Mike Winstead was a wonderful man, loved by all – myself included. Great tribute to this great man of God!
Do you like rock music?
This is the question my friend, Mike Winstead—a charter member of our church who passed away recently—used as a segue to invite strangers to church. After all, we’re RockChurch, not Hip-HopChurch.
By the way, it didn’t even matter what the answer was—Mike would find an angle to move the conversation from music to church…and then he would pull out a RockChurch card and extend his warm invitation.
Did I mention he did this regularly for 19 years?
From our pre-launch vision meetings in 1998 to his last day on earth—just a few weeks ago—Mike served RockChurch in some capacity. He served as a trustee all 19 years, but most everyone from our church will remember him as “the nice man who always greeted me with a smile and genuinely wanted to talk to me.” He singlehandedly helped create RockChurch’s culture of love and acceptance.
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“You give them something to eat” – Mark 6:37
The feeding of the 5,000. It’s a familiar story, and sometimes familiarity with a text leads to dullness of hearing, but not this morning. This morning it felt like the words leapt off the screen and directly into my heart. “You give them something to eat.”
Earlier, Jesus had called his disciples away “to a remote place” so they could rest for a while. Things were so crazy in the ministry at that time that they didn’t even have time to eat!
So they went away. Well, they attempted to, anyway… but they couldn’t get away. Many saw them leaving via boat. They saw where they were heading and ran on foot and arrived ahead of them. And by the time Jesus and his disciples got to where they were going there was already a large crowd there. So much for some downtime!
Jesus looks at this large crowd and becomes frustrated and angry over this change of plans.
That’s not the way the story reads. That might have been my response or your response, but this is Jesus. Rather than being upset, it says that he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And so he spends his entire day that was set aside for rest to teach the people.
Now, to the part that got me this morning. After all this, it is getting late and the disciples are like, “We need to wrap this up, Jesus. This was a great day of ministry but we better send these folks on their way so they can buy themselves something to eat. I’m sure they are starving and if we don’t get them out of here they are going to end up in bad shape.”
And then Jesus, in that wonderful way that he had of not allowing circumstances to dictate his response looks at them and says, “YOU give them something to eat.”
We know the rest of the story. With 5 loaves and 2 fish, Jesus feeds the masses. One of the most incredible miracles in all of Scripture. But what got me today was his statement. “You give them something to eat.”
Our world is hurting. They are coming to the Church for answers. Are we filled up enough with the Bread of Life to give them the spiritual food they are so desperately in need of? Or are we weak and spiritually anemic ourselves? You see the only way we can meet that need is if we ourselves are feeding on it ourselves.
We are living in a day of unprecedented distraction and this distraction is keeping us from spending time with the One who desires to fill us with all good things. To fill us with the fullness of the glory of God! And out of that overflow, to feed the hurting world around us.
My prayer today is this, I want to be so filled up on the Bread Of Life that I always have wonderful spiritual food to give to whoever needs it. This world is hungry!
Jesus’ words to his disciples are his words to you and me today. “You give them something to eat.”
Review: The High Priest
- The High Priest was the Jews highest religious authority
- The High Priest was man’s representative to God. You could not approach God apart from the High Priest
- The High Priest was God’s representative to Man. You could not know or understand God’s will apart from the High Priest
- The High Priest was “taken from among men” They were human and therefore sinful themselves. They could offer sacrifices for sin but they themselves could not take away sins.
Review: Jesus’ priestly work superior to Aaron and his descendants
- Jesus is a better priest than Aaron
- It is under a better covenant
- It is in a better sanctuary
- His Offering is a better sacrifice
- Jesus’ priesthood is based on better promises
Scripture: [Hebrews 5:11-6:12]
- Read Heb. 5:11. In it the author says his listeners are “dull of hearing”. What is the author talking about?
- What do you think causes us to not be able to discern the voice of the Lord?
- How can we keep our ears from becoming dull, so we don’t miss what the Holy Spirit is saying to us?
- Read Heb. 5:12. It says that they have come to need milk and not solid meat. What’s going on here?
- Do you feel like you are growing in your relationship with Jesus? Whether yes or no, explain why you feel the way you do
- Read 6:4-6 Have you ever struggled with this portion of Scripture? If you have, has tonight’s study helped you navigate this better?
- Read the main interpretations that believers have held about these verses over the centuries. After reading all 4, take some time to discuss each view. In the case of differing opinions remember to discuss gently and with respect
- Interpretation #1: This passage states you can lose your salvation
- Interpretation #2: This passage is hypothetical
- Interpretation #3: The people he’s referring to were never saved in the first place
- Interpretation #4: The people the author is referring to are apostates who at one time confessed Jesus but then turned their back on him and have in fact renounced Him.
- In the verses we looked at in this study, what truth has had the most impact on you? Why?
Jesus was under extreme and crushing pressure in the Garden of Gethsemane as he confirmed that he would stay the course and offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all humanity. From His example, we learn how to stick with God’s plan while going through our hardest trials.
When in process, stick to the plan!
14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them ~ John 13:14-17
The picture above is where I spent the last hour and a half communing and fellowshipping with God.
