Easter Ecstasy

There was an Easter Saturday Night several years ago when I had a life-changing experience with ecstasy.  I had just begun to follow Jesus and was about 5 months clean.  I was out with some friends from recovery at a club and I ran into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in a while; she was rolling pretty hard on ecstasy.  I have to be honest—I really wanted to get high.  All of the memories of partying and having fun came rushing back.  Thank God, He gave me the strength to leave the club.  I went home to my apartment, locked the door, got in bed and tried to pray and fall asleep.  As soon as I began to pray, all those memories flooded my mind about raves and happy times with my friends when we were doing ecstasy.  I wondered if I really could be happy without sin.  After I tried and failed to pray a full-length goodnight prayer, an idea hit me like a forty pound light bulb—my Lenten devotional might get my focus where it needed to be!  I opened it up and saw a figure dancing with joy on the page for the next reading.  The words of the devotional by C.S. Lewis were about how each of us has a choice each day—to do good, or do evil—to walk in the light, or walk in darkness.  He highlighted how the sinful path looks really enticing and seems to result in happiness, but how it is deceiving.  I’m going to paraphrase, but it ended something like this:  “In reality, the choice to walk in the light is the only one that brings true ECSTASY!”  Have you ever seen a devotional use the word ecstasy?   But this one did and I read it on the right night.  I said a short prayer of thanksgiving and was able to sleep like a baby.  I have honestly not had a strong desire to drink or drug since.

light_in_darknessJesus is our life, our abundant life, when we believe in him.  He gives us strength when we are weak, peace when we’re going crazy, he cleanses us when we’re dirty, and provides light at the end of the darkest tunnel.  Jesus is the alpha and omega, the beginning and end, the one who brought us into this world, will take us out, and can bring us to everlasting life.  He is the King of kings, Lord of lords, and Boss of bosses, and Father for the fatherless.  Jesus is my savior and he can be yours too.  Jesus gives me a life filled with joy and peace and he can give it to you too.  Do you know him?  Do you feel like you’re at the end of your rope and that you have nothing left?  Jesus says, “I am the Resurrection.”  Do you feel like you’re just going through the motions and your world has no meaning?  Jesus says, “I am the Life.”  Do you know the one called resurrection and life?  His name is Jesus Christ and he invites you to the joy of his Father’s house this Easter.

Matthew’s Musings – “God be merciful to us and bless us… That Your way may be known on earth…” (Psalm 67:1-2)

This psalm is a communal psalm of thanks calling Israel to praise God for God’s abundant blessings. Israel has always been blessed to be a blessing to the surrounding nations and the rest of the world. Abram is called to leave his own land and go to the Promised Land where he is to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2).

As sons and daughters of God we are blessed, and God calls us His beloved children. But often as Christians we give thanks for God’s blessings, but we don’t use these to bless others. We keep looking inward and become spiritual navel-gazers, hoarding God’s blessings for our own safety and security. In Exodus 16, after God has rescued them from Egypt, the Israelites complain about their food. So God provides just what they need for each day—manna and quail. But what happens if they gather too much food and hoard it? The food rots. God is teaching them to not hold onto their blessings.

What do we do with our blessings? For example, what about those coveted tax returns? I know I’m already thinking of all the things we need for our new house—a new washer and dryer, a new fridge, new light fixtures, and on and on. These things aren’t bad in themselves, but what if we thought about how we could support others first? How could we use our assets and talents—physical and spiritual—to bless others? How can our house, our car, our time, our talents, and our financial resources be a blessing? The Church is meant to be a blessing to the world– God’s hands and feet. When we turn inward and focus on ourselves, however, we get de-formed and we rot from the inside out. Yet, we don’t have to live in fear of not having enough. John tells us,

“Perfect love casts out fear… ”(I John 4:18). What if we opened our hearts and homes and churches to those who are different from us– the foreigners and strangers, the homeless, and the addicts? What if we tried to get to know and then served our neighbors and co-workers who look different from us? For our wedding, my wife chose the song, “Make Me a Servant,” as our final hymn to remind us that our marriage was to be a blessing to others.

May that be our prayer today!

Prayer Song for the Week: “Make me a servant, humble and meek/Lord, let me lift up those who are weak/And may the prayer of my heart always be:/Make me a servant, make me a servant, make me a servant today.”

Drunk Love: Get Naked

In the first verses of Song of Solomon we read, “Your love is better than wine.”  While too many of us have turned to the bottle to medicate our relationship problems the bible offers a better way.  But for us to experience true love, whether it be with God or another person, we need to first discover our true selves.

Adam & Eve walked hand in hand with God, receiving 100% attention, complete love & acceptance and as a result didn’t even realize they were naked.  Then they ate the fruit and immediately began covering up, hiding, denying, and blaming.  Through the story of Adam & Eve we’ll learn how to “get naked” . . . metaphorically!  By peeling away the ways in which we hide and live in denial, we can begin to address the sin and shame that must be dealt with before discovering our true selves.

New Beginnings – Babel

Genesis 11:1-9 NLT

Just a chapter earlier we read not 1 but 3 times that humans already possessed multiple languages; therefore, we can understand Babel not as being the only language on earth, but perhaps the first “lingua franca,” a language that lets people communicate from different tribes.  Like how English is becoming the language that people know in addition to their native tongue.  This enabled people from all around the world come to one place and settle.  This is actually the opposite of what God envisioned with the commission, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

To have one language in ancient texts is subjugation and forcing other peoples to take on their language. (Pop-pop story of kneeling on corn)  This is not what God had in mind, He wanted people to fill the earth, not come together in one place (1:28).

They settled in Shinar, undoubtedly talking about Mesopotamia, an area first called Sumer, then Babylonia.  It was here that the first temple-towers, known as ziggurats were built.  Recently archaeologists discovered Esagila, the great temple of Marduk in Babylon, which may be the building talked about in this story.  It was 300 feet tall and was believed to have been built by the gods by the Babylonians, which is shown to be false in the biblical story showing how earthlings made up the actual construction crew.

It’s difficult to miss the irony in that the humans seek to build a tower that will reach the heavens, that is among the gods, but in reality it is so far away that God must “come down” to see it.  God doesn’t laugh at them or dismiss it as much ado about nothing.  Rather, this is taken very seriously.  If Divine Intervention does not happen, the consequences can be far reaching.  But the intervention is surprising.  Rather than toppling the tower, God confuses the language.  Why?  Because knocking the building down would only be a temporary solution; towers are replaceable.  So God removes that which makes the building possible, an international language that provides communication among different tribes.

The judgment here does not need to be reversed.  Jesus’ followers do not speak with one language.  It is a criticism of Rome’s vision to form one body in the name of the Romans.  Unity is not the consequence of everybody speaking the same language, but the generative way of the Holy Spirit with the name of Jesus being the rallying point.  If the disciples spoke Greek, everyone would have understood.  This is not what they did, but spoke in each’s particular language to show how the Spirit alone would bring them together, not language.  This is the fulfillment of the same vision that God had in mind in Babel.

The point of the story is not what they are building but why they are building it.  They are seeking to build a name for themselves, to gain a reputation.  And we’re still doing it today.  I saw a really weird show on Netflix the other day called “Black Mirror” that illustrates the point.  Check it out:

What are you doing to get a 5-star rating from others?

•Building a set of rules that you must follow?

•Putting on a front or wearing a mask?

•How you dress, what you drive?

•Or have you given up?  You know you can’t be a 4 or 5 so you medicate the pain of not being accepted, of not adding up?

 

 

 

 

JD Walt likes to talk about how there are only two stories, * the story of Adam and *the story of Christ.  The story of Adam is the story of *one who climbs up only *to fall down.  Rather than being content with what they had, Adam and Eve longed for more.  The serpent offered the lie that if they only had more knowledge, more power, then everything would be better.  Yet when they ate the fruit, it didn’t bring joy, but shame.  More knowledge didn’t enlighten them, but threw them into the darkness of guilt and denial.  Rather than having the answers to life’s problems, disobedience led to more problems that they sought to cover up.  Then there is the story of Christ, *a descent into our brokenness and *ascent into heaven. Jesus embodies a life of turning to his loving Father with all of the suffering, injustice, and pain of his life and the people around him.  Adam’s story is the classic notion of how pride comes before the fall.  Adam tells the story of the failure of trust, the failure of obedience and the failure of love.

New Beginnings – Flood

Genesis 6-9 NLT

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.  Genesis 6:5

“Let’s go ahead and admit it: the world is a messed up place.  Brokenness abounds.  Now, this doesn’t mean we don’t intend to have a positive attitude about it.  There’s a bright side to everything…things could be worse…we should be thankful for what we have…and all that.  But just for the record, let’s be honest about the general state of affairs on our planet.  First of all, we have crime, pollution, erosion, and taxes—all of which seem to be on the increase.  Then there’s unemployment, disease, war, homelessness, and famine.  Even the earth itself gets in on the mayhem, producing earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, and hurricanes on a regular basis.  Each of these disasters forms a stage on which a myriad of stories of human tragedy are played out each day.  No words will ever capture the degree of human suffering that goes on each day in our world.

Innately, each of us recognizes that things are not as they should be. When a child dies an untimely death, we don’t need someone to explain that it’s abnormal.  When someone cuts you off in traffic, instinctively you know that an offense has been committed against you.  It seems we were born with a natural recognition of good and bad, right and wrong.  And as we look around us, something’s definitely not right.

It would be easy to sit around and complain, to cast blame on anyone and everyone for all the problems of this dysfunctional world. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, don’t we have to consider whether we’re part of the problem?  Each time we lose our temper, indulge our desire for control, or simply ignore someone else’s cry for help, we contribute to the crisis.  Somehow it’s in our nature to be selfish—a nature with every decision, and yet one we cannot seem to change.  This is a sad story indeed.

Sin is one of those universal concepts recognized in various cultures around the globe.  Virtually everyone knows what it feels like to tell a lie, enjoy another’s misfortune, or let anger run its course.  In fact, sin is such an everyday occurrence, that it’s hard to imagine what the world would look like without it.  We’ve learned to live with it.  We’ve come to expect it.  Some would even argue that the occasional sin is necessary to function in society.  Sin has blended in.  Which makes us wonder, why is sin such a big deal in the Bible?

God takes sin very seriously because of the statement it makes about our understanding of him.  He is supreme.  We are not.  God is the ultimate authority.  And we choose either submission to him or rebellion against him.  One small sin may not seem like a big deal.  But the nature of sin begs the question of whether we acknowledge God or not.  And that’s a big deal.  In a small way, our sin says, “I’ll be my own god right now.”  By choosing sin, we demote God and put something or someone else in his place instead.  And the brokenness that ensues reverberates throughout our lives and the lives of others.

Ultimately, the Bible says that sin results in death.  The apostle Paul writes that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”  (Romans 5:12)  Sin causes death in our physical bodies and death in our relationship with God.  Sin is a big deal.  The important thing is not so much that we should succeed in avoiding it, but that we acknowledge God as the one worthy of setting our boundaries for us.  The issue of sin, from a practical perspective, is the proving ground on which our loyalties are declared. ” – Andy Stanley from Starting Point

So, in Noah’s day God saw humanity’s evil and violence and decided to allow their consequences to catch up with them and wipe them from the earth.  Then he saw a man who was righteous and instead offered humans a fresh start.

In the same way, God has seen your dark side and thought about giving you the consequences you deserve, but then he saw a man who was righteous who would die in your place.   Do you know him?  Other religions try to make you a better person but this Higher Power knows we must start with step 1:  powerless over our sin.  What better way to help people realize their powerlessness than a flood?  So the sinful world led to a worldwide catastrophe and then a 2nd chance.  The flood must come, but there is a rescue plan involving a man named Noah.

Many in his day laughed at him for building such a big boat on dry land.  Many will laugh at you if you tell them you believe the Flood in the Bible really happened.  Did the Flood really happen?  Archaeological digs and stories from other cultures say yes.

Archeology – In the 1920s Sir Leonard Wooley excavated the city of Ur and discovered a 12-foot-thick layer of flood deposit dating to the middle of the 4th millennium B.C.  The cities of Kish and Shuruppak also has large flood layers from around this time

Compare with Sumerian King’s List.  This ancient document (2000 BC) divides history with the great flood.  The lifetimes of the kings were outrageous, but became more realistic after the flood, much like the Bible

Gilgamesh is a great hero who wants to live forever.  So he goes to Ut-napishtim to find out how.  Ut-napishtim is the “Noah” of this story.  He builds a great boat and took his family along with many animals on a voyage and was rewarded with immortality for his great courage.  After the flood, Ut-napishtim sent a dove and a raven from the boat to check for dry land.

There are parallels, but there are also major differences.  The parallels are close enough to know that there was a tie to these two accounts.  Either one stole the story from the other, or the event actually happened and each civilization told their version of it.  The difference is the interpretation of the event.  Unlike the Mesopotamian story, it is not the whim of the gods, but the wickedness of humanity that is the reason for the flood.  In Noah’s story, God saves humanity because of His mercy and plan for redemption but the other happens because of the gods in the council leaks the plan to a human who saves the day. (Epic of Eden by Sandi Richter)

De-Creation

Just as God said, the floods came, waters burst forth from the earth, and rained poured from the sky, referencing the “waters above and the waters below” of Creation.  The flood is not simply a natural disaster intended to bright God’s judgment on humanity, but a de-creational event.  What is done at creation is undone with the flood.  The world is brought back to its pre-creation state––“formless and void.”  So unlike the fun and cheerful images we often associate with Noah—the decorations in our nurseries and children’s classrooms, the toys and camp songs, “the animals they came on, they came on by twosies, twosies”—the story of Noah is completely terrifying.  Think of the deadly tsunami that hit Asia in December of 2004.  The news reports said that once the earthquake struck, the waves traveled faster than the communications warning system could, 500 miles per hour.  The disaster caught hundreds of thousands of people unaware, wiping out whole towns and villages, killing, injuring, and displacing unimaginable numbers of people.  Put this sort of disaster into the terms one man and his family escaping to start again, and you begin to get a feel for this epoch-dividing event.

Re-Creation – Baptism is a watery grave making way for a new life

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

New Beginnings – Eden

In Eden the blessing are many, the rules are few.  Actually there’s only one rule––God is God and we are not.  If the humans just acknowledged that God is the Landlord and we are the tenant, everything would be good.  But if they had to be free to choose their own rules and decide for themselves what is “good and evil,” then they would die.  Basically, Adam and Eve are free to do anything except decide for themselves what’s good and evil.  You know the story, you know what they chose and you know about the consequences.

God’s Plan A

But what was God’s plan?  Did God want them to eat the fruit?  Many Christians and Jews would say yes.  I’m not one of them.  Just imagine God’s original intent when He created Eden:

This was Adam and Eve’s perfect world.  Not just fruit and fig leaves, but an entire race of people stretching their cognitive and creative powers to the limit to build a society of balance and justice and joy.  Here the sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve would learn life at the feet of the Father, build their city in the shadow of the Almighty, create and design and expand within the protective confines of his kingdom.  The blessing of this gift?  Civilization without greed, malice or envy; progress without pollution, expansion without extinction.  Can you imagine it?  A world in which Adam and Eve’s ever-expanding family would be provided the guidance they needed to explore and develop their world such that the success of the strong did not involve the deprivation of the weak.  Here government would be wise and just and kind, resources plentiful, war unnecessary, achievement unlimited and beauty and balance everywhere.  This was God’s perfect plan:  the people of God in the place of God dwelling in the presence of God.  Yet, as with all covenants, God’s perfect plan was dependent on the choice of the (first humans).  Humanity must willingly submit to the plan of God.  The steward must choose this world; for in God’s perfect plan, the steward had been given the authority to reject it.

God’s Plan Sabotaged

God’s Plan A was sabotaged by humanity.  Their choice led not only to removal of blessing but reversal.  Blessings became a curse, benefit becomes a burden, paradise is exchanged for prison.    What’s your “plan A?”  Have you ever sabotaged your own plan or God’s plan?

Eve is created to be the mother of creation, but is cursed to experience extreme pain and many times death.   Adam is created to be a farmer, to work with the sun and the rain to bring about a great harvest to feed his family.  You might have a glimpse into his joy if you’ve grown a tomato or planted a tree and seen it thrive.  But you haven’t experienced his full joy because we live in a fallen world.  In the beginning, Adam would have true leadership over the earth.  But the sons of Adam saw their crops fail, the rain not come, livestock die.  Will they be able to feed their family?  Is their work going to be enough?  The term “sweat of your brow” actually doesn’t have anything to do with hard work.  It is a ANE saying that refers to anxiety that causes perspiration.  Have you been there when trying to make ends meet and the land just wouldn’t cooperate?  This is Adam’s curse.

Adam & Eve are commissioned together to care for creation and rule together.  They are like the king and queen of Narnia.  Then the curse comes to Eve and breaks that beautiful give and take relationship that they had in Eden.  Now, “your desire will be for your husband and he will rule over you.”  In Eden they had all that they needed, but now they are in competition with one another, and since Adam had the advantage of size and strength, he usually is the winner.  History shows us that “Eve’s longing for her husband will too often result in her willing participation in her own oppression and abuse. A relationship that should have been characterized by mutual self-sacrifice, productivity and joy will create instead the deepest of frustration and pain. . . and yet she will still yearn for this relationship.  There is not a marriage on this planet that hasn’t experienced the aftershock of this curse.  Yet even in the midst of all this loss, a word of hope remains.  The woman is promised that the union with her husband will produce an heir who, in the end, will slay the one who deceived her.  Even in her fallen state, it is Eve that will bring forth Christ.

But the most horrific aspect of the curse is when God said, “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  This was originally inconceivable, but now, because of their choice, humans will become fertilizer for the ground they were created to rule.

God’s Plan A is His Plan Z

But does God give up when Plan A doesn’t go as planned?  “His ways are higher than our ways” says Isaiah.  God’s plans don’t seem to flow in a straight line and neither do most of ours.  The reason is the same, because they involve humans. 

The difference between us and God is that when our plans fail we check out, seek the escape hatch.  But when we toward God’s plans, he adapts.  God may choose someone else or we may love us into right action.

“I am the Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

Created in the image of God – fall from grace – rehabilitated into Gods image

Jesus declared king of birth – rejected and crucified – risen and exalted Lord

New Beginnings – All things New

New years eve is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.  What’s your resolution for 2017?  Take a minute to share with someone what its going to be. . . .    I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but how many of you actually think you’ll still be that excited about your resolution in February?

I could give several examples of resolutions to pray more, exercise more, eat less, smoke less, etc. that didn’t make it into February.  And I know I’m not alone.  But why are we so bad at resolutions?

To make a resolution is to determine to do something different.  But we are creatures of habit who like to do things the same as we always have.  Even when our spirit of resolve is strong, to put flesh on the bones into action is hard.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  As much as we want to just grit our teeth, pull up our boot straps, and try harder, many of us have discovered that our self-will is not enough.  Especially those who’ve wrestled with addictions have found this to be so.  How many times has the alcoholic tried to stop drinking, and while it might last for a minute, that thought creeps in that all we need to make life better is just one drink… and there starts the vicious cycle again.  Insanity is often defined as trying the same things and expecting different results.  So if every New Year’s you make a resolution and don’t keep it, and every New Year’s you do it again expecting to keep it this time, what does that make you?  So when I ask you how its going in a couple of months, are you going to be able to say, “I’ve been exercising and eating healthy since New Year’s and now I’m 10 lbs lighter!  Or, for those insane people trying the same old things might say something like, “Same old, same old.”  But there is somebody here tonight who doesn’t want to settle for same old.  Does anybody want to change things up tonight, do something different and experience different results?  Who wants to turn in same old for all things new?  Whose ready for the inbreaking of God’s Spirit to bring some freshness to the situation?

So tonight I want us to move from old resolutions to new beginnings.   God has done a work in you in 2016 to prepare you for 2017.  He has brought some of you through the wilderness last year to bring you into the promised land in 2017!  God wants to use adversity to make you stronger, bring you through the fire to refine you like precious gold.  The God of new beginnings wants to take your old thinking, old behavior, old ways and trade them in for the mind of Christ.  He wants to fill your life with new opportunities, new experiences, new ways of dealing with life on life’s terms!  But its not going to come from self-will, by trying harder and implementing some new strategy.  This will come because God makes all things new.

If you don’t have a problem with keeping New Year’s resolutions, then this blog post may not be for you.  You probably have everything you need to live life well and make the changes needed.  But if you’re ready to admit that you’re powerless and that your life is basically unmanageable, then you are ready for a powerful message from one of the most beautiful chapters in the scriptures.  It’s one of the last chapters in the bible, Revelation 21.

Revelation 21:1-6 NLT

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”  5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”  6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.

Behold

The word “behold”  doesn’t make it in many English translations.  But it’s still there.  John the Baptist stepped out of the wilderness and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  At the end of Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus reads, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.”  Only the New American Standard & King James uses the word consistently.    The New Living says, “Look.”  This is more than look!  God is doing a new thing, do you behold it?  Behold means pay attention, wake up, see what you are hearing.   

I think that might be our main problem, is that we’re not paying attention and we’re sleeping through what God wants to do in our life.  Behold!!!   But what does it mean?  I think to behold is to finally see what it is that you’ve been hearing.

I am making all things new

God is making all things new.  The tense of the verb, “make,” is the present.  And while the heart of Revelation 21 is about the future that God is bringing, it is also about the present.  It is already and not yet!  In the end God will wipe away every tear, destroy poverty, cancer, death, disease, and it will be finished.  But that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t already started.  How many in here tonight know that God has already started that renewing work in your life?  How many believe that He has a new beginning in store for you in 2017?

Like so much in Revelation, this comes straight out of Isaiah the prophet, this time 43:19.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.   And before this prophecy is fulfilled in Revelation, it is fulfilled in 2 Corinthians 5:17:  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  In the death and resurrection of Christ, God is making you and I into a new creation.  In the end that new creation is finalized.  So if you’re ready for a new beginning, if you want to put your past in the past and start God’s glorious future for your life, then get in Christ, because if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  Get in Christ!  Get into the tomb with him and bury the sins of your past to prepare for the resurrection of your future!  Get in Christ and strap in because he will take you on the ride of your life!  And on the road he will make all things new.

When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all the slaves in the Confederate States, it was to become law on January 1, 1863. On December 31, 1862, the night before it was to become law, African Americans gathered together in their churches and homes all over the USA, waiting for their freedom to arrive at midnight.

What a night that must have been! They and their ancestors had been captured in Africa, kidnapped, tied, bound, and locked in chains. Whole families, even villages, disappeared. Families were separated, never to see each other or their homes again. They were taken to different parts of the world, but most to the Americas, shackled and packed into the holds of slave ships. Upon arrival they were sold into slavery that meant a lifetime of hardship, suffering, forced labor, and deprivation of all human rights. Enduring such conditions, what must that New Year’s Eve Watch Night of 1862 been like? What did they do? Did some of them gather in small groups and whisper their prayers and songs in hushed voices, fearing their masters might descend at any moment? After all, President Lincoln’s declaring their freedom didn’t make it so in the eyes of their owners. And the Civil War would drag on for another three years. What songs did they sing? How did they pray? Did they dance, sing, shout, and clap, or was it a time of quiet, uncertain wondering what their future held?

That Watch Night of 1862 came to be known as “Freedom’s Eve.” When midnight and the New Year arrived, they celebrated with prayers, shouts, singing, and great thanksgiving to God.

New beginnings begin with faith.  Not hard evidence that everything is going to go has planned, not a desire to control the outcome, not some human power that will give us the strength to make our resolution stick.  New beginnings come when we come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity, who can pull us out of the rut of trying the same things and getting different results and put us on a new path.

Old is gone.  New has come

What makes the New City so new?  Because the former things are gone.  Only when the old is gone can the new come.  Somebody say, “Goodbye former things!”  The new beginning is here.  But not because you said it, but because God said it.

God says, It is finished!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  And this isn’t the first time that God said, “It is finished.”  When Jesus was on the cross and he was tired and bleeding and dying, he did not say, “I am finished,” Jesus said “it is finished.”  The good news of the gospel is that because of what Jesus did on the cross there is a bridge from where you are to where God wants you to be.  There is a bridge called hope.  There is a bridge called salvation.  There is a bridge called redemption.  There is a bridge that no one else could build but Jesus that goes from the end of you to the beginning of eternity.  It goes from Babylon to New Jerusalem, from weeping to rejoicing, from suffering to being pain-free, from self-destructing to helping others.  And no matter what kind of storm enters in and what comes to tear you down, that bridge is still standing.  Say, “It is finished.”

But if we’re honest, there are some things in our life that are not finished.  There are some New Years resolutions from 2015 and 2016 that are unresolved.  Ask yourself–why is this thing left incomplete?  Why do I keep falling for the same lies?  Why do I keep falling into the same ruts?  Why am I not moving from this point to that point?  Why can I not complete what I said I would finish?  The good news for us  is that Jesus has completed the work on the cross and is coming back to complete the new city.  It is finished.  You are not finished, but it is finished.  I don’t know what “it” is that is holding you down, that is keeping you from moving forward, but you better tell it, that because of what Jesus has done, it is finished.

