LifeLink Devotional

Friday, February 26, 2021

After showing the Disciples the full extent of His love by washing their feet, Jesus explained the importance of such love to the overall mission of redemption.

“For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:15-17 

Jesus was not commanding foot washing.  He was commanding the expression of love to the full extent of His love.  Jesus set us an example of not only how to love, but who to love. Love humbly, and show love to those who hurt you. 

We would argue with following Christ’s example, claiming that we need to protect ourselves from further hurt. We would justify the withholding of love because of potential pain. Yet Jesus, who has sent us as His servants and messengers, declares that we dare not consider ourselves better than our Master. How can we think it is acceptable to do less than He did?

Go today and begin to love as Jesus did by serving others, especially those who despise you and treat you hatefully.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, February 25, 2021

“I don’t understand why you are doing this!”

I heard that statement on several visits to a dairy farmer years ago. I had shown up unannounced at his farm to help him with chores. I shoveled manure. I fed cows. I helped milk. After each chore I would thank him for the opportunity to get to know him and then leave.

“I don’t understand why you are doing this!”

My response was always the same.

“Someday you will.”

The expressions of love in acts of service eventually led to the farmer repenting of His sin and receiving Christ’s forgiveness. Now he is also a servant of others.

While washing the disciple’s feet, Jesus came to Peter, who questioned what He was doing. Jesus simply responded,  “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”(John 13:7)

The act of becoming a servant by washing the disciple’s feet would only be fully understood when the Servant sacrificed His life on their behalf.

So it is for us in our witness to others. Serving others will have its full effect when sacrifice is evident.

Don’t stop serving because there have been no results. Serving is not results driven.

Serving is love driven, and love has no limits, nor does it require a return on investment.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

It seems that most cultures in the world reference various forms of what has been called shapeshifting.  Greek mythology is filled with stories of physical transformations. The mythological gods would punish humans for their rebellion.  

  • Zeus transformed King Lycaon and his children into wolves.
  • Demeter transformed Ascalabus into a lizard for mocking her sorrow.
  • Athena transformed Arachne into a spider for challenging her as a weaver.

There are also instances where the mythological gods would transform themselves into beings that would be able to better relate to humans.

  •  Zeus repeatedly transformed himself to approach mortals as a means of gaining access.
    • To Europa he appeared as a bull
    • To Leda as a swan
    • To Ganymede, as an eagle
    • And to Semele he appeared as a mortal shepherd

Yet one thing is common in most, if not all, of the mythological transformations – they only served the purpose and good of the god. Rarely were they ever for the benefit of the human.

Yet the One True God, Jesus Christ, chose to transform Himself for the benefit of humanity.

Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Jesus became a servant so he could save us! He was transformed for our benefit, and for His ultimate glory. But His transformation was different than those of the mythological gods. They only transformed their appearance. No matter what their shape, the actions of the gods were driven by their greed for power. However, Jesus transformed His nature. He became a servant, so all His actions were driven by the desire to serve others in love. He modeled that in the upper room with the disciples.

John 13:4-5  [Jesusrose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Consider this: Have you worked hard to take on an appearance of good, but you are still driven by greed for power or personal gain? OR, has your nature been transformed by Jesus Christ into the form of a servant, so that you are driven to meet the needs of others in love?

Rise up and take off your outer robes. Wrap yourself in a servant’s towel, and wash some feet.

Pastor John

Love’s Response to Betrayal

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

To understand the full impact of the love of Jesus, we need to do a little memory exercise. Take a moment and think about the worst betrayal you have ever experienced at the hands of someone you trusted… Have you got it? How are your emotions?

Now, think about how you responded to that betrayal.

Next, imagine responding to the betrayer with the same love you give to those who have not betrayed you.

That’s what Jesus did for Judas. When Satan put into his heart that he should betray the Son of God, Jesus served him. Jesus washed the feet of Judas. Jesus included him in the supper. Jesus loved the betrayer.

What makes that kind of love possible? Read John 13:3 for the answer.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God…

Jesus was able to love His betrayer because He knew that all things were happening under the authority of God and according to His purpose. Jesus knew that He had been given the responsibility to carry out the Father’s plan, even if it meant death. Jesus was able to surrender to death because He knew His identity, His origins, and His future. Jesus was able to love His enemy because He knew that love was the only action that would be rewarded in eternity.

Go back to your memory of betrayal. How would you have responded if you were living in the love of Jesus? What if Christ’s love was your primary objective in life?

Pastor John

The Full Extent of Love

LifeLink Devotional

Monday, February 22, 2021

Is there an end to your ability to love someone? Can you reach the limit of patience with someone who frustrates you? Have you ever given up on someone because they failed you too often? Have you chosen to stop investing in someone’s life because the risks and lack of rewards outweigh the investment you feel you have made? Have you walked away from a relationship because they did one more thing that was the final straw for you?

