit in His own time, Mary instructed the household servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. That was an act of faith on Mary’s part. Today we honor her for following Jesus in the knowledge that her salvation lay in Him alone. In Him alone we, too, are eternally saved.

Praise to You, O God, for holding up Mary, mother of our Lord, to me as an example of faithful discipleship. Amen.

Where is the “wine” level (zest for life) in your life right now: Full?  Half full?  Empty?  What is draining you?  What area seems like stale water in an old jug?  How could Jesus renew that?

Jesus was not known as a miracle-worker, at this time, so why does Mary approach him (v.3)?  What do you learn about Jesus and his mother from verses 3-5?

Given their social customs, how would you feel as the host (v.3)?  Also servant (vv. 6-8)?  As the groom?

What part does the function and size of the jars play in this story?  How does the quantity and quality of the wine demonstrate Jesus’ glory?

How does this sign relate to the “time” he refers to in verse 4.

Where do you need to see the water turned into wine in your life right now?

How to Pray

Communication takes place when people talk to each other.  It is possible for the child of God to communicate with his Heavenly Father.  The two-parts of the believers communications with God our Father is that the believer should talk to the Heavenly Father, and Listen to God the Father when He talks to us.

If we wish to here what God is saying to us when he talks we must read the Bible as we learned to do.  The child of God must talk to his Father not just read the Bible.  The Bible calls for prayer.

What kind of attitude should we have when we talk to our Heavenly Father in prayer: trust and openness.  In any happy family, the children want to share all their interests and concerns with their Father.  Because they are his children, they are sure that he will be interested in the things which are important to them.  It is the same way with our Heavenly Father?  What kinds of things can we talk about when we pray to our Heavenly Father?

To “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) does not mean that believers must spend the whole day praying without doing anything else.  It does mean that we should take every opportunity we have to share our thoughts and our work with the Lord by talking to Him about them.

Although we can pray to the Lord at any time of the day; it is important to set aside a special time to pray also.  It can and should be when we do our Bible Study.

During this special time of Bible reading and prayer we must try to put all the thoughts of other things aside so that we can give all of our attention to our Heavenly .

We are now going to look at three different kinds of prayer:

  1. Prayers of request.

  2. Prayers of praise and thanksgiving.

  3. Prayers of confession.

First we will look at Prayers of Request.  The word request means to ask for something.

Jesus said: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  (Matthew 7:11).  God has told us to ask.

Often, in our prayers of request something for someone else, for instance, we may ask God to heal someone who is sick.  They are called prayers of intercession.

We receive our salvation from God.  He also gives us many other good things each day.  We praise God fore who he is: that is, we praise him for his greatness, his love, his faithfulness, and so on.  We give God our thanks for all of the many things that he has given to us.

The Bible says: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise… the fruit of lips that confess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15).

The Bible says: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)  It is important to know that the Bible verse you read above was written to people who had already believed in Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  When we confess our sin to God, what does he then do?  God forgives our sin.

Spiritual Exercise

Focus the mind intentionally on God for one minute at a time several times a day, and your thinking will become better attuned to His presence and informed by it.  This makes new openings for God to enter your life and work through you:  Prayer is the work of God through man.

As you turn your mind to Him in brief moments of reflection, His work can begin to be more truly manifested in your life.  As you, continue seeking answers to your important questions, God’s presence will be a force in your thinking.

One minute is not enough-not all by itself.  Life’s are rarely changed on a minute, but prayer can transform a life one minute at a time.

Internet/Email Ministry

“That would never work for us!”

Those words reflect a frequent response whenever a new course of action is proposed in any organization.  That is the normal and predictable reaction to many new ideas,  However, that negative response should not be viewed as rejection, but rather as “No, not yet.”  Sometimes people need more time to talk themselves into making a change.  On other occasions the decision makers want proof that the new idea has worked elsewhere.

The theme of these lessons is that the internet/email is a cost effective approach to new member enlistment available to churches.  It also is a efficient vehicle for expanding the financial base of the congregation.  It is a method of communication that goes back to the letters of Paul.

A another value of these lessons is the lucid “how-to-do-it” explanation for implementing a new idea.  In step by step terms, the author not only explains the many values of internet/email, but also leads the student through the process of adapting the internet/email approach to a particular congregation.

An obvious question is what will be the impact on the small congregation that cannot afford this technology?  One answer is that few congregations can afford to ignore it.  Earlier in previous centuries most churches rejected electric lights and telephones, but they eventually concluded that these were essential.  In comparative terms, the cost of installing a Internet/Email system in your congregation is far less than the cost of wiring a building for electricity earlier in church history.  The big differences are that electricity (a) was primarily for the convenience and benefit of today’s members, (b) increased annual expenditures, and (c) was part of a larger was part of a larger plan to bring electricity to the entire neighborhood, while Internet/Email can be a means (a) of reaching tomorrow’s prospective new members, (b) of expanding revenues rather than simply increasing expenditures, and (c) of pioneering a new channel of communication not yet widely  used by other churches in your community.

