Loved People Love People


Have you ever read some of the stuff Jesus says and thought to yourself, “That’s just insane! There’s no possible way that’s happening!”

Matthew 5:48 is one of those passages! It feels overwhelming and impossible, to say the least.

I mean, anybody here think you have the slightest chance at perfection? Anybody?

That’s why I love the way this verse in The Message.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” —Matthew 5:48 MSG

This is the Big Idea I want to walk out: loved people love people.

Jesus told an incredible story in Luke 10 that demonstrates what it looks like when we begin to live out Matthew 5:48. Some people call it the “parable of the Good Samaritan.”

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” — Luke 10:25-26 NLT

Jesus was like, “What do you think? You’re the expert.”

The expert in religious law responds by quoting something called “the Shema,” a little section from Deuteronomy 6:5 that devout Jewish people recited daily and he even adds a passage from Leviticus 19:8. The combination of these two passages was known as “the great commandment.”

The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength (energy – TPT / muscle – MSG), and all your mind (every thought – TPT, intelligence – MSG).’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” —Luke 10:27-28 NLT

Jesus responded, “Right on! You nailed it! It all boils down to this: Love God and love people! If you do that, you will LIVE!”

But Verse 29 is crucial to understanding the story…

The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” —Luke 10:29 NLT

The Message reads, “Looking for a loophole…”

According to one scholar, there is an ancient book of Jewish wisdom, and Sirach 12:1-4 tells its readers not to help a sinner. “Looking for a loophole…” This expert in law is attempting to create a list… He’s attempting to draw a line or create a list and put some people on the list who qualify as “neighbors,” and cross other people off the list who don’t qualify as a “neighbor.”

The idea that some people are “not our neighbors…” The suggestion that we should cross some people off of our “love your neighbor” list is the idea that Jesus is responds to.

And, like he was known for doing, Jesus completely turned the tables on this so-called “expert in law” and on every person who calls him or her self a follower of Jesus.

The question was, “What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?” In Verse 27, the expert gives an answer Jesus affirmed! Jesus basically said, “Ding! Ding! Ding! You nailed it! You got that right… It all boils down to this…”

“‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Jesus himself gave the same answer when he was asked the same question in Matthew 22:34-40. Jesus understood this principle: loved people love people!

When we love God passionately and purposefully, we end up discovering that God loves us! And it’s out of that awareness and the incredible security that comes from knowing that we are deeply and unconditionally loved by God that we are able to love other people!

Two principles that are absolutely essential if we’re to live out this big idea and the second part of “the great commandment.” It’s the very two things this expert in religious law was missing… It’s two things that we sometimes miss…


1.     Learn to see as Jesus sees.

The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” —Luke 10:29 NLT

Again, it’s likely this expert wanted to create his own “exceptions list” and “neighbors list.” “These are the people that I’ve got to love, and these are the people I can take a pass on:

“The neighbor that ticks me off… I know they can’t be on the ‘neighbor list.’ They’ve got to be an exception.”

“That black guy who looked at my funny a few days ago. That dude can’t make my neighbor list… After all, I think he’s really, really liberal… God doesn’t expect me to love a Democrat…”

“Oh, yeah… That Muslim family that just moved in down the block… I know God doesn’t want me to put them on my ‘neighbor list...’ That would be so dangerous…”

“That girl I work with who is so ‘out there…’ Nose piercing, tattoos, weird clothes…  She even smokes… She’s got to go on the exceptions list!

“That Redneck who is riding ‘the Trump Train…’ There is no way he makes my ‘neighbor list…’

“That LGBT couple that lives next door… They’ve got to go on the exceptions list…

“Wow! My list is getting really, really short… This is going to be easy-peasy…”

Anne Lamott once wrote:

“You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

2.     Respond as Jesus leads.

He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night. —Luke 10:34 TPT

Look at how the Samaritan responded! This is the model for how LOVED PEOPLE LOVE PEOPLE.  That’s a picture of loved people loving people! It’s what we’re supposed to do.  When we see as Jesus sees we will respond as Jesus leads.

This Samaritan demonstrates three ways God wants us to love people… three ways loved people love people.


1.     Get down and dirty.

He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night. —Luke 10:34 TPT

God has called everyone to get down and dirty when it comes to the way we love people. And what I mean by, “get down,” is that real ministry will require us to stop what we are doing, “stoop down” and get involved in the dirt and grime of people’s ordinary and real lives.

