The Cup That Jesus Drinks

Convincing the church to sell Christianity as a way to achieve benefit, rather than offering Christianity as a way to be a benefit to others, is Satan’s most insidious deception.

Jesus did not die just for you – he died for everyone. Jesus invites you to participate in his death and resurrection. Baptism and Communion aren’t symbols of receiving a crown, being seated on a throne, and being given a mansion. Baptism and Communion are symbols of Suffering, Sacrifice, and Service. They are symbols of our participation with Jesus in the redemption of a world of people who are lost, and dying, and broken.

“I am crucified with Christ…” (Galatians 2:20)

“Buried with Christ in Baptism…” (Romans 6:4)

“Are you able to drink from this cup I drink?” (Matthew 20:22)

“Drink of it, all of you.” (Matthew 26:27)

“The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.” (Matthew 20:28)

“Follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

Being a servant – that is, following Jesus – isn’t popular or comfortable. Following Jesus won’t make you one of the Cool Kids. To be sure, following Jesus has its blessings, but they are the blessings of satisfaction, not the blessings of luxury. They are the blessings that come from hard work, not the blessings that come from relaxing. Following Jesus is work, then rest – not rest, and more rest. Jesus will reward you richly – but first, following him will cost you everything.

Are you ready for this kind of Christianity?

–Bob Young

Books by Bob Young


Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead In his defense before King Agrippa, the Apostle Paul asked, “Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8)

On the one hand, we can ask incredulously, “What? Paul, why would any of us consider the resurrection remotely possible?”

But if we look at his question a little more deeply, we see that he’s right. Consider these beliefs, which aren’t thought of as incredible:

1. Reincarnation
2. The earth as Mother Gaia – alive, and the source of all life
3. A spirit world
4. Near-death experiences and the bright light
5, Spiritual forces of good and evil
6. Auras
7. Chakras
8. Our spirits are eternal
9. Extra-sensory perception
10. Out-of-body experiences
11. Telepathy
12. Affecting events and outcomes by thought control
13. Positive thinking
14. Talismans (physical objects with magical or supernatural power)
15. And many other, similar things that are beyond the realm of scientific investigation.

Christians believe some of the items on this list, in one form or another. What ties the list together, though, is that all of the items are believed by non-Christians.

And so, Paul’s question is valid through the ages: “Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?”

Forget, for a moment, the rules and principles and theology you learned at church (or from your friends, or from television, and so on). Let’s go back to the very basics; the bare-bones gospel as it’s found in the New Testament.

Jesus was with God in the beginning, because he is God. He appeared on Earth, in the flesh, as one of his own creation. He showed us how to live, and he showed us the Father, God. People had some pretty messed up ideas about God, and they had managed to find ways to make a living out of selling their beliefs. These people presented themselves as essential to good communication with God. Jesus wrecked all that. He showed how you can have close fellowship with God, who made you. He showed you how to have a life filled with innocence, satisfaction, fulfillment, and good relationships. Because he was a threat to the ongoing religious institution, religious people stirred up the crowd and had Jesus killed. He was innocent of any wrong, and yet he died.

Consequence without action.

Or was it? Was it really consequence without action? Wait. Think it through. He knew what was going to happen, and he set the whole thing in motion. Why? What was the plan? Well, I’ll tell you. It was a demonstration of righteousness like no other. It was an act of love and sacrifice that really was unparalleled. From the beginning, Jesus intended that his consequence would be for our actions. The equation is complete. Everything is equal. The negative has been canceled. It is finished.

At that point, since the job was finished, Jesus went home. In other words, he rose from the dead, said goodbye to his friends, returned to heaven, and now sits on his throne, at the right hand of the Father.

He has shown you what is good.
He has shown you what a rich, full, satisfying life looks like.
He has shown you that you can live such a life.
He has shown you the Way.

And this is what Jesus said about it all: “Follow me.”

Well, then, you know what to do. Go ahead. Say it. He’s listening.

“Jesus, I will follow you.”

–Bob Young

I Peter – Bible Study

1 Peter I Peter Questions & Notes

1) Start with a quick prayer, something like, “Father, open my eyes, mind, and heart as I study your Word.”
2) Read I Peter.
3) Work through the questions and comments on your own, or as part of a group.

General Comment
Peter quotes from the following Old Testament books: Leviticus, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, and Hosea. Also, 2:25 is an oblique reference to Job 10:12, though it’s not a quote. Some of the books (like Leviticus, Psalms, and Isaiah), he quotes from more than one passage.

Chapter 1
Suffer, hope, holy, joy/rejoice: these expressions each appear more than once in chapter 1. With these four keywords in mind, can you summarize what Peter is trying to communicate at the beginning of this letter? Can you relate to what Peter is saying at this point in your life?

