The Last Day(s)


Monday, August 31, 2020

For the next few weeks we are going to take a scenic route through Scripture on a subject of great interest to many people right now. I have had several inquiries about how the current events in the world are related to the events described in the Bible during the last days. In John 6, Jesus mentioned that He would be the final judge of a person’s eternal state when they are raised up on the last day.

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.””  John 6:39-40

 In addition to stating that He is the One Way to God, Jesus is declaring that time as we know it will come to an end. Eternity is a certainty, and for eternity to begin, there has to be a last day. It seems to me that the average person operates in life as if it will never come to an end. But there will be a last day.

It makes sense, then, that the days prior to the last day will be known as the last days. The period of time known as the last days actually began some two-thousand years ago when the writer of Hebrews in the New Testament revealed this truth:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” Hebrews 1:1-4

Clearly we are to understand that the last days began when Jesus Christ came to earth the first time to provide for our redemption from sin.

Of course, the New Testament has many other things to say about the last days, and over the next few weeks we are going to study them. But ponder this for today…the focus of the last is Jesus Christ. The only way to endure and survive the last days is through Jesus Christ.  The only thing we should be talking about is the glory of Jesus Christ, who is God in human flesh, the radiance of His glory, the One who upholds the universe by the power of His word, and the One who reigns on the throne of heaven and is worthy of our worship.

Check your focus today. Is it on the last days and how to survive them, or is it on the Last Day, when we all get to heaven. What a day of rejoicing that will be, when we all see Jesus.

Pastor John

Who Are You Following?

LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, August 27, 2020

People are natural born followers. Even those who profess to be leaders are driven by their nature to follow. It is human nature to first follow self, and then to follow those who are also following self. Just look around. The predominate philosophy of people is to pursue self-enhancement, self-benefit, self-approval, and self-gratification. The people of the world are following self, and following people who are also following self.

The activity of following self is sin. The Scripture declares this truth in Isaiah 53 verse 6.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

We all desire to follow someone. We all need someone whom we believe provides us with the answers we are seeking to life’s serious questions. We are skilled at jumping onto bandwagons.

Jesus understood this fact of human nature. Thousands of people followed Him because they thought He could satisfy their personal needs. After explaining to them the deeper spiritual needs that He would meet for them, this is what happened.

John 6:66-69 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

People left because they wanted to follow someone who was also following self. But Jesus had earlier stated that He was following the Father, not self. People understood that to mean that He would not meet their need to gratify self, so they walked away.

Then Jesus asked His chosen disciples what they would do. I love the response of Peter.

“Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Peter realized that he was tired of following the pursuits of self-fulfillment. He recognized that there is a much greater human need than food and shelter. Peter declared that He was ready to seek spiritual fulfillment ahead of all other human needs. He had discovered that there was only one true source of fulfillment, only one way to spiritual life, and only one Person worthy of being followed.

“Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Who are you following that you hope will lead you to fulfillment? Is it a political leader? Is it a financial advisor? Is it a social justice movement or cause? What are you passionately pursuing so that your life can finally have meaning and purpose?

“Lord, to whom shall we go?”

Peter answers His own question.

“You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

I hope you can say the same.

Pastor John

Entitled or Grateful?

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

How would life be different if we moved from an entitlement mentality to one of thanksgiving?

I have a very simple point for us to ponder today from the words of Jesus to His disciples in John 6:65.

“And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.””

 Here’s a hypothetical situation of an entitled life.

I awake in the morning and the coffee at breakfast is too strong. I grumble, because I am entitled to it being the way I like it. I get in the car to leave for work and there’s a truck blocking my driveway because it has a flat tire. I have to drive on my lawn and through the ditch to get around him because I’m entitled to keep my schedule for the day. I speed up as the light turns yellow because I’m entitled to be on time. I close the door to my office because I’m entitled to not be disturbed. I speak harshly to my wife when my expectations for some down time after work are met with her need to talk and discuss a major decision we need to make. I complain about the stock market downturn because I’m entitled to see my money grow so I can retire.

I could go on, or, I could go through the same scenario with a different perspective.

