All Who Love Me…

Sixth Sunday of Easter | May, 26, 2019

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Acts 16:9-15 • Psalm 67 • Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 • John 14:23-29

23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

John 14:23-29 New Living Translation (NLT)


This week we are again in a passage that occurs before Jesus’ crucifixion. This conversation that he his having with his disciples occurs after he states that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The disciples aren’t so sure that they know the way to the Father, and Jesus reminds them if they have seen Jesus, they have seen the Father. He promises them that they will do the same things that He did and even greater works because the Holy Spirit will come and dwell within them.

The Holy Spirit will do the work of the Father in our lives. This is where we pick up in today’s text. He reminds his disciples that if we love Him, we will do what He says. If we don’t love Him, we won’t obey Him. Jesus makes it seem all so black and white. It really is our love for God and our obedience to Him that shows to the world that we are His disciples.

During this conversation, Jesus reminds his disciples that He is going away, but the Holy Spirit will come and be an Advocate. When we think of this, think of the lawyer who is with you at a trial. We also use the word Counselor – this is the same thought. The Holy Spirit is there to guide us along the way – the Holy Spirit is on our side and directs us in our Christian living.

Jesus tells us that if we love him, we will obey him. He is not requiring anything of us that He isn’t already doing. Jesus knew that his time was coming to a close and that in order to bring salvation, he must endure the cross and the same and be obedient to the Father.

Sometimes we say, but if I could learn more about Jesus that would make me a better Christian. Many years ago, I heard a quote – and it is haunting. I heard it in a class that I was taking on the life of Jesus. Most of that class was focused on the gospel of John. The professor said this, “We are educated well beyond the level of our obedience.” Ouch! We know what to do – the Holy Spirit, if He is dwelling in us (and He should as believers) will guide us into the truth. The Holy Spirit will guide us into obedience if only we let Him.

Let’s truly love Jesus by doing what He says.

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Sunday Night Thoughts

The sun has already set, and the sky is starting to darken – but we didn’t get the bad thunderstorms they were calling for – at least yet.

It’s been a wonderful weekend – full of rest, relaxation and worship. The week was spent in meetings – one our local board meeting and a district pastor’s meeting. I had the privilege of leading worship at our monthly meeting. That is always a great time. I was also putting the finishing touches on our community baccalaureate service. Yesterday, I was also able to get a handle on our yard.

Today – the third Sunday of May is the birthday of this blog. It marks 13 years of blogging. Many blogs have come and gone over that span of time, but I keep pressing on. I’m not as good at it as I once was, but I still find it valuable.

This morning we had a wonderful, Spirit-filled service. The Holy Spirit guided us in our planning and the service really had a wonderful theme. I spoke on having beautiful feet. We are called to use our feet to spread beautiful news. It was our Faith Promise Sunday and I spoke on the importance of missions.

This evening we celebrated the Otto-Eldred Class of 2019 with a Baccalaureate Service. This is a service of blessing for the graduating class we had several seniors participate in the service. It was a great service. I only had one tech glitch. I couldn’t figure out why my guitar wouldn’t come through the sound system, even though it worked before the service. Oh, well. It was a wonderful service.

So at this point, I am relaxing – tomorrow I plan on a morning run after picking up kids for school. Have a great week!

Prayer for the Week

Fifth Sunday of Easter

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Squirrels and Chipmunks | Running Update

Photo by Adriaan Greyling on Pexels.com

This morning we woke up to a foggy morning, but after struggling to get out for runs this week, I really wanted to go. Pam wanted to go as well, but she walked the track at the Y. I took the Allegheny Valley River Trail and was very surprised. To say that my runs have been slow of late would be an understatement. Over the last two weeks, I have not cracked the 11 minute mile barrier. Today I started out and hit a 10:40 on the first mile and that pace continued all the way through. I was very happy. Along my run I met quite a few squirrels and chipmunks. They are always cute to watch. I only have 12 miles for the week, so that means I’m really going to have to kick it up a notch for the remainder of the month if I want to hit 108 miles. I’m currently at 46. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. With all of that said, I continue to Press On!

Love One Another

Fifth Sunday of Easter | May 19, 2019

Acts 11:1-18 • Psalm 148 • Revelation 21:1-6 • John 13:31-35

31 As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. 32 And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once. 33 Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. 34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

John 13:31-35 New Living Translation (NLT)


During this season of Easter, we return to a passage that we normally read during Holy Week. It is this passage that gives us the word Maundy, which comes from the word mandate or commandment.

Jesus has gathered with his disciples just before his crucifixion. Jesus has already told the disciples that one of them will betray him and another would deny him. John tells us that Jesus spoke these works after Judas left the room. The disciples are – I believe – fearful of the events to come. It is over the next few chapters that John records Jesus speaking words of comfort to his disciples. Pam asked this question during a sermon during Lent: “If you had only an hour with your closest friends before you died, what would you tell them?”

Interesting at this point, Jesus says, “I am giving you a new commandment.” The disciples would have been quite aware of the Jewish commandments – very familiar with what we call the ten commandments – very familiar with what we call the great commandment – “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength AND you should love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus even added, “This commandment sums up the law and the prophets. Everything that was contained in the Old Testament can be summed up with these few words. It is ironic then that Jesus says, “I am giving you a new commandment.” It’s really not much more different than the greatest command that they already know. Jesus tells his disciples to love one another because through their love the world will know that they are disciples of Jesus.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Jesus

I want you to read that again…Let it sink in. How do we prove that we are disciples of Jesus? We might argue that if we have the right doctrine…if we have the right worship style…if we give the right amount of money to the church…we will prove to the world that we are Jesus’ disciples. But Jesus tells us that we should love one another. To me it seems like many Christians – brothers and sisters in Christ, are angry at each other. We even see that in churches. We have all heard of churches that have split because of all kinds of ridiculous reasons. Is this really showing the love of Christ to each other and to the world? I don’t think so. Even today I was reminded how churches can chew someone up and spit them out.

Paul reminds us:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-2

We are commanded by Jesus to love one another – even those who are hard to love – and by our love for one another we will prove to the world that we are his disciples.

Tuesday Quote

“Prayer is not a way of being busy with God instead of with people. In fact, it unmasks the illusion of busyness, usefulness, and indispensability. It is a way of being empty and useless in the presence of God and so of proclaiming our basic belief that all is grace and nothing is simply the result of hard work. Indeed, wasting time for God is an act of ministry, because it reminds us and our people that God is free to touch anyone regardless of our well-meant efforts. Prayer as an articulate way of being useless in the face of God brings a smile to all we do and creates humor in the midst of our occupations and preoccupations.

Thinking about my own prayer, I realize how easily I make it into a little seminar with God, during which I want to be useful by reading beautiful prayers, thinking profound thoughts, and saying impressive words. I am obviously still worried about the grade! It indeed is a hard discipline to be useless in God’s presence and to let him speak in the silence of my heart. But whenever I become a little useless I know that God is calling me to a new life beyond the boundaries of my usefulness.”


From Henri Nouwen…