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Now displaying: January, 2015
Jan 22, 2015

Real Talk with Roderick Barnes 

Now and Later

 

--- The Gospel According to John Chapter 1 Verses 40 through 42 ---

40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first foundhis own brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which is translated, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" (which is translated, A Stone). 

When the Lord is introduced to Simon, the fishermen, it is indicated that the invitation and that the invited men are all a part of a plan. What initially looks like human initiative on the part of Andrew is eventually revealed to be heavens idea. Upon seeing the fishermen Jesus declares who Simon is and the now of that moment and who he will be later. And that now he's Simon the fishermen son of Jonah. That's not a particularly impressive summary. But, on a more personal level it convays the Lords knowledge of men. Apart from anybodies testimony he knows who he is the son of. He knows what he does. Then there is the declaration of future things. Simon shall be called Cephas.

Now in the absence of miracles that prove Jesus to know the hidden things of the present and the outcome of future events, that statement must have been more than a little arbitrary. It maybe even came across as arrogents. I can imagine Simon thinking "who do you think you are telling me what I will be called in the future". But it too in a future time on a personal level would speak volumes of hope to a man who's loyalty was later to be found to be wanting.

Simon is going to become a follower and he's going to pledge allegiance to Jesus, but he's going to fail. He's going to fail miserably, but Jesus speaks about those things that are not in the light of the fact that he knows one day they will be. Where many would be willing to write off Simon because he deserted Jesus in his greatest time of need. Jesus sees in the distance when his devotion would be the stuff of legend. And he keeps on investing in him. Indeed Jesus declared in the new name Cephas (which is translated as Stone) that one day the man would be stallwart, staying the course in the face of threats even as he is lead to his own crucifixion.

Just like Simon, the Lord knows you now and later. Jesus knows who you have been, who you are and who his grace can make you to be. The journey toward a life that is the stuff of legend begins with accepting his invitation now. How? It cannot be any simpler than the decision to place the treasure of your trust in Jesus. That transfer of trust is clearly seen in the day to day decision to learn from him. Love him by keeping his commandments and love his people. It won't be easy, but it will be a life that is pardoned of sin and full of purpose. And, it will be a life that is full of amazing pleasure in Jesus. When? Now and later. I got a poem for you, it's called Now and Later. 

Whatever mistakes we have made,

The grace of God is greater, 

Through it the debt of sin was paid,

For peace both now and later.

 

In His grip by His grace

Roderick

Jan 22, 2015

Real Talk with Roderick Barnes
Let Them Come

We can be certain that God is pleased when the whole family attends church together. Family is His idea and church is His idea for helping families with the difficulty of living honorable lives in the midst of ever increasing evil. But sometimes, for various reasons, the parents are not ready to go to church. (There are no good excuses but that is beside the point of this post.) Whatever the reasons are that keep Mom and Dad at home or out of fellowship with their local church... it should not cause the children to miss out.

Bring those kids to a place where they can learn about the abundant life that comes with knowing Jesus. That is His will! Eventually the kids, living with a fallen nature in a fallen world, will realize their need for a Savior; even out-of-church-for-a-while parents can serve God by helping their children get to a place where people are glad to tell them about Jesus. It would be better if you went with your little ones. But until that day... let them come.

In His grip by His grace,
Roderick

Jan 22, 2015
Real Talk with Roderick Barnes
Having His Joy

The genuine thrill of the soul is found not in having every desire but in doing the will of God... come what may. It was this joy that Jesus referred to in His conversation with the disciples (John 15:10-12). It was His as He served His Father faithfully. And it was His as He offered Himself sacrificially for the glory of His Father and the good of His flock. The joy of Jesus lifted Him when the world was trying to drag Him down. It kept Him going when going meant pain. And He wanted you and I to have it as we follow Him. His joy is ours for the keeping of His commandments.

This is a hard saying and some will not accept it. But where eternal life is unlocked by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, the joy thereof is loosed in faithfulness. We enter life through trust in Christ; that is once and for all. But we enter His joy over and over again as we endeavor to do His will.

Do you have His joy? You can. Trust Him for the saving of your soul through His work on the cross. In His dying He died for you and took on Himself the penalty of your crimes against God. There is salvation in Jesus alone. And then? And then step onto that straight and narrow road in unconditional commitment to keep His commandments. There is joy in just following Jesus.

--- The Gospel of According to John Chapter 15 Verses 10 through 12 ---
10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. - Jesus Christ
 
Jan 22, 2015

Real Talk with Roderick
Got What You Need?

We are always on the hunt for more stuff? Sweaters, shoes, the latest cell phone, cars, a romantic relationship, popularity, more power in the office, and chocolate. Sometimes the effort is so intense that we lose sight of whether or not we can afford, keep, or maintain the stuff we want if or when we get it. We just want it.

But do we have what we need? There is nothing wrong with having a nice car, a nice house, a nice job, and a nice spouse. But if you had all of that stuff and did not have peace with God you still would not be happy. More than anything else we need forgiveness, friends, and fellowship with our heavenly Father. And it is God's desire that we have those things... through Jesus.

Today is a great day to get what you really need most. How? Ironically it begins with giving. You and I get what we need most when we place our faith in Jesus. This means making a decision to follow and learn from Him daily. What comes with that? I won't lie to you; it comes with trouble (2 Timothy 3:12). Many will not understand or accept the new life that starts when you begin trusting in Jesus. But it also comes with the peace of being free from the penalty of sin; Jesus already paid that price. It comes with a new family of people that have also made the decision to trust in Christ. It means that your soul, the essence of your life, is safe and that real abundance is yours (John 10:10).

Get more stuff if you want. But above all get what you need. And if you need a church home... come check us out.

In His grip by His grace,
Roderick

36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? - Jesus, The Gospel of Mark 8:35-37

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. - Jesus, The Gospel of John 10:10

Jan 22, 2015

Real Talk with Roderick
been missin' yoU

The church is usually regarded as a building. Stain glass windows, a raised pulpit, a piano and organ, and old pews. Or maybe a cool auditorium with high tech sound, huge flat screens, and a great coffee shop in the foyer. Things like this come to mind when people are invited to go to church. But church has almost nothing to do with the location.

The Church is a group of people, in all of their many faults, that have committed to following Jesus and helping each other do the same. Where they meet is irrelevant. What matters is that they meet to encourage one another in the difficulties of this life, to hear the true words of the Bible in order to stir them up to do the hard stuff, and to give thanks for the many blessings that God has given. You could do that alone? Not really. God has designed us for Himself and to serve one another. We are quite capable of giving thanks by ourselves. But what kind of Jesus follower is content to stay home and not serve in the local fellowship. That is not what Jesus did; he left home and came here to serve.

Each follower of Jesus has been equipped to help the whole. And when you keep your part at home you miss the encouragement you should be getting... and giving. Let me invite you to come to church this week? Three Rivers? That would be nice. But not really. No, I am inviting you to come to Jesus for forgiveness and then to the local church nearest you to engage in life with others. You should be there to be built up in living for God. And you should be there to help others in their walk. 

It has been too long. Been missin' yoU.

In His grip by His grace,
Roderick

 

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