It is because those former things are gone that we have a new beginning tonight.  And with newness comes fresh opportunities.  Things that used to be completely out of the question are now possible.  A whole new city is here to be explored, filled to the brim with life in the fullest sense, with the water of life flowing from God’s throne and nourishing the tree of life.  Are you thirsty?  Do you want some living water.  At Jacob’s Well we have plenty.  We get our name from the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well.  He asks her if she would like to try some water that would quench her deepest thirst, something called “living water.”  See the woman had been trying to quench her thirst through relationships.  She had been married 5 times and was living with a man that was not her husband.  But rather than condemnation, Jesus had compassion and saw the struggle within, so he offered her a new beginning.  What have you been trying to quench your thirst with?  What have you been going to for satisfaction and yet been left dry?  The Lord says, I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

Give 2017 to God

So as we close I want to invite you to give 2017 to God.  This is not the God always out to get you, trying to send you to hell unfairly.  He wouldn’t be good if there weren’t consequences for evildoers, but the God in this city is looking to forgive and offer another chance to all.  God’s acts of judgment are always done through other agents in the book of Revelation, it says here that God himself will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  The love of God could hardly be more vividly shown.  He longs to wipe the tears away from his suffering children.

Bring Hope for the Holidays

jw-xmas-banner-01              As the weather gets colder our hearts seem to grow warmer. Around Christmas time our minds are filled with giving to others, even those we do not know. We invite you to give this holiday through Jacob’s Well. Financial gifts are used to buy many things that go towards hope for holidays – empowering our homeless neighbors to get off the streets and helping hundreds of others experience Christ through reconciliation, rehabilitation, reciprocation. On a daily basis we spend our budget on things like meals, bibles, transportation, and kids/youth ministry to name only a few and we need your help.        

 

We ask you to prayerfully consider giving financially to Jacob’s Well this Christmas. You could give in honor of those on your Christmas list. Or you could ask friends and family to give in your name. Whatever way you give, we pray that it will be an extension of your prayer and service at Jacob’s Well.

 

 

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Consider these needs of our community below. Choose one (or more) as gifts for your friends and family.  Click the PayPal link below to purchase the gift(s). In the notes section of PayPal, include name(s) and addresses of recipients. Then we will send a card acknowledging  your gift to you or your loved one.

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Have questions?  Contact Jacob’s Well

Bridging the Gap – November 11-13, 2016

btg-logoBridging the Gap is an inner city weekend sleepover where each person is immersed into the realities of Memphis poverty, education, and homelessness through back-to-back hands-on experiences, interspersed with reflective debriefing, reflection on scripture, and teaching. We each have assumptions about those we consider to be poor, often without thinking through what it even means to live a life with limited resources, in unsafe neighborhoods, working minimum wage jobs. During this weekend, we hope that will change…

What: Join us for a weekend of experiential and scriptural learning about God’s heart for those who are poor and how as followers of Christ we are called to love and respond.

Who: Those who are ready to go deeper into the depths of love for their neighbors, rich or poor, black or white, homeless or sheltered.

Where: Though we will mostly be out and about in the city, our overnight accommodations and some other activities will be at the Smith Center (where Jacob’s Well meets), at 602 Looney Ave.

When: We will meet in the parking lot of Christ United Methodist Church at 5:15 p.m. on Friday and be completely finished at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Register:  Click here to register online And visit our Donate Page to make your payment of $40.

Doubting Thomas Anonymous

John 20:24-30
Thomas gets a bad wrap..  Most have had some healthy skepticism before committing to something.  I hope you don’t believe everything you hear about God and the bible, or believe everything on TMZ.  Thomas didn’t.  Maybe somebody needs to start a new recovery group for doubters; you can call it “Doubting Thomas Anonymous”

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Out of Breath

John 20:19-23
Our story tonight finds our heroes behind locked doors shaking in fear.  Jesus was crucified that Friday and the disciples were distraught.  They had the wind knocked out of them.  They were shocked and confused and didn’t know where to go or what to do.  Jesus was their life for the last 3 years and now He was gone.  In the midst of their greatest fears, while feeling like failures for not standing with Jesus in His time of trial, Jesus comes to them.  He comes not with condemnation but with life and peace.  Because Jesus is alive, in a very tangible way you can be filled with life and peace with a renewed purpose.  Jesus doesn’t just say, “Peace be with you,” but he also blows the breath of life into his disciples.

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Hope for the Hopeless

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The resurrection of Jesus shows us that God can do the impossible. But when he just died and we haven’t checked the tomb yet, life can seem pretty bleak. This series will look at the resurrection stories in John’s gospel as we seek to run down hope.

4/2/2016John 20:1-18Running down HopeJamey Lee
4/9/2016Ezekiel 37:1-14John 20:19-23Out of BreathJamey Lee
4/16/2016John 20:24-31Doubting Thomas AnonymousJamey Lee
4/23/2016John 21:1-14The other side of the boatJamey Lee
4/30/2016John 21:15-25Peter goes to RehabJamey Lee

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Running Down Hope

John 20:1-18
The disciples are in a despair that we can’t really imagine. They had quit their jobs and left their families for Jesus. They believed in him with all of their hearts and had sold out to be part of this Love rEVOLution that he was leading. They were ready to fight to the death to protect their Lord but Jesus wouldn’t let them. He turned the other cheek and gave himself over to be crucified. He suffered and he bled and he died on the cross and they didn’t understand why. But the gospel story doesn’t end with the disciples crying on the streets. The good news is that Jesus is alive and the impossible is possible when God’s at work.

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Atonement through Substitution

Jesus died for you.  Through the last week of Jesus’ life we see a man who was arrested in place of the disciples, went on trial in place of Peter, was convicted in place of Barabbas, and died on the cross in your place.  In other words:  Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, that proves God’s love towards us.  In the name of Jesus Christ you are forgiven.

Fundraising Dinner

 

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Thursday, April 21, 2016
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Caritas Village
2509 Harvard Ave.
MemphisTN 38112

Please join us to share a meal and hear how your financial support of Jacob’s Well impacts the city of Memphis. We will hear moving testimonies of how God is at work in the lives of those involved at Jacob’s Well, a compelling vision of the future, as well how you can be a part of continuing the work the Lord has called us to in Memphis.

Single Plate       $30

Table of 5          $150

Table of 8          $225

To register, click the link below and indicate one of the amounts above to reserve your chair or table.


Have questions about Jacob’s Well Fundraising Dinner?  Contact Jacob’s Well

Atonement through the Scapegoat

Jesus came to show us what love looks like.  He came to destroy the power of evil by disproving the system of scapegoating.  The crowds responded to God’s Son by making him the scapegoat and nailed him to a cross.  We are part of that crowd;  our sin nailed him there.  Yet Jesus’ response was love and forgiveness, turning the other cheek and returning good for evil.  This is true love.

Atonement through Suffering

To be human is to ask the question why do we suffer?  When someone is experiencing pain there is no argument or sermon that will convince them; only God coming from heaven and entering into their suffering would make a difference… And that is exactly what happened.  Rather than answering the riddle of suffering, the Gospel tells the story of a God who actually suffers with and for us.

Atonement

 How can we bring together all the pain and hurt of our broken world with the love of a good God?  How do we deal with sin and how does God?
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Why did Jesus have to die?  Journey with us to the cross as we wrestle with these questions and reflect on different theories of the atonement.

3/5/2016SufferingJamey Lee
3/12/2016ScapegoatJamey Lee
3/19/2016SubstituteJamey Lee
3/26/2016Christus VictorJamey Lee

Redeeming Sex Series

ThumbnailDiscover a holistic, biblical vision of sex and gender that honors God and offers good news to the world. In our sex-saturated culture filled with confusion & conflict, we are in desperate need for an honest conversation. Inspired by Deb Hirsch’ book, Redeeming Sex, we will engage in a no-holds-barred, biblical conversation around relationships, sexuality, gender, and spirituality

2/13/2016Song of Solomon 1:1-4a1 Corinthians 6:12-20Love, Sex, and RelationshipsJamey Lee
2/20/2016Gender & SexualityJamey Lee
2/27/2016John 8:1-11Spirituality and SexualityDeb Hirsche

Redeeming Love, Sex, & Relationships

Love can be a drug and chemistry can cloud our thinking.  But love is intended to be a verb and a beautiful engine for healthy relationships.  Sex is good… but in a different way than you might think.  The bible offers amazing wisdom on sex, love and relationships.  Tune in!

Reconciliation – Rehabilitation – Reciprocation

Memphis is plagued by 3 major problems:  racism, addiction, and poverty.  Jacob’s Well loves our city through a lens of faith and works towards Reconciliation, Rehabilitation, and Reciprocation.

Don’t gain the World

Unlimited money and power are offered to Jesus, but at a price.  Later he would say, “What would it profit you to gain the whole world but lose your soul?”  Jesus lived out of a different story than the world.  Power is made perfect in weakness and the path to peace is through suffering.  Down is the new up!

Don’t make the Jump

What does it mean to test God?  Testing God is when we haven’t prayed or planned and just jump expecting God to bail us out if we can’t fly.  Jesus is tempted to do this when he was asked to jump off the top of the temple so that the angelic rescue would be a testimony to God’s power. When we test God we hold Him hostage, put God in the role of servant, at the beck and call of us when we’re in a bind.  It’s when we make our belief in Him contingent upon this kind of demonstration that we’re testing God.  Join Jesus in trusting that God will take care of you and seeking  a life of faith where we are not in control but God is.

Hand up Internships

handup internshipsThanks to generous donors we have begun a new initiative to offer financial help, job training and opportunity for meaningful service to people engaged at Jacob’s Well who are in need.
These $25/week commitments will be in ministry areas such as Saturday kitchen, CPR, transportation, grounds, hospitality and follow up, sound, music, coffee, set up, take down & cleanup.  These will be mentored by our team leads.  Upon completion of the 8-week internship a certificate will be presented during worship and a reference given to partnering businesses seeking employees.  The hope is that the graduates can then continue to serve on a voluntary basis once a month after and/or mentor incoming interns.
Interested individuals should download an application here and turn in at our Help Desk open from 5:00-5:30 on Saturday nights at Jacob’s Well.  help desk
We currently have funds for two interns, but you can provide more opportunities.  Each $100/month contribution to our Samaritan fund creates space for a new intern.

Don’t take the Bread

Our insatiable appetite for more will never be enough.   Jesus knew this and was prepared when tempted with turning stones into bread.  The big problem with sin and the reason we so ineffectively deal with it is because we don’t seriously engage the problem until it reaches the stage of behavior. We mistakenly think of sin as external when in reality it is a response from the position of our heart.  Jesus shows us how to quench our hunger through God’s word.  How can we be filled if not by McDonalds?  Listening to God, being obedient to the will of God, seeking 1st His Kingdom.

Don’t take the Bait – Intro

Matthew 4 tells an epic story of Jesus in the wilderness that teaches us about who we are and who we can become.  It’s about learning to resist temptation so that we don’t take the bait.  God’s will for us is to be made strong to handle ourselves during any situation.  For that to become a reality we must have adequate preparation.

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Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy

At Jacob’s Well, we love to tell the stories of what the Lord is doing in and through our friends and family. Here are four windows into what God is up to in our midst:

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Hope… Drew lived on the streets of Summer ave. when we met him through our homeless outreach, Compassion Party on the Road.  Being the intelligent, kind, winsome individual he was, it wasn’t difficult to love, pray, and hope for a brighter future for our friend.  By God’s grace, it was his friends from Jacob’s Well that Drew called when he hit bottom and was ready to get help this summer.  Drew was accepted into the the program at the Warrior Center where he has been growing in discipleship, recovery, and job-readiness ever since.  Today he is worshipping with us, being mentored by one of our leaders, and serving on CPR offering hope to others.

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Peace… Jackie is a hardworking mom who does the best she can with what she has been given.  But life hasn’t been easy caring for a daughter with epilepsy.  Yet thanks to God and the Kids Community of Jacob’s Well, Aliyah and her mother have peace in the midst of uncertainty and ongoing treatment.

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 4.00.54 PMLove… Alan & Emily came to Jacob’s Well to help but soon connected with the community and ignited on fire to become a vital part of our core.  As they saw reconciliation and unconditional love at work they grew in their love for God and neighbor.  This overflowing love led to a journey of adoption that brought us the precious little man Titus.   We had the privilege of baptizing him into our fellowship this year and have experienced the joy of his contagious smile and chubby cheeks.  We love Titus (and his parents too)!

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 4.02.39 PMJoy… Our Saturday night service is a Drug Court approved meeting which brings many through our doors who are in recovery and have no affiliation with church.  Genevieve was introduced to us in this way and shares how she couldn’t hold back the tears the first few times in worship as she felt the overwhelming love in the room.  She found Jesus and has been abounding with the joy of the Lord in all she does.  Recently she moved into the Uptown neighborhood where Jacob’s Well meets and shares her smile as she greets newcomers to the Well and helps get them connected to community and Jesus through our ministries.

All I want for Christmas is Peace

In the midst of the anxiety and stress of the holidays the gospel promises us peace and commands us to rejoice.  Only through trusting in Jesus, the Prince of Peace can we unlearn the old ways of dealing and put on a new mind to see with a different set of eyes.

All I want for Christmas

Website & Keynote Banner Advent15

The holidays aren’t happy for everyone. Those who grew up in dysfunctional families or have experienced estrangement from loved ones often find December to be one of the loneliest times of the year. Our broken world characterized by despair, stress, apathy, and sadness is exactly what Jesus was born into. He invites us into a new kind of Christmas full of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy.

12/5/2015Malachi 3:1-4Luke 3:1-6HopeJamey Lee
12/12/2015Zephaniah 3:14-20Philippians 4:4-7PeaceJamey Lee
12/19/2015Micah 5:2-5aLove
12/26/2015Isaiah 9:2-7Luke 2:1-20JoyJamey Lee

All I want for Christmas is Hope

Many of us have experienced dysfunctional holidays and have become jaded about all the Christmas cheer.  But the story of Jesus’ birth begins in the Wilderness where the word of God comes to John, giving us hope as we navigate through dry and weary lands.

Stickies: This too shall pass

 

Job’s riches quickly were lost.  But his sufferings finally come to an end as well.  The things of this world will eventually pass away.  Good things will pass, be grateful for what you have, love the one you’re with.  Bad things will pass.  Wait it out, our souls are meant for eternity.  The word of grace in Job is, “This too shall pass.”

Stickies: Let go let God

Job Couldn’t let go. He was under attack and was doing his best to stand strong. First he came under the attack of the devil but then he was attacked by his friends!  Often when we are attacked we resort to trying to have some kind of control. You can’t let go if you’re trying to control. God steps in to break the cycle and finally Job is satisfied.  His vision of God has been expanded beyond all previous bounds.  He has a new appreciation of the scope and harmony of God’s creation, where he is only a very small part.  He can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be God.

Stickies: Progress not Perfection

Job 4:3-9, 17-21 6:14, 24-30
When people in recovery talk about progress not perfection it doesn’t mean that people should not try to be the best they can be. But if we always aim for perfection we will consistently disappoint ourselves so maybe we ought to try shooting for something a little less ambitious.  If we can make an honest attempt at overcoming one character defect at a time by God’s grace we will be moving closer to perfection.  But if we knew that we had arrived, our pride for having done so would set us back again!  That’s why John Wesley said that anyone who was walking in Christian Perfection, did so unknowingly. The point is that by setting the more realistic goal of progress rather than perfection the individual is far more likely to achieve their aim.
 
Job 4:3-9 – Job’s friends believed that if you weren’t perfect, you got what was coming to you.  In chapter 4, Eliphaz begins by complementing and encouraging his friend, but then reminding him of what he “saw in his experience. . .that those who plant trouble. . . will harvest the same.”  This is truth, have you seen it happen in your life?  Any trouble farmers in the house?
Buddhists call it karma – Hindus say you going to come back as mosquitos – and Cypress Hill sing about it like, “What goes around comes around.”
But it’s not an always and every situation truth.  There are some trouble-planters who haven’t reaped their harvest, and some will not in this lifetime.  But apparently Eliphaz hadn’t seen that happen in his lifetime.  Well, he was either really sheltered or lying to prove a point.  But that’s his experience and it’s hard to argue with that.
You know what’s the problem of basing things for others from our personal experience?  Their experience is different!
When you start thinking you have to have good karma all the time and your primary goal is to become the master of your destiny thing you develop little dysfunction called perfectionism
 
Perfectionism put on to you by others
Perfectionism is developed as a result of feelings of inferiority or of being less than others. When a child experiences these feelings he develops perfectionism in order to maintain a sense of superiority over his friends and over his environment.
Perfectionism brought on by yourself
Perfectionism helps you to hide your defects from others. After all if you did everything perfectly then no one will dig behind that wall of perfectionism to unfold those well hidden defects.
Perfection given by Jesus
There is something deep within that longs for the perfect and the good news is that God has made a way when there is no way.  In the midst of our broken and messed up world came a child who grew into a man that was without any imperfections.
*God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
* But Job’s friends probably didn’t mean ill-will.  They just wanted Job to get right with God.  And we see in chapter 6 that they also know that sometimes the truth hurts.
Job 6:25 – Constructive Criticism vs. Condemning Comments
“Honest words can be painful, but what do your criticisms amount to?”  Constructive criticism is helpful, that’s not where we’re going with this, but condemning comments only bring you down.
Constructive Criticism or Critical Comments?  There’s a difference.  The hurtful truths that Job’s friends were spitting upon him weren’t true in his situation.  They were generally found in God’s truth but not for Job in his circumstances!
And being on the receiving end of those critical comments often is what helps to develop perfectionism
Problems with Perfectionism
You never know if it’s enough.  
– examples of perfectionist tendencies
– Job lists his accomplishments yet wisely offers it to God for judgment.  He knows of no sin worth this kind of punishment but ultimately leaves it up to God.
Constantly Disappointed
If your expectations are that perfection leads to reward, like Job life will disappoint you.
Unmet expectations often leads to relapse
You don’t get to Fail
Those people who are afraid to fail are unlikely to ever find much success in life. Their desire for perfection actually gets in the way of making progress. The benefits of facing failure in life include:
* Knowing what does not work can be almost as important as finding out what does work. It means that the individual can avoid these wrong paths in the future.
* It forces people to think outside the box and try new approaches. Most of the great innovations in the world have occurred as a result of failures.
* People tend to learn and grow more from their failures than their successes. This is because pain is sometimes more motivational than reward.
Gets in the way of Progress
If you’re sitting around waiting for the perfect situation to arrive, you’ll pass up a bunch of great opportunities!
Can lead to disillusionment, lack of fulfillment, and turn back to old behaviors.  Perfectionism is a big cause of relapse!
* It is vital that people have realistic expectations. Change does not occur over night, and it can sometimes feel to people as if they are going backwards.
* Keeping a recovery journal is a good option so that people can view their progress over time. It can be highly satisfying for people to read back on old entries in their journal to see how far they’ve come.
Job 4:17-21
Then Eliphaz shares what he heard from God, not just from his experience, “Can a mortal be innocent before God?  Can anyone be pure before the Creator?”
But Job’s response would have been that God’s desire is for His children to strive for purity according to God’s standards and that our life should be seeking to be right with our Creator.  Eliphaz despairs that humans die in ignorance, but Job fights for his right to ask God what He’s up to.  Even if there is no answer Job believes that he is right in asking.
Becoming pure is different than being perfect.  Purity comes when you extract the impurities out.

Stickies: Life on Life’s Terms

Job
“There once was a man named Job.”  This is how writers start parables and history books and biographies and we don’t know if it is fact or fiction.  But this we know, it could happen to the best of us and the worst of us.
Job is described as “blameless—a man of complete integrity.”  It’s important to realize this isn’t saying that Job was perfect, but that he was honest.  There’s a difference.  He gives burnt offerings for his kids who are far from perfect.  Burnt offerings are to make atonement for sin-guilt.  I met a lady on the streets Wednesday night that told me she still makes burnt offerings unto the Lord.  She said people get on to her for smoking cigarettes, but to her they are burnt offerings and that’s biblical.   Yet one of the big reasons Jesus came was to end all of our vain efforts to atone for our sin.
Jesus
Jesus died on the cross, once and for all, to pay for the sins of the world.  He is our atonement for sin and when we trust in Him we can find that forgiveness and blamelessness that Job was seeking.   Back to Job…
Job
“He feared God and stayed away from evil.”  Job didn’t just talk about what was evil and what was good, it says he literally “turned away from evil.”  Job was genuinely a good person.  It doesn’t help us understand this book by trying to explain away his goodness based on a theology of total depravity or the idea that we are all sinners.  Everyone in this book agrees that all are sinners, including Job himself.
Sin has consequences and our negative choices often lead to struggle and suffering.  But Job teaches us that not all who are struggling and suffering have sinned.
It is possible for sinful people to be genuinely good.  It might be rare, but it is possible for someone to love and obey God.  It requires a lot of grace and a lot of work, and Job had made the effort.
Jesus
There is only one man in the bible who surpasses Job in his goodness and his grief––Jesus.  He was not only blameless but sinless and endured the greatest agony of anyone in history.  In his perfection of obedience and suffering, the questions of Job and all of us have their final answer in Jesus.  Yet while Jesus and Job help us answer some of the deep questions of life, they raise others.  Isn’t it unjust for the innocent to suffer and the guilty be set free?
Justice
One of life’s oldest questions is “Why do bad things happen to good people.”  And that’s exactly what is happening in the story of Job.  To answer this sometimes we try to refute one of the parts of the question.  Like Job isn’t actually a good person, but we’ve already talked through that.  Others will argue that maybe these aren’t actually bad things that happen, maybe they will turn out for good.  Really?  It’s the violence of men alternating with the violence of nature and not only results in the destruction of everything he has, but the deaths of all of his family.  Somebody say, “That’s bad.”  Maybe, possibly, in theory something good can come out of it, but how does it make that right!?!?
And what makes it worse is that Job lives in a universe where God is ultimately in charge.  Job believes in a God who can stop natural disasters, who can reroute pirates, and can destroy cancer, but he didn’t do any of that here.  Job doesn’t think to curse the raiders, the watchmen, or even his stupid servants now laying dead for their watchlessness.  All secondary causes disappear and only the Prime Mover, the Lord who gives and takes away who stands in the spotlight.  This kind of tragedy is not as problematic for the polytheist, the dualist, the atheist, the naturalist, the fatalist, the materialist, or the agnostic.  These are still terrible atrocities, but they make sense to them.  But how can this make sense to someone who believes in a God who is both good and almighty?
This is what we will explore over the next 5 weeks.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  How can a good God allow tragedy and suffering at such magnitude?  Not problems we can solve tonight.  But there is a principle that I believe can help.  It’s become a cliche on the walls of rooms of recovery but before that it was something that helped Job make it through another day.  Accepting life on life’s terms.
Life’s Terms
Life’s terms don’t always include hardship and disaster.  Sometimes life’s terms have sunshine and roses.  But Job identifies the two terms we can bet our lives upon.
I came naked from my mother’s womb,
    and I will be naked when I leave.
You are born and you die.  You come out of your mother’s womb with nothing and that’s how you return to the ground.  Those are life’s terms.  What happens in between is what we call life.  Don’t waste your life.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Gratitude vs. Entitlement
Luke 12:15 – Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.
Life on God’s terms
The Lord as owner
There is great relief in being under a good landlord.  When something is broken, you can know it will be fixed.  If we need to move, we can work it out and not be responsible for the house after we’re gone.  The Landlord pays the taxes and insurance, is responsible if natural disaster hits, etc.  There comes great stress with home ownership.  But our problem in Memphis are the sleazy slumlords.  God is not a slumlord!
Job passes the first test.  Verse 22 says he doesn’t “charge God with wrong” or blame God for these things.
Job’s confidence in God’s blessedness goes beyond any other in the bible.  Eli watched his sons die at the hand of the Lord, but he knew of their wickedness.  King David grieved the death of his baby from Bathsheba, yet knew he was only a victim of his adultery and murder.  Job doesn’t have the satisfaction of knowing that he is paying for his sins, for he doesn’t have any, or at least done deserving punishments of such magnitude.
Back to how Job reacted to the news of his loss in v 20.  He responds in 3 ways.  He tears his robe, he shaves his head, and he worships God.  Tearing one’s robe was a customary reaction to receiving bad news or to show extreme shock and dismay.  Shaving one’s head was a practice of mourning, identifying the person has someone who is deeply sad.  And finally Job does something unexpected.  He worships.

Stickies: Recovery Cliches in Job

 

 

 

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Cliches are simple and sticky. They can be annoying and life-saving. In the rooms of recovery, cliches are posted on the wall and etched into the memories of all seeking a new way of life. These sticky sayings have emerged from ancient wisdom and each can be found in the biblical story of Job. At Jacob’s Well we believe that rehabilitation isn’t just for addicts.

