3/31/09

When the Spirit of truth comes

Read John 16:1-15. 

Observation: What does Jesus promise will happen when the Advocate / Spirit of truth comes?  What happens to the ruler/prince of this world? 

Application: In what ways has the promise of v. 13 been true in your life?  How is scripture tied to this promise?  

3/30/09

The world hates you

Read John 15:18-27.

Observation: What clues does Jesus give us in the passage about who "the world" is? 

Application: How will you be persecuted if "you do not belong to the world" (v. 19) but belong to Jesus instead? When has fear of persecution kept you from talking about him (v. 27)? 

To learn more about the persecution of Christians in the world today, go to http://www.persecution.com/

3/29/09

The vine and the branches

Read John 15:1-17. 

I consider v. 16 a theme verse for my calling as a pastor. 

Observation: Search this passage for examples of cause-and-effect relationships ("this results in that" or "if this, then that").  How many can you find? 

Application: In v. 4 Jesus gives a command and his reasons for it.  What are four ways you can obey his command in the next 24 hours?  What pruning will be required? 

3/28/09

Another Advocate: the Spirit

Read John 14:15-31.

Today you are two-thirds of the way through John's gospel. 

Observation: In v. 27 Jesus promises peace to his troubled disciples.  What has Jesus already said in this passage that will help them experience that peace? 

Application: When have you experienced the Holy Spirit as described in v. 26 (reminding you of what Jesus said)? 

3/27/09

The way, the truth, and the life

Read John 14:1-14.

This is more conversation the night before Jesus is to be crucified. 

Observation: What reassurances does Jesus give his troubled disciples, who have just learned that he will soon leave?

Application: Vs. 8-11 tells us that we know the Father through the words and works of Jesus.  What do you know of God through what Jesus said and did? 

3/26/09

A new commandment

Read John 13:21-38. 

Observation: What do you find that makes this passage a turning point in the narrative? 

Application: If in this passage to "glorify" means to "reveal the essence of," then how can we glorify God and Jesus? 

3/25/09

He washed their feet

Read John 13:1-20.

This gospel gives us events and conversation that took place the night of the Last Supper not found in the other three gospels.  One of them is when Jesus washed his disciples' feet.

Observation: What reasons do you find for why Jesus washed his disciples' feet?

Application: In v. 15 Jesus tells his disciples to follow his example.  What would be some equivalents of footwashing today? 

3/24/09

They loved human glory

Read John 12:27-50.

Whether you're keeping up or catching up with the reading and the questions, way to go! 

Observation: What do you find that seems to say believing or not believing is a personal choice?  What do you find that seems to say it's not a personal choice?  How do you resolve this paradox? 

Application: Considering vs. 42-43, when have you succumbed to the same thing?  When have you risen above it? 

3/23/09

Hosanna!

Read John 12:1-26. 

We'll look at this passage in worship at Horizons on Palm Sunday, April 5. 

Observation: What evidence do you see of the intensity building in this passage? 

Application: Imagine joining the shouting crowd with their palm branches.  What is the nearest personal experience you've had that reminds you of this?

3/22/09

Lazarus, come out!

Read John 11:28-57.

Sorry I didn't get this one posted earlier today. 

Today you're starting the second half of John's gospel. 

Observation: Underline all words that relate to death, die or kill.  What paradox do you find, especially contrasting vs. 28-44 with vs. 45-57? 

Application: After Martha's initial reluctance, in v. 41 they follow Jesus' instruction.  When have you been initially reluctant to follow Jesus' instruction?  What happened when you took that step of faith? 

3/21/09

The resurrection and the life

Read John 11:1-27.

Peek ahead and look at 12:3.  It is referred to in 11:2. 

Observation: What points of tension do you notice in this passage?  Where are they coming from? 

Application: Listen to Martha's disappointment in vs. 21, though it is combined with faith in vs. 22, 24 and 27.  Is there a disappointment you need to bring to Jesus over a miracle you didn't get? 

3/20/09

One with the Father

Read John 10:22-42.

The Festival of Dedication (v. 22) that brings Jesus to Jerusalem is the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. 

Observation: In this passage, who does Jesus claim to be, and what does he claim to be able to do? 

Application: How do you hear the voice of your shepherd?  What have you done to follow him?

3/19/09

The Good Shepherd

Read John 10:1-21.

You might want to read Psalm 23 today as well.  Try reading it in a translation that you're not familiar with. 

Observation: What contrasts does Jesus create in this passage, and why do you think he uses them? 

Application: Based on this passage, what does Jesus want for you as one of his sheep?

3/18/09

Was blind, but now I see

Read John 9:24-41. 

It was verse 25 that inspired the line in John Newton's hymn, "Amazing Grace." 

Observation: Underline everything said by the formerly blind man in this passage.  What do you learn about him? 

Application: How could this man's words be a model for you in sharing your faith experience with others?

3/17/09

Blind man sees

Read John 9:1-23.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Observation: On a deeper level, who is blind and who really sees in this passage?  What assumption prevents the "blind" from seeing? 

Application: Jesus uses dirt and spit to make mud in this miracle.  What unlikely things has he used in your life? 

3/16/09

The truth will make you free

Read John 8:31-59.

Congratulations, happy reader.  You are now starting the third week of our six-week Lenten reading through John's gospel. 

Observation: Underline or list all the references to Abraham in this passage.  Why is he important in this discussion between Jesus and the Jewish leaders? 

