Always upset

31 “To what will I compare the people of this generation?” Jesus asked. “What are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace calling out to each other, ‘We played the flute for you and you didn’t dance. We sang a funeral song and you didn’t cry.’ 33 John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ 34 Yet the Human One came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ 35 But wisdom is proved to be right by all her descendants.” (Luke 7:31-35, CEB)

It seems no matter what we do someone will be upset. That is life, and that is shown here.

John didn’t eat or drink and they said he had a demon and Jesus came eating and drinking and he is a glutton and a drunk. So neither of them made the religious folk happy.

It seems religious folk are really only happy when they get their way which is always, however, they want it at that point in time. And that isn’t how any of this works.

God is in control, not us. We need to love everyone and allow God to be God.

Loving People. Loving God.

Can you hear?

23 On the day scheduled for this purpose, many people came to the place where he was staying. From morning until evening, he explained and testified concerning God’s kingdom and tried to convince them about Jesus through appealing to the Law from Moses and the Prophets. 24 Some were persuaded by what he said, but others refused to believe. 25 They disagreed with each other and were starting to leave when Paul made one more statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke correctly when he said to your ancestors through Isaiah the prophet, 26 Go to this people and say: You will hear, to be sure, but never understand; and you will certainly see but never recognize what you are seeing. 27 This people’s senses have become calloused, and they’ve become hard of hearing, and they’ve shut their eyes so that they won’t see with their eyes or hear with their ears or understand with their minds, and change their hearts and lives that I may heal them. 28 “Therefore, be certain of this: God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles. They will listen!” 30 Paul lived in his own rented quarters for two full years and welcomed everyone who came to see him. 31 Unhindered and with complete confidence, he continued to preach God’s kingdom and to teach about the Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 28:23-31, CEB)

Are you ready to hear what God has to say? It seems that it is historic for the church to be the last to be open to the moving of the Holy Spirit and listening to the prophetic word of God.

We need to let out lives be open and our hearts ready to receive what God is sending us even when we think it is not what the church needs or should be doing.

Others will hear and listen are we ready to hear and listen too?

Loving People. Loving God.

Feed your faith

Remember your leaders who spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! Don’t be misled by the many strange teachings out there. It’s a good thing for the heart to be strengthened by grace rather than by food. Food doesn’t help those who live in this context. 10 We have an altar, and those who serve as priests in the meeting tent don’t have the right to eat from it. 11 The blood of the animals is carried into the holy of holies by the high priest as an offering for sin, and their bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy with his own blood. 13 So now, let’s go to him outside the camp, bearing his shame. 14 We don’t have a permanent city here, but rather we are looking for the city that is still to come. 15 So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. 16 Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices. 17 Rely on your leaders and defer to them, because they watch over your whole being as people who are going to be held responsible for you. They need to be able to do this with pleasure and not with complaints about you, because that wouldn’t help you. (Hebrews 13:7-17, CEB)

We need to feed our faith, but it is not with food.

Food doesn’t keep us going, it is our faith, and this is fed and grows by imitating our leaders who showed us who God is and how we follow God.

We are strengthened by grace, and this comes from God.

Follow after those who showed you how to follow God and how to live like Jesus taught us.

Loving People. Loving God.


Then John said to the crowds who came to be baptized by him, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire.” 10 The crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11 He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. They said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He replied, “Collect no more than you are authorized to collect.” 14 Soldiers asked, “What about us? What should we do?” He answered, “Don’t cheat or harass anyone, and be satisfied with your pay.” 15 The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. 16 John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.” 18 With many other words John appealed to them, proclaiming good news to the people. (Luke 3:7-18, CEB)

You brood of vipers who told you to flee from the judgment that is coming! That is the version from the NRSV, a great text to read and preach to a congregation.

We all wonder what we have to do when really there isn’t anything we can do to merit the kingdom. But we all should be people of integrity. Say what we mean, mean what we say and treat all people with honor and justice and hope.

