Back In Business 2022

Well, something is different! My web builder has been working on this site to make some repairs to ‘broken stuff.’ At first it was thought to be a hack, but later was discovered t be internal problem. It’s technical for sure, so I don’t fully understand it. Just glad to have Earle (Earl’s help desk.com) to work on it. It is a huge (in my estimation) site, and so when something gets out of whack, it creates a domino effect… headache! Again I want to recommend
EarlsHelpDesk.com | Remote Access Computer Services. I highly recommend his help as one who is not only good at fixing computer problems, but also an author (check out his web site!)

All this being said, we will be continuing our writing on unfinished series, (Book of John), adding more photos of the Exum family, answering your messages on the site, and adding other things I have been thinking about lately… We hope you will be reading and responding.

Thank you for your patience. Looking forward to

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RUDY (aka Rudimous)

Rudy, a cute little Chihuahua of dubious mixed blood, passed away on the same date that my brother Bob Exum passed on. January 25, 2022 was a hard day, as Rudy’s health had been going down. He was diabetic, needing insulin (morning and evening), heart trouble for which he was given 1/2 of a heart tablet per day, he was for the most part blind due to cataracts, he had arthritis as well. He was almost 15 years old. In human terms, he should have been in a nursing home for dogs I guess.
He enjoyed going for a walk, but lately it has been too cold and snowy. It was a chore in some ways to care for him, but all because we loved him. He would follow me wherever I went, much like he did with Bob. I wish we had him for a longer time, because he was company. A real ‘lap-dog.’
So, here’s to our last of four pets we had. Little Bit, Miss Precious. Molly, and Rudy… All gone now.

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Gospel of John – Lesson Seven – John 3b – For God So Loved

Text: John 3:14-21
* All through Scriptures we are impressed with the lengths that God has gone to in-order-to benefit and save mankind. It is truly hard to imagine what more He could do.
* Paul said, “You see just at the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8
* John concludes the little “sit down” with Nicodemus with this OT comparison…
“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in Him.”

1. Read Numbers 21:4-9. Summarize the story. ______________________________________________________________________
2. God could have just healed the people who were bitten. What is the point of making a snake and putting it on a pole? ______________________________________________________________________
3. Does this make “healing” too easily obtained?
4. In John 1:12; 3:14, 16, 18a, and negatively in verse 18b “belief” is what is required live spiritually! What is the problem that the author is dealing with in his readers? ______________________________________________________________________
5. What do you say to someone who says, “If God SO LOVES us, then where was God when my son/ daughter/best friend died?” “… when I was being abused?” “Why bad things happen/good people!?” ______________________________________________________________________
6. Did God send His Son to this world to CONDEMN? If not then WHY? ______________________________________________________________________
7. If a person does not BELIEVE IN JESUS, what is his/her situation? What then is the starting place for those seeking life? ______________________________________________________________________
8. Why do many refuse to believe in Jesus? Vs. 19 ______________________________________________________________________
9. Why do people hate the “light?” Vs. 20 ______________________________________________________________________

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Gospel of John – Lesson Six – John 3 – A New What???

This article is part 6 of 6 in the series The Gospel Of John

Text: John 3:1-13
When thinking of “things new” a “new birth” just doesn’t come to mind, normally. Nor is it usually on our “want list.” (Well maybe it is.) Nicodemus must have been shocked when Jesus told him, “You must be born again,” and even though there seems to be some things left out of the conversation, Jesus does not leave out anything important.

