pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Engaging

Reading: 2nd Corinthians 4: 7-12

Verse Ten: “… so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body”.

Today’s passage has this idea that we have something inside of us that we share with the world. In our perishable and finite bodies, these jars of clay, we have this “all-surpassing” power that assures us of the eternal and infinite promise of heaven. It is the source of this hope and promise that we share with the world.

Verse ten reads, “… so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body”. Our call is to be followers of Jesus. Figuratively, this means to walk as Jesus walked. As we look at how Jesus walked, we see that He often walked with the sick and the marginalized, with the sinner and the outcast, with the lonely and the spiritually hungry. Jesus engaged one and all as He walked in this world. It seems as if Jesus always had time for the one He found standing before Him. This is the picture of the man that we are called to follow.

This following is not easy. Paul writes of the challenges we will face – hard pressed but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. Yes, following Jesus and walking in the places and with the people that He walked with will be hard. I’ll add one more: hard but not impossible.

Paul also writes, “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake”. When Jesus is alive in our hearts and in our lives, we do offer ourselves willingly to others. We are willing to die to self and to our own selfish desires, putting the needs of others ahead of our own. This verse finishes with these words: “so that His life may be revealed”. So that others may come to know Jesus Christ too. So that others may take hold of the hope and promise that we profess.

Where can you walk as Jesus walked today? Is there a jail or prison nearby to visit? Is there a care facility or hospital that you could stop by? Is there a place in your community that feeds people or hands out food? Is there a family in your neighborhood that could use a bag of groceries? Us there an elderly neighbor who needs their lawn mowed?

May we each find a way to walk as Jesus walked – engaging the one who is in need, offering ourselves to them.


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Reading: Galatians 1: 11-24

Paul, as the most zealous persecutor of the early church, was probably the most unlikely to become one of the great apostles of the early church.  He was about as far as one could be from Jesus Christ.  His mission in life was to wipe this new faith off the face of the earth.  Yet God, in His amazing grace, claimed Paul to be one of His own.  God took the one who persecuted, imprisoned, and even murdered Christians and made him into an excellent witness for Jesus and the church.  Paul realizes this miraculous change in his life and it becomes his call to ministry.  If God could reclaim him, God could reclaim anyone.  Paul also sees in Jesus another example of one who would reclaim any and all.  In his own life and in the example of Jesus, Paul came to know a God who loved everyone and desperately wanted all to be a child of God.  This became Paul’s mission as an evangelist supreme.

It was primarily through Paul that the church came to really understand Jesus’ command to ‘make disciples of all nations and peoples’.  Jesus really meant all.  The grace that Paul experienced was a grace that all people everywhere were intended to experience as well.  Paul was so gripped by God and Christ’s presence in him that he sought to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, to all of the known world.

Paul’s life is an excellent example for us in two ways.  First, God will use anyone to spread the gospel.  If God chose and used Paul, all of us are fair game.  There is no one that God cannot use, no one that He does not want to use.  Second, Paul taught us that we need to share Christ with all people.  Through his own transformation, Paul knew the need for transformation in all people’s lives.  He sought to help all to come to know Christ so that they too could experience His transforming grace in their lives.  This day and every day may we, like Paul, live into God’s call on our lives to be both examples and witnesses to the transformation that God has made in us, so that all we know may come to experience the same in their lives.