First Anniversary Of My Open Heart Surgery – Let’s Celebrate

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Image result for Celebrate images public domainSpeaking of it being June, it was one year ago today, that I received triple bypass surgery. Between January 2107 and June 4, 2018, I had a heart attack and 4 strokes. The last stroke was during my heart surgery. That’s pretty scary. The only after effects of all those attacks on my body, are scars on my chest and legs, loss of vision in half of my left eye, and trouble remembering names and names of places. My speech is not slurred. My long term and short term memory are good. I’m not as quick remembering things. I used to be really good at quizzes and memory games. I could think of things quickly. I’m not as quick as I used to be. It’s kind of like the way you lose a step in football or tennis when you get older. But this is with my mind. I can still recall things, it just might take me a minute to process the question. But all things considered, I’ll take it. The heart specialist told me that it’s not uncommon for a patient to die if they have a stroke during heart surgery. Ok, I’ll take a bit of blindness and a slower recall of historical information. And, with the names, it’s not like I don’t recognize people. It’s just embarrassing, when I’ve known someone for years and suddenly their name is gone. Still, what’s a little embarrassment in the great scheme of things.

For a year and a half, I was so sick. I tell people all the time, that it’s like I was asleep. I have very few memories of what happened during my sick time. I remember being a lot of trouble for my wife, if we went places to sight see, or shop. I was always having to stop and rest, and often spraying my heart meds. Poor lass, couldn’t have had much fun.

We live two or three blocks from the Church of Christ, where I’m the minister, and I couldn’t even walk it without stopping to rest. I remember that Sundays took a lot out of me. Preaching in the morning and at night was almost more than I could do. I had to start taking Mondays off, because I couldn’t get out of bed.

But now, a year on, I feel great. I still need to do some work to get seriously fit. I need to lose some more weight, but I’m losing it. Last week, I walked down to Buckpool harbor and back with my grandchildren. There were no problems. I’ve walked up and down all the stairs over at Brodie Castle. And, I’m awake. I feel like I was asleep, and I’m awake. So today, I’m celebrating. Life is not to be taken for granted. We live in a beautiful world. Especially up here in Moray. From the Sea to the Mountains, and every mile in between. We are surrounded by some amazing views of nature. And let’s not forget all the wonderful people we meet. Life really is a blessing.

But what about after. What would have happened to me, if my stroke during surgery had been fatal. Sure there would have been a sense of shock for some of my friends, and all the folk at church. Probably my wife would have been pretty upset at me. And I hope, a little sad. But what about me?

I am 100% confident of what would have happened to me. I would have awakened with no pain, in a place even more beautiful than Moray. I would never know a moment of sadness or illness, or pain ever again. Not because we all go to a better place, but because Jesus promised a forever of joy for ever single person who would put their Faith in Him. He is the creator of the world we live in. He died on a cross because we sinned, and he didn’t want to be separated from us. And he rose again, to conquer death. Not just once, in his case. But for all of us. And I made the choice many years ago, to give my life into his care. For that reason I know what will happen to me when I die. I know I’m not perfect. I’m not even close. Just ask my wife. But I am forgiven. Like the apostle Paul, For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

And what about you? On this anniversary of my surgery I have to ask. There is a funeral going on right now in Buckie. I saw the cars. There have been quite a few recently. Yikes. What if one of them next week is yours? What if your family and friends dress all in black and weep at losing you. What happens to you? Have you made preparations? Do you have a will? Do you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt what your future will be? You can. Seriously. I’m not joking. You can hand the keys over to Jesus right now. You can say, Jesus, I need you. I surrender. You drive from now on. And I can tell you, from experience, that new life with and from Jesus is even better that waking up after surgery. I’m glad I’m alive. I love my life. I love this town. I even love all the rain. And it’s much easier to love it all, because I know that even after it’s all behind me, life gets even better.

We’d love to have you visit us at Church sometime. We talk about things like this. You don’t have to dress up. Wear something. Otherwise you might get arrested. But you don’t have to get all dressed up. Sometimes people think you have to put on fancy duds to come to church. No Way. You can. Some people do. Heck sometimes even I do. But not always. Come as you are. We meet at 11 a.m. At the intersection of West Church and Pringle streets. We also have a meeting at 6:20 sunday evenings. You’d be welcome at either…or both. If you have a church home, I encourage you to go there. But if you don’t you are more that welcome to visit with us.

That’s all I’ve got for now. We’ll talk again soon. But for the rest of this week…..I’m out.

Why Are So Many Christians Being Killed?

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We’ve had some glorious weather recently here in Buckie. I’ve enjoyed it. I hope you have too. I’ve had a chance to take some long walks, soak up some rays, and get some work done for my garden. I want to talk to you a minute about that. I have set up a polytunnel, right between Lidles and the Coop. I’m using it to grow some veggies and flowers. I’ll start putting out plants next week. Then you’ll be able to come by and visit. I’ll also be teaching some classes on growing edibles. I’ll also offer some info on the benefits of eating Scottish Meat. In fact, I’ll just say right now, that our two Butchers in town, offer some of the best meat you can get. It’s local. It’s hand cut. It’s so good. Stop by either shop. I’m a fan of both. But I digress. I know this sounds weird since I’m overweight, but eating right is so important to us. And we have so much good stuff in this country, we’d be foolish not to take advantage of it. So, watch the Radio Free Buckie website, or Facebook page for more information. I want RFB, to become the go to place for great information for your life. So bookmark the page, like the FB page, or look for my Sam Burton page on Instagram and follow. Ok, end of commercials…For now.

