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Archive for July, 2009

Living Bread

Life Notes—July 30, 2009 

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”   John 6:51                                   

In the verses that precede this passage from the sixth chapter of John, the Jews are complaining that Jesus is claiming to be the “bread that came down from heaven.”  They say they know this Jesus and they know his mother and father; so how could he be anything more than a carpenter’s son from Nazareth? 

We do this with people, don’t we?  We say, “That child will never be an athlete—I know his parents and, well, there’s just no way…”  Or we claim, “I know that kid will never amount to anything.  His father was worthless, as was his father’s father…”  It is comforting to pigeon-hole people into boxes that define (and limit) our expectations of them.  It lessens our risk of being disappointed or hurt by them. 

But Jesus declared he was much more than a boy from the nothing-town of Nazareth!  He was much more than a regular man of flesh and blood!  By partaking of his life—his flesh—we gain access to the Spirit, the 100% God-part of his being.  It’s like eating bread that gets absorbed into every fiber (a little pun) of our being, except this bread is never converted to energy and burned away.  It ingrains (another pun—sorry) itself into every part of our life and connects our spirit to His—our soul to God.  When we share communion, we take a part of Christ’s body into ourselves, making us One with Christ, who is One with the Father.  This is no ordinary bread.  Jesus was no ordinary man. 

Who are you underestimating?  Yourself, maybe?  Aren’t we really more than the sum of our ancestors and our environment encased in flesh and blood?  We are also spirits connected to the Eternal.  The possibilities are endless when we see them through faith. 

This week Tom’s sermon title is “Refraining from Complaining.” The scripture is John 6:35, 41-51.  Life worship is at 10:45 in Brady Hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship on the west campus begins at 9:30.  

Wishing you more than you know,

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Worship Music Coordinator

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God’s Abundance

Life Notes—July 23, 2009 

“Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted.”   John 6:11                                   

You probably know this story from the Bible—the story of the loaves and fishes.  Jesus is teaching to a ‘large crowd’ and there is concern about how they are going to feed them all.  There was a boy in the crowd who had five loaves and two fish—seemingly far too little to feed so many.  Yet, Jesus told his disciples to have the crowd sit.  He blessed the loaves and fish and distributed them to the crowd and they ate—as much as they wanted.  

I remember many times, as a younger man, where there was seemingly not enough money to make it to the next payday.  I would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cereal or anything else cheap and filling to try to help make it through the week.  I would drive my car as little as possible, and then often on fumes.  I would’ve wished for a blessing like Jesus gave over the loaves and fishes to multiply my pitiful resources. 

Then again, have you ever been on a crowded beach, just longing for a place to bask in the warm sun?  Isn’t it interesting how, as long as we can find a place where no one is shading us, there is plenty of sunlight for everyone to receive as much as they want, no matter how many people there are to receive it, day after day after day?  That is how I picture God’s love and attention.  No matter how many of us seek it, there is always enough available for everyone to receive as much as they want, with plenty to spare. 

Needless to say, I never starved.  I never went to bed hungry in my younger days.  Whenever there was a true need there was an adequate provision.  Maybe not what I had in mind, but I was always provided for…from God’s abundance. 

God’s abundance is present at First Church every Sunday.  This week Kara will be preaching at all four services.  Her sermon title is “Miraculous Abundance.” The scripture is John 6:1-14.  Life (Living in Faith Everyday) worship is at 10:45 in Brady Hall.  Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary.  Contemporary worship on the west campus begins at 9:30.  Are you thirsty?  Come and drink of Christ’s living water and you will never thirst again. 

Wishing you God’s most abundant blessings!

Greg Hildenbrand

Life Worship Music Coordinator

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