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Week 13

This week’s EXTRA is all about Remembering the Lord in communion and why that is so important.

We all have symbols and keepsakes in our lives that help us remember an important event or season. Scrapbooks, ticket stubs, and souvenirs remind us of that great vacation or concert with friends.

At the final meal with his disciples, Jesus took two common mealtime items and gave them new meaning... bread and wine. Funny enough, he did this at a Passover dinner, the annual meal when the Jews celebrated the anniversary of their miraculous exodus from Egyptian slavery. At this dinner, much of the food and drink is symbolic and catalytic for memories.

At this dinner, though, Jesus would take the bread and break it and say, “As often as you eat this, remember my body that was broken for you.” In the same way, he took the wine and gave it new meaning saying, “This is my blood shed for you. Drink this in remembrance of me.”

Jesus took common food and drink, bread and wine, and gave it new meaning designed to help us remember HIM. To this day, millions of people continue this tradition by taking communion in churches all over the world to remember His sacrifice for us.

In these last days leading up to Easter, why not gather with your family, friends, or small group and follow the guide we’ve created to celebrate a time of communion together. Below is a guide and return you to the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and remembrance of why we call him Savior.

We hope and pray that your NINETY day journey has really helped you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ. God bless.

John Hastings


Week 12

This week’s EXTRA is the second half of a two-week journey along Jesus life through the book of Luke. If you missed the first part, no problem you can just go from here or go back and catch up. The goal is to read through the book in two weeks accompanied by a video each week that outlines what you are reading.

So here is the outline of WEEK TWO:

April 10: Watch the second Book of Luke video (Luke 10–21) HERE.

April 11: Read Luke 10:1–37

April 12: Read Luke 10:38–13:21

April 13: Read Luke 13:22–14:35

April 14: Read Luke 15:1–18:14

April 15: Read Luke 18:15–21:24

April 16: Read Luke 21:25–24:53 (and watch the second Book of Luke video again)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR COMMUNITY GROUPS:

1.     Who is someone you’ve crossed paths with that exemplifies the word “servant”?

2.     Did the video help you see Luke’s gospel in a new way? If so, how? Did chapters 10 through 24 challenge some of your assumptions about Jesus? If so, how?

3.     The second half of Luke records many of Jesus’ parables (stories that illustrate a theological truth). Why do you think Jesus chose to communicate through stories? How do those stories help you experience truth and apply it in your life?

4.     Read Luke 10:25–37 aloud. To which person in the parable do you most relate? How do you think that influences the way you interpret the story?

5.     Chapter 11 of Luke contains what’s known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” This was how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. Is there anything in the Lord’s Prayer that would be helpful to apply in your prayer life?

6.     The video’s narrator said, “Only when we submit ourselves to the upside-down kingdom emphasized by the cross can we truly experience the real Jesus.” Is there some way in which you need to submit more fully to the kingdom in order to more fully experience Jesus? If so, what can you do this week to submit? How can this group support you?

We hope you’ve had some great discussions about the gospel of Luke. We hope you’re challenged to apply in your daily life some of what you’ve learned. We also hope you enjoyed the experience of reading Scripture and want to continue reading it on a regular basis


Week 11

Hi everyone!  This week’s XTRA is for those who are really looking for something extra, but it’s a wonderful way to get a really good overview of the life of Jesus.

This is a two-week journey along Jesus’ life through the book of Luke. We will do half this week and next weeks extra will provide you with the second half. The goal is to read through the book in two weeks accompanied by a video each week that outlines what you are reading.

  • Each day, reading will be a couple of chapters, but overall read time should be less than 15 minutes each day.

  • Discussion questions are provided for each week and are helpful if you want to take the journey with your community group!

  • As you read about Jesus’ life, ask:  If Jesus is God in human form, what do I learn about the character of God? What do I learn about how Jesus sees the world and people? How can I relate to the people Jesus encountered?

Here is an INTRODUCTION to the book:

Written around 60 A.D., the book of Luke is one of the four Gospel books that start the New Testament and focus on the life of Jesus. The author identifies himself as Luke, a Greek physician and the only Gentile(non-Jewish) writer in the New Testament. As a physician, Luke was an educated man, which explains his scientific and orderly approach to the book, as well as his great attention to detail. Although he was not one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, Luke meticulously cites historical records and interviews with disciples and others who were eyewitnesses to the life of Christ.

