Do you have to die to experience eternal life? – John 14:1-14, Preview

Do you have to die to experience eternal life?  You might think, “Yes, of course…isn’t that the definition of eternal life: ‘Life after death’?” Maybe not.  Think about it this way: Does Jesus really just want us all to die so we can experience eternal life?  Is there another way to think about it?  I believeContinue reading “Do you have to die to experience eternal life? – John 14:1-14, Preview”

Cliques in the church and loving difficult people – John 13:18-38, Part 5

Over the years, people have said there are cliques in the church, and they don’t believe there shouldn’t be cliques in the church.  A clique is a small group of people who like to be together and can be adverse to others joining them.  What do you think? Are cliques antithetical to Christianity? In theContinue reading “Cliques in the church and loving difficult people – John 13:18-38, Part 5”

Coronation, emotional whiplash and…love? – John 13:18-38, Part 4

Jesus has only mere hours left before he leaves his disciples in a mess. It’s the night of his arrest, and he has just revealed the identity of the disciple who would betray him, Judas Iscariot. As we trace the logic of what Jesus says next, it seems that Jesus is feeling lots of emotionalContinue reading “Coronation, emotional whiplash and…love? – John 13:18-38, Part 4”

God’s message to us when life seems out of control – Jeremiah 46 & 47

Over my years of pastoral ministry, when people experience sickness, lose a job or mourn the passing of a loved one, they have often asked the question, “Why did God allow that to happen?”  In those painful situations, it’s quite natural to wonder what role God might have behind the scenes.  Some go so farContinue reading “God’s message to us when life seems out of control – Jeremiah 46 & 47”

When all seems lost, we can still choose hope – John 13:17-38, Part 3

Jesus has just shocked his disciples with the news that one of them will betray him. Understandably, they want to know which of them could do such a thing. That leads a deeply dark moment in this story.  Look at verses 26-30, “Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this pieceContinue reading “When all seems lost, we can still choose hope – John 13:17-38, Part 3”

Why we need to see ourselves as links in a missional chain – John 13:18-38, Part 2

Leadership is lonely, or so some say. As a pastor since 2002, I have felt that loneliness from time to time. Frankly, some loneliness is self-imposed. “I can do it better myself,” we think. Or we don’t want to put in the work to involve others. Maybe we struggle to release our grip on aContinue reading “Why we need to see ourselves as links in a missional chain – John 13:18-38, Part 2”

When you shouldn’t tell a leopard by its spots – John 13:18-38, Part 1

“You can tell a leopard by its spots.” “You can know a tiger by its stripes.” Are these phrases always true? I don’t think so. When I take my dog running, we almost always run by the home of a neighbor a few doors down from us. They have ornamental sheep in their front flowerContinue reading “When you shouldn’t tell a leopard by its spots – John 13:18-38, Part 1”

Are people ever too far gone? – John 13:18-38, Preview

Have you felt as though some people are just too far gone, as if there is no hope for them?  Maybe it is a relative who has made a series of poor choices.  Maybe it is a friend who has struggled for years.  Maybe you wonder about yourself.  It could be the person who isContinue reading “Are people ever too far gone? – John 13:18-38, Preview”

Why followers of Jesus go lower and lower to serve – John 13:1-17, Part 5

All week long, we’ve been studying the famous story in which Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. Why did he do it? Jesus explains why in John 13, verses 12-17. “When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?”Continue reading “Why followers of Jesus go lower and lower to serve – John 13:1-17, Part 5”

We need Jesus to wash us? – John 13:1-17, Part 4

When Jesus says that unless he washes Peter’s feet, Peter has no part with him, that gets Peter’s attention.  Peter responds a characteristically big way, as we read in John 13, verse 9, “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” A classic overreaction from Peter. Continue reading “We need Jesus to wash us? – John 13:1-17, Part 4”