God is calling us to listen. God wants us to see what God is doing. Today whether for the first time or the thousandth time, we need to hear Christ inviting us to follow.next >
The people were filled with expectation, and everyone wondered whether John might be the Christ. John replied to them all, “I baptize you with water, but the one who is more powerful than me is coming. I’m not worthy to loosen the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out.”
Luke 3:15-17next >
John the Baptist is not Jon Stewart, the comedian. He is not a fun-loving person. John the Baptist is more like John Cena, the pro-wrestler.
If John does not think someone measures up, he yells at them. Jesus talks to anyone who will talk to him.
John preaches fire and brimstone, “If you don’t shape up, God will toss you into the incinerator.”
Jesus preaches grace and forgiveness, “If you don’t shape up, God will love you anyway.”
John pictures God as an angry judge, while Jesus pictures God as the host at a great party.
Some churches are more like what John the Baptist had in mind than what you would expect from Jesus’ followers. Jesus called his disciples “friends”— people who enjoy one another, laugh, and hug. Christ’s church is the most fun you have ever had with the best friends you have ever known.
God wants us to enjoy God’s love, so laugh, hug, talk, read, write, listen, dream, eat, play, and pray.
Brett Youngernext >
God of the Joy that is deeper than my sadness, I give thanks for the way you teach me. Help me experience your holy joy like Jesus did. Amen.next >
Remember who you are. You are God’s child.
Live with God’s compassion, God’s hope, God’s joy, God’s love, God’s blessing.
Brett Younger teaches preaching and worship at the McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta. He was a pastor in Texas, Kansas, and Indiana. He and his wife Carol have two sons, Graham and Caleb.
On the Road to Christmas: 'Tis a Gift to Be Simple