So here we go

Group Questions:

1.  How did your reading of chapters 1–9 go? Did anything stand out? Take some time to discuss.

2.  Did the video help you see Luke’s gospel in a new way? If so, how? The video mentions that Jesus came to turn the world order upside down. Do you think he did that? If so, what are some examples of how he changed the world?

3.  Review Luke 4:1–13 (read it aloud as a group if that helps). What do you think this story has to do with Jesus’ mission? Why do you think it was important that he faced temptation?

4.  Review Luke 6:27–36. You may not feel like you have an “enemy,” but who is someone in your life you have trouble getting along with? What can you do this week to love that person? How can this group support you?


Week 10

Hi everyone!  Mid week XTRA time!

We are at the part of Jesus journey where he is headed towards Jerusalem, where so much would happen that would change the world forever. Jesus was going to eat the last Passover with his disciples and for the first time personalize it. A few days later he would become the Passover lamb and obliterate the need to ever have that feast again. From that time on, it would become a feast of remembrance. Jesus would die as the Savior of the world and rise again three days later. The world would never be the same.

Even as Jesus prepared for the tumultuous events that lay ahead of him, he still had time for individuals and met their needs. He kept showing that his message was for everybody.

If you’ve got a few more minutes, click the button that says “NINETY EXTRA” to check out more about what Jesus did as he approached his last week in Jerusalem.

NINETY EXTRA:
Bible Project: Luke 9-19


Week 9

Hi everyone!  Mid week XTRA time!

I don’t know about you, but I have looked into my closet or refrigerator on many occasions and not been able to find the item I am looking for? Then my wife will shout “Bend your knees”, trying to encourage me to look lower.  Even then, I sometimes miss it, at which point she will come over to help. Somehow she finds it right away! It leaves me feeling foolish as I’d be looking straight at the thing, but not seeing it. Weird but true! To add insult to injury she might throw out a quip, like: “If that was a snake, it would have bitten you!” Ouch. The moral of the story is that sometimes we just need to look deeper to find things.

Last Sunday, Andy Stanley described a fascinating account of a religious leader, Nicodemus, who approached Jesus one night because he wanted to go deeper into some of the things he had heard Jesus say. Specifically, he wanted to know about this “new birth” idea. Nic had heard of childbirth before. He’d probably seen a pregnant woman or a newborn child. Hearing Jesus talk about a “new birth” made him wonder, though. He asked Jesus, “How can a grown man go back into his mother’s womb?” It didn’t make sense, but Nic wanted to understand.

Nicodemus quickly found out that Jesus was talking about a different kind of rebirth, a spiritual one. He also discovered that this new birth was something offered to him, but by very different means of the traditional birth. He believed and received, changing his life forever! It all happened because he slowed down enough to look deeper, ask questions, and seek answers.

So, what do you need to slow down and look deeper at? What could Jesus have for you that you might be missing? Are you willing to take a step toward giving it a new look?

Maybe you have a question of your own that requires a conversation. If you live in the Upstate we’d love you to return to MLC for the rest of “NINETY” and investigate more deeply. We would love to go on the journey with you.

In the meantime, can you find Waldo in the picture below. Some things require us to take a deeper and longer look!

Waldo.jpg

Week 8

Hi everyone!  John here, for our mid-week episode!  I hope your week is going well.

We just passed the mid-point of our 90-day journey with Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I have loved the ride so far. Andy began by emphasizing the fact that Jesus was bringing something brand new. This was not an extension of the old but a complete and much better replacement. This was not just a message for Israel but for the whole world.  A message of God’s universal love that reached to all people, tribes and nations. Last Sunday we spoke about the church, this new body of people, that would carry the message of the new covenant to the people of the earth. Stop for one moment and ponder how amazing it is that our little church in Clemson is a part of that prevailing movement. We are part of something transcendent and we were reminded last Sunday of how Jesus wants us to prioritize the transcendent over the temporal. Jesus was not only building something transcendent, but he promised to place his transcendent self in the middle of the gatherings of his people when they gather as the church. Wow! That is so precious! I think it is amazing that we can experience Jesus in a special way when we gather together, and that doesn’t happen anywhere else.

The extra I have included for you this week is a beautiful song that we have sung many times at MLC. It conveys the transcendent nature of Jesus and his special work of salvation.  This rendition is moving and brought chills to my soul. Enjoy!

NINETY EXTRA:
https://www.facebook.com/riverscrossing/videos/258233948428829/UzpfSTEwMDAwOTUzMDE5OTQyODoyMjIyNDQxOTkxNDE2Nzg2/?id=100009530199428


Week 7

Hi everyone!  John here, for our mid-week episode!  I hope your week is going well.