I awake in the morning and the coffee at breakfast is too strong. I praise the Lord for granting me the blessing of an automatic coffee maker. I get in the car to leave for work and there’s a truck blocking my driveway because it has a flat tire. I thank the Lord for granting me the opportunity to help someone in need, and I go inside to change into grub clothes and grab my tools. I slow down and stop as the light turns yellow, giving thanks to God for granting me a few more moments of praise time as I sing along with the worship songs on my radio. I keep the door to my office open because I know God is going to grant me an opportunity to speak with someone who needs encouragement.  I anxiously sit with my wife after work, knowing she has been waiting to to talk to me about a major decision we need to make. We pray that God will grant us wisdom.  I praise God that now matter what the stock market does the Lord will provide all my needs and grant me the grace to serve Him every day until He calls me home.

How do you live life?  Does a sense of entitlement make you crabby, or do you see everything in life as having been granted by the Father and live with joyful gratitude?

Pastor John


Faith or Experience?

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

In the next section of John 6, Jesus teaches us a powerful yet discomforting spiritual truth – the human experience is of no value in producing spiritual understanding.

Read what Jesus says, taking notice of my underlined portion.

John 6:60-66 60  When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61  But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

Here’s the context. Jesus has told His followers that He is the Bread of Life. He is the true bread that has come down from heaven, and whoever feeds on Him will have eternal life. He set the stage for this teaching by providing physical food for thousands of people. Afterward, He told them all that they would get hungry again, but He would be the food for them that would nourish them forever. Jesus was using a physical miracle to illustrate the spiritual miracle of new birth. Jesus wants us to understand that all the things we pursue in this life to provide meaning, value, and purpose to our lives will be completely fulfilled if we feed on Him rather than the pursuits of the world.

The disciples complain that this teaching is too hard, even after seeing the miracles that proved He was the One who was sent from Heaven by the Father.

Now Jesus says to them, “You have seen the proof that I came down from heaven, and yet you do not believe. Even if you see me ascend back into heaven, you will still not believe, because you are depending on your human understanding and experience to be proof. That is not faith. Only the Spirit of God can give you the faith necessary to believe and have life.”

The point to ponder for today is this –

In what ways have we allowed our human understanding and experience to become the proof we seek that Jesus is Lord before we believe in Him?

Are there areas of your life where you choose not to believe what Jesus has said until you see proof? OR, are you listening to the Holy Spirit and by faith alone receiving the life Jesus promised?

I am convinced that we do not fully experience the fullness of Jesus Christ because we are still seeking to confine His life to the box of our human experience. Let go of your human understanding, and by faith alone receive the life of Jesus Christ.

Pastor John

Are You A True Disciple?

LifeLink Devotional

Monday, August 24, 2020

Pastor Josh did a marvelous job yesterday expounding John 6:25-59. Our hearts were stirred with the truth that Jesus is the Bread of Life, and that when we spiritually feed on Him, it fills us to capacity with eternal satisfaction so that we no longer need to settle for the temporary gratification of the world’s pursuits and pleasures.

This week I want to dig deeper into the remaining verses of John 6, starting with these:

John 6:60-66 60  When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61  But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62  Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”

First, notice that everyone who choses to follow Jesus was called a disciple, not just the twelve He had specifically chosen to be in the inner circle. The word disciple simply means a learner, or pupil. If you have decided to seek to understand the teachings of Jesus, you are called a disciple in this context. Later, as the context of discipleship is developed, it comes to mean more fully that a disciple is one who intentionally chooses to follow the Master and apply the teachings to their life and live according to the Master’s will.

Second, seekers of understanding have not yet made a choice to be a true follower, so they can be dissuaded from following. Hard sayings discourage seekers. Seekers don’t like challenges or change. Seekers are shallow and superficial. Seekers refrain from radical thought. Seekers tend to want validation of their own understanding, not transformation into God’s illumination of understanding. Seekers want to understand so they can make a choice. True disciples make a choice by faith so they can gain further understanding.

K. Chesterton said it this way, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.”

Here’s my point to ponder for today:

Which definition of disciple fits you? Are you a seeker only, holding out on making a commitment until you know more? Or are you by faith committed to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and daily growing in your understanding and application of His truth?

If you are a seeker, let me help you make a decision. Please contact me today so we can talk and you can discover the incredible life that is available from the One who said, “I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE.”