A 52-year-old Buddhist factory worker Anoma Damayanthi weeps as she talks about her 25-year-old daughter, married into a Christian family, who was seriously injured in the blast at St. Anthony's Church on Easter Sunday, at her residence in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, April 25, 2019. Liyanage herself was at St. Anthony’s, and escaped the bomb only because she left a few minutes earlier with her Christian son-in-law when her 1 and a half-year-old granddaughter began crying too loudly. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)Have you seen all the news about the tragic murder of Christians in Sri Lanka? Nearly 300 people were killed. Some in hotels, but many in Churches. I saw a photo of dead young people who were celebration their baptisms and first communions. It made my heart hurt. Then I got a message on FB from a Church Planter I know in India, who was talking about one of the Churches he’s been involved with. 29 people in that congregation were killed.

Since New Year, many hundreds of Christians have also been killed in Nigeria. The number keeps growing, but it gets little media attention. For many news agency it’s not newsworthy, its tribal warfare in a difficult part of the world. But it’s more than that. It’s an actual attack on these villages because they worship Jesus.

When you add in North Korea, China, and the Middle East, there are more Christians being killed for their faith, than at any time in history. What’s going on? It’s especially hard to get our head around it, in Scotland, where worship is so easy, and free, and pretty much church buildings are empty. Most people I know, don’t give a single thought to Christianity for or against. Why is it so hated?

That’s a great question. It pretty much always has been. From the time of Jesus Christ himself, people have wanted to kill the Faith and wipe it from existence. See, Christianity, offers more freedom and hope than any political system ever invented. For many governments, Christianity is seen as a threat, because it offers people something unachievable or uncontrollable. Most governments, most ways of thinking, want to control the way people think. The Gospel teaches that in Jesus we can have a new beginning. We can think for ourselves. We can make our own path. Choose our own future. One of the examples I like to use, is that when the Gospel came to India, it changed the lives of people dramatically. For example, women in many castes, and in many parts of the country were forced to burn themselves to death on the funeral pyre of their dead husbands. When the Gospel came, women were valued like never before. The Christian message gave people hope. But the change was unwelcome to the traditional elders of villages, and they hated Christians and persecuted them. That is still true. In many parts of India, Christians are being killed, and churches are being burned.

In the 1960s, many missionaries were killed in what was known as the New Hebrides. Countries like Papua New Guinea, and islands of Indonesia. I know it’s hard to believe, but in the year before men walked on the moon, there were still practicing canibals. I know of missionaries who were killed

But what about here? There is no outright persecution here, but the name calling and finger pointing is considerable. And some of it is pretty funny. There were some people who were concerned that I might join a local bowling club, and ruin everyone’s fun, because they were afraid I would curtail their language and alcohol consumption. Like I had that kind of power. But to me, I heard, “I’m behaving badly. I know I’m behaving badly. If that preacher comes here, I might not be able to do that. So I don’t know if I want him.”

Many people, won’t attack a christian, but they will look the other way. They will avoid church, or the Bible, and offer pat, but unsubstantiated answers to faith based issues.

I am grateful that we live in a country with the freedom to worship, or not worship, as we like. But it makes me really sad, when people deliberately avoid thinking about Jesus. As if, as long as we don’t think about it, we ‘ll be ok.

Think about those people who are willing to sacrifice their very lives, or the lives of their families for Jesus. What makes a person willing to do that? Why not investigate that for yourself? Come to Church. Read the Bible for yourself. Listen to the stories people tell about how Jesus has changed them. Listen to some of the recent Christian Songs on YouTube or Spotify. Try and figure out for yourself what is so gripping about this Jesus, that would make people want to kill someone who follows Him, or would be willing to die for Him. You’ll spend good money and stand in line for Avengers End Game. What about learning about some people’s real endgame.

Just think about it. We just celebrated Easter. The whole story is so amazing. Jesus is killed by the Jews and Romans. But he chose to die. It’s not just a true crime adventure. He voluntarily gave up his life. Why? Because he was paying for our crimes, our sin. You know, the sins you commit that make you not want me to come to your club. I’m nobody. But Jesus died for all of us. But it only meant anything at all because 3 days later he Rose from the dead. That’s Easter. That’s the resurrection. That’s the event that made sense of the crucifixion. That’s the event that established Him as different than any other religious leader. And he says, “come to Me.” He will take your baggage, your shattered dreams, your broken life, and let you start over, brand new. Some people have been willing to pay a great price for a chance like that. What about you.

Next week, we’re going to get back to the Gospel of John. We’ll look at the first part of Chapter 10. I hope you have a great week. I’d love to see you in Church. But I’ll talk to you next time. But for now…I’m out…

More Confusion About Who Jesus Really Is

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Hey, I want to tell you about some of the redecorations we’re doing at the Church of Christ right now. I’m really excited about them. If you’ve been to the building, either for Church or our Christmas Cake off, or a Film night, or even to the Christmas Cracker, then you know that our little building is quite cute, but in need of a little TLC. Right now, we’re getting ready to paint the inside. We’re picking out colours. I say, we’re. I’ve got nothing to do with it. Neither choosing nor applying the paint. It has been decided that I would be more help if I was color blind. And that there is less chance of a paint can being kicked over if I am not around. But I’m excited, even if I’m not a big part of the actual project.

Right now, one of our members in in our back hall putting in some new cabinets. I’m so very excited about that because we have been extremely short on storage space and the hall looks like the inside of a closet. This work is going to make the room feel so much more spacious.

We have some decorating ideas for the outside front of the building too. That’s where I get to help. I’m going to t in some plants and maybe some lights. We’re really going to kick up the curb appeal of the place. I can’t wait for the unveiling. Watch for it.

Ok, commercials are over. Time for us to take our weekly look at the Book of John. I do love this book. I think If I could only persuade people to read one book of the Bible it would be the Gospel of John. There is so much drama and action. Conflict and interaction. It’s quite gripping.

This week we’re in the 7th chapter. Last week we talked about how discouraged Jesus was about the conflict his ministry caused, how the people were walking away, and even because his own family didn’t believe in Him. But despite his discouragement he went to Jerusalem for the festival that was taking place, and he even taught in the temple. If you didn’t get to listen to to last week, I urge you to go back an listen to episode 20. I’ll try and put a link to it in the show notes.

