You ain’t seen nothing yet

The Gospel text for Sunday is from John 1:43-51.  This is the account of Jesus calling Philip and Nathanael.  Jesus tells Philip to “Follow me” and he does (maybe not literally at first) and goes to find Nathanael.  Upon hearing that this “prophet” is from Nazareth Nathanael promptly asks, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  Nazareth seemed like such an unlikely place for a prophet to come from, but Philip says, “Come and see“.  Nathanael does “come and see” and what he sees is a “prophet” who knew more about him than he thought.  Nathanael is so amazed at what he hears he immediately makes a confession of faith; “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”  Nathanael makes this confession of faith based on what he hears but Jesus basically says, “You ain’t seen nothing yet” (Jesus actually used better grammar than that but I thought it fit).

Our evangelistic efforts with people involves more than just telling people about Jesus, but it should also include showing people Jesus.
We do this through our actions.
We do this through bring them to worship where we experience Jesus in the preached Word and the sacraments.
We show people Jesus through the fellowship of other believers.
We show people Jesus through service.
Telling people about Jesus is one thing…but they ain’t seen nothing yet.

Nathanael didn’t believe until he experienced Jesus first hand.  And even then; even during that first encounter he hadn’t experienced truly who Jesus was.
That is why we keep coming back.
That is why we don’t just read the Bible once.
That is why we worship each and every week.
One encounter with Jesus is great, but if you liked that then you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Come and see” is great advice…but remember to keep coming and to keep seeing.  For as Jesus says “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.


Happy New Year

I am returning from yet another prolonged absence.  The past week and a half I have been on vacation.   The days after Christmas Connie and I did our yearly routine of three Christmas’ in three states in three days (Iowa, Minnesota,South Dakota).  This past week I have been home being a bum.  One would say I had plenty of time to blog, but I was taking a vacation from nearly everything (not my wife of course).  I did some odd jobs around the house.  I took down the Christmas lights (taking advantage of the warm weather), I ran outside for a change.  Watched some movies.  Slept in late.  And hung out of the coffee shop.  All in all I had a very restful vacation.  I just hope my body didn’t get too used to sleeping in.

Since my vacation officially ended today I had to do some sermon prep and writing today…something I am not too used to doing on Saturdays.  In any case, I got my sermon done.  The text I am preaching on is John 1:1-18 (focusing on verse 10 where it says, “He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”)  Jesus is all around us but yet we do not see him.  Jesus reveals himself through other people; through those needing help, though those needing to hear the Good News.  Jesus is with us in the waters of baptism.  Jesus is with us in the bread and the wine.  Jesus is with us in our low times and high times.  Jesus walks with us as we enter worship, he walks with us while we work and play.  Jesus is all around us, yet we often do not see him.  Not much has changed since John 1:10 was written.

As we make New Year’s resolutions, maybe we should make a continuing resolution to get to know Jesus better.  But be careful…because this is a resolution that will never be completed.  We can make a resolutions to lose 10 pounds or quit smoking.  If you do this you will know when you accomplished this goal but you still have to continue working at it otherwise you will revert to where you were before you made the resolution.  Getting to know Jesus is something we need to continuing working, and it is a resolution that does not have an identifiable point where you can say “I know Jesus”.  Our relationship with Jesus needs to keep growing.

Look and see Jesus in your neighbor.  Recognize Jesus in every aspect of your life.  Know Jesus as your friend, Savior and Lord.  Resolve to know Jesus better.


Sunday morning prayer — Thank God for for being chosen

Once again I have had a busy September week but my upcoming schedule is starting to look a little better as it usually does towards the end of the month.  I have much to share with you (in addition to my scripture reading highlights).

I do have one little piece of personal news to share with you now, though (actually this is more of an update).  The Twin Cities marathon is 2 weeks from today.  Please remember me in your prayers.  I am growing more and more excited and more and more nervous.  I wonder sometimes if I am ready for this; if there is more I could’ve done or more that I can still do.  I know I can’t back out now after 13+ months of training (even though my mom and my wife wouldn’t mind if I backed out now).  I need to keep chugging along…I know I can do this and I am excited to be able to call myself a marathon runner.

With that…let’s prepare ourselves for worship today by remembering the Gospel text of the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.  My preaching focus today is about the fact that before we do any work in the vineyard we are chosen.  And the problem I see in the Church today is that too many people get caught up with the economics of this world and try to apply them to the Kingdom.  A sense of entitlement creeps into many people’s theology.  But what we need to recapture is our sense of excitement of being chosen in the first place.  It’s like recapturing the new car smell again.  Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16).  Let’s rejoice over being chosen!  Let us pray…

Almighty, loving and gracious God, we desire to be with you but we fall short of your glory through sin. Our feeble efforts do not merit us salvation. It is only through your son that we find life everlasting. Thank you, God, for choosing us. Thank you God for sending us into your vineyard. Thank you God for not treating us as we deserve to be treated. Through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.

Take care and have a very blessed day!