Gospel Encounter: The Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-35)

Tomorrow in our adult Sunday School class, “Gospel Encounters,” we will be reading and discussing The Last Supper as recounted in the 26th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, in verses 17-35. These are the slides we’ll use during our lesson. Please feel free to use them and any of the ideas/resources which are included for your own Christian teaching and learning. (My slides are licensed CC-BY. Linked video content, however, is shared by others under varying license terms.)

After reading this scripture together, we will watch this six minute depiction of the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples, focusing specifically on what Jesus SAID and DID during this time.

If we have time, we may watch The Lumos Project’s video about Matthew 26:1-35. (It’s free to watch from the previous link, but not embeddable or readily downloadable.) In the Lumos Project version, a narrator reads the words of the scripture while actors re-enact the scenes. Both are powerful and valuable for better understanding this pivotal episode in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. I’m choosing to share the LDS website version (the video embedded above) because it is a more detailed and theatrical presentation, which seems to provide a more immersive peek into the world and life of Christ. (As noted in my slides, the use of this LDS video should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the Mormon Church or LDS beliefs.)

I plan to focus some of our discussion on both the Old Testament and New Testament contexts for “atonement,” and will show The Bible Project’s excellent six minute video, “Sacrifice and Atonement.” Note a freely downloadable version of this video is available on their project website, which does not include the request for project donations included in the YouTube version.

If you live in Edmond, Oklahoma, or the Oklahoma City area and are able, please visit our church (First Presbyterian of Edmond) and consider attending our Sunday School class! You can check out past lessons as well as our upcoming schedule, continuing our focus on “Gospel Encounters” both historical and contemporary, by visiting pocketshare.speedofcreativity.org/ge/.

Participating in God’s Divine Nature

I pray God would fill me with His Holy Spirit, as Peter described, to escape “the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV)

Life Without God

These verses summarize life without God, when people choose to become slaves to sin:

Romans 1:29-31 NIVd

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

Sins Passed On to Children?

Our Pastor referenced this passage from Exodus this morning:

I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren; the entire family is affected— even children in the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus 34:7 NLT)

It is worth considering if this changed in the new covenant which God established with the people of the earth, through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. Some people at that time mistakenly believed all people who were blind were born or made that way because of the sins of their parents. Jesus corrects them as documented in the Gospel of John:

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:1-5 NLT)

Sins of parents and grandparents DO affect both current and future generations. We are such consumers,  we buy a cool kids electric cars here and there,  and then wonder why they have no sense of value or worth. Sin has a powerful and negative affect on all it touches, but the power of sin is broken when we confess to God and ask for His forgiveness through Jesus.

Sin does not always account for disabilities or suffering, however. We shouldn’t assume to know the reasons for these things. Through all circumstances and conditions, God works for good through His people who are called according to His purpose. Rather than focusing on trying to understand the source or cause of suffering (which we may never understand fully in this life) we should focus on the purpose with which God has called us to act in the midst of suffering.

Redeeming the Family: Blessing Children of Incarcerated Parents

(cross-posted from Redeeming the Family)

This is a 14 minute video reflection by Wesley Fryer, who volunteered with Redeeming the Family on May 15, 2013, at the Cimarron Correctional Facility (prison) in Cushing, Oklahoma. Oklahoma currently has 17 prisons, and Cimarron is one of three which is privately operated. Corrections Corporation of America has owned and operated this prison commercially since 1997. Last week Redeeming the Family volunteers assisted 50 incarcerated dads to record video messages of love for their children, which will be mailed to their children before Father’s Day on Sunday, June 16th.

Sixty-six men had signed up to record video messages for their children on May 15, but because of security conditions at the prison not all those inmates were allowed to record their messages. Redeeming the Family will return to the Cimarron Correctional Facility again in the fall to record more messages which will be delivered prior to the Christmas holiday in December.

Redeeming the Family

Redeeming the Family

Redeeming the Family

Redeeming the Family

More Notes from Philip DeCoursy

These are my notes from Philip DeCoursy’s evening sermon at our church today. He is a special guest pastor for a series of messages. The George Whitfield Society here in Oklahoma City brought him in and our church is hosting his sermon series.

CS Lewis warned us about the two extremes regarding prophesy
– some ignore it
– some become fanatical about it and opt out of their responsibilities in life

Loving, living, and laboring

On loving:

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Mac-e-dōni-a. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; (I Thessalonians 4:9, 10 NKJV)

The world and the culture is marked by lust
– the church should be marked by love

Lust is selfish, it consumes, it devours, it takes and leaves nothing in its place
Love is about serving others, thinks about what is best for others
– love enriches and adds

If there is no change in someone’s life when God enters their life something strange is going on

We had two choices on going to church in my house growing up, you can go willingly or unwillingly!

You don’t need to be an identical twin to be a brother, do you?

