Friday, July 1

Psalm 62:5-8
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge.

We often talk about a “quiet time” with God. That time is a sacred appointment each day for God to speak to you. The longer you are able to steal away from the cares and pressures of this world, the more you will be able to focus your heart and your hearing on the words the Lord has specifically for you. In prayer, wait patiently on the Lord.

God invites you to come to him with confidence. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time need.” Hebrews 4:16. Embrace your prayer time alone with God each day and you will grow in the assurance that he loves you and will give you daily direction. God has blessed you to be a blessing to someone he places on your path of life today.
Prayer

O God, when I become anxious about my life and the world around me, draw me back into your sacred presence. May your peace which truly transcends all understanding guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. AMEN

Roger Crites

Thursday, June 30

Psalm 40:1-4
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the one who makes the Lord his trust.

Perhaps at some point in your life you have found yourself stuck in a difficult place. Trusting in your own abilities and resources, you came up short. God never intended for you to go it alone. In Proverbs 3:5, he calls you to trust in him with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Confess to the Lord in prayer the occasions when you have sought your own preferences by trusting in your own abilities, rather than trusting in the Lord.

God will set your feet on a solid path. Psalm 37:23-24 reminds all, “If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” What is something in your life that you need to transfer your trust to the Lord alone? Are you holding on to unconfessed sin? Do you offer to other people in your life the mercy and grace that that Jesus has extended to you? Trust in the Lord and he will reveal his strength for you and direct your path.

Prayer

O God, I confess that at times in my life I have sought my own private path rather than seeking your way with all of my heart. Renew a steadfast spirit within me and set my feet on a solid path that I might honor you. AMEN

Roger Crites

Wednesday, June 29

Psalm 118:1, 8, 24, 28-29
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God and I will exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.

In all things God works for the good of those who love him and respond to his call for his purpose. In this day, rejoice and be glad. This is your choice – what you can control.

Regardless of your past, God graciously and generously offers forgiveness and hope.

We live in a fallen world with sinful people. Know that people should be better than they are but they are not. What are some of your expectations and assumptions of other people? Are you unhappy because of how you are treated by others? Do you need evaluate your expectations and create new ones? Joy is in the Lord, not in the circumstances of life

Take time today to reflect and write down the ways that God is working for good in your life. Focus on and respond to what you can control and give over to God all of the relationships and realities that you cannot control. Give thanks that his love to you will endure forever.

Prayer

O God, regardless of how I feel, I choose to trust and rejoice in you. You alone are the one who will reveal your plan and purpose for my life. I will trust, day by day, in your faithfulness to me. AMEN

Roger Crites

Tuesday, June 28

Psalm 5:3-4a, 5b, 8, 11
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; you hate all who do wrong. Lead me, O Lord in your righteousness. Let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. 

When you were fully awake this morning, what was the first thought on your mind? How has that thought flavored the rest of your day? Even if you are not a morning person, I want to encourage you to take a few moments to wait before God in prayer every morning. Regardless of what lies before you in your day, praise him that he has given you a new opportunity to know him, love him, and discover his plan and purpose for your life.

Sometime during this day, find a quiet place where you can write down the non-negotiable not for sale values of your life. What are the absolutes that are not subject to being blown away by temptation and the winds of change? You will discover that when you declare before God what you hold close as the desires of your heart, you will find confidence and assurance to awake each morning with the hope of God filling your soul.

Prayer

Thank you, O God, for welcoming me into your presence just as I am. I praise you that you love me enough to transform me into a new creation today by your power and in your grace. AMEN


Roger Crites

Monday, June 27

Isaiah 55:6-7 
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Think back to your first mental image of God. For some people, God was big, smiling and loving. For others, their image of God was one of a harsh judge on a throne. Perhaps that fits your image or somewhere in between. Your image of God either presents a barrier or offers a bridge when you come before him in prayer. Barriers are often erected from negative experiences with earthly parents or through relationships with people who have not honored God in their words and actions.

Allow me to suggest that you find a quiet place and seek a true image of who God is and how he desires to manifest himself in your life. Ask God, in his grace and mercy, to reveal to you the unrepentant sin in your life so you can turn from your sin and seek His forgiveness. He offers all who trust in him healing for their past and hope for a healthy future with the one true God who is both loving and just. Today, seek the Lord for he is near to the humble in heart.

Prayer

O God, help me see in you the hope and healing that you alone offer to all who trust completely in you. I desire to see you as the one true, everlasting God who has mercy on those who seek you with all of their heart. Create within me a true vision of your holiness and your hope as I walk with you by faith. AMEN


Roger Crites

Friday, June 24


Friday


Throughout this week, we have been examining what Jesus had to say about the reality of hell through the story He told about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16.  While the story is fascinating, the reality that it describes is very sobering (or at least it should be if we take it seriously).  The truth is that Jesus had quite a lot to say about hell and what He tells us is the frightening truth.  I believe that Jesus loves us enough to tell us the truth.

