Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dear Prudence


Dear Prudence from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.

Romans 8:1-11
1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 
1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.

3And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!’

18 ‘Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

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

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Heavy Burdens

Zechariah 9:9-12
9Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 
10He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the warhorse from Jerusalem;
and the battle-bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. 

11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. 
12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. 

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
16‘But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places and calling to one another, 17“We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.” 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon”; 19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax-collectors and sinners!” Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.’

25At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

28‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Celebratory Shout



Matthew 10:40-42
40"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple - truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18
1A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of the LORD's loyal love forever. I will proclaim your faithfulness with my own mouth from one generation to the next.
2That's why I say, "Your loyal love is rightly built--forever! You establish your faithfulness in heaven."
3You said, "I made a covenant with my chosen one; I promised my servant David:
4'I will establish your offspring forever; I will build up your throne from one generation to the next.'"Selah

15The people who know the celebratory shout are truly happy! They walk in the light of your presence, LORD!
16They rejoice in your name all day long and are uplifted by your righteousness
17Because you are the splendor of their strength. By your favor you make us strong
18Because our shield is the LORD's own; our king belongs to the holy one of Israel!

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Claimed by the Kingdom


Matthew 10:24-39
24‘A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!

26‘So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

32‘Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 34’Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household. 

37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Romans 5:20-6:11
5:20But the law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

6:1What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified which him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is free from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Binding of Isaac


The Binding of Isaac from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.

Romans 3:21-26
21But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteous of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Genesis 22:1-13
1After these things God tested Abraham. He said “Abraham!” And he said “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. 4On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. 5Then Abraham said to his young Kent, “Stay here with the donkey; the. Oh and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” 6Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the tow of them walked on together. 7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

9When they came to the place at God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order he bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. 11But the angel of the LORD called to him for heaven, and said “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said “Here I am.” 12He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son.

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

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Send and Receive


Send and Receive from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.

I Corinthians 12:1-13
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uniformed. 2You know that when you were pagans, you were enticed and led astray to idols that could not speak. 3Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Let Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

4Now there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7To each it given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another the prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

John 20:19-23
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you,” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

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

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Remember

Remember from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Exodus 3:9-15
9The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10So come, I will sent you to Pharaoh to bring out my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be a sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

13But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this is my title for all generations.”

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Matthew 28:16-20
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I am the Gate

I am the Gate from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Psalm 23 (KJV)
1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 
2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

John 10:1-10
1"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has bought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers."

6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

7So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


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

"Breathe in God's mercies...Breathe out God's mercies to others...Breathe in God's mercies...Breathe out God's mercies to others...Breathe in God's mercies...Breathe out God's mercies to others..."

I had a chance to take a couple of classes with Dr. Rodger Nishioka while I was in seminary, and every class opened with that call to prayer. As he launched into his professorial prayer, we pupils were left with the reminder that serving the Lord can become as natural as breathing. Dr. Nishioka's call to prayer re-directed our natural tendencies towards devotion to God and to serving others.

When Jesus speaks in parables, I like to think of him taking a similar approach. While I, and other preacher-types, cloister ourselves away to develop motifs and images for our sermons, our blessed savior is out walking with his followers and sees an ordinary event, and re-interprets it to reveal the face of God, peering through the cracks in creation.

I imaging him walking along, and seeing a sheepfold, and pointing it out to his followers: "Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit." The sheepfold imagery is unveiled in front of those who had just seen Jesus heal a man born blind. Jesus's figure-of-speech teaching falls on the ears of the Pharisees who comically debated the healing before driving the newly-sighted man out. Having seen God's works revealed in the healing of a man born blind, Jesus's followers and the Pharisees are now confronted with this sheep-and-shepherd parable.

Now, as I read this story in the weeks following Easter, I'm reading it through the resurrection that we know is yet to come. I'm reading it with words of the benediction from the book of Hebrews with which I bless us before we depart in my mouth."...the God of peace who brought back from the dead that great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ," Jesus has shown the power of God, now he is about to make a great "I Am" statement where he reveals something of who God the Son is.