SPECIAL NOTES:
Nicodemus was:
– Wealthy (John 19:39)
– Pharisee (“Chaburah” = “Brotherhood”) “They entered this “brotherhood” by taking a
pledge in front of three witnesses that they would spend all their lives observing every detail of the scribal law… There were 6,000 in the “brotherhood.” These were considered “the best in the country.” They were strictly “orthodox” and considered first 5 books as complete will of God. Their goal = PERFECTION by law keeping.
– Ruler (Sanhedrin) = 70 Supreme Court of the Jews. Religious jurisdiction over every Jew in the world. Their duty: Examine every ‘so-called’ prophet – TRUE OR FALSE!
– Our Context shows John 3:3-15 (at least) = spoken to NICODEMUS.
– Came by night – “Why?” – Speculations – Who cares! Why important or not?
– What really matters: He came to the right person, and his life was changed forever.

1. “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God…”
What reason did he give for this? ___________________________________________
2. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” What does this mean?
______________________________________________________________________
– Digging deeper: (Gk. “Anothen”) Three meanings not possible to be put in one word:
– “From the beginning” – Completely, radically.
– “Again” – In the sense of a second time.
– “From above” – ie. From God
3. What does the Bible say about the “new birth”? Please list the outstanding point or principle found in:
– I Peter 1:3 ___________________________________________________________
– I Peter 1:22-23 _______________________________________________________
– James 1:18 __________________________________________________________
– Titus 3:5 ____________________________________________________________
– Romans 6:1-11 _______________________________________________________
– I Cor. 3:1-2 __________________________________________________________
– II Cor. 5:17 __________________________________________________________
– Gal. 6:15 ____________________________________________________________
– Eph. 4:22-24 _________________________________________________________
– Heb. 5:12-14 _________________________________________________________
4. What important conclusions do you come to after studying these verses regarding “new birth”? What difference should a “new birth” mean?
______________________________________________________________________
5. The new birth indicates that there be a radical change which is based on a new relationship VERTICALLY (ie. With God). How does the new birth relate to:
– The kingdom of God? (Col. 1:13) __________________________________________
– The family of God? (I Tim. 3:15; Matt. 18:3) __________________________________
– The body of Christ? (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:25-27; I Cor. 12:12-13) ____________________
6. “Pneuma” in Greek means “spirit” or “wind.” What do we not know about the Spirit (as
compared to “the wind?” Can you give some examples of this “Spirit activity” in the book of Acts? _______________________________________________________________
– What conclusions can we draw from the surprising activity of the Spirit? ___________
7. What are the elements of the new birth? Jno. 3:5; Col. 2:11-13; Acts 2:36-39
– Purpose of the ____________ is __________________________________
– Purpose of the ____________ is __________________________________
8. What is the danger of over-emphasizing one element (water and Spirit) above the other or to the exclusion of one or the other? (What do you think about this statement: “A waterless Spirit birth is no more effective than a Spiritless water birth.” ______________________________________________________________________
9. How does this effect what you have previously thought about the “new birth?”________________________________________________________________
10. Why is this important to you and your life on a daily basis? ______________________________________________________________________

(For more study on this topic please refer to Series “Holy Spirit” and “Amazing Grace” in this website. Hope this helps.)

Grow in grace!!!

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Gospel of John – Lesson Five – John 2b – Cleansing Out God’s House!

This article is part 5 of 6 in the series The Gospel Of John

Sunday Class – Book of John – Lesson 5 – “Cleaning out God’s house”
Texts: John 2:13-25 (cf. Mtt.21:12-13; Mk. 11:15-17; Lk. 19:45-46)
Some things to remember:
–  John is not focused on chronology as much as his overall purpose and goal. (John 20:31)
– Jerusalem: The center of Jewish culture, government and of course religion because the temple was there. In fact, all three of these things were closely tied together.
– Passover – Commemorates Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 11-12).
– Every adult male within 20 miles = required to attend and participate.
– Barclay records: Sometimes 2.25 million assembled for the Passover feast coming from all areas of Roman Empire
– A Temple tax was required for entrance (one half-shekel/ two days wages)
– “Money changers” – Exchanging of currencies because foreign currency was considered unclean. Extra chargers resulted in profit for changers and hardship on people.
– Animal sacrifices – Inspectors appointed/ Fee for inspection/ Animals bought outside = half the charge of purchase in temple area/ Animals bought o/side were certain to be rejected/ Resulting in “extortion” of the poor/ All in the name of pure religion!
– “God dwells in temples not made with hands.” Yet over the Centuries more and more attention and money has been given to the PLACE where one “connects” with God, with more and more regulations as to what can and cannot be done inside and outside these buildings. What you think? ________________________________________________

