Water to Wine Pt.1 – There is More

Water into Wine Pt.1 – There is More

John 2:1-11 NIVOn the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”“Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

•150 Gallons – 2,400 glasses – finest and best wine  – most would water down the wine as the celebration went on

Question: Have you been disenchanted by a paper thin christianity propped up by cheap shallow certitude? Are you yearning for something deeper, richer, and fuller?

I know what it is like to be in Cana and the wine has run out – The past few years Ive been empty, worn out, spent, burnt out, and needing more. I’ve needed Jesus to perform a miracle.

Don’t misunderstand me, this is not a crisis of faith – I believe in Jesus. But I’ve felt like Bilbo Baggins when he told Gandalf, “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter that has been scraped over too much bread.”

But we need to know that There is more to God that what you’ve already experienced, more to christianity, more to Church, than what we’ve already experienced. There is more! More miracles, more faith, more hope, more depth, and more power.

Ephesians 3:20 NIV  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” 

Are you tired of cotton candy soda like christianity? I’ve lost my taste for the contemporary, mass produced grape juice of religious consumerism?

•I’m longing for some vintage wine from old vines – Jesus said no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unnamed wine.

•We must move beyond watered-down, grape juice faith

I recently read that An Italian winemaker says that to produce good wine the grapes must struggle, they must suffer. The taste of good wine is the taste of struggle and suffering mellowed in beauty. I believe this applies to our souls and our lives. I am reminded of what Henri Nouwen said, “When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.”

•At this point in my life and ministry I’ve realized the struggle, the pain, and the discouragement that I’ve experienced over the past few years has been conferring in my a complexity and depth to my faith and ministry. Although American Christianity is conditioned to avoid the struggle at all cost, I believe that it actually produces a strength and depth directed by the purposes of God.

1.There is more to God than what we’ve already experienced

Matthew 5:6 NIV – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

In Spain – during the days of Christopher Columbus was very proud of the fact that they were the last point of solid land for sailors going westward. When travelers arrived  was a large sign that said their motto in latin, “Ne Plus Ultra”  which means “ No more beyond”. It was on their flag and coins as well.

There outlook on life was “No more beyond”. It was the world as they knew it. Result – They settled. People settled there because they were told there is nothing beyond Spain.

After Columbus discovered the New World – the national motto for Spain changed to “Plus Ultra”  which means “MORE BEYOND” they dropped “Ne”

Sadly, Many people people have settled for their own version of Spain. Have you stopped dreaming, hoping, believing, and praying. Some people accept something far less than God’s bigger, greater plans for their lives.

3 Reasons People Settle

  1. People settle when they get sentimentally attached to a past season or experience of their life. 

People may have to stay where they have been, but nothing is supposed to stay like it has been  – When people don’t emerge and embrace change, they settle for a lifetime in what was meant to be a season.

Don’t let temporary conditions of your life dictate a permanent perspective.

      2. People settle in a place of relational wounds

Genesis 11, Abraham’s father, Terah, was on his way with his family to Canaan, which is where God planned for him to go and live. Terah had another son named Haran who had died a premature death. Rather than passing through, Terah settled in a city with the same name as the son he had lost.  That wasn’t God’s plan. Grief caused him to stay.

Don’t let yourself linger in the place of relational wounds and miss out on the future God has for you.

    3. People settle because where they are is “good enough” and they want to stay comfortable

Good enough is the enemy of “better than ever” – Good enough is not your destiny

Ignore the signs that say No More Beyond! Refuse to just Drift!

Hebrews 2:1 NIV – We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.

•••Over the next few weeks we will begin to explore Biblical disciplines that began with the early church and is relevant, richer, fuller, and deeper today as it was then.

2. It all begins with a Desire to Know God MORE

J.I. Packer said: “What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God.”

Ephesians 1:17 NIV “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.”

Jeremiah 29:13 NIV “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God wants us to know Him to lead us to a higher place of worship, a greater level of faith, wisdom to act wisely, and a deeper level of commitment

Jeremiah 24:7 NIV  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Prayer of Commitment

I’d like you to stand this morning and we’re going to pray a prayer together. This prayer originally appeared in A.W. Tozer’s book called, “The Knowledge of the Holy.”

“O majesty unspeakable, my soul desires to behold Thee. I cry to Thee from the dust. Yet when I inquire after Thy name it is secret. Thou art hidden in the light which no man can approach unto. What Thou art cannot be thought or uttered, for Thy glory is beyond comprehension.

Still, prophet and psalmist, apostle and saint have encouraged me to believe that I may in some measure know Thee. Therefore, I pray, whatever of Thyself Thou hast been pleased to disclose, help me to search out as treasure more precious than fine gold: for with Thee shall I live when the stars of the twilight are no more and the heavens have vanished away and only Thou remainest. Amen.”

Communion Liturgy 

Jesus said: I am the bread of life. All who come to me shall not hunger, and all who believe in me shall not thirst. With Christians around the world and throughout the centuries, we gather around these symbols of bread and wine—simple elements that speak of nourishment and transformation.

I Corinthians 11:25-26 ESV – In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 

Christianity is a confession, not an explanation. At Communion we make a Confession. Listen, we will attempt to explain what we legitimately can, but we will always confess more than we can explain.

The Apostles Creed – I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Communion reminds us to confront and confess our sins, and repent! (Turn away from sin and to Christ with a change of heart & mind) 

I John 1:9 ESV – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Acts 3:19 – Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 

Confession of Sin 

Most Merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you, in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; We are truly sorry and we humbly depend. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. In Jesus Name. Amen

We remember on the night when Jesus and the disciples
had their last meal together, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and gave it to the disciples, saying “This is my body,
which is broken for you. Take and eat it, and as often as you do, remember me.” [The Body of Christ broken for you – Eat the Bread) 

In the symbol of the broken bread, we participate in the life of Christ and dedicate ourselves to being his disciples. In the same way he took the cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to the disciples, saying: “Drink this, all of you. This cup is the new covenant, poured out for you and for many Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. [The Blood of Christ Shed for you – Drink the cup) 

Let us pray. We give thanks, loving God, that you have refreshed us at your table. Strengthen our faith; increase our love for one another. As we have been fed by the seed that became grain, and then became bread, may we go out into the world to plant seeds of justice, transformation, and hope. Amen. 

Bless One Another – A beautiful expression of worship, unity, forgiveness, and strength – “The peace of Christ be with you – and also with you” 

Water into Wine and GraceTown’s New Service Time and Location

 

GraceTown’s New Service Time & Location

GraceTown Church will relaunch its worship services starting Saturday, February 10 at 5pm at CenterPoint Church, 620 McCutcheon Road, Gahanna OH 43230 

Click here for Directions

Thank you for allowing me the month of January to rest. I admit I had been leading and pastoring the last few years on “empty.” I didn’t realize how weary, discouraged, tired, and burnt out I was.  I recently read a tweet from Pastor Rick Godwin where he said, When Elijah was discouraged, the Lord sent him an angel to make him a cake and tell him to rest. A moral of the story: when you’re having a bad day, don’t underestimate the rejuvenating power of angel food cake and a good nap! LOL I’ve needed this rest. Over this past month I have received prayer, counsel, and encouragement from many of you and others across the United States. That has meant a lot to me. I’ve truly been seeking God about His direction for my life, family, ministry, and our church. Each day in prayer, scripture reading, and meditation I’ve sought the Lord to lead and guide me. Although I don’t know the future I do know that God is with us and will never leave nor forsake us and I am taking life and ministry one day at a time.

I will be starting a brand new series entitled “Water into Wine” taken from John 2:1-11 where Jesus turned the water into wine. Jesus said no one who has ever tasted fine aged wine prefers unnamed wine. Have you been disenchanted by a pair thin christianity propped up by cheap shallow certitude? Are you yearning for something deeper, richer, and fuller? Have you lost your taste for the contemporary, mass produced grape juice of religious consumerism? There is more to God, more to christianity, more to Church, than what we’ve already experienced. There is more! More miracles, more faith, more hope, more depth, and more power. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 3:20 NIV  “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

An Italian winemaker says that to produce good wine the grapes must struggle, they must suffer. The taste of good wine is the taste of struggle and suffering mellowed in beauty. I believe this applies to our souls and our lives. I am reminded of what Henri Nouwen said, “When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become.” At this point in my life and ministry I’ve realized the struggle, the pain, and the discouragement that I’ve experienced over the past few years has been conferring in my a complexity and depth to my faith and ministry. Although American Christianity is conditioned to avoid the struggle at all cost, I believe that it actually produces a strength and depth directed by the purposes of God. 

Come to GraceTown Saturday, starting February 10 at 5pm expecting MORE as we journey together toward a richer, deeper, fuller Christianity and relationship with God. No more church as usual. 

Matthew 5:6 NIV – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.