pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Totally Worthy

Reading: Acts 2:14-21

Verse 17: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”

In our second half of this week’s Acts 2 reading Peter addresses the crowd. Some are “amazing and perplexed” and some are doubtful and skeptical. Peter says to the crowd, “Let me explain this to you.” That is what we all want to hear when we’ve seen something like the crowd has seen – something that is almost too much to believe.

Peter quotes from Joel 2, using a familiar passage for his Jewish audience. These words would be words that God’s people longed to see fulfilled. Peter says, in essence, today is the day! It is the day when sons and daughters, when old men and young men, and when even servants will prophesy, will dream dreams, and will have visions. When God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people,” God really means it. Through the giving of the Holy Spirit to all believers, the church is now empowered and equipped to share the good news of Jesus Christ with all of the world.

God did not look at the 100 or so gathered that day with the disciples and decide to pour out the Spirit on a select group. There was no age limit – one way or the other. There was no occupation parameters or gender requirements or any other limiting factors. All people received the Holy Spirit. All were totally worthy to receive the gift. The same could be said of the crowd. The Spirit didn’t enable the followers of Jesus to speak just some languages. All in the crowd heard the deeds of God in their own language. Again, there were no limiting factors. All were totally worthy to receive the word and all were absolutely welcomed into the community of faith. May it be so for our ministries and for our communities of faith. May it be so.

Prayer: Lord God, you clearly love us all – believers and non-believers alike. You clearly want all people to come into a saving relationship in Jesus Christ – young and old, female and male, rich and poor, and everyone in between. There are no limiting factors. All are totally worthy of a place in your family. Lord, may it be so in all of our hearts and minds. Amen.


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Daughter

Reading: Mark 5: 24b-34

Verse 28: “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed”.

Photo credit: Elia Pelligrini

A great crowd follows Jesus and Jairus as they make their way to the synagogue leader’s home. They are focused on Jairus’ dying daughter. In the crowd is a woman who has been bleeding for twelve years. The nonstop flow of blood has a huge impact on her. She has been living on the fringes of society – always ceremonially unclean. In the excitement of the moment she is able to slip into the crowd. She is among people again. But her focus is singular. Jesus is present. She is drawn to get to him. She thinks, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed”. Is it faith or hope or desperation that draws her to Jesus? Or is it some of all three?

Suddenly the great crowd grinds to a halt. The woman worked her way to Jesus and touches his cloak. She is immediately healed – fully, completely, totally. Jesus knows that someone has drawn power and healing from him. The woman approaches, trembling in fear, falling at his feet. She tells the truth of what has happened, all of it. How does this all-powerful and holy one react to being touched by an outcast, by an unclean woman? He says to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering”. Daughter, welcome home. Daughter, glad to finally meet you. Daughter, peace be with you.

Who do I know that lives on the fringes? Who is there that I don’t even know? Who are these for you? What son or daughter of God feels outside the family of faith? May we seek ways to connect them to the healer. Whether touching them with words, with an act of kindness, with an invitation, may we share our Jesus with them.

Prayer: Lord God, guide me today to share my Jesus with one who feels far from you. Use me however you will to connect them to the healer’s touch. Amen.


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Shouldn’t We?

Reading: Philippians 3: 10-14

Verse 12: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”.

In the section of Philippians that we read today, you can hear and feel Paul’s desire to follow Jesus. He is willing to give up and do anything to meet this desire. Paul gave up the titles and status he had held as Saul to give his life in service to Jesus Christ. He wants to now know Christ and his sufferings, his death and resurrection. Paul doesn’t wanna kinda be like Jesus; he wants to be totally in. He doesn’t just want to walk the same path, he wants to walk in the footprints of Jesus.

In verse twelve we read these words: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”. Paul is writing these words while under house arrest in Rome. Think about that. Paul is in jail, awaiting trial for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. In all likelihood he is nearing the end of his life and he still wants to press on. That is a strong desire to follow Jesus. So, what does it mean to ‘press on’? What are the implications of these words?

One presses on when the way is not easy, when those around you are not receptive or are even hostile. One presses on when one knows the road ahead will be hard because the message or cause is worth suffering for. Paul was radically changed when he met Jesus. Weren’t we all? He was so filled with the love and compassion of Christ that all he wanted to do with the rest of his life was to help others know this life-changing Jesus. Shouldn’t we, those who Jesus has taken hold of, shouldn’t we give all that we are to help others know this life-changing Jesus? May it be so.

Prayer: Lord, may it be so in my life. So fill me with your love and compassion that it can’t help but spill out into the lives of all I meet. May it be so, God, may it be so. Amen.