3rd Sunday after the Epiphany
Why Follow Jesus?
Text: Mark 1:14-20
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said. We do. We follow him. We’re Christians. But why? Why Follow Jesus? Have you ever thought how strange it is to be a Christian and follow him?
Everyone else sleeps in on Sunday morning. They sip coffee in their jammies and watch the news while I’m hustling to make it here on time. Everyone else goes home from work and hangs out with the family or unwinds or cleans up a bit around the house. But I make my schedule even more busy (as if that were possible!) by going to midweek Bible studies and dinners and services coming up during Lent. That’s strange.
Here in America, the king country of consumerism, my fellow Americans make money and buy whatever they want and can possibly afford (sometimes even what they can’t afford). Meanwhile I first plan and pray about my money. I set money aside—money I worked hard for and earned—and I give it away to support God’s work. And I’m directed by God to do this cheerfully and joyfully and before I even think about how I would like to spend that money on anything else.
Speaking of prayer by the way, I find myself at random times of the day with folded hands and bowed head showing utmost humility and trust in a God that I’ve never met and never seen. That’s strange, too. Read the rest of this entry
2nd Sunday after Epiphany
The Lamb of God
1. Look to the Lamb
2. Point to the Lamb
Text: John 1:29-41
“Where are my keys?” I yell as I frantically storm through the house. “I don’t have time for this!” Where did I put them last? How am I supposed to remember that? “Are you sure you didn’t put them somewhere?” No matter what they say, I probably won’t believe the kids. They must have hidden them somewhere. “Unbelievable! Where are th . . . Oh. They’re right here in my hands.”
How many times have you done that before? You look all around. You search high and low. But you can’t see it. Then there’s frustration. Or anger. Or disappointment. Then more frustration and anger.
“It’s right there,” someone tells us. “It’s right in front of your face.” Not only with finding things, but in solving problems this happens too. “The answer is right under your nose. Look! It’s right there.”
These are the kinds of situations that make our children pout and shout, “Where? I can’t see it!” Well, sometimes adults want to pout and shout over our problems, too. “Why can’t I find the answer? Where? I can’t see it!” Read the rest of this entry
3rd Sunday after Epiphany
A Lifetime of Service
1. Jesus commands it
2. Jesus inspires it
3. Jesus empowers it
Text: 1 Kings 19:19-21
Could you do it? Could you be like Elisha? Like Paul and Barnabas? Like Peter, Andrew, James, and John? Could you drop everything to follow the Lord?
As the four fishermen in the gospel today dropped their nets to follow Jesus they also left behind their careers, their livelihood, and everything they were comfortable with in life. As Paul, Barnabas, and company set sail from Antioch they embarked on a missionary trip of unforeseen troubles, disasters, and persecutions. Everything else in their life was put on hold for that trip. As Elisha watched his oxen sizzling as steaks over the fire burning with his own plowing equipment, he might as well have been watching $100 bills burning because his income source was gone.
Could you do it? Could you be like these men and dedicate yourself to A Lifetime of Service?
Well guess what! You don’t have a choice, because Jesus commands it. The great news though is that Jesus also inspires it and empowers it! You can and will live A Lifetime of Service. Read the rest of this entry
Text: Mark 1:14-20
If only I could be a fly on the wall during Jesus’ ministry. Next week the focus is on a Jesus who taught with a special kind of authority. Those who heard him knew right off the bat that this man was different. What was it like when Jesus proclaimed the good news of God?
Evidently it was good enough to inspire people to drop everything to follow him. If I came to you at your place of work and told you to leave your job, your family, your friends and all that you know to come follow me you would probably look at me as if I were crazy.
There was something about this Jesus that made people want to know more. There was something about this Jesus that was different. Something about this Jesus caused four men drop what they were doing, leave everything they knew and follow Jesus without delay.
It was his love that separated him from ever other human around. Jesus is the only person who was able to love perfectly and people saw that in him. We see it in him too. We see it in the way he treated the sinful people that surrounded him. We see it in the way he talked. We see it in the way he lived. We see it in the way he died. We see it in the words he left for his followers after he rose from the dead.
Jesus’ love made people want to know more about him. Jesus’ love fills us with that same desire. Jesus lived and died for you. Now he looks you in the eye and says, “Come follow me.” Jesus’ love for us earned us eternity in heaven. Jesus’ love for us will never fail. There is something about this Jesus that changes us. There is something about this Jesus that opens our eyes to what is most important. Jesus’ love makes us willing to follow him anywhere.
Prayer: Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus can my heartfelt longing still. Lo, I pledge myself to Jesus, what he will alone to will. For my heart, which he hath filled, ever cries, “Lord, as thou wilt.” One there is for whom I’m living, whom I love most tenderly; unto Jesus I am giving what in love he gave to me. Jesus’ blood hides all my guilt – Lord, oh, lead me as thou wilt. Amen.