Archive for the ‘Following Jesus’ Tag

A Gospel Story: From Dogmatism and Fear, to Freedom and Love!

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Audio – Part 1a: 30 min”

Audio – Part 1b: 30 min”

Audio – Full Message:”


Guest Teacher: John MacMurray

Whether in a sanctuary or a bar, a classroom or a living room; John  loves to communicate that God is better than we imagine! A lifetime of teaching led John to start and direct the Northwest School of Theology and the Open Table Conferences, which feature Paul Young, author of “The Shack” book and movie, and Dr. Baxter Kruger, author of “The Parable of The Dancing God” and many other Gospel books. John is also an award-winning landscape nature photographer. His images have appeared in Sierra Club, National Geographic, Audubon, and several other prestigious nature publications.

You can learn more about him at:

He has written a book entitled “A Spiritual Evolution”, a story about his “journey from dogmatism and fear to freedom and love.”

Picture courtesy of

The Unmerciful Servant!


Part 1a: 21 min

Part 1b: 22 min


Full Message:


Main Passage: Matthew 18:21-35

“Jesus taught on forgiveness through the parable of the unmerciful servant. Jesus’ followers are invited to forgive others because they have been forgiven a much greater debt. Forgiveness of others is an overflow of God’s good news, not simply an occasional act when it feels appropriate. To follow Jesus means to remember we are forgiven and to extend that forgiveness to others.” – The Gospel Project

Theological Theme:

Those who receive forgiveness of God- Father, Son, and Spirit, must, in turn, extend forgiveness.

Christ Connection:

Though our debt before God was too great to be paid through our good works or effort, we have received forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ, who paid our debt through His death on the cross. God has wiped the slate clean with the blood of His Son.

Missional Application:

God, through His Holy Spirit, calls us to model forgiveness in our relationships in order to put on display the nature of God’s forgiving heart.

“We reveal the true condition of our hearts by the way we treat others. When our hearts are humble and repentant, we will gladly forgive our brothers. But where there is pride and a desire for revenge, there can be no true repentance, and this means God cannot forgive.”  –Warren W. Wiersbe

Photo Compliments: Jimmy Larche

Following Jesus


You know, sometimes we Christians fall into the trap of thinking that Jesus is first and foremost our role model. We easily buy into the concept that we are to be like Jesus. Let me explain before you click away from this blog thinking I am a heretic. When I say Jesus is not our role model I simply mean that we will never be Jesus and as we try to be him we not only fail and look silly but often damage others in the process.

Jesus walked on water. Jesus supernaturally hid himself away on at least one occasion. He also charged into a Jewish temple and smashed up the place where the money changers were gouging the worshippers. If you and I try all that, we will look silly and perhaps even spend a little time behind bars.

Imagine if I said that Superman was my role model and I set out to be like him in the same way we sometimes perceive Jesus as our role model. What if I tried to stop a train with my hands? What if I jumped off a tall building and tried to fly? What if I tried to stop a bullet? Well I could leap off a tall building and even stop a bullet if I wanted to… at least once anyway. You get the point.

But Bill…. we are supposed to be disciples of Jesus right?


Here is what I want us to think about for the next week.

To be a disciple literally means to be a follower. We are called to follow Jesus. I am a follower of Jesus (as much as I am able to listen and respond to his leading).  So follow him where? Well we follow him where he goes. As Nan reminded us earlier he is Emmanuel… he is with us.

There is a great story by Dr. C. Baxter Kruger that he tells about his son and his son’s friend. You see one afternoon Baxter was waiting for a football game to come on TV and out of the corner of his eye he saw his 7-year-old son and his son’s buddy all dressed in their pretend Army gear and in an instant they ran across the room and attacked Baxter. Instantly the tree of them rolled around on the living room floor and laughed and tickled and played. It was a large time. So big deal right? Well you see Baxter had never met his son’s friend before that moment of play. So now think about the little boy there but remove Baxter’s son from the scene. Do we really think this little boy would attack Baxter and engage him in childish play? Not a chance! So here is the deal… that boy did not have a relationship with Baxter but Baxter’s son did and Baxter’s son also had a relationship with his little buddy from the neighborhood and what Baxter’s son did was to include his friend in the relationship he had with his daddy. All the little boy from the neighborhood did was follow Baxter’s son. Hmmmmm….

Maybe it would be helpful if we could just pause for a few days and think about Jesus running into his Papa’s arms to play and perhaps follow Jesus there!

Holy Spirit remind us that we are beloved of the Father and in the person of Jesus Christ we have been brought into the context and safety of Jesus’ relation to the Father. Help us break out of our religious prisons and learn to play with the Father, Son, and You. Amen

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