Today, we’re going to look that the follow up to Jesus’ appearance at the temple. Because the people’s responses are quite interesting, and they set the stage for the drama that takes place on Jesus next trip toe Jerusalem.

I imagine, you’re not surprised that people talked about Jesus when he came to town. His miracles were dramatic, and helpful to the people he healed. But his speeches and lessons caused a lot of chit chat, too. Jesus was different than anyone else in the way he lifted peoples spirits, and called them to repentance, and he talked about new hope and a new life instead of the usual politics and religion combination people had grown accustomed to and bored by.

The word on the street was that the Jewish authorities wanted to arrest Jesus and here He is, teaching openly and boldly right smack dab in the temple area. And no one was arresting him.

That caused some people to ask, isn’t this the guy they want to arrest, why arent they doing it? Have they decided Jesus is the long awaited Messiah? But we know all about Jesus. Where he’s from, who his parents are. And no one will know where the Messiah is from.

Other people said, “when the Messiah comes will he do more miracles that this guy does?”

Then the leaders sent out some guards to arrest Jesus, but they get mesmerized by His teaching and don’t arrest him. The leaders are furious and say why not? They answer, “No body ever spoke like this guy.”

And on it goes. The people, guards, and Jewish leaders spouting their opinions and feelings. But not once did anyone compare what was happening to the things the Bible said about the messiah. They just quoted talk and feelings.

That is so much like it is today. Everyone has an opinion about Jesus. But very few know anything about what he said or did. They just repeat the popular gossip that’s going around, or share their feelings.

I am fascinated and saddened by that. Who is this jesus guy? What is this Christianity thing really? And they offer opinions, some good, some not so good, but no one looks at what the Bible actually says about him.

That’s weird. Jesus is the most famous person who ever lived yet most people don’t know a real thing about him. Or what he wants to do to change your life.

I dare you to read the whole book of John. Go back and start with Chapter one and read through chapter 21. You don’t have to do it at one time. Read a chapter a day if you want. But after you read it, you’ll understand what Jesus was all about. And I think you’ll be surprised, because he’s much different than you thought.

If there are parts you don’t get, or don’t understand, write me and ask. I’ll try and help. I’ll keep our communication secret.

What do you think about Jesus? Who is he? What does that mean? Why do some people follow him while others don’t even want to know? Why do some people worship him while others use his name as a swear word? How can one guy create so much difference of opinion?

I think you owe it to yourself to find out. We’re going to look very closely at this Gospel of John. It’s going to clear things up quite a bit. I hope you’ll stick around and search with us. Share the word. This is a safe place to come. You don’t even have to tell anybody about it. This Radio Free Buckie,

I hope you have a great week. Stop by and see us on Sunday, if you don’t already have a Church home. Our Church is a safe place too. Until next week, I’m out.

Jesus Shows His Human Side

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Happy Spring, Buckie! How in the world are you? I know it’s spring, because my calendar says so. Today it’s cloudy and rainy, but the days are getting longer, the daffodils are blooming, and the gorse is too. I’m just waiting for the broom to blossom and I’ll be content until the leaves start popping out.

You are listening to Radio Free Buckie. I’m Sam Burton and I’ll be your host for the next few minutes.

In case you’re a brand new listener, and we have some every week, thank you very much, all of you who promote this space, but if you are new, we’ve been looking at some things in the Gospel of John in the New Testament. But before we go there this week, I want to talk about something very personal to me.

Yesterday, I got word that my auntie, my mum’s baby sister had died. I was stunned. First, I didn’t even know she was sick until last week. And she’s been really ill since we’ve lived here in Buckie. I felt really bad about that. And secondly, she was a little more than a year younger than me. My mum was the oldest of six children. My aunt Star, was the youngest.

Until I was about 15, we were very close. We would play together, go fishing together, ride horses when I was in Florida to visit. But after that, we kind of drifted apart. Not in an ugly way. It’s just that our world, our lives took different paths. The last time I saw her, was at my Mother’s funeral in 2006.. That’s a long time.

We talked via Facebook, who doesn’t? But I haven’t seen her in 13 years. And now she’s gone. I have lost a lot of people I love. Both parents, my grandparents, several aunts and uncles, some cousins, and one granddaughter. That’s a lot of goodbyes.

I haven’t been very good at staying in touch with folk. It’s just the way I’m wired. I’m kind of like a dog, I live in the moment. Where I am at, and those with whom I interact currently are very important. But at times like these, I feel kind of bad. A couple years back, one of my lifelong best friends died of cancer. I hadn’t seen or spoken with him for 25 years. When I heard he’d died. I spent a couple days grieving and thinking about all the good times we’d had together.

I guess I’m never going to be a very good relative or friend when it comes to keeping in touch. I’m such a goofball that way. But I have some compensation. I’m going to see most of them again. I don’t say that out of some maudlin churchy way of thinking. It’s not some wishy washy thing Christians say to make ourselves and others feel better at funeral time. It’s something I truly know, in the core of my being.

Jesus rose from the grave. I’m going to talk about that at length when we get to Easter time, in about a month. But three days after his gory execution, he showed up for breakfast. And that changed everything. It’s not just some religious mumbo jumbo. Look into it. Do your own homework. And because of his death and resurrection, all of us who believe IN him, know we will be reunited one day.

Yes, someday I will hug my Mum and Dad again. Because they were also believers. And they showed my Jesus. I will see my friend I just told you about. I will get to hold my granddaughter whom I never met because she was only 10 weeks old when she passed. I will get to tell them all how sorry I am for not staying better in touch. Until then, I wait.

The reason I’m telling you about all this, is because you can know that no funeral ever has to be goodbye. It can be, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite. I’ll see you in the morning. That’s such good news. There’s a song we sing in Church that goes like this, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And I can face uncertain days, because he lives.”

