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Here’s our latest newsletter…

It has been quite a while since our last newsletter update.  We had planned on sending one at the end of the summer to update how the summer mission’s trips assisted our ministry but then life got really crazy.  Most of you are aware that at the end of the summer, while jogging one morning, I had to cut my run short because I was short of breath.  That sent us on a tailspin as we came to find out on the day after Labor Day that I had a leaking aortic valve that was causing some major problems, and could only be repaired by me (Jamie) undergoing open-heart surgery.  Needless to say there were preparations to be made in our ministries in New York before we could leave for my surgery.  In about a month & a half’s time we arranged for all of our ministry assignments to be covered as well as a couple of medical/dental procedures to be completed so my surgery could proceed.  God was definitely teaching us some things as well, and we had to trust Him.  I don’t know if any church planter has ever had to undergo open-heart surgery less than a year after their church started hosting public worship services, but that’s where we found ourselves.

So, what did we do about all those things?  Well, our Baldwin small-group continued to meet thanks to the leadership of Joseph & Ayo Okelarin.  That has been going great with more people attending these gatherings.  Our small group meets every Thursday evening, and God has allowed us to experience family-type atmospheres as we’ve continued meeting.  We are hoping to start at least one more group in the coming months in order to continue sharing the gospel with more people in the Baldwin area.  We unfortunately had to cease meeting publicly in Baldwin while I was away, but we’ve had good participation from our Baldwin campus as they make the drive over to Farmingdale for Sunday morning worship gatherings there.  That will allow our church family to remain together while we’re away, and it will allow our transition back into weekly meetings in Baldwin in the near future be a little more seamless.  Please pray for our growing group of believers in Baldwin.

This past Summer was great.  We had a few mission’s teams come up to serve with us.  One team from Texas came to help us conduct our first baseball camp near our new Baldwin location.  It was a great week that allowed us to serve our community and to share the gospel with the children that attended.  We are planning on conducting another baseball camp this summer.  We also had two teams from SC and one from AR come to help two of our other locations (Farmingdale & Central Islip) with kids camps this past summer.  These kids camps allow us to serve our community by providing children of working parents with a great camp for their kids, which also allows us to share the gospel with children & parents that for the most part have never heard a clear gospel presentation.  We also held a basketball camp at the end of the summer that we did ourselves in Baldwin.  We had about 50 children participate in it!  It was neat to see how God provided relationships with certain people in our new community through which we had bridges to share the gospel with more people.  God is more than capable of drawing people to Himself.

Please continue to pray for us as we prepare to head back to NY in the coming weeks.  We are planning on being back up there before Christmas, and to start preaching again the first of January.

We need your help!  We can’t serve in NY if you don’t give.  We are always in need of more partners from churches, Sunday School Classes and individuals.  Because you’ve given we’ve seen more than 50 people trust Jesus over this past year & a half!  Paul said in Romans (10) that people couldn’t believe in Jesus if they’d never heard of Him, and they couldn’t hear unless a preacher preached, and the preacher couldn’t go unless they were sent.  We have been so humbled these first two & half years we’ve lived on Long Island that so many of you have been generous with your gifts to us.  We truly can’t do what we do unless you give.  Many of you know we serve under the umbrella of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, but their support is only about a tenth of what we need to live on Long Island.  We desperately need others to join in supporting us.  So many of your churches already give.  Please don’t stop!  We’ve only just now begun to see the ministry God has for us to develop.  So many people are hearing the gospel, responding, and growing in their faith.  I wish I had time to tell you about some of them here.  God is also beginning to grant us more opportunity for shaping the ministry of not only our church plant but also others under our umbrella of Crossroads.  More about this will be shared in our next newsletter.

One of the things we are coming to see is that becoming a self-sustaining church from the get-go in NY is a tough task.  I’ve asked some associational leaders how many church planters are self-sustaining who’ve planted over the last 10-15 years.  The answer is that you can count the self-sustaining planters on less than one hand.  So, we need you.  We trust that if God wants us in NY He will continue to provide for us, but He’s chosen to provide for missions endeavors through His Church.  Would you or your church consider becoming monthly partners with us?

