Sunday, July 31, 2011

Waters of Life (John 7.37-39)

Sermon by:Kathy Larson
July 31, 2011
Some Music Used 

 Prelude: "Come, Thou Fount" (Craig Phillips)
Song of Praise: "Come, Thou Fount" (NETTLETON)
Song of Praise: "Come Just as You Are" (Sabolick)
The Word in Music: "Springs of Life" (Katie Meeks, soloist) (Owens, Liles)
Song of Response: "All Who are Thirsty" (Brown, Robertson)
Offering Video: "Light of the World" (VBS kids)
Hymn of Sending: "Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts" (QUEBEC)
Postlude: "Postlude on 'Nettleton'" (Travis)

Waters of Life
Text: John7:1-10,37-39; 1 Cor 3:16; Gal 5:16-18,22-25; Isaiah 44:1-4,6,8

(download) **Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

Text not available for this sermon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

To Whom Shall We Go? (John 6.59-71)

Sermon by: Robert Austell
July 24, 2011
Some Music Used 

 Prelude: "The Church's One Foundation" (Charles Ore)
Song of Praise: "The Church's One Foundation/I Lay in Zion a Stone"
(Wesley; refrain by C. Youngblood)

Song of Praise: "Ancient Words" (Lynn DeShazo)
The Word in Music: "Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?" (Michael Joncas)
Offering of Music: "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" (Walker Austell, piano) (Bach; arr. Smith)
Song of Sending: "Jesus, All for Jesus" (Jennifer Atkinson, Robin Mark)
Postlude: "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word" (Manz)

To Whom Shall We Go?
Text: John 6:59-71

(download) **Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

We have been in John 6 for the past three weeks, looking first at the “Feeding of the 5,000,” and then at the teaching that followed on the other side of the sea in Capernaum. We have seen that what is even more important than the miracle of the feeding is the action of God the Father coming down out of heaven in the person of Jesus the Son. Jesus used the miraculous sign of the feeding to explain that he is bread from heaven; he is the Bread of Life.

His insistence on this matter began to frustrate those who came looking for another miracle, or an experience, or an answer to their prayers for a revolutionary Messiah. As he insisted further that the only way to know God was through himself – the one God sent – the crowd turned away. We find out in today’s text that some or all of this teaching is taking place in the synagogue in Capernaum, which explains even further the shock of having a teacher claim to be sent uniquely from God and the only way to know God.

So, in the past few weeks we have seen the application of Jesus’ teaching for here and now. We too, are drawn to experiential Christianity – to retreats, mission trips, spiritual highs, service projects, and answered prayers – and all of those are good and encouraging to faith. But Jesus insists, “I am the Bread of Life; I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to Father except through me.” And we’ve wrestled with the realization that if we miss Jesus, we’ve missed it all.

Today we get to explore some of the ways that people react to this Gospel, this Jesus-centered and Jesus-dependent message. Some stumble over it; some are angered by it; some are drawn to it; but all must deal with Jesus on his own terms. 

Many Disciples Withdrew

The text begins by telling us about “many disciples.” Now, these were not necessarily “the Jews” who were grumbling previously, or the scribes and Pharisees that would begin to hound Jesus mercilessly. These were called ‘disciples’ or students. He was speaking in the synagogue in Capernaum and had been addressed previously as ‘Rabbi.’ He was assuming the teaching role and there were many who had followed and were listening to him. And this teaching was a turning point for many.

We read in verse 66 that “…as a result of this, many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him anymore.” Let’s back up and consider “as a result” of what.

These students or disciples had come to him or were listening to him as a Rabbi, or teacher. Yet after the teaching about his flesh and blood (from last week; John 6:41-58), they grumbled, “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” (v. 60) This link to what has gone before shows the continuity between the group in the synagogue and the crowd that followed Jesus around the sea from the site of the feeding of the 5,000. That crowd had already been grumbling, as we saw last week. It would seem that only some followed him around the lake, and even fewer to the synagogue, perhaps with folks peeling off all along as they heard what he said and turned away from it. However many remained at the synagogue, this is the breaking point for many of the disciples/students. The “eat my flesh and drink my blood” insistence that he was the real miracle sent from God was too much.