Henri Nouwen calls this “the ministry of interruptions.” He once wrote: “My whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered the interruptions were my work.”

2.     Lift them up and lead them to healing and wholeness.

This story is so beautiful! The Samaritan went to this wounded man and applied two things to this guy’s wounds. He applied “oil and wine.”

Both were agents of healing in the first century, but in the Bible, oil is almost always a symbol of the Holy Spirit; and wine, which is used in Holy Communion, is a symbol of the blood of Jesus or the finished work of the cross.

Have you ever wondered, “What do I have to offer this world?” The answer is right there! It’s simple!

If you’ve been an object of God’s extravagant love and amazing grace what you have to offer the world is exactly what the world desperately needs! Because you can offer this world the healing and wholeness that is made possible through the cross, and, the freedom, grace and power that comes through the Holy Spirit!

3.     Live generously and graciously!  Become a partner with what God is doing in your church and world.

The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ — Luke 10:35 NLT

Loved people loving people will always cost you something!

Here’s the definition for love we’ve been using:

Love is the willing self-sacrifice for the good of another person that doesn’t depend on the person deserving it or ever repaying it.

Love will always cost you something…


It will cost you time…

It will cost you money…

It will cost you energy and effort…

It will cost you blood and sweat…

It will cost you your pride, status and position…

It might even cost you your reputation…

It will almost always cost you your comfort…

Jesus wraps up the story like this:

So, now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?” The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.”

Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.” —Luke 10:36-38 TPT

In other words, “Go and be like the person nobody thought God could use. Go and demonstrate kindness and mercy.”

Don't Miss Your Moment


Yesterday's worship experiences at a2 Church were simply incredible! Both the 9 + 10:45 am, respectively.

But at 10:45 am, God chose to “divinely interrupt” “our” plan with His plan, and it was breathtaking, amazing, incredible and unforgettable. Wow! Words fail...

Even as I write these words I still sense a deep awareness of God's presence. I'm also leaning into a word God gave my wife this morning through one of our prayer team members.

John 20 describes a remarkable event in the lives of some of the first century followers of Jesus. It's right after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It’s Sunday evening and some of Jesus’ followers were gathered together when all of a sudden, Jesus was standing with them in the room. He was there.

I’m certain His physical presence was every bit as real, if not more so, as what we experienced this morning.

Jesus looked at this group of believers and said, “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I am sending you.” Then “...He took a deep breath and breathed or blew on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:21-23).

Can you imagine what that moment must have been like? Talk about breathtaking, amazing, incredible and unforgettable? We can't even begin to fathom that moment.


But according to the text, one guy somehow missed this gathering of believers. Thomas failed to show up. He wasn't there... And sadly, he missed a moment.

Maybe he just got busy. Maybe he had some important things to do at home, on his old job, or with a group friends. Maybe he scheduled himself to work that day or had an appointment.

But for whatever reason, He missed a moment! He missed Jesus in the room! He missed Jesus saying, “Peace to you. As the Father sent me, I'm sending you...”

He missed Jesus breathing or blowing on the disciples, which is so similar to God breathing life into a lifeless lump of clay in Genesis 1-2. He missed Jesus saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

He missed what likely became an unforgettable moment for all the followers of Jesus who were in that room.

This morning’s experience and that passage from John 20 got me to thinking...

How many “moments” do we miss when we get “casual” and “complacent” when it comes to the gathering together of the believers for worship? Whether it's Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday morning prayer, a Life Group, you name it.

God may have planned or designed an encounter for us that would be a defining moment in our lives. But we missed it! And sometimes we may never get those missed moments back!


Please understand... I'm aware... All of us have busy lives. All of us need to spend time with friends and family. All of us should enjoy a vacation free from guilt or shame. I’m not attempting to foster an attitude of legalism about how often you attend worship.

But I also want to challenge a complacency that exists among many believers about gathering together with the body of Christ! When you’re not on vacation... When you’re not engaged in a life-giving activity with your family... When at all possible, make worship with your church family a priority! Make it a big priority!

Because you never know when Jesus may “call an audible,” and “divinely interrupt” your planned gathering, to “breath on his people” and say, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

I don’t want to miss a moment. In the words of Aerosmith, “I don’t want to miss a thing...”