It’s been a challenging week. One of those weeks where you feel like there is something in the air. Something that just seems to make life harder.
Last night as I came home from the Bible study I get to teach every week, I had one of my favorite moments. It is what I call a boomerang moment. It’s the time when God takes the message I teach and/or preach, and turns around and speaks it to me. After spending a week in the text, by the time I teach it, it already has gotten deep in me. After teaching, my heart and mind are wide open to tune into the frequency of heaven.
Last night was just such a night. Like I said, this week was tough. But the message was all about The Posture. The Promise. And The Anchor. The posture of the believer – our default state, our “posture” according to the writer of Hebrews is to be faith and patience. The promises of God give us an unshakable hope which is an Anchor for our soul. And the anchor is moored to our Great High Priest, Jesus – our Forerunner who has gone before us and is behind the veil of the heavenly temple and at the right hand of the very Throne of God.
Faith, patience, promises, anchor, Jesus. Last night as I drove home God boomeranged me with this message. Don’t let go of that hope. And if it gets harder, hold fast all the more.
An anchor at its essence is something that connects a movable object to an immovable one, and in so doing makes the movable become immovable itself.
I like that. I am holding on. I am movable, but my Lord is not – and linked up to Him, I become immovable myself.
On this Holy Thursday that initiates the Washing of the Feet, the Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Crucifixion, and finally the Resurrection, my prayer is that you have found that same anchor and are holding on to it as well.
Melody Papazis at the Center for Care and Discovery with her son Lance and husband Chris
While looking for something else, we stumbled upon an action-packed blog post by a patient with virulent, relentless asthma who was rescued by her UChicago physicians using a treatment with a scary name, but a comforting outcome. Her story also involves a tornado. Below, in her own words (slightly trimmed for space), Melody Papazis, RN, tells her harrowing tale.
For most of my life, it seemed like constant coughing and chest tightness would be a daily occurrence. When I was 14, my deep, dry cough caught the attention of a pediatric pulmonologist. I had asthma. I had it bad. He prescribed inhalers. This helped. During high school, I only landed in the hospital once.
In nursing school, I went on a home-health visit. The house was infested with cockroaches. I learned that day that…
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FUEL Podcast Transcript
Hello. My name is Chris Papazis. I am one of the Pastors at RockChurch, in East Peoria, IL. And it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the very first episode of the FUEL podcast.
Now, if you are not familiar with the FUEL Bible Study, let me share with you the basic concept. FUEL is RockChurch’s mid-week Bible study and the main need it is meant to address is the need to get our spiritual tanks refueled. Most would agree that this world can be draining sometimes. This world that we live in can deplete us – not only physically, but spiritually as well. And so, just like the purpose of FUEL in the natural world is to replenish energy so that something can continue to function. IE, we need to FUEL up our cars, or they will not take us where we need or want to go.
In that same way, we are in constant need of a spiritual FUEL up, to ensure our spiritual tank is full so we can live this life to the fullest. So that we can live our lives in the way that God originally intended.
It takes power to live for God. It takes power to love people who are sometimes unlovely. It takes power to raise our kids. Sometimes it takes power, just to get out of bed and do the things that are required of us on any given day.
And so, a couple of years ago, I had the desire to create a mid-week fueling station where people could come and soak in the Word of God. Get refreshed and refueled so they could go back into the rest of their week and finish stronger than they would have without it.
And it has been a wonderful experience. We have gone through several books of the Bible. Daniel, Jude, and Revelation. And we have also gone through the book – The Forgotten Way, by Ted Dekker and Bill Vanderbush. And it has been a wonderful time of fellowship and growth for those that attend. For me it has been one of the most personally fulfilling things that I have ever done and I have found myself better and stronger because of it.
So we’ve been going strong for just over 2 years now, but recently something began stirring in me. I have started to feel the need to start doing some additional topical teachings. And the inspiration behind this is the hunger that I see in people. Both the people that come to FUEL, and just the random people that I have met and conversed with throughout my life.
And so – I know that hunger is not just limited to our little study, but there are questions people have regarding the great issues of life. God. Heaven. Hell. The Bible. Jesus. How can a person be right with God? What is my responsibility to God? Is there even a God? Or, if there is, is it possible to know that for sure? Is there purpose? or is everything just random? What about other religions? Is Jesus really the only way to get to heaven? On and on it goes. And so, out of the hunger that I feel is out there, and after praying about it, I feel that my next step is to start this podcast and start talking and teaching on these topics that deeply interest so many people.
So I just want to welcome you. Welcome to this first episode. If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, it’s my hope that these teachings will strengthen and encourage you in your faith.
But also if you don’t consider yourself a follower of Christ, I just want to invite you and tell you that you’re welcome just to kind of hang out and listen to what we have to say. I know a lot of people are seeking so that’s what this is for. That’s what this podcast is all about so, welcome, welcome welcome.
So, that’s a little bit about me and a little bit about the podcast.
And now what I’d like to do – in the time that remains is just jump right in and start our first series.
Like I said, we are going to be exploring some of the deep topics of life on this show. And for our first topic I can think of no greater subject to begin on than the subject of the afterlife.
What happens to me when I die?
