November 25th, 2018
John 18:33–37 CEB
33 Pilate went back into the palace. He summoned Jesus and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others spoken to you about me?”
35 Pilate responded, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your nation and its chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”
36 Jesus replied, “My kingdom doesn’t originate from this world. If it did, my guards would fight so that I wouldn’t have been arrested by the Jewish leaders. My kingdom isn’t from here.”
37 “So you are a king?” Pilate said. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born and came into the world for this reason: to testify to the truth. Whoever accepts the truth listens to my voice.”
38 “What is truth?” Pilate asked
Pilate’s question reveals doubt. He asked, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He asked it because Jesus didn’t look like a revolutionary or a criminal, the only types who would be foolish enough to claim to be the King of the Jews in the face of Rome.
Jesus responded by asking are you speaking for yourself? Jesus must clarify the question, because the Roman conception of king. To the Romans, “king” meant a political rival. Though Jesus was a King, He was not a political rival in the sense Pilate thought. Jesus goes on to explain to Pilate that My kingdom is not of this world. Jesus here declares the great and permanent difference between God’s kingdom and the kingdoms of this world. Jesus’ kingdom originates in heaven (My kingdom is not of this world). The foundation of Jesus’ kingdom is peace (His servants will not fight). His kingdom is not from here: Augustine observed from this verse that earthly kingdoms are based upon force, pride, the love of human praise, the desire for domination, and self interest—all displayed by Pilate and the Roman Empire. Jesus Kingdom wasn't. It was based on not on self interest, but upon the Father's desire which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. A kingdom where the Holy Spirit operates on the inner man. Where our soul and spirit join together, linking with the God who is all in all. His focus wasn't on power and politics, but praise, peace and power in the Spirit.
Desiring for us to walk in the anointing, grace and favor of God.
Next Jesus challenges him by proclaiming he came here to testify to the truth, and if we accept the truth we obey His voice. Pilate then asks, " What is truth? " “It was the question of the practical politician, who attached no importance to the speculations of philosophers or the dreams of enthusiasts. If the truth was all that Jesus was concerned about, there was no need (Pilate thought) to take him seriously.” (McClymont) For Pilate, soldiers and armies were truth, Rome was truth, Caesar was truth, political power was truth, but Jesus knew what truth was, while Pilate was still seeking.
Jesus doesn't go on in this passage and explain truth to him. He basically leaves the subject hanging out their just to be thought upon by Pilate. However, through his life and teachings we know he demonstrated that he was the truth. Jesus said “ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. " He was the truth ( John 14:6 ), and promised that those who expressed faith in him would be set free from sin, doubt and fear.
Truth is a predominant subject of our Lord's in John's gospel. He even declared that the Spirit of truth would come and testify of him in John 15:26. Truth is an important commodity in God's kingdom. Let us not forsake its liberating force by avoiding its revelatory nature, but find its power in its clarity. Walking in the light of the Lord's grace and abiding faithfully in his kingdom of light.
CGMF Leadership Changes and Adjustments.
November 20th, 2018
Our Shepherd Leaders and I, want to apologize for how long it has taken for us to place new leaders in various positions of the ministry. We knew in July we would have various folks stepping down and it has been a long process of change.
Our Shepherd Neighborhood groups in Grand Island and Kearney have started their own works, but will indeed fellowship with us in our Gathering services I have been told. I appreciate those who have served, and we love the many believers who have come to Christ in those groups. God has a new challenge for them in the days to come.
CGMF is a bit more scattered as our North Platte Neighborhood Groups now have to go to Lincoln as its closest source of fellowship. However, that is our oldest series of Neighborhood Groups, so I have all the confidence in the world in its progress and growth. Barry and Stephanie will be our new new leaders for that area, and Shaun continues to work as our Secretary for CGMF. He formerly will step down in March from that position, but has temporarily agreed to stay on for awhile.
The Rodriguez family from Omaha will be our new Ministers of Music. They will organize our music for our monthly Gathering services, or special services. I believe they will do a fabulous job.
After two or three temporary fill ins. We have finally agreed upon Steve and Cecilia Craft as our new Administrative Coordinators for CGMF statewide. They will work closely with me and the Shepherd Leaders in the months to come. They will be visiting Lincoln and North Platte's groups in the next month or two. Giving you all the support and encouragement they can. The Crafts are graduates of Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa. They have spent four years as assistant pastors at Jimmy Harris's church in the Kansas City area, and have pastored there for the most part after Jimmy's death. Jimmy blest our church many times and we miss him greatly. They are making transition like us, and the Craft's have come here to Omaha to assist us in the ministry. Both now have taken secular jobs in the Omaha area. They will be a great blessing, and I know our young people will enjoy their ministry a lot.
Other areas we are working on. Keep the ministry in your thoughts and prayers.
In His Grace,
Founding Pastor Patrick Vossen
THE ROCK OF OFFENSE
“Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” and “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
—1 Peter 2:6–8
Today the meaning of the word believe has been weakened. In the eyes of most it has become a mere acknowledgment of a certain fact. To many it has nothing to do with obedience. But in the passage above, the words believe and disobedient are represented as opposites.
The Scriptures exhort “that whoever believes in Him [Jesus Christ] should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). As a result of the way we view the word believe, many think that all they are required to do is believe that Jesus existed and died on Calvary, and they are in good standing with God. If this were the only requirement, the demons would be in good standing with Him. The Scriptures also say, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble” (James 2:19, emphasis added). Yet, there is no salvation for them.
The word believe has more meaning in the Scriptures than acknowledging existence of or just mentally assenting to a fact. Remaining true to the context of the verse above, we can say that the main element of believing is obedience. We could read it this way: “Therefore, to you who obey, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ ”
It is not difficult to obey when you know the character and love of the one to whom you are submitting. Love is the bottom line in our relationship with the Lord—not love of principles or teachings but love for the Person of Jesus Christ. If that love is not firmly in place, we are susceptible to offense and stumbling.
From the book " The Bait Of Satan ", Written by John Bevere
Reverend Patrick Vossen,