Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Never Give Up!

Last week here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we were thinking about “Real Meat.” (The sermon from the day can be found here). In our bible passage for this coming Sundays service, John 6:56-69, Jesus offers the people some difficult teaching.

Many, who came flocking when free bread was on offer, are now turning away from Him. Jesus continues to lay down the challenge, asking those closest to Him if they also were going to hit the road and quit! Peter gives the reply: "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.

We may have to travel through days of decline before we see growth.

It seems crazy that somebody seeking followers would be acting in such a way as to drive people away from Him! Yet with hindsight we see how Jesus was sorting out the true followers from the fair weather ones. Stormy days were ahead and disciples whose faith was not genuine would be lost.

Spiritual growth has those times when we seem like we are taking more steps backward than we are forging forward. God has to weed out of our lives habits or tendencies that further down the road may cause us to lose our devotion. Times of dryness or struggle are not necessarily a sign of a lack of faith. There are times when faith only grows by being put to the test.

Knowing who and what we believe is so important

Peter’s confession reveals that he had truly grasped the significance of who Jesus was:- the Holy One of God who gave to his life an eternal dimension that he could never find anywhere else. The routines of bible study and prayer are a discipline to help us deepen our relationship with God. They remind us of who God is and what we are called to do. When we let such disciplines go by the wayside, our faith suffers and we start searching for other things to be our ‘daily bread’.

Our calling is to be faithful.

In a culture where everybody has more of everything than they could ever need, being a disciple (and calling others to discipleship) is never going to be easy. Yet we must persevere. Why? We have the words of eternal life. We have the message of Jesus Christ’s love for all people. We have something to offer that people can’t find anywhere else.

When Jesus started to make discipleship a challenge there were some who decided to call it a day. Yet scripture reveals story after story of folk who understood that 'You'll never be a winner, if you are going to be a quitter.” 

From Old Testament stories, like that of Noah, whose whole family thought he was crazy to act upon the idea that a great flood might be coming, to New Testament disciples like Paul, who spent so much of his life headed in the wrong direction that you'd think he could never be turned around... we see time after time, the importance of sticking at the business of discipleship!

For some musicNever Give Up” from the album 'Stir A Passion' recorded live at The Gathering 2017 conference.

Prayer “Lord, we would like our spiritual journeys to be plain sailing. Yet we are very much aware that it doesn’t work that way. You want to dig deep down into our motives and desires and we don’t always want to go there! You call us to depend on You for all things, yet we go seeking other sources of daily bread. Help us never to quit our spiritual journey. Bring us to that place of confession where we can say with Peter “Lord, To whom else can we go? You alone have the words of eternal life. Amen”

The Reverend Adrian J Pratt B.D.

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