Ron has had us focusing on 5 characteristics of the friends of Jesus found in John 15 and this Sunday we looked at the 5th of those characteristics based on John 15:16, the friends of Jesus pray in the will of the Father. John 15:16... so whatever you ask the father in my name, he may give it to you. (see also John 14:13-14 and John 15:7)
Here is a quick reminder of some of the thoughts and scriptures Ron shared:
I’m going to open by asking some questions that I don’t really expect you to answer. Has anyone here ever had a lucky rabbit’s foot or a lucky shirt? Ever spoken about having lady luck on your side or felt down on your luck? Have you ever marveled at the wonders of mother nature? Have any of you ever referred to God as “the man upstairs”? I have done these things in the past and I mention them to give you a little background as to the type “Christian” I was when God reached into my life and “chose me out of this world”.
As a child I attended three different churches with my parents. My earliest memories of church life were not happy ones, but as a young teenager I had many good ones. I never developed a close relationship with church in general and drifted away as a teenager. When I met my wife, her family was Catholic, and we were married in St. Patrick’s church in Cato. After our children were born we attended church there for awhile, but once again I drifted away. I guess I had better things to do. I spent the next 25 or more years of my life as a non church goer. I considered myself to be a christian person however. In my mind I was a good person. I believed in God and I considered myself to be living by Christian values. I gave up a lot of personal time over the years to be involved with our local ambulance and fire dept. and things like that.
Jason’s message this past Sunday started with a look at Psalm 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied ... and then a question: How many of us were dissatisfied, unsettled, anxious or fearful about life. Our world, including the church, has way to many people living fear filled lives, anxious people, people who like the 70’s song lyric “...can’t get no satisfaction”. This is not what God intends for His people. So why are so many living like dead men walking; joyless, unsatisfied, and bearing little or no fruit in their lives; what’s the problem?
Jason asked us to consider John 11:25. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” One possible cause is that while all Christians are glad to accept Jesus’ provision of salvation, far too many fail to go on to walk in the “Life” that comes with our salvation. Too many that consider themselves Christians are really only interested in meeting the minimum entrance requirements to get into heaven and have no interest in fully following Jesus as His disciple. Another possible cause is living a life that focuses and pursues something other than a simple, focused, obedient relationship with Jesus.
Many of the substitutes are good things; bible study, church attendance, giving and serving in a church, or keeping a man made list of does and don’ts.
Jason exhorted us to remember Jesus came to give us life, abundant life and asked us if we want to feel alive again. Fully alive like we felt when we first trusted in Christ. Not many hands went up when the question was asked but I bet a lot of us were quietly saying yes in our hearts.
We will not find satisfaction in anything less than a growing interactive walk with Jesus. Our focus and priority needs to be knowing, trusting and obeying Jesus in our everyday walking around lives. We sang a hymn which encourages a good path to satisfaction in our lives regardless of current circumstances:
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Yesterday, continuing our study of John 15, Ron had us looking at the fact that as friends of Jesus we are to go and produce fruit that abides. We focused on vs 16... I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide... (you can review the full sermon outline from our resources page)
Here are a few thoughts to chew on this week as you seek to apply the message in your life:
Fruit is Christlikeness in ordinary life, potentially impacting the eternal destiny of others
I try to start each day using a personal adaptation of a simple prayer from Ruben Job's little book "Three Simple Rules". It occurs to me that it helps me to apply much of what I heard in yesterday's message. Perhaps you will find it useful too:
Inviting God’s intervention in our lives
Loving Teacher, come and make your home in my heart today. Dwell within me all day long and save me from error or foolish ways. Teach me today to do no harm, to do good, and assist me so that I may stay in loving relationship with you and my neighbor. Help me today to be an answer to another’s prayer so that I may be one of your signs of hope in the world you love.
Last week Verne Montana posted a comment that seems to summarize a really good way to live out this weeks message:
A comment to last weeks blog post by Verne Montana
Blog posts may be authored by a variety of individuals including but not limited to Pastor Ron, Church Elders, Sunday School Teachers, Small Group Leaders and Ministry Leaders.