“…that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Have you come out of darkness and into God’s light? What does this mean? What does it feel like? Does the world look different to you now? Are you different now? Do you regret the transition from darkness to light? The things that are gone now: do you view them as a regrettable loss, or does it feel like you have been relieved of a burden? Are you still in darkness? Do you still have unbearable burdens? Do you want to move into God’s light?

This passage has caused some girls and women to feel unnecessary guilt about using makeup or maximizing their beauty. But when we read the entire Bible, we learn that beauty is spoken of in favorable ways. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Esther were all beautiful women, and their beauty is clearly an asset in their description in the Bible. It’s noteworthy that Esther was trained in the art of makeup, and that her beauty was specifically an asset that God used to save his people from genocide. My question for you: if we balance 3:3-7 with everything written in the Bible about beauty and makeup, what will we teach our daughters? How do all of the relevant Bible passages fit together cohesively?

Chapter 4
Those who have monitored my teaching for any length of time know that I often refer to the Three S’s at the heart of Christianity — Suffering, Sacrifice, and Service. Peter mentions two of these explicitly in this chapter, and the third one is alluded to. Can you find them?

“…testifying that this is the true grace of God.”
My question to you: what does “this” refer to? Meditating on Peter’s letter, what is the true grace of God? Can you put it in your own words, and show me which part (or parts) of Peter’s letter substantiate your explanation?

–Bob Young

This Bible Study may be used for personal study or group studies.
It may be freely printed and distributed, but please include my name and the link to my blog:

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Free Worship

No offering will be taken. No plea for money. No way to give money, even if you wanted to.

What if I started a meeting for people who love God, but don’t like church –
Would you come?

What if I started a live streaming audio meeting with prayers for each other and a short message on how to look like the real Jesus in a world full of plastic imitations –
Would you click on the link and listen?

What if I started a live streaming video meeting with prayers for each other and a short message about how to survive life’s challenges –
Would you click on the link and watch?

What if I held the meeting live, somewhere in the greater Seattle area, but not on Sunday morning –
Would you come?

Would you host it in your home?

Would you make space available at your place of business?

Would you be willing to meet outdoors, in a park?

What if it rains?

What if people walk by, and shake their heads?

What if people walk by, stop for a minute, listen – and then ask for prayer for healing?

Wherever it is, it must be absolutely free.

I’m willing to be the fool who stands up in front of people, speaks loudly, and prays for things so impossible that only God can do them.

I’m willing to tell them things like:
“You’re closer to God than you think.”
“I’m not here to promise you a blessing.”
“God wants you to do something nice for someone today.”
“You honor God by loving people, not by giving money.”
“Your hatred and bitterness has got to go.”
“What you really need doesn’t cost a dime, but only God can give it.”
“Don’t worry about your habits right now. Start loving God, and the rest will come.”
“You can’t forgive, and it’s eating you alive!”
“God can move your heart – change your heart – and cause forgiveness, healing, and life to grow again.”

I need your feedback. Write to me. Post your comments here on my blog, or post them on my Facebook wall. Email me. My email address is shown below.

Online meetings?
Live streaming audio?
Live streaming video?
“Real” meetings? Where? Indoors? Outdoors?

Silence, too, will tell me what I need to know.

Talk to me, or don’t. I’m listening.

–Bob Young

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Mary At The Cross

It was late afternoon. The crowd was much smaller than it had been earlier; most of the people who had gone up to Skull Hill started to leave when the three men were dead. They wanted to be home before the Sabbath started at sundown. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was sitting on the ground. She had stood for most of the day, but her strength was gone. When the soldiers took Jesus’ body off the cross, John and a couple of the others went up to the Centurion and very respectfully asked if they could take him to his mother before he was carried away. The Centurion was soft-spoken and gentle at that moment, and gave them permission. John said thank you and then, with the help of the others, he carried Jesus’ body to Mary. They laid Jesus on the ground and John gently lowered his head onto Mary’s lap. She was surprised by how heavy his head was. She leaned forward with one hand around his head, and one across his body, and hugged him. As she began to do this, a wail arose within her. The wail was not just a sound; it was an object. It filled her, and made her chest so tight she could barely breathe. The tears had stopped, but they came again now. She opened her mouth as wide as it would go, and the wail began to come out. The wail was so large that she couldn’t contain it, and yet with her mouth open so wide – as loud and as fast as the wail came out, it still filled her and hurt her chest. Finally, she had no breath and no sound, and the wail was gone. She was shaking up and down, throbbing, with silent sobs that she thought might break her ribs. Her throat hurt. She was thirsty, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. He was gone.

John said, “It’s time to go. We need to get out of the soldiers’ way. We need to go now; come with me, I’ll take you home.” The other men picked up Jesus, then, to carry him back to the soldiers. John helped Mary stand up. She turned and walked away, down the hill, leaning on John, holding him close, and didn’t look back. She never wanted to see that hill again.

–Bob Young
[ This is an excerpt from my article, “Ask Bob #34.” I originally published it on September 12, 2010.]

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