Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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9. Philip – The Problem and the Provider – Part 1

John 6:1-13, Mark 6:30-36

Mark 6:30-34

30 The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. 31 Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. 32 So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. 33 But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. 34 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

John 6:1-4

After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, also known as the Sea of Tiberias. 2 A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went, because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick. 3 Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him. 4 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)

Mark 6:35-36

35 Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. 36 Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”

John6:5-13

5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” 6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. 7 Philip replied, “Even if we worked for months, we wouldn’t have enough money to feed them!”8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up. 9 “There’s a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?”10 “Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) 11 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted. 12 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples, “Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted.” 13 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.

As we look at the life of Philip we discover in John 1:43 that the day after Andrew brought Simon to Jesus that Jesus called Philip to follow Him. Philip was from Bethsaida, which was also Andrew and Peter’s hometown. Philip is always listed fifth among the apostles. In John 14 when Jesus said don’t let your hearts be troubled that for I am going to prepare a place and Thomas asked the way, to which Jesus said I am the way, the truth, Philip responded by asked Jesus to show them the Father because he still did not get it. Today we are going to look at a very familiar story, the feeding of the 5000 which begins with a:

  • Problem

They had a big problem over 5000 hungry people, the time of day puts the pressure on, it was getting late. But there was a bigger problem which prevented them from dealing with the hunger problem it’s the human problem, the disciples are tired and empty themselves. Mark 6:30-34 reveals that they had just come back from a ministry tour and because they were tired and hungry Jesus called them to come away and rest. The goal was quiet and rest, but the crowds keep coming, the needs never ended. As a result, they are now trying to serve out of emptiness and exhaustion. The truth is empty people can’t fill empty people. Weariness will always cloud our perspective on problems. The only way to serve is to rely on Jesus. Because it’s here that we discover that in the midst of the mess Jesus was:

  • Prepared

So how does the Master respond? He asks a question designed, not to alleviate pressure, but to increase it: “Phillip, where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?”Jesus does not immediately give the answer; he asks a hard question. Jesus does not calm their concerns; he cranks up the heat by clarifying the problem. Jesus anticipated the need and He wanted to get His disciples to start processing, so they could gain a perspective on the real problem. Jesus does this by asks a question. Many times, in scripture God ask us questions, like with Job and his problems?  Why, so we can gain perspective and see the real problem. God doesn’t ask us questions because He is hoping that we have a great solution for Him but because He wants us to see that He is the solution for us. When you see the real problem for what it is you will see that the magnitude of the mess requires a Messiah not me. As people we want the ease of the “right” answer, but Jesus doesn’t answer He questions. He is about to show that He provides for our every need, but to get there He begins with a question which exposes our shortcomings. We need to remember that God is prepared for our problems He already has a Plan. He already knew that even if the disciples were fully fed and rested they still could not have met the need in their own strength and ability. It’s not our plan that will meet people’s needs but His. The truth is you can’t meet people’s needs apart from Jesus. He invites us to join Him in ministry, yet so often we act as if it’s our plan and we are inviting Him into our ministry. The only way for us to participate is to agree with His plan and follow it explicitly. Are you prepared for the problems you face, are you relying on Jesus or resting in your own ability?

 


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8. James and John – Give Them Thunder – Part 2

Luke 9:51-56

51 As the time drew near for him to ascend to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 He sent messengers ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. 53 But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. 54 When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 So they went on to another village.

It’s here that we come to the:

  1. Rejection

Rejection was nothing new for Jesus in fact it’s how his ministry began. Matthew 13:57 tells us that Jesus was rejected by his hometown and they refused to believe in him, “And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.”Now toward the end of His ministry Jesus is still being rejected but notice it did not stop him then and it does not stop him now. He was rejected at the beginning, during and at the end of His ministry. But just because Jesus is rejected does not cause Him to reject His Father’s will. So many of us react to rejection instead of remaining focused. We focus on the attacks instead of on the Almighty. We let rejection cause us to reject God’s call because we focus on the problems instead of His plan. What about you are you being driven by rejection or the Redeemer? It’s here in the midst of the rejection that we see the:

  1. Retaliation

How did James and John react to Jesus rejection. Like them may of us react instead of responding. What’s the difference, one is based on our feelings the other is filtered through the heart of the Father. How we respond reveals our real heart. What these disciples requested reveal what they wanted, to release fire instead of forgiveness and freedom. For people to be reduced instead of rescued. What do you request fire or forgiveness? The truth is hurt people hurt and when James and John requested fire from heaven I think they were thinking of Elijah in 2 Kings 1:10 who called fire down on the king’s soldiers who wanted to arrest him. It’s so easy to take rejection personally, instead of making it about the person of Jesus. Look there will always be those who will receive and those who reject the Savior and the truth is Jesus came so they wouldn’t have to experience the fire and be vaporized. What do you desire to see released on people who reject Jesus, fire or forgiveness?  Do you desire to see people rescued or reduced?  While none of us like rejection the hidden benefit is that it will revealed your real heart. What it revealed for these disciples is that they wanted to judge, Jesus wanted to save. They wanted to demand their rights, Jesus gave them mercy. They responded in anger, Jesus responded in grace. Who do you know that is rejecting Jesus, what if right now you stop and take the time to pray for them? It’s here that in the midst of the retaliation that we see Jesus:

  1. Rebuke

Jesus rebuked them because He rejects retaliation as a response to rejection. Rather than responding according to the disciples wishes Jesus shows us the way that God responds to people who are not interested in Him… The “no way” people, He passes right on by. He does not stop…He does not punish but He does not go out of his way to persuade them he keeps on going. Why? Because He is following God’s plan to save them. Notice the people’s rejection does not redirect Jesus. So often we let rejection redirect and derail us. We let rejection consume our thought life until it poisons our attitudes and actions to the point where like the disciples instead of having a heart for people we just want to hurt people. So often we forget the big picture and we respond according to our feelings and pain instead of the Fathers plan. Don’t miss the true danger of rejecting Jesus. The danger of rejection isn’t what James and John, the Sons of Thunder, had in mind, it isn’t that God will strike us down on the spot. The danger of rejection is that Jesus will let us have our way. He never forces them to accept him, instead He just goes on to another village. If you choose to ignore the call of Jesus, the greatest danger is that he’ll let you. Jesus continued on to reach God’s goal, don’t let rejection be the obstacle that prevents you from following God’s plan. It’s here lastly that we see the:

  1. Redemption

So how did they respond to rebuke, they repented and became different people. That is the beauty of redemption we don’t have to remain the same. Look at the evidence of this change in Acts 8:14-17“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15 As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16 The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.God can make something out of messed up lives if we truly repent from our sins. James and John went from Samaria to Jerusalem requesting to call down destructive fire from heaven but in Acts 8:14 John went from Jerusalem to Samaria praying for these same people to receive the fire of the Holy Spirit. Are you bringing the fire of hurt or the fire of the Holy Spirit to bare in the lives of those around you?  Changing lives, that is the business which Jesus is in. John had the nickname “Son of Thunder” … but became known as “The Disciple of Love” who wrote in 1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God” They didn’t remain the same because the reality of the cross changed their lives. That’s what the cross is all about, it’s not a place where sinners are vaporized but sin is vanquished. The question is, will we be like James and John before the cross responding out of rejection or after the cross responding from redemption?