The anger of Jesus – Discussion Questions:
1. Was Jesus over-reacting in verse 15? What about “Be angry but do not sin.” (Eph. 4:26-27) What is “righteous anger?” _________________________________________
2. What are some examples where it is “right” to be angry? ______________________
What makes “anger” sinful (and dangerous)?__________________________________
3. Jesus drove all out of temple area, but to those who sold doves Jesus says, “Get these out of here! Stop making my Father’s house into a market!” Why?
______________________________________________________________________
4. Is this the same as having a “Yard Sale” on the church parking lot? BBQ/Games/Kitchen/Dinners/Girl Scouts/N/A/ CR/ Weddings/Funerals and other activities on church property? Why? Why not? ________________________________
5. What is God’s house? Where is the “sanctuary?” What would desecrate “God’s house” today? __________________________________________________________
6. There were two responses mentioned regarding Jesus’ actions: “DISCIPLES REMEMBERED and the Jews REQUIRED A SIGN of authority. (Vs. 17-18)
– How does Mark 14:58 help clarify John’s record? _____________________________
– What do you think the disciples thought when Jesus got angry and cleansed the
temple area? ___________________________________________________________
– How does this incident help disciples after Jesus was raised from the dead? (Vs. 17-22) __________________________________________________________________
7. Does Jesus offer more (in signs) than what He offered in vs. 19? (Cf. vs. 23)
8. Vs 24-25 What did/does Jesus know about “people” in general?
9. What life and or spiritual principles can we gain from this episode in the life of Jesus recorded in John’s gospel?

Grow in grace!!!

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Gospel of John – Lesson Four – John 2 – Water, Wine and Miracles

This article is part 4 of 6 in the series The Gospel Of John

We now come to the beginning of the miracles of Jesus in John’s book. Whether it be changing water into wine (2) or healing the man at the pool (5) or raising Lazarus from the dead (11), miracles are troubling for many, while amazing and faith building to others.
1. What is a “miracle anyway?” What was/is their purpose? Do miracles occur today? ______________________________________________________________________

*  “The Greek word for miracle that John uses is “simaios” which means “sign.” Miracles are thus “signs,” and like all signs, they are never about themselves, they are about whatever they are pointing toward. Miracles point to something beyond themselves. But to what? To God Himself. That’s the point of miracles – to point us beyond our world to another world.” (“Miracles” by Eric Metaxis,)

2. John records miracles that point beyond the “miracle” to Jesus. “… these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God… and have life…” (20:30-31) So what is the “END GAME” of miracles? ___________________________
3. What about Old Testament miracles? (Plagues, parting the Red Sea.) To whom do these miracles point and what was their purpose? ______________________________________________________________________
4.Do miracles contradict Science? (Or is science just not as advanced as God’s power?) _______________________________________________________________
5. Do miracles still happen? Give an example! What did/do they point to? Who should always get the glory? ____________________________________________________
6. If miracles do NOT happen now, then what effect does this have on prayer? Are we wrong or naïve in praying for God’s “interruption” in our lives?” Are “answers to prayer” just a matter of “good luck?” Is “Providence” miraculous intervention? ______________________________________________________________________
7. What was the purpose of miracles in the early church where some had the gifts of healing as well as other gifts FROM the Spirit. (I Cor. 12:9-10). ______________________________________________________________________
8. (John 2) Why would this miracle where Jesus turns water into wine be important to the readers/ recipients of this book since John wrote with a particular purpose in mind? ______________________________________________________________________
9. What do we learn from this wine-making miracle? ______________________________________________________________________
10. What are some things you learn from John chapter 2 which might build your faith?
______________________________________________________________________

Grow in grace!!

