Archives for category: Living for Christ

 

Changeyourclocks

This time of year people start anticipating the either welcomed time change or the dreaded time change.  It gets rather comical to listen to how people view this topic.  You find lovers or haters.  Really no in between is found on this annual event.  In much of our world today this is the sentiment on most things.  What’s interesting is that Believers in Christ know that God is all about change.  He has never left anything to chance, has always had a plan, and tells us the time change of eternity is coming.

Unlike, Daylight Savings Time where we adjust hands on a clock and check our smoke detectors, a good life saving plan, God and His plan has never changed.  God knew that when the time was right, His One and Only Son, came into the world to work the plan of Salvation through to completion.  God never had to change anything because His plan is perfect.

He isn’t bound by our time or our plans.  God’s plan also took and continues to take care of rescuing souls from the fires of hell and the Devil.  Only Jesus Christ can save souls from the depths of sin.  Only Jesus could fulfill the Full Law of God and be the Sacrificial Lamb that would take away the punishment of sin for all times and all peoples. This gift that Christ won for each person is found only in the faith and belief that Jesus is the Savior of the World.   It’s a very simple life saving fact, like a smoke detector, but many are deaf to the call.  Believers have the tremendous opportunity to be clocks and detectors in the world to point others to Jesus Christ, their Redeemer and Savior.  Unlike DST, this opportunity is every day, and knows no hours or limits.  It’s being on guard, charged with the Words of Christ, to stand up and share Jesus with those in need and those who don’t even know they have the need for Salvation.

Just like a clock or smoke detector, it’s about Christ Ones being faithful in all things.  If the clock or detector fails, one is late or possibly dead.  So it is when the Church and Her people fail to show up, report, or sound the alarm- Words of Christ.  The difference is a soul being late to faith means the person has missed out on all the gifts and true living that God has for them.  If the soul dies without the faith in Jesus Christ, they are forever lost in the real fires of hell.  This, my friends, should be all the motivation one needs to ensure they live a life worthy of the calling.

Isn’t it appropriate that Daylight Savings Time falls during Lent?  Lent is designed for self examination, seeking to turn from our sinfulness, and start living for the Lord. It’s our Christian Spring Forward.  It’s our Christian Smoke Detector checking.  Not so we gain things for ourselves, but so that others can come to Real Life in Jesus through our acts of service to them, which is love.  Love, more for them and their eternity, than for our own love of self and self interests.

So as we spring forward with our worldly time keepers and smoke detectors, take the Leap of Lent and come to God’s house, Wednesday Nights at 7:30p, and Sunday Mornings 8 & 10:45, to be charged up with the Word and work on putting out the fires that sin, the Devil, and own sinful flesh, want to kindle.

 

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OXYGEN Volume 24Who am I?  What am I to do with my life?  What do others think of me?  What activities should I pursue?  These are all questions that everyone has faced at one time or another in their lives.  People, it seems, are always on a quest to “find themselves” The current trend is to have something to fight for or against; to be most noticed and to stand loud, strong, and proud.  It’s all about being “noticed” either in a relationship, career, or public policy.  What is  most interesting is the enormous amounts of time, energy, and monies all to seek answers to questions that are, at their heart, very simple.

As Christians, our identity should be singular.  It’s not a hard answer because our being, worth, and purpose should be surrounded by those marks of discipleship and servanthood that Christ laid out for us.  It is a quiet and simple answer.  Not one that will sell millions of books, get rave reviews, raise you to the top of the corporate ladder, or gain you a ton of friends and political posh.  It’s not some gregarious act that leads to the masses following you.  Really, outside of a few, rare, high profile people, the masses are just common, ordinary,  unsung heroes operating in the quiet, obedient steps of Jesus.

One of the biggest problems Christians, and non Christians alike, face is that comparison often leads to compromise.  We want to be just like so and so, but that isn’t the life God has for us. However, we fight, claw, kick, and scream to keep reaching for a brass ring that doesn’t fit and doesn’t belong to a Christ One.  The world wants us to be just like them and fight for identity in sex, gender, status, wealth,  etc..  Christ says “My Grace is Sufficient for You.”

