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Green Pastures and Still Waters

Our text for Sunday begins a new section in the Gospel According to John.  After crying out (John 12:44) for people to believe and keep believing, the Lord Jesus took those who were His (and one pretender) aside for some private instruction.  I liken this section (chapters 13-17) to the Junior and Senior years of college.  We've made it past the things we think we know and are beginning to study the things we think we want to know.  It may be more challenging than we thought!  There are layers of lessons in these passages, the obvious ones are hard enough but the ones just under the surface are challenging as well.  This week our study will concentrate on serving as Christ served.  We often say that the past 60 years has produced a "me-first" generation.  That may be true in some respects but maybe we have just been exposed for what we really are.  Truthfully, the actions of our parents (Adam & Eve) were me-first actions and though masked over the years human beings have a track record of selfishness.  This action of the Lord Jesus to put others before Himself is downright radical.  It was His way because He is love.  This is His nature, character and sphere.  All who live in love know God for God is love.  The Lord Jesus reveals what this looks like in everyday action.  Common courtesy to others is the place to start.  "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..."  Why is this such a struggle?
People are really into saving things these days.  Bumper stickers promote causes, TV shows highlight the personnel behind these causes and millions of dollars are spent in pursuit of these agendas.  Saving everything from energy to mice is on somebody's agenda.  First, let's be clear that God made the world for His pleasure and entrusted its care to us.  Therefore, we should be good stewards of earth's resources.  An attitude that expresses, "It's all gonna burn anyway, who cares about this world?" is not biblical.  Many of us from fundamentalist upbringing have had to repent about this, I am one who is still learning and listening about our responsibility for the planet.  However, let's be very clear that while Jesus Christ our Lord is certainly an advocate for "earth care", His primary mission was not to save the planet but to save the world.  In other words, He came to rescue the people, those who are made in His image, from the brokenness of the "fall."  Our text for September 5 is John 12:44-50.  Jesus summarizes His mission to those who were on the verge of believing faith.  How can we express our immense appreciation for His love and sacrifice to rescue us?  What would like to say to Him?