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I Will Be Back

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Josiah Alipate
Student Ministries Creative Coordinator

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way to where I am going."  John 14:1-4

Growing up, I remember taking trips to the Costco with my dad. On one occasion while unloading our cart at the checkout line, my dad realized he forgot something from our list. He looked at me and said "Stay here, I’ll be back."

As he left, the conveyor belt seemed to move faster than normal and the amount of time it took for my dad to come back felt like an eternity.

“What do I do if the cashier finishes scanning everything before my dad gets back?”

“Are these people in line going to be mad at me?”

“When is my dad coming back?”

These are all questions that flooded my mind and it caused anxiety, worry and a sense of helplessness. I focused on my dad's absence more than I focused on the words he said to me "Stay here, I'll be back".

It may be safe to say that we can find ourselves in the same position spiritually. We might understand that Jesus will return, but oftentimes in the interim, we can get so focused on His absence that it causes us to forget what He has revealed to us through His word. And when this happens, it causes us to be anxious, worried or feel helpless.

In today's section of scripture, we see Jesus in his final hours preparing His disciples for what's to come. In the midst of the uncertainty ahead, he encourages them to not be troubled. And he comforts them by letting them know that he would be preparing a place for them in his Father's house. He also assures them that he would return by saying the words "I will come again".

The same words that Jesus spoke to His disciples over 2000 years ago, echo through the halls of time and into our hearts today. What remarkable comfort we can have in knowing that Jesus goes before us and is preparing a place for us. That our hearts need not to be troubled because the future glory that is to come in heaven is far greater than anything we could have ever imagined. And in the midst of our circumstance, rather than focusing on His absence we can be reminded of the words He speaks to us loudly and clearly, "I will come again." 

Prayer:  Father, I thank you for the time you take to pour into me and provide me with knowledge and wisdom to navigate this life. I ask that you would help me to shift my focus from the temporal circumstances of this world to the eternal weight of glory that is beyond all comparison. Jesus, reminded me daily that you go before me and prepare a dwelling place for me. And while You may not be here now, your return is imminent. As you prepare a place for me, may I diligently prepare my mind, body and heart for you. Holy Spirit, strengthen me and give me the endurance to continue my pursuit of you daily. I thank you, I love you and I pray these things in the Mighty, Powerful, Wonderful and Matchless name of Jesus. Amen

Posted by Josiah Alipate with

Seeing the Big Picture

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Ed Lutz
Next Steps Pastor

33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. - Luke 24:33-35

As he boarded the plane, Nicholas was filled with excitement as well as a little trepidation. He had never before been on an airplane. In fact, he had not even left his small village. And in this moment, as he took his seat next to his adoptive parents, his “forever family” as the orphanage called them, he knew life in America was going to be far better than he had experienced in his impoverished country. Sure, he would miss his friends, but he knew he would make new ones. After all, his life had a continual state of adjustment to this point. He was eight years old and had seen more of the dark side of life than most adults. But he had not seen everything.

As the plane lifted off the runway, a new world began to appear out the window. First, he saw runway below, then the trees on the hillsides, and soon the coastline. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, the vastness of the ocean below completely filled his small window, and for the first time Nicholas realized he had lived on an island. From the plane, he was seeing the big picture.

In Luke 24, on the original Easter Sunday, two men encountered Jesus as they were returning home from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus. Interestingly, their eyes were kept from recognizing him (v. 16). As they dialogued with the Lord and recounted the events of crucifixion and resurrection, they were drawn to this “stranger” in a profound way, and as he taught them the Scriptures and shared a meal with him, their eyes were opened and they recognized the Lord and their hearts burned within them (v. 32). They had finally understood the “big picture” of God’s plan as foretold in the Scriptures and was now visible to them in the person of Jesus Christ. 

What was their response?  “And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread” (vv, 33-35).

Instead of being tired and ready for bed, these two believers were now energized; they had a story to tell and they could not wait until morning. They fully understood the plan of God and knew their calling was to intentionally make disciples. Seeing the big picture brought profound clarity to the mission of God (cf. Matthew 28:18-20).

Let’s ask these questions to help us understand the big picture of what it means to live on mission as a Jesus follower:

  • How has Jesus Christ made himself known to me this past week?
  • What events have occurred in my life that were difficult at the time, but now I see that God used them to build my trust and to understand his plan?
  • God does not always reveal his plan (Deuteronomy 29:29). What are some promises of God that help me trust him even when I do not understand why things happen as they do?
  • With whom can I share how God moved in my life over the past week and the lessons I have learned as a way to encourage them?
  • Is there an individual with whom I have a relationship that I can approach about being in a discipleship relationship?

Prayer: Father, help me to remember that you know all things and that you love me as your child.  When I get discouraged, may I cast my cares on you and trust that there is bigger plan than what I currently understand. Lord, I especially thank you that you revealed the plan of salvation through Jesus Christ to me. May I continually follow Jesus and be bold in proclaiming the hope of salvation to others. I want to be a faithful disciple who teaches others to obey all that Jesus has revealed to us. Amen.

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