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Devotional from Pastor Amanda

John 1:43-51

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Jesus starts his ministry by calling disciples. He calls Andrew, a follower of John the Baptist. Andrew in turn tells his brother Peter. After this Jesus calls Phillip who find Nathanael. Within two days Jesus has called two disciples and ends up with four. Nathanael’s reaction to the story of the Messiah seems about right. We think he is crazy because we know who Jesus is, but for most of the people all they saw was a wandering homeless teacher, who was from a town of ill repute. Jesus performs a minor miracle to prove his authority. However Jesus’ next words are the most interesting element of this passage. “You will see greater things than these”. What if the words of Jesus have a connection with Andrew and Phillip calling others to meet Jesus? What if the greater things happen because disciples were obedient to the call and called others? The other text for this Sunday is the call of Samuel. Callings have a great importance in the Bible. The call beckons people to do something, to be a disciple, a leader, and a blessing. The power of Jesus is seen not in the miracle of the fig tree but in the miracle that takes place every time the Gospel, the Good News, is spread.

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Devotional from Pastor Mike

The Revelation of a Savior to the Shepherds

8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2: 8-14 NASB)

 

The Greatest News came to shepherds one night as they watched over the flock of sheep.  This Good News of a Savior King came with a sign for them – a baby in a feeding trough.  Yet the world will tell us that Kings are not born in stables and angels don’t appear praising God.  This seems impossible, but remember, Gabriel said, “Nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) This means that it doesn’t matter who we are or how dire our circumstances may be; God is our Savior in Christ Jesus.  The Revelation that a King has been born and His Kingdom will have no end is not just for shepherds, but it is for you also.  We too are able to join the shepherds and angels as well as all the saints in eternally singing praises to the Savior who brings peace.  Is it possible?  Yes, Yes, Yes. Hear the Greatest News and believe it.   Join the choir. Join the Kingdom. Join the mission of the Kingdom and tell others “nothing is impossible with God.”  

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Devotional from Pastor Mike

The Power of the Gospel

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:16–17 (NRSV)

The world in which we live is a world where destruction and chaos occurs regularly.  All one has to do is to look at the daily news and somewhere in this world injustice is taking place.  Although it may occur anywhere, it is often right in our own country – our own state – our own city- our own neighborhood- and at times even in our own families.  The world around us needs Good News.  The Good News is that God has become King and saves us in order that we may serve in a Kingdom where righteousness is the way of life.  We are saved for a vocation to reflect the image of God in the world around us.  In other words, God saves us to be an instrument to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to the world around us.  The task is beyond grasp, but God does not expect us to do this alone; we are given the Holy Spirit and we live communally with other Spirit filled believers.   Some will gladly receive the Good News of this Kingdom, but those who worship power, authority, money, sexual gratifications, and other selfish gods will not receive it gladly. 

The Apostle Paul states that he is not ashamed of this Good News.  Those who worship the selfish gods find it ridiculous and absurd for our God or any god to be crucified.  Yet, that is what happened.  Christ is the exact image of the God who calls us to be rightly related. We do not worship abusive powers but a God who becomes King of a righteous kingdom.  Christ was killed in a shameful way by abusive unrighteous powers and it seemed that those gods had won, but death couldn’t hold Him.  Jesus has defeated the selfish abusive gods. King Jesus is alive.  He is coming again and setting up His Kingdom in a new world where those who believe will eternally live in righteousness.  To this Good News we are called to participate.  We are saved for vocation in the Kingdom where the Church lives out righteousness in this world.  Just as Jesus walked the roads and streets in and around Jerusalem, we too must reflect the image that God calls us to be and reflect right relatedness in the streets and roads, which we journey.  We do this trusting that God will pour out the renewing of the Spirit upon us so that we are able to bear witness to the Kingdom in each situation we encounter.  Don’t be ashamed of the Good News, but share it and live it faithfully.

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