God is waiting for us in the neighborhood!

Greetings Holy, Healthy and Happy People of God,

As I write this eNote to our faithful and devoted community of radical and contextually conscious followers of Jesus Christ, I’m excited about our next Worship Without Walls (WWW) action.  After our 10am worship experience this Sunday, we will become the tangible evidence of the heart, hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  Jesus offers to the church an invitation, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:35 NIV

By being the heart, hands and feet of Jesus, we are claiming our identity and leaving our mark in the community.  Sunday will be a time for us to show God’s beloved community that we care and are committed to working and witness so that transformation is evident.  Working together brings a sense of unity.

During a recent Clergy Spiritual Retreat, Bishop Ken Carter quoted Rule of Taize, “Make the unity of the body of Christ your passionate concern.”  When our concern is core to our faithful actions, the community embraces our efforts with love.  Disciples are known not by what they say, although important, nor by their thoughts, but rather by the unconditional love shared in the sight of our neighbors.  Here are three ways we can show our passionate concern.

Buena Vista Elementary School, Saturday, April 28
       Saturday, April 28 – Health/Wellness Fair Assistance, 9am-2pm
Contact Rick Quinn at mckendreerick@gmail.com for information and directions!

Scarritt Bennett Center, Sunday, April 29
       Outside work – weeding, mulching, etc. on the grounds
Inside work – polishing and cleaning tables and chairs
Contact Debbie McCormick at dmccormick1@gmail.com for information!

McKendree Church, Sunday, April 29
       Clothes Closet – folding and organizing clothes
Cleaning – dusting and polishing pews
Contact Debbie McCormick at dmccormick1@gmail.com for information!

 

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“God is waiting for us in the neighborhood!”

Remember to pray The Lord’s Prayer every day at 12 Noon!

As always, remember, God’s will for us is good, we must do the rest!
Pastor Stephen

No Way Around It!

John 12:20-33, The Message

Profound messages usually begin with a request!  Jesus is at it again.  There is a strange request from some Greeks.  During the Passover festival, the crowds are large and the Pharisees are nervous about the appeal of Jesus’ popularity with everyone.  But this time, Jesus doesn’t grant the request, he rather begins to talk about death and the resurrection as a grand witness.

Have you had any strange requests lately?  People are always requesting of Jesus, but this time he shifts to pointing to a constant response about the kingdom of God.  Jesus invites us to gain eternity by losing our earthly grab.  Losing one’s life for the sake of eternal life is a message for then and now.

Jesus’ message cuts to the core of our hearts.  It is a simple message that is constantly knocking at our hearts – deny self!  Jesus will model for humanity what it takes to live a life of obedience.  Like Jesus there is no way around it but he will rise up!

Seeing is not a requisite to belief!
There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast.  They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: “Sir, we want to see Jesus.  Can you help us?”   John 12:20-21

Release your grab on this life!
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat.  But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.  In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life.  But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.  If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me.  Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice.  The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.”   John 12:24-26

 Hear the W.O.W. the Words of Wisdom,
“Rise Up!”

Let’s Choose Love Over Evil!

John 3:14-21, New Revised Standard Version

What does believing in Jesus really mean?  Why did Jesus need to come into the world?

Jesus is coming into the world to introduce a new way of living through his teachings. Jesus is offering an invitation for humanity to be restored to its original state.

For John sin is more concrete and structural rather than individualistic.   John is directing his audience to make a decision beyond romanticizing the idea of talking about loving God.  Taking an action requires a commitment to Jesus’ way of life.  We can’t afford to stay neutral on issues of evil, hate, and injustice.  Neutrality and indecisiveness are not an option.  John invites us to stand against the strong currents that carry society’s brutal and sinful ideologies.

Jesus demands a stance, which requires action!
“And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”   John 3:14-16

Confronting evil brings light!
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.  And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.  But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”   John 3:17-21

 Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
“In the midst of darkness, let’s be light!”

Authority Reclaimed

John 2:13-22, Common English Bible

The word “authority” is a strong word and it’s filled with lots of meaning.  When we hear the word “authority” there’s a certain force about that word.  There may be even a certain intimidation about that word.  We talk about the authorities and we have all sorts of emotions that get stirred up inside us…maybe a sense of awe, or maybe even a sense of fear.  The word “authority” denotes permission.  It denotes privilege.  It denotes power.  It denotes rule, control, and influence.  When someone has authority, that means they’re on top of other people.  They have responsibility beyond the norm.  They are able to determine things, to decide things, to render judgments, to wield certain rights and privileges.

But there is one who has authority that surpasses all other authorities.

Jesus believed in Himself above all other authorities.
It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  He found in the temple those who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as those involved in exchanging currency sitting there.  He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep.  He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency.  He said to the dove sellers, “Get these things out of here!  Don’t make my Father’s house a place of business.”   John 2:13-16

Jesus boldly reclaimed His authority.
Then the Jewish leaders asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things?  What miraculous sign will you show us?”  Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.”   John 2:18-19

True authority supersedes even death.
The Jewish leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?”  But the temple Jesus was talking about was his body.  After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered what he had said, and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.   John 2:20-22

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
The Authority of Jesus Lives in You and Me!

The Joy in Knowing Jesus

John 16:19-24, Common English Bible

Jesus was the master of the parable.  It was very rare for him to answer a question directly or explain a situation without using a story to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson he wanted to teach just as he does here.  The Joy Jesus speaks of in this passage is available through 5 quick and easy daily steps: prayer, belief, God’s Word, Serving others, and Vigilance.

True “JOY” is a guaranteed promise from God.
“Are you trying to find out from each other what I meant when I said, ‘Soon you won’t see me, and soon after that you will see me’?  I assure you that you will cry and lament, and the world will be happy.  You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”   (John 16:19-20 CEB)

True “JOY” knows no boundaries even when we’re troubled.
“When a woman gives birth, she has pain because her time has come.  But when the child is born, she no longer remembers her distress because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.  In the same way, you have sorrow now; but I will see you again, and you will be overjoyed.  No one takes away your joy.”   (John 16:21-22 CEB)

True “JOY” has limitless overflowing possibilities.
“In that day, you won’t ask me anything.  I assure you that the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  Up to now, you have asked nothing in my name.  Ask and you will receive so that your joy will be complete.”   (John 16:23-24 CEB)

Also reference: James 5:16, Psalms 34:19, Proverbs 3:5, Acts 20:35, James 4:7

Hear the W.O.W., the Words of Wisdom,
Knowing Jesus is all we need to experience all the Joy we’ll ever need.