Pastor John

Make Things Multiply

LIFELINK Devotional

Friday, August 14, 2020




These words are in a battle for usage with words like criticism, judgment, dissatisfaction, and regret. One set of words is the product of a sense of entitlement. One set grows out of an understanding of grace.

People of grace express gratitude easily.  People of entitlement spew displeasure.

When Jesus was given five loaves of bread and two small fish by a small boy who graciously donated them to feed hungry people, His first response was thanksgiving.

“Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.” John 6:11

Are we willing to do some self-evaluation right now? Allow me to help by letting you in on how I might have responded. There were 5000 men, plus women and children.  There were 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish. It doesn’t take a genius to do that math.  My first words might have been, “Really? Is this all we have?”

We tend to see the negative far before we see the positive. We focus on what is lacking rather than the blessing of what is available. But not Jesus. He didn’t dwell on what was missing. He gave thanks for what had been given. And thanksgiving resulted in multiplication.

There’s a great spiritual principle for us to remember – Thanksgiving results in multiplication.

Look around. The need is great. There may not be enough right now to meet all the needs.  Be thankful for what is available, and watch God multiply it.

Pastor John




Answer the Question


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Certain things annoy me. You too, right? One such thing is when the response to a question doesn’t answer the question. Many times our answers reveal our lack of understanding of the subject. The answer may be an attempt to cover our ignorance by sharing some fact about something else. Sometimes we just prefer not to talk about the subject of the question.  And still other times, like in the case of Philip, we don’t want our lack of faith to be uncovered.

When Jesus tested Philip with a question, Philip sought to protect his lack of faith by making a point in his answer.  Jesus asked him, “Where can we buy enough bread?” Philip didn’t answer the question. The question required an answer of faith. Philip answered in such a way as to try to prove that his understanding of the situation was justifiable. We read about it in John 6 verse 7.

Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread would not be enough for each of them to get a little.” 

Jesus asked Philip intentionally, because Philip was from the region where they were, and would have been familiar with the availability of food. But he doesn’t answer the question. Instead, he points out that they don’t have any money to buy that much bread, even if it was available.  He allowed the visible circumstances to limit his capacity to trust Jesus.

However, Andrew came to Jesus with a little boy who had brought his lunch, and was willing to give it all up to help solve the food problem. But Andrew also let the visible circumstances dictate the level of his faith.

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

Two lessons for us today:

  1. Look beyond the visible circumstances and trust that Jesus has a plan to grow our faith through His limitless provisions.
  2. Give the Lord Jesus whatever you have, no matter how little it may be. God uses seeds to create great harvests.

When Jesus asks you a question that is designed to reveal your faith and then grow your faith, answer honestly.  He is prepared to do something magnificent.

Pastor John


Embrace the Test

LifeLink Devotional

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

I was, and still am, weird. Most will agree with my self-assessment. Here is yet another way in which I fulfill that description.

I love tests.

When I was in school, I loved tests. They were an opportunity for me to prove myself. They were a way in which I could qualify myself. I have since learned the terrible dysfunction of that. But nevertheless, I still love tests. Today, at my age, my favorite tests are difficult golf holes and fishing after a cold front. They still provide me opportunities to prove myself as well as improve myself and grow.

However, there are many tests that I hate. Financial loss is an unpleasant test. Pain and suffering are hardships we’d rather not endure. There are many such tests in multiple areas of our lives, and we tend to see them as an interruption to what we consider normal, so therefore we hate them.

However, tests are designed to prove us and improve us. Our insecurities may cause us to hate tests because we doubt we have anything to prove, or that we will be proven insufficient. Security embraces tests. Our pride may cause us to hate tests because we don’t think we need to improve. Humility embraces tests.

Jesus loves to initiate tests because He loves us. He desires to prove us and improve us.

In John 6, when Jesus saw the crowds of people coming towards Him, he tested His disciple Philip. He asked him where they might be able to buy enough bread to feed all the people.

Jesus said this to test Philip, for Jesus knew what he would do.

Take a look at the last part of that statement. Jesus knew what He would do.

I wonder if my attitude towards tests would be different if I fully trusted that God knows what He is doing?