This weekend could be a springboard

Value your faith like a Presbyterian, share your faith like a Baptist, organize your faith like a Methodist, enjoy your faith like a Pentecostal

Where love is absent it doesn’t matter what is present, where love is present it doesn’t matter what is absent

Loving and living
– love is a verb, it is deliberate action

Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to a more “rooted and responsible life”
– live a quiet life that does not neglect responsibilities here and now
– those who do the most in this life are thinking the most about the next one

Work feverishly to be at rest

But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Mac-e-dōni-a. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
I Thessalonians 4:9-12 NKJV

“The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” movie with Denzel Washington and John Travolta

The real heroes are the ones who bring home the milk to their family

With fanatics you can’t get them to change their mind or the subject

You have to avoid the temptation of going around and trying to fix everyone
– here we are talking about busybodies and people who act as a pain in the neck
– revisit your hermitology, this world IS broken and out of shape
– come to terms with the fallen condition, you can’t fix everything and God hasn’t called you to do that
– this doesn’t mean let the world go to “hell in a hand basket”
– don’t be in everyone’s business as a nuisance, this is what Paul is saying

There is vanity all around us
– in a fallen world we have a tendency to see the faults of others with greater clarity than our own

Matthew 7 message
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5 NKJV)

Dwight Moody was the Billy Graham before Billy Graham

Aspire to live a quiet life

Work with your own hands

Paul says if a man doesn’t work he shouldn’t eat
– this not address those who don’t have the capacity for work
– work isn’t a 4 letter word in the bible
– certainly frustration has been added to work because of the fall
– work existed before the fall

God is presented as a craftsman or a laborer, a potter, a metalsmith

You and I are called to be good employers and good employees
– punctual and passionate in all things we do

Are you working for The Lord each day?

Forget about your wages, the raise comes later- we are all working for God! – Philip DeCoursy

Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. (Titus 2:9, 10 NKJV)

If we can’t win the acceptance of non-believers today, lets at least win their respect
– lots of postmodern thought and beliefs today

There should be no defrauding of the church’s money

Burdens are to be shared and shouldered

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load. (Galatians 6:1-5 NKJV)

Paul Powell’s book “Looking Back”

When we know Jesus is coming back we need to get urgent about loving each other

Comfort one another with these words:

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. ”
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 NKJV

The gospel causes Christians to approach death differently

Death is the black limousine which leads us to the gates of glory

Martin Luther left his dear 14 year old daughter, Magdalena

Christians die well in the hope of the gospel

Paul and the gospel writers were expecting Jesus to return in their lifetime

The grief, the relief, and the belief

John Piper: You can never question God, but you can ask Him questions

Get up in the morning and talk to yourself before your self talks to you

Paul challenges us to grieve within limits
– temper our grief with the knowledge that Jesus is coming again

It’s not goodbye in death, it’s only goodnight and you’ll see them in the morning

The belief aspect: We do have hope in the resurrection
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
I Thessalonians 4:13, 14 NKJV

You can’t be a Christian and deny the bodily resurrection of Christ

Forget the Joel Olsteen’s of the world and the prosperity gospel preachers
– when you choose to follow Christ you will suffer and lose friends for Christ

John Stott: Paul had an antipathy to ignorance (theological imprecision)
– idea that “ignorance is bliss” is balderdash

Ignorance is a blight

I hope you are Bible moths, eating up scripture each day (from John Wesley)

Sound doctrine has a way of setting us at ease in the struggles of life

Rapture, resurrection and reunion

1 Corinthians 15
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by CÄ“phas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”
I Corinthians 15:1-11 NKJV

Acts 1:11
“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” ”
Acts 1:10, 11 NKJV

Are we each living with our bags packed, ready to go when God calls?

The second death is the separation of the soul from God forever, a terrible thing…

The body which God will raise will be fully filled with His Holy Spirit

“Laugh Again” by Charles Swindoll

Death can hide but it cannot divide

Luke 7:15

So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother. (Luke 7:15 NKJV)

An Opportunity to Discuss Confession and Forgiveness

Today I learned one of our children, over a year ago, used profanity on the website “Club Penguin” and was banned for 24 hours as a result. I found this when I was checking out the “Ban History” on my Club Penguin “Parent Tools” page.


Although this happened over a year ago, when I asked for an explanation today it led to a VERY good (but also emotional on the part of the child) discussion of what happened and what lessons we could draw from this. The child in question (whose name and gender I will not reveal) hadn’t told anyone about this or discussed it, and had just been experimenting to see what would happen if a profane word was typed into Club Penguin. The child knew it was wrong and hasn’t repeated that mistake again.

I’m going to write more about this on my secular blog focused on educational technology and learning, but I wanted to write about this here to share some of the discussions we had today about confession and forgiveness. Our child said they had asked God to forgive them for this during our church service “prayers of confession,” but the emotional response and tears to this (as well as shame) told me this wasn’t something that was entirely “in the past.” This gave both my wife and I opportunities to talk with the child about what it means to confess our sins, how God is gracious to forgive us, and that means our sins are washed away and in the past.

