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Jesus’ Challenge

Jesus’ Challenge

Standing near the pagan temples of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples “Who do you say that I am?” Peter, with perhaps the greatest clarity in his life, replied, “You are the Messiah; the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16). The disciples were probably stirred by the contrast between Jesus, the true and living God, and the false hopes of the pagans who trusted in “dead” gods, whose worship consisted of sacrifices thrown out the back of the Temple of Augustus into the immeasurable water in the Cave of Pan. If the sacrifices disappeared they were accepted.
Jesus continued, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (see Matt. 16:13-20). 
The Catholic tradition has taken Jesus’ pronouncement in Matthew 16:18 to mean that Jesus was declaring that the church was to be built on the authority of Peter and the other disciples. It is true that they led the early church, so this would be a possible interpretation.
The Protestant tradition has taken Jesus’ declaration here to say that His church was to be built upon the confession recognizing Him as the Messiah and the Son of the living God. This is a valid interpretation, as well, and is a practice supported by other scriptures.
With the help of Ray VanderLaan and other Hebrew contextual scholars, a third interpretation is suggested which may be even more powerful as the others, based on the context. It seems clear that Jesus’ words also had symbolic meaning. His church would be built on the “rock” of Caesarea Philippi—a rock literally filled with niches for pagan idols, where ungodly values dominated.
Why would Jesus choose this place, the morally filthiest place within walking distance of His earthly region of ministry?
It is possible that he took his disciples to the most degenerate place possible to say to them “THIS is where I want you to build my church. I want you to walk into the most repugnantly degenerate places, where God is not even known. I want you to go out to places that make Caesarea Philippi look tame, and THAT is where I want you to build my church.” That is exactly what they did. They went to places in Asia Minor and the ends of the earth, where “gods” were worshipped in unspeakably awful manners and where Christians would be persecuted in horrific manner, and they gave their lives doing EXACTLY what they were told to do by their Rabbi.
Gates were defensive structures in the ancient world. By saying that the gates of Hades would not overcome, Jesus suggested that those gates were going to be attacked. 
Standing as they were at a literal “gate of Hades,” the disciples may have been overwhelmed by Jesus’ challenge. They had studied under their rabbi for a couple of years, and now He was commissioning them to a huge task: to attack evil—go on the assault—and to build the church on the very places that were most filled with moral corruption. 
Jesus presented a clear challenge with his words at Caesarea Philippi. He didn’t want His followers hiding from evil: He wanted them to storm the gates of hell. He didn’t want His Church to be characterized by “We Don’t Do That,” but by “ATTACK!”
Let’s Storm This Place Together!

Let’s Storm This Place Together!

I am the way into the city of woe.
I am the way to a forsaken people.
I am the way to eternal sorrow.
Sacred justice moved my architect.
I was raised here by divine omnipotence,
Primordial love and ultimate intelligence.
Only those elements time cannot wear
Were made before me, and beyond time I stand.
Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
 The Gate of Hell, from The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Matthew 16:13-20 (ESV)

Matthew 16:13-20 (ESV)

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Peace-making at its finest

Peace-making at its finest

Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9) Sometimes, the only way we can do that as a nation is to go MAKE peace by using the tool called “war.” It ought to be a last resort, but it IS a viable option to make peace. May God still choose to bless America.

Finally Going… "Crunchy"

Finally Going… "Crunchy"

We bought a canner the other day. Wal-Mart… $16.88. Good deal.

Yesterday, we bought 24 more pint-size Kerr canning jars.

Today, we bought two boxes of blackberries, a box of flame peaches, and a crate of raspberries (add 3 cucumbers to round it all out) at The Berry Ranch in Nampa, ID.

We are conservatives going Crunchy. We Love it.

Shared Ministry

Shared Ministry

“Every Member is a Minister.”

(Romans 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 2:5, 9)

We believe God has equipped every Christ-Follower with gifts and passions so they can become difference and disciple makers for Jesus Christ. We encourage everyone to use and develop their gifts and talents in service to their local church, community and world. We believe even leaders serve in community as a team of friends together.

Transformed Life

Transformed Life

“Living the Bible, Not Just Knowing the Bible.”

(Romans 8:29; 2 Cor. 5:17; 13:8; 1 John 2:6)

We believe the Bible is God’s Word to our world. Therefore, as disciples of Jesus, we must live and practice the life changing principles we discover. God gave us His Word in order to equip us and change us for His glory and our benefit.

Come now… what’s the point of knowing the Bible inside and out but not doing what it tells us? If I say I’m a follower of Jesus, then the litmus test of my claim is found in my actions: obedience to Him and His word. John 14:21 tells us that if “anyone loves me, he will obey my command.” What’s that command again?

Do I want a transformed life? You bet! My obedience factor is the main test of whether or not I love Jesus, not necessarily my level of Bible knowledge.

Relational Community

Relational Community

“Doing Life Together.”

(Psalm 68:6; Acts 2:42-48; 1 Thessalonians 2:8)

We believe real authenticity is best described as openness with others about our strengths and weaknesses. Through hospitality and Productive Fellowship, we help people find their way from anonymity into authentic relationships where people do life together. Come and find your extended family in a church where NO ONE stands alone.

A Church is a Relational Community: one where people from all walks of life come together under the banner of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to worship Him together, serve Him together, love each other practically and deeply, spread His message and enjoy Him forever!

A great way to do that by the way is by having a good old campfire.

Creative Bible Teaching

Creative Bible Teaching

“Revealing Truth in a Relevant and Meaningful Way.”

(Matt 13:34-35; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:2)

God’s Word is central to our Message, so we strive to communicate the truth of the Bible through various means in order to bring clarity, passion, conviction and understanding to its hearers in order to embrace God’s perspective on life.