So Jesus asks, “Does this cause you to stumble?” (v. 61) The Apostle Paul will later note that Jesus was a scandal, literally a “stumbling block,” to the Jews because of his claims. And this chapter depicts just how true this was. He goes on to ask, “What then if you see the son of Man ascending to where he was before?” (v. 62) But that’s just the point he’s been making in the earlier part of this chapter – signs and wonders, even PROOF, will not be sufficient; they must believe in him, the one sent of God. It is neither bread, nor signs, nor proof that is needed, but the “Spirit who gives life.” (v. 63)

This is a beautiful closing of the Trinitarian loop in this chapter, with Jesus re-affirming what he has already said. No one can climb to the Father or know the Father in Heaven. God must come to us. Jesus has not only claimed to be the enfleshment of the Father-come-to-us, but now is saying something parallel, that the Father also comes to us as Spirit. The Father draws human beings to Himself through the person and work of Jesus the Son and through the person and work of the Holy Spirit, acting in a person’s heart. This work is manifested as BELIEF. And Jesus concludes of those who are turning away from him and rejecting the testimony of the Spirit, “There are some of you who do not believe.”

So when Jesus reasserts in v. 65 what he did earlier in v. 44, that “no one can come to me unless it has been granted him from the Father,” he is saying theologically what he is living out tangibly: you cannot get to God, but God has come to you – listen and believe. (To that, later, he will add, “…and follow me.”)

And so, we again get to verse 66: “As a result of this many of his disciples withdrew and were not walking with him anymore.” Maybe they were looking for signs, or a Messiah; but they did not believe Jesus was sent to them from heaven by God, and they left. 

Among the Twelve

That was the crowd of followers. What about the twelve disciples? How are they handling all this?

In verse 67, Jesus asks them, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” The underlying implication of that question is that this indeed has been hard teaching, a potential stumbling block for many. And Jesus asks his disciples – the twelve – whether they are also going to leave over this. Were they also following him for the miracles and the signs, or the hope of a revolutionary Messiah? (We know at least one disciple was a “Zealot” – a member of the revolutionary political party.)

Peter answers for the twelve, and his answer sounds to me fully aware that there is much to stumble over with Jesus’ claims in John 6. Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (v. 68) It has almost a “what-other-options-are-there” quality to it. We could read it full of faith and confidence, like “You’re the One, Jesus – there is no other!” But even with Peter’s next declaration, “You have words of eternal life,” I get the sense that the twelve are still struggling along with the crowd to digest the particularly dense meal that Jesus has just served. This come across differently than Peter’s other, more well-known, confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” This may just be my sense of this, but Peter seems to be admitting that Jesus has just made some pretty amazing and faith-stretching claims, but they are clinging to him, in faith and in hope that what he says is true.

Peter’s third statement is presented all together with “Lord, to whom shall we go?” and “You have words of eternal life.” He then says, “We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (v. 69) Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but it sounds like Peter is wrestling his way through the offense of what Jesus has said – or slowly climbing over that “stumbling block” – perhaps even having tripped – to stand and say, “Ouch, but yes, we believe!”

And Jesus responds, “Did I myself not choose you, the twelve…” (v. 70). And that would be a wonderful and fitting conclusion to this chapter, illustrating just what Jesus has been claiming, that God pursues humanity, coming to us even as Jesus came to the disciples, to call them forth in faith and discipleship, to believe and follow him.

But that’s not the end. In fact, the end is entirely unsatisfying and troublesome. That’s not even the end of Jesus’ sentence. He says, “Did I myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” And John inserts, as narrator, that of course this is a reference to Judas, the betrayer.

While this ends the passage on a rather ominous note, I think it serves as reminder to us that God’s initiative toward us in Jesus is not a God-pulls-our-strings kind of fatalism. On our part, while we cannot climb to heaven or reach God without God first reaching us, we must believe. We must believe in the One God has sent. And even a son of Israel, even a child of the church, even a follower hand-picked by Jesus, can refuse to believe and reject God’s saving initiative.

Not unlike all that Jesus has been saying in John 6, these are hard words – but ultimately, they are words of life. Where else shall we go? 

To Whom Shall You Go?

