Monday, February 23, 2015
Jesus meets us at our points of desperation. In fact, desperate situations often drive us to Jesus. It is the times of resolution where we drift. Prayers flow in crisis; they stagnate in times of peace. As I pastor I often have people ask me to pray for upcoming surgeries, lingering ailments, financial and relational struggles, but rarely do people come to me with praise. It's an unfortunate cycle that plagues me as much as the next person.
A thoughtful reflection on John 4:43-5:47 calls Christ-followers to own their sense of desperation. We are not called to create crisis in our lives, but to realize apart from God's intervention we are poor, week, sad, and hungry. We are desperate. And our desperation should drive us to pray.
God Gets Flesh - John 1:1-18 sermon
Monday, February 16, 2015
Jesus welcomes worship from unexpected people in unexpected places. The prime example takes place in John 4:1-45, where he invites a Samaritan woman with plenty of baggage to claim him as Messiah and drink from the spring of eternal life. Like his previous conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:1-21), Jesus turns physical matters (birth, drink) into spiritual metaphors (regeneration, eternal life). The Samaritan woman cannot believe Jesus would address her -- not necessarily because her status as a widow or divorcee, but because her status as a Samaritan. Typically, Jews avoided them. Jesus turns this perception on its head. He welcomes true worship, in spite of status, stigma, or struggle. And true worship is simply telling God the truth about Himself.
This sermon walks through the four sections of John 4.
- An uncomfortable journey (4:1-6)
- An unlikely encounter (4:7-26)
- An unexpected harvest (4:27-35)
- An unbelievable reception (4:36-45)
May you worship the Son of God, Messiah, and Savior of the world, too.
Monday, February 9, 2015
Nicodemus visits with Jesus at night (John 3:1-21). The Pharisee and teacher of Israel greets Jesus as "Rabbi" who "comes from God." Jesus turns the parital confession (vv. 1-2) into a perplexing conversation (vv. 3-10), rich with double meaning, metaphor, and images of new birth. While the precise meaning of Jesus' statements are still debated, his major emphasis is this: new spiritual life comes from the outside. God must change us; all our self-improvement efforts will fall short.
The conversation ends (vv. 11-21) by explaining the motive for new birth (God's love) and reward (eternal salvation). John gives his reader no indication of commitment from Nicodemus. The teacher fades into the night, confused. So it goes: Partial confessions and spiritual questions do not beget eternal salvation.
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
This monthly podcast goes behind the curtain and into the mind of a church leader. Tim Sprankle--husband, father, pastor, blogger--will address an issue related to church ministry and culture. This month's issue broadly discusses time-management, narrowing in on the question: What does a pastor do when church is cancelled?