The most important thing we need from you is prayer!  We covet your fervent prayers to God on our behalf.  Pray that as we arrive back in NY I would continue to heal completely.  I still have some pain after my surgery, and still need to develop stamina which will come in time, but it also means I have to take it easy, which all of you that know me know that’s not my strong suit.  Pray also that we will keep trusting God for our needs & ministry influence to grow.  It is not easy trusting God to provide for your physical needs to be met when you live by faith, but we’re doing so.  We also ask God to bring people into our lives with whom we are seeking to be faithful to share His gospel.  We have seen that what Paul said in Romans 1 is true, that God works through the sharing of His gospel in power to bring people to faith in Jesus.  We have become fully aware that God draws people to Himself but that we also have to be seeking to share with the people around us.  So, pray that God will keep bringing people to us as we are out & about so we can share Jesus.  Also begin to pray as we make plans for the summer mission’s teams.  We want to use these teams as efficiently as possible.  That takes great strategy, so please pray for our team as we’ll begin soon to discuss what our summer plans will be.

Please don’t forget us as we serve Jesus a long ways from most of you.  We have determined that because of our needs we may have to do a little more traveling this year in order to share about the needs we have.  If you or your church would like to partner with us & have us come and share about our ministry please feel free to contact me (jamie@crossroadsli.org).

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On my recent heart surgery diagnosis…

Well, we have a date set. Exactly one month ago today we had news confirmed that I required open heart surgery to repair a leaking valve on my aortic artery.  The news was shocking to say the least.  We knew something was not right with my body.  After running about three days a week for the last 3 ½ years and waking up one day unable to even run a mile because of a lack of breath, and then not being able to hold my arms up while folding laundry on the same evening, we knew something wasn’t right.  At the very worst I thought I may have had a blocked artery that would have required a stint.  I am a cheeseburger guy.  I also thought it was the stress of starting a church that was weighing me down.  But never in a million years would I have guessed that I had been born with a leaking heart valve, and even when I did hear the news I first thought that it could be treated with medicine.  But never, I mean never, did I think I’d receive news I’d have to undergo this kind of surgery.

 

People have asked, “How are you doing?”  You honestly don’t want my answer.  I’m a follower of Jesus, and I probably should not be thinking the words I do when I get that question.  I’m scared, nervous, or whatever other adjective you could think to use there that matches those.  When I first received my diagnosis Tasha & I both cried, a lot, and then acted as if we were both in a fog.  One of the difficult things that weighed on me was due to my job.  I’m a pastor.  I’ve ministered to a number of different people that have undergone open heart surgeries.  I’ve seen them immediately after surgery and I’ve walked with them through the recovery process.  All of those things frighten me, honestly.  But, in the days since my diagnosis I’ve learned a lot as well, on a number of different levels.

 

I’ve learned how vain I am.  I’ve learned I have more pride in things that I shouldn’t.  It’s funny how a terrible diagnosis can help reveal those things.  One of the things I had to schedule as soon as I was diagnosed was an extraction of a tooth, but not just any tooth, but one of my front upper teeth (I’m not a dentist, so I’m not sure what they’re called).  It is humbling to look in the mirror when you’re missing one of your teeth that sits right in the front of your mouth.  I’m bummed I have to walk around with a partial, but it definitely beats the alternative! Haha!  But, it’s also very humbling to know that I worry about that sort of thing.  There are plenty of people who deal with MUCH worse than that in our world, and here I am bummed out about having one of my teeth missing.  But, vain people worry about such things.  God had certainly been teaching me, even before my diagnosis, about finding my value & identity in Him.  This has certainly helped me along in the process.

 

Did God cause my heart valve to leak?  Of course not.  I am fully aware that we live in a world where things happen we don’t like, MANY things.  But, God is not to blame.  We live in a world that is fallen, that is much different than the world God created & designed.  In the world God created these kinds of things weren’t supposed to happen, but mankind decided we didn’t need or want God, and the natural reaction when we remove ourselves from God is death & decay.  I’m a part of this fallen world.  I actually add to it, because I’m a sinner too.  There are many times in my life I go against the desires of God, acting & behaving even at times as if God does not exist.  At times I get it right, but I fail just like everyone else does.  That’s why I’m thankful for Jesus.  David said in Psalm 23 that “Surely goodness & mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” and I need both. I need God’s “grace” & “mercy”.  Not only do I need both, but over & over again I am assured in the Bible that I can count on both being granted to me.