I am expecting "I am the Good Shepherd." We've even set it up by with reading "The LORD is my shepherd..." Go ahead Jesus, tell us who you are, and then we can shoot judgy glances at whomever we decide are climbing in by another way, thieves and bandits and strangers.

But Jesus sidesteps my expectation. "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep." The gate? But I had this whole "thou leaders me beside still waters..." thing I was going to do. You know, how our life in Christ is always easy and we never have to struggle with anything besides drinking up the providence of God!

But we stopped short of "I am the good shepherd." We're still at "I am the gate." I'd imagine the disciples, who already did not understand what Jesus was saying to them, were also thrown off. Instead of a person, Jesus compares himself to a mechanism. “I am…” the means by which the sheep are kept in the sheepfold. “I am…” the way that the shepherd enters, and by which the sheep depart to follow.

Jesus of Nazareth, fully human, fully God, is what enables us God to be with us, and what enables us to follow God out into the green pastures and beside the still waters where the LORD is leading us. Without Christ, we would either be isolated inside the pen, or scattered throughout the fields.

The church has a good shepherd, but we have not always been good sheep. We do follow strangers, we do get taken up by thieves and bandits, and we end up following and proclaiming news that is not all that good. The church throughout its history has made missteps that are more likely to drive people away from the LORD than to bring them close.

With all the shouting of strangers, thieves, and bandits, sometimes our fellow sheep cannot even hear the voice of the shepherd for a time.

As a pastor, one of my functions is to be a a kind of theologian in residence. I love getting questions from the church, and wrestling with the heavy duty issues that those questions often represent.

The question of “who is saved?” comes up frequently. Many churches are structured with the assumption that most everybody belongs to a church somewhere. We’re really comfortable with the idea that it doesn’t matter where you worship, so long as you belong to a church, you’re saved.

But the landscape has changed around us. More and more of us know people who do not belong to any congregation. We meet people who are not members anywhere, and aren’t really looking for a place to worship God. More than meet them, we befriend them and love them, and worry about them.

So folks ask me who is saved. They’re worried about those whom they love who either haven’t heard the voice of the shepherd, or don’t recognize it when they do hear it.

“So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.’” Without the gate, all the sheep are cut off from the shepherd. Without Jesus, all people are cut off from the presence of God. Jesus does not, however, say “Belief in me is the gate.”

Maybe that’s a narrow distinction, but it is, I think, an important one. Jesus is the means by which we are saved, belief in Jesus means that we have recognized the gate for what it is.

But the gate is built in already. The LORD, who is our shepherd, can enter in and be with us already. Because the gate is established, the shepherd can keep calling the sheep until they learn to recognize his voice as belonging to one who loves and protects them, not to a stranger.

“I am the gate, Whoever enters by me will be saved…” It is not in answering the shepherds call that we are saved, it is in entering the gate through Jesus, who we know, during this Easter season, has already died and risen to bring us into salvation.

The gate also allows us to leave the sheepfold. We’re not stuck there. "As the gate leading to the pasture, Jesus is the way the sheep must pass to attain the food of God's promise.” The gate provides salvation, but also requires discipleship if we want to find ourselves led beside still waters, paths of righteousness. “I am the gate”, Jesus says, and God brings us in and leads us out to find pasture. Our salvation is not up to us, but our living life abundantly means we have to trust our shepherd, the LORD, and we have to pass through the gate, Jesus, many times as we continue to learn to trust and to follow.

Sometimes it’s nothing complicated, just going along with our fellow sheep. Sometimes it’s what we would do anyway, but the discipleship in this passage means that instead of doing those things for our own benefit, we do it through Jesus. Then even our breathing can become a prayer.

"Breathe in God's mercies...Breathe out God's mercies to others...Breathe in God's mercies...Breathe out God's mercies to others...Breathe in God's mercies...Breathe out God's mercies to others..."

