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Wealth can certainly be dangerous, but it is not wrong, nor does Jesus condemn it. Rather this parable is about greed, thinking only of self and hoarding. And while greed certainly pertains to money, it also pertains to every facet of our lives. Jesus shows us that greed actually comes from our inner soul talk about what we need to be satisfied. Th…
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Pastor Jim explores the well-known parable of the Good Samaritan, cautioning against the oversimplification of its message and stressing the importance of understanding its deeper meanings and context. He discusses how the parable intertwines the law, eternal life, and the notion of being a good neighbor, urging listeners to reflect on their relati…
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Jesus tells the parable of the sower to show two important truths. First, God faithfully and generously sows the seed of the gospel for all of humanity, without precondition or prejudice. Second, the soil, or human heart, on which a seed lands is important for its growth. The faithfulness of the sower is a constant, but the human heart is not. What…
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Jesus concludes his prayer by praying for all who come to believe. He prays for unity - that the church would be one like he and the Father are one. In fact, he says that it is unity that will enable the world to know Jesus and the love of God. This reality of unity is only possible when believers collectively see the glory of Jesus above all else.…
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When Jesus tells his disciples he is going away, he also urges them to abide or remain in him. Not only is this counterintuitive, but it seems impossible. Yet Jesus is talking about being so immersed in his love that they live his way and follow his commands in this world and in so doing glorify God. We glorify God by remaining in Jesus. And we rem…
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Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will come to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Spirit exposes the truth about sin and the emptiness of human effort or religion so that there might be repentance. The main modes of this testimony are the Scriptures which the Spirit will lead the disciples to write and ongoing witnes…
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Jesus is careful to tell his disciples that the world will be resistant the gospel message. If the world hated Jesus, they will also hate those who follow him. This rub comes when his followers refuse to give full allegiance to anything other than Jesus. In the midst of this, Jesus reminds them that he has intentionally left them in the world to te…
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Intimacy with God and obedience to him are inextricably bound together. If we want the full life that comes from seeing and knowing God, then we have to follow his commands. And if we want to follow his commands, we must grow in our love for him. Thankfully, we have been given the Spirit as an advocate to help us grow in our love for God and thus p…
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True and full life only comes from intimacy with God. And the only way to access this kind of relationship is through Jesus. In him, we discover new creation truth and life that makes the original relationship of God and humanity possible again. Though we await this experience in it fullness, we have it now through Jesus. It is the only way to have…
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Thomas is famously and wrongly demeaned for doubt. In fact, what Jesus warns Thomas about is how to process doubt. We are all constantly moving either toward belief or unbelief. So it matters profoundly where we intentionally place ourselves to engage our questions. The church is meant to be a place where we can ask honest questions and pursue the …
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As Mary stands outside the tomb, twice she is asked, "Why are you crying?" Of course she is upset about Jesus, but also about what she has lost - a new life and a new identity. But with the sound of her name from the lips of Jesus, everything changes. Mary's identity is settled, her eyes are opened to see a bigger pictures and she is given a renewe…
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The resurrection of Jesus is not just a Christian doctrine or even simply a fact. It is the central truth to a whole new reality of life. The resurrection of Jesus means new creation. Ever the master storyteller, John makes poignant connections between the original creation and the implications of Jesus resurrection. Sin and death are defeated. Sha…
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As Jesus welcomed the disciples to the table, he also bowed low to humbly wash their feet. But it wasn't feet he was actually offering to wash. It was hearts. Jesus has invited everyone to his table, but in order to be with him we have to be washed clean. This would ultimately happen on the cross for anyone who would confess him as Savior. Do you u…
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Upon his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus embraces the hoped fo- posture of an incoming Messianic king of Israel. However, as John has reminded us form the beginning, Jesus follows God's plans not those of men. And so, Jesus comes on a donkey announcing peace not judgment and spreads his arms open wide to the whole world, not just the Jewish nation. He …
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As much as Jesus loved Lazarus, he also hates death and all the chaos it brings to our lives and world. Yet, he cares for Martha and Mary in very specific ways to meet their personal needs. In raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus is engaging a direct battle with death (and sin) which will cost him his very life. Ultimately, Jesus raises Lazarus so …
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Jesus is moved by his love for Lazarus and his sisters to help him. However, if that is true, then why did he make the strange choice to wait a few days before going to them? He wants people to believe. Not just in the future or the abstract, but believe in him. When Jesus says that he is the resurrection, he is boldly declaring that he is God and …
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Sheep are at their core incredible helpless and incredibly valuable. That's why they need a shepherd. As humans, we inherently know that we are sheep in need of a sheered. The question is which shepherd will we give ourselves to? As the Good Shepherd, Jesus reminds us that we already belong to him. He has named us and leads us because he loves us, …
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John sets Jesus' miraculous healing of a blind man right in the midst of the continuing unbelief of the religious leaders. Their pride left them unable to see the scope of the human problem and unable to see Jesus for who he is. This is spiritual blindness, a far more crippling disability than that of the man. Jesus was offering healing to both, bu…
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When Jesus tells his Jewish audience that they can experience freedom, they are quick to dismiss him. As children of Abraham, they are already free. However, Jesus tells that that they are enslaved to sin. This is the human condition. But true freedom can be found when we remain in Jesus' teaching. He shows us who we are and how we are meant to liv…
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Jesus' brother encourage him to go to Jerusalem during the feast and gather a crowd and further his ministry. John tells us they say this because they don't believe in him. They want Jesus to prove himself. On the other hand, Jesus is seeking the glory of the Father, not his own. He speaks the words and follows the timing of the Father. For this re…
