Sunday, June 9, 2019

John 14:8-17

The apprentice Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, just show us the Father, and we’ll be happy.”

9 Jesus replied, “Phillip! I’ve spent all this time with you and you still don’t know who I am? If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father! So what’s up with the “show us the Father” bit? 10 Don’t you believe that the Father and I are so interconnected that when I speak, the words that come out are from him? We’re so tightly connected that his work comes through me. 11 Believe me, we’re totally together on this -- the Father and I. At the very least believe because of what you’ve seen me do.

12 “This is the truth, those who believe in me will do the same kind of stuff that I’ve been doing -- might I say, even greater things. That’s because I’m soon on the way to be with the Father. 13 And since I’ll be right there with him, when you ask anything of me that fits with my agenda you can expect that the request will go straight to the Father. I’ll make it happen. And in doing so I’ll be heaping honor onto him. 14 Just in case you missed it, ask for anything and everything that fits with who I am and what I’m about, and I will do it!

15 “If you really do love me, do exactly what I’m telling you to do. 16-17 I will then ask the Father, and he will send another advocate, the Holy Spirit, to always be with you. He’ll show you what is true in this world filled with lies and half-truths. The world refuses to have anything to do with the Spirit because it isn’t interested in what he’s offering -- and frankly, they wouldn’t recognize him if they saw him. But YOU already know him! He’s been living with you and in the future will be living in you.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

John 14:22-29

“Boss,” Judas (but not Judas Iscariot) said, “why is it that you are about to reveal who you are to us but not to the world?”

Jesus responded to his apprentice’s question, 23 “They lack the kind of love needed to act on what I’m saying. If anyone truly loves me, that person will become fanatical about following my instructions and my Father and I will move right in to live in that person’s life. That’s how we love! 24 However, whoever doesn’t love me will fail when it comes to acting on my instructions. This is important because what I’m telling you to do doesn’t just come from me. These are the instructions from the Father who sent me.

25 “I‘ve been saying all this to you while I’m still here with you. 26 The Father will send the Holy Spirit, the advocate, to you on my behalf. He is going to be your new teacher, tutoring you in all that you need to know and reminding you of all that I’ve already told you.

27 “So don’t let fear overwhelm or overtake you. I am leaving you with peace. It is the unique one-of-a-kind peace that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. And I am giving it to you.

28 “You’ve heard me say that, ‘I’m going away for awhile but will be returning to you.’ If you love me, you’ll be happy that I’m going to be with the Father, for he is my everything -- my goal, purpose, and being. 29 I’m telling all of this to you before it happens so that when it does happen your faith will kick into high gear.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

John 10:10-30

Unlike all those scoundrels who are out to ruin lives, I came to give life -- indeed, life richer and fuller than anyone can imagine. 11 You might even say that “I am the GOOD shepherd -- the kind of shepherd who sacrifices his life for the well being of the sheep.

12-13 “Minimum wage shepherds turn and run when they see a wolf coming -- leaving the sheep to fend for themselves. That’s because they aren’t invested in the flock. The sheep don’t really belong to them so they don’t care very much. The wolf attacks the sheep and the survivors are scattered.

14 “Again -- I am the GOOD shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me. 15 Our relationship is akin to that which the Father and I have together. I give up my life for the sheep.

16 Of course, I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I am leading them, too. There will be a united flock that includes all the sheep which recognize my voice. One flock -- one shepherd.

17 “The Father’s love in me is expressed in the way that I am sacrificing my life -- this sets things up so that I can live again. 18 I do this voluntarily. No one is forcing me or taking my life from me. I have divine authority to give up my life, and the Father gives me the same authority (indeed, the mandate!) to restore life to myself.”

19 Jesus’ words divided the Jewish crowd again. 20 Many of them were saying, “A demon has taken over his life. He’s totally lost his mind. Who cares what he says?”

21 Yet, others protested, “He doesn’t sound like a demonic! Can a demon heal the eyes of the blind?”

22-23 Winter arrived in Jerusalem. During the Hanukkah celebration, Jesus was walking in the area of the Temple called Solomon’s Porch. 24 His opponents from among the Jewish leaders encircled him and demanded, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the anointed one -- the Christ, just come out and say it.”

25 Jesus answered, “I've already told you what you need to know -- but you still don’t believe! Certainly, all that I've done on behalf of my Father shows you everything you need to know about me. 26 Yet -- you remain unbelievers. And that's because you don’t belong to my flock. 27 My sheep recognize my voice and follow me. So, I know them. 28 And I give them eternal life. They will be never be lost; nor will they be snatched from me. 29 I mean, think about it -- if my Father who has given these sheep to me is greater than anything or anyone, no one is powerful enough to grab them out of his hands. 30 I and the Father are together on this -- totally united.”

