Jesus Is The Good Shepherd

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11) This passage is an agrarian depiction of life that Jesus’ disciples would have easily understood. The hills around Galilee were filled with sheep and shepherds. Jesus describes the true motivation behind a shepherd in 1st Century Palestine.

The shepherd had three main tasks. First, to know and call the sheep. The sheep knew the real shepherd’s voice and he would name them, so he could call them out individually. (John 10:14) Jesus called out and calls out everyone who will follow Him. Second, the shepherd was to feed and protect the flock from wolves and robbers. (John 10:8-10) Jesus’ whole ministry was spent shepherding His people and providing a place for refuge for them.  Finally, the shepherd was to lay down His life for the sheep. (John 10:17-18) Sheep were so valuable in that day that shepherds lost their lives protecting and rescuing them. Jesus is our Good Shepherd laying down His life for the World.

One theologian said it this way, “After the Resurrection, Jesus did not invite His disciples to a time of communion on the Mount of Transfiguration. He said, ‘Feed my sheep.”- Oswald Chambers

Pastor Johnny

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Our Treasure In Jars Of Clay

“(7) But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (8) We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; (9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (10) always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.”          (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)

What is the most valuable item you own? Your car, a house, a wrist watch. I saw where an NFL football player had a watch that cost him $25,000. Wow! Everyone places value on things they have or the people they love. The Apostle Paul paints a picture for us how as believers in Jesus we have a “treasure”, which is described as the light of the Gospel, that spreads hope and direction to all who will believe. The gospel shines even in persecution, we can be struck down, but the impact of the gospel cannot be destroyed. It is by Jesus’ death we can live, and in our life, we should carry the marks of His death, which is sacrifice and love for all who need Him.

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Taking a Knee

Bowing and kneeling are two of the most humbling expressions we can make. When we bow and kneel, we are showing honor and respect to the one we are kneeling in front of. The Psalmist encourages us in Psalm 95 to bow and kneel before God our Creator. God is our creator and He alone is worthy of our worship. We often worship so many other things beside God. Why do we so quickly worship idols? People make lousy idols, they always disappoint, and money makes a lousy idol –  it only brings fleeting happiness. Our nature tends to lead us to idol worship, instead of humbling ourselves before God and worshiping Him with our entire lives. Jesus described worship this way, “my sheep hear my voice and know me as their shepherd.” If we are the “sheep of His pasture”, we should strive to hear His voice and follow His lead. Jesus, being our Good Shepherd, wants to lead us to green pastures and beside still waters that only He can provide. Bow and kneel before God today as His humble sheep, and He will lead you into abundance.

In Christ,

Pastor Johnny

This Is Us

This is Us, is a popular TV show detailing the lives of everyday families searching for lasting significance. However, we often search in all the wrong places for satisfaction, love, and self-worth. What if our homes searched for Christ?

Luke 19 details the account of Zacchaeus searching for Jesus. Jesus met Zacchaeus where he was and told him, “today I will abide in your house.” (Luke 19:5) Zacchaeus’ life and home were rocked that day. He was not the same after meeting, dining with, and seeking to follow Christ with his entire life. “Many homes have been rescued from unhappiness and ruin by the entrance of the Savior.”

Jesus visits and so much rearranges; mothers reflect His purity, fathers reflect His patience and sacrifice, and children reflect His humble submission to our Heavenly Father. Simply put, our lives change when we meet Jesus. Does your home glow with peace, devotion, and good will from meeting Jesus? One author wrote it this way. “The Christian home is earth’s sweetest picture of Heaven.”

This must be us! Allow Jesus to abide, stay, and rearrange the furniture of your house, and you will be so glad you did. He is knocking, let Him in today.

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

The Love of God

One of the central themes of Scripture is the love of God.  We must see how God has woven a thread of redeeming love through the Bible, culminating with the greatest expression of love, Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus came for a people who needed to be redeemed. The definition of redemption is to be bought back, to be reclaimed usually through some cost, or to be recovered or rescued. God sent Jesus on the ultimate rescue mission, one that would cost Him his life. He knew all of it and yet he still came and gave his life for you and me. True love requires sacrifice, is selfless, and is honorable. 1 John 3 describes the amazing love of God that needs to be present in all our lives. “We love because he loved us first.” He revealed that love by giving His life as a ransom for many. How has God’s love been present in your life? Are you revealing that love daily?