We shouldn’t sheat or harass or do anything for unmerited gain. We need to be above reproach and love all people.

No one is worthy of the kingdom and yet we are all loved by God.

Let us be the light in the dark world that shows others how God is love and loves us where we are.

Loving People. Loving God.

What then

57 When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a boy. 58 Her neighbors and relatives celebrated with her because they had heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy. 59 On the eighth day, it came time to circumcise the child. They wanted to name him Zechariah because that was his father’s name. 60 But his mother replied, “No, his name will be John.” 61 They said to her, “None of your relatives have that name.” 62 Then they began gesturing to his father to see what he wanted to call him. 63 After asking for a tablet, he surprised everyone by writing, “His name is John.” 64 At that moment, Zechariah was able to speak again, and he began praising God. 65 All their neighbors were filled with awe, and everyone throughout the Judean highlands talked about what had happened. 66 All who heard about this considered it carefully. They said, “What then will this child be?” Indeed, the Lord’s power was with him. (Luke 1:57-66, CEB)

They wanted to name the child Zechariah after his father and they were confused when Elizabeth said his name would be John. But when Zechariah confirmed John as the name and then began to speak again after not being able to speak since seeing the angel in the inner sanctum of the temple.

That would make me go, what then will this kid be too!

When God has a plan, we will not get in the way.

God’s will will be done through us or in spite of us.

Do you get in the way or let God work through you?

Loving People. Loving God.

in your heart

It’s unnecessary for me to write to you about this service for God’s people. I know about your willingness to help. I brag about you to the Macedonians, saying, “Greece has been ready since last year,” and your enthusiasm has motivated most of them. But I’m sending the brothers so that our bragging about you in this case won’t be empty words, and so that you can be prepared, just as I keep telling them you will be. If some Macedonians should come with me and find out that you aren’t ready, we (not to mention you) would be embarrassed as far as this project goes. This is why I thought it was necessary to encourage the brothers to go to you ahead of time and arrange in advance the generous gift you have already promised. I want it to be a real gift from you. I don’t want you to feel like you are being forced to give anything. What I mean is this: the one who sows a small number of seeds will also reap a small crop, and the one who sows a generous amount of seeds will also reap a generous crop. Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever. 10 The one who supplies seed for planting and bread for eating will supply and multiply your seed and will increase your crop, which is righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous in every way. Such generosity produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 Your ministry of this service to God’s people isn’t only fully meeting their needs but it is also multiplying in many expressions of thanksgiving to God. 13 They will give honor to God for your obedience to your confession of Christ’s gospel. They will do this because this service provides evidence of your obedience, and because of your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone. 14 They will also pray for you, and they will care deeply for you because of the outstanding grace that God has given to you. 15 Thank God for his gift that words can’t describe! (2 Corinthians 9:1-15, CEB)

I will be honest giving is not my strong suit, that is my wife. I understand it and know we are supposed to give, but my head gets in the way with all of the anxiety and wondering of what will/might/could happen. You see when we let our gut and mind dictate what we give, we will not give. But if we listen to our heart, then we will give, and we need to give without hesitation.

God has prepared us to be cheerful givers and showed us the way through giving us Jesus. The baby we wait for that is coming in the manger.

So follow your heart and know that God will always provide for you.

Loving People. Loving God.

Because you want to

Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily. They urgently begged us for the privilege of sharing in this service for the saints. They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will. As a result, we challenged Titus to finish this work of grace with you the way he had started it. Be the best in this work of grace in the same way that you are the best in everything, such as faith, speech, knowledge, total commitment, and the love we inspired in you. I’m not giving an order, but by mentioning the commitment of others, I’m trying to prove the authenticity of your love also. You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although he was rich, he became poor for your sakes, so that you could become rich through his poverty. 10 I’m giving you my opinion about this. It’s to your advantage to do this, since you not only started to do it last year but you wanted to do it too. 11 Now finish the job as well so that you finish it with as much enthusiasm as you started, given what you can afford. 12 A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly. 13 It isn’t that we want others to have financial ease and you financial difficulties, but it’s a matter of equality. 14 At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit. In this way there is equality. 15 As it is written, The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little. (2 Corinthians 8:1-15, CEB)

Why do you give?

