Be Holy as the Lord Your God is Holy – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonResting in the Lord is hard to do. It is a gift from God that he commands his people to set apart one day a week for the Lord. In Exodus 20:9-10 the Lord says, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.” This day of rest is holy because it is dedicated to the Lord and him alone. It seemed foolish to those living apart from God in the ancient world to take a day of rest. It appears lazy as Pharaoh says, “Lazy, that’s what you are – lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ Now get to work.” (Exodus 5:17-18a) In our modern culture where riches and materials rule the day, taking a day off for the Lord seems like such a waste of time.

My grandfather was a wheat farmer in Northeast Montana. During times of harvest workers were committed to spending days and days at a time
with very little sleep, in order to get their crop out of the ground to make the most profit for all their toils. It seemed foolish to take time off. My grandfather knew who his Lord was. He put his faith and trust in the Lord. He never worked on a Sunday in his life. He also never missed getting his harvest. He was blessed, God was glorified, and all who knew him knew who his God was.

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Respect God’s Name – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonThe names for Jesus go on and on, I have never met someone who has so many names. The descriptions that are associated with our Lord are innumerable. So what is the name that the Lord our God prefers to be known as? I have known many people who preferred to go by a particular name. I think it is respectful to address others by the name that he or she desires to be called. I have known Michael’s that are particular about being called Michael and not Mike. There are others who like to be known by their middle names rather than their first. And there are even those who select names that are completely different from any of their birth names. For example I knew a guy named David Kinzer who was only known by the name “Whompy.”

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Beautiful Welcome – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonThere is not a more beautiful sight than coming home to the McCullough Bridge into North Bend (Oregon, USA- See footnote). This architectural expansion is laid down firmly to provide safe entry into the Bay Area from the North. The mile-long cantilever bridge allows travelers easy entry as they pass high above the city of North Bend. It endures the high winds and rain to provide access to community life. The bridge’s function is to provide passage by welcoming patrons to travel over its surface. It does not mind the burden of bearing the treading and tracking of all the traffic. It takes great delight to serve people into city limits.

Jesus as the gate is the only entry into the kingdom of God. He is the door that opens to let his people in. As the door he provides access and protection for his followers. Jesus takes great joy in watching over his flock. As the Good Shepherd he knows his sheep and they know him. He meets

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Unlocked Doors – by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonDon’t you love those friends and families who say “you can come over anytime without an invitation,” those places where if you knocked the owners would be offended if you did? My grandparents’ home was like that. My aunt and uncles place on the farm was like that. And there have been a few dear friends whose houses I am so at home with that I can enter without knocking, usually coming in through the back door. The owners of these houses are gracious hosts where no one is a stranger. For many of these, their homes are never locked and their doors are always open. There have been times when I have entered a beloved’s home without them even there. I was trusted and still welcome to find refuge.

The Lord is the Gate for the sheep. He is the doorway into his fold. The Lord welcomes all to come in and go out. There is no need to break in, steal, or destroy. While you are with him he cares for you and provides all your needs. He is the gracious host and he is committed to your flourishing.

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25 Life-Giving Statements Jesus Made – by Ron Edmundson

See end of article for link to the original blog post. Since scripture is often misinterpreted if taken out of context, please be sure to read surrounding verses to gain the correct meaning. Click the links to go to the pastor’s website and you’ll find various commentaries for each scripture to help you understand it. Also, http://www.biblegateway.com is a –great– site to read scripture. Many languages & translations.
Take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37)

“Go and learn what this means ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’” (Matthew 9:13)

“Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2)

“Ask and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7)

“If the Son has set you free you are free indeed” (John 8:36)

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“The Shepherd’s Voice” by Bryan Johnston

JohnstonThe young man graduated from Christian College in pursuit of a place to fulfill his calling into the ministry. The Lord led him to a wonderful congregation in Western Montana where he was mentored by a veteran gospel preacher. It seemed that after two summers of becoming a part of that family of faith, that this was the place where the Lord was leading him. Unknown to this young minister, there were greener pastures in the Pacific Northwest that the Good Shepherd had in mind to send his young servant. Upon seeking the Father’s voice and his guidance, the young shepherd was driven to a fold on the coast.

The young man had no known prior connections to his new home church. The Lord Jesus was the only common relationship he knew of with his new family of sheep. One day one of his elders approached him and said, “I know you.” The new minister was dumbfounded, looking the man up and down and staring intently at his face, he responded, “Sorry, sir you are mistaken, I’ve never seen you before.” The elder turned and said, “I know you because I know your father.”