Matthew 10:28 - Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 25:41 - “Then he will say to those on his left,  ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Mark 9:47-48 - And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where“‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

Matthew 13:41-42 - The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.  They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I think the primary objection to hell by so many today has to with the belief that an actual literal hell is simply unjust and unloving.  If (they reason) God is just and loving, how could He possibly allow such a place to exist?

Liberal theologian and author Sharon L. Baker has written, “Our traditional views of hell as a place of eternal punishment where unbelievers dwell in undying flames contradict the image of God as merciful, forgiving, and compassionate.” 

The Question – Does the existence of hell make God unloving or unjust?

The Answer – No.  Actually, the Biblical doctrine of hell strengthens our belief that God is just and it deepens our understanding of His love. 

Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf was a first hand witness to the cycle of generational ethnic violence in the Balkans.  He contends that such violence was fueled NOT by a belief in a God of judgment, but by a lack of belief in a God of judgment.

If God were not angry at injustice and deception and did not make a final end to violence—that God would not be worthy of worship…. The only means of prohibiting all recourse to violence by ourselves is to insist that judgment is legitimate only when it comes from God… My thesis that the practice of non-violence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many…particularly in the West…. [But] it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human nonviolence corresponds to God's refusal to judge. In a sorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die. And as one watches it die, one will do well to reflect about many other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.      - Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace

When the human heart cries out for justice, it is the uniquely Christian conviction that there is a God, and that He will ultimately judge the world and set everything right, that can give true comfort and peace.

But how does believing in hell help us experience the love of God? 
Good question.  The answer has everything to do with the Cross. 

How do you determine the depth of a persons love for someone?  Anyone can declare that they love someone, how do you know?   “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  You know by the price they are willing to pay and the sacrifice they are willing to make for that person. 

Have you ever stopped to consider what was really going on when Jesus cried out from the cross, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  What was happening in that moment?  Have you ever wondered why in the Apostle’s Creed we say that Jesus descended into hell?  What actually happened on Calvary? What did Jesus really accomplish on the cross?

You do not know the depth of the love of God until you know the depth of the price He was willing to pay for you.  God does not love us in some sentimental abstract kind of way.  God does not make His love known to us simply by telling us.  God’s love is incredibly real and extremely costly (to Him).  God’s love is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, who suffered the fire, agony and torment of hell that our sins deserve!  He took our place so that we might be brought into the love of the Father!

1 John 4:10 - This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


Jeff Frazier 

Thursday, June 23

Thursday

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  - Luke 16:22-26

In the movie Gladiator (one of my favorites) the main character Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, says to his Roman Legionaries just before they head into battle; “brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity.”  I have no idea what the writers of that movie intended, but that statement is actually quite biblical.  The choices we make in this life do indeed have eternal consequences.

In the story we have been reflecting on from Luke 16, both Lazarus and the rich man survived their own funerals. This is the one thing that they had in common, they both died.  The death rate is still 100% and no amount of riches or power can change that.  We tend to think of this world as the land of the living but, in a sense, it is actually the land of the dying.  We are all on our way toward the end of our earthly lives.  Some of us are inching toward our death and others of us are racing toward it, but we are all going to get there one day.  When that day finally comes, we will wake up to spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell.  There are those who suggest that God is gracious enough to give a second chance after death, or even a third, fourth, fifth, or as many chances as we might need to finally accept His offer of forgiveness and redemption.  This sounds nice and would be quite nice of God if it were true.  The problem is that all of the evidence we have from His Word clearly indicates that it is not true.  The Bible makes it abundantly clear that our lives on this side of eternity matter too much for that to be true!

Hebrews 9:27 - Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.

The writings of C.S. Lewis have helped me tremendously in many ways to better understand my faith.  In particular, Lewis has some very good insights on how to understand the reality of an eternal hell, and as usual, he simply says things better and more clearly than most people.

"Christianity asserts that we are going to go on forever and that must either be true or false. Now there are a great many things that wouldn't be worth bothering about if I was only going to live eighty years or so, but I had better bother about if I am going to go on living forever. Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are getting worse so gradually that the increase in my lifetime will not be very noticeable but it might be absolute hell in a million years. In fact, if Christianity is true, hell is precisely the correct technical term for it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or to even enjoy it, but just the grumble itself going on and on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God 'sending us' to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud."              - C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock

In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a Question: "What are you asking God to do?" To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them! They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does. I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.  All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.        – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

No one who is ever in hell will be able to say to God, “You put me here,” And no one who is in heaven will ever be able to say, “I put myself here.”


