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December 14, 2020

December 2020: Jesus' Enduring Relevance

Don't be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. This was the angelic announcement at the birth of Jesus. As well, in an early report, Jesus' best friend said “Life was in him, life that made sense of human existence” (John 1:4). To be the light of life, and to deliver God’s life to women and men where they are and as they are, is the secret of the enduring relevance of Jesus. For he comes to where we are, and he brings the life we hunger for. As it turns out, our life is not destroyed by God’s life but it is fulfilled in it and in it alone.

And yet, how does one make sense of the good news Jesus brings in the light of the last year? Without question, it has been a time filled with much uncertainty, loss, and fear. The list is so long one is afraid to begin - but here we go. To start, we are reminded that we are social beings as we struggle through the inability to meet and enjoy fellowship with one another. Then there are those suffering through the economic losses of a job or limited work, a family business, or challenges of managing our current work environments. We have been dealing with the complications that surround quarantining in-place, seeing others we know who've become critically sick, the strain on hospitals and healthcare workers, and the growing numbers of those who've died during this time.  When factoring in the general lack of trust that now pervades so many levels of society one is led to wonder if there is any hope, any good news at all. And while we look forward to a vaccine, getting through the winter, and the normalizing of our routines, one must ask, hasn't this time exposed our underlying vulnerability and the need for deeper and more significant answers to the litany of human problems that face us.

As those who love Jesus and genuinely strive to follow him, I know these questions press upon us all. How can Jesus steady us in the midst of the cataclysmic shifts we are facing? Or, How does the message of Jesus still matter in the times we are living through? Is his message only about “making the cut” when I die? Or to know what to protest, or how to vote or agitate and organize? Without question it is good to know that all will be well when I die, but is there any good news for life here and now.

And can social or political arrangements—however important they may be in their own right—guide and empower us to be the person I know I ought to be? Do we believe that if people are only permitted or enabled to do what they want, they will then be happy or more disposed to do what is right?

When considering Jesus and all that he has accomplished, it is hard to imagine that he left the depths of moment-to-moment human existence untouched. Maybe, just maybe, our inner turmoil speaks to the need to understand, ever more deeply, what he brings to our lives. When one considers the enduring relevance of Jesus throughout history, we see his proven ability to speak to, to heal, and empower the human condition. He matters because of what he brought to ordinary human beings, living their ordinary lives, and coping daily with their surroundings. He promises wholeness for their lives. In sharing our weakness he gives us strength and imparts through his companionship a life that has the quality of heaven.

Now, this grand invitation into the life of God that will steady and strengthen us in the midst of life's uncertainties is our great work. And make no mistake, it can be experienced here and now as we: (1) trust in the goodness of God, (2) develop a posture that is poised to say “No” to oneself, (3) and become a person possessed of divine love. As these three conditions become the structure of our lives we will increasingly experience the fullness of God’s wisdom, power, and love, and taste the reality of a life without lack as we live through times when many only know of lack, loss, and fear.

Invitation: Join Our Journey at the Capitol:

  • Throughout this year, I have been using Dallas Willards’ book “Life Without Lack: Living in the Fullness of Psalm 23” as a framework for the devotional content I distribute weekly. This is one of the ways that I hope to communicate the goodness of God and so grow one's confidence in him. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book from Amazon, to do so click the link above.

If you would like to receive this devotional content via email please contact me. Below are links to our most recent content, please check them out if they are new to you. And if touched by any of these messages, please consider forwarding them to a friend.

Declaring the Limitless Kingdom of God (Dec 8, 2020)

The Power of Divine Love to Cast Out Fear (Nov 27, 2020)

“I Am the Good Shepherd”—Jesus Christ Is Yahweh (Nov 18, 2020)

Come to Think of It, There's Nothing to Fear (Nov 7, 2020)

  • While the Capitol has been a different type of environment over the last couple of months, one recent development has been the ability to implement the Operation Timothy discipleship tool from CBMC, see an introductory video.

Since the fall I have been meeting weekly with Ronnie, my Paul, via Zoom who is walking me through the material. These times have allowed for the development of a growing friendship as we share our hearts while interacting over God’s word. This has allowed me to begin this material with a handful of staff and legislators in the same way and experience God at work in the context of our relationship. 

Thanks to Zoom, I have room in my schedule for (5) additional weekly meetings for any who are interested. This is not limited to legislators and staff, but all who are in any way connected with our work at the PA Capitol. I hope you sense the genuineness of this invitation and will place this matter before God as you consider it.

  • At the beginning of this year, I set a personal financial goal to raise an additional $1000/month of support. This would bring our total support to $4000/month. Throughout the year, we have raised 50% of that goal through monthly giving and one-time gifts. That leaves us $6000 short or $500/month of support.

If you are able to help toward this goal please consider making a monthly commitment or a year-end gift to the ministry. To give please click here for further instructions. 

Your Servant for Jesus’ Sake,

JEFF WHITEBREAD  |  Capitol Commission, Statehouse Pastor

E: jeff.whitebread@capitolcom.org  P: 484.680.4260