Two Sundays ago we remembered that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. The entire liturgy: the prayers, the blessings, the confessions, the absolution, the songs, and not least the sermon pointed to the reality of Jesus’ description of himself in John 10.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good
shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:7-18 (ESV)
Listen to the sermon below pondering the following questions:
Last Sunday was the third Sunday of Easter and we had with us a friend of our community, Deacon Kevin Krumenauer.
Kevin currently serves as the minister of music at Christ Church Westshore in Bay Village, Ohio. This past Sunday Deacon Kevin shared a message from John 21:1-19. Kevin articulates the challenge and the call of Jesus to follow him in the sufficiency and provision of his own person. He showed us a fully incarnated deity who provides not just spiritual maxims and demands, but a God who knows what we needs and gives practically to his followers. One of the most encouraging pieces from this account of Jesus is that he doesn’t abandon us in our doubt or denial of him. He publicly reinstated Peter, despite Peter’s public denial of him. He comes to us not based on our expertise and our ability, but despite them.
We have been a church for many months now, but like a baby in her mother’s womb, the time has come for us to be born into the world.
Our birth didn’t come with fireworks, with mass mailings to the residents of Medina County, with huge events geared to attract people within our doors, with multi-faceted advertising campaigns, with a team of professional clergy to do all the work, or any other luxury that some church plants may have these days.
Our birth came by the work of the ordinary and unexpected people of Medina County. Our birth came after many dreams, hopes, and promises of what our church will look like when born. Our birth came after many months of pains and trials, where we began to learn to suffer well together (as well as celebrate).
Our birth came on Easter, the day we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our church was birthed on Easter, because that is who we are: the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.
This past Sunday we celebrated the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Prior to this in John’s biography of Jesus, we find seven signs that lead to the passion week. Over the past six weeks we have been exploring these “signs” that John gives us. The final sign in the first half of the book is the raising of Lazarus.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
(John 5:1-9 ESV)
Last Sunday we continued our journey through the biography of Jesus according to John, one of Jesus’ early followers. This week our “sign” is more subtle and is the first time that John doesn’t specify “and this was a sign.” From now on the ‘signs’ are up to us to find and see the reality of God in Christ as John leads us to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the ultimate “sign” in his story.
This story is more than just a story of a man being healed by the former ways. This story is an echo of the promise of resurrection, new life and new possibilities. Beyond the healing itself is a call to a new lifestyle a new view of reality. Journey with us.
So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
(John 4:46-54 ESV)
We continued our Lenten journey with Jesus this past Sunday by looking at the second sign in John’s gospel. Within the sign itself, the healing of the official’s son by the very Word of Jesus, we also glimpse a warning: don’t go looking for signs for their own sake.
Over the past three weeks we have been journeying together through a letter that St. Paul sent to a newly established church in Corinth. In this letter Paul describes a more excellent way of them being a community together. A way that was different from the way they were living and the mold of the broader world.
This past Sunday we concluded our study on “A More Excellent Way” with a lesson on love from 1 Corinthians 13.
Last Sunday we continued our teaching series from Paul’s first letter to the Church of Corinth. In the latter part of the letter, Paul describes a more excellent way for the church to be. The first half of chapter 12, Paul describes how the various gifts of the Spirit work together. The latter part of chapter 12 is what we looked at this week. In this part of the letter Paul describes how true community is to function and how the various parts of the body work together for the life of the body.
Last week we began a three-part teaching series on Sunday mornings called “A More Excellent Way:letters to a desperate church.” The series follows St. Paul’s letter to a first century church that he planted in Corinth. This week we looked at 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 at the purpose and scope of spiritual gifts:
What I want to talk about now is the various ways God’s Spirit gets worked into our lives. This is complex and often misunderstood, but I want you to be informed and knowledgeable. Remember how you were when you didn’t know God, led from one phony god to another, never knowing what you were doing, just doing it because everybody else did it? It’s different in this life. God wants us to use our intelligence, to seek to understand as well as we can. For instance, by using your heads, you know perfectly well that the Spirit of God would never prompt anyone to say “Jesus be damned!” Nor would anyone be inclined to say “Jesus is Master!” without the insight of the Holy Spirit.
God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit.
God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:
healing the sick
distinguishing between spirits
interpretation of tongues.
All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.