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John: The Gospel of Life

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Encouragement | 0 comments

Most Christians and even many unbelievers are aware that the four Gospels at the beginning of the New Testament are biographical sketches of the life of Jesus Christ. These four books—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—have a fundamental similarity; they are all concerned with the life story of the same man. But why tell the same story four times?

Each of the Gospels presents Jesus Christ in a particular way:

  • Matthew, which repeatedly mentions “the kingdom of the heavens” (thirty-two times, to be exact), reveals that Jesus is the King, the One anointed by God to bring the kingdom of the heavens to the earth. Accordingly, Matthew opens with a detailed genealogical record (Matt. 1:1-17) that traces Christ’s lineage from the kingly line of David.
  • Mark’s record shows us that Jesus came as a slave to serve fallen man (Mark 10:45); hence, Mark’s gospel has no genealogy, since the heritage of a slave is unimportant.
  • Luke, seeking to show us that Jesus is a genuine and perfect man, highlights His human virtues and presents His ancestry all the way back to Adam, the first man (Luke 3:23-38).
  • John demonstrates that Jesus is the Son of God, even God Himself, becoming a man in the flesh so that man may receive the life of God (John 1:1, 12-14).

Since we are beginning the semester by reading the Gospel of John, let’s consider John’s emphasis in more detail.

The Word, who is God, became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”

Jesus embodied the life of God.

John 1:4 says, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The Greek word for life in this verse is zoe, which indicates not the physical human life (in Greek, bios) or the life of the soul (in Greek, psuche), but the eternal, divine life.

Jesus Himself is life.

Not only was there life in Jesus as the incarnated God; He Himself is life. In John 11:25 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life,” and in John 14:6 He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

Jesus came that we may have the life of God.

Jesus is the divine life, but even more, He was incarnated that we might have this life as well. In John 10:10 He said, “I have come that they may have life [zoe] and may have it abundantly.”

The Gospel of John reveals Christ’s death as a life-releasing death.

Christ shed His blood for us on the cross that we might be redeemed by God and forgiven of our sins. However, the Gospel of John is unique in showing us not only the redemptive aspect of Christ’s death, but also its life-imparting aspect.

In John 12:24 Jesus spoke of His death in a way that makes no reference to sin; rather, it is an analogy that concerns the imparting of the divine life into man. Jesus said, “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Here He compared Himself to a seed; if a seed is never planted (that is, never “falls into the ground and dies”) it remains a single seed. However, if it is planted in death, it will bring forth many grains in resurrection (“if it dies, it bears much fruit”).

In the account of Christ’s death on the cross, John includes detail that is not found in the other Gospels. John 19:34 says that after Jesus died, “One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.”

The blood that flowed out from the Lord’s side we readily recognize as the precious blood of the Lamb of God that washes away our sins (John 1:29). The water signifies the life of God imparted into those who believe into Jesus, making them the children of God (John 1:12-13; 3:15). The believers as the “many grains” mentioned in John 12:24, are the church, the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:17).

So, as you read through the Gospel of John in the next few weeks, pay attention to this One who is the eternal life and who desires to impart His life into us!

Five Reasons to Read the Bible

Posted by on Aug 23, 2015 in Encouragement | 1 comment

These aren’t the only reasons to read the Bible—there are many more. And the order is not particularly important, because the reason that stands out most to you may depend on your personal background and circumstances. But, here they are. We hope you’ll be encouraged to start reading!

1. For education: College is all about getting an education, right? The Bible is unquestionably the most influential book in the history of mankind (or, for the sake of avoiding argument—one of the most influential books…). For this reason alone, it follows that an educated person ought to have read the Bible. Certainly a Christian entering into adulthood would do well to read his faith’s foundational book. If for nothing else, read the King James Version for the monumental literary achievement that it is.

2. For guidance: As we struggle to make our way in the world, considering this or that major, internship, career path, relationship…at some point we all could use some good advice. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet / And a light to my path.” Verse 130 says, “The entrance of Your words gives light; / It gives understanding to the simple.” If the way before you seems dark and you’re groping to find your way, follow the lead of generations of believers and turn to the Word of God to direct you.

3. For preservation: Does anyone running a race want to fall? College life is free from direct parental observation and replete with temptations. According to Jude 24, God is “able to guard you from stumbling.” One of the ways He guards us is through His Word. When we absorb God’s speaking in the Bible, it becomes a safeguard to us. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, / That I might not sin against You.”

4. For faith: If you haven’t yet heard a professor or classmate challenge the existence of God or question whether Christianity should have a place in 21st century society…get ready. You will be challenged. How will you respond? Will your faith be shaken or, worse yet, lost? Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” When we are under “the hearing of faith” (Gal. 3:2, 5) by reading the Bible, our faith is strengthened, enabling us to stand.