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Gospel Of John – Lesson Three – John 1:35-51 – “Glory Of The Ordinary”

This article is part 3 of 6 in the series The Gospel Of John

After Jesus was immersed by John in the Jordan, Jesus ministry begins his ministry, and is soon lead into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan (Lk. 4:1-13). Our text begins with Jesus’ first disciples who were motivated by the repeated identifying remark of John, “Look, the Lamb of God!” Following this, two (one specifically named) begin to follow after Jesus. “What do you want?” Jesus asks them. They reply, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Jesus replies, “Come, and you will see.” So it begins…

1. Let’s begin by answering the question, “What were the Jews looking for in Messiah?” ______________________________________________________________________
2. Enter: “ANDREW, Simon Peter’s brother.” You would think Jesus would have gone after the most educated, and respected, with a livelihood that was admired. This doesn’t seem to be the case with Jesus. WHY? ______________________________________________________________________
3. Jesus choosing the “ordinary” says what to us today?
______________________________________________________________________
4. Learning some things about Andrew:
A. He is seemingly always in the shadow of his “big brother” Peter. (Always “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother…”)
B. Andrew, a devoted “follower” of John, and was eagerly looking for the Messiah (vs. 37-40).
C. Andrew was an “introducer,” or “connector.” (vs.41; 6:8-9; 12:22)
What attitude do we need to be an “introducer” like Andrew? ______________________________________________________________________5. From the article “Glory of the Ordinary,” (At the bottom) what are some “things learned” that are particularly important and helpful to you… and WHY?
______________________________________________________________________6. Enter: PHILLIP and NATHANAEL, who were from the same town as Andrew and Peter, and were similarly fishermen by trade. Phillip was like Andrew in that he “found Nathaniel.”
A. Why do you think Phillip went to Nathanael? _____________________________________________________________________
B. When he told Nathanael about Jesus what was his reply? ______________________________________________________________________
C. What can we learn from Phillip’s answer to Nathaniel? How would you characterize Nathanael?______________________________________________________________________
D. Enter: RACISM/PREJUDICE: What is the problem with “assuming” or “broadly characterizing a group of people? ______________________________________________________________________
E. Consider: “Not very many people have ever been argued into Christianity.” What has characterized our approach to the lost in the past? What should we avoid? ______________________________________________________________________
F. How have we (according to the article) “clouded the way with things that are secondary, and can be answered after one comes to Jesus?” ______________________________________________________________________
G. How does Jesus deal with Nathanael? (Vs 47-51) ______________________________________________________________________