There’s one other thing about my auntie’s death that I want to share with you. Never ever miss an opportunity to say I love you to those that matter. None of us know when life will put a veil between us and opportunity will be lost. Send an email today. A text. Make a facebook post, some facetime maybe. Knock on a door. Write a letter. Life is short. Way too short. Take every opportunity to share your love with your family and friends.

Ok, after all that cheerful talk, let’s look at the first part of John Chapter 7. These verses are so real that I almost have a hard time believing they are put in the Bible for us to read. Yet we hear so little about them.

Let me set it up. If you remember, Jesus had just fed the multitude with bread an fish in the Spring. The people were so worked up about that and His teaching that they wanted to force Jesus to become King. But withing 30 hours of that moment, much of the crowd walked away from Him forever. Jesus was so discouraged about that, he asked his 12 apostles if they were going to leave too.

Are encouraged that Jesus went through DIScouragement? I am. Because I know he understands when I go through it. And here’s the kicker. Chapter 7 happens about six months after what took place in chapter 6, and he’s still discouraged.

See it says the Jewish feast of booths was about to take place in Jerusalem. That happens in sept. october time. This year 2019 it will be September 13 through 20th. The events in Chapter 6 happened in the spring about mid April. We know that because it says so. It says it was close to the Feast of Passover. That always happens in the spring. I love the way the Bible lets us know stuff like that. It’s not just about spiritual things that are all airy fairy. It’s about real life, real time real space.

Anyway Jesus has kept preaching, and doing miracles. He’s focused. But he’s been discouraged for about 6 months. And now his own brothers, his flesh and blood family, cause him grief. See they don’t believe in him. That’s significant. It shows us that the Bible is real. Jesus own family didn’t believe in him at this time.

There is nothing that hurts more that family not believing your message. We all want the support of family. So here is Jesus, the crowds have dwindled, and even his own brothers are making fun of him. He’s so sad.

Jesus is so sad, he’s ready to skip church. He tells them he’s not going to the feast. You all go, he says, I’ll just stay here. Wow. Jesus is so sad he decides to skip church. I bet you’ve felt that way. Jesus understands. But here’s the kicker. He goes anyway. He goes secretly. I don’t know. Maybe he dresses in disguise. But He love God more than his bad feelings. That sets such an example for me. Then about half way through the week, he ends up going to the temple and teaching the people.

First, he wasn’t going to go. Then he goes in secret. Then he ends up teaching the crowds. What an example. He is discouraged as heck. He knows there are people in Jerusalem who don’t like him, and he knows there are people there who want to kill him.

But in the end he can’t skip going to church. He can’t skip teaching the truth, even though it could cost him his freedom, and his life. That’s how much He loves us.

This section tells me so much about the MAN Jesus. We often talk about how many things in the Bible prove His deity. But this one proves he’s not in disguise, like clark kent. He really is a human, he’s not just dressed like one. He understands he gets it.

That’s somebody I can follow. I hope you can too. Go back and read the first 25 verses of John Chapter 7. It will be a genuine revelation. And don’t forget to let your family and friends know how much you love them.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for tuning in. I’ll talk to you in about a week. Happy Spring. I’m out.

The Day The Crowd Walked Away From Jesus

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Have you ever had one of those days when your brain is running in a different time Zone than your body? Boy Howdy, am I ever having one of those today. It’s like my body is here in Buckie and my brain is somewhere over the Atlantic. Heck maybe even the Pacific. I am totally out of sync. I have no idea why, but that’s the way today is going. We could have a very interesting time today….

Part of my problem is related to diet. I’m trying to cut out my addiction to bread and sugar. I haven’t had any since last Thursday, and today I’m feeling it. I’m not going to bore you with the details of my diet plan, but I am convinced that white bread and white sugar are really bad for us. I know they are for me. And I don’t like wholemeal bread. Blech. Yuck. Nasty! So it’s go without. I am thinking about rye flour bread. But not for a couple more weeks at least. And the sugar has got to go. Adios, Sianara, see ya, bye bye.

What’s worse is, I’ve brought in some lettuce and stuff to make some salads. Salad is my least favorite food. But I need it for volume. Because, I.get.hungry! I’d rather have white chocolate, but you see why that’s a problem, right?

Enough of my problems. Let’s move along. As some of you know, I’m a Christian Minister here in Buckie. I serve at the Church of Christ at the corner of West Church and Pringle Streets. We’d love to have you stop by for a visit some Sunday. We meet at 11 a.m. And 6:20 p.m. Totally different services. Sunday mornings are more traditional type church services. Very casual, but if you’re familiar with church services, you’ll know what to expect. Sunday night’s I’ve been going through a series I’ve called Game of Thrones. We’ve had a ton of fun looking at history and the Bible, and Faith. It is completely different that traditional as we’ve looked at how God has worked through history, both inside and outside the Bible. Anyway, I think you’d like it. And I want to take this chance to invite you to drop in and visit, if you don’t have a Church home already.

That’s all the commercial I can do. I’d love to have you stop in, but I’m tickled to death to have you listen in here. Remember you can get this show on Stitcher. Stitcher is a website if you’ve got a home computer or laptop, and it’s an app for your smartphone, you can get it free via google play or the itunes store. Obviously, you can click on the link on the webpage http://www.radiofreebuckie, but I want you to know you can find it other places.

Today I want to us to look at what happened to Jesus right after he feeds the multitudes. If you remember, we’re in John chapter 6. That’s the fourth book of the New Testament, Mt, Mk, Lk, John. And then Chapter 6.

Right after he feeds this huge crowd, of likely 20000 people or more. Remember its 5000 men, not counting women and children. But right after, the people want to make Jesus their king. Now, those must have been some tasty fish sandwiches. The crowd is so impressed with Jesus’ power that they want to force him to become king.

But Jesus runs off and hides from them. He doesn’t want an earthly kingdom. He has zero interest. So he disappears.

That night, his disciples can’t find him, so they decide to go home. I find that really odd.. But I see a lot of people do that, when Jesus doesn’t do things they way they want on the timetable they’ve got, they just leave.

