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getting out the WORD - the sixth sunday of easter
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 09 May 2018 10:32

the PRAYER...
O God, you have prepared for those who love you joys beyond understanding. Pour into our hearts such love for you that, loving you above all things, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all we can desire; through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
[Jesus said:] "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love."

John 15:9-17

the DEVOTION...
I watched a movie, last week. Watched it twice, in fact. Come Sunday on Netflix. Born in Southern California, graduate of Oral Roberts University, protege of Oral Roberts himself, Carlton Pearson is the perfect example of a successful preacher... right up to the moment he stops believing in hell! And then, all bets are off! "You don't have to 'get' saved," he told his congregation, "God's already done that!" Two thousand years ago, on a hilltop, outside the walls of Jerusalem! And because of that message, he loses it all. Big church. Big car. Big house. Big everything.

Detractors - as well as family and friends - would ask, "But what if you're wrong?" What if faith isn't just about Jesus, about the cross, about love? What if faith isn't that simple, that easy? What if we do have to confess with our lips and believe in our hearts? What if we do have to obey? What if faith is about god's judgment and eternal fire? We can't take the chance. There's too much at stake. Too much to lose.

And, you know, at least in the movie, he never answered! Not one word! And I wanted him to! So badly, I wanted him to! I wanted him to challenge them! To dare them! I wanted him to look them in the eyes when they got in his face and I wanted him to say... "But what if I'm right?"

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the fifth sunday of easter
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 02 May 2018 11:06

the PRAYER...
O God, you give us your Son as the vine apart from whom we cannot live. Nourish our life in his resurrection, that we may bear the fruit of love and know the fullness of your joy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
[Jesus said:] "Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned."

John 15:1-8

the DEVOTION...
I came across a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the other day, that's been bothering me. Guilty conscience, I guess. "A pastor," he writes, "should never complain about his - or her - congregation. A congregation has not been entrusted to them in order that they should become its accusers."

Call it youthful zeal or exuberance, but I have to confess, there was a time I was very good at doing just that. Complaining. Accusing. Not the whole congregation, mind you. But I knew, exactly, who the branches were that bore no fruit! And I was only too eager to prune and gather up and toss into the flames. And the church would be so much better for it. After all, it is only biblical! Chapter! Verse!

Well, I've mellowed over the years. Or, hopefully, I've learned a little along the way. "Who will bring any charge against God's elect," Paul wrote to the church, "Who's to condemn?" The pastor? The preacher? The minister? Maybe it's enough, simply, to do what Jesus did! To do what Jesus does! Maybe it's enough, just, to LOVE!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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