How do we know that statement to be true?  Well, let’s look to the life of a very quiet, unsung hero of Faith named Andrew.  He was never a big front runner in the group of Jesus’ followers.  He didn’t make big public speaches before the masses, like Peter or Paul.  He just quietly, and simply, was about the work of Jesus and reaching others with the saving message of Jesus.  You might just say Andrew was a “nobody”.  However, when you look deeper you will see this “nobody” was behind the “somebodies” coming to faith.  Because Andrew was in relationship with God’s word, He knew Jesus.  Andrew was in relationship, one on one face time, with others, he could share Jesus with those he knew and loved.  Andrew was a trend setting, trailblazer of his time.  As often happens with trailblazers they don’t get the glory but you do see the fruits of their efforts.  We can see all of this in John 1:29-42:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. NIV

We can learn much from Andrew and his quiet way of evangelism and witness.  Andrew knew who he was and why he was here.  He was a child of God called to bear witness to the Son, Jesus Christ.  He had a desire to share God.  To reach someone who doesn’t know Jesus Christ as the only Savior of the World, we have to know Jesus and be in relationship with Him.  We have to have a heart that is real, sincere, and filled with desire to see the lost come to faith.  We need to really know people.  That means inter personal relationship time.  It’s not a text message, email, facebook, twitter, or instagram thing.  If we aren’t genuine in our care and approach, we can’t reach anyone.

Another part of knowing Jesus and others is to be in prayer and communication.   On our own, we will never reach a lost soul but in prayer we ask for God’s guidance and wisdom and then in our relationship we communicate our story.  What story?  The simply story, when the moment is right, of what Jesus has done, is doing, and will continue to do for you in this life.  Where your life used to be and where it is now.  How God’s word helps you through the trials and tribulations of this life.  These are easy stories to tell because you know them because they are you.

Andrew, this quiet fisherman of fish turned to a fisher of man, who reached out and shared Jesus so his brother Peter could be saved.  Peter went on to reach thousands but because his brother knew the right answer – Jesus- and shared, Peter became a Christ Follower.  The world might see Andrew as a “nobody” but he was a valuable soul to reach more souls.  Andrew knew who he was and why he was here.  He was a child of God called to bear witness to the Son, Jesus Christ.  He had a desire to share God. You might feel like a “nobody” but Jesus says you are “somebody!”  The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, says “I died for you!”  There is no greater identity or purpose than to be a quiet, humble, servant of Jesus Christ to reach others so that they too can know their sins are forgiven in Jesus’ name.  Go out into the world as an Andrew and rejoice in the only identity that matters – a Child of Christ!

epiphany-blog

The day of Christmas, as the world celebrates, has come and gone.  Trees have been stripped and tossed out.  Music has been returned to it’s holding location on the playlists, until next year.  The gifts that were given to one another have been used up, washed, exchanged, or returned.  Some have even bought themselves the gifts they wanted and didn’t get.  You know, like the advertising slogan “you deserve to give yourself the gift.”  People have used words like “I’m over Christmas, now let’s move on to Spring.”  Sadly, this cynicism overshadows the entire Season of Christmas and the joy of Jesus’ birth has been missed by way too many.  Have we really stopped to look at Jesus in the Manger?  Have we really listened, and heard the Words of love and grace spoken by God the Father, because Jesus came to earth?  Have we stopped to look at why Jesus had to come?  Have we really heard the full message or have we overlooked the Unexchangable, Unchangeable, Irreplaceable Gift of Christ?

It’s not just the world that get’s all crazy busy and cynical about Christmas.  Many a Christian gets caught up with all the business and busyness of the world’s version of Christmas, you know that one day a year on December 25.  Needing to have the exact gift, the best dinner, the most events to attend, that “needed” trip, and in the end all the real Hope and Joy of Christmas gets lost.  The ancient church didn’t start out just celebrating on the 25th but did the Twelve Days of Christmas, which ended with Epiphany.