 

 

10/31/2015Job 1:1-3; 13-22Life on Life’s TermsJamey Lee
11/7/2015 Job 3-31 
4:3-9, 17-21 6:1-4, 24-30
Stinking ThinkingJonathan Bratt-Carle
11/14/2015Job 32-37Progress not Perfection Jamey Lee
11/21/2015Job 38-42:6Let go and let GodJamey Lee
11/28/2015Job 42:7-17This too shall passJamey Lee

 

Facebook – Stickies Sermon Series

When the Wine Runs Out

In John 2:1-12 Jesus graces a wedding at Cana and he showed up at the Tedesco wedding at Jacob’s Well.  The problem happens in the alcoholic’s life when the wine runs out.  What is the wine that you are seeking to fill that void within?  To begin the journey of fulfillment we would be good to follow the example of Mary and ask for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry that out.

Bridging Spiritual Poverty

2 Corinthians 8:9  You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

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Bridging Jacob’s Well

Jacob’s Well celebrates 5 years with Bishop McAlilly

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Bridging the Gap Series

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Memphis is a city divided between rich and poor, black and white, religious and secular. At Jacob’s Well we seek to bridge these gaps, so join us on Saturday nights and don’t miss the Overnight Retreat on October 16-18 where we’ll dive deep into the realities and solutions towards becoming gap bridgers.  

9/26/20151 Corinthians 11:17-26Jamey Lee
10/3/2015Bridging PrejudiceJames 2:1-9Jamey Lee
10/10/2015Bridging Jacob's WellBridging Jacob's WellJohn 4Bishop Bill Mcalilly
10/17/2015Bridging Spiritual Poverty2 Corinthians 8:9Jamey Lee

Jesus Bridged the Gap for us

1 Corinthians 11:17-26

 

Dining Room vs. Foyer

 

btg images.001So what’s going on in this story and how does it relate to us today?  It’s pretty clear that the way they celebrated Holy Communion was a whole lot different than the way we do it.  They’re sitting around a dinner table in someone’s home—we gather around the Lord’s Table in our church-house.  Just in the last century, archaeological digs in the city of Corinth did a lot to explain the situation for us.  We’ve discovered that the typical Roman home highlighted with two spaces for guests—the dining room and the foyer.  The dining room could fit about nine people and usually your best buddies and close family were the ones invited to eat in there.  Another 30-40 could sit or stand in the foyer—where those of lower class and social status hung out and got the leftovers.  Like in airlines today, those with money and social status go to first class (dining room), while others are stuck in coach (foyer).  So what is going on in the church here is not at all out of the ordinary for their day in time.  In fact, to do anything else would be really weird. So why is St. Paul scolding the people so hard for just doing what their culture taught them is the right thing to do?

From Consuming to Receiving to Giving

btg images.002As I looked a little closer at the wording Paul chose to fuss at his people I think I understand.  In verse 19, The Greek word translated as, “to come together,” can mean “to assemble for a meeting, as well as “to be united.”  When the Corinthians come together as a church they paradoxically do not come together in unity and peace.  So the big sin here is the division—the gap between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots.  As we read further, we see the root causing this division.  In v 21 we read, “Each of you takes his own supper” in the KJV and NASB.

btg images.003The Greek word here for take, prolambano actually has a stronger connotation of “devour” or “consume.”  So the original recipients of the letter heard their pastor saying, “Each of you is consuming and devouring your dinner—while your friends in the foyer are going hungry, you’re getting drunk!”  In v 18 Paul makes clear that the main problem is the division between the haves and the have-nots.  And the root issue behind this division seems to be the consumption and devouring going on in the dining room contrasted with those hanging out in the foyer who are hungry.  How have our lives been centered in the dining rooms, spending our time and resources on ourselves, our friends, and family who already have plenty?  How has the inner city been like the foyer where the people with less get our leftovers when we get around to it?

btg images.004Paul hears of this going on in his church in Corinth—that they are over-consuming, prolambano, at Communion.  So he reminds them of the purpose of Communion, to remember how Christ did the exact opposite of what they are doing.  Rather than taking and grasping for more, Christ gave of Himself—through broken body and shed blood— and calls us to do what He did.  Let me say that again.  The purpose of Communion is to remember how Christ gave of Himself and then for us to respond to this good news by being the Body of Christ in the world—redeemed by His blood.

btg images.005This is spelled out in vv 23-26 as Paul recalls the words of Jesus Himself as He instituted this holy meal.  Look with me at v 23—a word from that same root for consume pops up again, followed by it’s opposite—“For I received from the Lord that which I also gave to you.”  Prolambano – consume; Paralambano – receive.  These are from the same root but mean very different things.  When we consume and when we receive, we end up with the same final product, but we go about getting it in different ways.  When we consume we get it when we want it and we only have to rely on ourselves—when we consume, we’re in control.

btg images.006On the other hand, when we receive, we often have to wait; we rely on others and have to approach them humbly with hands out.  So when we receive Communion tonight, we’re going to do it a little differently.  Throughout our daily lives, many of us have been grabbing and devouring.  When you come forward to receive Communion, come with your hands open—Drew will place a piece of bread into your hands. Receive the body of Christ.

btg images.008Look at verse 23, “The Lord Jesus on the night in which He was given, took bread.”  Who gave Him?  Some say Judas, and so many translations read, “betrayed.”  But this Greek word (same as the one earlier in the verse) is very rarely used in that sense.  It usually just means “to give” or “deliver” or “hand over.”  So who gave Jesus over?  Was it Judas?  Yes.  But who else gave Jesus?  Think about John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son. . .”  This is the gospel, God gave His Son over to death for you and for me.  The class division in Corinth cannot be solved by trying harder or becoming more polite.  The way to bridge the gap between rich and poor is by the same way the gap between us and God was bridged—the gospel.  We cannot find true reconciliation by becoming more socially aware or through working hard to serve in the city.  To truly give, we must first receive.  For Paul to give the story of the Last Supper, he first had to receive it from the disciples.  For us to give of ourselves as Jesus calls us to, we must first receive God’s gift to us, life in Jesus.

 

Be God’s Gift

btg images.009And we pick up on the action in v 24.  “And when He had eucharisteo. . .when He had given thanks. . .”  Wait—eucharisteo?  That’s Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper—eucharisteo. . . Eucharist. . .give thanks.  It’s what Jesus did in response to what God has done.  It’s what we are called to do in response to what Jesus did.  It’s why the Catholics call this the Eucharist—it’s why we call the liturgy the “Great Thanksgiving.”

 

btg images.010In Holy Communion we celebrate this gift and find our life-source in this gift. And central to the scriptures is being thankful for this gift.  God has given us Jesus—His body was broken and blood poured out on the cross so that we could have life.  So central to the scriptures is this command, “Be thankful” for this gift and live a life of gratitude and generosity for the gift God has given you.  The word eucharisteo is made up of basically two Greek roots: “eu,” which means good, and “charis,” which means grace or gift.  So to be thankful in the Greek literally means to be a good gift.  Be a Eucharist.  Read on with me in verse 24:btg images.011So Jesus “took a loaf of bread, and when He had eucharisteo (given thanks), He broke it and said, ‘This is My body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’  In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’  For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

btg images.012

God gives us Jesus whose body is broken and blood is poured so that we can have life.  And the command is for us to be Eucharist.btg images.013

This is the body of Christ, broken for you.  The first Christians called the church the “body of Christ” because we are to be for the world what Christ is to us.

btg images.014 We are to break             ourselves open and pour ourselves out so that others can receive life.  Some of you know exactly what this is.  You have given your life to somebody—you broke yourself open and poured yourself out—you served them, you listened to them.  When they were going through an addiction you walked with them the whole way through it.  When they broke through to the other side they said, “Thank you . . . I don’t know what I would have done without you.”  What was that?  It was a Eucharist.  You broke yourself open and poured yourself out so that someone else could have life.

Invitation

The good news is that we don’t have to already be there.  We don’t wait to come to the table when we have it all right.  Instead we come to the table very aware that we don’t have it all right.  But it’s not your mom or your husband or your teacher or your boss criticizing you.  No—the incredible thing about this sacrament is that it’s not my table—it’s not the table of the United Methodist Church.  This is Christ’s table.

Holy Communion shatters consumerism.  We consume to fill the huge need in us.  In Communion we’re called to give of ourselves to meet the huge need out there.  As we receive the bare elements of bread and cup, not even enough to fill us, the whole ideology of what we hear in all commercials is reversed.  We don’t deserve more; we are privileged to receive little.  Consumption takes on a new meaning.  We consume the body and blood of Christ and in response we offer ourselves for the world.  It is absurd to go from the communion table and continue our blatant consumption.

Swimming through Anger & Joy

Why is it that you’re so angry?  What is so important to you?  For Jonah it was about being right and doing what he wanted to do.  Yet his self-centeredness only led to deeper bitterness and resentment.  The temporary happiness of the shade tree revealed where his heart really was and God invites us into a new relationship where ultimate joy is real.

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Nutbush Adventure

   What a night!  God was at work Wednesday night in Compassion Party on the Road.  This was only my second time going on CPR but CPR Sliderit was quite an adventure.  We first stopped at Methodist North Hospital to see a Nutbush native who faithfully drives a Jacob’s Well van and serves in the Clothes Closet weekly.  She was in good spirits even though she was struggling with COPD.  The next stop was a wooded area near the hospital where several neighbors live in tents.  But on our way we saw a gentlemen flying a sign in the median so we stopped in the turning lane, turned on our flashers, and gave him a bag of food as Jamey and the man had a brief conversation.  Then, seeing another of our friends heading to Circle K we pulled in there where we had conversation and shared food with three other homeless men.  After conversations and prayer, one decided to get off the streets and enter into rehab at Safe Harbor.  He had talked earlier with a guy from “The Gathering” who we are also connected with, so we next we went to this common friend’s home in Nutbush.

 We prayed with those in his house and then the four of us headed out to see a woman who wanted to go into recovery who was hanging out near the Family Dollar on Jackson.  When we got there we gave out some more meals and talked with the woman. She had also had a hurt leg, so we prayed with her.  A man who hardly spoke any English shared how Diablo was keeping him down through alcoholism and wanted a Spanish Bible.  We shared how the power of Jesus is greater than Diablo and prayed that the curse would be broken.  The Gathering will be providing a meal Sunday afternoon and will bring Spanish bibles with them.  As we were about to leave another gentlemen, Mark, heard we were going to Safe Harbor and he said he wanted to go and “get right with God.” So we hopped into the car and headed to Mapco where several homeless friends were waiting.  We only had three meals left so we passed those out, and the 7-8 people there shared them.  We also handed out some pillows, a jacket, and cards with scripture.  At Mapco Jimmy shared that Alec was under a bridge again and Elaine reminded us that her brother Carl had been missing for several weeks.  The homeless man from Raleigh told us that he knew where Carl was, near the Raleigh Mall.  Though we were all tired we headed out once again looking for the lost sheep. We didn’t find him, but discovered where he had been sleeping and the place he flies his sign during the day.  Finally we made it to Safe Harbor where our two new friends checked in and began a new chapter in their journey of recovery.

safeharbor checkin

After they were secure we headed home, then remembered about Alec who may be under the bridge. before the adventurous night was over we made one last stop under the bridge to check on Alec.  We checked but did not find him, which hopefully means he has found shelter for the night.

It was a crazy night and sounds like a scene from an adventure movie, but it was amazing and I loved it.  It hasn’t all sunk in yet, but I realized I wasn’t thinking about what the right thing to do was; I was just reacting to the needs around me.   There are so many problems in our world today–ISIS, refugees, racism, crime, poverty, and the list goes on–that we often get stuck or cynical.  On Thursday I was able to attend a pastor’s breakfast at Lafayette Music Room with Dr. John Perkins, the founder of Christian Community Development Association  (CCDA).  CCDA was promoting its upcoming conference in Memphis November 11-14.  Dr. Perkins said that the Church has made society’s problems too big, even bigger than God. Yet, Scripture tells us that nothing is impossible with God.  The Church is to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world, being ambassadors of reconciliation. On Wednesday night we met some ambassadors of this reconciliation and, hopefully, we were being those ambassadors of reconciliation, literally giving people CPR–trying to meet their physical needs as well as share compassion.

It was great to go with Pastor Jamey on Wednesday night.  I think Jesus was onto something when he told his disciples to go out 2 by 2.  To be honest, I was a little scared going under the bridge.  In fact I let Pastor Jamey go in by himself because I didn’t know who or what might jump out!  I sometimes think I can do it all by myself–this helping/serving thing.  I think I’m strong enough and mature enough as a Christian. But I can’t do it by myself.  Wednesday reminded me of that.  We couldn’t have done what we did on Wednesday night without one another, and all the Christians we met sharing their love and hope–sharing their dinners and information to help one another.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one . . . For if they fall, one will lift up the other.”  That’s what we are to be as the Body of Christ.
Peace,
Matthew Bowles

Sink to Swim

The message of the world is  sink or swim, rise up or fall down.  The message of heaven is that we must sink in order to swim.  The king of Nineveh stepped down from his throne, took off his robes of manageability, and repented with a true faith and trust in a God he could not see and did not know.  God’s grace and mercy flowed through the streets of Nineveh and will in our lives when we learn to sink to swim.

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Breathing Underwater

Jonah’s wish to escape from life’s problems led him into the belly of a whale and it was here that he was finally ready to admit powerlessness and pray to the only One who can save.  It was through this surrender that Jonah learned how to breathe underwater.

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Hurled In

As Jonah fled from his problems he boarded a ship heading to Tarshish.  Scholars have sought to find this ancient city to no avail and Jonah couldn’t find it either.  Tarshish is the place in his and our dreams where all our troubles go away and everything is ok.  Jonah was woken up to the reality of a storm raging yet he kept trying to evade responsibility but finally was hurled into the sea.

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Sink or Swim

Website BannerFeeling like your drowning? We are surrounded by a sea of pressures and stressors that can overwhelm and bring us to our bottom. We cry out the words of Psalm 69, “Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck,” while the world tells us to sink or swim. The story of Jonah serves as a life preserver offering hope and strength.

8/15/2015Jonah 1:1-3Running Away
8/22/2015Jonah 1:4-16Matthew 8:23-27Hurled In
8/29/2015Jonah 1:17 - 2:10Breathing Underwater
9/5/2015Jonah 3Matthew 12:38-41Sink to Swim
9/12/2015Jonah 4Swimming through Anger & Joy

Running Away

Jonah’s mission at home is recounted in a few verses (2 Kings 14:23–27). It fixes Jonah in history, ministering during the long and successful reign of Jeroboam II, king of Israel. The striking feature of his task is the fact that he brings a positive message from the Lord at a time of national idolatry and immorality. Jeroboam II, like the many kings before him, led his people into sin and consequent misery. Yet the Lord sees their suffering and, with no one else to help them, steps in to give relief. Jonah is directed to prophesy that the country’s borders, which had been eaten away through repeated foreign incursions, would be restored. That is indeed what happened. No doubt Jonah’s popularity rose as he prophesied and soared off the graph as the prophecy was fulfilled.   The lesson to be learned from this particular incident is that the Lord has compassion on the undeserving. It is a lesson which is repeated throughout Jonah’s life. It had to be, since he was such a slow learner. He will learn it on a personal level (chapter 2). He will also learn it in relation to the wicked Ninevites (chapters 3 and 4).

We tend to run from pain and run to pleasure.  It’s how we’re running awaywired and each of us do it in different ways.  Maybe Jonah wasn’t running from God as much as he was running from the unpleasant thing God was calling him to do.  

Reality can be filled with suffering, loss, pain, and can be anxiety-producing, so we try to escape that reality.  We live in denial.  We avoid the problems that are rising around us.  We run.  How do you run?  How do you seek to avoid reality or escape from your problems?

Before we discuss what Jonah did, let’s talk about what he didn’t do.  He didn’t talk about it.  He isolated.  We distance ourselves from the problems that plague us.  This is at the root of addiction.  But drugs don’t have to be illegal substances. Love can be a drug, gambling can definitely be a drug, binge-watching Netflix can release as much serotonin as ecstasy if you’re not careful.  Alcohol  is a drug.  Overworking when the problem is at home, underworking when the problem is at work are all ways of distancing from the problem.  Sometimes we’ll even try to change geography to run away from our problems.  This was the story of Jonah. 

Jonah was running to Tarshish.  Commentators’ guesses about where it was range from just about every Mediterranean trading station known to scholars.  It’s not an invented place but it seems always just out of the reach of those studying the etymology and ancient geography.  Isaiah 66:19 lists it among the faraway places that have yet to hear God’s name.  Since he never got there it hardly matters now.  Of greater significance is the Tarshish of Jonah’s dreams—the place where he sought peace and fulfilment away from the presence and service of the Lord. In God’s grace he failed to arrive. The reality is that Tarshish—the place where you can forever escape your problems and doing what God wills—does not exist; it is only the place of disobedient dreams.

Enough about how we run and where we run.  What about why we run?  Jonah’s motive is hinted at in 4:2, because of God’s reputation for compassion and mercy.  Maybe fueled out of racial hatred that the people might repent and God might have mercy upon the Ninevites, rather than judgment.  Or maybe fueled by selfish motives, that after preaching judgment and God answers with mercy, he would be seen as a false prophet and burned at the stake. 

Jonah turned away from the God of the universe to worship the gods of comfort, control, and approval.  What would his fellow Israelites think if he did what God said to go to Ninevah?  It would be difficult and very stressful!  He would be very much out of his comfort zone and out of control, for what if they repented?  Jonah would have no part in this, so he thought.

Psalm 139But the reality is that we cannot effectively run from God.  Jonah should have known better.  He knew Psalm 139.  Do you?

When cows sense there is a storm coming from the west, they will run east, away from the storm. As we all know, cows are not the fastest animals in the kingdom and so the storms eventually catch up to the cows while they are still running east. The cows actually end up running WITH the storm and inevitably prolong the agony and pain of being in the storm.

Buffalos have a very different response to storms. They wait forcow vs buffalo the storm to crest over the Rocky Mountains and then they run west INTO the storm. By running towards the storm they run thru it and minimize the time they have to deal with the storm.

This is another way of the world’s mantra, “Sink or Swim.”  Don’t be like a cow or you’ll sink.  If you continue to run away from your problems they’ll eventually catch up with you.  But the problem is that not all of us can do the alternative.  Many of us are too overwhelmed and too tired to run through an approaching storm.  We aren’t buff like a buffalo.  So what can we do?  There’s good news in a different cattle metaphor that Jesus used. 

Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give yoke is easyyou rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart.  And you will find rest for your soul…

All things Right

“. . .trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will.”  The key to this line in the prayer is understanding the Kingdom of God.  It is one of the most popular topics of Jesus yet the least understood by his followers.  The kingdom takes time but also comes in a moment.  The Kingdom is like the wheat and the weeds that aren’t made right until the last day.  Yet the Kingdom is  like a man who sees the meaning of life and surrenders all of his plans and dreams to receive this great treasure.

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As Jesus Did

“Taking, as Jesus did, 
this sinful world as it is,
 not as I would have it.”  This world is a messed up, broken, sinful place and a key part of receiving Serenity is to learn to follow Jesus in accepting life on life’s terms and quitting attempts to control things that are out of our control.  The good news is that Jesus made it through the struggle and suffering to offer redemption and relief in the midst of our sin.

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No Perfect People Allowed

459488127_640Jacob’s Well is a place where we say, “no perfect people are allowed.”  It’s a tagline that we rehearse as a reminder that we’re all in need of rehab and that each one of us are equal at the foot of the cross.  It’s a sarcastic way to encourage transparency and authenticity in a world where people are encouraged to wear masks and put up fronts to be someone they’re not.

Yet Jesus once said, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” What did he mean by that? It’s interesting that he follows that up with warnings against hypocrites who give to the needy and pray so that others can see them and then goes on to teach about asking for forgiveness when we sin. Didn’t his beloved disciple John teach us that, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

The word perfect in the Greek is telios, which gives the idea of being “complete” or “whole.” So maybe perfection in the biblical sense isn’t so much about doing as much as being. Yet so many of us have tried to complete ourselves with relationships, money, partying, making a name for ourselves, or knew we were incomplete so resorted to addiction or depression to cope. Jesus’ desire for you is to be complete–but we can’t manufacture it, we can only receive it. And when we are filled with the love of God and presence of God, we begin to get real and no longer have the need to make up for where we fall short spiritually by pretending or exaggerating or hiding. This is at the heart of transparency, of authentic spirituality. But it requires vigorous honesty and diligent humility, yet it results in in a life of freedom and completion and wholeness.

So, at Jacob’s Well there are no perfect people allowed and what we mean by that is hypocrites that live fake lives trying to convince the world they are better than others. Our desire is for a church full of people full of the light of Christ shining through their transparent lives touching others with hope.

One Day at a Time

Website BannerThe way not to waste your life is to live life today.  Be grateful with what you have.  Love the one you’re with.  If you need something, pray about it and do something about it.  Living just for today relieves the burden of the past and the fear of the future.  The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Neihbur has helped millions of people around the globe to live with this 24-hour mindset and experience peace.  Join us during this series as we reflect line by line through this powerful prayer.

7/11/2015Proverbs 16:9Matthew 6:33-34One Day at a TimeJamey Lee
7/18/2015Genesis 41:51-52Accepting Hardship as a Pathway to PeaceJamey Lee
7/25/2015Ecclesiastes 7:13-141 Peter 2:21As Jesus DidJamey Lee
8/1/2015Matthew 13:24-30, 36-46Trusting that He will make all things rightJamey Lee
8/8/2015Proverbs 15:15; Psalm 1Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 12:2Happiness in this life and the life to comeJamey Lee

Accepting Hardship as a Pathway to Peace

God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness, gold and silver are refined by fire, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-41 tells how he grew up believing that ease and comfort was the pathway to peace yet how his life of privilege led to slavery and prison.  It was only through accepting hardship that Joseph found the pathway to peace. . . and so can you.

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=1day.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/2015.07.18-One-Day-Hardship.mp3]
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Burned Out – Jesus the Unburnt One

Jesus knew that the fire within has to burn brighter than the fire without.  When the pressure was too much to handle, Jesus let go and let God.  When friends betrayed him Jesus knew who he could trust, when pain and suffering stood ahead of him, Jesus focused on the joy set before him.  Jesus beat burnout and so can you.  Through looking at his experience in Matthew 26:36-38 and teaching in John 15:5 we will explore how to light the fire within and find a balance of work and rest.

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=burnedout.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015.06.20-Burned-Out-Jesus.mp3]
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Burned Out – John the Baptist Overachiever

John the Baptist is a classic over-achiever.  He didn’t just go on a diet, he only ate locusts and honey.  He didn’t just downsize to a smaller home, but moved to the desert.  Jesus talked about John as a “burning and shining light,” but even the greatest of oil lamps burn out when the fuel is exhausted. The good news is that Jesus continued where John left off and took the ministry far beyond where John could have ever taken it and so it is with us.  When we get to our end we can finally tap into the power of eternity.

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=burnedout.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/2015.06.13-Burned-Out-John-the-Baptist.mp3]
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Burned Out

Burned OutStressed out. . stuck in a rut. . .overworked?  Doing the same thing and expecting different results?  You might you be burned out and you’re not alone.  In our never-enough society and surrounded by a sea of needs burnout happens every day in life, work, and ministry.  But there is hope to find strength, community, and One who is unburnt and can teach us how not to burn out.
 
6/13/2015Matthew 3:13-17 & John 15:1-11John the Baptist the OverachieverMatthew 3:13-17 & John 15:1-11Jamey Lee
6/20/2015Matthew 26:36-46; John 15:1-11Jesus the Unburnt OneMatthew 26:36-46; John 15:1-11Jamey Lee
6/27/2015Acts 13:1-6, 13John Mark the UnderachieverActs 13:1-6, 13Jamey Lee
7/4/20152 Corinthians 11:24-29; 4:8-12Paul the Unburnt one2 Corinthians 11:24-29; 4:8-12Jamey Lee

Presence – Unveiled Glory

We long to be free from pretending to be someone we’re not and putting forth an image to those we meet. These defenses and fronts are like a veil such as what Moses wore and like the tabernacle and temple would later have to keep people from the glory of God. Yet it is through beholding the face of Jesus that the image of God is restored in us and all things become clear. No more anxiety about what we need to do because we know who we are and Whose we are. We’re no longer ashamed of what we’ve done because we grasp the forgiveness of sins. We don’t try to hide our brokenness any more because we see the Healer for who he is. Glory unveiled brings transparency which allows the light of Christ to shine through.  “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”
[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=presence.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2015.05.30-Presence-Unveiled-Glory.mp3]
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Presence – I AMnesia

We forget the things about God that we need to remember and we remember the things in our lives that we need to forget.  Like Moses, we have I AMnesia.  If we can recapture the image of God, that image can be restored in us.  But how do we get there?  Moses got there by asking.  Show me Your glory.  We recover from our I AMnesia by entering into the presence of God.

