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Thursday, July 28, 2016

When God has something better for you!

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”-John 2:1-5

The first recorded miracle that Jesus performs during His ministry is documented for us here in John 2. Jesus and His disciples are invited to a wedding celebration in the town of Cana. During the wedding feast the supply of wine runs out, so Mary approaches Jesus to intervene. 

“Now there were six water pots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.”-John 2:6

Jesus instructed that each pot be topped off with water and then He instructed the servants to draw some out and take it to the master of the feast:

“When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feasted called the bridegroom.”-John 2:9

The wine was so exemplary that the master of the feast accused the bridegroom of holding back the best wine until last. Jesus used this occasion to declare an important truth; one that is still relevant today! God has something better for you!

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”-John 1:17

Let’s take a moment to compare what Christ and Moses each did with water. The contrast clarifies the differences between law and grace. In Exodus 7:14-17 we read how Moses turned water to blood. This miracle communicated judgment. Jesus turning water into wine communicates grace. This contrast is clearly seen in John 3:17:

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

The law condemns, however grace saves! Jesus had not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Jesus often used physical miracles to demonstrate spiritual truths. He healed a man in order to show that he had the authority to forgive sin. He cursed a fig tree as a sign of coming judgment. He raised the dead to prove He is the resurrection and the life. That is why the mention of the six water pots used for ceremonial washing were mentioned. 

This seems to be a significant part of the story. Jesus didn’t turn just any water into wine. He turned the water used in their religious traditions into wine. Jesus was the ultimate expression of those ceremonial washings. The water in those jars could only cleanse a man’s hands; but Jesus could cleanse a man’s soul! Jesus was declaring that he was bringing them something new, something better.

God has something better for you too! Those attending the wedding feast had become so wrapped up in the celebration that they did not recognize that their wine had run dry; that is when Jesus stepped in with something better. Perhaps you are so wrapped up in your sinful life that you didn’t realize that God has something better for you! Jesus is still in the miracle working business, but He isn’t changing water into wine. He is transforming men’s souls and He has something better for you; if you will put your faith in Him. 

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Recognizing Jesus (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 2)

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”-John 1:29

Upon seeing Jesus, John reveals that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Israel had been looking for a Messiah. Someone to free them from Roman oppression. They certainly didn’t expect it to be a carpenter’s son from Galilee. In fact, even as faith-filled as John was, at first, he didn’t recognize it to be Jesus, until the Spirit of God descended and rested on Him. 

Perhaps they didn’t recognize Him because they were looking for someone to save them from the Romans, not someone who was coming to save them from their sins. Yet, Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). He started by coming first to His very own people, but according to John 1:11-13 they rejected Him:

“ He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

But to all who believed in Him and accepted Him, He gave them the right to become children of God. John recognized Jesus as Creator God, but also as Savior of the world. 

John’s testimony about Jesus caused many people to follow Him. Those who began following Jesus initially addressed Him as Rabbi; which means teacher. For many, this is all Jesus would ever beI; a wise teacher that gave out good advice. But for those who chose to recognize Him as their Messiah; they became His disciples:

“One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).-John 1:40-41

Others were a little slower to believe:

“The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”-John 1:43-46. 

Nathaniel was skeptical, until he had an encounter with Jesus:

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”-John 1:47-49

I think there are a lot of people like Nathanael today who are just a little skeptical. They want to believe, but are struggling to completely embrace Jesus truly as Creator and Savior. Nevertheless, you will never truly recognize Jesus, if all He ever is to you is a good teacher, a philosopher, an encourager or a wise leader. Jesus is God! He is the Creator of the Universe and He is the Savior of all mankind!

I wonder if you know Him?

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Recognizing Jesus (Pt.1)

(Part 1 of 2)

“He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.”-John 1:10

Have you ever had that awkward moment when you see someone walking towards you and they obviously recognize you but you cannot for the life of you remember who they are? I had that happen to me recently at Wal-Mart. After unloading my cart I was headed over to put it in the cart corral and there was a lady there getting a cart to take inside. As I approached she looked up, smiled at me, and said hello to me by name; obviously recognizing me. I thought she looked vaguely familiar, however it took me a moment to figure out who she was. It was one of the caregivers for a dear friend of mine that passed away a few years ago. She was often at her apartment working when I would go to visit. 

I apologized to her and told her that I was sorry that I almost didn’t recognize her because she had cut her hair shorter than I remember. Of course that wasn’t the only reason. It had been years since I had seen her and back when I did see her more frequently, it was while she was working. I didn’t have any real relationship with her. We were more acquaintances than we were friends. 

That little encounter made me think about John 1:10. Jesus came into the world, but the world didn’t recognize Him. Would you? Would you recognize Jesus if He were seated next to you right now? You may have a picture in your mind of what Jesus looks like, but considering there is no hard evidence of His actual appearance; how do you recognize someone you’ve never seen before? 

I contend that even those most faithful followers of Jesus would struggle; especially if He didn’t look as they expected. Others have never really spent anytime getting to know Him and there are those who have a working knowledge of Jesus but are more acquaintances than friends. 

John 1 describes Jesus as the Word! He is eternal! He was with God and He is God!Everything that was created was created by Him and He gave life to everything He created and His life was the light of all men:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All thing were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”-John 1:1-3

Did you know that about Jesus? Do you recognize Him as the Creator of the Universe. John the Baptist recognized Him. “Well”, you say, “of course he did, he and Jesus were related (Luke 1:36).”

 It is true that they were related and that John had been born just a few months before Jesus; yet John makes this extraordinary declaration in John 1:15:

This is the one I was talking about when I said, “Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.”

How could a man who was born six months before Christ make such a statement? John didn’t simply recognize Jesus as his relative, he recognized Him as the Son of God! He recognized Him as the Creator of the Universe! Jesus was more than a man that lived 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. He is the Creator! 

You’ll never recognize Jesus until you recognize that He is God! 

Pastor Scott Burr

Dayspring Community Church

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A crisis of faith! (Pt.3)

(Part 3 of 3)

"And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?”
And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”-Mark 9:14-24

Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! I wonder how many of us can relate to this story? A caring father brings his son to the disciples because he is being terrorized by a wicked spirit. He is desperate but hopeful that the disciples can cast out the foul spirit and bring some relief to his son. Unfortunately, the disciples were unsuccessful and the man’s hope for his son’s recovery continues to plummet. Whatever hope and faith he possessed when he arrived has slowly begun to vanish. You can hear the doubt and despair in the man’s voice as he recounts to Jesus the tragic events of his son’s life.

Jesus declares to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” to which the man through tears cries out “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

How many know that it is hard to live by faith when you dragging doubt and despair around with you? Doubt and despair are like weighty luggage. Containers within which we pack all our disappointments, unmet expectations, and feelings of hopelessness. Try taking a leap of faith when you are weighted down with these!

However, there is hope! Freedom begins when we are willing to check our bags! Luggage that weighs over 50 lb. is required by most airline companies to be checked. You are not allowed to carry checked baggage onto the plane. Before you can board the plane, you have to entrust it to a steward, who then becomes responsible for making sure it gets to where it needs to go. It is no longer in your hands.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 that we need to treat doubt and despair like checked bags:

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Jesus knew that we would face situations that would cause us to doubt and despair, but he never intended for us to carry them. He said bring them to me and I will give you rest. When we are faced with a crisis of faith and become overwhelmed with doubt and despair we can remember this; He is now responsible for them. You don’t have to carry those burdens any longer!

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church

A crisis of faith! (Pt.2)

(Part 2 of 3)

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said.”-John 20:19

After Jesus’ brutal death on Calvary, it is evident that the disciples were now being weighed down by staggering doubt and despair. They had forsaken Jesus at Gethsemane and fled for their lives as He was taken off to face the Sanhedrin. Ultimately, even the stoic Peter caved and denied even knowing Jesus. Three days later we find the belittled bunch huddled together locked in an upper room trying to process the doubt and despair that was likely overwhelming them. 

Doubt is a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction. Despair is the complete loss or absence of hope. 

Some people would say that we are not being “good” Christians if we struggle with doubt and despair, however even the disciples had their doubts. Thomas struggled with doubt almost the entire time he walked with Jesus:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”-John 14:1-5

The moment Jesus began discussing going away, Thomas began to question how they would be able to know where He was going or how to get there without Him. This stands to reason why Thomas, even after Jesus’ resurrection and the testimony of his fellow disciples of His appearing, declared in John 20:25: “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

Thomas, however, was not alone in his struggles. The Apostle Paul battled immense doubt and despair:

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.”-2 Corinthians 1:8

Paul’s burdens became so severe that he fell into despair having little hope that he would survive. Haven’t we all been there before? We believe, but doubt has crept in! That once thriving rock solid relationship with the Lord, we once had, has been shaken and now we are being driven and tossed about by the wind:

“He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”-James 1:6 

Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church