pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Everything

Reading: Luke 14: 27-33

Verse 33: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple”.

Our passage today begins with the idea of carrying our cross. Like Jesus, we must be willing to surrender our will to God’s will in order to advance the kingdom here on earth. Bearing the cross will challenge us as we are called to suffer with Jesus, loving the unlovable, caring for the outcast, walking with the stranger. In grace and love we are to be Christ to the world.

Jesus then talks about the cost of discipleship. We are advised to consider the cost of following Jesus before we begin to build a life upon him. Like with any project, we must first consider if we are willing to give up family, friends, personal comforts, security… for the sake of serving Jesus. We are also warned in our passage about the coming battle. Satan is relentless in his pursuit of the faithful. Can we, in faith, stand against Satan’s lies and temptations and against the voices of the world? We cannot. If wise, we will go first to the one who has overcome the world and seek Jesus’ peace (and strength and guidance and…) to walk the narrow road that we chose to walk.

The passage today closes with these words: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple”. Jesus wants us to understand that the commitment that he requires is “all in”. It is a 24/7 commitment to be like Jesus. He is not asking for an hour a couple Sundays a month plus a five minute prayer most days of the week and sometimes before meals. Jesus asks us to be willing to give up all for him – “everything” is his word. We must surrender not only our will but our resources, our time, our possessions, our talents, our abilities… In doing so we will serve him well. May it be so.

Prayer: Lord God, you ask a lot. Yet it is far less than Jesus gave on the cross. May I be faithful and true all of my days. Amen.

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Worship Fully

Reading: Psalm 111

Verse Seven: “The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy”.

The psalmist feels all-in to me. He does not just love God a little. He loves God with all that he is. The psalmist declares that he will “extol the Lord with all my heart”. The love is complete and fills him up. He then praises the works and deeds of the Lord: great, glorious, majestic. These are all-in words too. The psalmist then remembers how God is gracious and compassionate, always providing for the people’s needs. Psalm 111 paints a picture of God being totally worthy of our praise and adoration. Verse seven is a nice summarizing verse: “The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy”. God is indeed worthy of all of our praise and adoration!

Today many of us will have the opportunity to praise and worship the Lord our God. May we enter our sanctuaries and meeting spaces with hearts turned fully to a God who desires to pour into us today, filling us with His love and compassion. May we focus on connecting on a deep and intimate level. Let us not come halfway but fully ready for God to meet us and change us today. Do not allow your worship to just be part of the routine, to just be something you did today. Jump all in and seek God with all your heart. Allow God to fully claim you today as you feel His loving presence wash over you today. Amen.


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Look Closely and Honestly

Jesus calls us to be sold out, all in, completely committed.  In Mark 8 He gives us three steps: deny self, take up our cross, follow Him.  This was much easier for the disciples as they had Jesus right there with them.  But it is fully possible for us today as well.

In the day to day of life it can be hard for us to be all in for Jesus.  We see the job, the family, the sports, and so on as things we ‘have’ to take care of.  In these responsibilities we have, is it still possible to have Him be our guide, our filter, our primary decision factor?  Yes it is.  Work can be accomplished for the glory of God and as our boss requires.  This is true in all areas where we must mesh our ‘responsibilities’ and our faith.  His light and love can shine through us in all we do.

In our normal day to day we can truly live for Jesus, seeking to deny our on way and to live His way.  He can be our #1 amongst all else in this life.  There will be times when life becomes bumpy and we will question and doubt – a sudden loss, an unexpected illness, an unforeseen life change.  Even in the midst of these crises, if we continue to allow Him to rule, we find that we not only rely on Him, but the He will carry us.  In these deep, dark moments in life we glimpse what all in really looks like.

So during this season of self-examination that we find ourselves in during Lent, may we allow ourselves to look closely at what ‘all in’ means for us.  May we honestly and sincerely assess what is required of ourselves to be fully committed followers of Jesus Christ.

Scripture reference: Mark 8: 34-38


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Jump All In

New can sometimes be scary.  But new can sometimes be exciting too!  And often it can be a mix of the two. Our attitude largely has to do with it being our choice (or not) but sometimes new just happens – like the start of a new school year.

In our worship we tend to like the tried and tested.  Whether you are a contemporary worshipper or a traditional worshipper you probably like the routine you are used to.  If you always sing out of the hymnal, then a song from a different source may seem odd.  But if you are used to the Praise Band bringing out new music on a regular basis, then you are comfortable with that.

No matter how we worship or the style we prefer, God is seeking for all of our being to be given in worship.  He is fully present and desires the same of us.  God wants to offer us all of His redeeming grace and transforming power.  By being fully engaged we step into the possibility of His offer.  Step into this and don’t be surprised if you experience God in a new way.  His “new” may be hearing the words of an old hymn in a fresh way or it may be in the words of a new praise song.  He may tough you in a new way during the message or in a time of prayer.  It may even be during the Lord’s prayer that you say every time.  Maybe it is in a personal way during communion.  Jump all in tonight or Sunday and see what God has for you!!

Scripture reference: Psalm 149: 1-4