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=presence.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2015.05.09-Presence-IAMnesia.mp3]

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ATTN: Gmail Users…Are you Receiving our E-newsletter?

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If you are using Gmail and not receiving our E-Newsletter, it may be due to a setting in Gmail. In your Gmail inbox, there are three tabs across the top of the page.  The first is your “Primary” tab, the second is your “Social” tab, and the third is your “Promotions” tab.  Gmail filters your incoming email into one of those three categories.  Most likely, the Jacob’s Well E-Newsletter is going to your “Promotions” tab in your inbox.  If you do not check this tab very often, then you are probably missing out on our E-Newsletter. Here is how to ensure you stay up-to-date on all that is happening at Jacob’s Well.

Step 1:

Click on the Promotions tab at the top of your inbox page.

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Step 2:

Click on the email from Jacob’s Well.

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Step 3:

Drag the email to the Primary tab.

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Step 4:

You will receive a message saying that “The conversation has been moved to ‘Primary'”.  Click the “Yes” to save this action for all future E-Newsletters.

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Step 5:

You should receive a message saying that all other communications will be moved to the Primary tab.

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If you are reading this and have realized that you never signed up for our E-Newsletter, click HERE to submit your email address for all future mailings.

 

Jacob’s Well engaged in Berclair, Nutbush, Highland & Mitchell Heights

From the beginning of Jacob’s Well in 2010, God has connected us with neighbors in this part of town and recently some of us have sensed a call to invest deeper in this area.  Confirmation of this call has come from 100+ teens from the U Student Ministry in San Antonio who are planning to come to Memphis June 20-28th to engage in an exciting week of ministry with us in this area.  Please watch this video for more:  http://youtu.be/oLhFSAI88J0
In preparation, 8 individuals connected with Jacob’s Well and other area churches have become a team and have been meeting 8 hours a month as we designed a covenant, studied scripture, prayed with one another, learned the vision, values, and vision of Jacob’s Well, and are developing a Ministry Action Plan on what is to be done and how we’re going to do it.  This has all been through utilizing the SLI process and working with Aaron Buttery through video chat.
Our mission is to develop longterm ongoing discipleship relationships with children, youth, and adults in the neighborhoods of Nutbush, the Heights, and Berclair.  This will be catalyzed by the influx of 100+ teenagers from The U Student Ministry in San Antonio the week of June 21-26.  In collaborations with local neighbors and organizations we are seeking to host sports and art camps during the day and block parties in the evenings at Highland and Jackson Parks.  We will also be engaging in construction projects such as putting on a new roof, erecting a fence, and boarding up abandoned homes.  These work projects will provide much needed jobs for homeless neighbors we have come to know through CPR.
Isn’t this exciting?  Would you like to be part of what God is doing?  Contact us if you would like to be part of our email list of serving opportunities.  Donate here if your generosity can help to provide for some of the needs, and above all pray that God will lead us and guide us as we seek to build His Kingdom in Memphis as it is in heaven.

All will culminate during the week of June 20-28th when we engage with a flurry of activities in the above areas of town, all connected with our mission and vision and part of an ongoing strategy that reaches into the years to come.

Your Presence

PresenceThe presence of God. What is it? Where can it be found? How can we get it? In Exodus 33-34 God reveals his presence and Moses realizes he can’t live without it. Today some people have “it” and some people don’t. Some churches strive for and pray for “it” and some don’t. Do you have it? Did you lose it? Do you want it back?

May-9-2015Exodus 33:7-17ItJamey Lee
May-23-2015Exodus 33:18 - 34:8I AMnesiaJamey Lee
May-30-2015Exodus 34:10-352 Corinthians 3:7-18Unveiled GloryJamey Lee

It

The presence of God. What is it? Where can it be found? How can we get it? In Exodus 33-34 God reveals his presence and Moses realizes he can’t live without it. Today some people have “it” and some people don’t. Some churches strive for and pray for “it” and some don’t. Do you have it? Did you lose it? Do you want it back?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=presence.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/2015.05.09-Presence-Intro.mp3]

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Golden – Alternate Endings

In Exodus 32:7-14 there is more than one possible future for God’s people.  And God invites us to be part of determining that future.  He invites us to pray and stand in the gap like Moses does.  He invites us to leave room for hope as we wait upon Him.  We don’t live in a world that is determined and fixed like a clockwork orange.  We don’t serve a God who who is closed and stuck, but a generous and merciful Father who invites a more hopeful ending to the story.

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=golden.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.04.18-Golden-Alternate-Endings.mp3]

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Golden – Living like its Golden

How are you living?  What’s of value in your life?  What do you turn to when you’re sad, stressed, or disappointed?  What’s your Golden Calf? [mp3player width=700 height=420 config=golden.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.04.11-Golden-Intro.mp3] Listen Later:  Download mp3 (Right-click and select “Download linked file as” or “Save file as”)

Easter Eve 2015 – Sneak Peak

“Sneak Peeks” build anticipation, increase intrigue, and give us a foretaste of what’s to come.  Moses gives us a sneak peek into Jesus, Exodus gives a sneak peek into Easter, and the first Easter sneak peeks into hope and fresh power into our life.  Here we study the throwbacks from Jesus on the mountaintop in Matthew 17:1-9  to Moses on the mountaintop in Exodus 24 and sneak peeks into the resurrection of Christ and resurrection power for us today.

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=sneakpeek.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.04.04-Easter-Sneak-Peak.mp3]

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Tabernacle

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.03.28-Rebellion-Rules-Tabernacle.mp3]

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Old Testament Laws

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.03.21-Rebellion-Rules-OT-Laws.mp3]

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Fear and Distance

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.03.14-Rebellion-Rules-OT-Law.mp3]

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Asset-mapping in Uptown

Uptown homesUptown Memphis is rich with resources and assets, from M.A.M. at Greenlaw Community Center, Girls Inc. and Bridges working with the youth of the neighborhood, Salvation Army Women’s Center and Missionaries of Charity meeting needs of homeless women,  the Uptown Community Outreach Program (COP) and Neighborhood Watch seeking to make it a safe place.  On Saturday March 28th from 8:30 – 1:00, we are hosting a day of asset-mapping and community development with the help of Communities of Shalom.  We will seek to bring together representatives from each of these organizations as well as neighbors, business owners, and leaders from local churches to work together to discern where God is working and what unmet needs might present possibilities for creative and collaborative ministry going forward. Smith CenterThe building where Jacob’s Well meets has been filled with vital ministry for over 20 years.  Before the neighborhood was even called “Uptown,” Holy Community Church was planted in Hurt Village, as it was known, to meet the needs of the people and establish a Kingdom presence.  Early on, Communities of Shalom began working with Holy Community to create the Uptown Shalom Zone.

Communities of Shalom  is a faith-inspired, spirit-led community change movement that brings together those that live, work and worship in a specific community to build relationships and social networks and to foster the well-being (spiritual, economic, health) of neighbors.
 
The Shalom Zone training weaves the following principles of Shalom through a 40-hour facilitation: 
Systemic and sustainable change
Health, healing, harmony and wholeness
Asset-based community development
Love of God, self, neighbor
Organized for action
Multi-faith, multicultural collaboration

Uptown Alliance, a job training and placement organization came out of these early efforts.    Holy Community Church is still very active in the neighborhood Sunday-Friday and in 2012 invited Jacob’s Well in, a sister church,  as a collaborative partner in shared ministry.  Together we are seeking to reignite this Uptown Shalom Zone as we seek to love our neighbors and show Christ to the neighborhood.  Join us on March 28th to learn more.

Coveting

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.03.07-Rebellion-Rules-Coveting.mp3]

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Boys to Men

How do we reach a generation?  We must start with the young men.  They’re the ones causing all the trouble and they are the ones img-thingthat can lead a revolution to change the world.  Men can rise up to be disciple-makers, church planters, missionaries, city-changers or they can grow up to be alcoholics, junkies, porn addicts, and generally life-wasters.  But when young men meet Jesus, their life is transformed, and we can live into the calling we have been given.  Jacob’s Well has nothing against women.  Many of our leaders are women and we offer the love of Christ to all regardless of gender.  But many of our problems, for both men, women, and children, have to do with men.
3 rs thumbnailA lot of what Jacob’s Well has been about is cleaning up the mess that men have made in our world.  We help single mothers, but its time to teach the men how not to create single motherhood.  We do an amazing job with Kids Community and teaching the children the bible, but it’s time for the men to be a father to their children, to raise them up as disciples and be a spiritual leader in their home, which will give us the opportunity to spend time on the kids whose families don’t know Jesus and don’t have the honor of growing up with a Christian father.  So much of church is about accommodating the weakness and sin of men.  Some neighborhoods in Memphis have 82% absentee dads and the young men growing up in our city do not even know what a real man looks or acts like.

Boys to Men is a ministry started by Pastor Leslie Ratliff whoseboys to men goal is to engage young men (12-18) in under-resourced neighborhoods of Memphis and introduce them to strong Christian men who can be the mentor, disciple-maker, and father figure these young men so desperately need.  We engage youth by taking them bowling, to movies, sporting events, and skating as relationships are built and the gospel is shared.  We need some real men to serve as mentors to the youth who desire more out of life.  Our mission is to reach young men, fill them with a Kingdom vision, and connect them with the risen and exalted Jesus.  We believe that if we are faithful in doing this, God will do the rest in His world-changing plan.

To find out more, offer to help, or contribute financially to Boys to Men, please contact Leslie here or attend a Saturday night service at Jacob’s Well.

Lying

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.02.28-Rebellion-Rules-Lying.mp3]

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Stealing

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015.02.21-Rebellion-Rules-Stealing.mp3]

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Lust & Adultery

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015.02.14-Rebellion-Rules-Adultery.mp3]

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Anger & Murder

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015.02.07-Rebellion-Rules-Murder.mp3]

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Honor Mother & Father

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015.01.31-Rebellion-Rules-motherfather.mp3]

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Choosing Life over Death

10411863_10153057562167442_1964199853704619084_nLast time I remember seeing Robert was out on CPR (Compassion Party on the Road) on a night when the temperatures were below freezing.  Robert was tucked away for the night, but our CPR team knew where to find him.  Behind the Texaco near Summer and Highland, an old sofa was turned upside-down.  We picked it up and underneath we found Robert without even a blanket.  We talked with him and prayed, knowing that God heard our prayers but that Robert wouldn’t be able to make a lucid decision until the morning when he sobered up.  As an answer to many of these prayers, one of our CPR team persistently reminded Robert of God’s love for him and the safe and warm place at the Warrior Center.  Finally when Robert was ready he was taken to detox and began the spiritual recovery program at warriors.  Today he has been sober for about a month and studying his bible every day. “Celebrating and thanking God that He still saves!  Robert has gone from this 10891739_10153057560967442_4143623180744525823_nstreet corner, where we would visit him for years to living a sober life off the streets. I love driving by this particular corner and knowing two men who were dying there are now alive and sober!!  Only possible by Gods amazing grace!”

Sabbath

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015.01.24-Rebellion-Rules-Sabbath.mp3]

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Rebellion Rules – Name in Vain

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015.01.17-Rebellion-Rules-Name-in-Vain.mp3]

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My Worship is not for sale

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015.01.10-Rebellion-Rules-Worship-not-for-Sale.mp3]

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Rules for the Rebellion – Intro

We all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rulesforrebellion.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015.01.03-Rebellion-Rules-Intro.mp3]

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Rules for the Rebellion

Rules for the RebellionWe all live by a set of rules. When we rebel against one rule, we resort to following another. What if we rebelled against the rules of individualism and self-centeredness by submitting to community and commandments from a God who loves us more than we love ourselves?

1/3/2015Exodus 19:1-25Matthew 5:17-20God’s Love & the LawJamey Lee
1/10/2015Exodus 20:1-6My Worship is not for saleLeslie Ratliff
1/13/2015Exodus 20:7Name in VainJamey Lee
1/20/2015Exodus 20:8-11SabbathJamey Lee
1/27/2015Exodus 20:12Honor Mother & FatherJamey Lee
2/7/2015Exodus 20:13Matthew 5:21-26Anger & MurderJamey Lee
2/14/2015Exodus 20:14Matthew 5:27-30Lust & AdulteryJamey Lee
2/21/2015Exodus 20:15StealingJamey Lee
2/28/2015Exodus 20:16LyingLeslie Ratliff
3/7/2015Exodus 20:17CovetingJamey Lee
3/14/2015Exodus 20:18-21Fear and DistanceJamey Lee
3/21/2015Exodus 20:22 - 23:33Old Testament LawsJamey Lee
3/28/2015Exodus 25-31TabernacleJamey Lee
April 4, 2015Exodus 2424 and Matthew 17Matthew 17:1-9Sneak PeekJamey Lee

Individuals in their 20’s find acceptance and a way to contribute at Jacob’s Well

Some new faces you might see around Jacob’s Well include Josh, Sarah, and Christian.While each have come from a different part of the country, all have found a home at Jacob’s Well.

Josh Spencer

Josh came from Kansas to engage in Downline Ministries’ Emerging Leaders program. While he experienced many great things and learned much from the program, the new city and new relationships took a toll on him. In a particularly painful season of his life, Josh discovered Jacob’s Well where he was met with unconditional acceptance and a community where he could serve and grow spiritually alongside others like him and completely unlike him. Josh serves as part of our Security Team and drives our van to bring individuals to worship. A few weeks ago Josh shared his story on a Saturday night and professed his faith through remembering his baptism.

Sarah

Meanwhile, MTR (Memphis Teacher Residency) moved Sarah here from Ohio to follow her calling to teach in the inner city. A friend invited her to Jacob’s Well where she quickly got involved on Saturday nights and later began to go out on the streets to serve homeless neighbors on CPR. Sarah recently was hired onto the staff of New Hope Christian Academy in Raleigh, a phenomenal Christian Urban school advancing the Kingdom in inner city Memphis.

Christian had recently graduated college and was living in Long Beach, CA when in prayer his thoughts were set on Memphis, TN. He began to pray for Memphis though he knew only that Christian TurnerElvis lived here and that we had pretty good barbecue. Before long he could think of nothing else and so packed a bag and moved to the Bluff City with only plans to prayer walk for 40 days. Through this intentional prayer Christian was led to Binghampton and then to Jacob’s Well where he has quickly become part of the community and is now leading a prayer team who is seeing God move in a powerful way.

Praise God that He is at work bringing His people together from all around the nation for such a time as this. If you haven’t been to the Well lately, stop by some Wednesday or Saturday night soon and meet some of Jesus’ people who make up our church community.

Overworked

In the midst of our bitterness and resentment the gospel brings joy and reconciliation. As we seek to quench our hunger and thirst with earthly things that will never satisfy, the gospel of Jesus fulfills our every need. We overwork and burn out in our pursuit of purpose while the gospel gives rest to the weary and a yoke easy and light.

[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=wilderness.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2014.11.27-Gospel-in-Wilderness-Overworked.mp3]

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A Perspective on “Bridging the Gap”

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I feel so blessed to have been a part of Bridging the Gap! It was a wonderful time of encouragement in my faith and also a time of personal stretching and challenge. I’m relatively new to the Memphis area, so I was unaware of many of the struggles unique to this city. Over the course of the weekend, I experienced just a taste of what it’s like to live in uncertainty and want, to not to know where I was going to sleep or whether I was going to eat and to be separated from the things I often take for granted.

Our Scripture passage for the weekend was 1 John 3:17-18: “If a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God abide in such a one? Let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth.”

I saw a lot of gaps over the weekend. I saw gaps between rich and poor, between the educated and undereducated, between different races, between the saved and unsaved. But, I saw an even bigger gap in myself, a gap between the faith I professed with my mouth and the way I actually reach out to others in reality. So often I’ve focused on my own needs, worries and concerns that I’ve been too busy to notice or do anything about my “brother or sister in need.” This weekend opened my eyes and opened my heart. It inspired me to action. But, more importantly, it reminded me that it is the love of Christ abiding, living and working in us that really bridges the gaps. It is only when we remain in this amazing, gap-defying love that we can truly share it with others.

Battle Weary

In the midst of our bitterness and resentment the gospel brings joy and reconciliation. As we seek to quench our hunger and thirst with earthly things that will never satisfy, the gospel of Jesus fulfills our every need. We overwork and burn out in our pursuit of purpose while the gospel gives rest to the weary and a yoke easy and light.
[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=wilderness.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2014.11.22-Gospel-in-Wilderness-Thirsty.mp3]

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Thirsty

In the midst of our doubt and skepticism the gospel brings faith through meeting our soul’s deepest needs.  Though we continue to test God, still our needs are provided for with great generosity and patience.

Quarreling with man & Testing God
Here in Exodus 17:1-16, for the 3rd time in 4 complaints they wonder whether Moses has brought them out to the wilderness to kill them, this time bringing the kids and cattle into the charge.  They are putting him on trial as evidenced by Moses’ fear that they will stone him.  But who are they really putting on trial?  Moses gets at this in v 2 when he asks why they’re complaining against him, but then reveals that what they are really doing is testing God.
 
What does it mean to test God?  In v 7, “Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”  But asking this question is not testing God in and of itself.  It is when they ask this question and demand that God prove Himself by offering a concrete sign.  This is setting God up, trying to force God’s hand to find out whether He’s really there are not.  When we test God we hold Him hostage, put God in the role of servant, at the beck and call of us when we’re in a bind.  It’s when we make our belief in Him contingent upon this kind of demonstration that we’re testing God. 
 
Jesus is tempted to do this when he was in the desert with the devil.  He’s asked to jump off the top of the temple and when God sends his angels to rescue him it will be a testimony to God’s power.  
 
Why is it so tempting to put God to the test?  I think it goes to how we want someone or something else to blame for our problems.  We don’t want to be guilty so we find someone else responsible and we can always find a way that God has a part to play if we call upon Him to act in a certain way and He doesn’t.   
 
God is not done
The people are done with Moses and Moses is done with the people.  This comes out in the question, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!”  How does God answer?  Not in words, but in action God answers.  What should we do with these people?  Those who are trying to kill you, who are ungrateful, undeserving, forgetful, faithless people?  I’ll tell you what we’re going to do with these people.  We’re going to go meet their needs.  Come on, let’s go minister to them and provide their basic needs.  The people might be done.  Moses might be done.  But tell somebody, “God is not done!”  God’s not done with these people yet!  God’s not done with you yet!  Despite your unworthiness, even though you’re not grateful, God has not lost His patience!  God’s love is long-suffering.  
God comes through again and again
The story of Exodus is a period of an intense week followed by 40 years but you can read it in one sitting in just a couple of hours.  And if you do you see how faithful God is. The people are enslaved to the most powerful empire in the world and God faithfully and patiently works out his plan to set them free.  They get to a dead-end and are stuck between the Red Sea and an invading army and He comes through again and splits the sea and drowns the army.  Then they encounter a bitter pool and God makes it sweet, next they are hungry with no food in sight and God provides manna and quail.  Tell your neighbor, “God is faithful.” 
 
People doubt God again and again 
And so today they run into another problem – thirst.  They have no water.  This is a real problem, so how do they respond?  You would think with all of the ways God has provided and shown Himself to be faithful that their response would be like, “ok this is serious but so is God.  Everything is going to be ok because we serve a God who cares about us.  God delivered us from slavery to bring us to the Promised Land.  He has given us no reason to believe that we will be left to die in the desert.  There is no water in sight, but with God all things are possible.”  This would seem to be how the people would respond, right?  But it’s not how they respond.  Over and over again when the people of Israel run into a problem they doubt God and even curse Him.  The first time something goes wrong they doubt God and test Him.  Yet every time God comes through anyway, patiently loving His people and showing up when they are in need.  And they never give Him credit and when something else goes wrong they freak out.
 
They need to be liberated, He liberates them.  They need a way out of a problem, He solves it.  They need to be fed, He feeds them.  They are thirsty, He provides water!  God provides for His people every time they are in need, 45 times in a row but on the 46th time when it looks like they won’t have what they need how do they respond?  “Where is this God when we need Him, He’s never here!  You can’t trust this God, He always lets us down!”  When you read this you can’t help but think how stupid these guys are.  But hold on…
The story of Israel is the story of us
It’s like you’re walking through a friend’s house and see a terrible portrait on the wall and you wonder why anyone would have a picture of such an ugly person in their home. . . then you realize its a mirror. 
 
The story of Israel is the story of us.  We do the same thing that they are doing.

Why is it that when you read this story you aren’t worried?  Why is it that they keep freaking out and you are keeping calm?  Because you have a bird’s eye view and are able to see the big picture.  But when you’re actually in the story and not reading the story it is hard to tell.  When you’re in the details is when you encounter the devil.  Up here from the bird’s eye view, it is easy to see God’s love and care for us, but when you’re down on the ground it’s easy to forget God’s love and think He has left us and forsaken us.  
 
Our memories are flawed.  When someone criticizes you in a hurtful way, it stays in your memory 100 times longer than when someone complements you.  It happens when you fail at something.  You’ll remember that much longer than when you succeed at something.  And when we have an unanswered prayer, it sticks in 100 times longer than when God came through for us.  What God did for us 20 minutes ago feel like 20 years ago and when we prayed and heard nothing 20 years ago it feels like 20 minutes ago.  
 
Strike the Rock
“The whole point of and reason for this narrative is God’s provision for His people in the most unlikely of all the spots in that region, the top of a rock.”  If you’re looking for a well or where you can dig for water, you would never look on the top of the biggest rock you can find.  Yet God’s grace tends to flow from the rockiest hardest places.  In the desert, all other sources of water dry up and you have to turn to God.
 
When things are going well, you get your joy from that pretty girl, from that wonderful boss, from your big truck or your fast car, from your big house, or your well-behaved kids.  But each of these places is a shallow place to draw water.  They will always dry up.  The most wonderful wife will let you down, the greatest husband will disappoint you.   The mortgage on the most wonderful house will weigh you down.  The fastest car will break down or crash, and how many know that the most well-behaved kids will misbehave.  But when you are in the desert and your boss is on your back, your car is broke down and you don’t even have a house.  When your girl is nagging and man is lazy you can’t turn to those other things for your joy, so where are you going to turn?  Tell somebody, “Strike the rock.”  The rock of God has the living water that will never let you down.  

Gospel in the Wilderness

Gospel in the Wilderness webIn the midst of our bitterness and resentment the gospel brings joy and reconciliation. As we seek to quench our hunger and thirst with earthly things that will never satisfy, the gospel of Jesus fulfills our every need. We overwork and burn out in our pursuit of purpose while the gospel gives rest to the weary and a yoke easy and light.

11/1/2014Exodus 15:22-27BitterLeslie Ratliff
11/8/2014Exodus 16:1-36HungryJamey Lee
11/15/2014Exodus 17:1-7ThirstyJamey Lee
11/22/2014Exodus 17:8-16Battle WearyJamey Lee
11/29/2014Exodus 18:1-27OverworkedJamey Lee

Hungry

In the midst of our bitterness and resentment the gospel brings joy and reconciliation. As we seek to quench our hunger and thirst with earthly things that will never satisfy, the gospel of Jesus fulfills our every need. We overwork and burn out in our pursuit of purpose while the gospel gives rest to the weary and a yoke easy and light.

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Exodus – Worship

This one victory sets the stage for all future victories. All of Israel’s future enemies between the sea in the promised land are as good as dead. These conflicts are already settled in Israel already has its land. The verbs used here or in the past tense although they will take place in the future. The cross does this for us. Because Jesus won the battle on the cross, the battle see your face in his name are already decided.

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Jimmy’s Journey

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Jimmy’s journey is a testimony of God’s power over sin and death.  Since the doors of Jacob’s Well were opened on the corner of Summer and Highland in 2010, Jimmy was there.  At first he came to worship inebriated, yet seeking God and community.  Jimmy’s journey led him to a series of bottoms and a number of God’s people who would show him God’s love such as Emily, Marlon, Linda, Chad, Michelle, which led him to detox and rehab a number of times but then back to the streets and the Med with life-threatening surgeries, and even an open wound which he struggled with while living unsheltered for several months.  For over 20 years Jimmy lived on the streets and drank from morning until night.  He cannot count on both hands the number of good friends who are no longer with us.  Yet by God’s grace Jimmy was graced to live his final three years on earth with peace, love, joy, largely free from the bonds of his addiction.  Thanks to Highland Heights UMC, he enjoyed meaningful work,  a nice simple place that he called home, a church to worship and serve, and friends who loved him and checked in on him.

Recently Jimmy went out with us on CPR, a homeless outreach of Jacob’s Well, and met with several friends from the “old days” out on the streets.  One man mentioned, “If Jimmy can do it, then so can I.”  Another was convinced that he was sick and tired of being sick and tired from the heroin addiction and homelessness and gratefully invited Jesus into his life as Jimmy and Jamey prayed with him and gave contact info for a local rehab. Jimmy was asked how he did it, and his response was two-fold.  “People wouldn’t give up on me,” pointing to those who had shown the unconditional love of God without any signs of fruit from their efforts.  And Jimmy quoted Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Only through the one who rose from the grave could this miracle be shared. So as you reach out to our homeless neighbors, do so with hope in the One who can do the impossible.  And as you face trials and struggles of your own, remember what God did in Jimmy’s life to find strength for your journey.

