pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Do You Hear?

What name best identifies you?  Is it father, mother, sister, grandma, brother, grandfather?  Is it accountant, teacher, lawyer, mechanic?  Is it artist, athlete, musician, dancer?  Is it giver, helper, volunteer, caregiver?  In our life we fill many roles and sometimes the roles vary by who we are around and what we are doing at the time.  Often the names others give us and know us by reflect who we are and how we are known.  Sometimes we even live into the names we are given.

In the quiet alone times with God, do you hear Him calling your name?  He does call out to each.  God calls out to each of us by name – Susan, Paul, David, Alice, Greg.  Jesus called the twelve to follow Him and become His disciples.  In doing so they were called to a new way of life.  Through their time with and in relationship to Jesus, they came to see themselves as worthy, loved, redeemed.  As we hear Him calling our name and begin to live into that call, we too come to see ourselves as worthy, loved, redeemed.

As God calls out and stakes an increasing claim on our lives as we grow in the faith, one of or true names becomes more and more evident: child of God.  As we grow into this name our other names become secondary.  Instead of father we become known as a Christian father.  Instead of a lawyer we become known as a Christian lawyer.  What we ‘do’ becomes secondary to who we are as God increasingly is our first consideration in all of our choices, decisions, priorities.

Being a child of God is a journey.  Once we realize we are a child of God, we begin living into a new identity.  We will still stumble, fall, make mistakes.  But as a child of God, when we stumble, we will fall into His arms of grace.  As a beloved child of God, we never walk alone.  Do you hear Him calling your name?

Scripture reference: 1 John 3: 1-7

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Each and Every

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to wash someone else’s feet.  Imagine doing it in a time when people wore sandals at best, all roads were made out of dirt, and animals shared the roads with people.  The washing of feet was usually something you did for yourself.

Yet on this day of Holy Week Jesus knelt at each disciple’s feet and washed their feet.  And I bet He did it slowly and carefully.  It was no “drip a little water and dab with the towel” kind of washing.  He wanted them to see how invested He was in this activity.

It must have been awkward for th disciples.  It must have seemed odd to have their leader and teacher kneel down to cleanse their feet of the dirt and crud of the day.  His messages were clear: this cleansing makes them even more of a part of Him and it sets them an example of what it means to truly serve one another in love.  And take note: there is no mention of Jesus skipping over Judas’ feet.  Jesus mentions earlier in the passage that one among them is unclean, so He knows the betrayal in Judas.  Knowing Jesus, He probably took extra care with cleaning Judas’ feet.

Jesus’ teaching here in John 13 is two-fold for us.  First, we are to be willing to serve one another in whatever way we can.  It may be washing feet or offering a warm meal or being on the committee or simply being there to listen.  Second, we are to offer Christ’s love to any and all.  He did not skip over Judas.  We are not to skip over anyone either.  Each and every person is child of God, worthy of His and our love.  And maybe, just maybe, those we are least inclined to serve and those who need it most.

Scripture reference: John 13: 1-17and 31b-35


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Today Offer Thanks

The transfiguration story is pretty awesome.  The ‘inner three’ disciples – Peter, James, and John – are brought up the mountan by Jesus.  I bet they were excited for a little ‘alone time’ with Jesus.  They were probably running scenarios through their minds about what might happen as they quietly followed along behind a serious Jesus.  Don’t imagine there was a lot of trail chatter as they made their way up.  When they arrive at their destination, they witness an amazing transfiguration of Jesus.  His face becomes like the sun and his clothes become what they described as brilliantly white or dazzling.  As if this wasn’t enough to blow their minds, suddenly Moses and Elijah appear and start talking with Jesus, in his transfigured state!  Both men long gone from this earth, but there, sure as day!

If I were one of the three I think I would stammer and be afraid too.  It would be hard to take in and process all that has happened right before their eyes.  Part of me would wonder if this was all real.  But it would be so awesome to be there!!  Moses and Elijah just seem to know what to do and why they are they.  They walk up to Jesus just like he is an old friend, and start talking to him.  And, in reality, Moses and Elijah are old friends with Jesus!  Moses and Elijah know what to do and say – they were always faithful followers of what God led them to do.  At times we are like Peter, James, and John and at times we are like Moses and Elijah.  In our faith lives, sometimes we bumble around and other times we just seem to know what to do.

And at times we can also be the one on whom God is looking down upon, smiling as He says we too are His beloved.  A gleam in His eye as He says we too ar His child.  In the quiet moment, when we take the time and energy to focus in on God, we too can hear these words.  We can hear the words, take them in, feel their love, and say, “Thanks Dad, I love you too!”  May we each find that quiet place and enter into His presence this day, so that we can offer Him this thanks.