Paul is telling the Corinthians about the Macedonians who have given even in their testing and hurting. They gave what they could afford and in surplus to that.

Now Paul tells them this not to guilt them, but to remind them of their faith and what has gotten them this far.

Guilt doesn’t make a giver. But faith can and does.

Why do you give?

Loving People. Loving God.

A Prophet

18 John’s disciples informed him about all these things. John called two of his disciples 19 and sent them to the Lord. They were to ask him, “Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?” 20 When they reached Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you. He asks, ‘Are you the one who is coming, or should we look for someone else?’” 21 Right then, Jesus healed many of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he gave sight to a number of blind people. 22 Then he replied to John’s disciples, “Go, report to John what you have seen and heard. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled now walk. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. And good news is preached to the poor. 23 Happy is anyone who doesn’t stumble along the way because of me.” 24 After John’s messengers were gone, Jesus spoke to the crowds about John. “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A stalk blowing in the wind? 25 What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in refined clothes? Look, those who dress in fashionable clothes and live in luxury are in royal palaces. 26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 He is the one of whom it’s written: Look, I’m sending my messenger before you, who will prepare your way before you28 I tell you that no greater human being has ever been born than John. Yet whoever is least in God’s kingdom is greater than he.” 29 Everyone who heard this, including the tax collectors, acknowledged God’s justice because they had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and legal experts rejected God’s will for themselves because they hadn’t been baptized by John. (Luke 7:18-30, CEB)

Hearing of the mysteries of Jesus, John the Baptist sent two of his followers to confirm the coming of the Messiah. So often in times of uncertainty, we plead for confirmation of things to come, especially around the holidays. Confirmation of package deliveries, travel plans, and final grades come whizzing towards us throughout advent, and with the beginning of a new year just around the corner, Christmas can come and go in the blink of an eye. We seek this conformation not because we lose faith in God, but often because we lose faith in ourselves. No matter what uncertainty sits before us we must remember that the Lord is with us, and his mercy is the only confirmation we need.

Loving People. Loving God.

add ons?

May you have more and more grace and peace through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces. This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever lacks these things is shortsighted and blind, forgetting that they were cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, be eager to confirm your call and election. Do this and you will never ever be lost. 11 In this way you will receive a rich welcome into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. 12 So I’ll keep reminding you about these things, although you already know them and stand secure in the truth you have. 13 I think it’s right that I keep stirring up your memory, as long as I’m alive. 14 After all, our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I am about to depart from this life. 15 I’m eager for you always to remember these things after my death. (2 Peter 1:2-15, CEB)

I’m looking for a car right now, and this kind of reminds me of dealerships adding stuff onto cars. Add ons cost you extra and are sometimes things we don’t want. But that really isn’t what this is.

I mean these are add ons. But they are ones we need whether we know we need them or not.

We must make every effort to add moral excellence to our faith. We should live lives that are moral examples for others. And then we add knowledge to help explain things others may not understand. And knowledge gives us self-control and endurance and godliness, and these culminate in affection for others and this leads us to love. Which is the greatest commandment, love of God and neighbor.

We need to show love in everything we do.

Loving People. Loving God.


22 We know that the whole creation is groaning together and suffering labor pains up until now. 23 And it’s not only the creation. We ourselves who have the Spirit as the first crop of the harvest also groan inside as we wait to be adopted and for our bodies to be set free. 24 We were saved in hope. If we see what we hope for, that isn’t hope. Who hopes for what they already see? 25 But if we hope for what we don’t see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:22-25, CEB)

Who hopes for what they already see?

Hope is the belief in something we can’t see or explain. Hope is what gets us through.

Do you hope in Christ?

Share your hope with the world!

Loving People. Loving God.