And that is the key question for you and me as we read and hear this text. We have made Christianity into a lot of things that it is not – from the worthwhile-but-not-saving experiences of mission trips, retreats, service projects, and church attendance, to the trivial like scripture-inscribed candy, coffee mugs, and convenience store trinkets. And in the midst of all of it – experiential, cultural, thoughtful, and trivial – Jesus insists, “Only through me; believe in me.”

It’s still a claim to stumble over, still a scandal. It’s known as the “scandal of particularity” – that there are not many ways to God, but a particular one, the One sent from Heaven, the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God.

So, the text raises this question of you and me: to whom shall you go?

Will you grumble, and stumble, withdraw, and not walk with him anymore?

Will you realize with Peter, stumbling block and all, that only Jesus has the words of eternal life?

Will you believe in the one God has sent? Will you follow him?

This is the essence of the Christian faith. Even more importantly, this is life. Amen.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Flesh and Blood (John 6.41-58)

Sermon by: Robert Austell
July 17, 2011
Some Music Used 

 Service Music: Jazz piano by Rick Bean
Hymn of Praise: "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" (LOBE DEN HERREN)
Song of Praise: "Become to Us the Living Bread" (Music Anonymous)
The Word in Music: "Bread of Heaven" (Arr. Jim Terrell)
Song of Sending: "In Christ Alone" (Getty/Townend)

Flesh and Blood
Text: John 6:41-58

(download) **Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

We are continuing the story of the “Feeding of the 5,000” today. That story – that miraculous event – did not end when Jesus withdrew from the crowd. They followed the disciples around the lake and met Jesus on the other side. And there he spoke, taught, answered questions, and explained the power and the person behind the miraculous event.

Last week we talked about the pursuit of the miraculous, the spiritual, the experiential; and we heard Jesus’ invitation, “Come to ME; believe in ME; I AM the Bread of Life.” Christian faith and salvation, knowledge of and life with God, come through the person and power of Jesus, the Son of God, not through retreats, miracles, service projects, intimate worship experiences, or a voice from Heaven. Those things exist and can encourage our faith and the faith of others, but if we miss Jesus, we’ve missed it all.

The text we are looking at today is a continuation of last week’s text. Jesus is still talking along this theme of being the one sent from God. And we pick up with the people grumbling. They are grumbling precisely because of what he claims. Today we will look at why they were grumbling, see how Jesus responds, and hear Jesus’ repeated claim to be the only way to know the Father.

Grumbling

The crowd – the one that followed Jesus around the sea – was grumbling. Jesus was apparently not going to do another miracle and now he had started talking crazy talk. They wanted to see another sign – maybe some bread from Heaven this time – and then he claimed TO BE the bread come from Heaven.

And they started grumbling at that, because they knew where he came from. They knew Joseph and Mary and Nazareth and the carpenter’s shop. How could this son of a country couple claim to be someone special? Never mind that it was already a stretch to talk about him being the Messiah – they had already contemplated that. But Jesus wasn’t talking Messiah talk – he said that he had COME DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN!

A little bit later, after he responds to that, they get even more upset because it sounds like he is telling them to eat his flesh. That sounds strange enough to our modern ears; but to an ancient Jew that would have been shockingly obscene. With all the dietary and purity laws, that kind of talk just sounded crazy.

What started out with misplaced interest – remember last week? – turned to anger. That’s worth pondering in relation to last week. Remember? We go looking for an experience of God and can miss Jesus in the midst of it all. And if we miss Jesus, we miss everything. And it’s not hard to imagine that after we’ve been on the 4th mission trip, the 15th conference or church retreat, or the umpteenth time coming to church looking for a God-experience, and not feeling it, that our expectation can turn to anger. And yet, all along, Jesus is right there saying, “It’s not about experiences; it’s about knowing and trusting me.”

It’s not hard to put ourselves in the crowd’s place, grumbling and even getting angry when God doesn’t deliver on our terms.

Jesus’ Response

Jesus responds twice to their grumbling. The first time, at the grumbling over him saying, “I am the bread that came down out of Heaven,” he responds, “Do not grumble among yourselves.” (v. 43) He continues, explaining why he is the bread from Heaven. It’s there in vv. 44-46:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him… it is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; he has seen the Father.”
Let me put that in words that may be easier to understand. No one can find or know God on their own. The only way to know God is through the One God sent, namely Jesus. This much Jesus already said in the text we looked at last week. But here it is again. And to that, Jesus adds here that no one can come to him (Jesus) unless God the Father draws them. This is why God sent him as bread out of Heaven – that the world might know him and know God.