5. For spiritual food: What kind of Christian testimony do you want to leave behind when you graduate? That of a sickly, beleaguered believer who barely made it, or the healthy, shining testimony of one who is a light to the world (Phil. 2:15)? If you tried to pass through college without eating physically, your death would be the inevitable result. While we have no problem receiving our growling stomach’s message that we need to eat on a daily basis, we may not recognize the hunger pangs in our spiritual life.

A Christian’s food, the Bible makes clear, is the Word of God. The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Your words were found, and I ate them, / And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jer. 15:16). And the apostle Peter wrote to those who are young in the Lord, “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Pet. 2:2-3).

So, don’t be a starving Christian; read the Bible!

Fall 2015 Bible Reading Challenge

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015 in Events | 0 comments

College will challenge your faith.

But you don’t have to let the college environment weaken you. Companionship with other believers and reading the Word of God are two excellent ways to strengthen your faith.

So why not do both? Join us in reading the Gospel of John in four weeks, starting Monday, August 24th. We’ll make it easy by sending you each day’s verses.

Click here to sign up.

Our interns reflect

Posted by on Aug 27, 2014 in Reports | 0 comments

_fji1779Last week, 8 students from several different campuses participated in the Philly Christian Students Summer Internship. This was a week-long opportunity for students to spend time together in fellowship, prayer, and also practical service for the club. In the mornings, we had fellowship about topics regarding our personal relationship with the Lord, as well as our service together. In the afternoons, we visited the UPenn and Temple campuses to spread the word about Philly Christian Students. We also got to know some of the local Christian families who support our group by visiting their homes and enjoying dinner together in the evenings.

Here’s what some of our interns had to say:

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Bible Reading Challenge

Posted by on Aug 26, 2014 in Events | 0 comments

We know that college can be a very challenging environment for our Christian faith, so we want to start off the new semester right by reading the gospel of John together. Whether or not you have read the book of John before, this will strengthen your faith and help you to get to know another student believer.


Here’s what to do:

  • Sign up using this form.
  • We’ll connect you with a partner to enjoy and discuss the book together.
  • You and your partner set your own reading schedule.
  • Try to complete the gospel of John together by 9/30/14.
  • If you need a copy of the Bible, please let us know and we’ll provide one!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

The Calling of Abraham – PCS Reading Challenge, Week 2

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Reports | 0 comments

book We’ve been reading through The God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob by Watchman Nee for our summer Reading Challenge. Last week we finished up Chapter 2 for Week 2 of the challenge.Check out what we’ve been enjoying below:

 

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What a deal!

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Encouragement | 0 comments

How’s this for a Cyber Monday Deal?

–  Justification: FREE! (Romans 3:24)

– Righteousness: FREE! (Romans 5:17)

– Grace: FREE! (Ephesians 2:8)

– Water of Life: FREE! (Revelation 21:6)

Something that I have been enjoying is that God wants to be everything to us. The Bible reveals our God as the great “I Am” meaning that everything we need, He is.  If we are hungry, He is our food. If we are weak, He is our power. If we are distressed, He is our peace. In the past couple of weeks in our home gatherings we have been enjoying the verse “Come, for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). God puts no requirement upon us that we need to struggle or strive through our own efforts to receive Him. The Lord has already prepared everything for us. All we have to do is come to Him!

Fall Retreat 2013 – Part 2

Posted by on Nov 14, 2013 in Reports | 0 comments

HC beachEarlier this week some students shared their impressions of the Fall Retreat (topic: “the Lord’s Recovery”.) We promised to post more, so here they are – more riches from the retreat!

“I was so touched when I learned that God is faithful, ALL the time, to lead us to the enjoyment of Christ. For a few years, I felt very out of touch with God, because I was living in Asia and I couldn’t get past the language barrier to truly love God and fellowship with the local saints, but the Lord brought me companions who felt the same way. My faith was restored and a part of myself that I didn’t know was empty became filled to the brim! Praise the Lord that He is faithful to bring us back to Him in love!”
Vivian S., Haverford College

“I enjoyed a ministry excerpt we read during the retreat: ‘Christ has to be formed in us. This means that we have to let Christ occupy every part of our being. Christ should occupy our mind, our thinking, our consideration…For Christ to occupy us in this way means that He is making His Home in us. In Ephesians Paul prayed that Christ might make His home in our hearts. Then in Gal 4:19 he expressed his desire for Christ to be formed in us. To have Christ formed in us is to have Christ grown in us in full.’ ”
Toby C., Temple University