As I read the account of the three year relationship between Jesus and His disciples, I am convinced that I would have given up on them. Especially if I knew what Jesus knew. Not only had the twelve disciples failed to comprehend the spiritual significance of what Jesus was teaching, but one of them was about to sell Him out to those who would kill Him. Jesus would soon be left alone. No one would assist Him in His hour of need. No one would stand by Him.

Yet knowing all of this, John the Apostle makes an incredible statement about the heart of Jesus in chapter thirteen of his Gospel. With all the past failures, disappointments, and misunderstandings fully in view, and with omniscient knowledge of the disciple’s upcoming abandonment, John watched Jesus love them all to the end. He never stopped loving them.

Read what John said:

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

Read it again. “…having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

Do I need to say any more? Maybe just this question. Can we claim to have been captured by the love of Jesus when we have given up on those who need to be loved?  When our needs aren’t being met by a friend, we minimize our contact with them. When our church doesn’t meet our needs, we walk away. What has happened to the love of Jesus that loves to the end?

Jesus loved until His love had its full effect. The Apostle John gave us this description of Jesus as an introduction to the very next action of love Jesus showed to His disciples. Jesus was about to show ultimate love through an act of service by washing His disciple’s feet. They doubted Him. They misunderstood Him. They saw Him only for the political and personal benefit He would bring to them. One saw only a financial benefit. Yet He loved them to the full extent of love by serving them. Jesus washed their filthy feet.

So before you walk away from that friendship, or from that church, or from that job, or from that family, ask yourself this – have I loved them to the full extent of Christ’s love for me?

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional
Friday, February 19, 2021

I cannot write. I cannot process. I cannot put into words what the Spirit of God is doing
in my heart as I attempt to write this devotional. I cannot think of stories or clever words
to captivate your attention. I am overwhelmed with the significance of the final words
of Jesus to the public before His death.

John 12:23, 31-32 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man
to be glorified… Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast
out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Jesus, the Passover Lamb of God, is preparing to take away the sins of the world. His
human nature is troubled by what He is about to endure on our behalf, yet He
understands it was for this purpose that He left the glory of His place with the Father. He
knows the glory that will be revealed when the redemption of mankind is purchased by
His death. Jesus says “YES!” to death on our behalf.

In the death of Christ, Jesus judges sin and conquers the power of death. When He is
lifted up on the cross, we are drawn into the glory of forgiveness. The cross of Jesus
Christ is mankind’s only hope of salvation. The death of the perfect Son of God is the
singular source of eternal glory.

How hard it is to even see the keyboard through the tears of joy welling up in my eyes
and flowing down my cheeks. Jesus suffered my deserved death so that I might have
His undeserved life.

The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified in my life. The time is here for Jesus
Christ to be lifted up in my life above all other pursuits and ambitions. My soul is troubled
with the thoughts of the suffering that I might endure if I exalted Jesus above all other
human relationships and earthly gratifications, yet it is for this purpose that Jesus saved

Jesus, judge the sin that lingers in my life. Cleanse me from the passions of this life. I give
myself wholly to your purpose. No longer will I lift up myself so that I may draw attention
to myself. Jesus, be lifted up in my life so that you may draw people to you. Jesus, be
glorified in me.

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Twenty-six years ago, Scott Wesley Brown released a song that immediately connected with many of our hearts. Unfortunately, it described too many of us.

Oh Lord I am your willing servant
You know that I have been for years
I’m here in this pew every Sunday and Wednesday
I’ve stained it with many a tear
I’ve given You years of my service
I’ve always given my best
And I’ve never asked you for anything much
So, Lord I deserve this request

I’ll see that the money is gathered
I’ll see that the money is sent
I’ll wash and stack the communion cups
I’ll tithe eleven percent
I’ll volunteer for the nursery
I’ll go on the youth group retreat
I’ll usher, I’ll deacon, I’ll go door to door
Just let me keep warming this seat

Please don’t send me to Africa
I don’t think I’ve got what it takes
I’m just a man, I’m not a Tarzan
Don’t like lions, gorillas or snakes
I’ll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle class life
But please don’t send me out into the bush
Where the natives are restless at night

I remember my parents teaching me as a child that I should never tell God where I wouldn’t go to serve Him. They warned me that I would probably end up there. They were right. Here I am in Packer country.

Maybe you aren’t called to go somewhere around the world to serve Jesus. However, are you willing to serve Him so faithfully that if the result is death you would follow Him there? This is the very principle of serving and following that Jesus taught in John 12:26.

 “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

When serving Jesus, there is honor in death. Yet our parameters for how far we will follow Jesus fall far short of death. We limit our expression of faith to circumstances where we feel confident that criticism, financial loss, embarrassment, ridicule, and persecution can be avoided.