Exodus – Deliverance

There is a time for prayer and a time to walk by faith.  A time to stay on your knees, and a time to rise up and walk out the answer to those prayers.  Now is the time.  The story of the Red Sea isn’t just to tell us what happened to the Hebrews a long time ago.  It is here to teach us as well.  The people are facing an impossible obstacle yet they are commanded to “Move Forward.”  I challenge you to find one place in the entire bible where people are seeking God and walking in His will and are told to retreat.  With God, there is always a way forward.

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Exodus – Desert Detour

God leads the Israelites the back way and they don’t understand why they wouldn’t just take the way everyone else goes.  God doesn’t change His mind but He will change the route.  And for reasons they didn’t understand at the time the people were led through a Desert Detour, through the wilderness toward the Red Sea.

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Exodus: Passover

There are many types or foreshadowing that happens in the OT about the NT.  Paul talks about Jesus as the 2nd Adam.  Peter talks about how Noah’s Ark as a means of salvation from water prefigures baptism.  One of the most vivid types in the Bible is the Passover.  What the cross is to Christians, the Passover is to the Jews.  And what celebrating Holy Communion is for followers of Jesus, celebrating Passover is for followers of the Law.

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Choosing Rock Bottom: Death

Pain is a big motivator for change but we have to decide when we’ve had enough discomfort to gain the courage to seek a solution. Hitting Bottom is a choice. We can get off the elevator at any floor we choose, or keep going down into destruction and death. The plagues in Ancient Egypt illustrate this downward journey and invite us into an amazing alternative. The good news of the gospel is that God’s love trumps human sin and through the tragedy and horror of the cross God made a way for us to be free from the insanity of slavery to sin and judgment.
[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rockbottom.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2014.09.27-Rock-Bottom-Death.mp3]
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Choosing Rock Bottom: Pain Motivation

Pain is a big motivator for change but we have to decide when we’ve had enough discomfort to gain the courage to seek a solution. Hitting Bottom is a choice. We can get off the elevator at any floor we choose, or keep going down into destruction and death. The plagues in Ancient Egypt illustrate this downward journey and invite us into an amazing alternative. The good news of the gospel is that God’s love trumps human sin and through the tragedy and horror of the cross God made a way for us to be free from the insanity of slavery to sin and judgment.
[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rockbottom.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2014.09.13-Rock-Bottom-Struggles.mp3]

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Choosing Rock Bottom

Website Banner CRB Pain is a big motivator for change but we have to decide when we’ve had enough discomfort to gain the courage to seek a solution. Hitting Bottom is a choice. We can get off the elevator at any floor we choose, or keep going down into destruction and death. The plagues in Ancient Egypt and in Revelation illustrate this downward journey and invite us into an amazing alternative. The good news of the gospel is that God’s love trumps human sin and through the tragedy and horror of the cross God made a way for us to be free from the insanity of slavery to sin and judgment.

 
9/6/2014Exodus 7:8- 8:19Choosing Rock Bottom: WarningsJamey Lee
9/13/2014Exodus 8:20 - 9:12Choosing Rock Bottom: Pain MotivationJamey Lee
9/20/2014Exodus 9:13 - 10:29Choosing Rock Bottom: DishearteningJamey Lee
9/27/2014Exodus 11:1-10; 12:29-42Choosing Rock Bottom: DeathJamey Lee

Choosing Rock Bottom: Warnings

Pain is a big motivator for change but we have to decide when we’ve had enough discomfort to gain the courage to seek a solution. Hitting Bottom is a choice. We can get off the elevator at any floor we choose, or keep going down into destruction and death. The plagues in Ancient Egypt illustrate this downward journey and invite us into an amazing alternative. The good news of the gospel is that God’s love trumps human sin and through the tragedy and horror of the cross God made a way for us to be free from the insanity of slavery to sin and judgment.
[mp3player width=700 height=420 config=rockbottom.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2014.09.06-Rock-Bottom-Warnings.mp3]

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Kroger and Superlo Foods Community Rewards Program

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You can now help out Jacob’s Well while you grocery shop at Kroger or Superlo Foods! How? It’s easy. Introducing the Kroger and Superlo Foods Community Rewards program. Both Kroger and Superlo Foods are committed to donating a portion of purchases made with their rewards cards to a participating Non-Profit organization of your choice. All you have to do is choose Jacob’s Well when registering your reward’s card. Simply read the instructions listed for your preferred store and take the few minutes to sign-up. Then every time you shop at Kroger or Superlo, swipe your Kroger card or Superlo Community card and a percentage of your purchase will be donated to Jacob’s Well. It’s that simple!

Don’t worry…registering your existing rewards card will not in any way affect your personal rewards benefits.  You’ll still receive the same points that you can use towards gas savings and other things.  Anyone can sign-up.  Have your friends, family, and neighbors sign-up to support Jacob’s Well while they are shopping as well!

The sign-up process is easy for both stores. Please take a few minutes and follow the step-by-step instructions for each store.  If you have any questions, please email admin@jacobswellmemphis.org or call (901)290-2124.

To Use the Kroger Community Rewards program (If you already have a Kroger Plus card):

  • Register online at krogercommunityrewards.com
  • Be sure to have your Kroger Plus card handy
  • Click on Sign In/Register
  • If you are a new online customer, you must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.
  • Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering zip code, clicking on favorite store, entering your email address and creating a password, agreeing to the terms and conditions
  • You will then get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email
  • Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step
  • Click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number
  • Update or confirm your information
  • Enter NPO (26837) or name of organization (Jacob’s Well United Methodist Church), select organization from list and click on confirm
  • To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see your organization’s name on the right side of your information page.
  • REMEMBER, purchases will not count for our group until after you register your card
  • Do you use your phone number at the register? Call 800-576-4377, select option 4 to get your Kroger Plus card number.
  • Swipe your registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to you registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count.

Don’t already have a Kroger Plus Card?

  • Simply go to the customer service desk at any Kroger Store
  • Ask for a Kroger Plus card…it is free and easy to sign-up in the store
  • Follow the above directions and sign-up for Kroger Community Rewards

To Use the Superlo Foods Community Rewards Program:

  • Fill out a Superlo Foods Community Card registration (pick one up at Jacob’s Well on Saturday nights or go here and print out the sign-up form)
  • Our Group ID is 500046120 and organization name is Jacob’s Well United Methodist Church
  • Take filled out registration to Superlo Foods and pick up a community rewards card
  • Swipe your registered community rewards card every time you shop at Superlo’s.

 

Providing a ride to worship

Providing Transportation at Jacob’s Well is at the heart of our vision for Reconciliation.  Thanks to several devoted individuals tirelessly driving our people from their homes (or homelessness) to worship and ministry partners like BDC, SV Church of Christ, Living Hope, and Christ Church who generously loan us their vehicles, about 4o people are empowered to worship God each Saturday night who otherwise would have been unable.  Nita Black, a member of Jacob’s Well Operational Team, shares her experience:

Nita Black“For me, serving through the JWell Transportation Ministry is a way for me to get to know people. It is a reality check for me, when I pull up in front of someone’s home with no utilities and an empty refrigerator. When I check voice mails of people calling in for a ride and then when I check back with them to confirm their address, etc., often we get into a conversation about what is going on in their lives and in mine. The friendships made are real. And I would say that a lot of folks call in to get a ride but really just want someone to talk to, or somewhere to go, or something positive to do. The Transportation Ministry is a way for me to re-balance every week and to renew my awareness that God’s grace extends to all of us, all the time.”

We need your help.  

Each week we need drivers and co-pilots to drive either our van, your organization’s van, or a large personal vehicle to transport people to and from the worship service at Jacob’s Well.  Training and Resources provided.  Driver’s License & insurance required.  Email us or comment below for details.  Start by trying it out once and perhaps move to serving once a month for six months if a good fit.

It would also help us to sustain and perhaps expand our routes across the city to pick up more people if we owned another 14-passenger van.  We are aware of one in good condition available to us but we would need to raise about $10K to cover the cost of the van and insurance.  Please click here to find out more about donating to Jacob’s Well safely and securely online. 

Disobedient: Obstacles

Moses wants to do the right thing but always seems to find excuses on why total obedience isn’t necessary.  And so it is with us.  When we get a glimpse of who God is and the goodness of His plans for us, we are ready to obey.  But it is never that easy.  It may be simple, but its not easy.  There are always obstacles to being obedient.  Tonight we’re going to look at three:  1) Family History, 2) Points of Weakness, and 3) Hard-headedness

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Disobedient: Redeemed

 In Exodus 5:22-23 Moses asks, “Why did you ever send me?”  This question shows that Moses is in crisis with his call after his failure to convince Pharaoh and then the people’s groaning and suffering.  A return to basics is needed.  Moses needs reassurance and encouragement, but more than that he needs to commit to answer God’s call, which he has not explicitly done as of yet.

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Bridegroom of Blood

Moses is taken through the Refiners’ Fire on his journey to do God’s will. He moves from obedience to disobedience and back to obedience as he searches for another way, is reminded of his calling, and encounters and near-deadly test before arriving at his destination. Life is full of tests to refine us and call us to get on track with God’s good purposes. When we encounter these trials will we obey or disobey, trust in ourselves or trust in God? Moses has a mix of both and through it all finds himself stronger and ready to do what God called him to do.

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Disobedient: Bridegroom of Blood

Moses is taken through the Refiners’ Fire on his journey to do God’s will. He moves from obedience to disobedience and back to obedience as he searches for another way, is reminded of his calling, and encounters and near-deadly test before arriving at his destination. Life is full of tests to refine us and call us to get on track with God’s good purposes. When we encounter these trials will we obey or disobey, trust in ourselves or trust in God? Moses has a mix of both and through it all finds himself stronger and ready to do what God called him to do.

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Service Opportunity Available!

TwonEach Wednesday afternoon a faithful team gets together to prepare meals at 602 Looney Ave. that will be distributed throughout the streets of Memphis.  Two teams go out in the Downtown area going under bridges, in parks, around the Memphis Mall and Fire Museum, etc.  Another team embarks on their mission out East going throughout Nutbush, along Summer Ave, and even in the woods near Methodist Hospital North off Austin Peay Highway.

We need your help to bring meals from where they are prepared downtown to our ministry team out East.  It about_seamless_deliveryrequires arriving at the Smith Center about 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday and driving the meals to our team who begins around Summer and Highland.  You are more than welcome to go out on the streets with them, or just drop off the meals.

Please comment below if you’d like more info or would like to sign up to serve.  Try it out once then consider serving once a month or more.  Thank you and God bless!

Disobedient

Disobedient Final

Obedience and Disobedience, is it really that black and white? Should I believe in a God who dangles his children over a fiery furnace compelling them to obey his rules? Or is there another way of understanding right and wrong?

Some of us were raised in a home where disobedience wasn’t a viable option. We were sheltered into a closet or beaten to a pulp, the world was viewed as evil, and the bible was shoved down our throats. Many of us have rebelled and turned against any form of rules and authority yet are still unsatisfied until we find G.O.D: Good Orderly Direction. In the Book of Exodus God introduces Himself to Moses and then the Hebrew people through offering some direction on how to get out of the mess they are in and promises a new land with a new freedom. But with freedom comes responsibility and with relationships come rules.

8/2/2014Exodus 3:13-4:17 Intro Jamey Lee
8/9/2014Exodus 4:18-31bridegroom of BloodJamey Lee
8/16/2014Exodus 5Short-term gainsJamey Lee
8/23/2014Exodus 6:1-13CovenantJamey Lee
8/30/2014Exodus 6:14 - 7:13ObstaclesJamey Lee

Disobedient Intro

God lays out His perfect plan that is reliant upon Moses’ obedience.  Moses offers excuses instead and is led through a series of trials that test his trust, show God’s power to heal, and reveal the seriousness of rebellion.  God has a plan that is beautiful and perfect and if we obey Him we will experience blessing.  Our part is obedience, but we must leave the blessing up to God.

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Saved

From two of our CPR veterans, Mike and Connie:  Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 11.04.34 PM

One afternoon we were standing in the Parking Lot of the Smith Center (where Jacob’s Well meets) at 602 Looney Ave.  We were talking with others getting ready to go out on the street.  As we were talking, a truck and trailer pulled up along side the curb.  The trailer was loaded with lawn equipment.  A lady stepped out of the truck, and walked up the hill toward us.  When she got close enough to us, so that we could hear what she was saying, she said “I want to Thank you” .  We said, “What did we do?”  She then shared her story with us…….

TearI was on the street for 15 years.  One night a group of men took me into a field, raped me, and beat me nearly to death. I laid in that field for 3 days, when someone from Jacob’s Well found me.  They got help for me.  They gave me a safe place to stay, they gave me spiritual guidance, they loved me.  I have gone through the recovery program in which I was given a job in lawn care.  I am now the supervisor over two teams for the Mayor’s office for Blight Control.  I have my own apartment, I pay my bills, and I am proud to be able to do so. Thank you for doing what you do, Praise GOD!

As we stood there listening to her story, we knew exactly why we were doing what we are doing.  May the Lord continue to Bless Jacob’s Well.  May we all be the Hand’s and Feet of Jesus.

Team Eden

Eden is a lively 3 year old who adores her 3 sisters, loves to swim in her pool, watch cartoons, and hang out with all 10502306_10152462775139733_1559191685871527339_nher friends at Jacob’s Well. Eden also has Acute Lymphoblastic Luekemia. She was diagnosed in April and has endured chemotherapy, surgery, vomiting, pain, and hospitalization. She is doing amazingly well and hasn’t even lost her hair yet! These are gifts from God, but the journey is far from over.

Eden and her family will have to endure 2 1/2 years of treatments. There have already been illness scares, setbacks in treatments, and longer than expected hospital stays. This journey they are on has also had bright spots though. They have seen friends and family step up and help in ways they never would have imagined. They have seen Eden’s friends cry out to God on her behalf, and have been blessed to watch them play with her and be unconcerned with bandages, IV’s, and ports. Eden is not alone on this journey and she is not the only one suffering. Her sisters have to spend days away from their parents and worry if their little sister is going to be ok. Her parents, Chad and Nicole, have had to face the thing every parent most fears, while also trying to maintain home, work, and caring for 3 other children. They will all continue to need our prayers, our help, and our steadfastness. They are running a marathon, not a sprint. We need to be ready on the sidelines each mile of the journey. God is already showing up in this family and it is our privilege to be part of His plans for them.

As of this week Eden is DONE with phase 2 of treatment. Hurray! She has finished consolidation and is starting maintenance. She is doing well, but her counts are not recovering as quickly as they expected. They aren’t sure why, but they need to keep coming up to begin the next phase. Maintenance should mean fewer trips to St Jude and no scheduled hospital stays. Maintenance will also include 2 reintroduction phases when Eden will be receiving some pretty powerful combinations of chemo that have potential for some yuck side effects. So, prayer requests: that Eden’s blood counts recover fully and begin bouncing back more quickly, that she will have no fevers or other illnesses that would require a hospital stay, and that her side effects will be minimal and easily controlled. Praise God for how far she has come and for the strength He’s given this family along the way!

One really tangible way that you can help is to:

takethemameal

Unmanageability of Moses: Moses’ Low Self-Worth

In Exodus 2:23-3:12, Gods ppl struggle under the bondage of their slavery and finally admit powerlessness as they cry out to God for help. In the meantime Moses hears God’s call but struggles with a different kind of powerlessness. Like many of us, Moses is enslaved to self-doubt and questions his worth as he seeks to find release from the chains of rejection and failure.

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Unmanageability of Moses: Moses’ Exodus

Moses’ was alone and at his bottom until he met a family who accepted him and loved him for who he was. He had been rejected by his Pharaoh family and never knew his Hebrew family and was probably filled with so much fear, guilt and shame for the things that he had done, that he packed up everything and made an Exodus to start over. His journey led him to a well. Wherever you are at, we invite you to join us at Jacob’s Well in Memphis to experience the freshness of Living Water as we embrace new life one day at a time.

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Unmanageability of Moses: Anger Issues

Moses is searching for identity, disillusioned with the Egyptians but not sure how to help the Hebrews. Feeling alone and under pressure, righteous anger and self-pity merge and spill out in violence.

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Unmanageability of Moses

Moses grew up without a dad and had anger issues which led to murder, running from the law, and escaping from reality by starting over in a new place. Then he was called on to do something great and his negative self-worth took over. Excuses, rationalizations, and fear stood in the way of a great Redemption and Exodus. Only through a Power greater than Moses can this wounded and broken man become one of the most prolific figures in the history of the world.

7/5/2014Exodus 2:1-10Moses' daddy issuesJamey Lee
7/12/2014Exodus 2:11-15aMoses' Anger IssuesJamey Lee
7/19/2014Exodus 2:15b-22Moses' ExodusJamey Lee
7/26/2014Exodus 2:23-3:12Moses' low self-worthJamey Lee

Unmanageability of Moses: Daddy Issues

Moses grew up without a dad in the house and ended up allowing his aggression and anger lead to murder. Today 85% of men in prison grew up without a father… While not every fatherless kid gets locked up, u can’t blame them for feeling unwanted and growing up with an inferiority complex trying to prove themselves. But the good news of the gospel is that as bad as we think we have it, it’s worse than we think, yet God’s power and plan to redeem and save us from our mess is greater than we can ever comprehend.

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Exodus: Stones, Midwives, & Justice

As the Israelites grew strong the Pharaoh was concerned about two things, rising up and making an escape.  These are what men are good at and it’s time for the males among us to stop escaping reality and start rising up against the injustice around us.  One thing the Pharaoh didn’t account for in his violent plans were the strength and resolve of women.  Our heroes practice civil disobedience as God makes nobodies into somebodies and overpowers the mightiest man on the planet.  Even the river as the intended means of death God uses as the means of salvation. [mp3player width=700 height=420 config=exodus.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/2014.06.28-Exodus-Be-a-Man-and-Fight-for-Justice.mp3]

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Exodus: Intro

It’s not easy to admit that I’m in bondage to something, but admitting powerlessness is the 1st step to the solution.  The 2nd book of the bible tells the story of the underdog nation of Hebrew slaves overcoming all odds to find freedom from the most powerful empire of that time, and it is also a story for us today. It’s a vision of our spiritual journey from our land of complacency and captivity into the Land God has for us on the other side of the Red Sea. The journey will not be without trial and tribulation, yet God shall provide manna and a cloud by day and fire by night. Freedom for God’s People!

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Exodus

 

Exodus Graphic

It’s not easy to admit that I’m in bondage to something, but admitting powerlessness is the 1st step to the solution. The 2nd book of the bible tells the story of the underdog nation of Hebrew slaves overcoming all odds to find freedom from the most powerful empire of that time, and it is also a story for us today. It’s a vision of our spiritual journey from our land of complacency and captivity into the Land God has for us on the other side of the Red Sea. The journey will not be without trial and tribulation, yet God shall provide manna and a cloud by day and fire by night. Freedom for God’s People!
 
6/21/2014Exodus 1:1-14 Intro Jamey Lee
6/28/2014Exodus 1:15-22Stones, Midwives, & JusticeJamey Lee
7/5/2014Exodus 2:1-10Moses' daddy issuesJamey Lee
7/12/2014Exodus 2:11-15aMoses' Anger IssuesJamey Lee
7/19/2014Exodus 2:15b-22Moses' ExodusJamey Lee
7/26/2014Exodus 2:23-3:12Moses' low self-worthJamey Lee
8/2/2014Exodus 3:13-4:17 Intro Jamey Lee
8/9/2014Exodus 4:18-31bridegroom of BloodJamey Lee
8/16/2014Exodus 5Short-term gainsJamey Lee
8/23/2014Exodus 6:1-13CovenantJamey Lee
8/30/2014Exodus 6:14 - 7:13ObstaclesJamey Lee
9/6/2014Exodus 7:8- 8:19Choosing Rock Bottom: WarningsJamey Lee
9/13/2014Exodus 8:20 - 9:12Choosing Rock Bottom: Pain MotivationJamey Lee
9/20/2014Exodus 9:13 - 10:29Choosing Rock Bottom: DishearteningJamey Lee
9/27/2014Exodus 11:1-10; 12:29-42Choosing Rock Bottom: DeathJamey Lee
10/4/2014Exodus 12:1-28, 43-51; 13:1-16PassoverJamey Lee
10/11/2014Exodus 13:17 - 14:14Desert DetourJamey Lee
10/18/2014Exodus 14:15-31Crossing the Red SeaJamey Lee
10/25/2014Exodus 15:1-21Worship and PraiseJamey Lee
11/1/2014Exodus 15:22-27BitterLeslie Ratliff
11/8/2014Exodus 16:1-36HungryJamey Lee
11/15/2014Exodus 17:1-7ThirstyJamey Lee
11/22/2014Exodus 17:8-16Battle WearyJamey Lee
11/29/2014Exodus 18:1-27OverworkedJamey Lee
April 4, 2015Exodus 2424 and Matthew 17Matthew 17:1-9Sneak PeekJamey Lee
April 26, 2014Selected Passages from EphesiansThe Gospel According to the Walking Dead: EasterJamey Lee
March 31, 2013Acts 10:34-43Easter Fuels MissionJamey Lee
1/3/2015Exodus 19:1-25Matthew 5:17-20God’s Love & the LawJamey Lee
1/10/2015Exodus 20:1-6My Worship is not for saleLeslie Ratliff
1/13/2015Exodus 20:7Name in VainJamey Lee
1/20/2015Exodus 20:8-11SabbathJamey Lee
1/27/2015Exodus 20:12Honor Mother & FatherJamey Lee
2/7/2015Exodus 20:13Matthew 5:21-26Anger & MurderJamey Lee
2/14/2015Exodus 20:14Matthew 5:27-30Lust & AdulteryJamey Lee
2/21/2015Exodus 20:15StealingJamey Lee
2/28/2015Exodus 20:16LyingLeslie Ratliff
3/7/2015Exodus 20:17CovetingJamey Lee
3/14/2015Exodus 20:18-21Fear and DistanceJamey Lee
3/21/2015Exodus 20:22 - 23:33Old Testament LawsJamey Lee
3/28/2015Exodus 25-31TabernacleJamey Lee
April 4, 2015Exodus 2424 and Matthew 17Matthew 17:1-9Sneak PeekJamey Lee
4/11/2015IntroExodus 32:1-6Jamey Lee
4/18/2015Alternate EndingsExodus 32:7-14Jamey Lee
4/25/2015Not taking the blameExodus 32:15-29Leslie Ratliff
5/2/2015Exodus 32:30 - 33:6Jamey Lee

Soul Armor: Prayer

Prayer is more than the 7th piece of armor.  Salvation is your helmet and Faith is your shield, but Prayer is how you learn to get dressed.  You can have all the latest battle gear available, but if you don’t know how to put it on and use it in war then you are sunk.  So what it means to wear the whole armor of God is to be about prayer, that our whole life would be a great prayer to God expressed in lots of different ways through the highs and lows of life, not self-centered but outward focused, keeping in mind the needs of all the saints. [mp3player width=700 height=420 config=alienvsorphan.xml playlist=step-by-step.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/?p=2854]

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Soul Armor: Sword of the Spirit

Ready or not, we are in a battle and we need to pack a weapon.  Bring your faith, bring the Spirit, and bring the word of God.  Listen to Leslie Ratliff as he ministers at Jacob’s Well.

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Soul Armor: Helmet of Salvation

We need to wear a helmet to save our soul.  There is a big problem in the world and our lives called sin.  God has provided a solution in a Savior.  As we recognize Jesus as the Truth, our Righteousness, and the object of our Faith we are saved.

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Soul Armor: Shield of Faith

We shield ourselves with money, education, fashion, and anything else to mask our true selves and keep from getting hurt once again.  When we get to the end of ourselves a shield of faith is available through a trusting relationship with God, thereby protecting us against attack and providing potential for God’s plan.

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Soul Armor: Boots of Preparation

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The boots for our feet are the preparation that comes from the gospel of peace.  It is a preparation for the journey and the battle.  When the pressure mounts and life gets difficult, the gospel empowers us to face our fears and deal with life on life’s terms.  Get your boots on!

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Soul Armor: Breastplate of Righteousness

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To deal with the fact that we struggle with doing what is right we often lean towards being too loose with rule-bending or too tight in our rule-keeping while Jesus invites us to become righteous in a whole different way.  He changed the game to enable us to overcome sins and situations that are impossible when we repent, believe, and surrender.  The key is to explore the depths of the unrighteousness in our heart and trust Christ to make us new from the inside-out.