The season of Christmas, was designed to examine one’s self and look to the Christ Child – the Hope of All Nations and the Joy of our salvation.  The early church took time to Stop, Look, and Listen to the Savior.  It wasn’t business as usual, to hurry up and get on to the next thing on the calendar.  It was a time to truly reflect that Jesus had to come to save all people from the wages of sin and death. It was looking to the Father and thanking Him for loving His people so much that He would send His only Son to live and die for us, His enemies. Time revisiting the Scriptures to grasp that without the Holy Spirit working in Mary and Joseph, their would be no Christ.  It was a time to earnestly seek the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.   You see, Jesus came to bring us many gifts so let’s stop, look, and listen, so we don’t miss these four big gifts:  Forgiveness, Hope, Salvation, and Eternal Life.

In Isaiah 62, we see part of these gifts being foretold.  We see that we are to be watchmen and not rest until the day of salvation comes. God’s people are called to not be silent until the day God shows His righteousness.  For the ancient church they could easily see a time when they had been without God’s gift of Jesus Christ, so they had no trouble sharing the gift once they saw Jesus had come and fulfilled the Father’s plan.  They found real Hope and Joy in times of disaster and persecution because they had seen the Salvation of the Lord.  God’s chosen people, Israel, waited thousands of years for this Hope to be fulfilled.  Let us not forget that each of us has had a time, because we are all born sinful, that we have been without Jesus.  Let us not forget the marvelous gift as we await Christ’s second return. No matter what may come, how people fail you, how dark the night, with Jesus comes lasting Hope. This is a gift beyond compare.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, (Isaiah 62:1–6, NIV).

The gifts we gain from Christ, Forgiveness, Hope, Salvation, and Eternal Life, are gifts we cannot purchase, cannot earn, and definitely don’t deserve.  Out of God’s infinite mercy, grace, and love, He gives them to us in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4–7, NIV84)

On Epiphany, we non Jews, celebrate with gusto because this is when the gift of Jesus Christ was presented to all of mankind.  It was no longer a promise for just a chosen, select group, but for simple, common, ordinary, gentiles.  So the next time cynicism, darkness, despair, betrayal, busyness, business, and whatever else try to invade not only the Season of Christmas but in your life, STOP, LOOK, LISTEN and DON’T MISS the gifts that Christ brought that first Christmas and continues to bring until the day He returns to take His children home for all of eternity.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:1-14 NIV

4_1196909807_baseball_playerEach day we are faced with choices and opportunities in this game of life.  We have days where the game seems to go easy; the bats swing and we hit the “sweet spot” and life comes off like a base hit, homerun, or grand slam. Sometimes each moment of each day is an active struggle to choose the right play as we hit foul balls,  get hit by a wild pitch, or we just plain strike out. Depending on how life is going, can often times determine how a person will respond in the game.  Choices, choices, choices.  How we choose is just as important and what we choose.  Day by day we have an active choice if we are going to be a Player, Bench Warmer, or Spectator.

The world screams for “fans” but being a Spectator really doesn’t require much.  You just come watch the game go by and yes you may get excited about something but there is no real involvement or personal expectations. You can choose to stay with the same team or root for another team that might get your heart rate up for another day.  When the game, day, is finished, you have nothing more than what you started with and you wait to watch another day.

As a Bench Warmer, member of the team, you have at one time put in some practice, learned some play books, played in some minor league or major league games but now most of your days are filled with sitting and watching.  You can still talk the game up, you still have a closer seat to the action but sitting in the dugout huddled up with the active players is thrill enough for you.  You occasionally dream of what it “used to be like” when “you made the big play” but reminiscing is about as much action as it gets.

As Christians, God has called us to a lifetime of fulfillment and purpose.  He has called us to active roster duty as a Player or let’s put in another term, Disciple. He has given us the playbook and the game is really very simple.  In Matthew 28:16-20 the clubhouse talk Jesus gives, as our Life Coach, says:  Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Did you see it in the passage?  The disciples went to the mountain where Jesus told them to go.  They were already there dressed and ready for practice and action.  Being a Servant/Disciple of Christ is active and intentional.  Christ tells them that there is more to this game of life.  The entire game is played out and the playbook is written and it says “Go and Make”, “Baptizing and Teaching” and “Obey”.  Then Jesus promises that He is with them always.  Since He is with us always, then their is no reason to throw in the towel and give up on the mission.