Said yet another way, God must come to us, and God has come to us through Jesus and Jesus alone.

This is one of the realities that becomes clear in infant baptism, where it is plain that the infant has not and cannot initiate faith or movement toward God. While that baptism does not mean the infant is a believer, it does signal God’s initiative in sending Jesus to the world for sin. Baptism is a declaration of God come to us through Jesus. The parents’ hope and faith is that God will indeed draw the little one to Himself through the person and work of Jesus, and one day, in faith, this child of the covenant will recognize God’s work in his life.

This first response about Jesus being the one sent from God culminates in verse 48, where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” He continues by insisting that this is not metaphorical or one more sign, but MORE THAN the manna that God provided in Exodus. He is God’s flesh-and-blood salvation for His people.

And that insistence triggers the second round of grumbling, to which Jesus just insists all the more that he is the flesh-and-blood gift of God, and necessary if anyone is to know God and His salvation. And to that, as we will see next week, most of the crowd flips out and leaves. As the Apostle Paul would later write, Jesus was a “stumbling block – a stone of offense” to the Jews, and this is seen nowhere as clearly as in this extended scene.

Good News: God Has Done What We Cannot

I feel for the crowd that day, struggling to understand what Jesus was saying. And I feel for us as modern counterparts, who similarly struggle to locate salvation and knowledge of God in the person of Jesus. I’ve heard more than a few adults profess, “I went to church all my life, but didn’t understand what it means to be a Christian until I came to trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.” I’ve struggled and I’ve known many to struggle with the ups and downs of experiential Christianity, seeking highs and avoiding lows as if Christianity were a drug. I’ve wept with people who so locate their Christianity in volunteering and serving others and who, from time to time, are simply overwhelmed and crushed by the aching needs in the world.

And again – to be clear – there is nothing wrong, and in fact everything right about going to church, having a meaningful experience of faith, and loving our neighbors through service and helps – unless those very things become our sign and savior and we miss Jesus, the Savior.

There is good news in the middle of this story and text – and not just some good news, but THE Good News, the Gospel. But we and any who would consider Christ must get through and beyond our grumbling, disappointment, misplaced hopes, and anger. That Good News is that though there is no way for us to find God, know God, reach God, or save ourselves, God has come to us! God has come all the way down among us… bread from Heaven, salvation from on high. As the same John who records this story wrote at the beginning of his Gospel, “The Word (Jesus) was with God, the Word was God… and the Word came and lived among us, full of grace and truth.”

Jesus is one with the Father, come to live among us to show us God the Father. He is the bread of life. He is God’s outstretched arm, drawing all who would hear to Himself.

The heart of the Good News is right there in the middle of the story, in vv. 47-48. Hear the Good News:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.”
Listen, believe, and trust in the One God has sent: Jesus, God’s own Son, the Savior. Amen.



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Will Work for Food (John 6.22-40)

Sermon by: Robert Austell
July 10, 2011
Some Music Used 

 Prelude: "When Morning Gilds the Skies" (Emma Lou Diemer)
Hymn of Praise: "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" (CWM RHONDDA)
Song of Praise: "Break Thou the Bread of Life/Come Feed My Soul" 
(Lathbury/Groves, Sherwin; refrain, Youngblood)
The Word in Music: "Taste and See" (Helman)
Offering of Music: "O ?Bread of Life from Heaven" (Bourgeois/arr. Bender)
Song of Sending: "Hungry" (Scott)
Postlude: "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" (Manz)

Will Work for Food
Text: John 6:22-40

(download) **Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

Two weeks ago, our middle school youth and three leaders went from this church to Chattanooga, TN, on a mission trip. I know that many of them experienced God in a real and meaningful way. God was definitely there. And then they came home…

I don’t know how many of you have ever been to a revival service, an evangelistic crusade, or a great Christian concert or conference. Those events have a way of really “firing you up” about Jesus. But however great they are, however special one feels by the end, they do end and we have to come home…

Volunteering at Crisis Assistance, walking in the CROP walk, visiting the men’s shelter at Rebound, sending Christmas boxes to Samaritan’s Purse - there's a feeling that we are doing something good in God's eyes. There is a rich and fulfilling feeling of living out God's love when we participate in these kinds of ministries. But most of us go back to our own homes and lives at night. We go back again and again to help others because we find God there and we want to be faithful to God.