In fact, I’m already pumped about next Sunday! I’m also pumped about Wednesday morning and Thursday noon Life Group...

Until then, this week I'll be singing my current favorite song:

“Your faithfulness will never let me down.

I'm confident I'll see Your goodness now.

I know You hear my heart, I'm singing out.

There's nothing that can stop your goodness now.

I'm gonna catch the wind.” —Jonathan David and Melissa Helser


Don't miss your moment! 

God of Miracles: Part 2 – God Still Does Miracles


About 15 years ago I was present in a Palm Beach Gardens Hospital Waiting Room when a compassionate doctor looked at a woman named Betty Royals and indicated that her son’s vital organs were systematically shutting down.  Joe was about 40 years old at the time.  The outlook for his recovery was not positive. We were there to prepare the family for Joe’s passing.

But instead of waiting on death, the church decided to pray! We began to ask God for Joe’s healing, claiming promises from God’s Word!

God miraculously turned that situation around.  In fact, just a few days later, I walked into Joe’s hospital room, just before he was to be released from the hospital.  The doctor had just walked out.

She looked at Joe and said, “I’ve shared your file with a number of my professional colleagues…” She was not a person of faith.  In fact, she said, “Mr. Royals, we all agree, your turn around is really without explanation.”  Then this physician – with no claims to faith – looked at Joe and said, “All I can say is that you are a miracle.”

“…you are a miracle.”

God has the power to heal.

Exodus 23:25-26 contains just one of dozens of promises for healing contained in your Bible. This is God’s promise!

God: “…I’ll get rid of the sickness among you; there won’t be any miscarriages nor barren women in your land. I’ll make sure you live full and complete lives.” —Exodus 23:25-26 MSG

Sometimes we’re so cautious to claim these kinds of promises, because all of us have witnessed good people who did miscarry…

Good people who did become sick, not only sick but chronically sick…

Good people who currently aren’t living “full and complete lives.”

Sometimes we don’t claim the promises, because we’re afraid we won’t be able to handle the disappointment that we’ll experience if things don’t change.

I can understand that kind of reluctance and hesitation. Our family has been praying for a miracle for almost four years. We haven’t seen it, yet…

We’re guarding our hearts against disappointment, but we’ve also discovered that we have to make a proactive decision every day to resist fear, resist discouragement and disappointment, lean into HOPE, continue to TRUST and BELIEVE the truth that God is always working everything together for our ultimate good and His great glory!


God has the power to heal!

I get passionate when I say that not because I need to remind God that He is Jehovah Rapha, but because I need to REMIND MYSELF that Jesus not only carried my sin, but according to Matthew 8:17, Jesus “…took upon Himself our sicknesses and weaknesses. He carried our diseases away and made us well.”

Some us need to adjust our theology. In the Bible, healing and health are always described as a blessing from God (Ex 23:25-26). Disease, pain, suffering and decay are always described as symptoms or “fall out” from “the fall.”

That doesn’t mean that your sickness is directly tied to some “sin” or personal disobedience in your life. It means that this world is broken! We are broken! The healthiest among us are still broken! And because of that brokenness, these bodies get sick!

In the NT, Jesus viewed sickness as an attack or assault from the evil one. That’s why sometimes Jesus actually rebuked sickness (Lk 4:39).

Jesus always viewed sickness as an enemy. There’s never any implication that Jesus told his followers to expect sickness or disease as part of their “calling” or “ministry.” He never suggested that “sickness” was part of a person’s “cross to bear.”

He did promise stuff like persecution, slander, even martyrdom. But He never promised sickness or disease.

Acts 10:38 gives us insight into how God views sickness.

…you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. —Acts 10:38 NLT

It’s interesting that Acts 10:38 says Jesus “…went around doing good…” “…healing all…”

Did you get the inference and implication?

“doing good” / “healing all”

At the very least, Acts 10:38 implies that sickness, disease and weakness are enemies we need to resist and healing is something “good” God loves to do!

Please hear me, child of God… sickness, in and of itself, doesn’t glorify God. Yes, a person can glorify God in the middle of sickness, but it’s not the sickness that glorifies God.  It’s that person’s defiant, relentless and never-give-up-faith, their passionate love for Jesus in the face of seemingly unanswered prayer, and the holiness and character of their life that GLORIFIES GOD in the face of sometimes inexplicable mystery. 

