Not to Condemn But To Love the World – Br. Keith Nelson

1 John 5:9-13
John 17:6-19

As your preacher on this seventh Sunday of Easter, I must confess I struggle with a key concept found throughout the gospel and epistles of John.

“The world” in these writings is a multi-faceted term. Its meaning shifts and accumulates layers of meaning every time it appears.

Sometimes the world is simply the material reality around us, the created order. In John’s prologue we hear: “He [that is, Jesus] was in the world, and the world came into being through him.” This meaning aligns with the most ancient usage of the Greek kosmos, which means “a harmoniously ordered arrangement” or even “adornment.” It is a fitting term for creation as Christians understand it, the material expression of God’s love. This kosmos finds its order and beauty in Christ the Word and exists only through him: “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” Read More

Jesus Namedrops – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis AlmquistJohn 17:6-19

Who will the Messiah be?  In the Hebrew scriptures (the Old Testament) the coming Messiah is described in language that soars with heraldry and hope, with glory and majesty.  The Messiah would be The Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, The Holy One, Lamb of God, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, The Root of David, The Lord God Almighty, The Word of Life, Author and Finisher of our Faith, The Advocate, The Way, The Dayspring, The Lord of All, Son of God, The Shepherd and Bishop of Souls, The Truth, The Savior, The Chief Cornerstone, The King of Kings, The Righteous Judge, The Light of the World, The Morning Star, The Sun of Righteousness, The Chief Shepherd, The Resurrection and the Life, The Horn of Salvation, the Governor, The Alpha and Omega.  And then we discover this Messiah is born quite a commoner in a very common way, living among us.  We are introduced to him, not by title but by name, Jesus, and we are invited to use the name. “Call him Jesus.”   Use his name.  This may give you real freedom in your relationship to God: Read More

You Are My Witnesses – Br. James Koester

Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5: 9-13; John 17: 6-19

There is a word, or at least the implication of a word that pops up frequently during these days of Easter. Jesus implies it when he tells Mary Magdalene in the Garden on that first Easter Day to “… go to my brothers and say to them ….”1 And Mary certainly acts on it when she proclaims to the disciples ‘“I have seen the Lord” and [then] she told them that he had said these things to her.’2 Jesus himself uses it when he says to the assembled disciples “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”3 Read More