Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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24 Thaddeus Jude – “Questioning God” – Part 1

John 14:15-26
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” 22 Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” 23 Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
Many of us have had experienced the non stop inquisitive questions of little kids. Generally these questions tend to fall into one of three categories.
Tiresome “Are we there yet” “When can I go to school?”
Technical questions … “How do those pictures get on the TV?” “Why is the grass green?”
Tricky questions … “Where do babies come from?” “Why don’t I have hair under my arm?”
Questions! Questions! Questions! And when we get to the point where we have said, “Stop asking so many questions!” They say … “Why Dad?” Have you ever asked a question? Why do people ask so many questions? Because that is how we learn. The disciples were like little kids they asked Jesus lots of questions because they wanted to understand. In John 13-16 John tells us about one discussion that took place between Jesus and the disciples. In that one discussion they ask at least 5 questions.
• “Lord, who is it?”
• “Lord, where are You going?”
• “Lord … how can we know the way?”
• “Lord, why do You intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
• “Lord what do You mean by, ‘a little while’?”
This discussion takes place in the upper room, Jesus and His disciples are sharing their last evening together at what we know as The Last Supper, when Jesus instituted communion. Tomorrow Jesus will hanging on a cross, but tonight He teaches them and even though they have been with Jesus for more than 3 years they have so many questions. Jesus teaches them about the kingdom of God, about His relationship to the Father, about the Holy Spirit, and how all of this relates to them and the people who will become believers and followers after them. In this section, Jesus has just told the disciples that after He is gone, the Holy Spirit will come and that Jesus will once again reveal Himself to His disciples, but not to the rest of the world. This causes one of Jesus disciples, Judas, not Judas Iscariot, to ask an important question. Today we are introduced to the 10th disciple Thaddaeus, a man with three names.
Thaddaeus – Praise be to God
Lebbaeus – Man of courage
Judas – God be praised
The meaning of his names are interesting when we look at Thaddaeus’ question: “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” Thaddaeus question dealt with the issue “How will others see Jesus.” He wanted others to see Jesus just as he had. His question is in line with the meaning of His name God be praised, God be known. I think the question that we need to ask is do we want others to see Jesus, do we want God to be praised and to be known. As Jesus answers Thaddaeus question it seems like He doesn’t answer the question but just repeats Himself. Yet John write “Jesus answered” and when we look closer we realize not only has He answered the question but we see the depth of His answer and realize Thaddaeus had just missed it, so patient Jesus repeats Himself. I think one of the most important questions we need to ask is “When you ask God a question are you willing to hear His answer and not the answer you want to hear? Seeing the Savior means:
1. Spiritual Sight not just physical
I don’t know about you but when you first read this section your first thought is, “What is Jesus talking about?” No wonder Thaddaeus has a question. What did all this mean? Where would all this lead? There was so much uncertainty, so many questions. I just don’t understand. Have you ever found yourself there? Lord I just don’t understand what you are doing? I don’t see what you are doing Jesus! How many of you have ever thought this Christian thing would be so much easier if we could just see Jesus. Yet what did Jesus say to Thomas? “blessed are those that have not seen, and yet have believed.” The last time the world saw Jesus was when Nicodemus and Joseph took Him down from the cross and wrapped His body and carried Him away to the tomb. The next time the world sees Jesus He will be coming in His glory and power to judge a sinful world. But those who love Him see Him even now with eyes of faith. The problem is that we value physical sight over spiritual sight. Often we don’t understand and it doesn’t seem to make sense but even though Jesus told them He would leave He also says that we will never be alone. Jesus is teaching the disciples about the work of the Holy Spirit, another One was coming … the Counselor. Physically Jesus is going … the world will see Him no more. But spiritually Jesus is staying … those who trust in Jesus will be given His Spirit. Jesus was saying Judas I know you have a passion for me and for others to see me. I know it doesn’t make sense that I am not going to establish my kingdom here and now, but I want you to know that there is a greater wisdom you do not understand right now. This isn’t the time to set up my kingdom I have a different mission. I am going to send the Holy Spirit to empower you to share and show me to the world. Jesus is teaching the disciples that He is … and always will be … the only answer to our spiritual needs. He is the answer because we have a great need one we are slow to admit SIN. We are stamped with sin and we don’t really see the Savior until we see our sin. What about you, are you trusting in the trying times? Are you looking to Him in the times when you don’t understand and doubt tries to steer your heart into fear? In the multitude of questions we need to remember that there is only one answer, JESUS.


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23. James – Unknown but not Unwanted – Part 3

Matthew 10:24-42

24 “Students are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. 25 Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.32 “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.34 “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. 35 ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Your enemies will be right in your own household!’ 37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. 40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

Luke 10:17-20

17 When the seventy-two disciples returned, they joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

After being reminded of who is in charge, we now see that we are called to be:

  1. COWORKERS

We are called to be coworkers, yet many Christians have made it about their cares or their comfort and convenience instead of the call. Jesus is glad to have us as His coworkers, but we need to realize that the Christian life is not one of comfort but one of conflict. It’s here that we see:

  • The Certaintyvs 24-25 – Just as He is persecuted so will His disciples be. Discipleship is costly
  • The CareVs 26-31 – Don’t focus on what others can do focus on what God can do. He cares for His sheep
  • The ConflictVs 34-39 – We want to cling to our life to comfort but the truth is that Christianity divides people.
  • The CompensationVs 32-42 – We will be:
  1. Honored by the Son in the presence of the Father.
  2. We will find our life
  3. Given great rewards.

I want to encourage you to write your own story. Be a key disciple in the family of Jesus, because that is what Jesus gave His life for. There is a good chance your story won’t become a best-selling book. Most likely we will all stand in line with James son of Alphaeus who represents a long line of disciples of whose stories are unrecorded and unknown. And it will be a story full of mistakes, failings, second chances and missed opportunities. Yet that is OK because while others might not see the story we write Jesus does and He will bless you for it.

  1. CHALLENGE

Jesus first sent out the Twelve by twos, then He sent out other disciples. Both times, Jesus gave those He was sending out power over sickness, disease and demons. When they return what are they excited to report? “even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”We tend to rejoice over the results, but it’s here that Jesus makes a remarkable statement. He says, Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven. Instead of rejoicing based on results we should be rejoicing over the relationship. Their names are written in heaven as are ours when we are a child of God. We focus on the temporary instead of the eternal. The message here is that it’s not about the miracles it’s about the Master. Jesus is saying. “That is where you will be one day with me. That is what really maters.” The most important thing of all is that your names are written in heaven.

  1. CONFIDENCE

Here in Revelation John describes the new heaven and the new earth … what it will be like when Jesus returns. In that vision he describes the New Jerusalem and part of the description says: Revelation 21:14 “The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”the name of James son of Alphaeus, a person who is barely mentioned in the Bible will get the same recognition as all the other apostles. Inscribed and immortalized into the very foundation of the New Jerusalem. And for us our name will be written in a very significant book which Revelation 20:15 calls the Book of Life and “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Today you might feel like a great unknown but your significance is not found in being known but being named. When you have your name in God’s book you aren’t just known your loved. So, what about you, are you saved is your name in God’s book of life?