Jesus is Loving Barabbas – Video + Questions and Reflection

BARABBAS Questions and Reflection

Barabbas could be given freedom, but deserves the chains and crucifixion that he is destined for.

How are we like Barabbas?

What is one thing you would like to be set free from at this moment?

Jesus has healed, restored, and set free. Why is he facing punishment?

Reflection – Ask Jesus to help set you free from whatever it is that is weighing you down.

People vs the Father

Who does Barabbas think set him free?

Who actually sets Barabbas free?

How have you seen the Father work through circumstances in your life to set you free?

Reflection – Take a moment to thank the Father for those that encourage you and love on you in your walk toward freedom in Christ.

“Jesus knew that the Father would have to treat Jesus like Barabbas, so He could treat Barabbas like Jesus.”

What does this powerful statement mean to you personally?

Reflection – Imagine Jesus on the cross, giving His life for you. Thank Him for taking your place and giving you freedom.

Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Think about that one thing you would like to be set free from again.  What shame does Jesus need to take?  What sin do you need to hand to Him? What are you holding on to that on Jesus needs to set you free from, by His power alone?

Reflection – Take a moment and pray to the Father and say Jesus is enough for _____________.

Maybe there are a few things that you need to fill in that blank for.  It’s okay, Jesus is enough.

When you are done, take a moment to quiet your Spirit and listen to the voice of the Father. 

Holy Week: Mount of Olives

Day 3: Tuesday in Jerusalem, Mount of Olives

Jerusalem


On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus taught them about faith.

At the Temple, the religious leaders aggressively challenged Jesus’ authority, attempting to ambush him and create an opportunity for his arrest. But Jesus evaded their traps and pronounced harsh judgment on them: “Blind guides! … For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33)

Later that afternoon, Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem due east of the Temple. Here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, an elaborate prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. He taught in parables using symbolic language about end times events, including his Second Coming and the final judgment.

Scripture indicates that Tuesday was the day Judas Iscariot negotiated with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

After a tiring day of confrontation and warnings about the future, once again, Jesus and the disciples stayed the night in Bethany.

  • The tumultuous events of Tuesday and the Olivet Discourse are recorded in Matthew 21:23–24:51, Mark 11:20–13:37, Luke 20:1–21:36, and John 12:20–38

Holy Week: Clears the Temple

Day 2: Monday Jesus Clears the Temple

Trump clears the temple

 Jesus clears the Temple of money changers. Rischgitz/Getty Images

On Monday morning, Jesus returned with his disciples to Jerusalem. Along the way, Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had failed to bear fruit. Some scholars believe this cursing of the fig tree represented God’s judgment on the spiritually dead religious leaders of Israel. Others believe the symbolism extended to all believers, demonstrating that genuine faith is more than just outward religiosity. True, living faith must bear spiritual fruit in a person’s life.

When Jesus arrived at the Temple he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overturning their tables and clearing the Temple, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:46)

On Monday evening Jesus stayed in Bethany again, probably in the home of his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.

  • Monday’s events are recorded in Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-17.

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

Day 1: Palm Sunday’s Triumphal Entry

Palm Sunday

 Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. SuperStock / Getty Images

On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem, knowing that soon he would lay down his life for the sins of the world. Nearing the village of Bethphage, he sent two of his disciples ahead to look for a donkey with its unbroken colt. Jesus instructed the disciples to untie the animals and bring them to him.

Then Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entryinto Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

On Palm Sunday, Jesus and his disciples spent the night in Bethany, a town about two miles east of Jerusalem. In all likelihood, Jesus stayed in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

  • Jesus’ Triumphal Entry is recorded in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

Messy Bible Club Spring Schedule

Who: all girls from 6th grade to 12th grade to attend and you are welcome to bring a friend! 