Many of you have had a close experience of God at some time in your lives. God answered a specific prayer, or intervened in your life in a way you promised yourself you would never forget. For some, that miraculous encounter stimulated or began the faith that has held you in the church and in the Christian faith. But it's been many years. You were only a child, a young person. Was that God? Was He real? Did you imagine that? Maybe God would do it again… maybe God would show up just one more time…

On a hill on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus fed 5000 men and their families from five small barley loaves and two small fish. The crowds reacted with amazement, naming Jesus as the Prophet come to be king. Their immediate hunger was taken care of, and they sensed that the promise of all their hopes for a kingly deliverer were about to be fulfilled as well! Then Jesus withdrew from them, first to be by himself on the mountain, then crossing the sea to the other side.

We may indeed know something of how the crowd felt! Many of us have experienced God in a close and personal way at some point in our lives. Or we have seen just enough of what that kind of experience can do in someone's life to want it for ourselves. So, like the crowd on the hillside, we chase after something and someone, not knowing for sure just who he is or what he offers, but sensing that it is something we desperately need in our lives!

The Chase and the Disappointment

Why did the crowd follow after Jesus that day? The obvious reason would be the miracle. Over 5000 people had been part of a gigantic miracle. Why wouldn't they want to see more of that?! Perhaps others were just curious or hoping to hear this man teach. And then there was an identified group who believed Jesus was the great kingly one who would deliver them from Roman rule. Jesus, himself, identified yet another reason: because "you ate of the loaves and were filled." (v. 26) He had responded to their need and satisfied it with bread. Perhaps they knew at some level that Jesus could satisfy the great needs of their lives.

What about that mission trip, that special revival service or retreat, that act of helping others, that close experience of God? Each touches something deep within us… each feeds a hunger in our soul. And even if we don't understand how or why, we want it again. And so we work hard for it - to find that feeling and experience of being near to God. For some it's a casual thing - we think God's at church and if we go there enough it will rub off on us. Others of us really dedicate our lives to feeling that closeness again and again. We come to church for various reasons: to find our own 'miracles,' social convention, to hear spiritual teaching, to hear good music, to see friends. Related to it all, though, must be the sense that if we keep at it we may encounter God.

Well, I won't save the punch line for the end of the sermon. Here it is: God is experienced and known only through the person of Jesus Christ! Yes, you can look at a sunset and learn something about God as Creator, but to know God the Father you must know Jesus the Son. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life… no one comes to the Father but through me.” That's also why Jesus persisted so hard with the crowds with teaching like "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life… the work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent." (vv. 28-29) The crowd resisted and questioned and grumbled - they wanted another miracle and proof of what Jesus was saying. And they really misunderstood, not grasping that a person whose parents and hometown they knew could give them what they were looking for. They became restive and disappointed when they realized Jesus was actually claiming to be sent from God.

The Correction and the Confusion

With their grumbling, what the crowd really was saying was "we'll just go with what we want and need - you know, miracles like you did before. You mentioned bread from heaven. Will you call down manna like Moses did in the desert?"

And we want God to just prove Himself. "Just answer this prayer or heal this person or make this deal come through - and I'll know for sure that you are there." Or more generously, "I'll go back to Chattanooga or camp or the retreat weekend or conference. Maybe you could show up there again so I'll be reminded that you are real."
And Jesus insists, "I am what you need."
And we keep on looking where we want and how we want.
And Jesus insists, "I am what you need - come and believe."
The effect of his words that day with the crowd was to say, "Believe in me or turn away from me; I am the only way and the only source for what you need." It was too much for most of those there. And Jesus never backed down or simplified or compromised. He could have done another miracle. He could have explained that he wasn't promoting cannibalism (as they shortly accuse him of doing). He did make the connection for them between the miracle of the feeding and who he was. He did make the connection between Moses and the manna and who he was. He did explain that God was using those events and miracles to draw people to Himself. He did explain that he was the completion and perfection of miracles like those. But they were looking for something else.

