8 Best Bible Passages for Communion Meditations

The purpose of this page is to provide all people with easy access to the most relevant and encouraging passages from Scripture to use during a communion meditation.

Whether you are a pastor or a leader in the church looking for the right verse to share during the lead up to sharing in the Lord's Supper, I hope you can find the perfect treasure to share.

If you feel that I have missed a passage that is appropriate, please mention it in the comments.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV)
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Matthew 26:26-29 (ESV)
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Mark 14:22-25 (ESV)
And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 22:17-20 (ESV)
And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (ESV)
The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

John 6:47-51 (ESV)
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

John 6:53-58 (ESV)
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

John 6:26-27, 35 (ESV)
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”…. I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Just a Building, Not the Church

Today’s article is more of a Riverside church update. I hope you enjoy and are challenged.

This last week, I heard that a family didn’t visit our church when they were looking for a church because they believed that we would not be here in the future. They thought, “Why invest in a church that will just close up?”

Then in another conversation I had this week, someone mentioned that they thought our church was going under. 

So I want to emphasize in this article that “We’re still here. We still care. And we still have a mission.”

I think these thoughts all stem back to when we put our building up for sale. Notice that I didn’t say “church” up for sale. At that time we were in financial dire straits. This led to us listing the building on the market. When we did that, I emphasized that the building is for sale, not the church. I posted an article online explaining that. I wrote an article for this paper doing the same. And I preached it. Our church, if the building sold, was not leaving Antwerp. We would have been moving into town and had a budget for a few years to be a fully-funded church, allowing us to do many of the ministries we have a passion for but currently lack the funding for. Things that would help us fulfill our mission as a church.

For many, being a church without a permanent building is apparently a tough thing to grasp. Some apparently think that the building is the church. But I know of many churches that have prospered and thrived renting out a place to worship. Rick Warren’s church (Rick of Purpose-Driven Life fame) had 10,000 people attending the church he pastors at before building a building. They were a church without a building.

Rick wrote, “I'm often asked, `How big can a church grow without a building?' The answer is, `I don't know!' Saddleback met for 15 years and grew to 10,000 attenders without their own building, so I know it's possible to grow to at least 10,000! A building, or lack of a building, should never be allowed to become a barrier to a wave of growth. People are far more important than property” (Purpose Driven Church, 46).

Others have probably heard wrong information through the Antwerp gossip vine concerning Riverside. Maybe they heard that we were closing up or some other news instead of just selling our building. In this article, I hope to set the record straight.

For us, listing our building for sale reminded us that the building is not the church. The building never has been the church. The building never will be the church. Understanding that is a good fundamental to build off of. We, the people, are the church. Our relationships with one another and Jesus make a church, not the building. When we meet in the park, we’re the church. If we meet in another building, we would still be the church. When we meet for a Bible study at my house, we’re the church. We, the people, are the church. And if we don’t have good relationships with one another and Jesus, yet have a building, we are not the church. The building, although a useful tool at times, is irrelevant to being the church. 

If the day comes when it would be better for us to sell the building, we would not hesitate to sell it. We would gladly and eagerly sell the building to further God’s church. Now those two sentences would be confusing if you don’t differentiate between the building and the church, but that is only due to a wrong understanding of what the church is.

And we get that wrong understanding honestly. We’re ingrained from birth with a wrong understanding of the building. “Here is the church, Here is the steeple, Open the doors, See all the people. “

But the truth is better  expressed in a revised rhyme that I found, “Here is a building, On top there’s a steeple, Open the doors, The church is the people!”

Anyway, I want to emphasize today that “We’re still here. We still care. And we still have a mission.” So if anyone asks how Riverside is doing, let them know that. “We’re still here. We still care. And we still have a mission.” We’re not going anywhere. Thankfully, things are a little better financially right now than the tough times we faced at the turn of the year. God’s unending and unexplainable provision is awe-inspiring. Our building is now off the market. We have even hired a part-time children’s pastor. And we are growing and actively ministering to our community. We are moving in the direction that God wants us to move in as we continue to seek ways to minister to the community with our limited budget.

May we always remember that people are more important than any tool used in ministry, even the building.

Finding True Joy

Jesus taught, "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.' Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. "Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.' Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:4-10 ESV).

The angels rejoice.