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Though the miracle of feeding 5,000 is a blessing to the crowds, its intent is largely for Jesus' disciples. It is an invitation to join him in the new and ultimate exodus he is launching. In the past people ate miraculous bread in the wilderness, but now the bread maker is with the people. And he offers bread that will satisfy our true hunger and …
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Jesus intentionally crosses paths with a Samaritan woman at a well and offers her living water that would quench her thirst. Is he really capable of digging a better well than Jacob? Jesus offers full access to God who no longer is restricted to a holy mountain. Jesus is the better well that meets the deeper thirsts of our soul. His offer of living…
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John lets us eavesdrop on a private conversation between Jesus and a religious leader named Nicodemus who wants to know if Jesus is the promised Messiah. Jesus confounds him by saying he cannot know unless he is born again. While Nicodemus, like many religious people, spent his time building a resume fr morality and external performance, his true p…
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Jesus' miraculous turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana serves as the perfect opening to the ministry of Jesus in the gospel of John. Far more than simply meeting a temporary need for wine, this story sets forth all that Jesus intends to do. Namely, he is here to launch a new covenant that will enable new creation allowing broken, uncle…
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The incarnation is a grand invitation to come and see Jesus for who he really is and what he intends to do. He does not fore himself on us, instead he asks us what it is that we want and invites us to come and be with him. This invitation is for those who believe and those who are skeptical. And it comes with a promise to enlighten and transform us…
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The incarnation is the stunning truth that God himself came to the mess of this earth in order to set it to rights. The Word became flesh and moved into our neighborhood. Inherent in this truth is the offer of forgiveness from God to humanity. Moreover, it announces his intent to dwell with his people forever. The questions John asks us are do we r…
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John identities Jesus as the Word. In the Old Testament, the word of God was the active power of God in revelation, creation and salvation. This is exactly who Jesus is - the embodiment of the revelation, creation, and salvation of God. And it is exactly who Jesus needs to be if he is going to be able to bring restoration to the problem of our worl…
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One of the last things Jesus called his disciples was "witnesses." This identity has it roots all the way back into the Old Testament and God's intent for his people. Though the resurrection of Jesus, we are eyewitnesses to the new creation in our lives. So, we reclaim this identity as God's people sharing and living our stories of transformation i…
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Using imagery from the Old Testament, Peter tells the scattered church that we are a priesthood. As priests we are a worshiping, mediating, exemplary collective. In other words, our purpose is first and foremost to worship God. But in lives of worship, we are also bring God near to others and bring them near to him while we live differently as an e…
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As adopted children of God, we are heirs of the full bounty of his kingdom. We have been given the Spirit of God as a guarantee of this full inheritance. This means we experience it now in part, but ultimately we will have it in its fullness. At the core, our inheritance is a vital, sustaining relationship with God himself and all the glory that co…
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How did the harmony and idealism of creation descend into chaos? Humanity rejected its God-given identity in pursuit of another one. Rather than be content as image bearers, we want to be like God. At the core of this reach is a lack of belief in the trustworthiness and goodness of God. And the result is damaging to every single relationship within…
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In creating humanity, God has given us a clear purpose. We are called to fill the earth by displaying his character and glory in our lives. We are called to subdue creation by ruling and cultivating it like God intends. A major way we do this is through our vocations. And we are called to enjoy the creation along with our Creator. This is what it m…
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The Bible is clear that it is God who causes us to thrive. This is not a false health and wealth, name it and claim it proposition. Instead, true thriving looks like reconnecting to what it means to be truly human. When we lean into God's way, he causes our spiritual life and our mission to thrive - no matter the season or circumstances of life.…
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It is the way of God that leads to thriving. How do we live God's way? At the core, we have to desire God himself. When we are deeply aware of what God has done and is doing, our affection for him grows. That's why the psalmist tells us to meditate on it day and night. God has brought us out of sin and slavery and into a new family and blessing. Je…
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Jesus tells us that eternal life is the full experience of knowing God - being in an intimate, life giving relationship with him. This is the blessed life. The path toward this blessing starts with an awareness of the seriousness of sin. In all its forms, sin creates separation between God and us. It is only through Jesus that this gap is closed. A…
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Self-control implies a power exerted over yourself. Its not so much self effort as it is self-submission to the Spirit. It submits our personal desires to the Spirit of God. Self-control is exhibited in an internal tending to our soul, not simply an external act of behavior modification. It is nowhere more beautifully seen than on the cross where J…
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Gentleness is not weakness or timidity. Rather it passion and volition in submission to a greater reality. Biblical gentleness, then, is passion fully submitted to God and the forward move of his kingdom. It is our arrogance in the view or ourselves and our desired path forward that keeps us from being gentle. Jesus is the epitome of gentleness. As…
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Faithfulness is the restful of active trust in God. It is consistency and persistence in faith to the benefit of those around us. God shows us what faithfulness is like through his commitment to keep his promises and his ongoing compassion. In the same way, we should avoid the tendency to disengage with God or his church and instead lean into his m…
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Biblical kindness is goodness made useful to others. It moves toward people to meet their needs. Kindness looks like acts of mercy, even to those we might consider enemies. And it sounds like using our words to build others up. This is exactly what God has done for us. When we fully embrace the kindness of God, we see the fruit of kindness grow in …
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Peace is not a feeling. It is a fruit. It is the offering of new creation only found through Jesus to the broken world around us. Where the fruit of peace is growing, injustice is decreasing, harmony within creation is rising and unity in the church is championed. This kind of peacemaking is only possible when we have truly embraced the peace that …
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