In other words, the small congregation should be looking at benefits rather than worrying about costs.  For many smaller churches, the choice may be between (a) ignoring the potential values of Internet/Email and watching the congregation gradually grow older and smaller and utilizing the values of Internet/Email to enable that congregation to contact, reach, serve, attract, and assimilate a new generation of members.  That choice, rather than the cost, may be the critical issue in this debate.

Jesus commissioned his church to function as the light of the world and the salt of the earth.  In the context of his teachings the meaning of these figures of speech is clear:  The church is to bear the message of the good news of the gospel to all people everywhere.

There was a time when this was comparatively simple.  One merely shared the message of God’s love and grace with one’s family, neighbors, friends, and associates.  Now, however, our world has suddenly changed.  Our circle of daily contacts has become radically larger and far more complex.  Through simple one on one witnessing is still important-and always will be-it is not enough.

It is not enough for three reasons.  First, because of the way in which the world’s population is so rapidly increasing, it is impossible for the church to keep pace with this growth by merely making individual contacts by word of mouth.  Unless the church begins to change its methodology it will not be able to fulfill the Lord’s great commission.

Second, the technological advances of the last few years have put new tools at our fingertips that can enable the church to reach multitudes rather than people individually.  Relatively few churches will be able to afford many of these tools, but there is one that is within reach of all-the computer.  Many churches have already become computerized.  Many others will be shortly.  The computer is an instrument that can assist the church in its effort to accomplish efficiently and effectively the evangelization of the world.

Third, discoveries made in the area of the behavioral sciences, when applied to the mission of the church, will enable the church to reach possible.  For example, during the last generation many insights were gained into the ways people are motivated.  Likewise, at the opposite end of the behavioral spectrum, many discoveries have been made relating to what affects people negatively.  For the church not to make use of this information would be not only conter-productive but foolish.

One group that has recognized the truth of this observation is known generally as “televangelists.”  Whether nationally known or recognized only in their own communities through the use of local cable channels, these TV ministers have reached tremendous numbers of people.  Whatever one’s judgment may be regarding the value of these ministries, the fact is that their outreach has been quite effective.  These television evangelists, having captured their audiences visually, maintain a regular-usually monthly and sometimes more often-contact with them via direct/e-mail.  Statistics reveal that the amount of money received as a result of these “mail” solicitations is phenomenal.

Probably most of us would not want to emulate these well known personalities because of the excesses some of them have been shown to be guilty of.  However, as the saying goes, we ought not to throw the baby out with the bath water.  The fact that certain methods have been misused ought not to lead us to discard those methods.  We should discard only their misuse.

By combining an overwhelming desire to fulfill the great commission with both the advent of certain technological advances and the motivational insights provided by the behavioral sciences, the church will be better able to fulfill its mission in this world.

One area in which the church is able to effect just such a combination is Internet/email.  By a serendipitous prodding of the Spirit, which took place many years ago.  Many are led to experiment with the use of Internet/Email as a means of building the church.  I am convinced that it represents a tremendous untapped resource available to the church.

I encourage you to use any or all of the ideas presented in these lessons.  If you do, you will come to realize, as I have, that the use of Internet/Email will enable you to multiply the effectiveness of your ministry.

Testimony

BIO:Menno Simons

1492-1559
Dutch Anabaptist. Menno Simons was born in Friesland, Hol-
land. Little is known of his early life and education. In
1524 he was ordained to the priesthood of the Roman Church.
However, his study of the New Testament soon began to produce
doubts about many of the doctrines. Luther’s writings also
influenced him to leave the Roman Church. His preaching
thereafter is described as evangelical rather than
sacramental.
Simons went farther than either Luther or Calvin in
rejecting the teachings of Romanism, and soon allied himself
with the Dutch Anabaptists. He was immersed in 1537 by Obbe
Philip. His fame as a writer and as a preacher grew, and soon
the Anabaptists of that area acknowledged him as their
leader.
In his church discipline, which was drawn from the
Swiss Baptists, silent prayer was common and sermons were
without texts. He taught that neither baptism nor communion
conferred grace upon an individual, but that grace was ob-
tained only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Although
he was not the founder, his preaching and influence were such
that many of the Dutch Anabaptists adopted his name, and
thereafter were known as Mennonites.

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About georgehach

I am a retired Lay Minister, acting as a prophet for God to understand the end times that is comingg and how to prepare for it.
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