Does all this matter?

In the fifteenth year of the rule of the emperor Tiberius—when Pontius Pilate was governor over Judea and Herod was ruler over Galilee, his brother Philip was ruler over Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was ruler over Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas—God’s word came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. John went throughout the region of the Jordan River, calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. This is just as it was written in the scroll of the words of Isaiah the prophet, A voice crying out in the wilderness:Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be leveled. The crooked will be made straight and the rough places made smooth. All humanity will see God’s salvation.” (Luke 3:1-6, CEB)

I read this and just want to go, “blah blah blah blah…” for the first part. But all the history is important because it centers us in the time we are in. It places us at a specific time in history and that is importent to know.

John was crying out before Jesus was born for all of us to prepare the way of the coming savior.

Have you prepared the way?

Loving People. Loving God.


Jesus called the Twelve together and he gave them power and authority over all demons and to heal sicknesses. He sent them out to proclaim God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. He told them, “Take nothing for the journey—no walking stick, no bag, no bread, no money, not even an extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. Wherever they don’t welcome you, as you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them.” They departed and went through the villages proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:1-6, CEB)

Take nothing for the journey. Go out into the world to cast out demons, heal sickness, proclaim God’s kingdom, but take nothing. No walking stick, bag, bread, money, not even extra clothes.

Rely on the charity of those you see.

And if you are welcomed stay there and be gracious and eat and use what you are given, but if you are not welcomed, make sure you leave the dirt from their home, take nothing with you.

Seems a little weird, but we come into the world with nothing and rely on the love of our parents to get us through. And all people were created by God so they have love. Are they capable of showing it?

Are you capable of showing the love God has given you?

Loving People. Loving God.

Living Serves Christ

18 What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad. 19 I’m glad because I know that this will result in my release through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 20 It is my expectation and hope that I won’t be put to shame in anything. Rather, I hope with daring courage that Christ’s greatness will be seen in my body, now as always, whether I live or die. 21 Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. 22 If I continue to live in this world, I get results from my work. 23 But I don’t know what I prefer. I’m torn between the two because I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 However, it’s more important for me to stay in this world for your sake. 25 I’m sure of this: I will stay alive and remain with all of you to help your progress and the joy of your faith, 26 and to increase your pride in Christ Jesus through my presence when I visit you again. (Philippians 1:18-26, CEB)

“Because for me, living serves Christ and dying is even better. If I continue to live in this world, I get results from my work. But I don’t know what I prefer. I’m torn between the two because I want to leave this life and be with Christ, which is far better.” Here Paul is talking about how in dying he will be able to be with Christ but being here alive is serving Christ, and he is torn between the two.

Some scholars say that Paul is contemplating suicide here. He would prefer to be with Christ and not here, but to be here he is helping build the church. What do you think about Paul contemplating suicide? Some say that it is a sin and would warrant hell or separation from God for all eternity. But is Judas not with God? No one except God can say that for certain. And to know some folks who have contemplated and committed suicide it is not come by lightly. And honestly, isn’t the fringe benefits of death better than being here? It may seem that way to us in the darkness, but those who love us need us here and love the light our life shines even when we can’t see that.

No matter what Paul is doing here he comes to the conclusion that it is best for him to be here and alive for the Philippians and all who need him. And Paul has done so much for serving the church and creating disciples of Jesus. So his life did so much more by being here and present with those who needed him, rather than choosing to be with Christ.

We all want to be with Christ and that will happen. But Christ needs us here to show love to the world.

So go and love as you have been loved.

Loving People. Loving God.

Why do you?

12 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the things that have happened to me have actually advanced the gospel. 13 The whole Praetorian Guard and everyone else knows that I’m in prison for Christ. 14 Most of the brothers and sisters have had more confidence through the Lord to speak the word boldly and bravely because of my jail time. 15 Some certainly preach Christ with jealous and competitive motives, but others preach with good motives. 16 They are motivated by love, because they know that I’m put here to give a defense of the gospel; 17 the others preach Christ because of their selfish ambition. They are insincere, hoping to cause me more pain while I’m in prison. 18 What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad. (Philippians 1:12-18, CEB)

Why do you do the things you do?

Is it because you are moved by love, or is it to advance your own agenda?

We sometimes do things to intentionally hurt others or to make our way easier. And in the end those who are following Jesus will see these events work in their favor.

Paul was in prison and there were some preaching the gospel of Jesus to hurt Paul, but their preaching helped people come to believe, so they didn’t hurt Paul but they helped Jesus.

Live for love. That is a true treasure.

Loving People. Loving God.

Here’s your sign…

29 When the crowds grew, Jesus said, “This generation is an evil generation. It looks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except Jonah’s sign. 30 Just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Human One will be a sign to this generation. 31 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from a distant land to hear Solomon’s wisdom. And look, someone greater than Solomon is here. 32 The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they changed their hearts and lives in response to Jonah’s preaching—and one greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:29-32, CEB)

What do we need to make us believe the promises of God are true?

Will any sign make us trust completely?

Faith is a hope and belief in things we can not see or know to be true but we hold them as true.

Faith will get us through more than a sign ever could.

Go into the world sharing the hope of the promises we have.

Loving People. Loving God.