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“Friends of Jesus: Stepping Up”

Date: May 9, 2021

Passage: John 15:9-17, 1 John 5:1-6

The One who loves us unconditionally has placed some conditions on his friendship. Jesus says, “I have called you friends because you do what I command.” Why is obedience so important to Jesus? Is Jesus asking us to do something that he himself was unwilling to do? Friendship with God is very different that friendship with any human being.

Happy New Year Friends,

Thankful and grateful that we have all made it over into 2021, hopefully wiser and stronger. In last week's sermon, I lifted a couple of quotes from Joan Gray's Sailboat Church:

"Sailboat congregations live out the truth that success is about faithfulness, which sometimes requires taking risks. They know that God calls us to walk by faith and not by sight, and they are willing to take a leap of faith when it seems necessary to do God's will." (pg. 72).

I believe that 2021 will be a year of TAKING RISKS and WALKING BY FAITH. This will be required of us in order to sail by the Holy Spirit's guidance. It doesn't mean that we will be perfect and get it right every time. In fact, it means that we will stumble and we will have setbacks and will not always agree. "But forgetting what is behind, we press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)

Gray also reminds us:
"Through the presence and power of the Spirit, we believers have a major role to play in creation's transformation. Our ability to participate with God in (God's) plan is absolutely contingent on the presence of the Spirit in and among us."

Relying on the presence and power of God, let's move into this new year accessing the Spirit of God within us, trusting in our intuition, which is the Spirit's way of leading and guiding us. When I am called on to do new and different things that feel difficult, scary, and impossible, the following verse always pops into my Spirit: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) This verse encourages us during times of transition when we are commanded by God to go by another road.

There's an old gospel song, "We've Come This Far by Faith", which is a reminder and a source of comfort that God has been with us and will continue to be with us, if we only trust in him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81a7V0MhJpg

As the song writer says, "can't turn around, we've come this far by faith."

Walking by faith,
Pastor Desiree