Often times life seems so hard because we have lost touch and not stayed connected to our Coach.  We have strayed from the mission/game plan that Christ laid out for us. We can fall back into what the world says and be a “fan” or “bench warmer” and in doing so we miss out on so much.  Being a member, or on the team roster, doesn’t fulfill the Coach’s direction.  We are called out to play with all our might and be of the nature of a Servant/Disciple.  Another way to say it is: A disciple is a mind though which Christ thinks. A disciple is a heart through which Christ loves. A disciple is a voice through which Christ speaks. A disciple is a hand through which Christ serves.  It’s all about living for Jesus.

We never know what living for Jesus is going to be. Living for Jesus may be “business as usual” today – sacrifice and suffering tomorrow. A disciple remains faithful through good times and bad. A disciple takes the lowliest job just as joyfully as the high-profile job. A disciple is just as happy doing what only God sees as he is doing what everyone sees. The logo for the Baptist Missionary Union makes this point very well. It pictures a bull standing between a plow and an altar. The caption reads, “Ready for Either.”

Over the next six weeks we will take a deeper look into what Disciples/Players are and what attributes they possess.  My prayer is that we stay in God’s Word and fulfill His mission as He has called us.  May the Holy Spirit move our team mightily for Jesus.  In the areas we are weak, may we exercise and practice in Worship, Bible, Study, Giving, Serving, and Witnessing.  May we truly be more than a bench warmer or fan and be the Great Commission in our homes, neighborhoods, and cities.  May we follow Jesus, our Coach, and master the life of Discipleship.  May we be faithful no matter what comes our way in good and bad times.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen

 

surferI can already see heads cocked and hands scratching foreheads on the title of this week’s blog.  Some are thinking where on earth is this going to go?   How can this game have anything to do with surfers?  How can these things have anything in common with one another?  Better yet, how can a game focused on battles, wars, and conquest having anything to do with my life as a Christian?

First of all for those that don’t know the basic concept of the game of Risk it is loosely like Monopoly with the exception of you battle for countries.  There is strategy involved and one either loves the game or hates it.  The deeper side of Risk is the fact that just like in real war, there is a risk factor when you go into battle.  You can become land locked by other forces and you are the only one standing in the middle of the battle.   Playing it safe doesn’t win the game and even in real world battles, the war isn’t won playing it safe.

So with that thought in mind, how is this like the Christian life?  Well to answer that let’s take a look at Luke 14:25-35:

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 

Christ, in this intentional contact with people, is explaining that there will be a battle for what takes first place in your life.  Mind you, at this point, Christ knew He was headed to Jerusalem to fight the ultimate battle that would lead Him to Calvary to die for us.  Christ knew the risks and did it anyway.  He is telling people that nothing, not even your family can have first place in your life.  See in this time, the Jewish people esteemed family at all cost and what Christ was saying by “hate” isn’t how we use the word hate.  He was saying I must be first and family after.  In today’s culture people are striving for the perfect family time, after work, they want the perfect family vacation, and others just want the perfect family.  Even the courts put emphasis on family at all cost.  The concept creeps in and we can put family activities and functions ahead of God and His ways.  We can be found putting sports and family activities on the front seat on Sunday and kick Christ to the back seat and not attend worship in His House.  Christ is still telling us today, that we must be risk takers and He must be first, even if that means we have to disappoint family and turn their requests and invitations down.  It even means we might have our children hate us , and we have a battle because we say no to their Sunday extra curricular activities that would take them out of Sunday School and Worship.  This teaching is a total concept shift just as much today as it was all the way back in Christ’s time on earth.

So what about surfers?  Well, they can be obsessed over getting to the risk taking and heading out to catch the big one.  They have to ride because they have experienced the thrill, excitement, and challenge of riding the waves.  They are on fire and ready for the challenge and they battle through until they can catch the right wave.  They find joy and exhilaration in the quest and journey.  What surfers have that often times Christians can forget is that meeting Jesus Christ is a life changing event!