Jeff Frazier

Wednesday, June 22


Wednesday


“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. 
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’  - Luke 16:19-26

As we said at the beginning of the week, this story that Jesus told has multiple layers of meaning.  We have been examining how incredibly important the decisions we make and the actions we take in this life really are.  As the story progresses, Jesus is showing us the reality of the next life.

Lazarus is carried to Abraham’s side (sometimes translated as “Abraham’s Bosom”) This is a metaphoric description of heaven - where there’s no more begging, no more sores, no more lying outside the gate, no more crumbs to fend for, no more hunger! True Israelites were expected to share with Abraham in the world to come. Abraham is regarded in Scripture as being not only the great patriarch (Hebrews 7:4) but also the father of all believers (Romans 4:11). To be considered a friend of Abraham was the highest honor possible and true happiness would be to spend eternity at his side.  Paradise, Abraham’s bosom, heaven, God’s throne are all synonymous terms. 

Luke 23:43 - Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.
2 Cor. 12:4 - Paul was “caught up into Paradise”.
Rev 2:7 - To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

The rich man ends up in the other place, the bad place, “H. E. double hockey sticks”, Hell, Hades, the underworld, place of punishment, place of perdition. The rich man calls out to Abraham (in this story they can see each other) and says that he is in agony in this fire – is it a real fire, are they real flames?  I will occasionally have someone ask me if I believe that Hell is a real place.  I will sometimes respond that I think the fire in the NT is probably a metaphor.  At this point the person breathes a little sigh and says something like, “yeah I think that too.”  Then I will add that it is likely a metaphor for something infinitely worse! It is a generally accepted law of language that a figure of speech is less intense than the reality. If “fire” is merely a figurative expression, it must stand for some great reality, and if the reality is more intense than the figure, what an awful thing the punishment symbolized by fire must be.  Theologian John Stott has called the attempts to describe the reality of Hell as describing the indescribable.  Whatever hell is, it is real enough to the rich man in this story.  It seems it is a very real agony from a very real torment.

What hell is, we know not; only this we know, that there is such a sure and certain place.
- Martin Luther

Abraham then states that it is absolutely impossible for Lazarus to come and help him now. There is a great chasm between Heaven and Hell that is fixed so that those who want to go from one place to the other cannot do it. There were many of these yawning gorges in Palestine that were impossible to cross. The lost and the redeemed are separated forever. There are no exit signs in Hell because it is a place of “eternal” torment.

Contrary to popular opinion, Hell is not a place of one big long party with all of your buddies. None of the rich man’s “prayers” were answered nor could they be. The rich man in this story knows at least three things:
1. There is no way out for him.
2. People can avoid Hell if they put their faith in Jesus.
3. People need to be warned about the danger they are in.

I don’t think the rich man in this story thought much about dying. He was too busy with life, too caught up in this world to even think about the next one. Lazarus, on the other hand, probably thought about death every day. He wondered if he would even wake up the next morning. The clock was ticking for both of them. 

Hell and judgment are not very popular topics in our culture, they aren’t even popular in our churches.  I wouldn’t want to go to a church that always talked about hell.  But I wouldn’t want to go to a church that never mentioned it either.  However, the NT is clear and we ignore it to our own peril!  God is just, sin will be punished, and Hell is real.  BUT, it does NOT have to be our eternal destiny!

Jeff Frazier

Tuesday, June 21


Tuesday


“No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them,  “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.  – Luke 16:13-15

Jesus was speaking to “His disciples” yet he was also dealing with the Pharisees & their greed. They turned up their nose at Jesus, why?  Because they had a contrasting view of money, they saw money as evidence of God’s favor, not as a false god threatening to take God’s place.

This is the context into which Jesus told this story of the Rich man and Lazarus.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.  “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  – Luke 16:19-23

The entire story is a remarkable study in contrasts.  Jesus contrasts their earthly condition, wealth & luxury – poverty & suffering.  He contrasts their death, the rich man is buried, and Lazarus is not.  He contrasts their eternal destinies; Lazarus is carried to heaven, while the rich man ends up in hell.  But the one thing they shared was the fact that they both died.  Death was still certain for the rich man and for the poor beggar.

It is interesting to note that Jesus doesn’t tell us why Lazarus went to heaven and the rich man went to hell.  He doesn’t mention some terrible crime that the rich man committed or that he lived a sinful life.  In fact, most people in Jesus’ day would have assumed that a man like this was a Godly man.  They associated wealth with God’s favor, so surely God must have blessed this man.  A diseased beggar on the other hand, would have been viewed as cursed by God.  It is quite possible that this rich man thought he was just fine, that God was pleased with him.  He may never have realized how far his heart was from the heart of God until it was too late.