Contact: Amy Bowles

When: Sundays 3-5pm 

Spring schedule: NO MEETINGS until April 4

Apr 5th – NO Bible Study – out of town for Granddaughter’s first bday party

Apr 12th – NO Bible Study (Easter)

Apr 19th

Apr 26th

May 3rd

May 10th – NO Bible Study – Mother’s Day

May 17th – Last Messy Bible Study for Spring

Passport 2 Purity Getaway

Passport 2 Purity helps guide you through sessions to begin having conversations with your child about sex and purity in God’s plan.

As we are talking about issues with Purity and Sex in our weekly Middle School environments, I want to be honest with you as a Middle School Parent… I don’t like these talks either! This stuff is personal, and yet we live in a world that entices us to make our personal issues public, while exploiting every bit of them for whatever means are out there. That is a main reason the Oakwood Student Ministry carries that mindset that “SOMETHING MUST BE SAID” in regards to God’s Plan and what we are up against on a daily basis.

The second thing I want you to know is that, even though I am a Pastor in this area, I am still hoping and praying for my own kids to walk rightly in the Lord and choose a life of Purity. That is why Laura and I have been intentional with Katie, as she entered 6th grade, and Noah, as he is midway through 5th grade, to enter into the conversation about sex and God’s view of purity within His plan.

Our advice to you, whether you use this material or not, is to intentionally plan a time that is best for you and your child to have the deep conversations that will direct the future of your child’s sexuality toward Godly Wisdom, rather than the standards brought forth by the culture and worldly views we live in today.

Noah and I Toured the 750 foot tall Tower of the Americas during our Passport 2 Purity Getaway.

By the way, my time with Noah was not ALL SERIOUS stuff! I’m not that boring and he can’t stay still for that long. We planned a Spurs Game outing, ate tons of pancakes at IHOP, played games at Dave and Buster’s, and enjoyed some one-on-one time together. Yes, we shared deep things dealing with the purity issues of today, but we also connected in a way that will set up an ongoing conversation in the days to come. That, in my mind, is priceless.

Laura and I recommend Passport 2 Purity and the Family Life Ministry, because we know we need tools to help launch us into this teenage phase of life. We hope and pray that all our Middle School Parents have the opportunity to do the same, because we have already seen the positive impact.

If you are interested in the materials, click on the image and links below:

Click Here for the Family Life Shopping Website

6 Ways to Believe the Truth and Not the Lies

This post really spoke to me as a parent, as a Middle School Pastor, and as a person seeking to walk with JESUS. The added bonus is the fun idea of a game to find the TRUTH!

This post first appeared on ScottKedersha.com under the title, “What Lie Do You Believe that Gets You Into Trouble?” Check out the Scott Kedersha’s Blog here

6 Ways to Believe the Truth and Not the Lies

I’ve found myself playing a game I don’t like the past few weeks. Not that I don’t love games. This one, however, I don’t really like to play. It’s a game I have to play whenever I struggle with insecurity and comparison.

You can’t buy this game at Target and Amazon won’t ship it to you. The game is called Spot the Lie, and I learned it many years ago from Watermark’s lead pastor, Todd Wagner.

Todd plays the game with his kids. The concept is simple—whenever something doesn’t seem right or promises something it can’t truly deliver, you need to spot the lie, lest you think the lie is truth.

For example:

  • Snickers promises to satisfy. While it certainly does for a few short moments, the flavor quickly goes away but the calories, energy drain, and sugar crash stick around.
  • Those new cars that spouses buy for each other at Valentine’s Day and Christmas? You know the ones that show up in their driveway with a big red bow on them? Those cars are awesome until the first bills come in or the newer model comes out. That new car won’t satisfy your desire for stuff and an extravagant purchase won’t fix your hurting marriage.
  • The praise you get for crushing it at work, in the sermon, in the basketball game—fleeting. Great in the moment, but it goes away, replaced by the praise for another or a failure right around the corner.
  • Any commercial ever made for any game or toy for your children! They look so happy in those commercials. LIES!

