Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Parables of Jesus

Parables were short stories that had a moral or ethical point related to matters of Jewish law, interpretation, and application. The use of parables was popular in all stages of Jewish literature, from the Bible to the writings of the rabbis.

Jesus used parables often to coincide with his teaching and understanding of Torah. His parables were often misunderstood, even by his own disciples, and often had several layers of meaning. Here are the parables by Jesus recorded in Mathew, Mark, and Luke:

Parable: Lamp under a bowl 
Matthew 5:14– 15; Mark 4: 21– 22; Luke 8:16; 11: 33 

Parable: Wise and foolish builders 
Matthew 7:24–27; Luke 6:47–49 

Parable: New cloth on an old coat 
Matthew 9:16; Mark 2:21; Luke 5:36 

Parable: New wine in old wineskins 
Matthew 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37– 38 

Parable: Sower and the soils 
Matthew 13:3–8, 18–23; Mark 4:3– 8, 14– 20; Luke 8:5– 8, 11–15 

Parable: Weeds 
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 

Parable: Mustard seed 
Matthew 13:31-32; Mark 4:30-32; Luke 13:18-19 

Parable: Yeast 
Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:20–21 

Parable: Hidden treasure 
Matthew 13:44 

Parable: Valuable pearl 
Matthew 13:45–46 

Parable: Net 
Matthew 13:47–50 

Parable: Owner of a house 
Matthew 13:52 

Parable: Lost sheep 
Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7 

Parable: Unmerciful servant 
Matthew 18:23-34 

Parable: Workers in the vineyard 
Matthew 20:1-16 

Parable: Two sons 
Matthew 21:28-32 

Parable: Tenants 
Matthew 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-11; Luke: 20: 9– 18 

Parable: Wedding banquet 
Matthew 22: 2-14

Parable: Fig tree 
Matthew 24:32-35; Mark 13:28-29; Luke 21:29-31 

Parable: Faithful and wise servant 
Matthew 24: 45-51; Luke 12:42-48 

Parable: Ten virgins 
Matthew 25:1-13 

Parable: Bags of gold (minus) 
Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27 

Parable: Sheep and goats 
Matthew 25:31-46 

Parable: Growing seed 
Mark 4:26-29 

Parable: Watchful servants 
Mark 13:35-37; Luke 12:35-40 

Parable: Moneylender 
Luke 7:41-43 

Parable: Good Samaritan 
Luke 10:30-37 

Parable: Friend in need 
Luke 11:5-8 

Parable: Rich fool
Luke 12:16-21 

Parable: Unfruitful fig tree 
Luke 13:6-9 

Parable: Lowest seat at the feast 
Luke 14:7-14 

Parable: Great banquet 
Luke 14:16-24 

Parable: Cost of discipleship 
Luke 14:28-33 

Parable: Lost coin 
Luke 15:8-10 

Parable: Lost (prodigal) son 
Luke 15:11-32 

Parable: Shrewd manager 
Luke 16:1-8 

Parable: Rich man and Lazarus 
Luke 16:19-31 

Parable: Master and his servant 
Luke 17:7-10 

Parable: Persistent widow 
Luke 18:2-8 

Parable: Pharisee and tax collector 
Luke 18:10-14

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

You Make the Difference - Tips on Gathering Well

Hello Grace Church family + friends. Gathering together on Sunday mornings is and always has been a very important part of our church's ministry. And a successful Gathering will always be corporate endeavor. 

So here are some thoughts on gathering well...

Be Intentional:
Our mission + vision drives all we do: "Grace Church is a community of changed people committed to serve + renew the Greater Dunedin area with the movement of the Gospel." Everything we do is to this end and it can be summed up with one key word, discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20). 

So, when we come to a Grace Church Sunday morning Gathering, let's remember #WHYWEGATHER  and come with an intentionality to grow, to learn, to serve, to give, to encourage, and to worship. 

Do not come solely for social reasons. Do not come to be entertained. And do not come out of some begrudging sense of obligation (whether to God or to your church community). 