 

The days since my diagnosis, and even as I sit here in this airport heading back to NY with my surgery finally scheduled I am still scared.  I’m not going to lie.  However, I am trusting God.  I believe He knew I had a leaky heart valve before I did.  That day in Providence Hospital when I received shocking news He was not shocked.  He was already working it out.  In fact, Paul told Christians in Rome that, “all things work together for good” for those who love God.  That’s a verse I’ve meditated on constantly since my diagnosis.  Here’s one thing that’s struck me about it.  For God to work all things for our good that means terrible things will happen.  Right? I mean, if terrible things didn’t happen there would be no working to be done.  However, God is bigger than our terrible diagnoses, and He can be trusted.

 

Why would God want this to happen?  I can’t answer that totally, because I’m looking from this side of surgery.  Let me say first that I don’t think God wants this to happen.  But, why would He allow this to happen?  I can think of a couple of reasons.  One, maybe I wasn’t trusting Him as I should in all things.  Maybe I had set up some things to be my functional saviors. Vain things. Prideful things.  And through this diagnosis God has begun to go to work to tear some of those things down.  Second, my diagnosis has given me a more sympathetic heart towards people who are struggling, in a number of different ways.  I told someone recently that my life has been pretty awesome!  I mean, I haven’t really  suffered at all throughout my life, but I am surrounded by a lot of people who have.  God, through my diagnosis has allowed me to be much more sympathetic towards them, allowing me to feel their hurt with them.  That is not a bad thing.

 

A lot of people are praying for me.  They are praying for me to be healed totally, to not even need surgery.  I have to say, I wouldn’t be disappointed if I were to wake up from anesthesia to find out they didn’t have to cut me open.  However, is it a lack of faith if I’m not healed?  Absolutely not.  Bad things happen to people every day.  In fact, the only perfectly good human being to ever live, the One who was closer to The Father than anyone else, suffered brutally throughout His life, Jesus.  Was Jesus’ suffering due to a lack of faith?  None of us would say so.  We live in a fallen world, where difficult diagnoses happen.  I’m learning to trust God even in them.  Can God heal me? YES! Will He, I don’t know, but I do know this, I’m not going to stop trusting Him either way!

 

I hope in some way my honest struggles can serve as an encouragement to you.  I’m so thankful for so many of you who are praying for me.  Please don’t stop.  The diagnosis is only the beginning.  In less than three weeks I’ll have open heart surgery.  I’m ready to see God reveal His glory even through one of the most difficult things I’ll go through in my life.  Let me know how I can pray for you during my recovery, I’m going to have plenty of extra time on my hands!

On the bombing in NYC and the response to radical islam…

When I woke up on Sunday morning of this week I awoke to the news that a bomb had been detonated in New York City and another had been found undetonated a few blocks away.  Honestly, one of the first thoughts I had, and probably so was yours, was that radical islamic terrorists had planted these bombs.  It turns out I was right.  This angers me on a number of different levels, but mainly because I know a number of great muslim people that are good human beings just wanting to make the world a better place.  The few muslims that make the news because of their radicalization cast a dark shadow on the rest of Islam, and I am no proponent of Islamic beliefs, but I do love Muslim people.  This blog is not a blog against Islam, or anyone for that matter, although it would be right & prudent to write a blog post condemning radical islamic terrorism.  This blog is actually about the ideology behind those who think it’s right to kill people in the name of “God” thinking they are doing Him and the world a favor.  It’s a blog post about the nature of the One true God, and why it is good to know Him and follow Him, because He truly is good.

It may surprise you, but killing in the name of “God” is not new.  I place “God” in quotation marks because killing in God’s name cannot be supported in the scriptures that the One true God has revealed Himself in (The Bible).  In fact, as I reflected on these most recent bombings in NYC my mind could not escape a passage in the Bible that is often misunderstood, that I think relates to what’s going on in the mind of these radical islamic terrorist.

In Genesis 22 there is a story recorded in which God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as an act of worship to Himself.  Many skeptics read this story and comment that this is one reason why they don’t want to believe or follow God, because how could a loving God request this of Abraham, or any man for that matter.  As you read the story in Genesis 22, and continue to trace the other actions of God throughout the Bible though, it is clear that this story is recorded, and takes place, to prove to us that God is indeed NOT this kind of God.  God loves life.  In fact, He greatly desires to grant life to ALL people that are willing to trust and follow Him.

