The Second Sign-Healing the official’s son-Jun. 20, 2012

Healing the official’s son-June 20, 2012

John 4:43-54-The Second Sign

The story of Jesus is also one about others witnessing to who Jesus is.  Jesus was in Cana in Galilee where he had turned the water to wine.  The word of what he had done turning the water to wine had spread.  Although people had heard about this sign of water to wine, the question may have lingered in some minds what was this Jesus really capable of?  Upon hearing the Jesus had arrived there was a royal official whose son was sick and close to death.  Not wasting any time the official left and when out to Jesus.  This is a loving father who doesn’t worry about his position, he doesn’t send for Jesus, he goes himself to beg for help for his son.  What good is the position if you lose your child?  Who better to passionately plead for the life of this child than his father.  He begs Jesus to come and heal his son.

Jesus takes a moment to make an observation that unless you people see the miraculous signs and wonders you will never believe.  It is this very proof that takes the faith right out of the decision.  Most people in Jesus day and in our own want empirical knowledge.  Simply put we want proof.  The official tries to urge Jesus to come before his child dies.  Jesus tells the official, that he can go on his way and that his son will live.  Perhaps the people wanted Jesus to follow this man and wanted to see the miracle before their eyes and Jesus’ not going did not change the miracle in the life of that family but it kept there from being a show.

The man took Jesus’ word and departed.  What if we took Jesus’ word on how to do life?  What if we accepted what he said and tried to do as he asked with the help of the Holy Spirit.  If our child’s life was hanging in the balance would we trust what we could not see, would we trust the word of the Lord?  It is here that we begin to see that Jesus as God is the giver of life, just as God the Father is also the giver of life.  In his very words life is spoken.  In his word is life.

On the return trip home his servants met him with the news that his son was living.  When the man asked what time the fever left, it was at the exact time that Jesus said to him, “your son will live’.  It was through this the he and his household would believe.  There is life in the word of Jesus.  There is also the indication that these small groups of people who believe and remain in those areas and remain after Jesus was gone would be the ones who would share the gospel that would set the world on fire.  A few who truly believe and are sold out to Jesus can have far greater impact than a few thousand lukewarm followers who are coming along for the show.

The One You Need-Jun. 17, 2012

The One You Need-June 17, 2012

Scripture-Deuteronomy 6:1-9-and Selected Scriptures

On this day each year since becoming a Pastor I have had to think about Father’s Day, and the connection of our Heavenly Father.  These are not always easy tasks.  Recently I was reading an article that mentioned that America is becoming “fatherless”.  In a nation where we honor founding fathers, and have days like Father’s Day, it appears that as a society we are becoming more “fatherless” not that we do not have biological fathers, but perhaps they are absent for many different reasons.  This also becomes a challenge too when we look at one of the predominant biblical understanding of God is as Father.  In this term Father there is in the bible the understanding of care, love, correction, and intimacy.  However, in many of our churches and societies the image of father may be anything but that of a caring, loving, intimate father, and so the challenge begins to look at these two place and try to point all people to God as their Father no matter what relationship an individual has had with their earthly Father.

Then there is also looking at ourselves as Father’s and the role that we play in our children’s lives and their spiritual lives.  Many men talk about being the head of the house hold or family, however they often forget that it is the spiritual head of the family.  The Bible lets us know that as parents in general and as father’s specifically that we are to be responsible for giving our children every opportunity to know and walk with Christ.  Too often in our culture and country this role is relegate to the mothers, or grand-parents.  This doesn’t mean that we are not thankful that someone in the family is looking after the spiritual needs of the child.  In too many instances father’s support their children in sports, school, or others activities but not in developing a relationship with the Lord.

The greatest work of a lifetime is to be a parent, and it is not an easy job.  There are no long vacations or retirement, we will always be parents.  In another news store a few months back there was a mother in the mid-west who covered her children with her own body as a tornado ripped apart their town and home.  The children survived safely, but the mother lost several of her limbs.  When speaking with a reporter she said “it doesn’t matter if I lost my limbs, at least I still have my children.”  In most cases parents are willing to give their lives for their children, but when it comes to the eternal destiny of their children many parents seem absent.

This is alarming and scary to think that our children are growing up not knowing about Jesus Christ and that God is their heavenly Father.  Last year a few weeks after Father’s day I heard a song on Christians radio, “The One You Need”, by Shane and Shane.  This song talks about fatherhood and our desires as fathers for our children, both to be providers for them and their needs while acknowledging the reality that there will come a time where we may be unable to meet that need.  We may let our children down, this is part of reality.  The clear message of this song is that one of the most loving things that we may do in our lives is to help our children realize their need for Jesus.

