pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Discipleship

Reading: Luke 9: 51-62

Growth does not often occur on the mountaintops.  It most often occurs in the valleys, in the hard times of life.  In today’s story Jesus is heading for His final trip to Jerusalem.  He is heading there to die.  His fate may be some cause for their foul mood.  After being rejected by a village, James and John want to call fire down from heaven.  It is certainly not their first taste of rejection, so the reaction probably comes from their bad mood over what they know lies ahead.  Sometimes we are this way as well.

As they continue, people approach Jesus wanting to follow Him.  Each man has a ‘but first…’ to their request.  One is concerned with shelter, one with burying his father, and another with having a proper goodbye with his family.  Each turns away as Jesus harshly addresses their lack of commitment to placing Him first.  Each of these ‘but first’ commitments resonate with us.

I will give of my time and resources Lord, but first let me set aside enough for all of my bills.  I will serve you Lord, but first let me go take care of all these other responsibilities.  I will be faithful to my prayer, Bible study, and worship disciplines, but first let me get in these activities and commitments.  I will, I will, I will… but, but, but.

The life if disciple of Christ is difficult.  The choice to place God first requires all else to get in line behind this commitment to our faith.  It is a difficult commitment that daily requires setting aside self and saying, “Here I am Lord, use me”.  It is truly a daily struggle, but may we struggle well this day and each day.


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Comfort Zones

Reading: Acts 9: 10-20

Comfort is something we all like.  Life seems to be at its best when we are in our ‘comfort zone’.  We are there when we are surrounded with the familiar.  While this can vary greatly from one person to another – one person’s paradise may look very different from another’s – each of us craves routine and known.  We like patterns and to be in control.  So when God asks us to step outside of our comfort zones, our minds naturally go to excuses.

Such was the case with Ananias in Damascus.  Life seems to be sailing along and his faith appears to be solid.  This resonates with us – when life and faith are good, all is well.  Then out of the blue, at least for Ananias, God asks him to go and see Saul.  Immediately the reports of Saul persecuting and killing Christians floods Ananias’ mind.  It is the ‘but’ we often come up with too when God is asking us to step out of our comfort zones.

Ananias is comfortable enough in his relationship with God to question this nudge.  And God is comfortable enough with Ananias to repeat the instruction, this time with a little more detail.  So he obeys and makes his way to Straight Street.  It was probably a slow and hard walk filled with questions, doubts, and fear.  But Ananias was faithful and was blessed to heal Saul’s vision and to baptize him into Jesus Christ.

God wants to work in and through our lives as well.  Just as Ananias did, we too are called to step out of our comfort zones and to trust in God.  At times we all feel this nudge, the Spirit’s leading.  If we are willing to lay aside out ‘but’ and to walk alongside God, we too will be blessed, maybe even experiencing the miracle of God working in another person’s life.  May we step outside of our comfort zones when called so that through us, God can bless another today.