The Glory Of The Ordinary by Jack Exum
Christ emphasized the individual. He surrounded himself not with the rich of the world, or those upon whose shoulders had fallen the mantle of political power, but with just the ordinary. Worldly honor and true humility rarely run in the same veins. So today, God still seeks men of service rather than those who aspire to honor and power.
Such a man was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
Little is said of Andrew except he was a fisherman by trade. No, don’t feel sorry for Andrew… he was one of the first to answer the call of the Master, and before his conversion he was a disciple of John the Baptist. He had heard no lectures on personal evangelism, nor did he have special instructions on soul-winning. He had no degrees from a Bible College or a Certificate from a Preacher’s School. However, John, in his gospel, seems to fear no one would know just who Andrew was, so he is introduced as “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother”.
Few would recall that it was Andrew who brought Simon Peter to Jesus. What was Andre’s ‘secret method’ of soul winning? How many would love to ‘find’ a ‘Simon Peter’ today who would later be a elder in the church, a preacher, writer, and later give his life for Jesus.
What indeed was the method of Andrew? Here it is in John’s words, 41 “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41-42). He did more with five words than many do with thousands. Then “he brought him to Jesus.”
Things learned: Soul winning is not about programs, (although they are helpful to an extent). Not about making sure people know “what we are against” or “having the right answers to all the issues.” Come to think about it, these things just seem to ‘get in the way’ and have little to do with “bringing someone to Jesus.”
How many have tuned away from Jesus, simply because we have clouded the way with other things which are secondary, and can be answered after one comes to Jesus?
Andrew simply went and found his brother, and told him about the greatest thing to ever happen to him, “WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH”. As Charles Hodge repeats over and again in his book, “Amazing Grace”, “Tell people what God did before you tell them what to do.” What a message, what a mission!
After Andrew, and Peter, there was Phillip, and then Phillip meets Nathanael, who doubts anything good can come out of Nazareth. Overcoming prejudice is a big problem for the soul winner. There are many things to overcome without bringing in additional ‘issues’ to make sure people understand and believe everything. Be patient with people, give them a chance to grow in grace. Just think about those who are saved throughout the Book of Acts… were these made to wait until they understood everything about worship, church organization, Lord’s Supper before being saved? Of course not… it was just ORDINARY people sharing JESUS with others. Jesus commission to disciples is to “go”…”make disciples” and then “teach” all that Jesus had commanded (Matthew 28:18-20).
Soul winning is about bringing the lost to Jesus. Jesus is NOT ORDINARY… He is the Great Healer, the only Savior. Jesus can use ordinary people. Just ‘go and find your brother and tell him, “I have found Jesus!” Tell him the good news that Jesus has come. Remember… “Tell people what God did, before you tell them what to do!”

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Gospel of John – Lesson Two – John 1:6-7, 15, 19-36 -“Big John”

This article is part 2 of 6 in the series The Gospel Of John

Text: John 1:6-7, 15, 19-36
(and other passages)
* No disrespect to John, but I would be a bit nervous about meeting this guy (Rough wilderness life! Lived off the land, dressed/Camel’s hair! Definitely not politically correct!)

Gathering some FACTS and THOUGHTS

1. After reading the text and other passages listed below: How would you characterize John’s preaching. ______________________________________________________________________
2. What was Jesus’ impression of John? Matt. 11:7-11 ______________________________________________________________________
3. Why do you think so much time is dedicated in John’s Gospel to John the baptizer? (Could it be that there were some followers of John who placed too much emphasis on him instead of who John was pointing to?)
______________________________________________________________________
4. After reading John 1 and 5:33-35, what OTHER possible problem is John dealing with in his Gospel (not Gnosticism)? ______________________________________________________________________
5. John, the prophet who was like Elijah (Luke 1:12-17).
Read about Elijah (I Kings 17- 2 Kgs. 2)
How would you describe Elijah? How was John like Elijah? ______________________________________________________________________6. WHY is it noteworthy that John is first mentioned in Jesus list of witnesses mentioned in John 5:31-47? ______________________________________________________________________7. What were the dominant topics of John’s preaching? Mark 1:4-8; Lk. 3 ______________________________________________________________________
8. How did people react? ______________________________________________________________________
9. How did leaders react and how did John respond? Why? ______________________________________________________________________
10. John’s baptism and that of Jesus are different… HOW? Lk. 3:16 ______________________________________________________________________
11. Explain the Chaff/Fire and the Wheat/Barn significance in Luke 3:15-17 in light of the text?
a.) Who received the baptism of FIRE?
b.) Who received the baptism of SPIRIT? (You may want to pursue deeper study on this particular point by comparing it with John 3; Acts 2:38-39.)
c.) How does this apply to those who rejected Jesus as opposed to those who became believers in Jesus?
______________________________________________________________________

Applications: John, BOLD and HUMBLE
* What are some lessons we learn from how John carried out his mission which we can apply to ourselves?
* How was John’s humility seen, and what can we learn about true humility from John?
* What should we expect when reach people for Jesus? How should we respond?

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