“The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” - C. S. Lewis

(Can you see the shock value of this story to Jesus’ listeners?)

So, why did the rich man end up in hell?  The clear implication is that this rich man was not in hell because he was rich.  He was in hell because his riches were his God.  This is a very real temptation for many of us, to worship our stuff.  Oh, not that we would actually physically bow down to big piles of money or sing praise songs to our possessions.  But many in our culture are devoted to the accumulation of wealth, they are consumed and obsessed with protecting and increasing what they “own”. 

1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,  “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Jeff Frazier

Monday, June 20


Monday


“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”    - Luke 16:19-31

As is often the case with Jesus, this story that He told has many facets and multiple layers of meaning.  We will be exploring the meaning and application of this story throughout the devotionals this week.

One of the first things we see in this text is that Jesus is clearly drawing a contrast between the extreme wealth of the rich man and the extreme poverty of Lazarus.  It is interesting that we know the poor man’s name is Lazarus, but the rich man remains nameless in the story.  In our culture, it is the rich and powerful that are known by name and the poor who are the nameless multitudes.

The richest 2% of the world's population owns more than half of the world’s household wealth.  According to a 2008 study, the 3 richest people in the world: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett , & Mexican telecom mogul Carlos HelĂș, have more money than the poorest 48 nations combined! 

The consistent message of the Gospel is that God has a special place in His heart for the weak, the poor and the oppressed. 


Leviticus 19:10 - Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 15:7 - If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.

Psalm 35:10 - My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

Luke 6:20 - Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Matthew 25:40 - “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Here is an interesting question – how many poor people do you know?  I am not talking about the family that can’t afford a second car or a summer vacation, I am talking about those living at or below the poverty line, do you know any?

It is easy to fall into the comparison trap in our culture.  This is the trap that convinces us that because we do not have as much as our friends or neighbors, we are somehow “in need”.  A trip to a third world country will quickly put to death this myth.  If your family has total assets of just $20,000 or more, you are in the top third of the world’s wealthiest.  Although North America has only 6% of the world's adult population, it accounts for 34% of household wealth.

In this parable Jesus does not condemn the rich man for being rich, He condemns him for his lack of compassion for the poor beggar right outside of his front door!  It is not wrong to have wealth.  You should not feel guilty for the money and possessions you have, but you should feel responsible. 

God blesses His children so that they can be a blessing to others!

Jeff Frazier

Friday, June 17

Matthew 19:16-26

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only one who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

“Which ones?” the man inquired.

Jesus replied, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“All these I have kept,” the young man said, “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I once heard a story told about gold legend Tiger Woods. I have no idea whether the story is factually true – but it does make a point. As the story goes, Mr. Woods was just 20 years old and already a superstar in his sport. One night he went with some older friends to some kind of exclusive night club where guests had to be at least 21 years old to enter. When he got to the door – the doorman asked for his identification. Woods said something like, “Don’t you know who I am? I’m ‘The Tiger’” To which the doorman simply replied, “I don’t care if you’re the ‘Lion King’ – you’re not getting into this club unless you’re 21!”

The gist of Jesus interaction with the “rich young man” – and the Tiger Woods story – is that our entrance into heaven will not be based on who we are – or what we think we have done to merit entrance – but rather it will be based on who we know!

The young man who comes to Jesus in this story is fairly impressed with his own credentials. He is wealthy and successful. He has been religious all his life. While he has probably exaggerated his own righteousness just a bit – there is no doubt he was a fine, upstanding and outwardly religious young man! But Jesus knows something about this fellow. Jesus knows he is trying to prove his own worthiness of eternal life. Notice how the young man starts; “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” This is a guy who believes in himself. He believes he can accomplish anything, jump through any hoop, beat out his closest competitors in business, and prove himself worthy to God because he has always been able to achieve success. Jesus knows this young man’s heart – and he knows his heart is filled with two things – himself and his wealth. Jesus also knows neither of these can save his soul.

So Jesus offers him salvation; he tells him to sell his possessions and give to the poor, then to come and follow him. Sometimes we focus on the selling of possessions and miss the call to follow. I don’t think Jesus is saying that selling his possessions and giving to the poor will save this man. I think Jesus is saying that only when the young man breaks free from the god of wealth that enslaves his heart will he be free to follow him – and it is following Jesus that will lead him to eternal life.

To me, this is one of the saddest stories in the entire New Testament. It is sad because, when given the choice between following Jesus to spiritual freedom and salvation and clinging to his wealth and pride – he chooses the latter. He just couldn’t bring himself to let go of that which he used to define himself – that which he used to impress others and God.

Someday soon, the Bible says, we will all stand before God. What will we offer him? Some will offer him a successful career; great achievement; a boatload of money; multiple academic degrees; tireless community service; a whole portfolio of religious activities – and all of that will seem paltry and pointless in the face of the holiness of God. The only thing any of us will have to offer – and the only thing that will matter on that day – is Jesus.