I love my comfort zone. Honestly, moving out of my comfort zone scares the dickens out of me.

However, I think we all know that the comfort zone is a place where very little grows. It’s part of the reason Jesus was in the business of leading his disciples way out of their cultural comfort zones, to places like Samaria where the good religious people just didn’t go.

Last Sunday, however, in the story of “the woman at the well”, we saw how Jesus clearly demonstrated that we need to go beyond our comfort zones if we are to truly show that ‘God loves everybody!”.

It’s called a “comfort zone” for a reason—we’re comfortable there. People and experiences are familiar to us there. If we had it our way, we’d probably stay there all the time.

When Jesus said, “Go to the world,” he meant all of it, even those places that are outside our comfort zones.

In that amazing encounter Jesus had with a woman at a well, the time and attention Jesus gave this woman changed her, and her entire community! In fact, after she told her neighbors about her experience with Jesus, they all decided to follow him.

And it all happened because Jesus wasn’t content to stay inside his comfort zone.

So, what is it for you this week? Where is your comfort zone? More importantly, is there someone outside your comfort zone whom you need to give some time and attention?

If you’ve got a few extra minutes, click the button that says “NINETY EXTRA” for a great look at what can happen when we decide to see people differently!

NINETY EXTRA:
Engaging Culture video : https://vimeo.com/187365858


Week 6

Hi everyone at MLC. It’s Pastor John here again.  Back in 2004 a group of leaders came to visit us at Southpoint Church in Cape Town. They made an indelible imprint on our church and our lives. The leader of that team was Evan McLaughlin.  He is still at North Point and directs many of the Sunday services.  This is what he wrote about his experience with “NINETY”. I think we can all relate to this experience with a GPS.

“Let’s pretend I am interested in getting to the vacation home I rented at the beach. I pack up the car, pull out of the driveway, and set the address in the GPS app. Pretty soon, the app starts barking orders at me... “Turn left ahead.” “Take I-85 South.” “recalculating” 

What I do with those directions is of paramount importance. It would be easy for me to see the app as bossy or its direction as restrictive of my journey. On top of that, I could accuse the app of being close-minded to the multitude of roads I could drive in the world or even downright judgmental of other highways. 

In a huff, I might be tempted to shut it off and just drive ... with no regard to direction. What wonderful freedom it would be... BUT, this method could be a carefree journey but would certainly not lead me anywhere near my desired beach vacation. 

In our 90-day journey we’ve seen a great example of the challenge God’s people had with the “Law” and their religious construct of the temple days. You see... early on, God gave the Law to establish a standard of holy living for His people but, at the same time, to show that we could never meet that standard on our own. In short, the law did its job. 

In our little vacation driving analogy, the Jews would, time and time again, end up shutting off God’s instruction and doing it their own way. This is why Jesus came — to fulfill requirements the Law FOR his people, and then to be the final sacrifice to pay for their violations. 

Still, as much as the people struggled to keep God’s Law, many struggled even more to move away from it when Jesus came to introduce something greater .... a greater faith. A greater understanding of who He was. A greater way of life.”

If you have an extra six minutes, click the button that says “NINETY EXTRA” to learn a little more about the Law from our friends at the Bible Project! 

NINETY EXTRA:
Bible Project: The Law https://thebibleproject.com/explore/the-law/


Week 5

Hi everyone at MLC. It’s Pastor John here again.  I hope you are enjoying the midweek dip into the 90 series.

Last Sunday Andy told us that Jesus came to bring something brand new, and that his followers should not cling on to the old things.  

One of the indicators that I’m getting old is that I am sometimes called a “WHEN WE!”. The reason for this is I frequently say things like: “When we were young, we did…..”. When we lived in South Africa, we did…”, and so on. It seems the older you get the more you reminisce and perhaps wish you could rewind the clock. Many folks had to leave the country I grew up in and a bunch of us would get together in our new country and reminisce about the old days. Funnily enough this group of people were labelled the “WHENWEs”. After a while the reminiscing grew old and we realized that if we were going to move forward and be happier, we had to let go of the past and move ahead to the new things God had for us.  

It’s a fascinating thing when seasons of history change (and the “way things work” changes with them). Last Sunday, we learned more about how much Jesus’ arrival changed life for those seeking to worship and know God. 

Previously, people remotely connected to God through priests and ceremonies. Now, Jesus was standing face-to-face with them, seeking to interact intimately and directly. 