When they got in their boat and started across the lake a terrible storm came up and their short trip, took all night. This was like sailing from Buckie to Lossiemouth. But it takes them hours and hours. The wind is high, the waves are choppy. I get seasick just thinking about it.

But just about morning, they see Jesus walking by, walking on the water. Now anyway you slice it, that’s odd. It’s especially hard on your mind if you’ve ever been in the water. You know, it’s not easy to walk on. But here is Jesus doing it. The disciples are terrified. One of the Gospel writers says they thought they were seeing a ghost. I thinks that’s funny. They found it easier to believe in a ghost than that a human could walk on the water. It’s just another testimony that Jesus is God. He’s not an ordinary man.

He was going to walk right past them. He climbs in the boat just as thIney reach where they’re going.

In less than 24 hours, these disciples have seen Jesus feed 20000 people with 5 loaves and two fish, and they’ve seen him walk across the lake on the water. I think they’ve got a lot to think about.

I love reading the reaction of the people who had returned. John says that when they never saw Jesus come out of hiding, they got into boats and crossed the lake. Now they see him and go, “Huh? How’d you get here? It’s magic.”

Jesus is a bit frustrated and tells them they only tried to make him king and only wonder about how he got across the lake because he fed them. He gets exactly to the point. And what’s weird is they ask him what sign he will do to show his authority. What Sign? Less than 24 hours before he fed them with 5 loaves and two fish. What more do they need?

But there are so many people who are just interested in Christianity for a side show. As long as cool things are happening, everything is good. But when Jesus asks us for faith, we ask him to prove himself. Amazing aren’t we.

Then we read something pretty weird. Jesus tells them that he is the real food and drink. That unless they eat his flesh and drink his blood they have nothing to do with him. Now we know he was prophesying about the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, Communion. But we have the whole Bible and 2000 years of teaching in our favor. To them it just sounds weird and hard.

It reminds me of Abraham. God had promised to give him enough offspring to be comapred to the stars in the sky or sand on the seashore. And he promised it through a son, Isaac. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Then when Isaac is roughly 20 years old, God asks Abraham to take him to an altar and sacrifice him. That had to sound so weird to Moses. It didn’t sound like God, asking for human sacrifice. It didn’t make sense how God would keep his promise if Isaac was dead. It didn’t make any sense at all. But Abraham trusted God. If God asked him to do it, he was going to obey him. That’s it. And of course, God spared Isaac.

In this case, John tells us that the people left Jesus by the thousands. They didn’t ask any questions. They just thought it sounded weird so they left. Oh my gosh, that sounds like us. When we don’t understand something God says, rather than ask, or figure it out, we just walk away. How sad.

Jesus was sad. He watched the people go, and he turned to his disciples and asked, “Are you going, too?” And Simon Peter has a great answer, “To whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Man, Peter really got it. He saw past the feeding of the multitude, and even the whole walking on water thing. He realized that Jesus had the words of eternal life. Eternal life. That’s worth the hard stuff. That’s worth sticking around for. That’s worth everything.

Man I love this chapter. It’s a lot to think about. I want you to go back and read chapter 6 of the Book of John again for yourself. If you don’t have a Bible, you can get a free one with an app for your phone, or you can go to Bible and read it on your laptop or desktop. If you need a real Bible, write me at and ask for one and I’ll see that you get one.

Think about all Jesus has done in this chapter to prove he is God. Think about Peter’s answer that Jesus is the one with the words for eternal life. And think about how sad it was for all those people to walk away from Him… By the way, they left for good. Wow.

It’s a lot to think about. And that’s all I’ve got. So have a great week. I’ll talk to you next time. Can’t wait. But for now…I’m out.

No Packed Lunch Required

Image result for Barley loaves images public domain




Today, I want to talk to you about Jesus’ most famous miracle. Apart from his resurrection, of course. That is definitely the most famous. And the most important. But the one we want to look at today, is the only one recorded in all four gospels. It made such an impact on Jesus followers that they all wrote about it. It’s called, the feeding of the 5 thousand. You can read about it in John chapter 6.

The first thing is, there are more than 5,000 people. Matthew tells us that’s the number of men, not counting women and children. That’s saying, no one knows how many people are there. It’s not a sexist comment. Most people say there were at least 20,000 people in all. Now that’s a lot of people.

Some other neat stuff about the story. It doesn’t happen in Jerusalem, or any other big city. It is on the east side of the sea of Galilee. It’s out in the country. Way out in the country. The people either walked or took boats to get to Jesus. That’s impressive. But that’s the kind of effect Jesus had on people. They would go out of their way. Considerably out of their way to be with him and hear him speak.

That is so unlike today. People go out of their way to avoid Churches. Sometimes that’s because Churches often make the Bible and Faith boring or Old timey. It’s neither one. I promise. You’ll just have to take my dare and come on out and see for yourself.

One of the things I think is pretty odd about the story, is that 20,000 plus people, and only one little boy brought any food. That might not be weird in the 21st century because we have places to eat everywhere. Every few miles. But in Jesus’ day, they didn’t. It would have been normal for people to take food with them. But on this day, they didn’t. I wonder if God had something to do with that? So that Jesus could show them that’s he’s God, with the power of creation.

In many ways, this is the same miracle Jesus did in Chapter 2 in Cana, when he turned water into wine. Except now there are thousands of people being fed, rather than a few hundred. See. Jesus cares about our needs. Whether we’re in a small group or whether we’re lost in a crowd. Whatever, whenever, we need him, he’s got what we need.

I think this is a good time to point out the generosity of the boy. Most boys don’t share their lunch with a crowd of strangers. But this one does. That’s the impact Jesus has on people. He makes us different. I think that’s so cool. And I think this boy needs commended. It was beyond generous. It was an act of faith.

One other thing, that stands out to me. There were 12 baskets full of left overs. Jesus didn’t just make enough. He made plenty. And then some. If there were leftovers, that means everyone had enough to eat and then some. Jesus will say later, I came that you might have life, and have it abundantly. In this miracle he really shows that.