Jesus is truth. Jesus is freedom. Jesus is salvation. Jesus is life.

“Amen, come Lord Jesus.” – Revelation 22:20

Brian Coffey

Thursday, June 16

Matthew 7:13-14

Enter through thee narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I am sometimes surprised by the appearance of truth in unexpected and very secular places. Back in the early 1970’s, rock stars Jimmy Paige and Robert Plant of the band “Led Zeppelin” wrote one of the most famous songs in rock and roll history. In “Stairway to Heaven” they wrote:
Yes there are two roads you can go down, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the one you’re on.

I’m pretty sure that Paige and Plant were not intentionally paraphrasing the teaching of Jesus in their song – but what they sang is true. According to Jesus all spiritual roads boil down to two choices – a road that leads to life and a road that leads to spiritual death.

So how do we know? How can we know with certainty that the road we choose is the road that leads to eternal life in heaven?

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


It is not uncommon for people to use this very teaching to accuse Christians of being “exclusive” and “intolerant” of other religious beliefs. They say, “How can you “Christians” claim yours is the only way?” “How arrogant to think all other world religions are wrong!”

There are two important points to make here. First, all truth is, by definition, exclusive. For example, the law of gravity is true. If you jump off your house you will always fall to the earth. Always. You cannot jump off your house and hope to float upwards just because you don’t like the law of gravity – because the law of gravity simply is true. We know and accept this principle when it comes to gravity or, say, mathematics (two plus two always equals 4 – never 47) – but when it comes to spiritual truth many people would rather believe they can create their “own” truth.

So the claims of Christ and the claims of, say, Mohammed or Buddha or Oprah, cannot all be true at the same time – because all claim different spiritual truths. Just as the truth of gravity or the truth of 2+2=4 cannot be altered just because we would like it to be different – so also spiritual truth cannot be changed of created – it can only be discovered – and then either accepted or rejected.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

But the second point to make is equally important. While the truth of Jesus is exclusive – it is also inclusive. That is, the truth of Jesus and his salvation is offered to anyone who will accept it – anyone! Jesus said,

“For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life.” John 3:16

This means you don’t have to be born into a certain ethnic group; you don’t have to be of a certain socio-economic status; you don’t have to be educated; you don’t even have to be religious! You just have to be willing to acknowledge and accept truth.

That truth, the Bible says, is Jesus.

Brian Coffey

Wednesday, June 15

Luke 23:39-43

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”


In the summer of 1985, my brother Joe and I led a 6 week sports-evangelism trip to Bolivia, South America. We traveled all over the country seeking to draw crowds to basketball games and then using these events to share our faith and to distribute evangelical literature produced by local churches.

Bolivia is one of the most underdeveloped nations in the world and travel was sometimes quite difficult and conditions somewhat arduous. During one stretch of the trip we traveled into the area known as the “altiplano” – or “high plains” – in the remote western frontier of Bolivia. The region is about 9,000 feet above sea level and extremely desolate. Over a stretch of 32 hours we played 3 games in three small cities on about 4 hours of sleep. We had no clean water to drink and relied on bottled soft drinks. The only meal we had was made up of a few scraps of bread, some fried eggs and some dangerous looking sausage. We had no showers, no change of clothes and slept on the trains that took us from town to town each night.

As we boarded the train for the last all night ride, we were tired, hungry, smelly and had spectacularly bad attitudes! It was cold enough on the train that night that the next morning the inside of the windows were coated with ice. My brother and I got into a seat together, covered ourselves in our sleeping bags like a great human cocoon – and tried to sleep. In the middle of the night, while in a fitful state of semi-consciousness, I became aware of a pitiful whimpering sound. As I came to my senses I realized that the sound was coming from my brother – one of the toughest and most fearless men I have ever known – who was crying in his sleep. While I’ve never let him forget that moment of weakness – it was indeed an uncomfortable train ride!

We pulled into a town called Oruru at about 3:30 in the morning. We dragged all our gear off the train and tried to flag down enough taxis to take our team to what we were absolutely sure would be another cockroach-infested third world hotel with no food, no heat, no showers and mattresses stuffed with straw. In fact, Joe and I were so sure of this that we let all the other guys go on ahead of us because it really didn’t make much difference if we were cold, tired and hungry at the train station – or cold, tired and hungry at the hotel!

So imagine our shock and disbelief when our taxi finally pulled up in front of a five-story, state-of-the-art modern hotel! I’m talking Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Hyatt Regency! The glowing neon sign said, “Hotel Terminal” – we couldn’t believe our eyes! Within minutes we were standing under steaming hot showers and within an hour were dining on steaks for breakfast! It was like going from hell to heaven in a 5 minute cab ride!

