14th Sunday after Pentecost
Where Else Would We Go?
Text: John 6:60-69
Have you been there before? You’ve had enough. You can’t take it anymore. You don’t know what to do or where to go. Only one thing seems right to you—to leave.
You tried everything else. You tried listening. You tried praying. You tried waiting. You tried trusting. But Jesus fails to deliver over and over and over again.
What does Jesus tell you? He tells you not to put your trust in worldly things. He tells you not to worry. He tells you to rely on him, to take him, to eat him—the bread of life. But how is that going to help? What’s that going to do? You at least see results when you do Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. A diet of the bread of life hasn’t produced any results for you.
You’re confused. You’re frustrated. You’re angry. You’re hurt. There’s only one thing that seems right to you—to leave Jesus. So you do. You leave him closed inside your Bible gathering dust on the shelf. You leave him and his house of worship. You leave him as you discontinue your prayer life. You’ve had enough, so you leave. Read the rest of this entry
12 Sunday after Pentecost
Eat the Bread of Life
Text: John 6:41-51
Why does it always seem to be the case that you need a vacation from your vacation? Unless you are sitting on a beach doing absolutely nothing, vacations can be filled with discomfort, stress, and anxiety. This is especially true when you are traveling with children.
It seemed like the same thing happened every single day for the last two weeks. We would be out and about—seeing family and friends, doing something fun, site-seeing—and all of sudden it started up again. Whining. It was inevitable. Every single day. “I’m tired. My feet hurt. I don’t want to do this anymore. He’s touching me.” Then it became more specific whining. “I’m hungry. I don’t want that snack. I want cotton candy. I’m hungry.”
But parents know well the miraculous magic that happens. You finally sit down. You have some lunch or supper. You fill those bellies, and, Voila! The complaining is all gone. They’re happy and ready to conquer the world again. (And coincidentally, that exact scenario was going down in the chair right next to me as I wrote this sermon.) It’s amazing how it happens, but it’s very simple to understand. All that whining, complaining, and grumbling comes from just one little thing—hunger.
It sounds silly when we talk about children (and it is certainly super annoying), but how often do you find yourself in the very same situation? You’re whining. You’re complaining. You’re grumbling. All because you are hungry. Read the rest of this entry
14th Sunday after Pentecost
Choose to Follow Christ!
1. A decision enabled by God
2. A decision that flows from faith
Text: John 6:60-69
This is not easy. This is difficult. This is controversial. This is a hard teaching . . . The silence was deafening. Jaws were dropped. Eyes were darting. Brows were furled. Heads were scratched. This didn’t make sense!
Jesus had fed thousands of them with a few loaves of bread and two fish. Maybe Jesus could give them some more food. And if Jesus could give them food, maybe Jesus could give them some other things they needed, too. They had diseases to be cured. They had Roman taxes to be paid. They needed to refinance the loans on their donkeys.
But then Jesus told them that they shouldn’t work so hard for bread. They shouldn’t chase after things that spoil. Instead they should work for bread that comes from heaven. What did that mean? Then Jesus said that he was bread from heaven. How could Jesus of Nazareth be from heaven? Read the rest of this entry
13th Sunday after Pentecost
The Best Meal You’ll Ever Eat
Text: John 6:51-58
I have a guilty pleasure to confess. I like chocolate. No, I love chocolate. Kit-Kat, Snickers, Reese’s Pieces, Baby Ruth, Three Musketeers. It doesn’t matter. I’ll eat them all. I find it ironic how they produce those little “fun size” candy bars, but there’s nothing fun about them. The big ones are the fun size candy bars! And I don’t eat M&Ms one at a time. No, I take the bag and pour a pile in my hand to eat them all in one gulp. Chocolate bars. Oreos. Chocolate cake. You name it. As long as it doesn’t have coconut wit it, I’ll love it and I’ll eat it.
That’s not the only guilty pleasure I have. I also love potato chips. Barbeque chips. Sour Cream ‘N’ Onion chips. Especially Doritos. I love chips. My family of four can easily slam an entire bag of chips in a few minutes on a Saturday night.
I’m also from Wisconsin. So I love cheese. I love cheese curds. I love deep fried cheese curds. At the Wisconsin State Fair they deep fry everything—cheese, pickles, steak, Twinkies, Oreos. And yes, I love it all. Read the rest of this entry
11th Sunday after Pentecost
Learn from the Past! Eat Food that Will Last!
Text: John 6:24-35
For centuries people around the globe enjoyed the frothy, filling, and fresh drink that amazingly is produced by cows and many other animals—milk. And for centuries, people enjoyed this creamy beverage fresh from the cow. Then a man came around in the late 1800s by the name of Louis Pasteur. He discovered that fresh, raw milk can be unsafe because it contains so much bacteria. Milk consumption has never been the same as we have learned the benefits of pasteurized milk. Only “da crazy Norderners from Wisconsin and Minnesota” drink unpasteurized milk.
A beautiful, pear-looking fruit called ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica. But ackee is banned in the United States because it was discovered that it contains toxins that can cause your blood sugar to plummet to dangerous levels, possibly even leading to fatality.
Sassafras oil is an extract from the roots of the sassafras tree. It was once popular in making tea and root beer. But since it was found to be a potential carcinogen, sassafras oil has been banned since the 1960s. Now the only sassafras I know is my two-year-old daughter.
Over the years, through experience and through testing, we have learned about foods and drinks that might be dangerous to us. Taking in all the evidence of the past, it would be foolish for us to ignore everything we have learned and to consume those foods anyway. We would be disregarding our own health. We would be putting ourselves in the way of danger. We would be knowingly causing ourselves sickness or even death. How foolish that would be.
So today, being wise and astute Christians, we will do well to listen carefully to the words of Jesus and Learn from the Past and Eat Food that Will Last! Read the rest of this entry