The crowd was really impressed. We’ll talk about what happened next, next week. But I just want to add that they were so impressed they wanted to make him king. Those must have been some tasty fish sandwiches. But before the next day ends, many of them will stop following Jesus forever. Because he said some things they didn’t understand. Things that were hard. And a little bit weird.

People are fickle. We are completely unpredictable. One day they want Jesus to be King. The next, they don’t want anything to do with him. How very sad. I’ve known many like that over the years. People who chose to follow Jesus. Then things got hard or weird, and they just walked away. That’s like the saddest ending I can think of. Sadder than any movie. Jesus still dies for them, even though they walk away from him. That’s how much he loves them. That’s how much he loves you.

Think about that for a while. He loves you. Even if you’ve chosen to reject or ignore him. He still wants you to change your mind. And he will still welcome you home.

And that’s all I’ve got. Read John chapter 6 for yourself. It’s impressive. I hope you have a great week. I’ll talk to you soon. But for now….I’m out.

Jesus, Like A Lamb…

gold lamb statue

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I want to take a break today from looking at our Study in John. I was reading something in the book of Isaiah in the old Testament that I just have to share with you. First, lets read it. It’s from chapter 53. If you are a regular Church Goer, this will be quite familiar, but if you’re not, this will be interesting.

First, I want to read it. It’s only a few verses. The whole Chapter

The first thing is, this is a prophesy about Jesus. It was written a little more than 700 years before he was born. Wow, think about that. If the Bible can be that specific 700 years ahead of time. What other treasures might be hidden inside? It’s well worth a read.

But look at this chapter. First, it says that there was nothing special about Jesus. He was so ordinary he could walk through a crowd unnoticed. And in fact, that saved his life more than once. He didn’t look like Thor or Iron Man. He was just an ordinary looking chap.

And it says that he suffered terribly. He was beaten, wounded, broken. He was killed, and buried. This is just exactly what happened.

What’s more is, there is a promise about his resurrection. The whole gospel is there. 700 years in advance.

One more thing. This reminds us very clearly. It was our sin that caused it. It wasn’t just the Jewish leaders, or the Roman Soldiers. It was our sin, our failures that made the cross necessary.

And yet Jesus went through all that totally voluntarily. He chose to die, so we could be forgiven.

No that’s something to think about. So will you? Think about it?

Write me and let me know what your thoughts are. Or just use the comments section on the website. Either way. I’ll read it and get back to you.

Next week we’ll get back to John and his memories of Jesus. Have a great week. That’s all I got. So until next time. I’m out.

Jesus’ Pool Day

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Listen, today I want to talk to you about some pretty interesting stuff in the first part of John, Chapter 5. If you’re new, we’re looking at the gospel of John, which is the 4th book of the New Testament. This is an amazing book. Again, for you new listeners, The gospels aren’t biographies of Jesus life. They are memories of Jesus. That’s why they have some similarities and a lot of differences. Just like when you get together with family and friends and remember someone that meant a lot to you. One person tells stories then everyone chimes in with their favorites. That’s kind of what the gospels are.

John was the last of Jesus 12 apostles who was still alive, when he wrote his memories. And an odd thing was happening, many people were arguing about Jesus. A few were saying he wasn’t even human. He just looked like a man. John tells the stories he does to show that Jesus is totally God and totally Human. And that’s what made him special.

Here in Chapter 5, we see a really neat story. But first, John points out that Jesus was in Jerusalem because there was a religious feast going on. In chapter 4 he’s still on the way home to Galilee from the last feast, which we read in Chapter 2 that he went to. I think that’s really interesting, because we learn how important worshiping, you know, going to church, was to Jesus. He lived 84 miles from the temple . That means every time he went to a festival, his round trip was 168 miles. And he had to walk. That’s how you got places in his day. Most of us in Buckie, don’t travel 168 miles a year to go to church. He’s just done it now, twice in a year. Plus all the Saturdays he went to the Synagogues along the way. These days, I know people who have never been to church, except maybe to a wedding or a funeral. And I know a lot more who just go when the mood strikes, or it’s convenient. Perhaps, from Jesus example, we should consider making attendance a little more of a priority. Just thinking out loud here.

He stops by this place called the pool of Bethesda, that had 5 covered porches. It was slammed with cripples and blind people. Multitudes were there. That means thousands. Shazaam. This is interesting, because we just read that and go cool pool. But for over 1800 years people said that there was no pool of bethesda. The Bible writers just made it up. No one knew where it was. See, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. They tore it up. Tore down the temple and wrecked the city. People didn’t know where much was. But in the 1800s archaeologists discovered a pool that had 5 covered porches on it, right outside the city gate. Exactly where the Bible said the pool was. The reason the pool was so badly destroyed was because it provide much of the water to the city. It’s source was a spring. So if the Romans collapsed the whole thing they would cut off water to Jerusalem.

But once again the Bible is proved correct in it’s history. Surprised? Don’t be. This kind of discovery has happened time and time again. The Bible is historically accurate. Full stop.

Anyway, there is this multitude of sick and desperate people at the pool because of a rumor that periodically, an angel came and made the water move. The first person in the water would be healed.

That doesn’t sound much like God to me. First, there is no other place in the Bible where Angels are healing people. And God doesn’t play tricks on people. I mean, the first one in gets healed, everyone else just gets wet. And there are so many people trying to be first in the water that they wouldn’t even know if someone was healed. And it was so crowded some people couldn’t even get in.

This is the story of the poor man Jesus spoke to. He had been totally disabled for 38 years. He couldn’t walk. He would have to crawl or wiggle his way to the pool, and couldn’t make it. But he had heard and believed a myth, a rumor.

That’s the way it is for so many people. They hear rumors and chase them. Some have help. People to throw them in, but some like the guy in our story, is left to suffer on his own.