Application:  What do you want to be free from by continuing in Jesus' word and knowing the truth (vs. 31-32)?  What would that process look like for you?   

3/15/09

The light of the world

Read John 8:1-30. 

Again, if you wish to read online, there's a wonderful service at BibleGateway.com

My thanks to those who commented on last week's posts.  Keep 'em comin'! 

Observation: John 7:53 and 8:1-11 are not in the oldest manuscripts, but they may have been added by the original author.  How is Jesus the light of the world in vs. 1-11?

Application: Based on v. 12 in what areas of your life does it seem you are walking in the light?  Is there an area still shadowed by darkness? 

3/14/09

A divided crowd

Read John 7:32-52. 

Observation: As mentioned in v. 2, this happens during the Festival of Tabernacles (or Booths) in which a priest pours out water on the altar as a gift to God.  How does knowing this affect your reading of vs. 37-39? 

Application: Why is Jesus such a divisive figure in this passage?  How is he still devisive today? 

3/13/09

Is this the Messiah?

Read John 7:1-31.

Check previous posts to see if comments have been left that you haven't read. 

Observation: What do you find throughout this passage concerning hour/time and death/kill?  What questions does it raise for you?

Application: In vs. 19-23 Jesus explains why it is appropriate for him to heal on the Sabbath.  How can you apply his admonition in v. 24 to a situation in your life? 

3/12/09

Bread is my flesh

Read John 6:41-71. 

Vs. 66-68 is one of my favorite passages in John's gospel. 

Observation: What are the various reactions to Jesus' words?  What is your reaction? 

Application: How does this passage deepen your understanding and apprecation of Holy Communion? 

3/11/09

The bread of life

Read John 6:1-40. 

This is one of the longer chapters in John's gospel, and the theme of bread occurs throughout. 

Observation: What do you observe in this passage about slowness to comprehend?  What examples do you recall from previous chapters? 

Application: "I am" in v. 35 compares to Yahweh, the Hebrew names for Israel's God.  What is one way you can come to the "bread of life"?  What difference will it make?

3/10/09

Testimony about Jesus

Read John 5:25-47.

If you would like to try reading from a different translation, there are many to choose from at BibleGateway.com

Observation: Note to whom Jesus is still speaking (see vs. 18-19).  Who and what give testimony about Jesus? 

Application: How do people's reasons for not believing in Jesus today compare to what he says in this passage about the resistance of the Jews (i.e., Jewish leaders)?

3/9/09

Sabbath healing

Read John 5:1-24. 

Most Bibles divide this chapter into three sections.  Today's reading covers the first section and half of the second. 

Observation: Put yourself in the place of the invalid man.  What do you feel and experience throughout this passage? 

Application: Note the repeated theme of doing and working.  What do you notice God doing today that you want to do with him? 

3/8/09

Fields ready for harvest

Read John 4:27-54.

This passage continues yesterday's story in Samaria. 

Observation: How does Jesus' teaching to his disciples in v. 34-38 tie in with what precedes it and what follows it?

Application: In v. 35 Jesus tells his disciples to look and see. What might Jesus be inviting you to see around you? 

3/7/09

Living Water

Read John 4:1-26.

To read online, go to BibleGateway.com

My message on March 15 will be based on this passage.

Observation: Throughout the conversation, how does Jesus surprise the woman by what he says? 

Application: What could you do so that your spiritual life resembles Jesus' offer in v. 13-14?  What will be your first step? 

3/6/09

Jesus and John the Baptist

Read John 3:22-36.

To read online, go to BibleGateway.com

Look at previous posts for comments from others.  One was left on Tuesday.  Check it out. 

Observation: How does John handle what could be seen as an opportunity for competition between him and Jesus? 

Application: What is one practical way v. 30 could be lived out in your life? 

3/5/09

Born of the Spirit

Read John 3:1-21

To read online, check out BibleGateway.com.  Rather than give you several chapters to read each day, I'm suggesting just half a chapter.   But I encourage you to read it more than once, because that's when we start seeing things we didn't see before. 

Here are a couple of questions to guide you on your way.  If you want to record your responses, please hit the "comments" link below.  Thanks. 

Observation: What contrasts and opposites do you find in this passage?

Application: Based on your experience, how has believing in Jesus and putting your faith in him been like being born into a new life? 

3/4/09

Cleansing the Temple

Read John 2:13-25

These daily readings will take us through John's gospel during Lent.  To read online, go to BibleGateway.com.

Here are a couple of questions for reflection.  To share your thoughts with others, hit the "comments" link.

Observation: What do you observe in this passage that points to why Jesus did what he did? 

Application: If you allowed Jesus to do some radical cleaning in your life, where would he start? 

3/3/09

Wine at a wedding

Read John 2:1-12

(To read online, go to BibleGateway.com.)

Remember that if you share comments, it can be done anonymously! 

Observation: Who benefits from this sign?  ("Sign" is this gospel's word for miracle.)

Application: If someone spoke the words of v. 5 to you, what would it be about? How would you respond?

3/2/09

The Lamb of God

Monday, March 2, 2009
Read John 1:29-51

(To read online, go to BibleGateway.com. Select your translation and type in the reference.)


Here are today's questions. To share your thoughts with everyone else, hit the "comments" link below and follow the directions.

Observation: What does it say each person in this passage believes about Jesus and why do they come to believe it?
Application: What could you do to point someone toward Jesus? Or what could you do to express appreciation to someone who has pointed you toward Jesus?