Not over Michael Phelps getting the most Olympic medals. Not over Eli Manning throwing a game winning pass. Not over the USA women’s gymnastic team or Gaby Douglas’ victory in the all around. Not over a book being released or some upcoming movie. Not even over the Buckeyes winning a national championship.

Not over you completing a marathon. Not over me losing weight. Not over grades in school or job performance. It isn’t that God isn’t involved in those things, but those are not the most important thing to God.

We get so caught up on the physical things that we forget the most important things.

The angels rejoice when someone comes to the Lord.

We must have that same perspective. We must learn to really value the things that God values and not the things of this world.

Our church will grow when most of us who make up that church body have God's perspective. When we give financially to the mission of the church because we realize that God’s mission is more important than that 10% or more of our income. When we help our someone despite it putting us out because we realize that showing Jesus’ love is more important than our personal space and/or time. When we put time with the Lord above time exercising because we realize that our spiritual health is more important than our physical health.

We must change perspective if we want to have the joy that Jesus wants us to have. We must change perspective if we want our church to grow.

So if we have a joy problem, we have a relationship with God problem. If we have a joy problem, we must figure out why one of fruits of the Spirit is not materializing itself in our life. And if we have a fruit problem. – I’m going with the tree analogy here – then we have a root problem.

May we focus on digging into Jesus.

My Precious Little Criminals

Who am I to be so presumptuous as to force my own values on my children? I’m only their dad. Others need to help them make this serious choice. It’s definitely not for me as a parent. I have other responsibilities to worry about. I need to make sure they’re having fun all the time and eating whatever they want, whenever they want. I’m a parent after all.

I look at my children and wonder, “Maybe they are born with criminal instincts.” If they are, who am I to try to dampen their natural instincts? I’ve seen them try to steal toys when they go to friend’s houses. That’s just who they are. And if that’s who they are, then I would be a monster of a parent if I tried to change that.

So I’m not going to teach my kids to not be criminals. (That’s an intentional double negative for the grammar police out there.) Decisions like that need to be their own choice, assuming that they even have a choice in the matter. If they choose to not be a criminal because I forced them to, then we must ask whether they have really chosen to not be a criminal? What good is the choice if it is not their own?

Once in a while I ponder whether I should talk with them about becoming productive citizens of society through going to school and receiving the training in some field that would make them feel fulfilled in their life’s work, but what if that just isn’t who they are? I doubt they would like the idea of working hard and giving back to society if they are wired to just be a criminal. If I lecture them too much, they might just think I am some old, out of touch stooge who is trying to shove my values into their brains. And I don’t want them to think that of me. I want them to think I’m their dad because I think I am their dad. Their mom has been telling me that since they were conceived, and I doubt she would lie. She had some of those bad parents who forced her not to tell lies. Soap and all.

I just want my kids to be happy. If I spend time trying to stop their criminal behavior when they are young, they might be traumatized. And have you seen those traumatized lawyers and doctors? I don’t want my kids to become one of those. I can’t rob them of their childhood by constantly correcting behaviors that they naturally want to do.

When it comes down to it, my children are pretty good. They don’t steal things or beat people up all the time. They just do it when they want to. Most of the time they are happy around the house. Except for when I don’t give them the pop they want when they want it. Or worse, when we run out of pop. That’s my bad though. I should just let them have the pop when they want it and definitely not let it run out. Because if that is what they want, then it would probably do more damage to them – I’m thinking long-term emotional damage here – if I don’t give it to them when they want it.

Some people try to tell me that I should stop the criminal behaviors that are developing in my kids. Well they don’t flat out tell me. They think they’re being all polite when they hint around. But who are they to try and tell me how to be a parent?! I’m the parent here! And they have no business picking at what my kids do! Judgmental jerks!

The school has even addressed the situation with me. But we all know that it’s the school’s fault that my kids are this way. I’m not teaching them anything at home, so it can’t be my fault. Heck, I’m barely even around them, so they aren’t getting these bad behaviors from me. Somebody at school must be teaching them these bad behaviors.

In the end, if even one of my children grows up to be a criminal, I will still be proud of him or her because they have become who they were destined to be. Who am I to fight against the forces of fate? Now, I would prefer for them not to get caught. For if they are going to be a criminal, they should be a good criminal. But even if they are a bad criminal and get caught, I will proudly go visit them in prison.