And then comes Jesus. Jesus asks him if he want’s to be healed. The guy has no idea who Jesus is, and tells him, “What does it matter. I can’t get to the water anyway.” He is so discouraged.

Jesus heals him on the spot. On the spot. Tells him to take his mat and go home. How cool is that. The bloke, just gets up and walks away.

Sometimes, I’ve asked why just one? Why did Jesus only heal this one guy. I’ve read stories where Jesus healed every person in a town. Why just one person? Because the rest weren’t looking for a miracle. They were chasing rumors and myths. Jesus is right among them and they are buzzing all around, ignoring him, waiting for the water to move.

In the other stories, people are coming to Jesus, or being brought to him. That’s totally different than these people. They are chasing the wind. And walking right by Jesus.

How many of us are guilty of walking right past Jesus. We have so many needs, so many unfulfilled dreams, so much guilt, and we’re ready to do anything. But won’t ask Jesus. I’m telling you, He is right here. And He will give you a brand new start. Today. Now.

There’s just one more thing I want to talk about in the story. I mean there’s a whole thing about the Sabbath and all that, but we’ll talk about that stuff another time. Now, the man runs into Jesus later that day in the Temple. First, I think its so cool that the guy was so excited, he went to church that day to thank God. We could probably all learn a thing or two from that. But he sees Jesus, and Jesus says to him, “Sin no more, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” That is weird. What could be worse that 38 years of crawling around, unable to walk.

I know people don’t want to hear about it or talk about it, but Jesus is saying, “Don’t risk Hell, son. Live for God.” Jesus had healed more than his body. He had forgiven him. And he’s telling this guy to make the most of it. Being a hopeless quadriplegic was awful. But hell is real. And much worse.

Jesus warns us over and over again that hell is a real place that we want nothing to do with. He came so that we could avoid it. I’m all for taking him up on his plan. We repent and come to him. We turn. We change. We surrender.

Don’t chase rumors. Jesus is right here. He’s the one with the answers. The one with the power. And he offers help to us all. If you’ve surrendered to him, rejoice in that. Relax and live for him. If you’ve never handed over the keys to let Jesus drive, he want to do for you exactly what he did for that man at the Bethesda pool. What will you choose?

Do me a favor? Spend some time thinking about these events. So far, in every chapter Jesus has demonstrated that He is the God Man. In chapter 1, he is God. He made the world. In Chapter 2 he turned water into wine. You don’t see that every day. In Chapter 3 he tells Nicodemus how to be born again. In Chapter 4 he tells the woman at the well the He is the Messiah, the savior of the world. Then he tells the whole town. Now in Chapter 5, he heals a man who has been without a life for 38 years. Who’s chasing after rumors. Just think what Jesus can do for you.

And…That’s all I’ve got for you this week. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the comments feature on the website; or write me I’d love to hear from you. I’ll talk to you in about a week. But for now…..I’m out!

One On One With Jesus

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First, I’m batching it for a little while. My wife is out of town and I’m cooking for myself. I’m trying to keep the dishes done, the hoover run, laundry clean, you know, all the household stuff. The only thing she reminded me about before she left was, clean the toilet. She knows me so well. Yes, I miss her. Especially as today is valentine’s day and my valentine is far away. Can I get an Ohhh….? Ok, maybe not. I get it.

Holidays are kind of hard to deal with publicly because, there are always people who can’t celebrate. You know, on mother’s day, people who’ve lost a child, or maybe can’t have them. And on Valentine’s day, today, many people are out there, maybe someone listening, who has recently lost your valentine to death, or you’ve just gone through a troubling break up, a divorce. The last thing you want is to hear about people passing around cards and chocolates. I get it. It can be a hard day. For you, I sympathize. You are on my mind. But for those of you who can celebrate, I hope you do. I hope you remembered to get a card, some flowers, or something. If not, get it done now. If you’re listening to this after Valentine’s Day, and you forgot. You got some serious make up to do. I’ll pray for you.

Hey, we’ve got a really neat story to look at today. It’s in the 4th Chapter of John. Just a reminder, John is the 4th book of the New Testament. Jesus is on his way home after being in Jerusalem. And he stops to rest in Sychar in Samaria.

He sends his disciples out to Harry Gow to get some lunch, while he sits by the well. There’s a whole bunch of weird and cool stuff about this. First, no one who is a Jew liked to stop in a Samaritan town. Jews hated Samaritans and vice versa. It’s kind of like Glasgow Rangers and Celtic fans used to be. I mean they still don’t like each other, but you probably remember how ugly it used to be. Or even better, the problems between Catholic and Protestents in Northern Ireland. The hatred was deep and it went back hundreds of years.

And Jesus sits out in public in Sychar. How risky is that. And then a woman comes to the well and Jesus just starts talking to her. This is not a sexist thing. She isn’t surprised by the fact that he’s talking to a woman, but he’s a Jew and she’s a Samaritan.

But see, that’s the whole nature of Jesus good news. Back in Chapter 3, Jesus has a private conversation with Nicodumus. Nick is a prominent Jewish leader. But Jesus tells him he needs to be born again. Here in chapter 4, he is having a private conversation with a woman who is not Jewish. His gospel is for everyone. Rich, poor, male, female, it doesn’t matter. He came to offer salvation to us all.

We find out that the woman has been married 5 times and is now living with some other guy. How 21st century is that? This woman could have a reality show on the BBC or MTV. Her life is a wreck. She comes to the well at lunch time. That was not what people did. They came at morning and in the evening. But she want’s to avoid the crowds so she comes right at lunch. And there is Jesus.

First, this story reminds us that we don’t have any secrets. Whatever we’ve done, wherever we’ve been, or who or how many we’ve been with, God knows. Even when we try and hide from him, he meets us at lunch time. We can’t get away from him. But Jesus doesn’t come to judge her. He comes to offer her a chance to start over. Who doesn’t want that? What if that were true? Would you be interested? Jesus tells her that he has a ‘living water’ that would be so tasty for her soul. She would never be thirsty again. She immediately runs back to tell everyone about this guy.

