Saturday, January 28, 2017

But What Do I Get Out Of This?

"When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?”  Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves.'".- John 6:25-26

These verses come after one of Jesus' most well known miracles, the feeding of the 5000. For those who don't know the story, here it is. Jesus was teaching by the Sea of Tiberias, and it came to the time of day that most folks began getting ready to eat dinner. So, as a test to his disciples, he asks them, "Where can we buy food for all these people?" "Master, more than a day's wage would barely satisfy a little for this crowd," was the response from his disciples. Andrew, brother of Simon Peter, came to Jesus and said, "There is a young boy who has 5 barley loaves and 2 fish, but how can that feed everyone?" So, Jesus tells the apostles to sit the people in large groups on the grass. The people sat down, more than 5000 in number. Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and broke it until it was distributed to every person there. He did the same with the fish. After everyone had their fill, he instructed his disciples to gather the leftovers, and they collect 12 baskets of remaining food. The next day, the people seek out Jesus, getting into boats and traveling across the sea to Capernaum. Upon arrival, Jesus tells them that they were not looking for him because he was the Christ, but because they got a free meal out of his teachings. Basically, they were following Christ in order to get something out of the deal. 
Answer me this. What is the best way to get people to come to an event you are hosting? Tell them there will be food and it will be free. People will come in droves to get a free meal, no matter what you are promoting. Most of the time, they don't listen to a word you say as long as they don't have to spend any money on food. Clearly, this was the case back in Jesus day. These people saw Jesus on a daily basis doing miraculous healings and wonders, yet they only sought him out when he had filled their bellies. They didn't want any kind of serious commitment, just a money saver. be honest with yourself here. Have you ever gone to an event simply because the flyer said free food. You didn't care about the organization in the least, you just came to eat. Not gonna lie, I know I have. There is a reason America is one of the most overweight nations on the planet. Someone says food and we are there by the hundreds. But here is the issue. Most of us won't stay to hear the message because we are so focused on getting our fill physically, we have no time for spiritual talk. Jesus wanted followers, but ended up with a small band of followers, with thousands of fans. 
Here is the difference between a follower and a fan. A follower is someone who sticks with their leader no matter what. Through the good and the bad, these guys are right there. A fan is someone who only sticks around as long as they are satisfied. The moment their guy does something that makes them uncomfortable, they leave and quit. When the people came back to Jesus in this chapter, He tells them that he is the Bread of Life. Whoever believe in him will neither thirst or go hungry. "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” Wait. Are we supposed to eat his flesh, like a cannibal? That makes me uncomfortable to even think about. Jesus is not saying that we must literally eat him, but spiritually, we must be so close to him and his character, it would be like eating daily bread. It would be like eating breakfast every morning. It gives you the energy you need to get through the day and when we go without it, we end up drained and hungry come mid afternoon. The people in this story left Jesus grumbling and complaining because they were confused at his words. Even some disciples abandoned him because of his uncomfortable words. The revelation had not hit them that Jesus was who he said he was, so it was as if they had ears, but could not hear what was being said, had eyes, yet could not see-Mark 8:18. 

Are you a Christian who is only in this walk for what God will give you? If you are, it might be time to evaluate ourselves and ask," Will I stick with God with things get hard, or will I walk away because I don't understand?
Think about it.

Adam Semple- A Young Man On A Mission From God

*photo credit- memecreator.org

Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Cover of Darkness

For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”-John 3:16-21

Have you ever done something in secret that you know that once it was exposed to the light, people would look at you different? It could be something as little as biting your nails, but whatever it is, you don't want people to know about it. This happened to a guy in the new testament. A Pharisee, named Nicodemus, came to Jesus under the cloak of darkness. As a Pharisee, it wasn't very commonplace for them to go against their beliefs and listen to a man claiming to be the Son of God. So, under nighttime's cover Nicodemus sneaks away to see him. it is here that we get the most quoted and most well known verse in scripture, John 3:16. But that isn't what I want to talk about. I what to discuss the verses that follow. The ones talking about doing evil deeds in the darkness. Why do you think it is most common for a criminal to break into a bank at night, rather than midday? Because not as many people will see him, and he is more likely to get away with it without out any consequences. But eventually, the criminal slips up, and attacks somewhere when the sun is shining bright and his true character is revealed. When the wicked do what they ought not to do, they are already condemned, even if they haven't been caught yet. 


Aren't you glad there is a loving God who doesn't judge us when we come to him at night to hid what we are doing. Instead he receives us with open arms and tells us how to be saved. "Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”- John 3:5-8. God sent his light to reveal our darkness. The things hidden down deep into our souls that we have forgotten about. It is our job to come to God and lay those things down at his feet, and leave behind the darkness. God has made it so easy for us to come to him. We just need to be willing for people to see what wear are hiding under. 


I'm doing what I can to come fully into God's light this year. Will you join me?


Adam Semple- A young Man On A Mission From God



*photo credit- trekearth.com


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Under The Mask

 "It wasn't a real ghost. It was just Mr. Jenkins, the maintenance man."

If you childhood was as great as mine, you can probably still sing the theme songs to the old Saturday morning cartoons. Flintstones, Jetsons, Looney Tunes. One that I always loved was Scooby Doo. A group of young adults with their talking dog go out and solve mysteries in their green Mystery Machine van. At the conclusion of every episode, they would take off the mask of the "ghost" and reveal the person beneath. In costume, the villians antics seemed, sometimes, really convincing, but after their mask was removed, the gang would explain how all their tricks were nothing more than some old string and a creaky door.
There is something I need to tell you guys. We all wear masks. Its true. No matter how much we try to convince the world we are one thing, our true self is hiding under a mask of deception At some point in time, somebody is going to pull that mask right off, and expose our hidden person. When that happens, will people be amazed at what they see? Will the person you are underneath be the same, or will they see a brand new picture entirely. If you couldn't tell by the gym parking lots being full and the health food cleared off the shelf, we have entered a new year. 2017 is here, and if we are not careful, it will be over before we have even had a chance to do anything about it. Our person under the mask will never change and we will continue living a facade of outward perfection, even though our inner man is hurting and longing for something else. What if in this new year, we make it our goal to take off our own mask, and let God fix the hurt and the brokenness that is found beneath. Now, this is not a goal that we should work hard at the first month of the year, slack off the second, then forget about till next year by the third. No, this needs to be one that is always on our minds. How can our outer appearance truly reflect our inner reality? I know, for me personally, there are areas that need a little bit more of God and a little less of me. I don't want to just say I am a Christian, and not fully live like one. At times, it may be hard. i mean if getting in shape were easy, less and less people would make it their goal to get their bodies healthy. If being a fully committed Christian were easy, Jesus never would have needed to die on that cross for you and me. I'm not someone is to fond of making resolutions for myself at the start of the year, but by this time next year, I want to be closer to God than I ever thought possible. Who's with me?

Adam Semple- A Young Man On A Mission From God

*photo credit- Hanna Barbera- Scooby Doo