So, why ask Abraham to do such a thing?  In Abraham’s day there were many different religions being practiced.  One of the dominant religions of his day was practiced in worship of a false god named Molech.  Worshippers of Molech, and many other of the false gods of Abraham’s day, were willingly throwing their children into boiling pots of water as proof of their devotion to these false deities.  For God to request Abraham to do this same thing with his son would not have been out of step with the other deities being worshipped in his day.  However, God doesn’t ultimately require Abraham to kill his own son to reveal his loyalty to Him.  Rather, God stops Abraham from following through with his willing sacrifice to PROVE that He is in fact NOT the kind of God as those being worshipped in Abraham’s day.  God is a God of life.  He created life and it is His desire for everyone to experience life in Him (Ezekiel 33: 11).  In fact, God wants us to experience life SO much that He was willing to die FOR us, in the person of Jesus, so that by believing in Him we would have life forever!

This brings me back to the problem of radical islamic terrorism, or really, to Islam in general.  Muslims worship a god named Allah.  I am certainly not an expert is Islam but I will say this, I know many people wonder is Allah the same as the God who has revealed Himself through the pages of the Bible.  But, if Allah requires that one way a Muslim can prove their devotion to him by killing other people in cold blooded terrorist acts then he is no god at all, and he certainly cannot be compared to the God of the Bible.  The God of the Bible is a God that desires to grant life to everyone, not to take the life of those who don’t follow Him.  The God of the Bible weeps & mourns over the death of those who don’t know Him.

All of these things are certainly things for all of us to ponder, especially those who claim to follow the One true God.  We can claim to follow Him, but I must remind us that Jesus said that even if we harbor anger in our heart towards another we are liable to judgment.  It is said later in the New Testament that “who hates his brother is a murder, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (1 John 3: 15).”  As a Christian we respond to those in our world in a different manner.  We love those who even desire to take our lives, knowing that it was Jesus who loved us as it was our sin that put Him on the cross.  Do we truly love ALL the people around us?  Do we love those who are different than us ethnically, economically & socially? Let’s remove the logs from our own eyes before we try to remove the pebble from others’.

On Spiritual Warfare and the Missionary Endeavor…

I am not a mystic. I’m not the guy who blames every problem I face on the work of demons lurking in the corner. In fact, I’ve rolled my eyes MANY times at those who blame every mess-up in the sound system on the devil attempting to thwart the flow of the service.  I am a life-long Southern Baptist.  We hardly ever talked about The Holy Spirit growing up, to our detriment, and we definitely never discussed the power & work of demons seeking to stop the work of God and His people in our present day.  Sure there are plenty of Biblical passages describing the confrontation between Jesus and demons that had taken over the life of individuals in His day, but that was way back in Bible times.  But let me assure you, demonic activity is real, and I face it on a daily basis.

When we moved to New York 2 1/2 years ago we knew it would be difficult.  We knew the area we were moving to did not have much evangelical presence.  In fact, where we live the population is less than 3% evangelical.  Most people who live around me have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus, much less have a personal relationship with God through Him, it has been that way for generations, and the burden of that alone can be overwhelming.  People around me are hurting, and so are those who are trying to share the life-giving message of the gospel of Jesus with them.

I wouldn’t say we’re depressed, but there is definitely much discouragement going around amongst those who are serving along with us in our area, and I think one of the reasons for the discouragement is due to the work of demonic forces trying to hold on to the area we live in.  Don’t get me wrong, great things are happening.  There are churches around us that are busting at the seams, and the numbers are growing.  In the two locations we serve in we have seen 41 people profess faith in Jesus Christ and follow Him in believer’s baptism in the last year.  God is on the move, and Satan and his legion of forces are not happy about it.  They have held this territory for a long time and they don’t plan on letting go of this area and the lives that live in it any time soon.

I am writing this blog not to get your sympathy, I am writing this post to ask you to join us in this war, with us, against the demonic forces we are coming up against every single day.  That’s how Paul described the situation in Ephesians 6: 10-20.  He told believers to put on their spiritual armor, bringing up war-time imagery, because that is where God desires for the believer to live, following Him, which will put us right in the crosshairs of an enemy that for the most part we can’t see.  But know this, they are there, and they’re doing all they can to stop those seeking to share Christ in our spiritually dry land before we can get started.  I’m not going to lie, it’s scary.  Their tactics are varied, and they’re not what you’d expect.

