Monthly Archives: January, 2019

An Epiphany

Epiphany Sunday

Epiphany means…. A Sudden Realization of something…. 

But it also means Manifestation

Epiphany Sunday celebrates the Manifestation… the Revelation of God the Father in His Son Jesus Christ

IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!

For some, it means writing with chalk on the front door to protect the house for the coming year. 

For some, if the Christmas decorations are not removed on the Twelfth Night, they must be kept in place for the entire year to avoid bad luck.

Today we will look at an Epiphany we can have in our walk with Jesus… we will look at how we can run well and leave a good legacy.

Typically, three moments in the life of Christ are recognized on this day… three moments that point to Jesus. 

1. Wise Men – Matthew 2:1-12… fell down and worshipped

Matthew 2:11 English Standard Version (ESV)

11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

2. Baptism of Jesus – Matthew 3:13-17 (ESV)

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

3. Wedding in Cana – John 2:1-11 (ESV)

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 

11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

These three moments reveal God through Jesus Christ.

John 1:18 The Passion Translation (TPT)

18 No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor except the uniquely beloved Son, who is cherished by the Father and held close to his heart. Now he has unfolded to us the full explanation of who God truly is!

Jesus has the highest honor…

Philippians 2:9-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Not only do we have the Great Commission which commands us…

Matthew 28:16-20 New International Version (NIV)

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

But most importantly we are to raise up our children…

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— 10 how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’

Psalm 78:4 English Standard Version (ESV)

We will not hide them from their children,

but tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,

and the wonders that he has done.

We think often of our legacy… as we run the race we discussed last week, we think…  How can I leave a legacy? How can I leave a mark on the world? 

But too often, our legacy is all about us… about our name

We want to make sure people remember us… people to remember our victories, our trophies, our good works.

Our Legacy…. Only Jesus

Casting Crowns “Only Jesus” song…

Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself

Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else

Make a name the world remembers

But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams

I got lost in the light when it was up to me

To make a name the world remembers

But Jesus is the only name to remember

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won

Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done

‘Cause all that really mattered

Did I live the truth to the ones I love?

Was my life the proof that there is only One

Whose name will last forever?

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy

I don’t care if they remember me

Only Jesus

And I, I’ve only got one life to live

I’ll let every second point to Him

Only Jesus

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name

Jesus is the only name to remember, oh

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The top 7 books I read in 2018

As I wait for my pork and sauerkraut to finish and usher in 2019 with the official family tradition, I look back over 2018 and the books I read that helped me to run the race with more passion and more grace, as God continues to grow me and make me into who I’m meant to be for His glory. If you want to grow, reading is a must!

We are all one Body, and our brothers and sisters have gleaned a lot to share with us that can be helpful on our walk with Jesus.

These are the top 7 books I’ve read in 2018:

The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero and The Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero are both books that have changed me in too many ways to mention. I listen often to Scazzero’s podcasts. Scazzero strips away the noise of the world and points us to the stillness of God, and our need to be connected to our Father in silence and solitude. The Emotionally Healthy Leader is the leadership book that reminds us that before we can add anything to our lives to help us be a better leader, we must first draw near to our Creator. Our foundation should be on Jesus Christ, on the Word, and everything should flow from abiding in Him. Once we find ourselves spending time with God, we live from His presence, His truth, His grace, love and mercy. If we attempt to do anything else without this foundation, we miss out on what He always meant for us to have— a relationship with Him! The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is a similar book with a similar teaching. The focus takes us into a more in depth look as us as individuals with God. We each have a need to draw near to our Maker and drink from the Spiritual Milk He provides. We are reminded that the past, the worldly noise— these things keep us from moving further in our walk. We take steps forward when our eyes are open to the wall of truth that we try to avoid. Just as Moses must veil his face after being in the presence of the Lord, we find ourselves leaving these books with a fresh encounter of His glory. Things are different. Life moves a bit more slower. God speaks a bit more louder. Or maybe we are just finally taking time to listen.

His Name, Salvation: A Collection of Essays to Edify Faith by Corby Shuey is a beautiful collection of essays that are evidence of much time spent diving deep into the Word of God and an ongoing journey of faithful obedience to serve our Father. Shuey speaks God’s Truth as one who has dealt with personal conviction and swam in the ocean of grace. He challenges readers to see the Truth in their own walk with Jesus Christ. He notes that there “has to be more to our faith than this simple repetition of obligations.” With each essay, we are pointed to the Word of God, we are encouraged to seek out God’s Truth, and reach for what has been missing in our faith journey. Shuey speaks about his own time spent “straddling the border between the desert and the promise.” Readers are reminded by Shuey of their own struggles with faith as they are reminded of “the noise of our own voices (which) drowns out the symphonic uttering of God’s voice through creation.” In this collection of essays, Shuey encourages us to quiet our own voices, to draw near to God, and to see clearly our error in worshipping God with a mask we have placed upon Him. We are left to reconcile our misteps in faith through repentance of sin and reverence for our Holy God.

Letters to the Church by Francis Chan is an eye opening book, one that cannot be pushed aside and forgotten. The book warrants a response. Readers are encouraged to open their eyes wide to where the Church is now, and how we have gotten far away from the road we were meant to travel. We are reminded of the Early Church, of simplicity, of connection, of what the Church is meant to be— and it leaves us with a need to respond. This is not a book to shame people to change their local church; Chan simply shares his insights from his personal walk and life of ministry. Nonetheless, the book leaves readers with an opportunity to look with more focused eyes at the local church and to be more intentional with ministry.

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler is a game changing book that takes readers back to the beautiful, amazing, sweetness of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Readers are reminded of the Gospel— the true Gospel that we so often drift away from as we try to preach and live out our own interpretation of the Good News. We must wipe away anything we have added to the Gospel and take a step back to drench ourselves in the greatness of the Good News— the Gospel that cannot be changed, rewritten, or added to by mere man. We recognize that the Gospel has already been written, already been preached, and already been lived— and He is our precious Jesus. Let us share Him!

All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir by Brennan Manning is a phenomenal book. It is a book that was oozing of grace, reminding readers that we so often put on our Pharisee robes and forget that we, too, need Jesus— that we too are sinners saved by grace. Readers are left understanding that they fool themselves into thinking they are not “too bad” and they open their eyes to the truth, and freshly drink from the overflowing well of grace poured out by our Savior.

Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson is a fantastic book that helps you to understand that God speaks in many ways, including some ways we so often forget. The book leaves readers drawing near to God to hear— to listen— to want more of Jesus, and less of ourselves. Readers grow in their hearing ability and find themselves pausing to hear the still small voice.

As you enter into 2019, continue to draw near to God. He promises that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). What an amazing promise! Continue to dig deep into the Word of God, and read books written by those who have spent time with God— who can share their own testimony and what they have gleaned from the Spirit.

Blessings for 2019! God is good! Always!

Happy New Year!