You Must Spot the Lie

In each of these situations, you must spot the lie so you don’t believe something that won’t ever come true.

Another way to play this game is when your brain tells you things that just aren’t right. For instance, you might tell yourself:

  • I’m unlovable.
  • I’m a fraud and I’m not good enough.
  • Or, I’m the worst and everyone is better than me.
  • My kids dislike me and my spouse and friends do too.
  • This team would do better without me.
  • Me, me, me, I, I, I… you get the picture.

For whatever reason, the last few weeks, I’ve really struggled with comparing myself to others. I desire their gifts, acclaim, and praise, and in the process I tear myself down and believe the lies.

Instead of losing this battle, I’ve had to play a lot of rounds of Spot the Lie. You might need to play this game as well. At some point, we all do.

6 Ways You Can Win at Spot the Lie

1. Fight the lies with truth.

Read God’s Word. Memorize scripture. Meditate on Truth. Ultimately, we can learn so much about our identity not from others, not from the world, not from the praise of man, but through God’s Word. Here are a few verses (with a brief synopsis) you might want to check out (and memorize):

  • John 1:12 – You are a child of God
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 – You are a new creation.
  • Genesis 1:27 – You are made in the image and likeness of God.
  • Galatians 4:7 – You are a child of God and a co-heir with Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – You were bought at a high price.
  • Romans 8:1 – There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Side note: You need to know the main reason I write what I write is because I need it as much, if not more, than you do. Reading these verses is good for my soul, and helps me Spot the Lie and believe Truth instead!

2. Pray for change.

Ask God to give you the wisdom you need to stop believing the lies and instead believe truth. Sometimes my brain goes crazy and spins out of control. In those moments, I ask God for His wisdom (James 1:5).

3. Listen to good songs filled with Truth.

A few I’ve listened to the last few weeks:

  • Lauren Daigle’s song, “You Say.” I love this new song, and in it Daigle rightly says we should believe what God says about us.
  • Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship. In this song, I’m reminded that I am a child of God, I’m chosen (by God), and I am who He says I am (not who the lies tell me I am).
  • The hymn, “My Worth is Not in What I Own.” Recently recorded by Shane and Shane in their Hymns, Vol 1 album. The lyrics remind us to boast in knowing Christ, not in what we own, our wealth, might, or wisdom we posses.

4. Focus on others.

When I start to play the self-pity game, I instead choose to encourage and think of others. When I take the focus off myself, I can encourage those around me. In Romans 12, Paul reminds us to use our gifts. My gift is encouragement, and I love how Romans 12:8 says if your gift is encouragement, then encourage others! Whatever your gift is, use it/them, for the glory of God and for the good of others.

5. Fight the sin of comparison.

Too often we coddle our sin or just think it will go away. I want to fight my sin, whether it’s lust, anger, or comparison. John Owens famously said, “Be killing sin, or it be killing you.”

6. Engage others.

In those moments when I believe the lies, I want to run away and hide. I feel guilt, shame, and embarrassment, and the last thing I want to do is let others in. Rather, I know I need others to speak truth into my life, wound me with love, and encourage me. I need others to bear my burdens (Galatians 6:2) and to shine light into the darkness of my sin and lies.

You might have some other ways you have to fight the lies. Please share them below in the comments section.

On a much lighter note, I do love games. Here are three fun ones I recently started playing with friends and family.

  • One Night Ultimate Werewolf – like mafia, but quicker. Great party game.
  • Dutch Blitz – super fun card game. Our family loves it! “A Vondferful Goot Game.”
  • Psych! – great party game you play on your iPhone. Especially fun if you know each other well. We especially like the “And the Truth Comes Out” deck.

Your Turn:

  • How do you fight the lies in your life?
  • What scriptures would you add to the list above in point #1.

God, the Inventor of Love

C.S. Lewis

“God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them.

He creates the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God

– the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up.

If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him.

Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.”

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves