FROM THE MINISTER'S DESK
A New Year – A Fresh Start
The Ball has dropped in Times Square, the fireworks have exploded in the air in Philadelphia, and around the world the bells have rung in a New Year. New calendars have been hung ready to be filled with plans and activities.
Before we rush into this New Year, let's stop and reflect on a few thing. things that Jesus felt were of such importance he chooses to share them with his disciples during their last meal together.
- Servant Leadership – John 13:1-5 Jesus removes his outer garment, wraps a towel around his waist and does a task that is normally relegated to a slave. He takes the dirty, dusty feet of the disciples and tenderly washes them clean. Anyone walking into the room would have immediately assumed that Jesus was the servant – not the leader of the group. The call on the life of a Jesus follower is to have the heart of the servant. The question to ask oneself – what matters most – that people know how important I am, or that they see Jesus in my actions?
- A New Commandment – John 13:34-35 Jesus gives them the commandment to love one another as they have been loved by Him. Why? Because, "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Can we be identified as his disciples? If others heard our conversations, would they hear the echoes of God's love?
- The Peace of Jesus – John 14:27 The peace of Jesus if not anything like the peace of the world. It does not change our circumstances. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we are changed, empowered, if you will, to trust that God is in control. And so, like Jesus we can then sleep in the boat as the storm rages on.
- Bearing Fruit – John 15:1-8 Jesus encourages his disciples to 'remain in Him.' Other translations use the word 'abide.' Either way, Jesus wants his disciples to spend time with Him. Since Jesus was aware of his short time with these individuals what was he asking them to do? The same thing he asks of us, to spend time in prayer and study. We spend time in God's Word not simply to gain intellectual knowledge of God. We can use scripture to see who Jesus is and through prayer, guided by the Holy Spirit, to build a relationship with Jesus. It is from this relationship that we will bear fruit.
These familiar passages, ones that are already a part of the fabric of our faith. We take the process deeper when we go beyond intellectual knowledge and move toward what is often called heart knowledge – knowledge that motivates how we live our lives, relate to one another, and love God. As we begin the 2016, let us challenge ourselves to go deeper into our relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit by moving from intellectual knowledge of God toward heart knowledge.