“During the retreat, I enjoyed that the Lord wants us to give Him the first place in all things. Calling on His name, “Oh Lord Jesus!”, repeating short prayers to Him, or even singing hymns to Him are some practical ways to give the Lord the preeminence in our hearts. My favorite little prayer is: “My presence shall go with You and I will give You the rest.” If we are under the Lord’s presence, we will spontaneously give Him the preeminence, the first place, in all things.”
Connie C., UPenn

“I enjoyed how we should have a fresh relationship with the Lord each day. Some of us have been believers for many years, and it is easy to take for granted how every day is an opportunity to appreciate Him in a new way. In fact, we should renew our consecration to the Lord every day. The speaker at the retreat said that it is normal to tell the Lord every morning: ‘Lord, I give my whole life to you again. I give my whole being to you! Lord Jesus, I still love you! Thank you, Lord, for another day to love you more!’ no matter what our current situation is. We may be going through difficulties in our lives and be low in spirit, but just knowing that the Lord is always so fresh and available should motivate us to touch Him in a fresh way. Remember, each day is an opportunity to renew our consecration and love the Lord even more.”
Robin Z., Temple University

“For many of us this was not our first time at a Christian retreat, but somehow personally I felt like this was by far one of the most influential ones I’ve been to. At many retreats, we’re touched by the Lord while we’re there, but then after we’ve come back to our normal lives it’s so easy to go back to what we feel comfortable doing, and that might not please the Lord. But this time I came back feeling completely new and revived, as though I had left part of my old self and gained something new and permanent.
At this retreat, we learned about the Lord’s recovery. This can happen if we just constantly eat and drink of the Lord and treat Him as our first love. We need to regard Him as our friend, our father and companion and simply just enjoy Him! I was also really touched by the worship at the retreat, because all the brothers and sisters were really enjoying the Lord with the songs and from their praises it felt as if they were all beaming and shining. It was incredible. I felt extremely lucky to be part of them and to see young people actively searching and living for the Lord, when there are so many distractions and temptations around them.”
Brittney L., Bryn Mawr College

Fall Retreat 2013 – Part 1

Posted by on Nov 11, 2013 in Reports | 0 comments

A couple of weeks ago, we joined about 200 other college students in the Northeast for our annual Fall Retreat in Harvey Cedars, NJ. The topic was “The Lord’s Recovery” and we enjoyed the Lord’s speaking to each one of us about what it means for Him to “recover” us.

Below, you can read about what some of us enjoyed at the Fall Retreat! We’ll be posting more later this week.

“The Lord is recovering us to our normal condition as the ‘”Lord Jesus, I love you” people’. It is God’s original intention that we would love Him. Thus, it is normal to be romantic with the Lord and say ‘Lord Jesus, I love you!'”.
Karen H., Villanova University

“During the college retreat at Harvey Cedars, I enjoyed that all believers can be in the Lord’s recovery. The Lord’s recovery is not a name or an organization. The word ‘recovery’ actually means ‘ a restoration or return to a normal condition after a damage or loss has been incurred.’ If we are enjoying Christ, then we are in a normal condition, and we are in the Lord’s recovery.”
Matt M., West Chester University

“I enjoyed the part about just telling the Lord that we love Him; letting Him know that we love Him every day. Our response to Him, whether or not we’re experiencing a good situation, should be “Lord I just love you.” When we wake up in the morning just say, Lord Jesus I still love you!
Julibeth L., Community College of Philadelphia

“On Saturday, the speaker released a message about giving the Lord the preeminence and the first place in everything. The message outline contained 18 points in total. One point that inspired me was, “To give the Lord the first place is to love him with our first love, and the best love.” Since the moment I was saved one and a half years ago, I have tried to give the Lord the first place in everything I experience, but sometimes my heart is drawn away by many other things not of Jesus Christ. I used to feel frustrated when I failed to touch the Lord, but that point from the message told me that in order to give Him the first place, I need to give Him my first love.

It’s hard to tell what kind of love is my “first love”. So after that message in the retreat I prayed: “Lord Jesus, please reveal to me what is the first love. I’m willing to stay in the flow to keep my love to you forever fresh.” After that prayer, I strongly felt that there was no need to feel frustrated, because all I need is to consecrate every love I have to Him, and to inquire in His temple. After the retreat, and I was so joyful that I had restored the freshness of my love, and all the other believers supplied me with God’s love. Praise the Lord that we can say: “Dear God, I just love you, and I love you above anything else.”
Jeff Z., UPenn

Fall Retreat 2013

Posted by on Nov 1, 2013 in Reports | 0 comments

Fall Retreat 2013

This year’s topic was “the Lord’s Recovery” – read more about it on our blog!

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