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Sunday Night Thoughts

Tonight’s version of Sunday Night Thoughts is going to be short. Last night we arrived home from Orlando. We had the wonderful blessing of attending The Gathering. It was a gathering of around 1,900 pastors and spouses for the purpose of worship, rest, and prayer. It was a wonderful time – we are thankful to several wonderful gifts that allowed us the privilege of attending. While we were there I was able to run with other pastors, we did a little sight seeing, got to see some old friends, met some new friends, and also got to meet some of our virtual friends (those who we knew through Facebook.) It was really cool and a wonderful blessing.

This morning Pam and I led our church through a Covenant Renewal Service. This is a service that was developed by John Wesley for the purpose of spiritual formation. It was a good service and I received many good compliments.

We are getting used to the cold weather again and it will soon be even colder. My brain is a little tired, so I am signing off. Have a great week!

The Mission Begins

Baptism of the Lord | January 13, 2019

Isaiah 43:1-7  •  Psalm 29  •  Acts 8:14-17  •  Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 | New Living Translation

Today is the first Sunday after Epiphany. That means that is the day known as the Baptism of Jesus. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the baptisms and John records the testimony of John the Baptist. This event marks the beginning of Jesus ministry and immediately following Jesus is tempted in the wilderness.

In Luke’s gospel there are those who wonder if John the Baptist is the promised Messiah, but he denies it. John then baptizes Jesus and as he does the Holy Spirit descends like a dove and God the Father speaks, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

The Father and the Spirit testify that Jesus is indeed the Messiah – the Son of God. As I already mentioned, Jesus’ baptism signifies the beginning of the mission of Jesus. It is during this season that follows Epiphany that we focus on the mission of Jesus and the mission of the church.

God has been speaking to me about this quite a bit lately – what is the mission of the church? What is the mission of God’s people? Some of that answer came as we were gathered in Orlando as Wesleyan pastors this week.

One of our speakers spoke this, “If you want to rest, you must invest.” This means that we must invest in the next generation.” John Maxwell also spoke about how we reach the people who don’t know Jesus. It was a powerful message. That was followed up by Kevin Myers who spoke on the importance of telling the big story of Jesus rather than our small stories. Over the next few weeks, we will be focusing on the mission of Jesus, who gave us the command to go into all the world and make disciples. Let’s do it.

Prayer for the Week

First Sunday after Epiphany | Baptism of Jesus

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.