pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Bountifully Give

Jesus’ words about leaving home, family, friends, and job to follow Him seem to be difficult words.  To me it is an extension of the choice many make to die to self as they choose to put on Christ and become a new creation in Him.  Often this means we set aside some things and some people in our lives that keep us from fully pursuing a life lived in Christ.  A speaker I heard yesterday said we cannot be 99% in for Jesus – it needs to be 100%.  Until it is 100% we are holding something back.  As it says in Luke 9, we cannot put our hand to the plow and look back.  This sacrifice can be hard but we are promised great reward when we receive eternal life.

In a culture where rugged individualism is valued, we cannot allow that to isolate us or any new believers.  Christianity is not meant to be lived alone but in a community.  One’s new family and friends are the church – a group of loving and caring people who want to come along side the new believer and each other to encourage, strengthen, and support one another.  How we love and care for one another should reflect the love and care Jesus gave to the disciples.

Being such a community can be difficult in a society that so values wealth, power, and position.  These are not the things of God’s kingdom.  The economy in God’s kingdom is based on love, mercy, and forgiveness.  All of these are not things we accumulate to hoard and hold onto.  These are gifts from God that we experience so that we can give them away.  This day may we be filled with these things of God so that we may bountifully give them away.  May His light and love reign today!!

Scripture reference: Mark 10: 28-31

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Following Along

In John 12 Jesus parallels our faith with that of a seed.  If a single seed remains sitting on the counter or in the package, then that is all it is.  In a similar way, if we just believe in God then that is all our faith is: just belief.

When the seed is placed in the soil though, it can produce much more.  But in order to produce a crop, the seed itself must die and grow into a plant.  The old is gone and the new goes on to produce a crop.  In a similar way, our old self must be given up so that our new self can grow to live our life for Christ instead of for self.

If we are willing to set aside self and to live for and with Christ, we too can bear much ‘fruit.’  And here too Jesus gives insight.  He tells the disciples and us that whoever serves Him, must follow Him.  Whoever follows must go where He goes.

Here Jesus is calling us past belief.  He is calling us to action: follow, serve, go.  In order to bear fruit in our lives, it requires us to put God and others ahead of ourselves.  This means we cannot ask “Go where?” or “Now?” or “With whom?”  Jesus ministered to anyone, anywhere, anytime.  If we are to follow, we must do the same.

Scripture reference: John 12: 20-26