Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 2014 Adventure

NOTE ADDED JAN. 10, 2014 - Technical issues have made it impossible for us to access the audio recording of Jan. 5 worship and message.  You can download the preparation notes written in advance by clicking here (PDF file).  If you want a printed copy just let me know - 763-291-3499 or leave a message at church 320-286-2100.



On this last morning of 2013 I've been up at the church building, just being here on the last day of the year in case someone wants to stop by or call.  We announced that the office would be open today from 9-11 but Kristine asked if she needed to come in since she didn't have urgent projects and I said that would be fine.  And I've got things to do so I may as well do them here.

One thing I'm doing is thinking about what we'll be sharing at worship on the next two Sundays.  The plan that the network put together needed to change because of a copyright issue so the Lord is now moving us into a brief series on the first chapter of John's gospel.  Last Sunday's message (click here) focused on John 1:14-23.  This Sunday (and perhaps next) I think we'll be looking at John 1:23-51, pairing it with Hebrews 10:32--11:1.

When John the Baptist (and every Holy Spirit inspired "voice") points to Jesus, Jesus calls those who hear to take steps of faith in following Him.  These steps of faith are taken before we know the details of what "following" will mean.

Jesus gives very little information to his first followers.  He says "Come and See."  He wants them to follow first.  Then, IN THE FOLLOWING, in the PROCESS of following, they will grow in their relationship with Him, and in the relationship, they learn to know Him.

This pattern of faith is found consistently through the Bible (see Hebrews 11).  It's not something we can avoid.  Every day, every year, is an adventure.  And Jesus will teach us along the way.

Too often we Christians want to have everything sketched out for us ahead of time.  We want to know what our itinerary will be before we leave. 

But that's not Jesus' way.  Instead, he says "come and see."  He says "don't shrink back."  He says believing is walking forward, following Him in faith.  It's not about what we think we know.

This is a good word for us at Crossroads, as we move into a new year.  We have no security except in our Lord.  It's a wonderful place to be.

BELOW you'll find the scriptures that I'm praying over as I prepare.  Please join me in reading and praying and share what the Lord says to you in a comment or in another way.

Later today, join us for prayer at 6:30 if you can, and, if you want, come out to Don & Robin Begarowicz' at Cokato Lake RV Resort and Campground for the evening after that.  Some of us will brave the cold to be down by the bonfire for awhile and then join others indoors for games and fellowship. 

Don writes: "...We are having a new years eve fire at the beach around six o'clock here at the campgrounds. Hot cocoa and stuff will be available. We will then...  come up to the residence for games and chilli. If you would like to bring something to pass that is fine as well. Those that would like to stay the night your welcome just bring a sleeping bag and we will have places to sleep. We will do a simple breakfast in the morning."

Toni and I don't plan to stay the night but we thank Don & Robin for their truly sweet hospitality!  Questions call Don or Robin at 320-286-5779.  Here's a link to a map: http://goo.gl/maps/6S9Vq.  The more time we can spend together the more God will knit us into the body he desires.
John 1:23-51
    23 ...John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”
    24 Now some Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
    29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
    32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
    35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
    38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
    40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
    43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.
    47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” 48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Hebrews 10:32--11:1
    32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
    33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
    35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
    39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
    1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

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