Friday, March 15, 2019

Matthew 5:5

God honors those who are powerless; ultimately they will dominate the world.

Psalm 27:1-14

The Lord lights up the roadway through my life. He keeps me safe. Should I fear anyone? The Lord is my protector. Is there anything I should be afraid of? What a silly question!

2 When thugs come at me, eager to eat me alive -- it’s the pathetic lowlifes who will end up doubled over on the ground! 3 If a whole army attacks -- I won't flinch. Even if we're forced into war -- I will continue to trust you.

4 There is but one thing I am asking of the Lord -- it’s all I seek: to live in his house for the rest of my life -- basking in his beauty -- contemplating his awesomeness.

5 When the tough times hit, the Lord will shelter me in his house; he will hide me in his tent; he will position me on a safe spot high on a rock where I can’t be attacked. 6 My enemies might surround me but I will confidently hold my head up as I offer sacrifices to the Lord in his sanctuary, along with joyous shouting and glorious praise music.

7 Lord, listen to me as I call out to you -- have mercy on me and respond to my cries!

8 My heart tells me to shift my focus toward God’s face. Lord, that is exactly what I’m doing! 9 Please don’t hide your face from me! Don’t get annoyed with me and brush me aside. I’m your servant and you have already been my help! Stay true to what you’ve done in the past. God, don’t let me down now!

10 Even if my father and mother abandoned me, Lord, you’d take me in.

11 Lord, direct me onto your roadway. My adversaries are looking for an opportunity to get me, so lead me along a good road. 12 Don’t allow me to fall into the hands of my enemies -- slanderous fakes -- violent accusers who have made it clear that they are out to take me down.

13 But my faith in you remains solid. And I am confident that I will experience the Lord’s goodness -- even now, here in the land of the living!

14 Okay, heart, stay the course! Hope in the Lord! Hope in the Lord!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Luke 9:28-36

About eight days after Jesus was talking about his glory and denying self to take up a cross, he again went up onto a mountain to pray -- taking Peter (who had just acknowledged Jesus as “the Messiah sent from God”), John, and James with him. 29 As Jesus was praying, he started to glow -- his face -- his clothes -- pulsating lightning bright.

30 Then if that were not intense enough, two long-gone men, Moses the lawgiver, and Elijah the most distinguished prophet, were there talking with Jesus. 31 They were dressed like heavenly beings with their own glow. And the three of them were heavy in discussion about Jesus’ pending exodus and what was transpiring in Jerusalem.

32 Peter and his two buddies were half asleep but eventually managed to awaken to what was going on. They saw Jesus in his glory, as well as the two men with him.

33 As the two men were turning to leave, Peter said to Jesus, “Boss, it’s good that we’re here. We’ll build three shrines so we can hold onto this moment -- one for you -- one for Moses -- and one for Elijah.”

But Peter was just running his mouth -- not tuning into what was really happening. 34 And he was still talking when a cloud suddenly engulfed them. They were covered with goosebumps.

35 Then from inside the cloud -- a voice -- “This is my Son -- the one I’ve appointed. Listen to him!” 36 Even before the voice stopped talking, Moses and Elijah disappeared and Jesus was standing there by himself. Peter, John, and James were speechless. And they didn’t tell anyone about what they had seen until sometime later.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Luke 5:1-11

Once Jesus was standing along the edge of Lake Gennesaret teaching God’s word and the crowd started pressing in around him so they could hear better. 2 Jesus noticed two boats sitting by the lake. (The fishermen had gone ashore to wash their nets.) 3 So Jesus hopped into one of the boats -- the one that belonged to Simon -- whom he then drafted to row him out a bit from the shore. Jesus sat in the boat and taught the crowds. 4 After he finished the lesson, he turned to Simon and instructed him, “Row out into the deep water and drop your nets. Let’s go catch some fish!”

5 Simon replied, “Master, we’ve worked our tails off all night and caught nothing -- zippo -- zilch. But if you say so -- we’ll try again.”

6 So they rowed out -- dropped the nets -- and soon the nets were bursting with fish -- literally -- they were starting to split under the weight. 7 The crew signaled for a second boat. And once their partners arrived both boats were quickly so full that they were starting to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw the catch, he dropped to his knees in front of Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t get too close to me. I’m such a pathetic sinner!”

9-10 Peter and his posse (including Zebedee’s sons James and John) were blown away by the size of the catch.

Jesus responded to Simon, “I’ve got a new assignment for you. But you don’t need to fear the change. From now on, you’re going to be fishing for people -- rescuing them from drowning and into life.”

11 As soon as Peter and the guys got the boats to shore, they turned and walked away from it all -- boats, nets, fish pile, success... And they followed Jesus.