Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience

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Read Through The New Testament in just 8 weeks with the NLT Bible and Immerse: Messiah
QUICK START GUIDE
3 ways to get the most out of your experience
  1. Use Immerse: Messiah instead of your regular chapter-and-verse Bible. This special reader’s edition restores the Bible to its natural simplicity and beauty by removing chapter and verse numbers and other historical additions. Letters look like letters, songs look like
    songs, and the original literary structures are visible in each book. 
  2. Commit to making this a community experience. Immerse is designed for groups to encounter large portions of the Bible together
    for 8 weeks—more like a book club, less like a Bible study. By meeting every week in small groups and discussing what you read in open, honest conversations, you and your community can come together to be transformed through an authentic experience with the Scriptures.
  3. Aim to understand the big story. Read through “The Stories and the Story” (p. 483) to see how the books of the Bible work together
    to tell God’s story of his creation’s restoration. As you read through Immerse: Messiah, rather than ask, “How do I fit God into my busy life?” begin asking, “How can I join in God’s great plan by living out my part in his story?”
4 Questions to get your conversations started:
  1. What stood out to you this week?
  2. Was there anything confusing or troubling?
  3. Did anything make you think differently about God?
  4. How might this change the way we live?
Part of NLT Immerse: The Reading Bible, Complete Set, the Winner of the 2022 Christian Book Award for Bible of the Year!
Messiah is the first of six volumes of Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience program. Messiah takes the reader on a new and unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each part of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together combine to provide the reader with enjoyable and impactful readings all centered on Jesus. The end result is a Bible developed for the purpose of being read and understood, not referred to. Messiah is a new way to interact with God’s Word.
Messiah delivers Scripture to the reader as it was originally created: without chapter or verse breaks. While references are made available for ease of finding specific Scripture references, those references do not appear within the actual text of Scripture. This makes for uninterrupted reading of God’s Word. Created with the look and feel of a paperback book, and written using the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, the most readable translation available, Messiah enables you to easily read and understand the Bible.

Currently featured in the Saddleback Church "Anchored Life Challenge." To join the challenge and read through the New Testament in 8 weeks, join at https://saddleback.com/anchored

What is Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience?

Read (and listen!) through the New Testament in 8 weeks with your small group or on your own.

Immerse: Messiah is the first of six volumes in Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience. Messiah takes the reader on a unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each section of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together they combine to provide a life-changing reading experience centered on Jesus. This fresh arrangement of the books highlights the depth of the New Testament’s fourfold witness to Jesus the Messiah. The Son of God, who fulfills all the longings and promises of the collected Scriptures, can be experienced in Messiah through the rich variety of lenses provided by the books of the new covenant.

The Immerse Bible Series is the proud winner of the prestigious Bible of the Year award from the ECPA Christian Book Awards. Immerse: The Reading Bible is specially crafted for a distraction-free listening and reading experience, helping you dive in and get immersed in Scripture. You’ll have a great experience using Immerse by yourself. But for an even richer experience, try reading with friends.

Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience is an invitation to a different kind of community interaction with the Bible. Less like a Bible study, more like a book club.

- 8 or 16-week Bible listening plans take you through a large section of the Bible like the New Testament or the Torah
- Meet once a week for a free-flowing discussion about the text
- Wrestle with questions and celebrate ‘aha!’ moments together

Nothing impacts spiritual growth more than spending time in Scripture. Immerse removes many of the barriers that make Bible reading difficult and invites communities to become transformed together through the power of God’s word.

 Welcome to the saddleback church anchored life challenge which can also by found on the saddleback companion app or by purchasing the immerse messiah book from tyndale.

The anchored life challenge includes speakers such as Andy Wood, Rick Warren, and Stacie Wood. 
Immerse Messiah 33
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Rick Warren: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immerse Messiah Reading for Week 7, Day 33.

Stacie Wood: Immersed in James Within a few decades of Jesus death and resurrection, his followers had spread out to different parts of the Roman Empire. James, the half brother of Jesus and a highly respected leader in the Jerusalem church, sent a general letter to these scattered communities, reminding them to walk in the way of God's wisdom.

Stacie Wood: James highlights practical ways that followers of Jesus should demonstrate their faith in everyday life. To help the dispersed communities, James took up the well known pattern of teaching from Israel's ancient wisdom tradition. Wisdom literature places great value on how we live in God's world. It therefore emphasizes action, admonishing the reader to follow the good way revealed by God and live it out in community.

Stacie Wood: In the letter from James, we [00:01:00] see that God's new people in Christ are faced with a choice that has always confronted God's people. Which path will we follow? One path leads to life and well being, while the other leads to death and destruction. James challenges his scattered brothers and sisters to firmly embrace the path that leads to life.

Stacie Wood: James teaches that choosing this way of life includes not only practicing such virtues as patience, humility, endurance through trials, and generosity to the poor, but also renouncing anger and boastful pride, avoiding the tendency to judge others, and not using the tongue destructively. The core idea that characterizes this lifestyle is don't just listen to God's word, do what it says.