THERE WERE over 600 commandments OUTLINING religious life for the Jews. Now, Jesus was saying all those commandments could be summed up in just two. That is a huge difference!The old system with many commandments created a complex system to determine one’s “rightness” with God. Jesus was now saying that everyone was in the same boat, equally in need of help and equally able to receive it. 

Change is hard to take . . . especially if you’re used to the way it’s always been. Still, Jesus came to call those he met to a new, fuller life . . . and he does the same for us. So . . . do you trust him? 

Would you spend a few minutes praying and asking God to help you let go of the past and move forward to the simpler but more liberating future he has for you.


Week 4

Last week, we heard about how important it is to Listen, Believe and Obey what Jesus asks us to do. God’s instructions for our lives often get projected as if he is over demanding or a cosmic killjoy. But we can all point to a time when we listened and were better for it.

The bottom line is that following Jesus makes life better and makes us better at life. Why? Because he cares for you. There is so much that hangs in the balance of following him or not. 

If you’ve got an extra three minutes, click the link below to hear David’s story and how he ultimately came to trust God’s way for his life. 


David’s story:https://vimeo.com/188326711 


Week 3

Welcome back to our 90 day journey. It’s Pastor John again.

This mornjng, I want you to imagine you had a map to a very valuable treasure but you paid very little attention to it and left it in a drawer. A few months later, you mention the map to a friend. They’d think you were crazy for leaving it in the drawer. 

In Andy’s message last week, we learned that Jesus met every temptation with a “truth” from the Scriptures. Where a lie tempted him, he matched it with a truth. Jesus gave us a great example of what it looks like to simply trust in God’s direction. 

It seems reasonable to think of the Bible not as a book of history or a set of restrictive rules, but as a map directing us to the life we most want. Still, you (like me) can get busy and find yourself leaving it in the drawer. 

Sometimes it is hard to even know where to start reading the bible. But maybe this is the year to put a plan together or download the YouVersion Bible app that has tons of plans already designed. 

If you have an extra six minutes, click the link below to check out more about the life of Jesus, found in the book of Luke! 


Bible Project: Summary of Luke 3–9 https://thebibleproject.com/videos/gospel-luke-2


Week 2

Hey this is Pastor John again! I am so glad you are part of this journey 

In Andy’s first message, we heard the biblical account of when Jesus was introduced as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  

Why a lamb?  

The simple answer has to do with the sacrificial system of the Jewish people. Every morning and evening, priests sacrificed a lamb in the temple to make a payment for the daily screw-ups of the people, which allowed people get right with God.  

Well this is what John was announcing to the world. Here is Jesus and yes Jesus would teach and do amazing things, but his greatest feat would be to be the payment for everyone to “get right” with God once and for all. In other words, John was saying, “Jesus will be the final and ultimate lamb of sacrifice.”  

Still, before that would happen, Jesus would hang with the people and feel the full weight of the world’s troubles and temptations. We’ll pick up the story there this coming Sunday.  

If you’ve got an extra seven minutes, click the link below to watch a cool video that talks a bit more about this whole cost and payment, sin and sacrifice thing . . . and how Jesus played into it all.  

 
Bible Project: Sacrifice https://thebibleproject.com/explore/sacrifice-atonement/ 


Week 1-Welcome!

Hey everyone at MLC! John here. The reason you are reading this is because you enabled PUSH NOTIFICATIONS on our MLC app. I am really excited that you did that, because, we are about to embark on an exciting journey for the next 12 weeks.  This journey is called 90 because, believe it or not, in just 90 days we will be celebrating Easter. So, over these next 90 days we are going to Journey through the life of Jesus beginning with his appearance at the Jordan River right up to his crucifixion and resurrection. 

In just three years, Jesus flipped the script on religion and created space for everyone. Perhaps over the next 90 days, we can all make some space to consider or maybe reconsider just what Jesus did and more importantly why. 

On Sunday 27th, Andy Stanley will begin the message series designed to touch down on the significant events in Jesus’ life. Then during the week we will provide you with an additional touch point to help you navigate this remarkable journey. 

I am really excited about this message series. And the fact that 90 allows us to add some content during the week is icing on the cake. 

So thanks for participating in 90. Tell your friends. And keep an eye out for our next installment! 

PROMOTE THE 90: If you’ve got an extra minute or two, copy the link below to text or email and invite as many people as you can to join you at Mountain Lakes as we kick off the new series. 

https://www.mountainlakeschurch.org/ninety/