Jesus the Good Shepherd knows his sheep by name and leads them out to pasture. The sheep follow him because they know his voice (John 10:3- 4). When others know the words and voice of God, they will know the words and voice of God as spoken by his disciples. Like father, like son, the words of love will be heard. If you know the Father, you will know the son, and if you know the son you will also know the Father. Others will know who you are by how you talk, how you walk, and how you love others well. Follow the voice of the Good Shepherd, he will lead you to where he wants you to be. Take courage you will never be alone because we are all connected through the Father.

-Bryan Johnston

Community Gospel Experience – by Bryan E. Johnston

Johnston    We were created for community. God lives in community as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In the beginning when God created man the Genesis account says, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Ge. 1:26). God created from a place of unified “ourness”, for man to live in community with others. In the Genesis 2, the Lord says, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Then the Lord God made a woman” (Ge. 2:18, 22). God’s story continues through the context of a family and a community of people until coming of Jesus the Christ. “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn. 1:14). The gospel is displayed through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside and in community with all believers, the church.

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“The Woman’s Testimony” – by Bryan Johnston

    “Praise the Lord for woman of faith! The church is edified and the kingdom of God is advanced because of the ministry of our beloved saintly sisters in their service to the Lord. Jesus did the work of his father in heaven by sharing his life with the woman at the well. He showed up at a common place to share life and conversation with her. She was surprised that this Jewish man was fellowshipping with her, but after learning that he was a prophet she accepted his teaching. Upon hearing him reveal the truth of her life and offer her an invitation to a restored relationship of worship, she rushes home to her people to tell the good news. She becomes an instant evangelist saying, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).

Jesus is Lord – Worship Him (by Bryan Johnston)

By nature, we are all selfishly driven. Our needs and our desires take priority in our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. From birth we cry out to have our needs met. A baby’s cry communicates the need for food, coddling, cleaning, or relief from other discomforts. We do not like to be uncomfortable nor in conflict with self, others, or situations. We like to have our hungers filled, our minds at peace, and our hearts at rest. Our egocentric orientation sets us up as the audience of our devotion. The ill-directed attention on ourselves places our lives on a kingly throne that we are not worthy to sit on and requires responsibilities that were are not adequately equipped to fulfill.

Jesus said to the Samaritan woman he met at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10). It appears that the proper response should be “Give me this water.” Jesus is quick to expose her self-focused heart. He knows that she does not truly know who he is, because if she did know, she would not be focused on herself. If she did truly know that he was the Christ, the son of God, she would be humbled by his gracious presence. She would fall down on her knees if she knew the great act of love, mercy, and grace that he extended to her, by his presence. She would bow humbly before the King of kings and Lord of lords who, “gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph.5:25-27).

Once one knows that Jesus is the gift and the giver all attention and admiration become Christocentric – solely focused on Jesus the Christ. If Jesus is Lord, worship him. The Lordship of Christ will lead you to a life of submission, a life of sacrifice, service, and salvation. As Lord Jesus will sanctify you by the Spirit, cleanse you by his blood, and anoint you for service in his kingdom. At the name of Jesus the true disciples will worship the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. To him be all glory, honor, and praise.     — Bryan Johnston

 

“Risen Welcome” by Bryan Johnston

The Lord is risen!  He is alive and well.  Jesus is reigning as King over all.  Jesus is the Son of God.  He was born of a virgin and walked this earth.  The Lord performed signs and miracles and spoke words of God.  Jesus was put on trial by his enemies and was sentenced to death on a cross.  The Lord submitted himself to God and gave up his life.  Jesus was buried in a tomb and stayed hidden for three days.  On the third day the tomb was found empty and he was not to be found.  Praise God he revealed himself to the women, the disciples and many others.  After commissioning his disciples to spread the good news and advance the kingdom of God, he ascended into heaven where he sits on his throne in heaven granting forgiveness and giving his Holy Spirit to all who confess, repent, and obey the gospel.

We gather each first day of week because of the resurrection.  The church is the embodiment of the kingdom of God to worship Jesus and to love others.  We celebrate the Lord’s Supper each week to remember the Lord’s death.  We are transformed by the gift of his life.  We celebrate Baptism to participate in the gospel; the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord.  We are transformed by the power of his blood and by the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We live as kingdom people continuing daily in God’s word being shaped and formed by the message of love.  We live to love God, love others, and serve the world.

We are blessed to have you join us for worship today.  We pray that you will give your life to Jesus as Lord and Christ.  We pray that you will accept the invitation to become his disciple.  We pray you will use your gifts to edify the body of Christ and to advance the kingdom in this place.  We are committed to loving God and loving others.  Let us know if we can serve you in any way.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

Bryan Johnston, North Bend, Oregon USA Church of Christ – www.churchofchristnb.com

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