You can access the weekly sermons of Pastor Jeff Ponder-Twardy on this page. You can listen to the audio or read the manuscript. For access of more inspirational messages, visit his blog.
"We pick up from where we were last Sunday. From that time on, Jesus told his disciples he had to go to Jerusalem, be arrested, suffer, die, and rise from the dead. Peter, Rock, the one disciple who confessed first faith openly that Jesus was the Son of God, was also the one who first said that none of this must ever happen. First to say he believed then first to say Jesus should never suffer in Jerusalem and die."
"Again, we know who Jesus is. We learn who Peter becomes in this story. And we learn who we are by our belief in Jesus just like Peter's belief in Jesus as the Son of God. So, who are you? When we come to understand and believe who Jesus is, we are confronted with an understanding and a belief in who we are."
"Jesus responds to her with the cultural and religious prejudicial answer of the day: "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." All that Jesus knew in the moment was that this woman, this mother, was determined to get his attention and to get him to help her daughter. She was persistent. She was insistent and didn't care what she looked like or sounded like."
This story describes the realities of life (the boat battered by waves), our beginning of faith (the disciples saw him walking on the water and were terrified), the revelation of Jesus ("Take heart, relax, it is I - it's me; don't be afraid"), the confirmation of our Lord before us (He said to Peter, "Come out."), and the struggle to believe despite the storms of life.
Jesus told the disciples, "I discerned their illness, and they were healed. You discerned their hunger. You feed them." Jesus had compassion for them at the shoreline. We never hear of the disciples having compassion for the crowd when it was evening. Regardless, they don't need to leave. THEY HAVE ALL THEY NEED RIGHT HERE.
"With the visitation of the Lord, the disciples were given/offered understanding. We have the potential to understand when we perceive our visitation, the Lord in our midst. The disciples are given understanding in the company of Jesus to the parable of the sower. This is an illustration of how WE can be given understanding."
"It’s depression and discouragement over what we haven’t seen manifested to our satisfaction that’s heavy and burdensome. The yoke and burden of doing good for the infant and the weary, for the broken and the troubled, in the name of Jesus, with the focus on the goodness of God, this yoke and burden is easy and light. Why? WE COME TO HIM FIRST."
"We share in a mission to bless in his name, to heal in his name, to bring light into darkness in his name. When we are welcomed to do so, Jesus is welcomed. In the moment, HE may look like you, HE may sound like you, HE may dress like you. You're not the one being received or welcomed. Our Lord and Savior is being welcomed, received, heard, experienced, showing signs of the coming of his kingdom into the life of the one you're loving in the moment."
"We are bound to live new lives in him and in relationship with all whom he loves. Unashamed of his name, we have a new life and new relationships in him. We can be ashamed of him at home or in the mission field. We can be fearless in saying his name and sharing the good news on the road or at home. Regardless, when his name and faith in him grows in us, EVERYTHING CHANGES."