Sunday, June 19, 2016

Witness by Sinners

Witness by Sinners from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Luke 5:1-11
1Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." 5Simon answered, "Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets." 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that tour nets were beginning to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter sow it, he fell down at Jesus knees, saying, "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!" 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people." 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Hebrews 11:29-12:2
29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 20By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

32And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barat, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets - 33Who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered Justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, there were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented - 38of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39Yet through all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfected of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Unchangeable Character

Unchangeable Character from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Genesis 14:17-20
17After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the Kings’s Valley). 18And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; 20and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him one-tenth of everything.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Hebrews 6:9-20
9Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation. 10For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. 11And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, 12so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear he swore by himself, 14saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you.” 15And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. 16Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and a oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute.

17In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, 18so that through two unchangeable things, in which is is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us.

19We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Built for a Purpose

Built for a Purpose from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Exodus 19:3-8
Then Moses when up to God; the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites 4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings and brought you to myself. 5Now, therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”

7So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the LORD had commanded him. 8The people all answered as one ”Everything that the LORD has spoken we will do.” Moses reported the words of the people to the LORD.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Hebrews 3:1-19
1Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also “was faithful in all God’s house. 3Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4(For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. 6Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.

7Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, as on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9where your ancestors put me to the test, though they had seen my works 10for forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known my ways.’ 11As in my anger I swore, ‘They will not enter my rest.’”

12Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. 15As it is said, Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? 17But with whom was he angry forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient? 19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Messengers

Messengers from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Isaiah 9:2-7
2The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness - on them light has shined.
3You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.
4For the yoke of their burden and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
6For a child has been born for is, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. he will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this tome onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Hebrews 1:1-14
1Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty of high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you?” Or again, “I will be his Father and he will be my Son?” 6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” 7Of the angels he says, “He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.”

8But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. 9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” 10And, “In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth, and the heaves are the work of your hands; 11they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like clothing; 12like a cloak you will roll them up, and like clothing they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will never end.”

13But to which of the angels has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?” 14Are not all angels spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Spoken and Poured Out


Spoken and Poured Out from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.

John 16:12-15
12I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Romans 5:1-5
1Therefore, since we are justified be faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in out sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Bewildered Crowd


Acts 2:1-41
1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" 13But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."

14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 

17'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 
18Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 
19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 
20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day. 
21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' 

22"You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know— 23this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25For David says concerning him, 

'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope. 27For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 28You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.' 

29"Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. 31Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, 'He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.' 

32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. 33Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, 

'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, 35until I make your enemies your footstool." ' 

36Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified." 37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?" 38Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him." 40And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God
God created every person on this planet, each of us in the image of God. And you know, if our all powerful God had wanted us all to be the same, we would be.

But we're not. And that tells us something about God.

The Church of Jesus Christ begins in Jerusalem at Pentecost. But it spreads: Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Along the way it finds many different expressions, eternal truth spoken in diverse and changing languages. The Gospel is shared in the language of the Parthians and the Elamites, the Libyans and Medes, Cappadocians and Cretes. The church is expressed in Rome and Corinth. Galatia and Ephesus, Philippi and Colossi. "God [furnishes] the apostles with the diversity of tongues now, that he may bring and call home, into a blessed unity, [people] which wander here and there.” The story the began so long ago is told and retold in our mother tongue whether we learned it it Lowell, or Ranlo, or Cramerton, or McAdenville, or Gastonia, or Belmont.

The church needs diversity. We cannot afford all look and think and act alike, because then we would only see one perspective on who Jesus is, we would only see one reflection of the image of God. We who are followers of Christ, we who are children of God, we who are inspired by the Holy Spirit, can follow God more nearly with a more complete picture.

The miracle of Pentecost spreads the gospel to the ends of the earth and brings people closer together. People who would not normally be able to speak to each other are able to connect with one another, they are able to form relationship and hear the good news of God, which has already changed the world and continues to shape the lives of all those in the True Church.

Celebrating diversity doesn’t mean abandoning our identity. After all, in the midst of this new thing that the Holy Spirit is doing, Peter steps up to address the crowd and reaches into his own history and tradition to explain the world through the prophets and the psalms. The diversity that God creates means that we listen to others through our own history and tradition, strengthening and sharpening our identity, not abandoning it.

With the challenges we will face in the future, we cannot afford to fall prey to the idolatry of ideology. We must not close ourselves off to the diverse languages through which God is speaking. We, like the bewildered crowd that gathered before the Apostles at Pentecost, must listen to what the Holy Spirit is doing around us.

We are called to listen. The children of Flint, Michigan will tell us of the cleansing waters of baptism, even as they recover from tainted water themselves. Palestinian Christians will teach us about justice in the Promised land, even as they are oppressed. African Americans will teach us about serving Christ and one another, even as we step out from under the inherited burdens of slavery and institutional racism. "They devoted themselves to the apostle's teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers."

And then we will see the light of Christ in the myriad and diverse faces that surround us, and we will know that our story needs to be told as well. The truth of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ will ring forth in our own distinct accent. No one else will tell the story the same way we will. Just as we need diversity to hear the word of God most fully, so too we need to testify about our own experiences of God, in our lives and in our community.


We are a diverse people who are all called by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us break bread together, many mouths, but called to one table. As Peter reminds us, “This promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” As those who have heard and believed the promise, we will gather, a diverse crowd, to proclaim the Lord’s saving death in joining the Messianic Banquet to which our Lord has invited us.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wisdom's Revelation

Wisdom's Revelation from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Ephesians 1:15-23
15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according in the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 22which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Acts 1:1-11
1In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Sprit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

6So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7He replied, it is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.