And going into the house they (The magi) saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. [Matthew 2:11-12]

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. [Luke 2:20]

And Jesus said to him (Bartimaeus, who used to be blind), “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. [Mark 10:52]

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he (Jesus) saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus [Matthew 4:18-20]

What do all these texts have in common? It’s OK, you can go back and read them again. I’ll wait…

[Cue Jeopardy theme]



…did you see it?

In all these situations/encounters, the people leave changed. They encountered Jesus and they are changed. The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God. The Magi returned by another way (and I would say figuratively as well; meaning THE Way). Bartimaeus listened to Jesus and went “his way” which happened to be the way of Jesus. Peter and Andrew meet Jesus and when invited/commanded to follow, they dropped everything and followed.

And it makes sense, really. I mean, how does one meet Jesus and not be changed? How does one encounter the Son of God and return to your former way of life? How does one hear, “I love you and I forgive you” and say “That’s nice“? How does one receive the Gospel and not say anything about it?

Jesus changes people.

And so I am lead to conclude that if you are not making your way the way of Jesus then maybe you haven’t met Jesus yet. If you are not proclaiming the Gospel through word and deed then maybe you haven’t received it yet. If you are just going with the flow of culture then maybe you haven’t been confronted by the Son of Man. For you see, when the Good News of Jesus Christ takes hold of you, it takes hold of you. I am not saying that you will be perfect in your following but at least you will know where to turn when you do fall. You will care about the fact that you sinned against God and therefore will seek reconciliation through the blood of the Lamb. Repentance will be your desire. Holiness will be your goal. Worship of God Almighty will be your life.

Jesus changes people.

Therefore I can’t imagine peering into that manger stall without being blown away by the love that had just entered the world through a tiny baby. I can’t imagine standing face to face with Jesus and not dropping everything to be near him. I can’t imagine being powerfully healed by Jesus and not shouting “Alleluia!” for all the world to hear.

Jesus changes people.

I look at what is going on in the world and it saddens me but I am not angry with people. I am not angry with our government. I am not angry with our leaders. I am just saddened because I am part of an institution that has not done enough to introduce people to Jesus. But instead of just sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I need to do a better job of introducing/proclaiming Jesus.

~ Being more bold in my faith
~ Being more bold in practicing forgiveness
~ Being more bold in encouraging people
~ Being more bold in calling people to repentance
~ Being more bold in advocating for the Word of God
~ Being more bold…(God, You fill in the blank)

Change me, oh God, to be who You need me to be for the sake of the Gospel.

Meet Jesus and then “go your way“; following the one who has redeemed you from your sin and show people the love our your Savior. Let the Holy Spirit work through your life and give praise and glory to God our Father.

Let Jesus change you that he may change the world.

Holy Father, send Your Spirit to change people. Send Your Spirit to embolden people. Send Your Spirit to save people. And in the end may Your children praise and worship You. Glory be to You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ Great Joy

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. [Matthew 2:10-11]

What gives you great joy?
~ Seeing a beautiful sunset
~ Your children
~ A healthy looking checkbook balance
~ Athletic success
~ Good health
~ A full sanctuary
~ Peaceful relationships
~ [Fill in the blank___________]

All these things give a sense (false sense) of peace and happiness yet we pursue and worship them. The magi traveled a great distance to find a baby who was King and were exceedingly joyful when the star finally stopped at the place where Jesus was.

Once in the house they fell down in worship; the only appropriate response to Jesus but also, the only one/thing worthy of worship. Health or money or children or big houses or good jobs or many friends do not and can not give life, and therefore they are not worthy.

The magi gave up a way of life and belief system to worship the King. Will you give up your idols and worship the only one who is worthy for ONLY Jesus has given his life for you. Your idols of this world care nothing for you as they can not save your soul.

See in Jesus your hope, your salvation, your Life and be exceedingly joyful. All praise be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ Being wise

And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. [Matthew 2:11]

A quick Christmas trivia question for you: How many wise men (magi) were there? Three? Actually we don’t know know. Scripture talks of three gifts but not the number of magi that showed up 🙂

But seriously, these magi (this is where we get our word “magic” and “magician”) traveled a great distance to find this king. And once there, scripture says they bowed down to worship Jesus. And one only bows down to someone who is of higher status or importance than oneself. These magi (magicians, astrologers, worshippers of the stars) knew who they were in the presence of and humbled themselves before Jesus; their new King and Way of life. I imagine they returned home changed.

And really, humbly coming before Jesus in worship is the only appropriate response to Jesus. When you consider what he did for you, how can you not fall down before him. Jesus was born in order to die for you and for me; miserable sinners. Jesus came to bring us to God. Jesus came to defeat death and give us life.

These wise men were indeed wise. They recognized their true King and Way of life. Humbly come before Jesus and worship the one who is worthy; the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Humbly come before Jesus and praise the one who gives you life.

Merry Christmas and Amen.

The Pastor -|—