Jan 5 Mark Began a New Message Series: Baptism. This week’s message is:
Baptism: In Him, For Him, It’s All About Him Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 42:6, Jeremiah 31:31
The Bible is an unbelievable gift. I’ve returned recently to a devotional practice that has resonated with me in the past. It involves opening with a prayer, followed by a reading from Scripture and some engagement with someone else’s reflection on a particular passage or theme, ending with a journal entry. This past week the focus was on Psalm 128 – A Psalm of wisdom and blessing. “Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him… blessing and prosperity will be yours… your wife (spouse) will be like a fruitful vine, your children like olive shoots… may you live to see your children’s children.”
This passage is giving me so much joy. It certainly eludes to marriage and children yet the theme is much broader than that. The theme speaks about the Shalom that God brings when we fear the Lord and walk in obedience to his ways. This is a universal truth of God about his character and actions with his world and his people.
We have been on a message journey on Baptism since the New Year began. Last week I spoke a phrase like this, ‘The Sacrament of Baptism is best understood (can only be understood) in the context of God’s story.’ After prepping this week for Sunday’s message, confirmation of this phrase could not be more true.
For Sunday, we will make a sweeping look at the Covenantal Love of Godthrough the Old Testament covenants and find their fulfilment in Jesus. Again, the ‘Sacrament of Baptism is best understood (can only be understood) in the context of God’s story.’
In preparation for Sunday read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. (Pause)… Well… I don’t think you or I will be able to do that… but I’ll show up if you will show up and we will worship God together. Sunday’s message will touch on the core purpose and truth of God’s Covenantal Love through the covenant God made with the world at creation and with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and ultimately, through Jesus. See you at ‘the view’, Crestview that is, where we gather to hear from God!
We are coming to the close of our journey through Matthew. Things are coming to a climax for Jesus in his last days of life on earth. Two weeks ago we witnessed Jesus handing out 7 woes to the religious leaders of his time. And this Sunday, the very next chapter (Matthew 24), Jesus goes prophetically bananas! Jesus isn’t bananas in that he is crazy, bananas as in outrageously and graphically prophetic.
As he leaves the temple mount and walks with his disciples outside of temple walls he says, “Do you see all these things? Not one of these stones will be left on another.” This is crazy talk – what does he mean?
The disciples are confused too and can’t believe what Jesus is saying. Jesus then answers their questioning by mixing the description of two very important events that will occur in the future. One that will happen in 40 years to come, one that the disciples will experience for themselves: the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. The other event Jesus will describe is when he will return to earth in all of his glory at the end of time, an event that hasn’t yet happened.
Jesus descriptions of these events are chilling and can bring on fear. There have been many attempts by Christians to try and define what Jesus words mean in terms of the how and when of these events. Some of the conclusions of Christians, especially in recent history, is very descriptive and can generate fear.
I would like to take an approach to Jesus words that may be more descriptive than prescriptive based on clues Jesus gives us about how and when of the event of his return. Jesus words should not cause fear. Rather, Jesus words should stimulate two things from us: “Relax!” and “Get busy!”
Jesus words about the end of all things give us courage, confidence, and purpose. I will attempt to open up this understanding from Scripture itself. Our message will be based on Matthew 24. Read the entire chapter for Sunday and you will be prepared to dive in. The focus of the message, “Relax and Get Busy!“, will intensify on vs. 36-51. Download will unpack different interpretations of Jesus return from the history of Christian thought and reflection.
See you Sunday and be prepared for Jesus to go prophetically bananas!
I feel as if we have loaded the rocket with fuel – and the countdown has begun. Three weeks from now we begin our journey through the book of Matthew! Get your ticket for a front row seat as we engage Jesus life and teachings through the eyes of one of Jesus closest followers.
We will wonder at his teaching, marvel at his miracles, be left speechless at his perfect pitch of humility and boldness, and agonize as we come to know and then witness the Son of God crucified. Only God could have thought of a redemption plan like this… to send his own Son, and then, for the Son to willingly obey God’s will in complete obedience… and then to come to the empty tomb and Pentecost (sending of God’s Holy Spirit).
Why Jesus? Well… in hindsight, it had to be Jesus. More to come.
Sunday, Eileen Christofferson, will bring a message about story, God’s story and our story. On February 5th, we will have a special service of sharing, where we can put God’s faithfulness on display through the testimonies of our faith community. What is it that God has done for you? How has he done it? And what your hopes and dreams for God’s will to be done in your life for this year of 2017? Pray on this and be prepared to express these things in succinct ways of thanksgiving at our February 5th worship service.
Then, hit the ignition switch! We are lifting off in our journey through Matthew.
God will be our refuge, Jesus will be our teacher, and the Holy Spirit will be our guide,