Please join with us.  Please pray for those who are seeking to turn around an area with God’s gospel so the people around us may experience the life that comes from hearing and trusting in Him.  Everybody’s discouraged, not just those who are here serving Jesus, but everybody is, even those outside the church.  I am convinced that there is a spirit of oppression that has controlled New York for years now, and it is not going to let go easily, but we know that God is over all and we are asking Him to grant us victory and to allow His gospel to go forth unimpeded.

I know what some will say, “Just have faith.”  Trust me, we do.  Even those whose faith FAR surpassed mine faced difficulty and hardship due to demonic activity.  In Daniel 10 the answer to Daniel’s prayer was held back for 21 days due to the power of demonic activity.  I don’t think God would have it any other way, because recognizing the hardship causes us to pray like never before, and I am asking you to join us in it.  We know in the end God will win.  Nothing can stop Him and the movement He will make, but He will not make anyone, or any area, follow Him.  But those of us who live here in the meantime long to see Him move in power while we are here.

Spiritual warfare is real, trust me.  If you don’t recognize it it’s probably because you’re not engaged in the battle in enemy territory seeking to share the gospel with those that need it.  The only way to fight this battle is on our knees and that is where we shall remain until Jesus leads us out or calls us home.  Until then would you pray for me and those who are serving Jesus around me?

February 2016 Newsletter Update

Many of you know that 2015 was our first full calendar year living on Long Island.  We moved up in March of 2014, and we couldn’t be happier.  It has truly been amazing to see all the ways God has allowed us to serve Him.  We are pleased we have a clearer focus concerning our ministry and where it is headed.

November 7, 2015 we began a new church in Baldwin, NY.  This Saturday we will be finishing up our third month there, which is so hard to believe!  It feels like we’ve just started!  God has given us a great group of committed people that are at our services every week.  We feel like they are long-time friends, which is a great thing God has granted us.  Each Saturday we meet at 5pm, and we usually hang out a few hours!  God has gradually been growing our numbers throughout these first few months.  We started with an average of around 20 people or so, but the last two gatherings we’ve had 34 & 39 people!  I tell you all this to show you that God is bringing people together.  Each week we hand out hot chocolate to an Elementary School which is located right across the street from our meeting location, which allows us to love & serve our community.

We also are still actively teaching the Bible every week at the Farmingdale location of Crossroads Church, which is where we live.  God has been blessing that location as well.  We baptized a total of 25 people at that campus last year.  Most of those people were not in church 6 months before they came to faith, so God is allowing us to see new people come into His Kingdom who previously did not have it on their radar screen.  God is bringing people to Himself!

Our family is doing great.  We are BUSY, all of us!  We still lead the Young Pros and enjoy Bible study and a meal at our house weekly.  Tasha is busy teaching school to the children every day, which is a huge task but has served as such a great ministry in its on right.  Our children are really learning a lot and are growing in their faith as well.  Tasha also leads a women’s small group on Wednesday afternoons.  Matthan is taking karate on Tuesday nights and is doing really well at it.  He is already on his second belt, and he thinks he’s one of the leaders of the class.  He tries to help out the other children in their kata routines.  Anna Beth is taking drama classes on Wednesday afternoons.  She is officially a little drama queen!  She really is such an outgoing little girl.  Ruthie is taking ballet and seems to really be enjoying it.  She has a shy personality, but she is a lot of fun around our house.  And then there’s our Josie!  Josie is a female version of the Tasmanian Devil, if you remember the old cartoon.  She NEVER stops!  She knows two speeds – Asleep & WIDE OPEN!  She is a sweet, funny little girl that adds to our excitement, and is loved by everyone who knows her, but she’s BUSY!

Support: (Important Information)

I want to thank all of you who support us, which allows us to live & serve here.  We couldn’t not do it without you.  The hope is to establish a church that is able to support itself & us eventually, but until that happens, if it ever does, we NEED you all.  I tweeted a few weeks ago that every church planter needs supporters to support them in these ways:  1) Through Prayer, 2) Personal contact through calls, notes & cards, 3) Financial Support, 4) Mission’s Trips.  We need all of these.  We especially need your prayers & financial support.  Many of your churches give to support us.  Please ask them to continue to do so.  If your church does not support us through their budget, ask them to do so.  Have your pastor get in touch with me so I can speak with him about why it’s so important.  One of the ways we’ve seen others do so is for Sunday School classes to sponsor us as a group.  You’d be surprised the difference $10 or $20 a month can make when you join it together with 10 people or so.  Then, there are some of your families that continue to support us monthly out of your own budget.  We are extremely humbled that so many of you continue to support us this way.  Please don’t stop!

