pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Building

Reading: Luke 1: 46-55

Mary’s beautiful song is all about God’s love for humanity.  She is aware of her direct role in this: she is bearing the Son of Man in her womb.  She rejoices in God her Savior and in her unique role: “all generations will call me blessed”.  Mary is aware of and deeply thankful for the role God has called her to fulfill.

Mary quickly moves past these thoughts and rejoices in the ways that God loves all of mankind.  God extends mercy to those in need and performs mighty deeds for those who fear him.  God blesses those in a relationship with him.  In doing so, God lifts up the humble and fills the hungry with good things.  God loves in many ways.

God’s love, however, is sometimes tough love.  God scatters those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  God will bring down rulers when necessary and will send the rich away empty.  God will not tolerate evil behavior by those with power.  God blesses us so that we can bless others, not so we can use our position or wealth to take advantage of others.

Mary’s song really speaks of God’s desired kingdom.  As followers of Jesus Christ we are kingdom builders.  We have a role to play in being the light and love in this time and space.  We too, like Mary, bear the Son of Man.  We bear Jesus in our hearts.  We can all bring God’s love to those who need God’s mercy and to those who hunger for either spiritual or physical bread.  We can all be conduits of God’s love flowing into the world.  We can also be the light shining into the darkness.  God’s kingdom is built on justice and equality.  If we are in positions with power and authority, we must use our place to insure justice and equality.  If, in our community, the leaders do not champion these things, we need to speak truth to bring about justice and equality.  May we each play the role of building God’s kingdom as we bear the light and love of Christ right where we are this day.

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Living, Not Just Knowing

Reading: Luke 21: 5-9

The disciples are looking at the beauty and wealth of the temple.  People go to the great cathedrals of the world and marvel at the stone work and stained glass.  Visitors to museums stand in amazement before the painting of the Last Supper or some other religious portrait.  We go to our churches and think, “What a great place this is”!

Jesus says to just hold on a minute.  He says that one day the temple will be no more.  One day those cathedrals will be gone too.  One day that artwork will fade.  One day…  Jesus goes on to warn them that one day false prophets will come, trying to charm us into believing other stories.  Jesus warns us not to be deceived.  If all our faith is is in the things – the buildings, the artwork, the campus – then we will be lost when our faith is shaken or tested.  Instead, our faith must be in Jesus.

There can be danger here too.  If we read all the stories of Jesus and appreciate all He said and are amazed at what He did, but do not go any deeper than knowing the stories, then we have simply created another empty building.  The words must travel the short distance from our heads to our hearts.  The words must take on understanding and application.  It is at this level the they begin to transform our lives.  When we allow Jesus to come alive in our hearts, we begin to be transformed and to live out our faith instead of simply knowing our faith.

If our faith is built upon a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then we do not need a building to visit Jesus in.  Jesus is not a building.  He lives in us.  If Jesus lives in us, we will not be deceived by false prophets or drawn in by the lies of the world.  He will guide us from within our hearts.  Lord Jesus, reign in me today!  Jesus, be alive in my heart!


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The Building

The temple that King Harod built was massive and impressive.  It was thought to be indestructible.  So when Jesus told Peter, James, John, and Andrew that not one stone would be left on another, it would’ve been hard for them to imagine that.  He would later get a bigger reaction when He referenced destroying the temple.

As churches I think we too sometimes view our buildings this way.  The building is a wonderful place to gather for worhsip, to feed people, to teach people…  For some they dream of a new, bigger, better building.  Yet in any case it is just a building, something physical.

The heart and soul of the church is the people that make up that body of Christ and what they do for Christ.  A congregation of 1,000 can be dead and one of 20 can be on fire for Christ.  Size does not matter.  What does is a body’s willingness to go where Christ leads, to engage and minister to who He brings to that body called the church.

Frederick Buechner once suggested we do away with buildings, bulletins, and budgets.  He thought all that would be left was Jesus and the people.  It is an interesting thought and he well may be right.  But we do need a place to call home and a place to minister FROM as we go out into the world.  Plus we must always remember whose house it is!

Scripture reference: Mark 13: 1-8