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God comes through

It had been one of those weeks where it was difficult to remember why we were doing this thing called “Jacob’s Well.”  Men that were being discipled and showed potential and promise on their road to recovery were relapsing back into addiction.  Leaders who had been so faithful in the past were stepping away to pursue other passions, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to round up the minimum number of people to carry on the weekly tasks of ministry.  One area that was particularly struggling was CPR, Compassion Party on the Road, which was beginning to feel more like OMG, Obligatory Ministry on the Go.  The guy who was scheduled to lead that Wednesday notified the pastor that he could not make it out on the streets, and our kitchen coordinator Sherri suffered a shoulder injury keeping her away so an email went out asking for help.  It was in this moment of surrender and reaching out that God came through in a glorious way.

Red

TwonA couple from a partner church, Quito United Methodist showed up at about 5:30 expecting to do everything themselves, but were greeted with the smiles and helpfulness from Jacob’s Well youth from the neighborhood.  After cooking and cleaning the kitchen the teens loaded the meals (spagetti/salad/dessert) and bottled water to go out on the streets.  The following is the account from Mike and Connie on the rest of the evening:

“There were three lovely young ladies that met us in the parking lot and asked if they could go with us.  What a Blessing to have them along.  Last night the weather was just lovely, we took 40 meals, and 2 cases of water out with us.  We drove around downtown delivering meals until we ran out of food.  We saw many of the homeless that we have become friends with, and have not seen in awhile because of the weather.  We were able to spend time talking with our friends, praying with them and just catching up on how they have been.  The young ladies were just wonderful!  They stepped right up, they served the meals, they talked with our friends just like they had known them forever, and they prayed with each one.  Everything was done, not as quickly as we could do it, but we took our time, enjoyed listening, and praying with each and every one.  One of the girls was so touched by these new friends, she cried for them.  As we pulled back into the church to return the trays etc. we met Margaret, walking up in the parking lot.  It had been months since we had seen her.  It was good to spend some time with her.
The young ladies, gave Michael and I each a hug, and said “They Will Be Back”  and I believe they will.  God has some amazing things in store for each of us, long before we can even imagine how things are going to turn out.  Michael and I thought we would be on our own, which was fine, but God had much greater plans.  We have been praying for Sherri, and for Jacob’s Well.  I thank God for all my new friends in this ministry, and also on the street.”
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:9  We thank God for coming through when all else fails.  Put your trust in Him!
Since this week back in February a faithful team with servant hearts have stepped up to lead each week.  If you’d like to join us in serving our neighbors on the streets, check out the details here and join us some Wednesday soon!

Soul Armor: Belt of Truth

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What lies have you been falling for? The Lie of Security, that if I can can get more stuff and more money I will be fulfilled? The Lie of Acceptance, if I dress right & say the right things I will please others? The Lie of Control, if only people would do what I want them to do, then everything would be ok? Let us put on the belt of Truth in Jesus.

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Soul Armor

Modern Militia (graphic)In Ephesians 6:10-20 we are instructed on how to prepare for spiritual battle.  What kind of armor are you protecting your soul with? Do you put on a mask to protect yourself from others’ glares and judgment? Have you stopped yourself from getting too close so not to be hurt? God has a different kind of armor to strengthen us and help us to stand on the evil day… 
April 26, 2014Ephesians 6:10-13Fighting the DevilJamey Lee
May 3, 2014Ephesians 6:10-14Belt of TruthJamey Lee
May 10, 2014Ephesians 6:10-14Breastplate of RighteousnessJamey Lee
May 17, 2014Ephesians 6:10-15Boots of PreparationJamey Lee
May 24, 2014Ephesians 6:10-16Shield of FaithJamey Lee
May 31, 2014Ephesians 6:10-17Helmet of SalvationJamey Lee
June 7, 2014Ephesians 6:10-17Sword of the SpiritLeslie Ratliff
June 14, 2014Ephesians 6:10-18 Prayer Jamey Lee

 

The Gospel According to the Walking Dead: Easter

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The Gospel According to the Walking Dead: Ephesians 5

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The Gospel According to the Walking Dead: Ephesians 4b

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The Gospel According to the Walking Dead: Ephesians 4a

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The Gospel According to the Walking Dead: Ephesians 3

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The Gospel According to the Walking Dead

The popular show about the Zombie Apocalypse, “The Walking Dead,” parallels the Epistle to Ephesus (in the bible) with lessons about life surrendered to Jesus. For one, sin is like a flesh-eating virus that will leave us lifeless and still walking around wasting our days and taking down friends and family. The Gospel is life in the midst of death and victorious over death freeing us from the chains that enslave us and enemies that seek to destroy us.

March 15, 2014Ephesians 1:15-23Eyes of the heart enlightenedJamey Lee
March 22, 2014Ephesians 2:1-10Evil TrinityJamey Lee
March 29, 2014Ephesians 3:14-21PrayerJamey Lee
April 5, 2014Ephesians 4:1-16You can't Do this AloneJamey Lee
April 12, 2014Ephesians 4:17-32School of ChristJamey Lee
April 19, 2014Ephesians 5:10-20Darkness to LightJamey Lee
April 26, 2014Selected Passages from Ephesians Resurrection Jamey Lee

The Gospel According to the Walking Dead: Ephesians 2

The popular show about the Zombie Apocalypse, “The Walking Dead,” parallels the Epistle to Ephesus (in the bible) with lessons about life surrendered to Jesus. For one, sin is like a flesh-eating virus that will leave us lifeless and still walking around wasting our days and taking down friends and family. The Gospel is life in the midst of death and victorious over death freeing us from the chains that enslave us and enemies that seek to destroy us.
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Called:?! Here I am, Send me

In Isaiah 6 the prophet hears the call as he sees the Lord sitting on his throne (it was right around King Uzziah’s death).  Sometimes something will have to die in our life and we have to get off our throne for us to hear God’s call.  What is holding you back?  Listen here for how your sin can be atoned and your life can be empowered to be all that God calls you to be.  Towards the end, people from our community share how God is calling them to answer God’s call.
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God Qualifies the Called:!?

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Gideon is the least in his family & of the weakest clan. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks, grew up in the hood, how could God use him? Yet God doesn’t see his poverty but his potential. Gideon points out all the reasons he will be ineffective, insufficient, and incompetent, but the Lord believes that He is enough, that with all of his defects he can still have an affect, that God’s grace is sufficient!!!
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Called:?! Caller I.D.

Before finding out what and thinking about where, we need to reflect on who we are and who He is.  Otherwise we’ll get frustrated with all the wrong numbers.  1 Peter 2:9-10 reveals how we are called into an extended family extending God’s presence to the extensions of the earth.   The Jacob’s Well Community broke up into four teams around the mission fields of Recovery/Rehabs, Greenlaw Teenagers, Children of Memphis, and Nutbush Neighbors.  Each team present their ideas at the end of the message.

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Called:?! Following a Future Filled with the Possible

Join us Saturday nights in February
Join us Saturday nights in February

One of the biggest questions that many of us have is, “What am I supposed to do with my life?” Whether you’re in your 1st half or 2nd, we can make a difference when we answer God’s call. Over the next few weeks at Jacob’s Well we’re going to take a few steps back and look in the Bible at how God calls people and try to listen together for the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Feb 8, 2014Genesis 12:1-9Called to JesusJ.D. Walt
Feb 15, 20141 Peter 2:9-11Caller I.D.Jamey Lee
Feb 22, 2014Judges 6:11-18God Qualifies the CalledJamey Lee
Mar 1, 2014Isaiah 6:1-8Here I am, Send meJamey Lee

Called:?! to Jesus

Genesis 12:1-9 tells the story of leaving home to pursue God’s call.  We are called to leave the past behind and seek God in the here and now.  J.D. Walt takes us through the whole bible from Abraham to the Prodigal Son as we listen for God’s call to Jesus.

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Serenity: One Day at a Time

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
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Serenity: Wisdom to know the difference

The fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  Fearing the Lord involves admitting that you are powerless and need a Power greater than yourself to restore you to sanity.  It is living with the reality that we don’t have it all together, we are broken and need of a healer.  Wisdom comes from accepting our limitations while foolishness is thinking that we are God and that we can do all things if we just put our minds to it.
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Serenity: Courage to Change the things I can

Courage to Change the things we can from Joshua 1:5-9: “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
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Serenity: Accept the things I cannot change

“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” – Big Book of AA, page 449
“Many of the problems we experience in ongoing recovery stem from an inability to accept ourselves on a deep level. . . Very often, we discover that we are harsh critics of ourselves, wallowing in self-loathing and self-rejection. . . The most effective means of achieving self-acceptance is through applying the 12 Steps of recovery. . . We no longer have to look for the approval of others because we are satisfied with being ourselves. . . Accepting ourselves as we are resolves the problem of expecting human perfection. When we accept ourselves, we can accept others into our lives, unconditionally, probably for the 1st time…” IP #19: “Self-Acceptance” published by NA
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Serenity Prayer

Serenity Logo

God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
COURAGE to change the things I can, and
WISDOM to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Jan 4, 2014Philippians 4:4-7God, Grant me the SerenityJamey Lee
Jan 11, 2014Job 38:1-7; 40:1-8; 42:1-6, 9To Accept the things I Cannot ChangeJamey Lee
Jan 18, 2014Joshua 1:1-9Courage to Change the things I canJamey Lee
Jan 25, 2014Psalm 111:7-10; Proverbs 3:5-8Wisdom to Know the DifferenceJamey Lee
Feb 2, 2014Ecclesiastes 9:1-12Living one day at a timeJamey Lee

Serenity: God, grant me the Serenity

In light of Philippians 4:4-7, Serenity is the coming together of Joy, Gentleness, and Peace.

God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
COURAGE to change the things I can, and
WISDOM to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.

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Christmas Blues

Christmas stories are so nice: angels, stars, wise men, presents, baby Jesus, & fluffy sheep in the field with shepherds. But if we’re honest, it isn’t so warm and fuzzy for all of us. Christmas is actually really hard for some of us. Listen as we reflect on Matthew 2:13-23 as we journey through disappointment, adversity and recovery.
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Childlike Faith

This Saturday our kids and youth led the service and Kids Community Director, Christy Anderson shared the message on how to live with a childlike faith while growing up out of childishness.

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I Pity the Fool who is Overcome by Sin

Sin is a powerful and disruptive force that divides communities, destroys relationships, and can give you a headache, but God has a plan.  How do we overcome sin so that we do not become overcome by sin?  I think the answer has a little bit of Mr. Rogers and Mr. T.  We overcome sin with a combo of love and truth, mercy and justice.  Christ came in weakness yet lives in the power of God.  We must be gentle like Mr. Rogers with one another regarding our growth edges and lean into the mercy of God, but when the rubber hits the road and the ship hits the harbor we might need to be tough like Mr. T.  There are two options to deal with sin.  Examine yourselves or wait for 2-3 witnesses to confront your sin.  Look inside and take personal inventory and hold one another accountable.  Yet the goal is restoration, not condemnation.  In the end, lean on love, peace, grace, and holy kisses.

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I Pity the Fool who is a Burden

Paul ends the foolishness in 2 Corinthians 12:11-18 with a vow not to be a burden.  Many of us, when receiving help from others or in an unbalanced relationship, have felt the guilt and shame of burdening someone else with our problems.  But when we’re weighed down with burdens, its hard not to share the load!  Yet there is one who wants to bear our burdens so that others don’t have to.  When we give our burdens to Christ, we become light and free to love our family and neighbors without being a drain on them.

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I Pity the Fool who thinks Power is found in strength

Whether we use our muscles, our brains, or our beauty to gain power in this world, it will not stand in God’s Kingdom. Through suffering, struggle, and pain we will be strengthened through God’s Spirit. True power is made perfect in our weakness.

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I Pity the Fool who Boasts

The new guys in town are acting the fool by boasting and bragging about their accomplishments and Paul fights fire with fire, or foolishness with folly.  Since they’re acting the fool, Paul decides to play the fool.  Boasting about our wins when everyone sees our losses only confirms our foolishness. Bragging about our weakness when everyone only sees our strengths leads to humility and credibility.  When we exalt ourselves we shall be humbled, but when we humble ourselves we shall be exalted.  Down is the new up.

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I Pity the Fool who Cons their Neighbor

Tonight we look at II Corinthians 11 and find that the word around town is that Paul is a fool and they just have to put up with his foolishness like you do your drunk uncle. If you know St. Paul you know he’s not going to take this lying down, so he answers the fool with their folly. These so-called “super-apostles” were all about the benjamins and were trying to con the Corinthians away from Christ. Paul teaches his people to be on guard and how to keep from being conned by scheisters such as these. If we’re not careful, we too can be fooled by sheep in wolves’ clothing, Satan disguised as an angel of light. Whether it be a fake posing as homeless or a thief posing as church members, we need to fight against this foolishness. The bottom line of this passage is two-fold 1) Stop acting the fool and 2) Stop playing the fool.

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Bread for the Hungry

panera

A great opportunity to “Love Your Neighbor.”  The pickup is Wednesday evenings and the bread is then delivered before Saturday when it is served to all that come to Jacob’s Well and are hungry. We are also in need of volunteers to bag the bread on Wednesday or Thursday.  If this sounds like a way that you would like to serve your neighbor, please leave a comment here. Thank you and be blessed!

“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:14

1. Upon arriving at Panera Bread around 10 p.m. on Wednesday nights, it is good to have a few paper towels and an all purpose spray cleaner (just a dash of dishwashing liquid mixed with water in a spray bottle will do) to wipe out the containers.
2. Then take the containers inside and place them in the aisle beside the cash register.
3. Say “Hello, I’m from Jacob’s Well”.
4. Have a seat nearby as the store is still open for a few more minutes.
5. As the containers are filled, the employees place them back beside the register along with a few sacks of sliced bread. Begin to take them to your car and be sure to not let yourself get locked out (Perhaps put one of the containers in the doorway so the employees don’t have to let me back in.)
6. Always say thanks and as you get to know the Panera staff, invite them to come see the exciting work that they are a part of at Jacob’s Well
Include bags from Panera
Exclude onion bagels from rest
Drop bread off, then take bins with to pick up next time

Understanding Your Homeless Neighbor

You catch him out of the corner of your eye. You know what is going to happen next. He is going to come up and ask for money or food or give you some excuse about his situation. All you want to do is get in your car and go on with your life. This guy has nothing in common with you. You are almost to the car and safely on your way but then you recall something that you read in your morning devotional from Psalm 139. Verse 14 is the response of David as he is praising God because “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” You begin to ask yourself, if I am fearfully and wonderfully made, then does that mean everyone else is too? How will you respond?

This is not an attempt to guilt trip you into doing something you do not want to do. It is an attempt to get you (and me) to question our motives and our perceptions of the homeless. On Tuesday November 5th from 6-8 pm we have the opportunity to hear from ministry partners as to how they are working with and helping our homeless neighbors. Come listen to a lively discussion from Marlon “Big Dog” Brown of SOS as he relates his story of homelessness. Jamey Lee will describe how Jacob’s Well is helping overcome obstacles in helping the homeless. Lemar Walker with Christ Community Church will paint a picture of how we can move from enabling to empowering the homeless. Tana Vanderhooft will describe how Ruth’s Heart was created to help the homeless find the resources they need to get off the streets. Emily Rachiele with the CUMC Benevolence Ministry will surprise you with a story of how close any one of us is to becoming homeless.

I Pity the Fool

I Pity the Fool

Paul saved the most urgent and controversial subjects until the end of the letter and he’s going to deal with them passionately and with a touch of satire and sarcasm.  And at the heart of this spirited rant is where he backhands his opponents by calling himself a fool, when everyone reading the letter knows who really is acting foolish.  Paul was being really nice in the first 9 chapters, offering words of comfort and grace to his people, but in chapter 10 he starts to sound more like Mr. T than Mr. Rogers.

Nov 2, 20132 Corinthians 10:1-18I Pity the Fool who takes a Knife to a GunfightJamey Lee
Nov 9, 20132 Corinthians 11:1-15I Pity the Fool who Cons their neighborJamey Lee
Nov 16, 20132 Corinthians 11:16-33I Pity the Fool who BoastsJamey Lee
Nov 23, 20132 Corinthians 12:1-10I Pity the Fool who thinks Power is found in strengthJamey Lee
Nov 30, 20132 Corinthians 12:11-21I Pity the Fool who is a BurdenJamey Lee
Dec 7, 20132 Corinthians 13:1-14I Pity the Fool who is Overcome by SinJamey Lee

I pity the fool who brings a knife to a gunfight

Paul was being really nice in the first 9 chapters of 2 Corinthians, offering words of comfort and grace to his people, but in chapter 10 he starts to sound more like Mr. T than Mr. Rogers. But sometimes we need some Mr. T to toughen us up. Tonight we learn how the “weapons of our warfare” are best turned internally instead of externally. The battle that we have control over rages within between the flesh and spirit. The good news is that Jesus is our trainer and shows us how to humble ourselves as he exalts us.

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Give Cheerfully

If you have experienced the generosity of God, and want to respond by investing in the mission of Jacob’s Well and be an active part of the harvest of righteousness that God is bringing forth in Memphis, then I invite you to fill out a Pledge Card and give generously and cheerfully with high expectations of what God will do through your sacrifice.  It’s an invitation to live out what our money says, “In God we trust,” rather than putting our trust in the god of money.

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Give Generously

When you have been forgiven much, you love much.  When you grasp the grace of God, you aren’t so critical and judgmental towards others.  But you can’t get the grace of God until you meet the God of grace.  In 2 Corinthians 8, the Macedonians give an example for us all of giving sacrificially and generously.

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Give Generously & Cheerfully

A world ruled by the dollar and driven by greed leaves us cynical and skeptical. The good news is that God’s word gives a refreshing new perspective on money. 2 Corinthians 8-9 unashamedly encourages us to give generously and cheerfully in light of God’s mercies. Join us at Jacob’s Well this weekend as we explore God’s perspective on giving and invest in an exciting mission in Memphis.

October 19, 2013Give Generously2 Corinthians 8:1-15Jamey Lee
October 26, 2013Give Cheerfully2 Corinthians 8:16 - 9:15Jamey Lee

Crazy: Get Depressed

Depression is something that so many in our world today struggle with and is addressed powerfully in 2 Corinthians 7:2-16.  God will not leave the downcast cast down, yet while the body of Christ comforts the afflicted, we are also called to afflict the comfortable.  Sometimes tough love is just what we need to wake up out of the funk that we’re in and begin a new path.  But it’s a tough line to walk because something we say could be taken personally and lead to even deeper depression.  How will you respond?  Depression that leads to shame that leads to self condemnation leads to DEATH.  Sadness that leads to guilt that leads to Repentance leads to LIFE.  Open your heart and mind to another way and turn from that which causes so much grief to trade it in for life.

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Crazy: Get Separated

In order for us to experience reconciliation, sometimes there has to be some separation.  We need to get unyoked from the people, places, and things that keep us from all God created us to be.  This has led to some crazy Christians revolting against culture in an outside-in religion, but can serve as an invitation for us to understand the gospel inside-out as we reflect on 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1.

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Crazy: Get Reconciled

There is hope for reconciliation of estranged relationships through a strategy of offense and defense, “weapons of righteousness in the right hand and the left.”  By confronting false ideas with the truth of the gospel and seeking to live into our lives with integrity, we can see God do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  This all comes from the power-packed example of Paul in his efforts at reconciliation with the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 6:3-13.

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Crazy: Get a Fresh Start

When we get a fresh start with Jesus, our perspective changes and our lives  might look a little crazy to the rest of the world.  This new creation comes through seeing the light and separating light from the darkness.  The old is passed away and the new is come!

[mp3player width=200 height=120 config=crazy.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2013.09.14-Get-a-Fresh-Start.mp3] Listen Later:  Download mp3 (Right-click and select “Download linked file as” or “Save file as”)

Walking the streets of Memphis

Not long ago, Rick was running the streets of what used to be known as Hurt Village and Smoky City, searching for dope.  But, tonight Rick is rolling with his new friends in the Uptown area of Memphis on behalf of Jacob’s Well.   Rick is clean and sober and now serving as an integral part of our Compassion Party on the Block (C.P.B.) team who meets eachWednesday night at 6:00.  As we fellowship and disciple one another we pass out fliers for an upcoming block party while getting to know our neighbors.

On a recent C.P.B. outing, Rick and J.Well disciple-maker, Mark, knocked on the door of an Uptown neighbor.  Rick did not recognize her, but she remembered growing up with him.  She shared how she’d heard of his trouble with addiction and let him know that she had been praying for him over the past few years.  In turn, Rick shared his newfound faith in Christ and the community of acceptance he’d found at Jacob’s Well.  What a reminder of God’s work despite our rebellion and the powerful effect of the prayers of God’s people.

The Lord guides our steps when we walk in guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Rick worked at defying that companionship for years.  But, when he finally began having hope in his future, he found his faith, and began to walk dutifully spreading God’s truth.  The irony of it all is that during one of those literal walks, the door of a long forgotten childhood acquaintance was opened, and there he found a woman of faith who had been praying for him while he was in his dark, faithless meandering.  Just goes to show, you never know how or when God’s blessings will be revealed.  Maybe our C.P.B. walks are just the blessing you’ve been looking for!

Compassion Party on the Block (C.P.B.) is unique in many ways.  This multi-faceted ministry involves community outreach, prayer evangelism and, perhaps the most important, relationship building. We see Missional Believers walk with faith newcomers as we share our experiences.  We forge bonds by relating the hope that is gained from not leading, but following.  Discipleship is learning about God through the scriptures and growing in faith by sharing your life experiences with one another.  We hope you’ll pray on becoming involved in this ministry, no matter what stage you are in your faith.  If God is leading you to serve, we hope you’ll consider C.P.B.

Crazy: Get Crazy

They thought Paul was crazy, they thought Jesus was crazy, and when you wholeheartedly decide to give your will and life over to the care of God, they will think you’re crazy too.  But you’re in good company.  What is your response to Christ’s crazy love?  Will you sell your car and give the money away to the poor?  Will you quit your job/gang/school to seek God’s purposes?  God’s crazy love demands a crazy response.

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Crazy

When Christ gets a hold of us, our lives look crazy to the world around us, but we don’t care when we’re living for Jesus. Who are you living for?

Sep 7, 2013Get Crazy2 Corinthians 5:11-15Jamey Lee
Sep 14, 2013Get a Fresh Start2 Corinthians 5:16-17Jamey Lee
Sep 21, 2013Get Reconciled with God2 Corinthians 5:18-6:2Leslie Ratliff
Sep 28, 2013Get Reconciled with one another2 Corinthians 6:3-13Jamey Lee
Oct 5, 2013Get Separated2 Corinthians 6:14 - 7:1Jamey Lee
Oct 12, 2013Get Depressed2 Corinthians 7:2-16Jamey Lee

Transparent: Fading Tent, Renewing Light

As we become more and more transparent and honest with who we are, the light of Christ shines through and renews us day by day. Our momentary afflictions aren’t even comparable to the eternal weight of the glory to come. The Holy Spirit is the deposit and our death is the payoff.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=transparent.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2013.08.31-Fading-Tent-Renewing-Light.mp3] August 31, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3
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Transparent: Translucent Jars of Clay

Hardships and Difficulties bring pressure and stress.  Jars of clay are fragile and vulnerable, yet ones unearthed in Corinth were used as lamps.  With the light of Christ in us, the more fragile and thin our outer shell is, the brighter we shine in the darkness.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=transparent.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/2013.08.24-Transclucent-Jars-of-Clay.mp3] August 24, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3
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Transparent: Drop the Mask

One of the biggest barriers to transparency and authenticity is wearing masks that block the light of the gospel. Religious people wear masks that veil the glory of the gospel. Satan puts up blinders to block the light from irreligious people. When we drop the mask and the blinders are lifted and come as we are before our merciful God, light floods forth and we are transformed into His image, becoming light-bearers to all still walking in darkness. [mp3player width=200 height=150 config=transparent.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2013.08.17-Drop-the-Mask.mp3]
August 17, 2013 – Jamey Lee

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Transparent: Smelly Christians

When we are transparent with our lives, the good, bad, and ugly, we make an impact with the gospel. If only arguing doctrine, our words fall on deaf ears, but when sharing the messiness of our lives, we penetrate the nose with the aroma of Christ, for good, bad, or ugly. We are able to be transparent with the sins of our past because we are bound by a new covenant governed by the Spirit and grace, rather than the law and judgment. Our qualifications come from the lives of those we have influenced rather than a resume of accomplishments. [mp3player width=200 height=150 config=transparent.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2013.08.10-Smelly-Christians.mp3]
August 10, 2013 – Jamey Lee

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Transparent: Believe the Best, Forgive the Worst

Transparency is the answer to gossip and criticism. The people of Corinth assumed the worst of Paul when he didn’t show up like he said, but hearing his side of the story reveals that he actually had their best in mind. When we believe the best in others until they lose our trust, our relationships are strengthened and grow by faith. When we discover that someone has wronged us or has sinned, no need to demonize the person, perhaps they just had a bad day or took out their frustration on us. Forgive others as we seek to be forgiven. Forgiving others and trusting that you will find forgiveness enables us to be transparent with our lives.
Transparent
Believe the Best – Forgive the Worst
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August 3, 2013 – Jamey Lee

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Transparent: Getting Beneath the Surface of 2 Corinthians.

We value Transparency at Jacob’s Well and on Saturday nights will dive into 2 Corinthians verse by verse to discover the riches that result from being transparent with God and others.

Jul 27, 2013"I'm Fine."2 Corinthians 1:1-11 Jamey Lee
Aug 3, 2013Believe the Best, Forgive the Worst2 Corinthians 1:12 - 2:11Jamey Lee
Aug 10, 2013Smelly Christians2 Corinthians 2:12 - 3:6 Jamey Lee
Aug 17, 2013Drop the Mask2 Corinthians 3:7 - 4:6Jamey Lee
Aug 24, 2013Translucent Jars of Clay2 Corinthians 4:7-15Jamey Lee
Aug 31, 2013Fading Tent, Renewing Light2 Corinthians 4:16 - 5:10Jamey Lee

Transparent: I’m Fine

We tend to say that we are “fine” even when the world is falling down around us. We want to take care of ourselves and not ask for help. We’ve gotten into the habit of being fake! Being transparent is about being honest about our weaknesses and struggles and trusting that the God of all Comfort will give us what we need.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=transparent.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013.07.27.mp3] July 28, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3(Right-click and select “Download linked file as” or “Save file as”)

Mission – Help > Connect > Ignite > Impact

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=mission.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013.07.20-Mission.mp3] Jacob’s Well Mission
Help > Connect > Ignite > ImpactThis is how we have seen God move people as they enter Jacob’s Well and move towards making an impact on the church, city, and world.  Join in and find your place!

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Vision – Reconciliation, Rehabilitation, Reciprocation

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=vision.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013.07.20-Vision.mp3] Jacob’s Well Vision
Reconciliation, Rehabilitation, ReciprocationA vision for Memphis from John 4 and looking a couple of years into the future, followed by a response from various people active at the Well.

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Values – T.O.U.C.H.E.D.

Jacob’s Well Values
T.O.U.C.H.E.D.At Jacob’s Well, this is what we highly value:
Transparency
Others-focused
Unconditional Acceptance
Community Development
Hope
Empowerment
Diversity

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Vision & Values

This exciting interactive visioning night brings into focus what the community of Jacob’s Well believes in and is working diligently toward.  Listen in for a glimpse into how God is at work.

Jul 20, 2013ValuesTransparency - Others-focused - Unconditional Acceptance - Community Development - Hope - Empowerment - Diversity
Jul 20, 2013VisionReconciliation, Rehabilitation, Reciprocation
Jul 20, 2013StrategyHelp > Connect > Ignite > Impact

Jacob: Make a Change

Jacob returns home & comes full circle as he buries his idols, faces death, and rises victorious as a world-changer and history-maker. Learn how to truly change and embrace the new creation within by getting in touch with the Higher Power without.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013.07.13.mp3] July 13, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3
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Jacob: Break the Cycle

The rape of Dinah and circumcision and slaughter of a village by Jacob’s redneck sons illustrates the cycles of pain and sin that many struggle with today.  The good news is that we can Break the Cycle and live differently because of God’s love and grace in Jesus Christ.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013.07.06.mp3] July 6, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3
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A Look Back on Bridging the Gap, March 2013

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” Winnie the Pooh to Piglet

I think most of us would say that we learn best by doing.  Think to yourself how many times you’ve heard someone say “speaking from experience” and then think about how that phrase makes you feel….. Isn’t that a great phrase?  It automatically gives you an appreciation for what the opinion of the speaker is because they’ve been there, done that.

Yet, if you think about it, our society doesn’t have the depth of experience it used to.  Nowadays, when someone says, “speaking from experience”, you have to question how much real world experience they’ve actually had. With the invention of the internet and the ease of communication, we’re able to get college degrees online without ever entering a classroom.  We’re ordering food without ever touching money or talking to a human.  We, as a society, have moved into a very ‘hands-clean’ sort of environment where building relationships is done through text messaging and gaining experience comes from looking through a computer screen.

Bridging the Gap was the experience I wanted before I even knew there was such a thing to want.  I don’t want a ‘hand’s clean’ sort of life where I’m so disconnected from the source that I can’t fully appreciate the fruit.  I want to get my hands dirty.  I want to be able to speak from experience.  I want to grow as much as I can in this life because I’m not going to get another one.

Years ago, when I realized I didn’t know a spark-plug from a fan belt I decided to take an Auto Mechanics class.  I guess I knew that if I wanted to have a vehicle that ran fairly well and didn’t break down all of the time, I’d have to figure out what it needed to stay maintained.

Bridging the Gap is that type of experience.  I can’t give away too much, or you won’t need to go on this weekend….and you NEED to go on this weekend.  But, think of it as an Auto Mechanics class and your car is your life.  Would you be getting better efficiency if you would let go of some things?  Are you at a point in your maintenance knowledge that you can start helping others maintain theirs, or are you the one who needs the repairs?  It asks, “Are you fighting to stay in the driver’s seat or are you willing to let God take His rightful position?”

So, this is me, sitting in a position of “speaking from experience”, and what I’ll leave you with is this: Let the world fall away, explore the forest, let the weekend take center stage, and let Bridging the Gap enter your life.  Experience is life’s best teacher……….don’t miss this opportunity.

Save the Date for our next Bridging the Gap on November 1-3, 2013

Jacob: Reconciliation

Reconciliation is all about relationships. So many long for restoration between family members, friends, and God from whom we have become estranged. In Jacob’s search for God knows what he has learned how to make amends and found reconciliation with God as he seeks to reconcile with his brother.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013.06.29.mp3] June 29, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3
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Jacob: Fighting for Identity

Bible doesn’t say why Jacob woke up in the middle of the night. But there are some things you have to do alone; there are some battles that other people cannot fight for you. Yet Jacob finds that we are never alone. And before Jacob faces his greatest fear, he gets jumped by Jesus and fights with him all night. Through this he is toughened up, gets a new start, and finally finds the identity that he has been searching for.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013.06.22.mp3] June 22, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3
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Jacob: Brotherly Fear

Jacob has been away for about 20 years and is not the same little coward that he was when he left.  When he ran away from home for fear of his brother he had nothing but God’s blessing and a walking stick.  Now he is loaded with money, livestock, and women.  Yet he is no match for big bad Esau and his 400 man army.  Jacob seeks to make amends and prays one of the most beautiful and powerful prayers in the bible.


June 8, 2013  –  Jamey Lee
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Jacob: Taking Inventory

Jacob leaves his father-in-law’s land and begins the long journey home.  But this time is is not trying to escape and driven by fear or insecurity.  This time he is being led by God’s word.  But before he leaves, he has to convince his wives, and too often, marriage relationships get enmeshed with parental relationships to form a triangle.  Thankfully they follow their man and their God and depart together.  But Laban finds out what is going on and catches up to confront Jacob.  Through a self-centered and delusional lens, Laban speaks about being a victim and justifies himself strongly.  Jacob, on the other hand honestly admits his fear and seeks reconciliation.  Obviously he has done a searching and fearless moral inventory, but Laban wants to do an inventory of his own on Jacob’s camp, looking for his missing idol.  When we are honest and thorough as we search throughout our relationships, leaving no rock unturned, we might find an idol or two as well.  The story ends with covenant and peace.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013.06.08.mp3] June 8, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Listen Later:  Download mp3
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Jacob: Moving On

Jacob has been raising his family and working hard for like 20 years and basically has nothing to show for it.  This time its not because of bad choices on his part, but because of the greed and selfishness of his father-in-law Laban.  And here we find Jacob in a spot where he realizes that it’s time to move on.  But he didn’t just walk out in anger or make an emotional decision in the moment.  Jacob had a plan, that was banking on God’s favor and provision.  Jacob created a win-win scenario for Laban where he could keep all the pure-bred, homogenous livestock, and Jacob would take the mutts, the ones that nobody else wants.  And yet in the next breeding seasons Jacob discovered the power in the recessive gene.  He didn’t understand the science behind it, but he trusted the God behind the science.  And over the next season, Jacob prospered and prepared for his next steps.

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Jacob: What’s love got to do with it

Jacob has gotten married to not one, but two wives, and now gets involves with two more “servant-wives.”  Just because something is in the bible does not mean you should try this at home!  Leslie Ratliff delivers a powerful message on love as Jacob continues to search for God knows what.

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Jacob: Working for Rachel

Jacob’s life was in shambles when he met Rachel, the woman of his dreams.  He had lost his family and his inheritance and was filled with so much guilt and shame for the things that he had done, that he packed up everything and moved across the Fertile Crescent where he hoped at least to survive. But when he met Rachel, bread, water, and shelter were not enough. Rachel was not justJacob’s wife, but his savior.  He wanted and needed Rachel so profoundly that he heard and saw only the things he wanted to hear and see.  Jacob wasn’t just a husband, but the answer to all of her problems.   We learn that through all of life there runs a universal theme of disappointment.  You and I will never experience life in the Spirit until you understand that–it’s the essence of the first step.  Jacob believed, “If I can just get Rachel, everything will be ok.”     And he goes to be with the one who he thinks is Rachel, and literally, the Hebrew says, “in the morning, behold, it was Leah” (v. 25).  No matter what counterfeit god we put our hopes in, in the morning, it is always Leah, never Rachel.  And when we put our hope in lesser things they will always let us down.

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Jacob: Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob has a dream about the gateway between heaven and earth.  He is struck with fear and rather than pursue his destiny, he continues to distance himself from God with conditional promises.  He has spent his whole life grasping after the blessing and is invited to be the blessing, and so are we.

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From Isolation to Embrace

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A little over a year ago, Alex sat in his car alone in the parking lot of a Church’s Chicken on the corner of Hollywood & Chelsea where he accidentally overdosed on heroin.  Somehow, he came to and soon after checked into the Warrior Center for rehab.  He was very skeptical of the Christian-based program and wanted to leave.  However, he was estranged from his family and had nowhere else to go.  Several years back he had thrown a party at his aunt and uncle’s house while they were out of town.  He and his friends did thousands of dollars worth of damage and his sin caused a riff in his whole extended family.  This guy was carrying a lot and felt responsible for much.  He didn’t know whether forgiveness was possible, but he doubted it.

Then on one of the first visits to Jacob’s Well, he bumped into his Aunt who he had not seen in years and who was not speaking to his mother since the incident.  It happened to be her first time to Jacob’s Well and honestly the first time to be in church for a while.  They embraced, he received forgiveness, and has begun to experience reconciliation in his family.  This miracle was what Alex needed to accept Christ and he was baptized soon after at the Well.  Last night at his graduation, his family came together in a way like never before.  Alex proudly recited 50 “battle verses” from memory as a testimony of the work that God has done in and through him this past year.

Do you feel like your guilt is too much?  Do you think your family can never reconcile?  There is no divide too big for God to bridge.  There is no wound too deep for God to heal.  Jesus Christ bridged the gap for us.  Through his stripes we are healed.  Through him we are made whole and can experience reconciliation with God and family.

 

Jacob: People-pleasing

“Can children be conditioned to be codependent? Clearly, yes. In the Bible, Rebekah shows a blatant bias toward her second-born son, Jacob, because he stays close to hearth and home. Meanwhile, Isaac favors his firstborn son, Esau, because he has prowess in hunting.

Since no two children have identical skills, all children should be recognized for their differences and respected for their distinctiveness. Oh, but Rebekah does not love in this way! She becomes obsessed. Thus, the conniving begins. Rebekah wants Jacob to receive “the birthright of the firstborn” (which unquestionably belongs to Esau). She becomes determined to deceive her husband so that he will give it to Jacob. Because of the enmeshed relationship between Rebekah and Jacob, she finds it easy to persuade her son to defraud his father. She plots. . . . She schemes. . . . She secretly plans. Rebekah coaches Jacob to cover his hands with the skin of a young goat so that they will feel like the hands of his brother. She even dresses Jacob in Esau’s clothes. Because of old age and weak eyes, father Isaac is fooled. Although the scheme is a success, Jacob is found out and flees for his life.

But alas, he does not escape his passive dependency. All too soon, he again becomes manipulated by others. His father-in-law and his own two wives are crafty and cunning. Meanwhile, he feels conned and controlled. Such is the misery in adulthood when one is enmeshed in childhood.”

From “Moving from Bondage to Balance” by June Hunt

 

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Jacob: Ripped Off

In Genesis 27:30-40 Esau shows up and realizes he’s been ripped off. He feels mistreated, taken advantage of, cheated out of the blessing that was rightfully his. Esau constantly feels like he’s missing out and ends up doing more whining and complaining than making any positive changes in his life. In doing so, Esau misses out on life and the blessings of each day. His fixation on his brother and who is ahead in the rat race causes him to miss the joy of the run.

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Jacob: Blessing Jacob

Jacob has felt robbed his whole life of blessing.  He’s watched Esau get the attaboy’s from his dad, succeed in sports in hunting, in manly things, while he sat at home and watched cooking shows.  Jacob probably felt pretty worthless sometimes.  He longed for approval from his father that he never received, so he took matters in his own hands.  With his mom, he devised a plan to steal the blessing that he longed for.  He manipulated, deceived, and helped himself to the blessing that was not rightfully his.  From Genesis 27:1-29

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Jacob: Comfort & Power

When Esau came in from hunting he was exhausted, famished, and vulnerable. When we have no margin, haven’t gotten enough rest, and are on edge, we are more prone to sin. We are more apt to turn to fill a desire of the flesh or be manipulated and taken advantage of by others. So get some rest and have some fun in the name of Jesus!  This and more in our story of Jacob from Genesis 25:29-34.

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Jacob: Intro

Whether you love him or hate him, I think we can all see at least a little of ourselves in Jacob.  Coming from behind, the prototypical underdog, even with his deceit and trickery, we might be able to identify.  Whether we’re seeking approval from our father, constantly trying to have a leg up on our sibling, letting love blind us, or revenge drive us, we’ve got some Jacob in each of us.  Maybe at the heart of Jacob’s pursuit after Esau and retreat from God’s call is fear, a fear that of not adding up, the fear of insignificance, the fear of being number two.  Listen to this message and join us on Saturday nights to engage with the stories of Jacob.

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Jacob: Searching for God knows What

Jacob was the son seeking approval from his father, grasping at the heels of his brother, letting love blind him and revenge drive him. Jacob is know for his ladder and his well and was forever changed in a cage-fight with God.

Apr 6, 2013Searching for God knows whatGenesis 25:19-28Jamey Lee
Apr 13, 2013Comfort & PowerGenesis 25: 29-34Jamey Lee
Apr 20, 2013Blessing JacobGenesis 27:1-29Jamey Lee
Apr 27, 2013Ripped OffGenesis 27:30-46Jamey Lee
May 4, 2013People PleasingGenesis 27:42-28:9Jamey Lee
May 11, 2013Jacob's LadderGenesis 28:10-22 Jamey Lee
May 18, 2013Working for RachelGenesis 29 Jamey Lee
May 25, 2013What’s love got to do with itGenesis 30:1-24 Leslie Ratliff
Jun 1, 2013Moving OnGenesis 30:25-43 Jamey Lee
Jun 8, 2013Taking InventoryGenesis 31:1-32:2 Jamey Lee
Jun 15, 2013Brotherly Fear & Making AmendsGenesis 32:3-21 Jamey Lee
Jun 22, 2013Fighting for IdentityGenesis 32:22-32 Jamey Lee
Jun 29, 2013ReconciliationGenesis 33 Jamey Lee
Jul 6, 2013Break the CycleGenesis 34 Jamey Lee
Jul 13, 2013Make a ChangeGenesis 35 Jamey Lee

 

Step by Step: Step 12

The first nine steps are all about reforming and rehabbing our lives in order to walk in the Spirit.  Steps 10-11 show us how to maintain the new life that comes as a result of committing one’s life and will to God.  The final step 12 is about giving away what we have received.  If you have worked the steps with honesty and thoroughness, you have witnessed the fruit of the Spirit born in your life:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  This is good stuff!  Too good to keep to ourselves.  We have it to share it.  The spiritual life that comes as the result of the steps is too good not to share.  This is at the heart of what we’re about at Jacob’s Well.  We call it reciprocation.Step 12:

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Step by Step: Steps 10-11 Lee

Steps 10 & 11 show us how to do what’s under your control so that you can do what’s not under your control. It’s like playing sports or music. Gameday doesn’t happen without day after day of practice. Yet somehow we think spirituality just happens by osmosis. Steps 10 and 11 offer a game plan to practice so that when the hour of temptation strikes we are ready and equipped to win.

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Step by Step: Steps 10-11 Kilzer

John Kilzer, leader and pastor of the Way, at St. John UMC in Midtown, shared on Step 10 and unceasing prayer at Jacob’s Well.

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Click here to listen to an original song by John Kilzer.

You can listen to and purchase more of Kilzer’s music here:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/john-kilzer/id663508

Step by Step: Steps 8 & 9

Our message on Steps 8 & 9 come from Genesis 4 and the the story of Cain and Abel. Maybe Cain never felt like what he offered was good enough. He always compared himself to his little brother and felt like he didn’t add up. Then God showed favor on Abel’s offering and this threatened Cain’s identity in a major way. All he wanted was to be accepted, is that such a bad thing? But he was rejected and Cain didn’t deal so well with rejection. In Cain’s mind he may have thought he only had two options, either radically readjust his identity or eliminate Abel. It was too much for him and found him on a bad day. Sadly, Cain decided that Abel could no longer continue to exist. Cain murdered Abel because he fell prey to what he could not master.

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Step by Step: Steps 6 & 7

Step 6:  Were Entirely Ready to Have God Remove All These Defects of Character.
Step 7:   Humbly Asked Him to Removed Our Shortcomings.

When we get ready for God to remove our character defects and ask Him to free us from sin, we are lining ourselves up with God’s law and the way things were meant to be.  We can’t break the laws of the universe, but we can break ourselves on them.  Because we’ve used our freedom as an opportunity for the flesh for so long, we’ve made a mess of our lives.  We like to find out how to live the hard way.  We’ve tried to find an easier, softer way but we could not.  Now at the crossroads we are ready to try it God’s way.  And soon we’ll find that freedom in Christ is more glorious than we could ever have imagined.

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Ruth’s Heart

Jacob’s Well is proud to introduce Ruth’s Heart, an emerging non-profit begun by our volunteer staff members, Tana and Tom Vanderhooft.  It was begun to give compassionate attention to the real needs of our neighbors that we often meet on the streets on C.P.R. and in worship on Saturday nights.

heart_transparentRuth’s Heart is a non-profit organization that is assisting anyone in the Memphis area that is living on the streets, in rehabilitation from addiction or just in need to connect with resources that are available to them throughout the city.  We will help connect men, women and families with all the resources available to help them get back on their feet and improve their lives.  We also offer Discipleship opportunities, Appointment Assistance, and Transportation.  Some of our current volunteer needs are:

  • Connecting with a client and helping them find resources
  • Transportation (driving or delivering bus passes or donated items)
  • Phone calls to resources to keep our database current
  • Prayer Warriors

Ruth’s Heart is currently helping neighbors every day with needs such as finding emergency shelter, transitional shelter or housing, finding food pantries, getting identification or enrolling in social services and other areas of need.  We also assist in making appointments and providing transportation to these appointments to ensure our clients are able to get the help they need.  We will then keep in contact with our clients and work to build relationships with them so they can count on us for any future needs they may have, continue to help them move forward and improve their lives, and not just address their immediate need.

We have many different opportunities and are always in need of volunteers and donations to further our ministry, please visit our website or find us on facebook for more information about who we are, those we serve and how you can help make a difference in someone’s life!

www.ruthsheart.org

www.facebook.com/ruthsheart

Step by Step: Step 3

As humans, we find ways to deal with life and what it throws at us. If things aren’t going our way, we try to control things, or at least do things to make us feel like we’re in control. Jesus spoke to the essence of Step 3 when He said in Mark 14:36, “”Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.”  We have to  let go and let God.

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Step by Step: Step 2

In this sermon Dr. Maxie Dunnam preaches on Step 2, the time when we must come to believe in a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

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Step by Step: Step 1

Step 1:  We admitted that we were powerless, that our lives had become unmanageable.

The first step to begin walking in the Spirit is to admit that we are not in control. . .that we are powerless and not the ultimate manager of our lives. Tonight we reflect on how Adam and Eve’s grasp for power led to their Fall. Like Adam and Eve, we cover ourselves up by justifying our actions or judging others who seem to be worse off than us. Through these self-deceiving practices we come to believe that we are all-powerful. The good news is that God is in control and when we become vulnerable and let go, we discover a Power far greater than ourselves.

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Step by Step God Story

This past week we started Step by Step, where we bring together the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the framework of the 12 steps.  Lots of newcomers showed up but one is especially memorable.  She had gotten sober several years earlier through the help of recovery groups, but when she found Jesus and began going to church, got away from 12 step work.  A couple of weeks ago she went with a friend back to a meeting, but didn’t feel free to talk about her higher power Jesus.  She had never heard of Jacob’s Well or Step by Step, but this Saturday she saw all the cars in the parking lot and decided to go in and see what was going on.  As she heard the message on the steps and attended the meeting after worship, she was amazed at God’s provision for her exact need.  She had found a safe place to talk about recovery and Jesus and was able to offer her experience, strength, and hope to others.  Join her and experience God at Step by Step each Saturday Night.

4:30 – Women’s Bible/Step meeting
6:00 – Worship
7:30 – Bible/Step Meeting

Step by Step

Step by Step is a journey through the 12 steps via the lens of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Saturday Nights January to March will include both worship and group discussion. At 6:00 is a service with music, stories, and teaching themed around each step. Both before and after will be a discussion-based meeting where participants share experience, strength, and hope. The meeting at 4:30 is women only and the one at 7:30 is co-ed.

At Jacob’s Well we believe that rehab isn’t just for addicts and invite all people to embrace this amazing framework for living life on life’s terms.

Jan 5, 2013IntroDesires & Deep NeedsGalatians 5:16-24Jamey Lee
Jan 12, 2013Step 1Powerlessness & DenialGenesis 2:15-17; Gen 3:1-13Jamey Lee
Jan 19, 2013Step 2 Jesus has made me His ownPhilippians 3:1-14Maxie Dunnam
Jan 26, 2013Step 3SurrenderMark 14:26-38Jamey Lee
Feb 2, 2013Step 4HousecleaningLuke 11:24-26Jamey Lee
Feb 9, 2013Step 5Confession1 John 1:9Jamey Lee
Feb 16, 2013Steps 6-7FreedomGalatians 5:1-6, Gal 5:13-14Jamey Lee
Feb 23, 2013Steps 8-9ReconciliationGenesis 4:1-16Jamey Lee
Mar 2, 2013Steps 10-11Prayer & Meditation1 Thessalonians 5:16-18John Kilzer
Mar 9, 2013Steps 10-11SanctificationMatthew 6:9-13, Psalm 119:1-16
Jamey Lee
Mar 16, 2013Step 12ReciprocationMatthew 5:13-16Jamey Lee

Step by Step- Introduction: Desires & Deep Needs

In Step by Step we won’t dwell on the problem as much as the solution.  We’re not concerned about what we keep turning to as much as why you keeping turning to it.  We believe that all of these things that form anonymous programs, alcohol, drugs, relationships, are just symptoms of a deeper problem.  And when we get to the source, to the root of our problems, then we can find true freedom.

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Step by Step

Step by Step is a journey through the 12 steps via the lens of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  At Jacob’s Well we believe that rehab isn’t just for addicts and invite all people to embrace this amazing framework for living life on life’s terms.

At 6:00 is a service with music, stories, and teaching themed around each step. Both before and after will be a discussion-based meeting where participants share experience, strength, and hope. The meeting at 4:30 is women only and the one at 7:30 is co-ed.

Nursery and Childcare is available from 4:30 – 7:30.

Recovery Study Bibles available free to participants after 3rd visit. Also, we are now a TN Drug Court Approved meeting.

Click here to attend on Facebook.

WHY CAN’T SANTA DO IT?

Reposted from “A Childlike Faith” http://jacobswellkidscommunity.blogspot.com

Christmas Kids CommunityThe lesson was from a book, The Sparkle Box.  When we care for others, we care for Jesus.  That was the point.  The activity was an outpouring of love with that idea in mind.  The kids’ task was to stuff and wrap 80 presents to be given to homeless individuals in the city.  The project was Ethan’s idea, so he wanted to be a part of explaining the project to the rest of the kids.  He told them who the presents were for, what we needed to do, and how they would be given out on Christmas Eve.  (More on the Christmas Party on the Road here).When he finished, I probe for understanding.  Any questions?  Do you know what you’re supposed to do?  The task was simple. What questions could there be? Terrion’s hand shoots up.  Uh oh!  I hope it is a question Ethan can field.  I don’t want to step on any toes by jumping in and taking over.

