He Called Him by Name

fig-374118_640What will you feel when you meet Jesus face to face, as He looks you in the eye and calls you by name?

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:1‭-‬10 NLT

Emotional Prosperity

I like what the speaker says about having fun. I think as Christians it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and even feel guilty about having fun because we somehow think we should be spending time in ministry, prayer, Bible study, self-improvement, etc.

The following text is from the original post.

Before we can effectively lead our families and others, we need to know how to lead ourselves in emotional health so that the life we are leading is sustainable. Being individually well is key to thriving inside of community! In this teaching, Jason Vallotton shares how we can get our needs met in body, soul, and spirit so we can partner with Jesus to express the joy of His kingdom. This message is from week 5 of Bethel’s Life Series.

* Published: 10/16/16 6:30:00 AM

* Episode Download Link: http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/emotional-prosperity.mp3?type=lq

* Show Notes: http://podcasts.ibethel.org/en/podcasts/emotional-prosperity

* Episode Feed: Bethel Church Sermon of the Week – http://podcasts.ibethel.org/podcasts.rss

God is Sufficient

When we are obedient, God supplies all our needs, even through difficult times.

For this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
1 Kings 17:14 NLT

Jesus Up Close & Personal – Part 9

Jesus the Good Shepherd

John 10:6-11 NLT

…no matter what condition or place you are in your life today, you’re valuable to the Shepherd. You might be wandering right now a little bit … but I can tell you, He’s a good shepherd, and He’s never ever ever going to let even one of us wander off.
Sean Todd

So Who’s Being Obtuse?


Don’t some of Jesus’ responses to the disciples seem at times a bit obtuse?

Take this passage from Luke 17: 5-10 for example:

The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you! “When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”
Luke 17:5-10 NLT

The disciples ask Jesus how to increase their faith. His first response is like a faith baraometer and indicates to them how weak their faith really is.

But then he goes on to talk about the very ordinary life of this very ordinary servant who plows the fields, tends the sheep, prepares meals, and serves his master. A very ordinary life filled with very ordinary tasks that would seem to occupy most, if not all of this guy’s day and time.

Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes Jesus’ responses, like this one, leave me scratching my head and saying, “Huh? Is this even part of the same conversation.”

But as I ponder encounters like this I have to consider that, at least with his disciples, Jesus was not deliberately obtuse. Rather, he was masterfully insightful. He knew the thoughts and intentions of their hearts. With Him there is no back door, or exit stage left, or exit stage right. Jesus was and is masterful at cutting to the chase. If the true nature of the question was cloaked or disguised because they were afraid to ask it head on, he could see through it. If their approach was tangential because they wanted to test the waters before they got full into what they really wanted to know, they were wasting their time.

And aren’t we the same? How often do we approach Jesus like we are on a tightrope or broken glass? More often than not, isn’t it we who are obtuse in our approach to Jesus?

If we are ready to receive it, Jesus will give us a direct answer, even if we are being obtuse in our approach.

Perhaps that’s what was happening in this encouner. Perhaps the disciples were wondering when they would get to do some of the cool stuff like Jesus did. When will people crowd around us to hear us teach? When will we get to perform miracles? With all the miles they travelled, and all the time the spent attending to Jesus and the crowds, maybe they thought their lives seemed pretty ordinary (at least compared to that of Jesus).

Then it occurred to me, maybe this was a direct answer to the real issue, which was approached in an obtuse fashion. Maybe this is a direct answer to a question that masked the real issue, which was a woe is me, what about me attitude, but also answers the question as it was phrased. Masterful!

Maybe that’s exactly how we increase our faith. We press through the very ordinary stuff of the very ordinary days of our very ordinary lives, not expecting thanks, but just doing what’s expected of us. When we do this with the right attitude of heart, not expecting thanks, but knowing that we are serving our master, and we push through with thankful hearts, greatful to be alive, greatful to be united with our Maker, and greatful to serve Him with our very lives, we are increasing our faith, whether we feel like it or not.

So how do we increase our faith? We live our lives, we enjoy life, and we give thanks and praise to our Maker at every turn.

Take courage and serve him with your life, and know that your faith is being increased as you do.

–Dr. Lund

Jesus Up Close & Personal – Part 8

I AM the Light of the World

John 8: 12 – 13

…we don’t have spiritual illumination when we come into this world…we’re spiritually blind because we’re spiritually dead when we come into the world. That is the human condition. That is the state of mankind. We do not understand how to get to God. We do not understand how to be saved. And Jesus comes saying “I AM the light of the world, to show you the way.”
Patrick Steele