One change concerning that:  If you give to us financially we are asking you to begin sending your money to:

Crossroads Church of Long Island
Attention: Jamie Rogers
610 Carmans Rd.
Farming dale, NY  11735

Going forward the way to make out your check is to assign it to “Crossroads Church” and in the memo line write “Baldwin Campus”.  If your church gives please make sure the proper people see that change.  Part of being in the church planting world is having to deal with change.  Thank you all for being so flexible with us.  This will be the best thing going forward.

Prayer Needs:

1) Pray that God would continue drawing people to Himself!
2) Pray that God would continue sending new people to our church in Baldwin.
3) Pray that God would lead us in making wise decisions concerning the future of our church.
4) Pray for our family that we’d continue to be satisfied with God’s call on our whole family, and that we’d continue to long to be used by Him!

P.S.

One more thing some of you may be interested in: on our personal website/blog I have been posting periodic Scripture thoughts on my daily Bible readings this year.  Check it out at transformli.com

This is a picture of us handing out hot chocolate to our community one Thursday afternoon.
We finally found a good seafood place to eat that tasted a little like home! It’s one of our new favorites, and we’re trying to build a relationship with the owners.
Thanks to people who love us we were able to enjoy the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall.  The Rockettes are fantastic!
This winter has been much milder than last, but it still didn’t stop us from getting almost 2 foot of snow last week! (Notice Josie in the picture. HAHA)
When you get 2 feet of snow you take advantage of it. (Notice Josie again!)

Thoughts on Exodus 28-29…

Today’s reading is about the high priest, his garments & role.  It is said of Jesus in Hebrews (2: 17 & 4: 14) that He is our great High Priest.  One of the functions of the high priest is that He represents people before God.  In other words, the high priest goes before God on sinner’s behalf and performs worship & sacrifices for them in order to seek forgiveness for their sins, as well as his own.  Well, when it comes to Jesus, He was sinless, He had no need to seek forgiveness for His own sins, just had to make a sacrifice for ours, by using His own body.  When you read about the high priest in these chapters you are reading a foreshadowing of an ultimate High Priest who would come and could perform the office/role of high priest perfectly.

One thing I really loved & noticed reading these chapters was one verse in particular, Exodus 28: 29.  It is said in this verse the high priest, Aaron, would put the names of each of the tribes of Israel inside his the breast piece he would wear, close to his heart.  Remember Aaron, in a very real way, as high priest is a foreshadowing of the ultimate High Priest, Jesus.  Here’s the connection, Jesus keeps those He knows & loves close to His heart.  We are on His mind as He intercedes & represents us before the Father.  THIS is a great thought for today!

Thoughts on Exodus 25-27…

In this section of chapters in Exodus you’ll read about the meticulous nature of worship that God prescribed for the Israelites, as they set out to worship & identify with Him.  Sometimes, reading through chapter-after-chapter of these guidelines, we can begin to wonder what all of this is about, and why it matters to us.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you read & meditate on these chapters:

  1. Worship of God, seeking to know Him, should not be taken lightly.  God is a vast being.  In fact, He’s complex.  We take Him so for granted so often, but He is not to be taken lightly, nor should He be taken for granted.  It is quite a privilege to know Him and to be able to live for Him.  As you read these, and the following chapters, keep this in mind.  Thank God for the privilege of knowing & following Him.  Don’t take Him for granted, nor treat Him lightly!
  2. What are all these guidelines about temple furniture about?  Well, the whole Bible is about Jesus.  It is all given to us to reveal for those who will read all the way through the Bible His identity.  Jesus said in Matthew 5: 17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  It is also said about Jesus in Luke 24: 27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”  The point being, all these things point us to Jesus.  They reveal something of Him to us.  As you read about all these tabernacle pieces (Later to be included in the temple as well) ask yourself this question, “What does this teach me about the role Jesus plays in my life/salvation?”  Asking this question will help you see Him on every page of Scripture, and it will also help you understand the role He plays in your salvation better as well.  Every color, jewel, placement, role teaches us about Him!