Let me illustrate in a way I have done before. In the world of music and concerts and such, there is a treasure known as a backstage pass. If you can get your hands on one of these, you have access behind the stage to meet the performer and see where he or she hangs out with the band. You may have heard recently that Taylor Swift had to postpone her concert in Charlotte due to illness. Imagine that you had not only a ticket but a backstage pass to see Taylor Swift. And imagine if you and your friends (or parents) were at the concert venue trying to get a refund and somehow on the way into the building from the car a teenage girl with blonde curly hair comes running out to the parking lot and runs into you. She says, "You don't need to go in there; we can just spend some time together right now." But you ignore the stranger, saying "You don't realize what has happened; Taylor Swift postponed and I have to get a good ticket for the makeup concert!" And so it goes… we miss the real thing in pursuit of the real thing.

Jesus never belittles or dismisses miracles or the need for earthly sustenance and work. But the people are just blind to the truth of who it is there with them! And just as you can imagine eventually thinking some crazy girl in the parking lot is playing a sick joke on you, Jesus' claims begin to sound crazier and more farfetched. When he starts talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood - the TRUE food and drink, it's just too much for those listening.

Is there anything comparable for us? Is there anything about Jesus that would shock us or sound so alien or disgusting that we would turn away? Perhaps…

It's hard to see outside ourselves. It's hard to know when we are part of the crowd missing the point when we are so sincere about what we are looking for. Let's take a shot at it though…

Why do we come to church and do all the work that we do in the name of religion? I believe we do so because we find some need being fulfilled. We love the beauty of the service and the music. We like to see our friends. We value the acceptance of a culture that still values religious affiliation. We feel good when we help people. We feel spiritual when we pray and we feel happy when we sing.

But how do we respond when Jesus Christ makes this claim:
I am Beauty.
I am true Fellowship and Love.
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Hopefully, all that we do in Church and in the name of Christ is faithful to God's will and teaching. But - and this is Jesus' point in John 6 - none of it is to take the place of belief and trust in Jesus Christ as God's direct provision for humanity. If we miss Jesus Christ, we have missed it all!

Conclusion

God has blessed us with personal experiences of His nearness and events that we cherish as being from him. And we continue to worship, serve, go on retreats and mission trips, and gather that we might experience God in our daily lives. But Jesus made a claim that demands to be at the heart of our faith: that he is God's Word of truth and life for us and for the world. Christianity is not a religion - it is not us working our way into God's presence. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God. Jesus is the source of life and hope and is the author and perfecter of our faith.

Do you know this Jesus? Have you tasted the true Bread of Life? I urge you not to miss the message and carry on business-as-usual. Hear the words of Jesus:
I am the way, the truth, and the life… I am the bread of life... The work of God is to believe in the one He has sent.
The work of God is for us to believe and trust in Jesus Christ in faith. From that place, we can understand the place of worship, service, fellowship, obedience, and all the other ways we respond to and obey God in life. Only out of personal faith in Jesus Christ will our hearts be satisfied. Feed on him in your hearts, and be thankful! Amen.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

God-Sized Problems (John 6.1-15)

Sermon by: Robert Austell
July 3, 2011
Some Music Used 

 Prelude: "I Sing the Greatness of Our God" (Fred Bock)
Gathering Prayer in Song: "God Bless America" - Men's Quartet (Berlin, arr. Ringwald)
Song of Praise: "Come, People of the Risen King" (Getty/Townend)
Offering of Music (instr. handbell solo): "Let us Break Bread Together" (Spiritual/arr. Cutter)
Communion Liturgy: "Our Father in Heaven" (Eric Wyse)
Hymn of Sending: "The King of Love" (Henry Baker; ancient Irish melody)
Postlude: "God Bless Our Native Land" (arr. Wilbur Held)

God-Sized Problems
Text: John 6:1-15

(download) **Sermon audio is also accessible as a free podcast in iTunes - search for "Good Shepherd Sermons or Robert Austell"**

Written version not available.