I will do my best to be a good husband, good father, good provider, and good pastor, but there will come a time where I will not be all that my family needs.  I will need to keep pointing beyond myself to the one they truly need Jesus Christ.  Our families are gifts from God.  Will we take up the call and responsibility as fathers to point our children and families to the one they need Jesus Christ?  Will we look at this “fatherless” nation and be willing to be a father in faith to another person to help them to understand the Jesus is the one they need?  This will be the greatest work of your lifetime and their may be more at stake in this work than anything else you may do.  Please do not leave the spiritual lives of your children in question.  Be the example, teaching them in each situation in life that Jesus is the one they need.

The First Sign-Water to Wine-Jun. 13, 2012

June 13, 2012-Water to Wine

John 2:1-11

The changing of the water to wine is considered the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs.  We will also take each week and look at the rest of these as we consider what each of these signs mean in their own context, and what they reveal about Jesus.  In a broader sense what they say about God’s plane for us.

In one way the miracles affirm something of who Christ is.  Jesus was at a wedding feast, a time of celebration for those that were beginning their married life together.  In this time of celebration the supplies run short and there are not enough provisions.  Jesus’ mother comes to him for assistance.  Who better to know what Jesus was capable of than his own mother?  Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus our Lord in a miraculous way.  She knows who he is and what he is capable of.

She has full confidence that he will help, and she tells the servants do whatever he tells you to do.  I am not so certain that his instructions were what they expected.  There was nearby six stone jars, used for ceremonial washing, about 20-30 gallons each.  He asks the servants to fill the jars with water.  They did as Jesus asked, and then Jesus told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.  I think these men had great faith and/or were very brave.  They just filled the ceremonial washing pots full of water, and now are to take the wash pot water to the master of the party to taste.  I am not so sure that I would have been so courageous.

They did take it and he did taste, but the water had been turned to wine.  The master did not realize where it has come from, even though the servants knew.  It seems like often times in Jesus’ life that these signs are not for the high and mighty.  Perhaps Jesus sending the servants was because he expressed earlier that his time had not come.  The master of the banquet calls the groom aside and says most people bring the good stuff out first and the cheaper stuff after no one cares.  Thinking it was the grooms doing he said, but you have saved the best for last.

There is some irony that this was the first miracle, and because the master knows not who did it, he thinks the best has been saved for last.  However, with Jesus there is no less than the best every time.  He is able always to supply for our needs, he is able to heal our hurts, and He is able to save through His blood.  This same water that was turned to wine also foreshadows Christ using the wine as a symbol of His shed blood for us.

It is said in scripture that this is the first of his miraculous signs.  It is expressed in John 2:11 that in doing so Jesus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him.  When God reveals his glory through Jesus, his disciples put their faith in him.  When we look for the glory of God to be revealed, we will find the faith we so greatly need.  The faith of the few disciples that spread the good news of Jesus and changed our world forever.

The Seven Signs in John

                                THE SEVEN SIGNS IN JOHN
1.  Changing water to wine 2:1-11 Points to Jesus as the Source of all the blessings
of God’s future (see Isa. 25:6-8; Jer. 31:11-12;
Amos 9:13-14)
2.  Healing the official’s son 4:43-54 Points to Jesus as the Giver of life
3.  Healing the invalid at Bethesda 5:1-15 Points to Jesus as the Father’s Coworker
4.  Feeding the five thousand 6:1-15, 25-29 Points to Jesus as the life-giving Bread from
5.  Walking on water 6:16-21 Points to Jesus as the divine I AM
6.  Healing the man born blind 9:1-41 Points to Jesus as the Giver of spiritual sight
7.  Raising Lazarus 11:1-44 Points to Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life
*1-7 Taken from Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions
8.  The Resurrection of Jesus? 20 Points to Jesus’ resurrection as the new beginning
*8 Theme idea from Love Wins, by Rob Bell

The Sacrifice of God-Jun. 10, 2012

The Sacrifice of God-June 10, 2012

Hebrews 10:1-18

As we look at the Lord’s Supper table we see sacrifice.  The writer of Hebrews is quick to remind us that there is a New Covenant in Christ.  The law was only a shadow of what was meant to be and so each year the priests would return again and again to the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifices.  This served as a reminder of sin, year after year after year.  If these sacrifices had been perfect they would not have needed to be done each year, and we would be cleansed of our sins, once and for all.

What is this were true?  Or what if we lived like we believe it is?  This is truly the good news of the gospel, that God does not delight in burnt offerings, but the body of the spotless lamb Christ was the ultimate sacrifice.  Ultimate meaning that there would be no other or no other need for a sacrifice.  There on the Cross Jesus declared it is finish, it is accomplished.  He did not say, this will do for a little while.