Maybe I focus too much on the nature of the test rather than the nature of God who designed the test.

It’s likely that I complain about the difficulty of the test before I consider the benefits of the test.

Life is filled with tests. The life that is filled with the Holy Spirit sees every test as a means by which God proves us and improves us.

James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Embrace the test.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, August 11. 2020

John 5:45-47 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

“Pastor John, I think you made a mistake. We are studying John 6, and you gave us Scripture from John 5. Why?”

Nothing ever happens haphazardly in Scripture. There is always a purpose for every word Jesus spoke. Let’s review some history.

The Jewish nation had no greater hero than Moses. He was their prophet, proclaiming the truth of God to them in spoken and written word. He was their leader, providing purpose and direction for them. He was revered as their deliverer and their ruler, the one who gave them their national identity.

Jesus uses that knowledge of the Jews esteem of Moses to teach them that everything Moses did and wrote about ultimately led to the revealing of the Messiah. Jesus emphasized that the One Moses wrote about was not with them.

In John 6, Jesus begins to reveal to the Jews how He is greater than Moses, and that they need to turn their attention to the Christ rather than their esteemed historical leader. The first thing Jesus did was to show the people how much like Moses He was. He would then show them how much greater He was.

Notice the similarities between Jesus and Moses in the story of the feeding of the five thousand.

  • Jesus led a crowd. They followed Him to the other side of the lake.
  • The crowd followed Jesus because they saw the miraculous signs He performed.
  • Jesus went up on a mountain.
  • Jesus introduced Himself to them during the Passover.

Jesus is intentionally walking in the footsteps of Moses, referring to him, so that the people would move from historical loyalty to true spiritual worship. Just as Moses cried out to God for food for the people, and God provided manna, so Jesus provides food for the people. Jesus was touching the hearts of the people where they were most spiritually sensitive. He would then lead them to the Promised Land of spiritual life.

My point today is this – we must learn to let go of our loyalty to religious heritage. I have been told more times than I can remember by people who profess faith in Jesus Christ that they don’t understand why they should be baptized again because they were baptized as an infant. I remind them that a religious ceremony cannot save them, only personal faith in Jesus Christ can. Now that you have personally decided to follow Jesus, baptism is your public statement of your faith in Christ, not in religion. Many understand and agree. Some do not.

Many would understand and follow Jesus. Most would not, because they couldn’t let go of their loyalty to religion. Jesus is greater than any religion. He is inviting you to be loyal to Him. Is this the day you let go and truly follow Jesus?

Pastor John

Why Do You Follow Jesus?

LifeLink Devotional

Monday, August 10, 2020

Why do you follow Jesus?

If you don’t, what would make you want to follow Him?

This week we begin the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, and a very familiar story of Jesus feeding over 5,000 people with nothing more than five little loaves of bread and two small fish. The story begins with Jesus going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, and being followed by a huge crowd of people. John gives us the detail of why they were following Him.

John 6:1-2 After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.

The crowd was following Jesus because of the signs He was doing.

We are all attracted to the spectacular. We are especially drawn to what would fit into our definition of the miraculous. These people were no different. They had never personally witnessed such physical power and authority over creation. They had never seen the sick spontaneously healed. Of course they were drawn to follow Him. We would be.

But following Jesus because He has power over creation and physical life does not assure eternal life. Sins are not forgiven because we marvel at signs and wonders.

At the end of the feeding of the people, when all the leftovers have been gathered, the people declare, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” Based on the signs He had done, they not only declared Him to be the Prophet of God, but they were prepared to take Him by force and make Him their King. Jesus withdrew from them. Being their King and Prophet was not His purpose at this time.

Most if not all of us would have been a part of that crowd and would have joined in their cause. We are quickly influenced to join the latest cause because it fits into our understanding of what has to happen for our personal kingdom to be enhanced.

Following Jesus can only be based on faith, not sight. Listen to the words of Jesus and one of His disciples.

John 20:29  Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

1 Peter 1:8  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…

Why do you follow Jesus? Let it be based exclusively on faith in the eternal fact that Jesus is the Son of God, sent to be the Savior of the world by offering His guiltless life in death on the cross as a sacrifice for our guilt.

Pastor John