Stacie Wood: James emphasizes the strong call on believers in Jesus to renounce their favoritism of the rich and neglect of the poor. James had become aware that these communities were following the cultural norms of first [00:02:00] century Roman society, which gave places of privilege to the wealthy. He explains that the way of Jesus is different.

Stacie Wood: Those who hoard their riches will be judged. While the poor will inherit God's kingdom, James casts all this instruction in an especially effective form. Just as his content is closely related to First Testament wisdom literature, his style is too. James presents pithy sayings and short reflections similar to those found in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

Stacie Wood: For example, you must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. James may have drawn his material from messages he had delivered in a synagogue. He frequently uses public speaking techniques common at the time, such as sparring with an imaginary opponent. Someone may argue, some people have faith, others have good deeds.

Stacie Wood: But I say, how can you show me your faith if you don't have good [00:03:00] deeds? Since it is a combination of wisdom sayings and brief teachings, this letter from James does not develop sequentially, as Paul's letters do. Rather, it flows freely from topic to topic, urging careful attention to various concerns, followed by a call to live out his instructions in practical ways.

Stacie Wood: James wants his fellow Jewish believers to live out the highest ideals of their own spiritual heritage, just as Jesus revealed it to them. He calls them back to a scriptural principle that the glorious Lord Jesus Christ had confirmed as foundational. It is good when you obey the royal law as found in the scriptures.

Stacie Wood: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Rick Warren: The Book of James. This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am [00:04:00] writing to the 12 tribes, Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings, dear brothers and sisters. When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.

Rick Warren: So let it grow. For when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

Rick Warren: Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. [00:05:00] Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them.

Rick Warren: They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises, and the grass withers. The little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

Rick Warren: And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, God is tempting me. God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions, and when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

Rick Warren: So [00:06:00] don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God, our father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

Rick Warren: Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts. For it has the power to save your souls.

Rick Warren: But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says, otherwise you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like [00:07:00] glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like, but if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard.

Rick Warren: Then God will bless you for doing it. If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue, you are fooling yourself and your religion is worthless. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Rick Warren: My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? Suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the [00:08:00] poor one, you can stand over there, or else sit on the floor.

Rick Warren: Well, doesn't this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters, hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor.

Rick Warren: Isn't it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren't they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? Yes, indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the scriptures. Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin.

Rick Warren: You are guilty of breaking the law. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God's laws. For the same God who said, You must not commit [00:09:00] adultery, also said, You must not murder. So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.

Rick Warren: So whatever you say or whatever you do. Remember, that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when He judges you. What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions?

Rick Warren: Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, goodbye and have a good day, stay warm and eat well. But then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

Rick Warren: Now someone may [00:10:00] argue, some people have faith, others have good deeds. But I say, how can you show me your faith if you don't have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds. You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you. Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.

Rick Warren: How foolish. Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless? Don't you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened, just as the scriptures say.

Rick Warren: Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith [00:11:00] alone. Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road.

Rick Warren: Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

Rick Warren: We can make a large horse go wherever we want, by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

Rick Warren: And among all the parts of the body The tongue is a [00:12:00] flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.

Rick Warren: Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father. And sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right. Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs?

Rick Warren: No, and you can't draw fresh water from a salty spring. If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by [00:13:00] living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don't cover up the truth with boasting and lying.

Rick Warren: For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others.

Rick Warren: It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you? You [00:14:00] want what you don't have, so you scheme and kill to get it.

Rick Warren: You are jealous of what others have, but you can't get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don't have what you want, because you don't ask God for it. And even when you ask, You don't get it because your motives are all wrong. You want only what will give you pleasure. You adulterers!

Rick Warren: Don't you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again, if you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate, that the spirit He has placed within us should be faithful to Him, and He gives grace generously.

Rick Warren: As the scriptures say, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. So humble yourselves before God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come close to God and God will [00:15:00] come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

Rick Warren: Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor. Don't speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God's law.

Rick Warren: But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone who gave the law is the judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? Look here, you who say, today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year.

Rick Warren: We will do business there and make a profit. [00:16:00] How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog. It's here a little while, then it's gone. What you ought to say is, If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that. Otherwise, you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.

Rick Warren: Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. Look here, you rich people, weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth eaten rags. Your gold and silver are corroded. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire.

Rick Warren: This corroded treasure you have hoarded will testify against you on the Day of Judgment. For listen, hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The cries of [00:17:00] those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven's armies. You have spent your years on earth in luxury, satisfying your every desire.

Rick Warren: You have fattened yourselves for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed innocent people who do not resist you. Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord's return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

Rick Warren: You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. Don't grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look, the judge is standing at the door. For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Rick Warren: We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. [00:18:00] For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy. But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath by heaven or earth or anything else.

Rick Warren: Just say a simple yes or no so that you will not sin and be condemned. Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.

Rick Warren: Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person [00:19:00] has great power and produces wonderful results.

Rick Warren: Elijah was as human as we are. And yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years. Then when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death.

Rick Warren: And bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

Stacie Wood: This concludes

Rick Warren: today's Immerse Reading Experience. Thank you for joining us.