Cuz ya gotta wonder if it’s really bread.

Is the bread you eat, the bread that’s real?

That was Elder Perrin’s challenge to us yesterday from the Gospel of John 6. 

Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone. Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,
and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea

Here we cannot miss the significance of Jesus’ act.  He is not just saving time.  He is not just looking to give Peter a chance to do something really cool.  This is a theophony.  It is a revelation of God as God.  It is Jesus doing what only God can do.  OT oceans were seen as storehouses of chaos.  They were symbols of the opposing forces of God’s person and work.  The chaotic waters of the creation were “covered” by God’s Spirit or “wind”. The waters of the deluge were blown back by a “wind” or Spirit.  The waters of the Red Sea were blown back by that same phenom.  And the Psalms remind us of God’s power over the seas.  Here Jesus is demonstrating his divinity.  He is JHWH.  He is the LORD of the covenant.  And he is in control.

and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
The next day the crowd that stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other small boat there, except one, and that Jesus had not entered with His disciples into the boat, but that His disciples had gone away alone. There came other small boats from Tiberias near to the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks.
So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus.
When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
30 So they said to Him, “What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? “Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.'”
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
“For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
“But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.”

So, what do you eat when you are hungry?  There are se7en deadly sins the Church has fought against for centuries.  And so do you and I.  Which ones give you the most hassle?

1. Lust (Latin, luxuria)
2. Gluttony (Latin, gula)
3. Greed (also known as Avarice) (Latin, avaritia)
4. Sloth (Latin, acedia)
5. Wrath (Latin, ira)
6. Envy (Latin, invidia)
7. Pride (Latin, superbia)

You gotta love Latin. 

These are all mine.  Some days are better than others and other days are pure H-E-double hockey stix.  I am a sloth.  I really struggle with “my time”.  Driving in a truck for 12+ hours a day and coming home to a FAMILY that I adore tries me in this area.  Cuz I wanna come home and unwind from traffic and backing up and watching my mirrors and fighting off sleep. 

Part of that sloth spills over into impatience.  When I’m not able to do what I WANT when the above is the case, I get impatient (that has to do with PRIDE).  I think I am worthy of more than my wife who has been with these lovely children all day.

So, what’s my wonder bread?  Me.  I love me.  And I’m sorry in advance when I don’t love you more than I love me.

How ’bout you?
 

We were blessed to have Tom Becker return and bring us the Gospel message this passed Lord’s Day.  Fortunately, too, he was able to bring his wife, Becky Becker with him…..Hey!  Who’s snickering?  That’s her name, Becky Beck…mmmph..gggckt…Becker.  Ok, it is kinda phunny.  Anyway, the sermon derived from the oldest book in the canon: Job.  You can read the text here. 

So, basically, I was the only one Tom had in mind when he preached this.  I wonder why any of you even showed up.  It’s like God is still trying to get me to trust him or something. Like I don’t….ahem.  Really.  I feel like God has kicked me while I’m down these past two years.  I was going down the previous 5 but the last two were TKO.  And so what does Tom say (the Bible says)?  Get over it.  God can do what he wants.  Does he wanna lay me low?  Is that OK with me? 

Table:  Huh!  I remember this being a topic for a youth talk I once gave…I didn’t mean ME!!!

Back:

But to the Gospel.  You do know the Gospel, don’t you?  If not, here it is in a nut shell.  God is FOR you.  That’s it. (OK, that’s not it..well, it is.  Actually what you just read is the cake.  It’s what you eat and smell and taste and swallow and want more of.  The rest of the story is the process of making the cake [for all you theological “dotters and crossers” out there]).

So, God is FOR you.  He is not out to get you…..hmmmmm.  I remember reading Romans 8 15 or so years ago and reading this:  All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose..to be [crushed and broken down and then reshaped] into the likeness of his Son.  There are some key phrases in there that we often gloss over: HIS purpose and conformed.  When I read that years ago (before I was really tested) I grasped that I should really be able to handle anything “life” threw at me cuz God was behind it and it was his purpose and if he loved me the way I knew he did then I knew I could handle anything he threw at me b/c I knew he was doing it for MY GOOD–to make me more like Jesus and isn’t that what we all want anyway? (Wow!  I felt like Paul there for a moment writing a reeeeeeeaaaaaaaalllllllllly long sentence.)

 So.  God is FOR you.  He loves you and will defend you.  Jesus loves you and will “arbite” (wouldn’t that be the verb form?  Tsk.  I know it’s arbitrate…sheesh.) for you even when (LIKE ME) I chafe under God’s good and mysterious and painful and confusing and frustrating and……now it’s your turn.

staying home from church?

Smart. 

Ha!  Well, sometimes the sabbath truly needs to be a sabbath.  Well, if anyone would like to write their own reflexions on the sermon, feel free…..

Good.  The word you are looking for is “good”.  Sheesh.

Tom Becker (Wifey) (Veritas) was our preacher today.  And his text was from Ecclesiastes. 

Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. Then I said in my heart,”What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind…For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.  I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.

Tom’s challenge to us was this.  Work.  Work.  That’s it.  Is there anything else really more profound?  Oh!  And to delight in; take pleaseure in; bask in the pleasure of sweat and mud and earth and

dirty laundry and

broken ear canals and

downed PC networks and

crying children and….what’s your work to which God has called you?  I still struggle to delight in driving an 18-wheeler while my heart is driven toward pastoral academics.  But I have begun to pray intentionally rather than passively.  Rather than ask God to change my heart (merely) I am praying in the indicative: I delight in serving you here.

But I do think work is a four letter word.  It’s H-A-R-D.  It takes work to work.  I live in the sticks where the Amish work (did I say work, I meant live; oh!  They’re the same?).  I hated work as a kid (adult).  But really, work is nothing more than living.  Sure there’s a time for PS4 or Halo or crocheting or running (John, Jay, et al), but to work hard and long and good. 

So, do you delight in your work? How did God challenge you from his word today?