In the more than 25 years since that trip – I have thought about and told the story dozens and dozens of times. And I have often wondered what the trip would have been like if I had known Hotel Terminal was waiting for us? I think it would have made a profound difference in my experience of the lousy food, long train rides, and bone chilling cold. I think my brother and I would have been telling our team every day – “Hey guys, hang on – Hotel Terminal is waiting for us – it will all be worth it then – trust us!”

In a sense that’s what Jesus tells the dying thief.

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

And that’s what he tells us! Yes, today we may suffer. Yes, someday we are going to die. But, hang on, Hotel Terminal is coming! Heaven is greater joy, greater peace, greater pleasure, greater love than we can imagine. Heaven is real. And Jesus himself is preparing a place for you even now. This is our hope. And even though this hope is anchored in the future that we cannot see – because this hope is certain, it rushed back into our present and our present troubles – and fills us with strength, endurance and anticipation.

May this hope be yours today!

Brian Coffey

Tuesday, June 14

John 14:1-6

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”


In 1961 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. Upon his return to earth, he earned points with the atheist communist regime by proclaiming that he hadn’t seen God in space. Leaving aside the question of who created space to begin with – astronomers tell us that it would take 100,000 years traveling at the speed of light just to reach the edge of our galaxy; and our galaxy is just one of billions in the universe. Yet, Mr. Gagarin traveled 100 miles from earth and concluded that God does not exist! When you think about it – that’s like sticking your toe in the Pacific Ocean and determining whales do not exist because one did not bite your big toe!

The first thing we must understand and trust about what Jesus says about heaven is that heaven is real! Heaven is not, as both Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud believed, an escapist fantasy human beings dreamed up to make themselves feel better when faced with the reality of death. Heaven is not just a psychological crutch for the weak. Heaven is real, Jesus says, heaven is a place.

Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
While theologians may debate the actual location of heaven, there can be no debate that Jesus is teaching us that heaven is real – as real as the home you are living in right now - and is a place being prepared for those who follow Jesus.

In his essay, “The Great Divorce,” C.S. Lewis describes heaven as the real world for which we were created – and earthly life as a kind of phantom existence only intended to prepare us for heaven. Lewis imagines heaven as a world so real that, were we to go there as we are now, we would be unable to even walk on the grass because the blades of grass would go right through our feet. We would be unable to pick up a fallen leaf because it would be too heavy for us to lift. Lewis’ notion that heaven is more real than earthly life – along with his vision of heaven’s beauty and adventure - allowed me, perhaps for the first time, to actually look forward to being there!

Notice that Jesus says he is going to prepare a place for us. Last week our son Jesse graduated from high school. His grandparents on both sides, as well as my wife’s sister, came into town to celebrate the event. We spent the few weeks prior to the event preparing for their arrival. We had our family room re-painted; we power-washed and re-stained our front porch and back deck; we put new mulch in our flower beds; we mowed and trimmed the lawn – and we did all that because we wanted our home to be their home – clean and comfortable – for the time they were with us.

What does it mean that Jesus himself is preparing heaven for our arrival? I don’t know if it means he is repainting rooms – or re-staining the great porch of heaven – but I do know that it means he loves us and wants us to know that when that day comes, our eternal home will be ready!

Thank him for preparing a place for you!

Brian Coffey

Monday, June 13

John 14:1-6

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Do you remember the old “E.F. Hutton” commercial? I don’t remember much about what the commercial was selling – I think it was financial guidance – but I do remember it featured two men sitting at a table in a crowded restaurant. One of them says to the other, “Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says…” At that moment the whole restaurant grows silent as people strain to hear what the man says next. The tag-line of the ad was: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.”

In a way, that’s what our summer sermon series, “What Did Jesus Say?” is all about! When it comes to the most important issues of human life; life and death, heaven and hell, money and love; doesn’t it make sense to ask, “What did Jesus say?” And doesn’t it make sense that if Jesus did say something about these issues, that we would also strain to listen to and understand what he said?

In this familiar passage, Jesus is talking about heaven. Heaven, or life after death, is one of those subjects that everyone thinks about – but we rarely talk about. Throughout history and across almost every culture and civilization, human beings have dreamed and speculated about life after death. Consider this paragraph from Randy Alcorns’ landmark book entitled, “Heaven”:

“Australian aborigines pictured Heaven as a distant island beyond the western horizon. The early Finns thought it was an island in the faraway east. Mexicans, Peruvians and Polynesians believed they went to the sun or the moon after death. Native Americans believed that in the afterlife their spirits would hunt the spirits of the buffalo…In the pyramids of Egypt, the embalmed bodies had maps placed beside them as guides to the future world…Anthropological evidence suggests that every culture has a God-given, innate sense of the eternal – that this world is not all there is.”