Come because the MOST SATISFYING OBJECT in the universe has invited you to come and experience Him the best way one can... together, with other seekers.

Be Committed:
Another key component is to come regularly. Of course, we won't be able to make it church every single Sunday. Life happens; and there are plenty of good reasons to miss church. But I encourage each of you to make our Sunday Gathering a core part of your weekly routine; and to make regular attendance a priority.

God most certainly isn't to be viewed as an "add-on" to your weekly endeavors and, therefore, neither should His people (nor our involvement with His people). "Let us not [give up or forsake] meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25). 

Also, a huge momentum-killer is a low turnout to church meetings. So, when you come, your presence and participation can do a lot for our church's forward momentum. Please consider that and realize what a crucial part that plays in the kingdom-building cause of our mission + vision.

Be Punctual:
Also, and related to that, being on time is also very important. When a large percentage of the Sunday morning crowd is 10 to 20 minutes late, unintentionally, a negative message is sent to our new comers and visitors. When our meeting space feels empty at 9:56am, it's not a pleasant feeling for a first-timer and, more importantly, no one is there to greet them and make them feel welcomed. And they can very easily get a sense that corporate worship may not be a priority to this group of people. Obviously, that's not the case for us and we don't want any new comers to feel awkward, so let's do our best to be on time.

Be Curious + Expectant:
Come ready to learn and grow through our times of teaching, our corporate worship, and our interaction with one another. 

And may I encourage you to invest your mind and prayers into our teaching series and/or topic. Remain curious, ask lots of questions, and expect to learn something new. Also, give some thought to the text and/or topic ahead of time. Listen to the Grace Church Podcast to catch up if you missed a week. Consider doing some of the extra readings recommended throughout the series. Check the blog  and our Facebook page for more resources and quotes. Etc., etc., etc. The more personal effort you put into our Sunday Gatherings the more you will receive. I promise! 

So, remain curious and come ready to be challenged, encouraged and equipped.

In summary... 
Coming with intentionality and expectancy while remaining committed and punctual will greatly help our Sunday morning Gathering experience together. 

Let's keep going! May we experience all the spiritual growth and vitality we possible can together! 

All are welcome. Sundays at 10am (DHS).

Grace + Peace,
P. Heath

P.S. Oh...and invite a friend to join us!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Parables - 4 Things to Keep in Mind

RC Sproul offers 4 interpretive guidelines to keep in mind when reading and studying the parables of Jesus...

1. Don’t treat parables like allegory.
An allegory is most often completely filled with symbolic meaning. Every detail means something that can be traced to the overriding principle that is being illuminated. Parables usually have one basic, central meaning. Trying to oversymbolize them can have the effect of tearing them apart. A person doesn’t understand the beauty of a flower by disassembling it. Like a blossom, a parable is best understood by seeing it in its simple and profound entirety.

2. The Rule of Three.
Like all good storytelling, parables usually follow the Rule of Three. Do you remember the stories you heard as a child—such as “The Three Little Pigs” and “The Three Bears”? Both of these stories are filled with more “threes”: three wolves, three beds, three bowls of porridge. Jesus did this often in the telling of the parables. And is it any wonder that many parables deliver three important truths or that most sermons rest on three important points?

3. The Rule of Two.
Parable characters often follow the Rule of Two. There were usually two people who experienced tension between righteousness and sin, good and evil. When you look for these two elements you will find an important part of the development of the parable.

4. Code words and phrases.
Jesus’ parables used certain phrases and code words that communicated in subtly powerful ways to His audiences. For instance, “How much more” is used to build a bridge from temporal things to spiritual realities. “He who has ears to hear” calls people to critically important issues of spiritual life and death. “Verily, verily, I say to you,” means that Jesus is speaking with earnest intensity; don’t miss it. Look for these phrases and understand where they’re leading you.

* Adapted from R.C. Sproul’s What’s in the Bible

Saturday, July 9, 2016