It’s not just a one day thing.  It’s not that I was brought to the waters of baptism and now I just float on the board of life waiting for eternity to get here.  It’s more than making my confirmation and kicking back on the beach waiting for the sunset to roll in.  Surfing on the water and living the Christian life takes training, planning, practice, perseverance, and risk taking.  Just like Jesus pointed out it’s more than laying a foundation and then not having enough to finish the building.  If you have ever built a building, you now how much effort it takes to raise the walls.  It’s hard, heavy work.  The foundation is the easy part, but still must be precisely laid or the whole house is off.  Building a home with your own hands is exhilarating and life changing.  As Christians, Christ and the Cross and Resurrection is the bedrock foundation of our faith.  It’s where we must start to make sure the rest of the walls of our earthly lives will be built upon.  It’s living out each day with Christ at the center and all other plans and actions taking their lead from there.  It reminds me of the old song Living for Jesus by Thomas Chisholm:

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

Refrain: O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

The first verse shows us a good glimpse of what Christ was telling us in Luke 14.  As long as we live on this earth, there will be a deadly battle that is waged because of sin and Satan and our selves.  Satan wants us to die in the battle to him.  Battle is ugly.  Battle is hard.  Battle is risk.  So my prayer is that you will be anchored to Christ and ride His surfboard and conquer the battles and waves of this life putting your allegiance to Christ first and head boldly out into the world sharing the daring, bold message to a world that is drowning in the currents of this sinful life.  The risks God calls us to are worth every bit because Christ and eternity are waiting for us as we build on the firm foundations found in Christ and Scripture.

Links of Chain

Life is full of many events and situations.  The days are filled with good, bad, joyful, and trying times.  We find ourselves moving from one moment of time to the next and often we don’t give much conscious thought because life seems to be ok.  Then there is a major event and we find ourselves consumed.

We don’t like the struggle, we don’t like the pain, we don’t want the situation to continue and we pray for the suffering to end, the addiction to cease, the sick person to be healed. We pray for the wayward child to come home, the marriage to be restored, the mind to be at peace. Sometimes we even ask God to deliver us from the sinful lifestyle we have chosen because we just want it all to cease.  We are looking at the abyss and we cry out.

That is very much like the man at the Garasenes tombs.  He had been tormented for years and nothing ever worked or held the demons away until when Jesus stepped out of the boat and confronted the problem.  Then [Jesus and his disciples] sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Luke 8:26-33

Jesus always confronts.  He always steps up, addresses the situation (Satan, the world and our own sinful choices) and gives Himself as the answer to restoration and healing. Jesus is the only way to drive away the demons and the allure of the world that takes hold and posses us.

When we are standing at that abyss and pain and destruction are all around, Jesus doesn’t turn away, He doesn’t ignore, He is right there wanting you to call out to Him to in true repentance. He wants to be Your Savior and more than just for the quick moment to relieve your situational pain.  He confronts you to a LIFE CHANGE.

But for many, the word CHANGE is not very welcome. We might want the benefits of a circumstance to change but we don’t want the permanent bonds to be broken.  We miss the life changing opportunities that Jesus brings because we are more afraid of the pain of change than the pain of living like we always have. Instead of fighting Satan and his minions, fighting our selves, and fighting the lies of the world we fight the only Person who has defeated Satan and death and the only Person who can save us from it all. We are fearful of the miracle that Jesus will perform and then we act like the towns people who have seen the demon possessed man healed and send Jesus away.   When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned.  Luke 8:34-37

If we only look to creature comfort for the moment we will miss the biggest Miracle of all, the Miracle of Forgiveness, Change, and Restoration.  When that Miracle Moment comes you are given the world as your stage to tell Your Story of how Jesus rescued you from death, Satan, and the bondage of Sin.  You, just like the Healed Man of Garasenes, have an eye witness story to tell.  So embrace the change God has called you to and go tell the Story of how Christ rescued you from the abyss.

The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him. Luke 8:38-39

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.  Matthew 14:13-21

 

The miracle of the feeding of the 5000 is the only miracle that is recorded by all four Gospel writers. I believe that speaks to the importance of this miracle. It was only in this miracle and the changing of water into wine where Jesus actually used his power to create. In all the other miracles, Jesus was simply restoring something to what it would have been  without the effects of sin.

Sermons about this miracle have been written from many different view points. Today, I want to look at the feeding of the 5000 from the aspect of the bread and the fish. We will examine how Jesus took five biscuit-like loaves and two small fish and multiplied them so they might serve a multitude of people. Read the rest of this entry »