One of the things I love is the enthusiasm felt by people when they first meet Jesus. They want to tell everyone about Him. Sometimes people laugh and make fun, but lots of time they can see the change, that somethings different and they come to find out.

That’s what happened here. The people in the town all came out to meet Jesus. We’re not told a thing about what happened. But they invited him to come and stay with them for a few days. And He did. These people were natural enemies of the Jews. And Jesus decides to stay in the village.

This is so different that many of us think about Him. We think we have to be all cleaned up and churchy to spend time with Jesus. And we either can’t or won’t do that. But Jesus just comes and stays.

After he finally leaves, they all say to the woman. “wow, we came to see this guy because of what you said, but now we know him. Thanks so much.”

People see me, and they assume many things. After all I’m a preacher. A clergyman. And an American one at that. Some people avoid me like the plague. That’s ok. I get it. But the reality is, I’m more like the woman Jesus met than I am anybody else in the story. My life has been messed up and messed with so bad that that you would have a hard time believing it. But Jesus met me and told me he could give me a new start. I grabbed it. And I’m just trying to tell people about Him.

Yes, I go to church. But I’m not churchy. I’m a pretty normal bloke, for an American. My wife could tell you the same thing about her. See, Jesus did change us. And I’m so glad He did. He is still doing the same things for people he’s always done.

I don’t know you. I don’t know whether you’re more like this woman Jesus met at the well in Sychar or whether you’re more like Nicodemus Jesus met in Jerusalem. He tells you the same thing. Whether you’re a religious leader or you’ve been married 5 times and now living with someone outside of marriage. You need a new start. And He will give it to you.

Please, read chapter 4, then go back and read chapter 3 of John and see what I’m talking about. It’s quite amazing. Any man or woman is capable of Having Jesus meet your deepest need.

It might feel kind of weird, but I’m going to ask you, Do you want to start over. Be born again? You can. You can come to him right now. Where you are. You can do it.

If you have any questions about what I’m saying, write me: and ask away. I will answer them right away.

This is a short session again this week, you’re welcome. I do want to tell you that in the very near future, I’m going to be relaunching another radio show called, Rediscovering the Bible. I did that show for a year and a half and people keep asking for it to come back. It will be up within the month. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll tell you, each episode is about 30 minutes. Some more, some a little less. But it’s been tons of fun. I’ll let you know how to tune in.

For now, Thanks for tuning in. Please tell your friends. Thanks to all of you. And a special thanks for those of you who re-post the show to your friends. You rock. I’ll talk to you in about a week. That’s it for now. I’m out.

What Are The Rules? And What’s All This Stuff About Being Born Again?

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Where does your sense of right and wrong come from? Your morals. I’m not asking what your doing? I don’t know you. But where does it come from? Some will say, from what’s good for society? But where does that come from? Some will say, I decide what’s right and wrong? What if we all did that? Would there even be such a thing as society if everybody decided for themselves what’s right and wrong?

Did you know there’s a whole book in the Bible about a society where everyone was making up the rules as they went along? It’s in the Old Testament. It’s called the Book of Judges. It’s the 6th book. Twice in the book, it says that everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

If you read the book its just one disaster after another. War, chaos, murder, lies, and nothing but problems for the people. Some of the stories are really disturbing. That’s how society turns out when everyone gets to decide what’s right and wrong. Somebody has to make the rules.

So, who makes your rules? Do you have any? For me, the whole concept of morality, is easy. God has told us all about it. It’s in the Bible. Jesus even told us the short version. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Can you even imagine what the world would be like if we all lived like that? How families and nations would heal? How wars would end? It’s phenomenal. Just think about it.

See some people think the Bible is a set of don’ts. It isn’t that at all. It is a book to teach us how to love God first, and everyone else next.

But the Bible tells us how we’ve messed that up. It says, we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We know that’s right. We know how we’ve messed up. But did you know that the Bible also tells us that God doesn’t want anyone to die in our sin. He wants us all to be forgiven. All of us. No matter how rebellious we’ve been.

In John Chapter 3, Jesus says, we have to be born again. I bet you’ve heard that expression. That’s what Jesus called, conversion. Being born again. It’s a fresh start. A new beginning. We’re starting over. And how many of us love the sound of that?

He says even more than that in Chapter 3. He says God loved the world so much that he gave us his son, and that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn us, but to save the world through Him.

That is so different that what some of us think Christianity is all about. Stop listening to what people say, and start looking at what God says. The Bible says God loves us. That’s not just a saying. That’s a fact. He loved us enough that Jesus came and died in our place. Jesus took our punishment. We don’t have to spend eternity in outer darkness. That place we call Hell. Jesus said, Believe in me.

God knows what we’ve done. He knows our dark side as well as the face we present to the public. He knows where we’ve been, what we’ve done, what we’ve thought. He knows every piece of us. Sometimes that’s scary. Sometimes we have something we want nobody to know about. And it scares us to think that God knows it.

And he still loves us. Think about that for a minute. It will make your head spin. God knew your mess ups long before you were born. Yet he still allowed it. He loves you so much that Jesus died for you, even before you were born and messed up.

He says you can start over. You can try again. He says believe and be born again. Love God first, and others next. That’s a great way to start over. I know, because I’ve been born again. I know what it’s like to be so messed up that my head was spinning. But God forgave me, and has given me a new life. I’m different. Not perfect, but different.

And God wants to do that for you. Frankly, I want that for you too. I know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to make up the rules as you go along. The game is absolutely no fun that way.

I want you to read John chapter 3 this week. And if you get a chance, read the book of Judges too. You’ll get a picture of what life is like without God. And what is promised if we’ll be born again. No contest.

I hope you’ll think about that for a little. I hope you have an awesome week. That’s all I’ve got for now. So I’ll talk to you next week. Until then … I’m out.