Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bread that Satisfies

Bread.  I imagine a delicious bun, crusty on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside, slathered with butter.  My mouth waters when I think of it.  Celiac disease has taken away the pleasure of biting into a bun or a bagel, but I remember.

That's what the crowd was thinking about when Jesus fed the Five Thousand men, plus women and children.  They wanted more of this bread.  They challenged Jesus, asking Him "Who do you think you are?  Do you think you're better than our forefathers, who ate manna in the wilderness?"

Yes.  I am.  I am the Bread of Life.  Those forefathers who ate the manna died.  

Read John 6 to get the whole story. 

Jesus' Words give me life.

  • Don't waste your life looking for bread - labour for eternal food, given by God.
  • Believe in the One (Jesus!) Whom the Father sent.
  • The Father gave the True Bread from heaven (Jesus!)
  • The True Bread gives LIFE.
  • Jesus always does the will of the Father.
  • Jesus will lose none of those given Him by the Father.
  • Jesus will raise each one on the last day!
  • Nobody comes to Jesus, unless the Father draws him.
  • Whoever believes has been taught by the Father.
  • Whoever believes has eternal life.
  • Jesus is the Living Bread.  He gave His flesh for our life.
  • We must feed on His flesh, metaphorically.
  • We must drink His blood, metaphorically.
John 6:53 Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood cannot be intended literally, for no one ever did that. As Jesus has done frequently in this Gospel, he is speaking in terms of physical items in this world to teach about spiritual realities. Here, to “eat” Jesus’ flesh has the spiritual meaning of trusting or believing in him, especially in his death for the sins of mankind. (See also v. 35, where Jesus speaks of coming to him as satisfying “hunger” and believing in him as satisfying “thirst.”) Similarly, to “drink his blood” means to trust in his atoning death, which is represented by the shedding of his notes.

It's all about Jesus.  In Him is life, a life that satisfies.  

An old friend of mine is fast approaching the end of his journey.  I have been thinking a lot about Jim today.  God used him in our lives as an instrument of grace many years ago.  His wife Ruby taught me much about faith and about prayer.  

Jim will soon be dancing in heaven, having been drawn by the Father into eternal life.  He will see Jesus, and he will be satisfied.  Jesus is enough.  Jesus is everything.

I can't wait.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sermon Notes - Single and Living Strong

What does a perfect family look like?  Is it the "Millionaire's family" - Mom and Dad, boy and girl?  Or is God the One who designs each family the way He sees fit?

Can a single person, whether unmarried, divorced or widowed, still live strong before the Lord?  The answer is YES.

Jesus was single; Paul was single.  Singleness is not a sin, and should never define your life.  There are certain advantages to being single, for you are free to focus on what the Lord would have you do, rather than what a spouse desires.

Where you are RIGHT NOW is God's place for you.  The Lord is our identity as Christians, whether we are single or married.

God loves us.
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. ~John 14:21

God keeps us.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.~John 10:27-30

We are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17); We are called "Children of God" (John 1:12-13); This salvation is a gift (Eph. 2:8,9)!

God has lavished the riches of His grace upon us!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  Ephesians 1:3-10 

We must find our significance in Christ.  We are His workmanship, His ambassadors, His friends, His Chosen ones, part of the Royal Priesthood, a Holy People.  We are part of His Body, and He is our Head.  We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

There are Five Great Purposes for the Single Person, as well as for the Married Person:

  1. Worship - declare the worth of God!
  2. Fellowship - encourage, edify, love others.
  3. Discipleship - learn, pray, read the Word.
  4. Ministry - bless others with your time and talents.
  5. Mission - share the gospel!
It is very hard for a single person to go to church alone.  They must remember, THEY ARE NOT ALONE.  The Lord is with them in their circumstances.

We who are married must learn to reach out to the single person, welcoming them into our homes, greeting them at church and loving them as Jesus loves them.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Today I had my eyes firmly fixed on me.

Not a pretty sight.

I walked into church and saw all the things I missed.  

  • Close fellowship with other Christians who are real, who struggle with sin natures and experience the glory of God in His great mercy and love.  
  • Feeling like part of a Family, the Body of Christ, with each member a vital part of the other, fit together for the purpose of building each other up, encouraging one another on to love and good works.
  • Expository preaching.  I've become a bit of a snob when it comes to preaching, I guess.  I love to think through a passage verse by verse, with the historical context explained, and the idiosyncracies of the original language unpacked.  Topical preaching isn't my cup of tea, although I could not fault the message, which was a good word from a good man who loves the Lord and seeks to bless His people.
  • Having my children feel at home, welcomed, and part of the community.  I think this is what bothered me the most.  My kids feel like a fish out of water.  They feel different.  Strange.  Weird.  Odd.  Out of place.  This grieves me, for this is the church they grew up in.  
  • Great music.  Songs and choruses that make you think deeply about the glorious doctrines of God.  Not repetition for the sake of drumming up emotion.  
So, I kept my eyes on the things I was missing, and completely failed to focus on what God gave me this morning.

  • A welcoming smile from Danae, who shook hands with each of us & told us she was glad to see us.
  • A worship team that sang their hearts out in praise to God.
  • An opportunity to speak to a grieving family on the anniversary of their beloved mom's tragic death.
  • A great message on being Single and Serving God Wholeheartedly.
  • The joy of seeing a young father snuggling with his baby son, right in front of us.
  • The delight of being with my family, in a church so close to home.
I could not wait to get out of church this morning, and on the way home I dissolved into tears.  As I shared with my family the raw emotions that were overtaking me, they gently pointed out the errors of my thinking.  

It's a struggle to return to a church that we left 10 years ago under unfortunate circumstances.  I wonder what they're thinking when I walk in and people avoid me.  

But what if they are struggling the same way about ME?  What if my reluctance to reach out is keeping the wall built up?  What if I were to die to self and look to Jesus, depending on Him to help me speak to the grieving family, greet the ones who are shy around me, and just love those He brings my way?

What if I could do that?

Please, Lord... Help me do just that.