Whatever you do, don’t resign yourself to sickness! Don’t acquiesce to it! Don’t yield to it, unless God makes it clear and writes it on a tree out in your back yard!  The same suffering and cross that paid for your sin, has also paid for your HEALING!


God still does miracles.

In The Grave Robber, Mark Batterson writes about what always precedes a MIRACLE:

Everyone wants a miracle. But here’s the catch: no one wants to be in a situation that necessitates one! Of course, you can’t have one without the other. The prerequisite for a miracle is a problem, and the bigger the problem, the greater the potential miracle. 

 So, what is a miracle?

British Pastor and author, Andrew Womack writes, “A miracle is a supernatural intervention of God in a CRISIS situation.

What CRISIS has driven you to a point of desperation?

Maybe you’re desperate to…

•          receive healing for some physical sickness, lingering illness or terminal diagnosis

•          climb out of debt,

•          find a job,

•          become pregnant,

•          find a spouse (not necessarily in that order),

•          sell a house,

•          see God restore a broken relationship,

•          get new hope for your marriage and family,

•          turn your vision into reality

Regardless of what you’re up against, a MIRACLE is when an extraordinary GOD gets involved in everyday lives of ordinary PEOPLE to do extraordinary WORK.  It’s when a supernatural GOD intervenes, overrides and breaks in to your life with SUPERNATURAL POWER to do what God can only do!

Lord, I will worship you with extended hands as my whole heart explodes with praise! I will tell everyone everywhere about your wonderful works and how your marvelous miracles exceed expectations! I will jump for joy and shout in triumph as I sing your song and make music for the Most High God. —Psalm 9:1-2 TPT

What is it that you need God to do for you? What is the MIRACLE you are DESPERATE for? 

Mark 5 introduces us to TWO people who were DESPERATE for a MIRACLE. These two individuals couldn’t be more different.

The first is the prominent leader of a Jewish synagogue. His name was Jairus. His twelve-year-old daughter was ill and dying.

The second person isn’t given a name.  Names in the Bible are usually an indication of a person’s status or importance. But this woman isn’t remembered by her name. She was ANONYMOUS.  She’s remember by her PROBLEM.

When we refer to her, those of us who grew up in church with the KJV usually refer to her as “the woman with the issue of blood.”  She had been struggling with a problem for the last 12 years, and her problem actually went on to DEFINE HER.

After 12 years of living in sickness, isolation and separation this woman was emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually WIPED OUT. She was DEVASTATED.

“She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” — Mark 5:27-28 NLT

What’s going on here?

Some believe that this woman was holding on to an ancient prophecy about the Messiah found in Malachi 4:2 that said this, “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings.”

The word “wings” is the Hebrew word “kanaph.” It’s translated “wings,” but Jewish people believed it also referred to a prayer shawl and the tzitzi or tassels on the edge of the prayer shawl.

Some people say that the belief had developed that when the Messiah came that He would come with HEALING in his “kanaph” or the tzitzi or tassels on the edge of his robe or prayer shawl.

When this woman says, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” She’s making a statement of faith! She’s saying, “I believe He’s the one! I believe He’s the fulfillment of Malachi 4:2 and I will not give up unless I touch the hem of his robe because I believe that today the sun of Righteousness has risen in my life with healing in his wings.”

This woman basically said, “I’m not going to sit here and wait to die. I can’t handle this isolation anymore. I’m going to Jesus. It may not be proper etiquette for me to brush against the shoulders of other people. It may be against religious law. I don’t care.  I’ve got to touch Jesus!!!!”


That’s the essence of PRAYER!

The essence of PRAYER is “I’ve got to TOUCH Jesus!!!”

In Luke 8:46 Jesus said this: “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” —Luke 8:46 NLT

I love the way The Passion Translation reads:

Jesus replied, “Yes, but I felt power surge through me. Someone touched me to be healed, and they received their healing.” —Luke 8:46 TPT

This woman was healed, but almost simultaneous to her healing, Jairus gets bad news: “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”    

I love Jesus’ response! Verse 36 says, ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Jesus walked into the home of Jairus. Made everyone leave but Jairus, his wife and Peter, James and John. He walked up to this twelve-year-old dead girl and said, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).  Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. —Mark 5:35-43 NIV84

What CRISIS has you backed up against the wall? What CRISIS has driven you to a point of desperation?

Our desperation can be an invitation for God to work a miracle.

