A new look at the upper room

When most people think of the upper room they think of Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting.  A long narrow table, with high-backed chairs, and twelve Europeans at the table. But Da Vinci was about 1600 years late to the event. What was the upper room really like? Why were the disciples arguing? How could they could they not know Judas was the betrayer? The following video will give these answers and more through 3D teaching.

This note: If you receive this blog via email you will need to go to this location to watch the video.  http://wp.me/p1ZvVJ-lS

Running time approximately 15 minutes. For additional study, after watching the video, reread John 13. As you read pay special attention to the interaction between Jesus and the disciples.

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The difference between a peace-maker and peace-keeper…

Peace-making is rarely confused with peace-breaking, but it is often confused with peace-keeping. When I first traveled to Bosnia in 2001 on a humanitarian aid effort I got a good look at peace-keeping. The United Nations had divided up the land between the Bosnians and Serbians. Without a doubt there were heinous crimes committed during their civil war. There had not been an attempt at repentance, forgiveness or restoration.

The UN’s answer to the conflict was to significantly limit the interaction between the conflicting parties. They drew strict boundaries in the villages. Serbians lived within their territories, as did the Bosnians. For those of us who are conflict avoiders this might seem like a good option. But to avoid the conflict does not resolve the conflict.  

The following chart from the junior edition of Ken Sande’s Peacemaker is helpful in distinguishing the difference. Peace-keepers tend to fall in the escape mode. Peace-breakers easily move to the attack mode. Only the peace-makers are the ones who will make the personal sacrifices to work it out.

You have three options in the work it out category:

(1) Overlook. Perhaps the point of offense is only a preference on your part, or you don’t see the sin done against you as intentional or characteristic of the other individual. The apostle Peter encouraged us,

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

(2) Talk it Out. Perhaps you are unable to overlook the sin. You were hurt deeply. Maybe you are beginning to see a pattern of this type of sinful behavior on your friend’s part. Then it’s best to talk to them. Critical in winning your brother is that you initially do this between the two of you without a third-party. Jesus reminded us,

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother (Matthew 18:15)

(3) Get Help. It could be that your attempt at contact is rejected. There may be a refusal to acknowledge sin or you sense the conflict is only getting worse. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Jesus went on to say,

But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:16).

Be careful. It’s a slippery slope. Always attempt to stay within the work-it-out  boundaries. No wonder Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God” (Mat. 5:9).

Having my heart moved by the world’s need for the gospel…

One of my earliest memories of my grandparent’s house, were the missionary prayer cards taped on the inside door of their kitchen cabinets. Every time you wanted a glass of water you were reminded to pray for the missionaries.

When it comes to our responsibility to the share the good news about Jesus with the world, John Piper has said, “Go, send, or disobey.”

While neither of my grandparents were missionaries, their prayers and financial support were part of the sending process that touched multiple countries with the Gospel.

As we enter the new year, this video serves as a convicting reminder that each of us is to play a part in the spreading of the good news in the  hour in which we live. If you are receiving this via Facebook or email you may need to go to the homepage to view  the presentation.

The truth about how anger works…

I struggle with anger. Perhaps you do too. When I succumb to my anger it feels like I don’t have control over my emotions, thoughts, and choices. It seems like decisions are being made for me. It feels like I’m in a box. But is that reality? The following video illustration helps to clarify. If you are receiving this via email or Facebook you may need to go to the home page www.philmoser.com  to view it. Special thanks to Pastor Jack and his family for participating. Running time about seven minutes.

The angry man believes certain things about his emotions, thoughts and choices. He believes them so strongly, because he feels them so deeply. But God’s word offers rock-solid truth, and that unchanging truth brings hope. The best way to correct the faulty belief system of the angry man (and hence gain victory over our angry responses) is to put it up against God’s Word. The following slide shows us how…

The Scripture’s Effect on the Mind

Twenty years ago a deeply troubled young man stepped into my office.  He was accompanied by a friend for the sake of encouragement. Together they began to pour out his sad story. When he was in 8th grade he became a victim of sexual abuse at the hand of high school teen. As he had entered high school he struggled with depression, attempted to take his own life, and was hospitalized. He had carried the dark secret alone. Neither parents, nor counselors knew his past.

Now, seven years later his anxiety was all-consuming.  His struggle with fear and worry had even crept into his sleeping hours, revealing itself through nightmares of the teen who had abused him.

I was fresh out of seminary, with limited experience in the ministry. As I reached for my Bible I remember praying to the Lord for guidance. I knew I was in way over my head.

I asked the young man what he was thinking about before he fell asleep. He acknowledged his painful past consumed his thoughts. He said tearfully, “I’m just praying to God that the nightmares won’t come back.”

“I understand you’re praying, but what are you thinking about.”

 “The nightmares” he said, “I don’t know how to stop.”

 Together we opened up our Bibles to Philippians 4:8 and we read,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. [emphasis added] (Phil. 4:8)

“Your challenge,” I said, “Will be to develop a plan where you think on the things that are in that list.” Together we read  the promise that came next,

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you [emphasis added] (Phil. 4:9).

 “Memorizing is only the first part” then I added, “You’re actually going to have to do it.”

“Do what?” he said.

 “Think on these things,” I replied.

Together we drew an octagon. He wrote each of the 8 qualities found in verse  on the outside boarders of the sign. Inside the sign we wrote the words “Stop! Think on these things.”  On a separate piece of paper he wrote each quality as the heading for a list. The 8 lists would be comprised of  anything he could think of that was “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.”

One week later he returned to my office with his friend. The two sat down. I began the conversation “ How’s that Bible verse I asked you to memorize?”

His friend smiled, and shook his head as if he knew something I did not.

“Why the smile?” I asked.

 “Did you want him to tell it to you, forwards or backwards?” he replied.

 “Let’s start with forwards.” I said. The young man quoted the verse word perfect one word after the other.

 “Can  you really quote the verse backwards?” I asked incredulously.

 Phrase by phrase he gave the verse backwards. He didn’t miss a beat.

 “That’s pretty amazing” I said. “So how are the nightmares?

 He looked me in the eyes, shrugged his shoulders, and smiled.

 “What nightmares?”

When a Pastor Faces a Fork in the Road

If you have pastored at the same place for any length of time you know firsthand some of the hardships in ministry. The unexpected criticism. The weariness of soul. Trying to serve faithfully when your heart may not be in it. Investing countless hours in a life only to have them turn their back on the Lord.  I call those forks in the road. There are lessons that can be learned there. I shared the following presentation place with a group of faithful servants at a pastor’s conference in Maine.

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Making Bible Teaching Three-Dimensional

One of the methods I have employed with great effectiveness in teaching is to reproduce the Biblical environment on the stage. At a recent Good Friday service, rather than just tell them about the events, I placed live costumed actors behind a replica of the Lord’s Table. I left the position where the Lord would sit empty. The actor’s were frozen on the set. They didn’t move or talk. I moved in and out among them, doing most of the teaching from the position where Jesus would have been sitting. This gave the audience tremendous insight into the Biblical record.