Lu Daoming welcomes you on a journey of friendship and hope. Together, let's learn new ideas: how to live with real meaning and joy.
神 Has Come – to Help His People!
It’s a curious thing about this time of year: whether people believe in 神 or not, during this time of year the attention of many is drawn to the name Jesus Christ. You know how it is when the the “Easter” season comes around again – the “Good Friday/Easter Monday” holiday for many of us – the stores selling the candy for the children, etc. Jesus Himself seems like a distant cultural memory for a lot of people in the West – if you were to ask them about Jesus Christ, they might know a lot less than they realize. In China, He is much less known, and it’s not difficult to understand why that’s true. So how do we learn about Him?
Sometimes organized religion is helpful, in getting information out there that answers the questions – at other times, because of the urge to sell itself, organized religion can be part of the problem, not part of the solution.
In the ancient first-century world, no one knew anything about The Teacher – well, hardly anyone of importance, anyway. Luke’s document is written to Theophilus, a high-ranking Roman – one who had already been through our Roots course – to help him become better acquainted with the One he had so recently learned about. Luke also hoped to help Theophilus understand who we, the followers of Jesus, really are, and what we’re really all about. So in this series we’re going to explore a few things that Luke wrote about Jesus – to someone who’d heard of Him, but who needed to know Him better.
So … perhaps it’s a good time to become re-acquainted with The Teacher Himself – not just the teaching “about” Him, not just the ethics He taught – but just Himself, and what He did, and how people responded to Him. What was He really here to do? How is it that in the week before He died, the crowds moved from shouting “Hosanna!” to “Crucify!”? How and why did He die? And what on earth is God doing about it?!
April 6 – “God Has Come!” When The Teacher first came onto the scene, His teaching and ministry were met with wonder and amazement. People were saying things like, “We’ve never seen anything like this! What authority! A great prophet has appeared: God has come to help His people!” What was it that He was doing with all this teaching and healing? What was the bottom-line effect of His work? If we can absorb this, we can follow Him!
April 13 – “From ‘Welcome to the King’ to ‘Crucify!’ – in one week?” One of the strangest things about Jesus, the Teacher: He gave hope to all kinds of people – but He often broke with their expectations of Him: He didn’t follow the crowd and do what they wanted. He had a purpose, a mission that was bigger than His own popularity: how did He teach and truly help people through the darkness? How did the crowd move from welcoming Him as the coming King on Sunday to shouting “Crucify Him!” on Friday?! This is part of the wonder of how 神 communicates with us!
April 20 – “From Hopelessness to Greatest Hope!” Jesus Christ was raised from dead, far beyond the wildest hopes of His followers. This is more than triumph over death – it’s a victory over the very rebellion that crucified Him. The problem with our expectations is that we aim too low: God is in the business of a much greater victory than we imagine!
April 27 – “Welcome into God’s plan of hope!” After Jesus was raised, after His followers learned to believe that it was true, He gave them a glimpse into their next steps, into their place in God’s plan to bless us all. To understand this, we need to see how God did it in the past – so we’ll look at God’s call to Moses, to Joshua, to Samuel, to Jeremiah – and why He called them in this way. Because these men were faithful to the call, you and I are here! What is the call to us?
May 4 – “Why Jesus puts the Holy Spirit on us” Luke makes many references to the Holy Spirit: where did his ideas come from? What does Luke mean when he refers to the Holy Spirit working? Way back in Moses’ time, in Numbers 11, God’s people were in a crisis – and God fashioned a unique solution: the Spirit on Moses would be given to 70 others, and then they would have the strength to help lead. Jesus didn’t keep the Spirit to Himself: He shared the Spirit with the 12 – and then with the 70! The promise, though, is much bigger than even that!
May 11 – “The Great Gift of the Holy Spirit” Acts 2 is one of the better-known chapters in the Library: it’s all about one of the most important things 神 has done to start the new story, the new community, the new way of life with Jesus. On the day of Pentecost, the promises of the past are fulfilled – the power from on high comes down to us – and the future begins to work its way into now! It comes in the great Plan of 神, and also in our personal experience of coming in!
May 18 – “In the Name of Jesus Christ!” It’s a special feature of the old language that this document was written in: “in the name” means “by the authority, by the power” of Jesus Christ! It means that when we’re baptized, Jesus is doing something new, something by His power and authority – something much like everything else that He’s done: healing the sick, raising the dead, befriending the hopeless, speaking words of healing truth into our lives.
May 25 – “Jesus Reigns – and They Devoted Themselves …” Jesus is not only raised from the dead: He is enthroned on high as the rightful ruler of heaven and earth. What does it look like in the time and place in our world where He is acknowledged as King? What does it look like when people are living by the power of the Holy Spirit?
June 1 – “Changing Directors, free from sin” In the ancient society “sin” was a deeper problem than modern Western ideas of “guilt feelings.” “Sin” was a break with the right way that we’re made, leaving the road we’re made for, shooting your arrow at the charging moose and missing. God hates sin because it destroys people, and He loves people! This is all about how God helps us deal with sin – through the stories of Jesus in Luke’s writing.
June 8 – “Acknowledging the Person In Front of You” 神 has an absolutely beautiful plan to reach out to very many people to help them find Him again, to help them find a destiny in the New World that He is creating! How does He actually begin to connect with people? How skilled do you have to be in order to be used by 神 to help people find Him? What is it about Jesus Christ that we can do, that will make all the difference? You’re going to like the answer!
June 15 – “How to Move from the Crowd to Following” After a point early in His work, the crowds began to pay attention to Jesus. People liked listening to Jesus. They liked the public things He did, and they often agreed with Him. But that wasn’t what He was looking for. He was trying to help people move from “liking” Him to “following” Him. And the transition is actually very, very simple. You can do this!
June 29 – “How to Disown your Life – Whatever!” Jesus tried to help us find our way out of complacency and dullness, into the place of 神’s influence and power. There is one specific thing that is required …
July 13 – “Why We Want to Disown Our Life” 神 is trying to help us receive His blessing and help with our lives. Humans try to build our lives on the stuff of this world – but He has a way to help us do much better!