It also led to some good discussions about sin in general, whether God knows we are going to sin, how sin entered the world, the story of Adam and Eve, etc. REALLY good conversations about many things.

I am so glad we were able to discuss this. Situations like this provide perhaps the most meaningful contexts to discuss REAL issues like sin, confession, forgiveness, grace, etc. I’m thankful for the opportunity we had today to discuss this.


Surviving the Storms of Life Together

These are my notes from Tim and Ruthie Hast’s presentation, “Surviving the Storms of Life Together” at the Family Matters class on November 3, 2010 at First Presbyterian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

Storms happen
– don’t be surprised
– bad stuff can be what grows us

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Types of storms
– self / other inflicted (cloud seeding)
– unavoidable (normal weather patterns)

Be prepared
– understand that you can’t anticipate everything, but don’t rule out anything
– “That could never happen to us”

we were counselors working with FEMA after the 1999 tornados in Oklahoma

Number of couples that don’t make it through the death of a child (staying together) is very high, something like 80%

We need to be prepared, assume something difficult is going to happen at some time
– now is the time to prepare
– like getting your tornado storm kit ready

Isolation in a tragedy can be even more devastating
– your community can become your storm shelter

Start now working on strengthening relationships
– with God
– with your mate
– support network

Talk about the What Ifs, like a fire escape plan

Whatever you want in life, if you have a dear cut picture of it, your mind will be moving toward it

One way weather the storms of life together is by having a clear vision of who you are as a couple
– who do we want to be
– if you get that together, that is like life insurance

Epitaph exercise is something I use with clients when they are involved with something they shouldn’t or don’t want to be
– live for your epitaph
– start with the end in mind

How do you want to be in a crisis?
– how do we want to look to others?
– people will be watching

Need to pray together when you are not under stress, because that establishes the habit and pattern of facing life’s challenges together rather than apart

Accept your own limitations (know thyself)
– recovery will take time
– it will take more than you have
– stay humble
– have a teachable spirit – it requires an open mind
— many times we “think we know,” but there are SO many things we don’t know….

There is an element of shame with some of these things that attack us
– there needs to be humility between spouses too

Have you notice how your faith is really strengthened and grown in those tough times?

In the anger stage of grief, we blame
– that requires forgiveness, of each other, of people who perpetrate a crime
– if infidelity is involved, forgiving each other, forgiving ourselves

When we forgive, we become like God, we resemble Him, he has forgiven us

Biblical examples:
– Joseph forgiving his brothers
– The Prodigal Son
– The Woman at the Well

Sometimes we oversimplify forgiveness
– we need to understand the true extend of the damage and pain that was caused
– you can’t fully forgive what you incompletely understand

Forgiving is letting go of all perceived rights to punish or avenge
– punishment and judgement are God’s domain (He can do a much better job of this than we can)

Praying for blessing for the person who caused the harm is very difficult, but it is part of forgiveness

When we do these things, the the hurt and the evil truly no longer has a claim on our lives

It takes something bigger than me to forgive such an egregious act

Letting go of the measuring stick can be a real big struggle for us

Story of couple on Oprah last week on couple who lost all three of their kids
– they immediately went into counseling
– made a pact with each other not to commit suicide, they knew the grief that was coming was terrible

When IT strikes, we must mobilize
– get the information and help you need
– learn
– ask for help
– investigate
– consult
– join

Call your church family first
– that is what we are here for, for each other

Be clear about expectations of each other and self, agree on these

Make an immediate plan and move forward
– what do we need to consider
– who is in charge
– who is responsible for what?
– who needs to be involved (or not?)
– do we need a time frame?
– what kinds of financial arrangements may need to be made?

Manage stress and take care of yourself and each other
Surround yourself with trusted listeners
You each need a confidante
Couples therapy can help

When you talk with others, start with your most vulnerable emotions first (I am frightened

Don’t wait till the thunderstorm is over to learn to dance in the rain

Trauma research shows the number one tool in recovery is talking about the event in the presence of a compassionate witness

The way you handle tragedy as a couple will either break your marriage party or deepen your relationship together
– talk with each other
– do not isolate yourselves from each other

Practice good communication
– that is the number one thing that will keep your relationship strong and tight

There is grief in every life change: we are leaving something

Grief is the process of moving from what was to what is
– moving from fantasy to reality

Five steps of grief
1 denial
2 anger
3 depression
4 bargaining
5 acceptance

– moving from denial to acceptance
– you are accepting what is, or truth
– denial is the lie

Moving from the lie to the truth
– that is just like our walk with Christ

We all experience the grief process differently
– we must give our mate space to grieve on their own schedule

Never forgive the objective, to get through the storm as a unit, intact, and even stronger than before….
– washed by the rain, and still standing

We want to stay married, but stay married better

People who had blueprints for their house are able to rebuild faster after a tornado

This is like the vision and identity that we have for our marriage and lives together

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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