It is this victory that we can claim each day in Christ.  It is what we find here at this table of sacrifice.  It is not to remind us of our sinfulness but the victory we have in Christ over sin.  A reminder of the love of God to reach down through human history and to love us enough to allow His perfect Son to take our place, and it was more than enough.  His grace is all-sufficient.  There is no additional sacrifice that is required.

In Christ there is victory over and Christ waits at the right hand of the Father as one by one His enemies will be made a footstool for His feet.  The last great enemy being death will be conquered.  No fear only victory.  During this time of the New Covenant, the law of God will be written on the hearts, and in the minds of those that believe.  And He will remember our sins no more.

Paul states, in Galatians 2:20-21, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, the Christ died needlessly.”

We are free in Christ from sin and to come to this table of Christ and truly celebrate in remembering Him.  WE ARE FORGIVEN IN CHRIST, ONCE AND FOR ALL.

Basic 7-Communion-Jun. 6, 2012

Basic 7: Communion-Francis Chan

John 13:34, Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Acts 2:42, 46-47, Luke 22:14-15, 19-20, John 15:12-13, Matthew 26:26-29

“Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).  Reading this statement can remind us that His followers then as well as now may be prone to forget Him.  Life constantly pulls us to think about other things, but Jesus established a ritual to call us back to what really matters.  Every time we take Communion, we are given a fresh reminder of our Savior and what He did to set us free.  There is not activity, career, or stage of life in which remembering Jesus is not essential.

It is not always intentional.  Sometimes we can get so distracted by the busyness of life that one day you stop to think about your life and realize that you haven’t been following Jesus.  In another way our common union (communion) can be too common place and therefore lose its purpose.  Paul challenges the ritual of Communion in 1 Corinthians 11:26-29.  He reminds that every time we take Communion, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Communion is a powerful reminder of the mission we have been called to.  An important part of living out the truths that Communion symbolizes is to help reminds our fellow Christians of their calling to follow Jesus.  Many Christians find themselves caught off guard when an opportunity to take Communion arrives.  We might recall times when the bread and the cup have been an abrupt reminder of what we have forgotten.  This is why Jesus built this reminder of Communion into the life of the church.

This Common Union that we have in Christ is to bring about new life and a regenerate life.  In this doing of life together in communion, and community, we become the church.  Not a perfect place but one who is seeking and sometimes redirecting ourselves back to Christ (Hebrews 10:19-23).  It is about doing our part and helping to bring others along as well, both inside and outside the church.  We need to be reminded of the sacrifice of Christ and also His calling upon us as individuals and as a people of God.

Words to Live By-Jun. 3, 2012

Words to Live By-June 3, 2012, Graduation Sunday

Psalm 33 :4-7, Proverbs 3, Psalm 1

“The word of the Lord is upright,” meaning we can trust it as the truth and as a word we can live by.   Psalm 33 goes on to say that it is by those very words that all of creation came about.  We can trust the creator of the universe, and we can trust God’s best for us.  We can learn more about how to answer and deal with life’s troubles by consulting God’s word.  The pages are not simple filled with good advice, they are the words of the creator of the universe and they are words to live by.  It is my prayer that as a people of God and as graduates you would live by the word of God, for it is trustworthy and true.

Proverbs 3 speaks of the rewards of wisdom.  We are to told do not forget the Lord’s teaching, in doing so it will help the individual in life and God will direct or guide our paths.  Don’t be wise in our own eyes but rather trust the truth of the wisdom of God.  Wisdom is better than riches.  In verse 18 we are reminded that wisdom is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.  This is particularly true because the scripture is speaking of how we live trusting the word of God for life, and the wisdom therein.  Life will take us on journey that are sometimes unexpected, but holding on to the tree of life will ground us in any circumstance.

In verses 27-35 these statements may sound like great advice, but too often we ignore even great advice.  Advice can be seen as an opinion but this is not opinion, it is the Words of God, and therefore Words to Live By.  The things mentioned have to do with how we live life.  Do not withhold good from those that deserve it, especial if it is in your power to bless, and don’t delay in doing so.  Don’t harm your neighbors they need to feel secure living next to you.  Don’t just stir stink or be an instigator.  Don’t envy those that use violence or other means of coercion.  The Lord blesses the righteous, grace to the afflicted, and the wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.  The wise inherit honor by being linked to the Lord, not because of what we do, but the foolish display dishonor.  They display it as something to be proud of and therefore are truly foolish.

Psalm 1 is clear, journey wisely, delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it constantly.

“And he will be like a tree firmly by streams of water, Which yields it fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.”   Psalm 1:3

We may not always know the direction life will take us but as we journey, we need to walk in the ways of the wise, and wherever that journey takes us, we can bloom where we are planted.  We bloom not because the environment is always right or perfect rather, we bloom because we are rooted in the source of life our Lord, God,  and Savior Jesus Christ.