I’m a parent. And I will let my kids choose everything.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

Toward True Love

A reader asked me the question: 
How do we answer the cultural idea that morality should be based upon that which does no harm to others rather than biblical values. (My question is - setting aside the Bible for sake of discussion - how do we offer an effective response to that?) I hear this a lot with college age students.
At the heart of the issue is the question “What is Love?"
Is love giving people what they want whenever they want it, however they want it? I wonder what our children would grow up to be like if we took that approach.
Does love come in the shape of discipline at times? If I tackled someone out of the way of a speeding vehicle, would they not be grateful despite the scrapes and bruises?
One of the things we have been created for is to love people. The problem is that we have morphed love into something that it is not. Love is never giving someone something that will harm them. Love is never telling a lie. Love is never condoning a behavior in someone that is destructive. Love is never enabling someone to continue down the wrong path.
But those statements define love. What do we believe are wrong paths? What behaviors do we believe are destructive? What is harmful to people? How we answer those questions will shape how we love. Well, that is true as long as we aren’t self-absorbed entertainment sponges, vampires who suck life from the world and never give back.
Now in those statements, we see that we believe there is a wrong path. We all believe there is a path that leads to death. Even the most tolerant hippy would tell you that intolerance is wrong. The debate isn’t about whether there is a wrong; the debate is always centered on what is wrong.
We also see in those statements that we believe things will harm people. It is easy to identify the immediate harms. Shooting someone for no reason is harmful. But the discussion gets sticky when we talk about long-term harm and/or psychological harm. Is feeding someone McDonalds every day harmful? Is drinking eight alcoholic beverages a day harmful? Is spending too much time watching television harmful? We all know that they are because we have seen the long-term impact of people who have abused things that were designed for good. Well, McDonalds might not ever be able to be used for good, but I think you get the point.
The immature mind will only look at the now. Does this feel good to me now? Then it can’t be that bad. Does this make me happy now? Then it can’t really be bad. But what happens when we wake up the next day and the man or woman who gave us so much pleasure the night before is gone and our heart is broken? What happens when the hangover comes? What happens when I am dying of liver disease? What happens when I have to face my personal crisis alone? True love has to look at what an action is doing to us, not just today, but tomorrow. Is it building better relationships? Is it making me into a better me? Some things might give a momentary rush or satisfaction, but if continued regularly, the behavior will destroy.
So when it comes to loving someone, we actually have to ask if what we are doing is to their benefit, not just in the moment, but tomorrow and the day after that. [A brief disclaimer. We have to be careful though that we do not stray into never doing any loving actions for others because we have a pull up your own bootstraps definition of love. Not loving is always a terrible definition of love.]
Is it more loving to give someone a free handout or is it more loving to give someone work to earn money to buy the food? Is it better to give someone free housing or is it better to help someone learn the soft skills necessary to hold a job and get their own housing? Now we would always answer the latter on these. But are we willing to make the sacrifice to give the work if it means I pay someone to mow my yard rather than do it myself? This might take away from my date night money or my vacation money. Are we willing to invest the time and energy into a person to teach them the necessary skills for living rather than enjoying another book, movie, or that extra time with the kids?
Now this brings us to biblical values. God gave us biblical values, not to enslave to some outdated moral code, but to free us to be loving. When we are enslaved to bad behaviors we are bad lovers. When we are free, we are empowered to love the way God intended us to live. When the Bible teaches values to live by, those of us who believe in God and his inspired word view those instructions as liberating. They are given to free us from the chains that often bind.
True love is more difficult than the “make me feel good because I have done something” type of love. We need to really make a difference in people’s lives. This won’t usually happen through a quick one time fix. This takes time, training, and a serious relational investment. Love is always sacrifice, our sacrifice. 
His sacrifice. 
“But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18 ESV).

Mourning The Celebration Of Our Christian Victory Of Collective Might

On Wednesday, many people flocked to eat more chicken in a groundswell of support for Chick-fil-a, who if you have been living in a shell, is facing protests from the LGBT community for statements made by Chik-Fil-A’s President and COO Dan Cathy on biblical marriage.

First, I think the groundswell of support is a good thing. A business who faces societal ramifications for taking a biblical stance on an issue should receive our support. Due to the support, Chick-fil-a saw record sales.

Second, the outpouring of support is encouraging. A lot of times we feel alone in this world standing up for biblical principles in a society that treats us like we are growing a second head. It’s nice to see that we are not alone. That there are others out there who share our convictions.

