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Showing posts from May, 2020

The Power of Jesus' Prayer

Parting prayers can be powerful experiences. I remember my father laying his hand on my shoulder and praying for me before I left home in California to travel across the country to Princeton Seminary where I would prepare for a lifetime of ministry. I cannot recall my father’s words, but I remember his hand, shaky from Parkinson’s, on my shoulder and the heartfelt nature of his prayer.
It should come as no wonder that John, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, remembered his Master’s parting prayer before he went to the cross. John not only remembered this prayer he must have prayed the words himself over the ensuing years of his life. That is, perhaps, the explanation for the reference to “Jesus Christ” in Jesus’ own prayer, a statement that seems misplaced on the lips of Jesus himself. So, what we have in John 17 is the essence of the final prayer of Jesus, what some have called his high priestly prayer, though it was a prayer made on earth, not in heaven. As we embark on this study, we …

The Power of the Spirit

Listen for God’s word to you from John 14:15-21… “If you love me, you will keepmy commandments.And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,to be with you forever.This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be inyou. “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
This is one of those passages of Scripture that makes me feel as though I have stepped into a swirling mist, albeit a comforting one. These statements by Jesus do not consist so much in logical steps. It is more like a voice speaking from a mountain …

The Power of Home

Today is, of course, Mother’s Day. And I imagine it is a hard one for many who long to be home with their mothers but can’t be because of the coronavirus. This Mother’s Day is my first without my mother. She passed away last August at the age of 90.
Years ago, I read a story that, intriguingly, may sum up some of the feelings some of us may have this weekend. It was the story of a couple who went away for their fifteenth wedding anniversary. Grandma came to stay with her two grandchildren, who were seven and five years old at the time. After the first day without their parents, the older of the two children summed up his feelings by saying, “Grandma, I’m homesick, and I am home. How can that be?”
I believe those profound words are a rather precise diagnosis of a problem faced by every one of us as human beings. We are all homesick for our ultimate home, but we try to cover that homesickness with busyness, distractions, entertainments that we think will satisfy. We try to pretend we are …

The Power of the Shepherd

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. …