Our God is the GOD OF MIRACLES!

God of Miracles: Part 1 - Desperation Is An Invitation


God is good. 

When I say “God is good,” I mean at least three things:

1.     God isn’t mad at you.

2.     God is for you, not against you.

3.     God wants to bless you in every area of your life.

God is good.

And because He is good, He relates and responds to us based on His character, not our behavior. That’s good news… especially for someone like me.

God is good to one and all; everything he does is suffused with grace. —Psalm 145:9 MSG

Pay close attention to the word “suffused.” It’s a great word. Everything God does is “suffused” – that means “overspread” with grace.

Poet Robert Louis Stevenson described it like this: There’s nothing but God’s grace.  We walk upon it.  We breathe it.  We live it and we die by it.  It makes the nails and axles of the universe.


You woke up this morning! That’s grace!

You take a breath! That’s grace!

A friend encourages you! That’s grace!

Someone smiles at you! That’s grace!

My grandson is happy to see me! That’s grace!

You walk around or jog outside! That’s grace!

You take your smart phone out and access your online version of God’s Word! That’s grace!

You walk into church where someone who cares about you says, “Hello!” That’s grace!

Every day — every moment — is filled with one gift of God’s unconditional, extravagant and amazing grace after another.

Our God is a God of POWER!  He has power over nature and circumstances. When seas and rivers needed to be crossed, He didn’t send a team of engineers to build a bridge, He just blasted a hole in the Red Sea and the Jordan River to bring His people out of danger and into their promise (Ex 14; Josh 3).

When God’s people were hungry and needed food, God didn’t open up a McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A, He just dropped loads of manna on the nation of Israel or multiplied a few biscuits and sardines from a kid’s first century Happy Meal and fed a crowd of at least fifteen thousand (Ex 16; John 6).

When Israel’s army needed more daylight to seal a military win over a coalition of Amorite kings, God didn’t send a container of flashlights with Duracell batteries, He just told Joshua to speak to the sun, “Sun stand still!” and somehow miraculously “the sun stopped in the middle of the sky” and God extended Daylight Savings Time and gave His people victory (Josh 10:12-14)!

When a storm threatened to take the lives of the disciples, God didn’t send out the coast guard, He spoke to the storm and it immediately settled down (Mark 4:35-41).

And, when Peter was put in jail and scheduled for execution by an evil dude named Herod, God didn’t send in Seal Team Six to bust Peter out of jail. He sent an angel — probably a first class private — who woke Peter up from a sound sleep and said, “Get up! Put some clothes on! We’re blowing this joint!” (Acts 12).

I love the fact that Acts 12:5 says that Peter’s release from prison was in response to the church going into “…a season of intense intercession.”

But while Peter was in prison, the church went into a season of intense intercession, asking God to free him. —Acts 12:5 TPT

The phrase “intense intercession” in The Passion Translation has a little mark beside it that indicates that the Greek phrase literally means, “to stretch tight in prayer.” The VOICE translation reads, “…the church prayed constantly and intensely.”

It emphasizes both the QUANTITY of the prayer offered —they prayed a lot. This wasn’t a “one and done” prayer. They prayed CONSTANTLY!

It also emphasizes the QUALITY of the prayer — it was focused, passionate and intense. This wasn’t an “I lay me down to sleep, pray the Lord my soul to keep” sort of prayer!


The first century church was FOCUSED!

“Focused on WHAT?” you might ask. I don’t believe they were focused on the problem. I believe they were focused on the character of God: He’s good — He’s not mad. He’s for us, not against us! He wants to bless us!

I believe they focused on God’s promises! Promises like, “No weapon formed against us will prosper…” (Isa 54:17)

Sometimes we get so focused on our PROBLEMS and our PAIN that we forget to focus on GOD!  Instead of telling GOD about how BIG our PROBLEMS are, we may need to start telling our PROBLEMS how BIG our GOD is!

The church was not only FOCUSED in prayer, but they were INTENSE!

What does intensity look like? It looks like Rachel in Genesis 30:1 when she looked at Jacob and said, “Give me children, or I’ll die.” That’s INTENSITY! Jacob looked back at her and said, “Do I look like God?”