A few months ago I saw a movie entitled, “Hereafter,” which dealt with the subject of life after death. Over the course of the entire movie – which was entirely focused on the issue of what happens after death – God was not mentioned once. And “Jesus Christ” was only mentioned one time – and that was as a kind of sarcastic joke. It seemed to me profoundly sad to devote an entire movie to a subject with eternal significance without ever once referring to the only being who actually is eternal!

So where do we start in our understanding of heaven? We start, Jesus says, with trust.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.

“Trust me,” Jesus says.

Think of it this way; if you were planning a trip to New York City and you had never been there before, who would you consult for advice on everything from travel to hotels to restaurants to sightseeing? Would you trust someone who had never been there before but had lots of ideas about what New York City must be like? Or would you trust someone who was born and raised there – and who still lived there?

When it comes to heaven, to life after death, there is no shortage of opinions or people who are willing to speculate based on what they would like to believe. But there is only one opinion that matters, that we can trust – and that is the word of the one who still lives there

Thank God for his word and ask him to clarify your understanding of heaven as you listen to Jesus this week! 

Brian Coffey

Friday, June 10

Friday

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped, but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! 
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
   Philippians 2:3-11

This week we have been reflecting on what it means to be “great” in God’s eyes.  Time and time again we see in both the example and in the teaching of Jesus, that it is humility and service that are the mark of “Kingdom Greatness”.  This amazing passage from the Apostle Paul in Philippians is, in a sense, his own reflection on the beauty of the humility of Christ.  In the history of the world, many billions of people have lived and died. Many have left their mark on the tapestry of time, but no one has made as indelible an impression as a humble Jewish man named Jesus. Had He been an ordinary man, the world would have forgotten Him as soon as He had died. But, He was no ordinary man!

Perhaps the most significant line in this passage is the phrase “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”  This is really an astounding statement.  Can you and I really be like Jesus?  Notice that the text does not say we will become Jesus, but that we can and should have His attitude of humility. 

Friends, you and I will never become Jesus, but we can become like Him.  Ephesians tells us that we have been created to become like Christ.  Listen to Romans 8:29 in the Living Bible: “For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to Him – and He knew who would – should become like His Son.”  Let me be clear, He’s not saying we’re going to be a god, but He does desire for us to become godly as he develops His character in our lives. God wants to make us like His son Jesus.  Ephesians 4:15 puts it this way: “…We will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.”

Pastor, author and practical theologian Andrew Murray has written a great deal on the subject of humility.  More importantly, he lived what he taught as humble minister of the Gospel in South Africa for more than twenty-five years.  The following is an excerpt from his own reflections on this same passage.

“In this view it is of inconceivable importance that we should have right thoughts of who and what Christ is, of what really constitutes Him the Christ, and specialty of what may be counted His chief characteristic, the root and essence of all His character as our Redeemer. There can be but one answer: it is His humility. What is the incarnation but His heavenly humility, His emptying Himself and becoming man? What is His life on earth but humility; His taking the form of a servant? And what is His atonement but humility!  And what is His ascension and His glory, but humility exalted to the throne and crowned with glory?  In heaven, where He was with the Father, in His birth, in His life, in His death, in His sitting on the throne, it is all, it is nothing but humility. Christ is the humility of God embodied in human nature; the Eternal Love humbling itself, clothing itself in the garb of meekness and gentleness, to win and serve and save us. As the love and condescension of God makes Him the benefactor and helper and servant of all, so Jesus of necessity was the Incarnate Humility. And so He is still in the midst of the throne, the meek and lowly Lamb of God.”  – Andrew Murray

What a model we have in Jesus Christ!
You can be like Jesus!  Jesus wants you to become like Him!  God is working to remake you in the image of His Son! 


Jeff Frazier 

Thursday, June 9

Thursday


In Matthew 20:26, Jesus says that whoever wants to become great, must become a servant.  Theologian and Philosopher Dallas Willard has called this the “Law of Inversion”.  He means that Jesus takes the values and accepted principles of life in our world and flips them upside down (inverts them) when He talks about what it means to live in His kingdom.  We see Jesus referring to this law in various ways throughout the Gospels. 

Matthew 19:30 - But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Matthew 20:16 – “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Mark 9:35 - Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said,  “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Luke 13:30 - Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.
Matthew 10:39 -  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Mark 8:35 -  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Johnn 12:25 -  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Losing your life?  Dying in order to live?  Putting yourself last? Last? Who wants to be last?  Becoming a servant or even a slave?  Who can live this way? 
Clearly Jesus doesn’t understand life in our fast paced and competitive world today.  Oh yes He does!  Jesus knows all about our lives and our world, more specifically, He knows all about your life and your world!