We are learning to recognize the voice of the LORD, our shepherd. “The Son [is] the one gate through which God is fully known.” If we want to learn to recognize our shepherd, we’ve got to learn to pass through the gate. We see God most fully in Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ the Lord.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Heartburn


Acts 2:14a, 36-41
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them:

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

Luke 24:13-35
13Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17And he said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’ They stood still, looking sad. 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?’ 19He asked them, ‘What things?’ They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.’ 25Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?’ 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ 33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Unbelievable!

Unbelievable! from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Acts 2:14a, 22-32
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them:

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. 
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption. 
28 You 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.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

John 20:19, 24-31
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’

24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’

26A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 27Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ 28Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 29Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’

30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. 

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Fear and Great Joy

Fear and Great Joy from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.

Matthew 28:1-10
1After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you." 8So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Who is this?

Who Is This? from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


II Samuel 6:1-5, 17-19
1David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2David and all the people with him set out and went from Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who is enthroned on the cherubim. 3They carried the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were driving the new cart 4with the ark of God; and Ahio went in front of the ark. 5David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.

17 They brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it; and David offered burnt-offerings and offerings of well-being before the Lord. 18When David had finished offering the burnt-offerings and the offerings of well-being, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts, 19and distributed food among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, to each a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins. Then all the people went back to their homes.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Matthew 21:1-11
1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

5"Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed themselves 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" 11The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."

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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Strengthen Your Hearts



Ezekiel 37:1-14
1The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know."

4Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord." 7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them.

9Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

11Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.' 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

James 5:7-12
7Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

11Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. 12Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your "Yes" be yes and your "No" be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Draw Near

Strengthen Your Hearts from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


John 9:1-7, 35-41
1As [Jesus] walked along, he saw a man blind from birth, 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

35Jesus heard that they had driven [the man] our, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” 37Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” 38He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped him. 39Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

James 4:1-10
1Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spent what you get on your pleasures. 4Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded. 9Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

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

Monday, March 13, 2017

What good is it?

What good is it? from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Genesis 12:1-4a
1Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

4So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

John 3:1-17
1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?

11‘Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

James 2:14-26
14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet does not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19You believe that God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe - and shudder. 20Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness," and he was called the friend of God. 24YOu see that a person is justified by works and not faith alone. 25Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

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

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Functional Faith

Functional Faith from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Matthew 4:1-11
1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4But he answered, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'"

7Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

8Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 10Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'"

11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

James 1:19-27
19You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20For your anger does not produce God's righteousness. 21Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

22But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror 24for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act - they will be blessed in their doing.

26If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Silenced



I Peter 1:16-21
16For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well please.” 18We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.

19So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

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

Matthew 17:1-9
1Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3Suddenly there appeared with them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4Then Peter said to Jesus "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 5While he was still speaking suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" 6When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid." 8And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hard Mode

Hard Mode from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
1The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2”Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.

9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God.

11You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD.

13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

15you shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great; with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Matthew 5:38-48
38You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

43”You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46For it you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Breach Repairers

Breach Repairers from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.

Isaiah 58:1-12
1Shout out, do not hold back! Lift your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.
2Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways,
As if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
They ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
3”Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?”
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.
4Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.
5Is such the fast I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

6Is not this the fast I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
11The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never fail.
12Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Matthew 5:13-20
13You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

17Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come to not abolish but to fulfill. 18For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19therefore, whoever breaks one of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Foolish Power

Foolish Power from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.


I Corinthians 1:18-31
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For God’s foolishness is wiser that human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

26Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29So that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

Matthew 5:1-12
1When Jesus saw the crowd, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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

Monday, January 23, 2017

Has Christ been divided?


Has Christ been divided? from Joseph Taber on Vimeo.

Matthew 4:12-22
12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the lake, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15 ‘Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
   on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—
16 the people who sat in darkness
   have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
   light has dawned.’
17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’
18 As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.

This is the Word of the LORD
Thanks be to God

I Corinthians 1:10-18
10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you should be in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you should be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. 12What I mean is that each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or ‘I belong to Apollos’, or ‘I belong to Cephas’, or ‘I belong to Christ.’ 13Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power.
18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

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