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Abide in Christ

All throughout history mankind has attempted to pinpoint when Jesus Christ will return to earth. The Truth from Scripture is that, “not even He knows the time, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) The one sure thing we know is that He is coming back, and He instructs us, “to be abide in Him.” (John 15:4-5) He describes the return like a thief in the night, or a sudden event.  However, his church has been summoned to set the example of abiding in Christ. He comes with salvation for, “all who believe and judgment for those who reject His message of hope and forgiveness.” (John 3:16-17)

He wants us to be a faithful servant who prepares by abiding in the vine as a growing branch.  Jesus’ return will not be a silent one either, it is described the Apostle Paul as a “trumpet blast and shouting.(1 Thess. 4:15-17) It will be a time of reckoning for some and time of joy for others. There is no middle ground, we are all responsible for our own decisions to follow and trust Christ. Religion won’t save you, good works won’t save you, and you cannot save yourself. Abiding in Jesus will be what matters and you just need to be ready.

Abiding In Christ,

Pastor Johnny

A Global Gospel

The gospel means “good news”. It is literally the best news anyone could ever receive. Why do we keep it to ourselves so often? The good news is that the sin we all struggle with is already conquered in our lives through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The good news is for everyone. Jesus came to sacrifice His life so all who would hear and believe could be saved. The gospel is global because Jesus told His disciples to go to all the nations, people groups, and nationalities to make disciples. The Church’s main goal is to multiply. This happens when disciples make disciples who make disciples. The point is simple, we have a command from our King and there can be no surrender and no retreat. Join us in going across the street and around the world with the good news of salvation for all who will believe. (Matthew 28:18-20 & Acts 1:8)

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Is He Your King?

The Christ child did not merely come to earth to be born in a manger, live a normal life, and die of old age. Jesus came to bring redemption for all mankind. He came to be the son of man, Emmanuel, and Son of God! He came as a servant, but will return as a King. The Magi brought gifts fitting only for a Prophet, Priest, and King for they understood the brevity of His life. The baby in the manger would grow up and teach the world what it meant to love sacrificially, and write eternity on the hearts of all who would believe. Philippians 2:10 states, “one day every knee will bow, those who are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” All will recognize Jesus as their rightful ruler. (Matthew 2:1-12)

Answer these questions. Who or what is Lord of my life? Have I pledged my allegiance to another King? Do I humbly serve my King with my whole heart? How you answer these questions will determine your place in the Kingdom of God. The Advent season should remind us of the most important decision one could ever make – making Jesus your King. He is worthy of all worship and praise, and He died so we could live. Live for King Jesus today! (Revelation 19)

On Mission,
Pastor Johnny

Thanksgiving History

“In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving” — although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time — the festival lasted for three days. ” Thanksgiving Day stands to commemorate the religious and political freedom sought by those oppressed by the English government. Modern day traditions may vary, especially from the original celebration, but one thing remains. It should remind us to be thankful for our freedom to worship and live in a free nation. God gave the first Puritan and Pilgrim settlers the courage and wisdom to seek after freedom. May we never forget the sacrifice many gave to preserve the freedom to worship our great God! Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (1 Chronicles 16:34)

(http://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving)

On Mission,

Pastor Johnny

Thankful Generosity

When is the last time you recall giving generously or sacrificing your time, talent and treasure for someone else without expecting anything in return? How did you feel? How did the other person respond?  Patrick Johnson writes, “Genuine Christianity compels us to become a generous person because the central act of our faith is an act of thankfulness.” The Apostle Paul explained it best in 2 Corinthians 8:8-9, “I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”  There are some key generous aspects of these verses. First, Paul establishes grace as the core of God’s generous love and is not out of coercion, but a voluntary act of sacrifice and redemption. Second, he encourages us to model God’s grace that He has given to us freely. Finally, it is our goal as believers to live out His generosity, which is the very heart of God, to those around us.

Thankfully,

Pastor Johnny