pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Can You Remember When…

Reading: John 1: 29-42

Verse 39: “Come and see”.

Two of John the Baptist’s disciples leave and begin to follow Jesus as he passes by. They decide to check out Jesus based upon John’s declaration that Jesus is the “lamb of God”. What was it the led these two to follow Jesus? They do not know much about him. At present, though, they are only following him physically, not spiritually. Andrew and his companion are surely curious. They may even have sense something about Jesus that is special. Maybe John’s declaration was enough to make them want to tag along with Jesus.

Can you remember when you first heard about Jesus? Way back at the beginning of my faith journey, when I was just in early elementary school, I heard of Jesus. It feels like I’ve always known who Jesus was, but there had to be a day when I first heard the word “Jesus” and started to learn about him. If you were a little older when you first heard about Jesus, you might have a clearer memory of when it began for you. We read about Andrew and Peter’s day today in our passage.

Jesus quickly senses the tag-alongs and asks them, “What do you want”? It is not asked in the tone or with the intent that we said these words to our little sister or brother. It is asked as an invitation into conversation. In their response we can see that Andrew and friend do not really know what they want. They answer the question with a question: “Rabbi, where are you staying’? They are hinting at wanting to spend some time with Jesus. His response is loving and encouraging and welcoming: “Come and see”.

After spending the day with Jesus, Andrew is convinced enough to go and get his brother, Simon Peter. His declaration to Simon Peter mirrors the content of John’s declaration to Andrew. The words are different but both men know that the one who has been promised of old is now present among them.

Can you remember when you came to this truth in your heart? Maybe this is a day that is easier to remember. Maybe it is a moment that you can recall but do not know the exact time. At some point all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior hear and respond to the invitation to “come and see”. From that day forward we are on a journey to come and see Jesus every day, over and over, growing daily in our relationship with him. Today, may we each reflect on our “come and see” moment and upon the journey since. May we rejoice and thank the Lord our God.

Prayer: Lord, it has been a long and wonderful journey these 40+ years. It’s been a journey with ups and downs, but even these have smoothed out as the journey continues. I thank you today for being with me in the good days just as much as in the bad. I praise you for being my Lord and my Savior. Amen.


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What Love

Reading: Psalm 148: 1-6

Verse 5: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created”.

The opening stanza of Psalm 148 is where we begin today. It speaks of the heavens’ call to praise God the creator. The angels, sun, moon, stars, and sky are called to praise God because “he commanded and they were created”. The word was spoken, the decree given, and they all came into being. As we read of angels or look up into the starry sky, they indeed reveal God’s glory and power and might and draw out praise.

These verses remind me once again of the immense power of God. With a word, billions upon billions of stars were created. Not only that, God knows each by name (Psalm 147:4). This stirs up two thoughts in me. The first is my smallness. When I think of the stars and all else that God created, it is awesome. In comparison to that, I am small. And yet God formed me in the womb, knit me together with his own hands (Psalm 139:13). Even though I am small in the grand scope of creation, I am special to God. That is pretty amazing. And the same is all true for you.

The second thought it draws me to, especially at this time of year, is the thought that God – the creator of more than we can even begin to wrap our minds around – chose to take on flesh and walk among us. God incarnate did not hold onto his divinity but instead emptied himself, becoming like us so that through Jesus Christ we can find life abundant and life eternal. What love God has for you and me. What love. Thanks be to God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you are higher than the heavens, deeper than the sea, and you are the creator of all things. And you dwell in my heart. Wow. Thank you, God. Amen.


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A Special and Chosen People

Reading: Exodus 12: 11-14

Verse 13: The blood will be a sign… I will pass over you.

The Hebrew people are the chosen people.  They stand in a special place because of their relationship with God.  As God is preparing to set them free from their long years of bondage in Egypt, there must have been some anticipation building up amongst the people.  God instructs them to mark their doors with blood and says, “The blood will be a sign… I will pass over you”.  Others will not be passed over.  Death will come to their houses.  The Hebrews are indeed a special and chosen people.  God also instructs them to eat a special meal in a specific way, all the while ready to go.  As a child we experience this same thing when Mom or Dad excitedly yells,”Everyone, get your shoes and coats on!”  We would know something special was coming our way.

It has been many years since the first Passover.  Yet generation after generation has celebrated the Passover meal each and every year.  The words have been the same almost forever; they are memorized at the earliest of ages.  The youngest one present always asks the same question about the special night.  The story and the words and the meal are passed on generation after generation so that the Israelite people can remember.  The Passover celebration tells them over and over that they are a special and chosen people who stand always in God’s presence.

When Jesus instituted the sacrament of communion, He too used similar words.  He wanted us to always remember that that we are a special and chosen people.  In the Gospel of Luke we read these words: “do this in remembrance of me”.  Each time we gather and celebrate Holy Communion we remember what Jesus did for each of us.  We tell the story over and over so that we remember and so that we are reminded that Jesus made His sacrifice for each of us.  Yet He also did it for all of us – to forgive the sins of the world.  What great love!  We are indeed a special and chosen people, dearly loved by our Lord and King.  May all we do and say this day bring Jesus all the glory and honor, reflecting a love that draws others into this special and chosen people, the church.