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Rest for the Soul

According to tradition, when the Apostle John was leading the Church in Ephesus, in Asia Minor, during the first century, his hobby was raising pigeons. It is said that on one occasion a man passed John’s house as he returned from hunting. When he saw John playing with one of his birds, he gently chided him for spending his time so frivolously. John looked at the man’s bow and remarked that the string was loose. 
“Yes,” said the man, “I always loosen the string of my bow when it’s not in use. If it stayed tight, it would lose its rebounding quality and fail me in the hunt.”
“And I,” said John, “am now relaxing the bow of my mind so that I may be better able to shoot the arrows of divine truth.”
Whether it is historically accurate or not, the story makes an important point. Sometimes we just need to hang loose.
Today I want to talk with you about soul stress, and how to find rest for your soul. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says…
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burden…
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How are we to go? (Part 2)

Last Sunday I talked about how the Gospel of Matthew has 5 pillars of Jesus’ teaching that hold up the entire structure of the Gospel. These five pillars mirror, in a way, the first five books of the Hebrew Scripture, the Torah, or books of Moses. Matthew is deliberately presenting Jesus as a new Moses. The most famous of the five pillars is the Sermon on the Mount that runs from Matthew 5 to 7. Then in Matthew 10 we have the second pillar which we started examining last Sunday.
With this second pillar, Jesus is answering the question, “How are we to go?” In this chapter Jesus gives us 8 lessons on mission. We looked at the first four last Sunday and we will look at the last four today.
Last Sunday we ended on the lesson of opposition. Whenever we declare the good news of Jesus there is going to be opposition. 
This week we discover that there is hope for us even in the midst of opposition. That is lesson number 5… We can go forward for Jesus trusting the Spirit of God to speak through u…

How are we to go? (Part One)

I don’t know if you remember back to the beginning of our study of the Gospel of Matthew. That was before we knew we were in a pandemic, so I don’t expect you to remember. But when we started our journey through Matthew this year, I pointed out that Matthew constructs his Gospel on five pillars, five blocks of Jesus’ teaching, mirroring the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Torah.  By the way he constructs his Gospel, Matthew shows us Jesus as the new Moses. And in this second block of teaching in Matthew 10, that we are going to read this morning, Jesus is focusing on the topic of mission.  Listen for God’s word to you from Matthew 10:5-42…These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans,but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,cast out demons. You received …

A Lifelong Adventure

If any text in the Bible ever sounded like an “Us vs Them” proposition, then it is Matthew 28:16-20. These are the last words that Jesus speaks to his disciples in Matthew’s Gospel. And the way most of us have heard these words makes it sound as though we are to go throughout the world making everyone else into Christians, making “them” like “us”.
But I would like to suggest to you today, that there is another way of looking at this text. Let us remember first of all, that Jesus himself was not a Christian. He was a Jew. He was not starting a new religion. He was calling people to follow him, personally, and that is a very different thing. So, listen for God’s word to you from Matthew 28:16-20…
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizin…