Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A Word From Pastor Mike - Bread That Lasts

I am way, way behind on passing on sermons from my husband. Here is one from awhile back...

John 6:27 "Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you."

John 6:35 "I am the bread of life...Whoever comes to me shall not hunger."

Bread is a staple of life for most of the world. Here are some "fun facts" about bread:
  • Bread is probably the one food that is eaten by every race, culture and religion.
  • It takes 9 seconds for a combine to harvest enough wheat to make 70 loaves of bread.
  • Each American consumes 53 pounds of bread per year.
  • 1 bushel of wheat will produce 73 one pound loaves of bread.
  • In 1997 Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 36.5 billion loaves of bread, enough to provide each person on earth with 6 loaves of bread.
  • Farmers receive approximately 5 cents for each loaf of bread.
  • In 1995 a team of bakers from Wheat Montana Farms Bakery set a Guinness World Record.  They harvested and milled wheat from the field then mixed, scaled, shaped and baked a loaf of bread in 8 minutes 13 seconds.
  • Breaking bread is a universal sign of peace and fellowship.

In the next few weeks our gospel readings from John 6 will focus on "Jesus the Bread of Life".  Here are some "fun facts" about bread in the Bible.
  • We don't know if Adam and Cain made bread but they were tillers in the ground. God told Adam, "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread."
  • One of the first mentions of bread in the Bible is in Genesis 14. Melchizedek, King of Salem, brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram after a victory over several kings.
  • At the Oaks of Mamre Abraham received three visitors. He bowed before them and asked if he could bring them a morsel of bread.
  • In Genesis 25 Jacob stole Esau's birthright with stew and bread.
  • In Exodus the Jewish people were to bake unleavened bread for they were to leave Egypt in a hurry. They didn't have time for bread to rise.
In the Gospels, bread plays an important role in the life and ministry of Jesus.

The first temptation Jesus faces from Satan in the wilderness is to turn stones into bread. Man does not live by bread alone.

  • The Lord's Prayer - Give us this day our daily bread.
  • Feeding of the 5,000 involves bread.
  • Disciples are sent out without bread on a mission.
  • Disciples forget bread for one of their boat journeys.
  • Jesus reminds Pharisees that David took the Bread of the Presence when hungry, teaching them that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath.

Jesus went to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He took the bread, blessed it, broke it and said, "This is my body..."

In the time of Jesus, bread was a fixture in the Jewish diet. If you had flour, you baked bread. Jewish women baked bread every morning and bread was consumed throughout the day. In the morning, bread baking started again.

In the Gospel Jesus took a common element from Jewish life, made a pronouncement, an authoritative statement, "I am the bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger." At that point a discussion about physical and spiritual bread began.

What we see in John's gospel is that people are often too literal. They don't understand what Jesus is trying to teach them. Their main concern was their next meal.

Here is a brief synopsis of what Jesus was saying to them: 
  • God has sent me to nourish your spiritual hunger.
  • If you believe in me, in my teaching, in my death and resurrection for you, you will never be spiritually hungry again.
  • This bread, my life that I give to you, will lead you to eternal life.
Unfortunately, the crowd wouldn't understand this. Some would grumble, some would question. Some of his followers would leave. The teachings of Jesus were too hard. He said things like, "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." Jesus wonders if the 12 disciples will leave, too. Peter responds with the great confession, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" and "We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God."

We humans are interesting. We can be asked, "What is most important to you?" and then "How involved are you in what's most important to you?" How do you actually spend your time?

If an average American lives to 78.6 years, we will find that we spend: 25 years sleeping, 10.3 years working, 9.1 years watching TV-2 years are just commercials, 3.66 years eating, consuming 35 tons of food, 4.3 years driving, 3 months waiting in traffic.

An average person will walk 110,000 miles, 4 times around the world. Some will spend 1 year of their lives deciding what to wear and 8 years shopping, 1 1/2 years doing their hair.

On the other hand, when asked what is most important people will respond with:
  1. God
  2. Love
  3. Family
  4. Music
  5. Health
  6. Friends
  7. Food and Drink
  8. Happiness
  9. Knowledge
  10. Parents
But if God is most important, why does the average Christian spend only 15-30 minutes a week in prayer? 57% of Christians read the Bible 4 times a year or less while only 26% read it 4 times a week. Only 20-30% of Americans attend worship weekly. That is not a very good track record for us.

The truth is, we humans are mostly busy living our lives. The thing we do the most in life is sleep, but nobody except insomniacs puts that as the most important thing in life.

Invite God into your busy life. See the things you do, like working and cooking and cleaning, as spiritual things you do and not just tasks to be completed.

I don't think it does a whole lot of good to feel guilty about not praying, worshiping or Bible reading enough. Just start again, be positive and ask for God's help.

Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.

I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger.

God sent Jesus to nourish our spiritual hunger, our spiritual lives.

If you believe in me, in my teaching, in my death and resurrection for you, you will never be spiritually hungry again.

This bread, my life that I give to you, will lead you to eternal life.

God is calling us. God is drawing us to the Bread that lasts.

Featured Post

My Life as a Travel Agent

On a recent morning I was at work and as one of my patients was waiting for his death, I thought again about an idea that keeps popping int...