Intensity looks like Moses when He says to God, “If your presence doesn’t go with us, call the whole trip off now. I’m not taking another step without you!” (Ex 33:15)

It looks like this church in Acts 12 that said, “God, Herod just executed James. We’re not letting another leader go out like that. We’re believing you for a breakthrough and breakout for our brother, Peter. His story isn’t going to end in execution. It’s going to end in redemption!” The church went into a “season of intense intercession!” “…the church prayed constantly and intensely…”


It’s prayer that doesn’t look to God as our LAST RESORT, but looks to God as our FIRST RESPONSE! It’s prayer that gets determined like Jacob and says, “I refuse to let you go until you bless me” (Gen 32:26-27).

INTENSE PRAYER turns off the TV. Lets Netflix go on vacation. Gives up Talenti Salted Caramel Ice Cream… not because this stuff isn’t good, but because it wants God even MORE!!!  Because it realizes that desperation and intensity are an INVITATION for God to show up and show out!

When the church went into a season of intense intercession, God dispatched an angel to Peter’s prison cell!  Chains fell off! Prison guards went into a daze. Prison doors flung open! Peter and an angel went on a prayer walk to Mary’s house, the mother of John Mark, and interrupted the church’s prayer gathering!

I don’t know what circumstance or situation you’re facing, but I do know that our God has power over nature and circumstances!

Maybe it’s your time to enter into a season of intense intercession.

It's All About Jesus - Part 3: From Genesis to Revelation


The entire Bible was given so that we could KNOW Jesus, LOVE Jesus and LIVE for Jesus.  I love the way Josh Harris describes it: “Revelation is for relationship.”

The goal of the Bible isn’t to give us more INFORMATION, but to produce more TRANSFORMATION.

The most amazing thing about this is that God’s purpose in revealing Himself to us in Jesus, was not to give us a really neat set of rules, but to invite us into a DYNAMIC and PERSONAL relationship.

Every story whispers His name.

From the opening chapters of Genesis, to the closing chapter of Revelation, the story of Jesus is being told in this book:

Jesus is the true and better ADAM who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience gets credited to you and me.

Jesus is the true and better ABEL. Even though he was innocent, he was slain. And now his blood that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for redemption.

Jesus is the true and better ABRAHAM. He answered the call of God to leave all that was comfortable and familiar to come to earth so he could create a new people of God.

Jesus is the true and better ISAAC who didn’t just go up the mountain with his father, but was actually sacrificed for us all.

God looked at Abraham and said, “Now I know you love and revere me because you didn’t withhold your son…”


Today, we can stand at the foot of the cross and look back up to God and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son…”

Jesus is the true and better JACOB who wrestled with God and took the blow of justice we deserved; so that we, like Jacob, could receive the wounds of grace that wake us up, discipline us and help us to become the prince or princess God had in mind when he created us!

Jesus is the true and better JOSEPH who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save and rescue them.

Jesus is the true and better MOSES who stands in the gap between the people and God and mediates a new covenant.

Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in our deserts.

Jesus is the true and better JOB. He’s the truly innocent sufferer, who intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.

Jesus is the true and better DAVID whose victory becomes our victory.

Jesus is the true and better ESTHER who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace, but gave up the ultimate and heavenly one! He didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.

Jesus is the true and better DANIEL. He was lowered into the Lion’s Den of Death, but came out of “His Lion’s Den” three days later victorious and vindicated by God!

Jesus is the true and better JONAH who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in.

Jesus is the true and better PASSOVER LAMB — innocent and perfect — slain so the angel of death will pass over us.


Jesus is the true tabernacle, the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread. 

The Bible isn’t about ME and it’s not about YOU! It’s all about JESUS!!!!

In GENESIS Jesus is the “BREATH OF LIFE” and the “seed of woman” who will one day crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15).

In EXODUS Jesus is the “PASSOVER LAMB”  (Ex 12:13; Jn 1:29, 35).

In LEVITICUS Jesus is our “GREAT HIGH PRIEST” and Eternal Sacrifice (Leviticus 16; Hebrews 9:26b, 28).

In NUMBERS He is the “PILLAR OF CLOUD BY DAY” and the “PILLAR OF CLOUD BY NIGHT.”   He is the trusted guide… (Numbers 9)

In DEUTERONOMY, He is the PROPHET like Moses (Deut 18:15; 32:4).  

In Joshua, He is the captain of our SALVATION (Joshua 2:18) and the SCARLET THREAD hanging from RAHAB’s window.

In JUDGES He is the Great JUDGE and LAWGIVER.