Finally, I don’t think we should be celebrating. In our effort to stand up for ourselves, we hurt the cause of Jesus and brought about more hatred rather than peace. True, it made those of us who are frustrated with being attacked on our belief that homosexuality is a sin feel better, but the chasm between the two sides widened rather than us building bridges that the Gospel can go across.

Jesus taught us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. Instead, we flexed our muscles and showed our collective Christian might. We can choose to keep fighting. What will our response be to the kissing day on Friday? How do we one up that one?

Or we can do something else. Something Christian. Chick-fil-a needed encouragement. In the future, we should figure out a solution, if possible, that is loving to both sides, even if we are one of the sides. All the while, keeping the priorities of Jesus as our priorities – love, peace, and turning the other cheek. Instead of flexing our muscles, we need to ask how we can be servants to all in such a situation.

Next time, let’s reach out and love all people. We need to always put others first, even those we disagree with.

In the end, we must realize that eating more chicken and taking public stances on biblical issues is not what will make us Christians.

Jesus taught, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV).

Are We To Hate? A Bible Study on Hatred

On May 26, 2012, Lady Gaga twittered, "There is nothing Holy about Hatred."

Except God did hate. Jesus even hated. So either Lady Gaga is right and the Bible is wrong. Or maybe Lady Gaga is not a good source to get one's worldview from.

So what should we hate? Because if we are honest with ourselves, everyone hates things. Even those who claim they don't hate anything, hate. Those who want peace and love hate war. Those who preach tolerance hate intolerance.

And what should we be hated for? Because let's face it, people are going to hate us. We just need to make sure that we are hated for all the right reasons.

Unfortunately, Christians often hate the wrong things and/or go about being against them in the wrong way. This discredits the message of Jesus and the work of the kingdom. But God's kingdom can and will overcome. The key is that we work toward being the people God wants us to be and continually strive to reflect his glory here on earth as it is in heaven.

Each one of us will make mistakes. That's what grace is for. We are all hypocrites in some way. If that wasn't true, the cross would not be needed.  There is no reason for any of us to think we are better than anyone else because we are all fallen sinners. Living in the realization that we are all faulty and failed individuals, God will still receive glory when we are repentant sinners striving to bring about His will.

At other times we see people who unleash venom attacking one person after another. Whoever that venom is directed toward, harboring and releasing that hatred is not good for them or the people around them. Whether you agree with Lady Gaga or the Bible, it doesn't fit in either worldview as holy.

This post is written to distinguish that sort of rabid, venomous hatred from the hatred expressed by God that should also be expressed by His people.

When we feel that we have been wronged, we will find hatred creeping up. This is not the hatred we should nurture and foster. At times like those, we will find ourselves at a crossroads where we can choose whether to follow God, including his difficult teaching to love our enemies, and live in his grace toward others, even those we disagree with, or whether we will cling to our culture of divisiveness and lash back with personal attacks on the person who we feel has wronged us.

We each have many choices to make as we continue the process of being transformed from our fallen self into the person God has destined us to be. God has so much in store for each of us. The question is whether we will surrender ourselves to His will and pursue His kingdom, or whether we will pursue our own will and our own kingdom no matter how noble our personal will appears to be.

There is a hatred that is never holy. But then there is righteous hate. Let us strive to hate the things God hates and live the lives that God has planned for us to bring Him glory. Despite what Lady Gaga states, that is a hatred that is holy.

Bible Verses Expressing God's Hatred

For I hate divorce,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says the Lord of hosts. “So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16 (NAS)

I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
Amos 5:21-24 (ESV)

You shall not plant any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the Lord your God that you shall make. And you shall not set up a pillar, which the Lord your God hates.
Deut 16:21-22 (ESV)

These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”
Zech 8:16-17 (ESV)

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You have seen all the disaster that I brought upon Jerusalem and upon all the cities of Judah. Behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of the evil that they committed, provoking me to anger, in that they went to make offerings and serve other gods that they knew not, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers. Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying, ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’
Jer 44:2-4 (ESV)

He [Jesus] looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart. Mark 3:5 (ESV).

Be Hated For Doing Good

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
(1 Peter 2:11-12)

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
(1 Peter 2:15-16)

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
(1 Peter 3:17-18)

The World Will Hate Christians

Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
(1 John 3:13 ESV)

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
John 15:18-19 (ESV)

We Should Join In God's Hatred

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
(Proverbs 8:13)

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
(Amos 5:21-24)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
(1 John 2:15-17)