This is a universal question that I believe every person asks themselves at one time or another in their life. And so the title of our first series is going to be called Sense and Nonsense – A biblical look at Heaven and Hell
Yup. No easing into it with a light subject – we are going to go for it right off the bat.
And the reason why is simple. If heaven and hell exist there is no subject of greater importance for a person.
Steve Jobs said this “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share.”
Death is the destination that all humanity shares
Benjamin Franklin said, “there were only two things certain in life – Death and Taxes.”
On Jan 22nd, 1997 the satire news site the ONION ran the following headline
World Death Rate Holding Steady At 100 Percent
Nobody gets out of this life alive. When we are younger we don’t worry too much about it, because it seems so far away – so far in the future. But as we get older we begin to realize that it is looming just ahead. And when we realize how fast a year goes by. How fast a decade goes by. How fast 30 years go by we begin to realize – hey this thing is happening. We are all heading to this one singular meeting. Woody Allen said, “I am not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
And so because of the surety and imminence of death, heaven and hell become subjects of momentous importance.
So we are going to tackle this subject and we are going to do so in a series of podcasts, and the way we are going to navigate it is by using the book Sense & Nonsense About Heaven & Hell.
This is a great book co-written by Kenneth Boa and Robert Bowman Jr. – Both Biblical experts in their individual fields. Dr. Boa focusing on Spiritual formation and discipleship, while Dr. Bowman specializes in the study of apologetics.
These gentlemen have put together a gem of a book when it comes to answering the question = “Is what I believe about heaven and hell Biblical?” The goal of the book and of this series will be to help us think clearly and critically about this most intense and sensitive subject.
So, I’m a pastor and I’m coming to this, as you can tell, from a biblical perspective. And that’s another big question people ask. “Is the Bible trustworthy? Is it reliable?” throughout my studies over many years, I am 100% convinced that it is trustworthy. But that is a topic we will dig into on this show. So, hang in there if you have that as a question.
That’s the angle we are coming to this from. The next time we get together we will be looking at the first chapter, which is “The Make Your Own Heaven Game.” It’s going to be a fascinating study. We are going to look at things that people believe about the subject of heaven and are those beliefs biblical? There are some ideas that have entered into our culture and they really don’t line up with the Bible, so we’re going to take an in-depth look at that.
This is pastor Chris, I hope to see you next week. Until then – God bless, and have a great day!
I had a great time starting 2017 off right at RockChurch. On New Year’s Day, I had the privilege of participating in a “tag-team” service with my fellow RockChurch pastors. This is always one of our favorite times of the year – we all love doing this together and sharing our short messages with our amazing congregation. This year, my part was titled – Stir It Up! God has deposited some amazing things inside of you – this year determine that you are going to Stir It Up! 🙂
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus gave what is known as The Great Invitation:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest…”
There is rest for the weary soul of man. In this study, we explore obstacles to entering into God’s rest as well as practical help so that we do not miss all that God has for us.
Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.
For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”
Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.” For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Fuel Bible Study – 3/1/2017
The Book of Hebrews: Session VII – The Rest of the Story
- Tonight’s session is the last one of the 1st Semester. We will take a 2-week break and pick back up on Wednesday, March 22nd
- FUEL podcast will launch this month. Covering the topic “Sense and Nonsense about Heaven and Hell”
7 benefits of studying Hebrews
- Helps believers stand strong during times of persecution
- Presents a Highly exalted picture of Jesus
- Helps us more fully understand the Old Testament
- Helps us more fully understand and appreciate the gospel
- Help us understand Jesus’ role as our High Priest
- Learning from its author
- Helps us learn how to navigate hard passages
- Using the list of the 7 benefits of studying the book of Hebrews, share one thing that has made a positive impact on you.
- When it comes to Bible study, what does it mean to say that “Context is King”?
- “The best defense against heresy is the whole counsel of God.” How does verse by verse study of the entire Word of God protect against teachings that take things out of context?
- Can you think of any verses commonly taken out of context?
- How does knowing the context of the book of Hebrews help us understand its message?
- Read Matthew 11:28-30. In this passage, Jesus offers the world “The Great Invitation” An invitation to find rest for our souls. Right now would you consider yourself resting in Christ or are you “laboring and heavy laden” – stressed out, worn out, and burnt out?
- According to these same verses, what is the remedy? How can we appropriate the rest that Jesus promised us, and then purchased on the Cross for us?
- Hebrews 4:1 states “Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.” The word fear is from the Greek word phobeo [where we get the word Phobia from] what kind of fear should we have regarding not entering His rest?
- Entering God’s rest comes not from ceasing our activities but from ceasing from striving in our own strength and surrendering. Read Psalm 131:1-3. How does the illustration of a weaned child demonstrate how we enter into God’s rest?
- Hebrews 4:2 tells us that in order for the Word of God to profit us, it has to be mixed with faith in those who hear it. How do we “mix the Word with faith”?
- In verse 4:11 the writer uses the paradox “…Let us be diligent to enter that rest…” How can we be diligent in the way described and ensure we enter God’s rest?
- Read verses 4:12-13 – What are these verses saying about the Word of God?