In RUTH, He is our KINSMAN and REDEEMER (Ruth 3:9). 

In 1 SAMUEL He is our PROPHET, our KING and the CHAMPION who defeats our Goliath.

In 2 SAMUEL He is the ANOINTED King.

In 1 KINGS He is the WISE King.

In 2 KINGS He is the REIGNING King.


In 2 CHRONICLES He is the GLORY of the Lord that fills the temple of Solomon.


In EZRA He is the faithful SCRIBE and the RESTORER of the temple.

In NEHEMIAH He is the REBUILDER of the broken-down walls of human life.

In ESTHER He is our Mordecai. He is the hidden TEACHER.

In JOB He is the REDEEMER who lives and will stand upon the earth. (Job 19:25-27)

In PSALMS He is the “LORD OUR SHEPHERD” and He is the LORD OUR SONG. (Psalm 23)

In PROVERBS He is the “WISDOM OF GOD.” (Proverbs 8:35). 


In SONG OF SOLOMON He is our LOVER and BRIDEGROOM.  He is the “rose of Sharon” and the “lily of the valley” (SOS 2:1).   He’s the fairest of 10,000.


In JEREMIAH, He is RIGHTEOUS BRANCH. (Jeremiah 23:5-6). 


In EZEKIEL He is the SON OF MAN and the WIND that comes from the four corners of the earth resurrecting an entire valley of dry bones.

In DANIEL, He is the FOURTH MAN in the fiery furnace walking around with three Hebrew boys. He is also SON OF MAN coming in the clouds of heaven. (Daniel 3:25)


In JOEL He is the BAPTIZER with the HOLY SPIRIT and the GOD who pours out the HOLY SPIRIT.

In AMOS, He is the BURDEN BEARER and the ARMS that CARRY US.

In OBADIAH, He is the MIGHTY TO SAVE. (Obadiah 1:17-21). 


In MICAH He is the MESSENGER with beautiful feet.

In NAHUM He is our STRONGHOLD in the Day of Trouble. (Nahum 1:7)

In HABAKKUK He is the Great EVANGELIST crying out for REVIVAL!

In ZEPHANIAH He is the RESTORER of the remnant and the GLORY of Israel (Zephaniah 3:15) and the GOD who SINGS over His people (3:17). 

In HAGGAI He is the CLEANSING FOUNTAIN and the God who RESTORES our lost heritage.      



And in MALACHI He is the SON OF RIGHTEOUSNESS who rises with HEALING in His wings.(Malachi 4:2).

That’s just the Old Testament. Here’s the New Testament.

In MATTHEW, He is the PROMISED MESSIAH. (Matthew 1:23; 2:2, 6)

In MARK He is the MIRACLE WORKER. (Mark 10:45)

In LUKE He is the SON OF MAN. (Luke 19:10)

In JOHN He is the SON OF GOD and the WORD made flesh.

In ACTS He is the ASCENDED LORD who fills His followers with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8, 11; 2:1-4)

In ROMANS He is our JUSTIFIER who frees us from all condemnation. He is the GRACE OF GOD.

In 1 CORINTHIANS He is the last ADAM.

In 2 CORINTHIANS, He is our God of all COMFORT. (2 Corinthians 1:3)

In GALATIANS He’s our LIBERATOR – the one who sets us free from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13)

In EPHESIANS He is our glorious treasure.

In PHILIPPIANS He is our JOY and the God who MEETS ALL OUR NEEDS and the NAME ABOVE EVERY NAME. (Philippians 4:8; 2:9) 

In COLOSSIANS He is the FULLNESS of the Godhead in bodily form.

In 1 and 2 THESSALONIANS He is our SOON COMING KING. (1 Thessalonians 4)

In 1 and 2 TIMOTHY He is the MEDIATOR between God and man. (1 Timothy 2:5)

In TITUS He is our BLESSED HOPE and the FAITHFUL PASTOR. (Titus 2:13)

In PHILEMON He is a FRIEND who sticks closer than a brother.

In HEBREWS He is the BLOOD of the New Covenant that cleanses us from all our sin. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

In JAMES, He is the one who HEALS the sick. (James 5)

In 1 and 2 PETER He is CHIEF SHEPHERD. (1 Peter 2:25)

In 1, 2 and 3 JOHN He is EVERLASTING LOVE.

