There are lots of ways to change the world--pick one!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

DAY THREE (John 3)

Chapter 3 aught to come with a warning; "proceed with caution."  While John 3 contains some of the most often quoted versus in all of the Bible, it remains one of the most controversial.  Chapter 3 gives us the heart of the Gospel, telling the readers that God's central passion is for fallen mankind and that to know God, you must be born from above. 

The controversy stems from the teaching of this chapter that Jesus is not just "a way" to God, but the only way.  John then goes on to say that few believe in Jesus for who he truly is and that those who reject Jesus as God's Son will not receive eternal life.  The Bible says that the way is very narrow (Mt. 7:13-14) and that there is only one mediator that can reconcile God and man and that is the person of Jesus (I Tim. 2:5).  It's easy to think about God loving the world but how hard is it for you to think about a God who judges those who do not beleive in His only Son?   How do you reconcile a God who loves mankind with such a passion and yet says that those who are not born again remain under God's angry judgment?  Is it hard to see God as both loving and just?

As you have been reading John, have you noticed the crowds gathering around Jesus in these first 3 chapters?  The Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) often pan the crowds and tell us the various reasons why people followed Jesus.  Some were fascinated, some wanted to see miraculous signs, some wanted political freedom from Rome and some thought is was the "in" thing to do.  Notice back in chapter 2:24 that even though people began following Him, Jesus did not entrust Himself to them because He knew their hearts.  In the words Jesus asked Peter; who do you say that Jesus really is? 

As you contemplate this incredible chapter, what difference does the truth of the passage make in the way you view your freindships and those God brings in your life?  If what John says is true, for every single person you meet or come to know, there really is only one question that really matters.  What is their relationship with Jesus?  Are we too comfortable with simply helping people--raising money for good causes that are temporal--helping people to become good citizens--feeding and clothing the poor?  These are all great things and things that Jesus encouraged and modeled.  But, if ultimately, we don't share the truth of salvation, have we really loved our neighbor?

Today, are you willing to step out of your comfort zone and share with those you know the single truth that will make the difference between an eternity with Christ and one without Him? Perhaps you might start with jotting down a list of names that God brings to mind and begin praying for them today.  Ask God to let you see the world through His eyes.  Remember that none of us deserve God's grace.  God's offer of salvation through Jesus is simple and free. Why be shy about sharing the best thing that ever happened in your life? If you won the lottery today, would you keep that news to yourself or begin calling your friends?  Go for it and watch God use you to make an eternal difference in someone's life!

Monday, June 28, 2010

DAY TWO (John 2)

John chapter two records Jesus' first Miracle.  I love the fact Jesus' first miracle is done at a party with friends! 

Notice how clearly John distinguishes Jesus' role and the role of Mary and the servants.  Mary had a problem and what did she do?  She recognized it and then immediately turned it over to God.   And then with complete trust in Him, she tells the servants to do whatever Jesus says! Mary could rest knowing God was now in charge of the problem.

I think John is helping us understand that there are certain things we can do and there are certain things only God can do.  When I start trying to do or control those things that only God can do,  fear can quickly take over and I start feeling overwelmed.   How often do you try and carry the burden of what only God can do?  What things today do you need to just turn over to God and tell him that you cannot handle them but you know he can.   Then, our job is simply to follow Jesus and trust Him with the results. 

Did you notice Jesus' statement to His Mom that His "time has not yet come "?  In other words, God’s plan had a perfect divine timing despite the fact the hosts of this party probably were starting to freak out.  Do you know that God’s timing is perfect in every challenge you face today or in the weeks ahead?  If you have turned over the problems you can not handle and are trusting God, he will be on time—not early, not late—just perfectly “on time.” 

What is the end result of facing life's challenges Jesus way?  John tell us that the end result is that God is glorified (verse 11) and his followers believed.   God is using the things you are going through right now--taking you out of your comfort zone-- to strengthen your faith.  Can you trust this day to God to handle what is weighing you down?  Turn it over to him---you can't but God can.  Remember His track record is perfect!

Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus is an old hymn, but  the words still hit home with me.

    ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
 Just to take Him at His Word;
 Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
    Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
 How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
 Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

DAY ONE (John 1)

The Gospel of John is a favorite of many--including me!  If you are new to your bible, it's a great place to start.  The author is John.  He was called a "son of thunder" and "the disciple that Jesus loved".  John's Dad Zebedee  (like John) was a fisherman.  His Mom was Salome and may have been the sister of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

The theme of the Gospel of John is the deity of Jesus.  As you read through the first 18 versus of this Gospel, what do you see as a theme or purpose of the book?  Take a look at John 20:31 as well concerning John's purpose.

Look at John 1:14.  Think about the creator taking on human form.  Why do you think Jesus  became just like us and lived, played, worked and served our world?  What does that say about how he wants to relate to you?

As we find Jesus calling his disciples in this chapter (John 1:35),  how much does he tell these guys in terms of his future plans for them?  What is the one thing he asks of them?  What does that teach you about the way God wants to guide you?

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you any specific things in this chapter he would like you to apply to your life.  Be a good listener and enjoy the journey today!

21 days with Jesus

This last Sunday I closed my message with this question:  how are we arranging our days in such a way that allows us to hear from God?  That is my own challenge.  I simply cannot hear the voice of God over the noise of the world.    In light of that reality, I invited each person to spend the next 21 days with Jesus in a rather simple way.  Why 21?  Because that is the number of chapters in the Gospel of John.  We passed out bookmarks with three reflection questions to start your day and three to review your day.  So, along with readying a Chapter of John, we are taking a few moments to start and end our day in order to experience the wonder and peace that comes from drawing close to Jesus (James 4:8).  Each day, beginning today, I will post a few thoughts or questions around that day's chapter from John.  All in all, it will take about 30 minutes.  Feel free to post a comment or note on this blog as God challenges you, gives you insight and speaks to you through our friend John.  And remember, the close the walk, the clearer the plan!

Pastor Jeff

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sojourn on Mission!

Thanks to the Sojourners who helped us set up and serve our community at the Mosaic Festival.  I am continually amazed at your hearts and sacrifice!  What a great privilege we have of serving a city with over 100 languages from many countries around the world!  

“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.  And you will be a light to guide the nations.  You will open the eyes of the blind.  You will free the captives from prison,  releasing those who sit in dark dungeons."  Is. 42

Saturday, June 19, 2010

When Life Overwhelms Us

When Life overwhelms us its time to step back and rediscover God's purpose for us.  Join us this Sunday as we begin two weeks on discovering God's purpose in our life as we continue our study in the amazing book of James. This Sunday: Navigating Our Tomorrows. Kirsten Vogel will also bring us news from her recent trip to Uganda during our Sojourn on Mission segment. 10:00AM @ Sojourn!

MOSAIC FESTIVAL - Saturday, June 19th

This Saturday from 5-8pm, Sojourn Community Church will be "on location" at the Mosaic Festival in downtown Greensboro. 

The Mosaic Festival is a celebration of the many cultures that make up our community.  Art, music, food and dancing will be plentiful at this family event.  Sojourn is happy to be a sponsor for the festival, offering several volunteers for the event and a craft table for the children who attend.
Come enjoy an evening out with your family in downtown Greensboro this Saturday!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Dear Sojourners and friends of Sojourn:

I want to take just a moment to encourage you to be with us this Sunday, June 6th if at all possible.  During the morning message, I will be sharing with you where the leadership senses God is leading us in year two of our ministry. It will be one of the most informative Sundays of the year and one you don't want to miss.

As I was studying the book of James for the message this Sunday, I was reminded again that God has and continues to choose ordinary people to do extraordinary things-things that really matter-- not just in this life, but for eternity.   This is our time, in our city, in this season to go and do what only God can do - to let him align our hearts and passions with his kingdom purposes so that we might create a culture of hope in a world that longs for meaning and relationship.  We invite you to share and think and dream and pray with us as we seek no other agenda then the glorious privilege of being used by God.  

Let me remind you of the quote I shared this last Sunday from Gregg Levoy that "Jesus promised those who follow him only three things: That they would be absurdly happy, entirely fearless, and always in trouble." Remember, if we are in our comfort zone, we are probably not on mission.

See you Sunday,

Pastor Jeff