pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Ambassadors

Reading: 2nd Corinthians 5: 16-21

Verse 20: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us”.

Today many will gather in churches and homes to worship. We will sing, pray, read scripture, hear a message,… An outside observer could probably identify us as Christians. Then we will leave our places of worship and enter the world. When observed there will we still easily be identified as Christians?

Paul encourages us to not see people as the world sees them. He reminds us that once we are “in Christ” we are a new creation. We no longer see as a person of the world but now see as Jesus Christ saw the world. As such, we are called to first reconcile ourselves and then the world to Christ. We confess and repent and seek to live like Jesus. In turn we are called to help others do the same. Paul writes, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us”. As ambassadors we should represent Christ well and should help others to know the One that we know.

In a general sense, folks should see Christ in us. This emerges in how we treat others, in the ways that we live with integrity and honesty and love and compassion and mercy… People should notice that we are different from the world. But being “in Christ” also calls us to go a step further. We should also see and act as Jesus did. That means noticing the one who feels unlovable and then loving them as Jesus does. It means noticing the one that feels trapped in their sin or the guilt and shame and then helping them to be freed. It means seeing the one in need and then meeting their needs as we are able. It means seeing oppression and injustice in our community and addressing it. In living out our faith in real and practical ways we serve as good ambassadors for Jesus Christ. In this process, we also become more and more “the righteousness of God”.

This day and every day, may we not only live as good examples of Christ, but may we also be Christ’s love.

Prayer: Lord, help me to not only see as you saw and to not only love you, but also to see and love my neighbors in both word and deed. Amen.


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The True Light

One cannot read passages such as today’s and not think that, yes, the world is in pretty bad shape.  One can look at all of the disasters and evil befalling the world and think maybe the end is drawing near.  Maybe it is drawing near.  As we look at our world it can be easy to feel powerless and maybe even a little hopeless.  Some of the issues are so big and we are so small.  Indeed, if it were up to just us to save the world, we would be in trouble.  But it is not up to us.  It is up to God and He calls on us to help.

At the end of today’s passage, Jesus tells us where to start: with ourselves.  He warns us to be careful, to be ready, and to be on watch.  In Christmas terms we are to prepare our hearts and to call out ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel.’  As we enter Advent today we do so with the feeling that something is coming.  We prepare ourselves to celebrate Christ’s birth and to anticipate His return.  We also prepare ourselves to be His light and love in our world each and every day.

Christ’s love must shine brightly in our hearts.  It must be brighter and more joyful than all the Christmas lights, fancy jingles, and hoopla.  As Christ’s ambassadors we must joyfully share the hope and love we find in Jesus Christ.  In our dark world, hope and love will go a long way.  The world is broken and needs to be reconciled to Jesus.  This Advent season may we play our role in helping God’s love and hope shine in the darkness.  May we help reveal the true Light of Christmas to the world.

Scripture reference: Luke 21: 25-36