In JUDE He is ONLY WISE GOD, our SAVIOR and the LORD who will return with 10,000 of His Saints. (Jude 1:14, 24)

In REVELATION He is the ALPHA and OMEGA, the FIRST and the LAST, the BEGINNING and the END, the LAMB who was slain before the foundation of the world, the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS and the BRIGHT and MORNING STAR. (Revelation 1:8, 17; 21:6; 5:6; 19:13; 9:16; 22:16)

That’s it!!! This entire book is about Him!

It’s all about Jesus!

It’s all because of Jesus!

It all points to Jesus!

It's All About Jesus - Part 2: Every Story Whispers His Name


The Bible mattered to Jesus and it’s got to matter to us. He’s the central theme. The goal of the Bible isn’t to give us more INFORMATION, but to produce more TRANSFORMATION. 

Jesus believed that the Bible is infallible, trustworthy, sure, indestructible and reliable. Not only that, Jesus DEPENDED ON GOD’S WORD to overcome the evil one!

When Jesus squared off against Satan during the wilderness temptation, each time the evil one came at him with a temptation or proposition, Jesus didn’t simply stand on His own authority, though He could do that! After all, He was and is the Son of God… But He didn’t do that! 

Jesus consistently pointed back to the WORD of GOD! (Matthew 4:3-10)

When the evil one said, “You don’t have to be hungry… You can turn these stones into bread… You don’t have to suffer… Jump off this temple, He’ll give His angels charge over you… You can be something spectacular… Just worship me, and I’ll give you the kingdom of this world…”

Jesus so loved, honored and depended on God’s Word, that He countered every attack of the evil one with three simple words: “IT IS WRITTEN…”

The Message reads, “Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” (Matthew 4:4)

…a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.

Jesus not only believed that the Bible matters… Jesus depended on God’s Word to overcome and defeat the evil one. His heart and mind were so washed in the Word that He was able to see THROUGH the DECEPTION of the evil one and deal directly with it!

Jesus believed that the Bible is the last Word and the final authority. We believe that the Bible is the last Word and the final authority – not our feelings or our emotions.  Not our CIRCUMSTANCES or a particular SITUATION or EXPERIENCE. Not CULTURE or CONVENTIONAL WISDOM. God has given us His Word! He gave us this book!


I love the way The Message reads in Matthew 4:18:

God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working. —Mt 4:18 MS

Hebrews 4:12 says it this way, “The word of God is alive and powerful…”

Isaiah 55:11 says it like this, “It is the same with my word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”

The greatest battle you will fight is the battle you fight in your mind. But the Word of God renews our mind and reminds us that God’s Word is the final and last Word!

If the Bible matters to Jesus, shouldn’t it matter to you and me? If God cared enough to make certain we got a copy of this book, shouldn’t we make reading it and obeying it a priority?

So, what are some practical takeaways about the Bible:

•          READ it in a translation you can understand.

•          MEDITATE on it.

•          MEMORIZE it.

•          Information isn’t the goal, APPLICATION is. Always ask yourself:

            1. Is there a sin I need to confess?

            2. A promise for me to claim?

            3. An example for me to follow?

            4. A command I need to obey?

            5) Anything I need to be thankful for today?

JESUS is the central theme of the story of the BIBLE. Every story whispers His name!

Jesus said stuff that would be absolutely ridiculous for anyone else to say. For instance, in John 5:39 Jesus looked at a group of really religious people and said,

“You are busy analyzing the Scriptures, frantically poring over them in hopes of gaining eternal life. Everything you read points to me, yet you still refuse to come to me so I can give you the life you’re looking for—eternal life!” —John 5:39-40 TPT

Ultimately, the Bible is one story – the story of God’s purpose to save sinners through the sacrifice of JESUS — God’s only Son — who died for our sins in our place!  And to use the words of The Jesus Storybook Bible, “Every page in the Bible, whispers Jesus’ name.”

The Bible is the story of Jesus! 

Jesus explained it like this to a group of religious know-it-alls…

You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you'll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren't willing to receive from me the life you say you want. — John 5:39-40 MSG

The entire Bible was given so that we could know Jesus, love Jesus and live for Jesus.

Every story whispers His name.

Every story.

From the opening chapters of Genesis, to the closing chapter of Revelation, the story of Jesus is being told in this book.

Join us tomorrow to see how Jesus is in EVERY book of the Bible.