“Why can’t we find Santa?  Why doesn’t he do it?”

I look at Ethan, nervous about what he’ll say next.  Please don’t tell them Santa isn’t real – what an honest, straightforward, and possibly catastrophic answer that would be.  But it would be so Ethan.  Before I could interject, this it what I hear.
“Well,” Ethan says, “Santa comes down a chimney, right? He can’t come if there’s no chimney.  The people who will get these presents don’t have homes so they don’t have chimneys.  So Santa can’t do it.  That’s why we’re here.”Couldn’t have said it better myself.  The kids went on to fold boxes, fill them with presents, wrap them in paper, and top each with a bow.  And surprisingly, when it came time to give them up, not a single one protested.  They understood that these presents were for Jesus.  They really are growing and changing.  I see their hearts opening to God every day.Ethan’s response got me to thinking about how we are called to do what others can’t or will not do.  What a powerful message!  Jesus makes each of us clean as snow even though that seems impossible.  We are selfish, unholy, impure, deceitful, lazy, unkind, etc.  Santa definitely can’t fix that.  It’s impossible.  Only Jesus can.  If we strive to be more and more like him, we must set our minds to also tackle the impossible.  After all, isn’t it true that with God, all things are possible?

Christmas Reciprocation- Recipollution vs Reciprocation

Mary’s Song, the Magnifat, has been ranked among the greatest poems ever written, a reciprocation of God’s might & mercy. The mighty will fall and the weak shall be lifted up all through a God who shows mercy to the humble and justice to oppressors. How can we reciprocate by showing mercy to the lowly and fighting against oppression and injustice?

Click Here to Listen to This Message.

Christmas Reciprocation- Blessed to Be a Blessing

When you hear good news, you have to share it.  Mary journeys to see her cousin Elizabeth and they share stories of how God is at work and are encouraged by one another.  We are blessed to be a blessing and our serving is reciprocal.

Click Here to Listen to This Message.

Christmas Reciprocation- Impossible Empowerment

When we are driven by guilt, obligation, or trying to please others, we get burned out and are limited by our own negative feelings. When God motivates us to serve Him in response to His goodness and grace, the possibilities are endless.

Click Here to Listen to the First Message in This Series.

Christmas Reciprocation

Respond to God’s greatest gift by giving to others in ways you never have before this Christmas season. Center yourself on Christ and find tangible ways to give back on Saturday nights at Jacob’s Well.

Dec 1, 2012Impossible EmpowermentLuke 1:26-38Jamey Lee
Dec 8, 2012Blessed to Be a BlessingLuke 1:39-45Jamey Lee
Dec 15, 2012Recipollution vs ReciprocationLuke 1:46-55Jamey Lee
Dec 22, 2012A Miracle in the Middle of a MessLuke 2- 1-12Leslie Ratliff
Dec 29, 2012Its not your birthdayMatthew 2:1-12Jamey Lee

November Proved Many Reasons to be Thankful.

The past month was a very special one for Jacobs Well! As you know we moved to our new location at 602 Looney Avenue. It is wonderful to be closer to the homeless community that we serve and to also have significantly more worship space than in our previous Summer and Highland location. We are grateful for how God has provided this wonderful new facility for us and financial and volunteer resources provided by local churches, including a generous gift from Christ Church and the Asbury District.

“…Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” –Philippians 3:6

We are especially excited that our new expanded space will enable us to have one service at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday evenings as opposed to two services. We will, however, continue to focus on the special needs of women through discipleship. A group of ladies will meet before the service at 4:30 for a study on prayer by Kay Arthur.

We are appreciative for the support of our volunteer staff and believe that our new single service will require less of their time to serve, while continuing to increase the impact of our downtown ministry.

If November is the month for thankfulness, then December will truly be the month of celebration. We hope that you will join us at our new location during the coming month to celebrate the birth of Christ and experience the joy of all that he is doing to work in the lives of so many through our church and community.

Thanksgiving Dinner on the Road

Each Wednesday Night, a dedicated crew departs from 602 Looney Ave. and goes out on the streets of Memphis delivering a warm meal, coats, blankets, and the love of Christ. This weekly event is called Compassion Party on the Road, or CPR.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, 11/21, we’ll be amping up our efforts to bring a special Thanksgiving meal to our neighbors who are without family and isolated from large feeding events. You can help by donating parts of the meal like whole turkey breasts, pans of stuffing, greenbean casseroles, etc. or winter gloves and hats to give as gifts.

We’ll also need plenty of hands to put it all together. We’ll begin gathering on Thanksgiving Eve at 2:00pm in the new kitchen of Jacob’s Well at the Smith Neighborhood Center at 602 Looney Ave. 38107 (off Danny Thomas North of St. Jude). Others will be hitting the streets at about 6:00pm to deliver the meals.

To volunteer in any of these ways, please contact Sherri at TDR@jacobswellmemphis.org and join our event on Facebook

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tattooed on the Heart

Sometimes a word that we hear or read takes root in our heart and changes the trajectory of our life. When this happens, the word is tattooed on our hearts forever. Jeremiah 31:33 describes it as God “writing his law on our heart.” On Saturday nights in November and December, men and women will be sharing stories of different words of scripture were tattooed on their hearts and we will be encouraged and challenged by these words.

Nov 3, 2012Tattooed on the HeartJeremiah 31: 31-34Jamey Lee
Nov 10, 2012Transformed vs ConformedRomans 12:1-3Jamey Lee
Nov 17, 2012Even ThoughHabakkuk 3:1-2, Hab 3:17-19Jamey Lee
Nov 24, 2012Unto the Least of TheseMatthew 25:31-46Jamey Lee

 

Join us this Saturday for a moving service in our new home.

This Saturday will be a very special one for Jacob’s Well because it will be the first service, since moving to our new location at 602 Looney Avenue, off Danny Thomas, North of St. Jude.

This is the culmination of many months of prayer and planning by Jacob’s Well staff and volunteers. We felt God’s calling to be closer to the Memphians who need us most and this move will enable us to reach more of those who can benefit the greatest from our message of hope
and reconciliation.

Being in our new Uptown Memphis location provides us a wonderful  opportunity to minister to more of our homeless neighbors and reach out to several women centers as well as serve a very diverse community.

We will be having two services each week: one at 5:00 p.m. which is directed to women and families with children, and a second service at 7:00 p.m., which is focused on serving our male population, although both services are open to anyone who would like to participate.

We realize that our move from East Memphis is a greater distance for many of our volunteers to come and may result in some temporary loss of support. However, we know God led us to this location and that He will provide us with the help and support we need to do His work.

If you would like to participate as a volunteer in assisting with either of our two services on Saturday’s, or if you would like to make a donation to our ministry, please contact us at www.jacobswellmemphis.org or call 290-2124.

Ruth- Cost-Benefit Analysis

This Week’s Passage: Ruth 4:1-12

Naomi’s closest relative in town considers the proposition to take on the field and see’s it as a win-win, until Ruth is brought into the picture, then determines that he will lose more than he’ll gain. The selfless and loving motivations of Boaz stand in stark contrast. Rather than looking at costs and benefits, he acts out of law and love. What is your lens to making decisions, a self-centered cost-benefit analysis or a commitment to turn your will and life over to the care of God?

Click Here to Listen to this Message.

Ruth- Love Wins

This Week’s Passage: Ruth 3

Naomi devises a plan for the young, attractive Ruth to marry the older, distinguished Boaz. The risky and bold plan consists of creating a sexually-charged environment and relying on Bo’s integrity and love to win in the end. And in the end, love does win. Like Yahweh does for Israel, Boaz sweeps Ruth under the shelter of his wings, not as in a porno, but a beautiful story of redemption. Bo is an image of Christ, our redeemer and bridegroom. What risky and bold plan will you concoct to find shelter under the wings of the Most High? How can you take a leap of faith into your bridegroom’s loving arms?

Click Here to Listen to this Message.

Ruth- Bo Knows

This Week’s Passage: Ruth 2

Naomi in utter despair and Ruth who has nothing, yet gives away everything are a couple that appear to be ready for the grave, yet from God’s perspective are ripe for harvest. By “chance” Ruth meets Bo and everything suddenly changes as he is as extravagantly generous with her as she has been with Naomi. In our lives, when things look like they can’t get any worse is when great miracles often happen. Even though we don’t see it, God works through the circumstances of our lives and is extravagantly generous with his faithful.

Click Here to Listen to This Message.

From the Well to Detox

A couple of weeks ago I (Jamey) noticed a guy in his early 20s with a woman I presumed to be his mother who I had not seen before.  I didn’t get a chance to talk with them, but wondered what God might be up to.  That Tuesday night I received a call from the kid asking me if I knew of where he could get detoxed from opiates.  He shared with me that he was ready to get clean and thought I might know of some resources.  I pointed him to Delta Medical Center and prayed with him.  The next day I talked with his mom and got more of the story.  Apparently she had met my wife Michelle in a bookstore a couple of years ago when Jacob’s Well was just getting off the ground.  She had thought of coming and really wanted her son to attend, but didn’t make the effort until this past weekend.  She decided that she would invite her son, but whether or not he agreed she would attend.  He surprised her with a yes and they worshipped together that Saturday Night at Jacob’s Well.  A couple of days later he decided to get clean.

Today he is working on his recovery in a rehab in California and God is receiving glory, honor, and praise.

Ruth

Saturdays in September & October 2012

Don’t forget, we’re meeting every Saturday night at 5:00 & 7:00 for worship. Childcare and Kids Community are available during the 5pm service.

Ruth is the story of an unlikely girl doing some extraordinary things for the sake of others. It’s the story of self-will run into the ground and God’s will prevailing through redemption. Join us over these 6 weeks at Jacob’s Well as we study the life of Ruth. In each service you’ll find engaging stories, weekly communion, urban sound, refreshments and coffee, and all welcome and accepted.

Come as you are and leave with hope for tomorrow.

Date Sermon
September 8 When Bad Things Happen
September 15 Where You Go, I’ll Go
September 22 Bo Knows
October 6 Love Wins
October 13 Cost-Benefit Analysis
October 20 Finale

Ruth- Where You Go, I’ll Go

This Week’s Passage: Ruth 1:6-22

When the women get to the dead end of where they were headed, they must turn around and begin the return journey. But which home will they return, Moab or Judah? Ruth surprisingly clings to Naomi and turns to her God, her people, and her land. Ruth surprisingly acts like Naomi’s God in her selflessness, faithfulness, and love while Naomi reacts to their circumstances with bitterness and despair. When hard times hit, will we turn back to idols or our Father in heaven? Will we seek to serve others worse off than us, or throw ourselves a pity party? God’s faithful love invites us into relationship with Him and God’s faithful people invite us into relationship with others.

Click Here to Listen to This Message.

Ruth

Ruth is the story of an unlikely girl doing some extraordinary things for the sake of others. It’s the story of self-will run into the ground and God’s will prevailing through redemption.

Sep 8, 2012When Bad Things HappenRuth 1:1-5Jamey Lee
Sep 15, 2012Where You Go, I’ll GoRuth 1:6-22Jamey Lee
Sep 22, 2012Bo KnowsRuth 2Jamey Lee
Oct 6, 2012Love WinsRuth 3Jamey Lee
Oct 13, 2012Cost-Benefit AnalysisRuth 4:1-12Jamey Lee
Oct 20, 2012FinaleRuth 4:13-22Sandra Leatherwood Clay

Down is the New Up: Jesus kept going Up

Looking to heaven we see Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, exalted King of kings and Lord of lords. Trust that God is in control and that he is good and is coming to put his hand on your shoulder to encourage you, to comfort you, to speak to you and reveal to you that down is the new up.

Click Here to Listen to the Last Message in This Series.

Down is the New Up: Two Sons

The story of the Prodigal in Luke 15 which shows us two ways to try to get high in life. One is the way of the younger son, seeking happiness and fulfillment through immorality, breaking all the rules and doing whatever you want. The way of the older son is also seeking happiness and fulfillment, but through a different approach, following all of the rules and getting high on the attaboys and feelings of accomplishment from doing what’s right.

Click Here to Listen to the Fourth Message in this Series.

Down is the New Up: Jesus’ Lowerarchy

Maslow’s Hierarchy is about the gravity of the earth, what comes up must come down. Psychology 101 says that all people must climb up the pyramid to get to the top of life, “self-actualization.” In reality, pursuing satisfaction in worldly things only leads to emptiness and longing for more…

Jesus’ pyramid is flipped upside-down. We follow Jesus down providing for the needs of others, rescuing victims of violence and abuse, accepting others as they are in relationships across racial and economic lines, building respect and confidence in our neighbors living in poverty, and denying ourselves as we seek to carry the cross.

Click Here to Listen to the Third Message in this Series.

Down is the New Up: 1st & 2nd Adam

‎”There are only two stories, the story of Adam and the story of Jesus. The story of Adam, symbolized by ^ is the story of self-will, one who climbs up only to fall down. The story of Christ is symbolized by v and is the story of God’s will, a descent into our messiness and sin and a surprising ascent into heaven. . . Adam tells the story of the failure of trust, the failure of obedience and the failure of love. . . Jesus tells a story of perfect trust, perfect obedience and perfect love. Our journey leads us out of the broken story of Adam and into the unparalleled story of Jesus.” – 2010 Spring Reader of Asbury Theological Seminary, edited by JD Walt.

Click Here to Listen to the Second Message in This Series.

Descent- Down is the New Up

Saturdays in July 2012

Don’t forget, during the summer we’re meeting every Saturday night at 7:00 for worship. Childcare and Kids Community are in full effect.

Down is the New Up

We try to climb up the ladder of success but fall on our face.  God comes down into our messiness to show us love and transforms us into the kind of people who get our hands dirty to love others.

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost?”  – Jesus

Date Sermon
July 7 Part 1- The Gravity of Heaven
July 14 Part 2- The Story of Adam & The Story of Jesus
July 21 Part 3- Maslow’s Hierarchy vs. Jesus’ Lowerarchy
July 28 Part 4- The Search for Happiness & Fulfillment in the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Down is the New Up: The Gravity of Heaven

The gravity of earth says that what goes up, must come down. The gravity of heaven, proved in the resurrection, is the good news that what goes down, must come up.

God has spent the history of the world coming down into our messiness to show us his love and transform us into the kind of people who go down into the mess of others to love them.

Click Here to Listen to the First Message in this Series.

Down is the New Up

The gravity of earth says that what goes up, must come down. The gravity of heaven, proved in the resurrection, is the good news that what goes down, must come up. As we deny ourselves, God provides. As we hit bottom, a power greater than ourselves lifts us up. This part of the series will share stories of heaven’s way of ascension, as we humble ourselves, we are exalted.

Jul 7, 2012Gravity of HeavenLuke 9:23-25Jamey Lee
Jul 14, 20121st & 2nd AdamGen 2:15-17; Gen 3:1-7; Philippians 2:5-11Jamey Lee
Jul 21, 2012Jesus’ LowerarchyMatthew 6:9-13Jamey Lee
Jul 28, 2012Two SonsLuke 15:1-2; Luke 15: 11-32Jamey Lee
Aug 4, 2012Non-anxious Humility1 Peter 5:5b-7Jamey Lee
Aug 11, 2012Joseph's AscentGenesis 37:1-12, Gen 37: 23-28,
Gen 39:1-12, Gen 39: 16-23;
Gen 41:1-16, Gen 41: 25-44
Jamey Lee
Aug 18, 2012Joseph's Brothers AscentGenesis 43-45Jamey Lee
Aug 25, 2012Nowhere to Go But UpLeslie Ratliff
Sep 1, 2012Jesus kept going UpEphesians 1:15-2:7Jamey Lee

 

Compassion Party on the Road: Reaching Out to Memphis’ Homeless

We had an extraordinary night out on the streets Wednesday night, 5/30/12, on CPR.  God was moving in an awesome way that was so evident.  At one of our stops there was a Hispanic man that shared with us that his best friend, that we also know,  had been assaulted, and was in a coma in the hospital.  We talked and prayed with him.  After the prayer he said, “your prayer and touch as we held hands made me cry.”  He said, “I never do that.”  He said that he wants to change his way of life and stop drinking.  He did not know what he had felt, but he knew that it was powerful.  We told him he had felt the presence of God.  He threw his beer away and plans on coming to Jacob’s Well. One of our other stops on Summer Avenue we saw another one of our friends, Michael.  He needed something to eat and drink and we talked for a while. He shared with us about another one of our friends, Johnny an elderly man with a cane, was killed crossing Summer Avenue a little over a week ago.  This was so hard to hear as I listened and could see the hurt and tears in their eyes.  As we continued to talk with Michael he decided that he wanted to get off the street and go into Safe Harbor, a Christian based mission that helps folks to get connected back into society and to work.  Wednesday night Michael was off the street and excited about getting another chance.


These were just two of the particular things that we witnessed not counting the seeds that were planted that we never even realize.  God works in mighty ways.  He orders our steps and directs our paths.  He reveals Himself to us and gives us hope and encouragement.  It is an honor and blessing to be His vessel!  We stand in awe of You, Jesus.

Urban Farming: Church Planting in Acts

The story of an exciting movement that literally turned the world upside-down is shared in the book of Acts.  Seeds of the gospel were scattered and in one generation thousands of faith communities were planted in urban centers throughout Israel and Asia Minor.  Today our land is in serious drought and ripe for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit and urban farms to harvest the crop.

Jun 2, 2012Plowing the FieldActs 1:8Jamey Lee
Jun 9, 2012Scattered SeedsActs 1:8Jamey Lee
Jun 16, 2012Watering the CropActs 2-12Jamey Lee
Jun 23, 2012Rapid GrowthActs 13-18Jamey Lee
Jun 30, 2012Reaping HarvestActs 19:23-41Jamey Lee

 

Black Clouds at Block Party

block partyOn Wed. afternoon dark clouds loomed overhead as we worked feverishly to set up for our first block party.  I’ve got to admit I was experiencing some anxiety, especially when Jim showed me the live doppler of the heavy rain coming.

Over the last month a group of Jacobs Wellers have been working hard on this new thing called CPB, Compassion Party on the Block. We printed fliers and went out through the neighborhood promoting an upcoming party in a nearby empty lot. Too often with something like this, the planning team will boast about their success before the event happens. But CPB was different. Someone asked if we invited the press and I said, “No, we really didn’t want a whole lot of people to know about it!” We didn’t know what to expect, so instead of boasting, we prayed, including a prayer walk on site last Saturday night.

So when the dark clouds came to rain on our party, we kept praying. A few of us got together and simply asked our Father to blow the rain clouds away and let us have the party to give Him glory. We also prayed for CPR and asked that He would allow someone to come to know him that night and get off the streets. And y’all, God showed off Wed night. While the water was filling the gutters a few blocks north, there wasn’t more than a few drops at the Compassion Party on the Block. And over 200 came together for a great time and heard the gospel as they partied. And sure enough, during CPR a gentleman named Wayne gave his life to Christ and entered into Safe Harbor that night. And he plans to get baptized here in about a month. The CPR and CPB volunteers can’t take credit for that y’all. No boasting except in the Lord.

Judgmental – Arrogance & Anxiety

James 4:11-17  Being judgmental is tied to arrogance and anxiety.  Who do we think we are as human beings?  We take on the role of God and think we know what’s best for our neighbors when we have trouble managing our own lives.  We think we know the future when most of us have enough trouble getting through the day.

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Judgmental – Root of Our Issues

James gets to the root of our issues by helping us to look at the desires that lead to many of our struggles.  While we too often spend our lives running from our problems, James gives the good news that when we resist the devil, he will flee.  What power there is in the name of Christ!  Resisting comes by humbling ourselves, admitting our powerlessness, and submitting and surrendering to God.

Click Here to Listen

James 4:1-10

Judgmental – Wisdom

Wisdom is more street smarts than book smart, more revelation than information.  Wisdom takes an idea and applies it to life.  Worldly wisdom teaches us to rely on ambition and jealousy to get ahead and then to cover up with lies and boasting when we get behind.  Spiritual wisdom offers a different way that leads to a pure heart, yielding to others, and other upside-down ways of living.  Listen to James 3:13-18 and get wise.

Click Here to Listen

Judgmental: The Epistle of James part 2

Two of the greatest enemies of Jesus today are Hypocrisy and Judgmental Attitudes.  James, the brother of Jesus, confronts these two issues in a compelling and relevant way.

 

Apr 14, 2012Controlling the TongueJames 3:1-12Jamey Lee
Apr 21, 2012WisdomJames 3:13-18Jamey Lee
Apr 28, 2012Root of Our IssuesJames 4: 1-10Jamey Lee
May 5, 2012Arrogance & AnxietyJames 4: 11-17Jamey Lee
May 12, 2012Judgment is ComingJames 5: 1-12Jamey Lee
May 19, 2012The Power of PrayerJames 5:13-18Jerome Scales Jr.
May 26, 2012WanderingJames 5: 19-20Jamey Lee

Judgmental – Controlling the Tongue

Our words hold the power of life and death, so James teaches to tame your tongue.  Our tongue can bring large harm through destructive means such as gossip and anger.  Yet rather than bite our tongue, the gospel teaches us to give our hearts to Christ and discover an inside-out spirituality.  As our hearts are transformed, our words follow suit.

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Dead Faith: Prejudice & Profiling

Discrimination, racism, and economic profiling are building walls between people in the city of Memphis and our churches.  James the Just offers timely wisdom to transform our prejudice to reconciliation in this weekend’s passage,  James 2:1-13.  Listen and be inspired by the axioms of Jesus:  The First will be Last and the Last will be First and Love your Neighbor as Yourself.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=faithwithoutworks.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Faith-Without-Works-is-Dead_-Prejudice-Profiling.mp3]March 24, 2013  –  Jamey Lee Faith without Works is Dead
Prejudice & Profiling  –   James 2:1-13

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Dead Faith: Joy through Troubles

James 1:1-11  Nobody’s seen the troubles I’ve seen but James… yet he sees them as filled with joy!  Listen as we explore James 1:1-11 and the amazing wisdom of Jesus upside-down kingdom to give a different prospective on the troubles that plague our lives and our city.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=faithwithoutworks.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Faith-Without-Works-is-Dead_-Joy-through-Troubles.mp3] March 3, 2013  –  Jamey Lee RSSSubscribe

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Faith Without Works is Dead: The Epistle of James Part 1

Two of the greatest enemies of Jesus today are Hypocrisy and Judgmental Attitudes.  James, the brother of Jesus, confronts these two issues in a compelling and relevant way. 

 

Mar 3, 2012Growth through TroublesJames 1: 1-11Jamey Lee
Mar 10, 2012Resisting TemptationJames 1: 12-18Jamey Lee
Mar 17, 2012Listening & DoingJames 1: 19-26Jamey Lee
Mar 24, 2012Dead Faith: Prejudice & ProfilingJames 2: 1-13Jamey Lee
Mar 31, 2012Faith without Works is DeadJames 2: 14-26Jamey Lee

When Helping Hurts, Poverty: Tough Love & Extravagant Mercy

When we’ve lived a tough life we need tough love to move forward. At the same time we need to experience the extravagant mercy of Christ in one another. The story of Hosea and Gomer brings together a tough love with consequences leading to a bottom, and the extravagant mercy that forgives great sin.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=helpinghurtspoverty.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Tough-Love-Extravagant-Mercy.mp3] Feb 18, 2012  –  Jamey Lee RSSSubscribe
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When Helping Hurts, Poverty: Fighting Poverty without Hurting the Poor

Helping someone in trouble is generally a good thing to do, but how we help can actually do more harm than good in helping someone get back on their feet. When we communicate they are helpless without us, fail to empower our neighbors to connect to resources to grow towards sustainable living, or expect them to get by without work, housing, and good health, we hurt more than help.

[mp3player width=200 height=150 config=helpinghurtspoverty.xml file=http://www.jacobswellmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/When-Helping-Hurts_-Fighting-Poverty-without-Hurting-the-Poor.mp3]Feb 18, 2012  –  Jamey Lee RSSSubscribe
Listen Later:  Download mp3
(Right-click and select “Download linked file as” or “Save file as”)

When Helping Hurts: Fighting Poverty without hurting the Poor

Helping someone in trouble is generally a good thing to do, but how we help can actually do more harm than good in helping someone get back on their feet.    When we communicate they are helpless without us, fail to empower them to connect to resources to grow towards sustainable living, or expect them to get by without work, housing, and good health, we hurt more than help.  During February we will explore various stories in the Old Testament, seeking to glean truth for our lives and our neighbors in the process.

Feb 4, 2012Fighting Poverty without Hurting the PoorMicah 6:8Jamey Lee
Feb 11, 2012Elijah’s Reciprocation & Resources1 Kings 17:8-241 Kings 17:8-24 Jamey Lee
Feb 18, 2012When Helping Hurts, Poverty: Tough Love & Extravagant MercyHosea 1:2-6 Jamey Lee
Feb 25, 2012Nehemiah’s Job-making programSelections from Nehemiah Jamey Lee