Rejoice all the earth!

Amen, and I say let our spirits Rejoice! For We are wonderfully and uniquely made in the image of our loving God; and therefore I am assured that we have within us, the raw capacity to love, serve, protect, and care for one another; but we, in our corrupted nature, often struggle to move in the way of love, or fully discern, the way of truth and that of a pure heart, from those competing voices, of our flesh and our self-interest and the world. So, when we consider the precepts of God, that call for us to love one another, how would we say we are doing?

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Good Shepherd

Why should we follow a Shepherd when we can make our own decisions?
When we follow the Shepherd he will show us how to live so that we can have calmer and more peaceful lives. Jesus longs to give us His sheep lives that reflect Him and bring His glory into the world. How might God want to stretch you and change you for His glory? How might God want to bring you closer to Him? Perhaps you can’t quite imagine being on the shoulders of Jesus. Perhaps you feel not ready or not good enough to be that close. I have a secret to share none of us are worthy enough but He delights in showing us mercy.

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Locked Doors

To say that “no one locks their doors here” is a badge of honor for many communities. It is an expression of confidence in the safety of the neighborhood. I once lived in such a community. When my parents first moved there, there was not even a lock on the door! Today I always lock our doors before going to bed. I bet you do too. I don’t think there is anything wrong with locking the door to your house but is worthwhile to consider whether you are locking danger out or locking yourself in.
For Jesus’ disciples, it was a little of both.

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Did you Hear the News?

The Resurrection of Jesus was shocking, world changing news.
It was so unexpected that even his disciples struggled to believe it! As with most big news, some were excited and others were definitely not! There are three basic approaches you can take when a breaking story puts you in a bad light. 1) cover it up, 2) Wait it out, 3) Admit your wrongdoing, apologize and deal with the consequences. As we consider the news of the Resurrection of Jesus, let us consider each of these approaches.

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The “Goodness” of that Friday

How can a day filled with so much pain, suffering, and injustice be called “Good.” When faced with the reality of Jesus’ passion, we might wonder whether all of this was really necessary. Couldn’t there have been another way? It is even worse when we remember that Jesus didn’t die because of something he did, like the criminals next to him, he died because of something you and I did.

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We Wish to See Jesus

If someone came to you and said that they wanted to see Jesus what would you do? This is exactly what happened to Philip in the gospel passage today. Jesus’ disciples had gotten pretty used to people wanting to see Jesus, but these men were Greeks! Gentiles! Philip didn’t know what to do. While Jesus doesn’t seem to address these Greek men directly, the interaction seems to signal something significant to him.

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Hearing God

It is easy to take hearing God for granted, forgetting that in the days of the Prophet Samuel, the word of God was “rare” (1 Samuel 3:1). Today, every believer has the ability to hear directly from God through the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. How often do we take the time to listen? Some may have never learned how to hear God’s voice at all.

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Meet the Word

John designed his Gospel to introduce people to Jesus and to help them “believe that [he] is the Christ, the Son of God” so that they can “have life in his name” (John 20:31). To really know someone, you have to know their story. How do you introduce yourself to someone you have never met before? What do you say about yourself? What do you want to know about that new person? What is their name? Where do they come from? Who are their people? What are their interests? The prologue to the Gospel of John answers these kinds of questions as it introduces us to Jesus, the Word.

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Decreasing in Order to Increase

It is my prayer for each and everyone of you that you might come before Jesus this week submitting your hearts, lives, and minds to His scrutiny and care. Let Jesus show you where you are missing the mark and need to repent and turn from your sins. Let Jesus show you where you need to be set free from unruly emotions that are not steeped in truth. Let Jesus show you faulty attitudes you have that need to come under the gracious submission of Jesus to be made more like him. And may you know the gracious love of the Father that calls us back and gives us another chance at life.

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Our Eternal Home

One of the most important ways that our Good Shepherd watches over us is by bringing us home. First of all he brings us into the fellowship of the Church where we can be a part of his flock. When we die, he brings those who have trusted in him to an eternal home, the Father’s house.

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