My friends, the Day of the Lord is approaching, and as it does the persecution of Christians will increase. Many around the world are already following Jesus to the point of death.

Are you prepared?

Pastor John


LifeLink Devotional

Wednesday, 02.17.21

Confession time. I am guilty.

Guilty of what, you ask?

Guilty of conforming the words of Jesus to fit my preferences and feelings. Guilty of justifying my choices by not fully applying the words of Jesus to my life. Guilty of manipulating what Jesus said so it becomes less offensive to me and to others. Guilty of not listening and obeying what Jesus said.

So are you.

Read these words of Jesus. Together we will confess our guilt.

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.(John 12:25)

We love this life. We justify our love for what this world offers us with misapplied Scriptures about pleasure and prosperity. We do not fully believe that abundance in life requires death to this world’s system of life. We choose to reject, in varying degrees, the principle that we must not love the world or the things of the world or the love of the Father is not in us. (1 John 2:15) We believe that we can both love God and love what the world offers us.

My friends, let me be clear. God loves to bless those who love Him. Yet our love for God must NEVER be motivated by personal gain. We must never add our love for God to a pre-existing love for personal gratification. We must die to self and all the pursuits of self-enhancement, and completely depend upon the love of God for all we need and want.

Many of you are already doing mental gymnastics trying to figure out a way to protect the personal kingdom you have built for yourself. May the Holy Spirit tear down the walls of your city and show you the joyous and glorious eternal life you can already experience if your love for the world is put to death.

Pastor John

Filling the Hole

LifeLink Devotional

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

When I was in college, I had the ability to imitate Billy Graham. I could produce the accent and the tone. I am a little embarrassed to reveal to you that once, while in college, some friends and I went to the Minneapolis International airport in the days prior to security protocols. As we walked the passageways to all the gates, we came across a large poster of the upcoming Billy Graham crusade. I stood in front of it and began to preach as Dr. Graham would. People even stopped and listened. I remember well the opening line of the sermon. “Do you have a hole in your soul?”

I am reasonably sure I have heard that line used by many preachers in an attempt to share the Gospel. Somehow we have come to believe that Jesus comes to us as an addition to what we already are. We want to think of Jesus as the final piece of life’s puzzle, only to be put in place after we have provided all the previous pieces. Yet this is so wrong.

In John twelve, some worshipers of God who were of Greek descent asked one of the disciples if they could meet Jesus. The response Jesus gives to their request seems to be out of place. Yet a careful reading of it makes perfect sense.

John 12:23-25  And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

The one truth that sticks out above the others in this passage, at least for today, is this: Jesus is not an addition to your present life; His life replaces whatever you now call life.

The assumption we can justifiably make about the Greeks from Christ’s response is that the seekers wanted to meet Jesus so they could add Him to their spiritual repertoire. They wanted to be a part of a movement without moving from the preferred parts of their life.

We do the same. We tend to add Jesus only where we feel a need, but Jesus demands that we lose everything we cherish about our earthly life and live only in the context of His life.

My friends, PLEASE evaluate your relationship with Jesus. Is He there only to fill a hole in your soul for which you have found no other solution? Or has Jesus captured your entire soul, and all of life is built on Him alone?

Pastor John

Your Deepest Desire

LifeLink Devotional

Monday, February 15, 2021

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”” (John 12:20-21)

What is the deepest and most compelling desire of your heart?

Here’s how many would attempt to answer that question. After going through a short mental list of earthly things, we turn our attention to eternal things. We think of all the descriptions of the glory of heaven. There will be streets of gold, and gates of pearl. There will be a permanent resolution of all physical and emotional pain in our new perfected body. Never again will we be tempted to sin as it is banished forever. We will revel in the sight of the mansion built personally for me by my Savior.  Oh, and we will see Him face to face.

How embarrassing. We come to the realization that we want to see Jesus only after listing all the preferred benefits of knowing Him. That’s like coming home from work and noticing the beautiful flower garden with no weeds, the freshly mown lawn, the clean garage, and the smell of pot roast in the crock pot, but not noticing the 13-year old son who did it all.

The most compelling desire of our hearts should be to see Jesus. Let every temporal benefit of knowing Jesus be removed, and His embrace should be enough to satisfy us. Let all the glory and splendor that surrounds Him be invisible to our eyes, and the love pouring from His eyes into ours is sufficient. Remove all the gold, pearls, crystal seas, and mansions, and Jesus alone completely satisfies. 

I want to see Jesus. And until I see Him face to face, I want Jesus to be seen in me by you. Remove all the wealth of this life, in any form, and may the treasure of Christ be sufficient for me. Remove all the benefits of this life, in any form, and may the joy of my salvation sing forth from the chains of suffering. Take all the things I trust to give me security, peace, and pleasure, and may I shine forth the light of Jesus as my all in all.

I want to see Jesus, and I want Jesus to be seen in me.

Pastor John