The fact that this sounds crazy, or at least unrealistic, to us says far more about our lack of understanding of Jesus than it does about Jesus’ lack of understanding of the “real world”. 

I flipped on the TV the other day and watched a well known preacher from a very large church telling his congregation (and the millions watching on TV) that Jesus died so that they could be “conquerors in the world and live victorious lives.”  In one sense, I agree.  Jesus did conquer death and He has given us the victory over sin through His death and resurrection. 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Ah, but as the preacher continued, it became quite clear that he was talking about a different kind of victory than a victory over sin and death.  He was connecting the victory of Jesus to material wealth, prosperity, health and physical well-being.  He talked a lot about gaining these things, but I never once heard him mention losing your life, or putting yourself last, or dying in order to live. 

Now I am not saying that Jesus wants you to be poor and sick and depressed!  But, the central message of the Gospel is not about you and your success.  It is about God and His glory revealed in Christ!  When Jesus says that we must lose our lives in order to find them, He is telling us that we have to want Him more than we want anything in this life.  He wants to bring us to the point where we can truly say that he is our life, and without Him we have nothing. 

This is what Jesus was talking about when he said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote in Philippians 3:7-8, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

Jim Elliott, the husband of author Elizabeth Elliott who was killed by the very tribal people he was trying to reach for Christ once said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

What have you lost for the sake of Christ?  What are you willing to lose?


Jeff Frazier

Wednesday, June 8

Wednesday


When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.  Jesus called them together and said,  “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  -  Matthew 20:24-28

Why were the other ten disciples upset with James and John?  What were they so mad about?  Was it because they felt that James and John were way out of line to ask such a question?  Was it because they were more mature in their understanding and would never have asked such a thing?

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,  “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  - Matt. 18:1

But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.  – Mark 9:34

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.  – Luke 9:46

Apparently this was an ongoing dispute among Jesus’ followers.  Clearly the disciples were not indignant with James and John because they were above asking the question.  They were probably just irritated that James and John and their Mommy beat them to it!

How does Jesus respond to this whole incident?  He doesn’t get angry with them.  He doesn’t condemn them for being so petty and foolish.  The text says that calls them all together.  Jesus saw this fundamental misunderstanding among his followers as an opportunity, as a teachable moment.  I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that it is a teachable moment for us as well.  We too frequently misunderstand the fundamental message of Jesus.  We too need to be drawn aside and taught by the Master what it means to be great in God’s eyes.

What a lesson for them and for us. The great men and the great women in God's Kingdom have always been those whose lives were marked by humble service, never the self-seekers, the glory seekers, those who sought to be lifted up to the prominent place. But always those who serve God with a heart of selfless humility.

When Jesus says, “whoever wants to become great among you”, some have questioned, "Well, isn't Jesus sort of accommodating a very ungodly ambition?  I mean, for Jesus to say if you really want to be great, do this. Isn't that to acquiesce to someone's ambition? I mean, is it really right to want to be great?  Is it right to seek a reward? Is it right to want to be a leader?  Is it right to be rewarded and seek that?  Is it right to seek exaltation?" 

This is a good question…

First of all, we have already seen that greatness in God’s eyes means sacrifice, humility, suffering, and service. This is a radical redefinition, a complete reversal of the concept of greatness in our culture.  So, to seek “greatness” is to seek to be a humble servant!  Secondly, the New Testament is full of references to the rewards we will receive for living faithful lives.  Paul talks about our crowns, which we will lay at the feet of King Jesus someday!  Jesus Himself refers to the rewards our Heavenly Father will give us when we seek Him.

It is not wrong to seek glory in eternity. It's not wrong to seek exaltation. The Lord has given us that as a goal. It's not wrong to seek that, it's only wrong to seek it for the wrong reason. It's only when your motive isn't right, when like James and John, you seek it so you can lord it over the others, or you seek it so you can be more esteemed than others in this life, or you seek it so that you can have for yourself greater authority, greater power, greater comfort. It's not wrong to seek it, it's wrong to seek it for wrong and selfish reasons.

Perhaps the greatest example of “greatness” in the Bible, other than Jesus Himself, is John the Baptist.  John was developing quite a reputation as a fiery preacher and his popularity and influence were growing rapidly in the region of the Jordan River.  When Jesus came on the scene, He began to attract large crowds and many of the people who used to follow John the Baptist were now following Jesus.  Some of John’s disciples were upset about this and wanted John to do something about it.

They came to John and said to him,  “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan — the one you testified about — well, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”  - John 3:26

To this, John replied simply, He must become greater; I must become less. - John 3:30

That’s it!  John understood that the whole point of his greatness and influence was to point to the greatness and glory of Christ! 


Jeff Frazier