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I Am the Bread of Life

Because He is the Bread of Life, therefore, I will never go hungry or thirsty. I am nourished by His Word and ways, certain of the source of my sustenance.


well good morning everybody good to be with you today my name is Evan I'm your creative arts pastor and it really is good to be here and this is the very first service that I will be fully awake during so you're the lucky ones it was an early morning today let me start out by asking this question do you ever forget somebody's name that you're supposed to know a couple weeks ago we were out and about and this gentleman was helping me and as we're talking he looks at me he goes Evan right I said yeah and he looks at me back and he goes I know your name do you know mine that is so mean it's so mean I said no but that face I didn't know what to say I have all these tricks you know I was in youth ministry I was a youth pastor for a long time and and so you'd have these tricks of how to find out somebody's name or use somebody to get to someone's name or you just say bro call everybody bro you and the girls hey bro it's up you know I don't think that's but you have these tricks and and I learned a new one do you want to know the new trick this is a good one well one of our Usher's helped me learn this that if you don't some know someone's name you say I don't remember your name and then they say it and then you say no I know your first name your last name and the first thing I go oh so we were close but you weren't you weren't really close I have a strange last name you might have noticed it on my title slide your worker to strength last name you would assume that's an English name having something to do with your ears it is not last year we found this out doing some sleuthing online do you know the the actual original origins of our last name ear worker it actually means this it means feral pig watcher [Applause] why what was that whoo clapping like something we celebrate and think about this my wife my brothers wives they knowingly signed on for this must have been a hard day it was it was a hard day actually when we're all laughing but it was kind of sad when you had to take the name but not that she had to she could have kept her name I just want to make that clear when we don't names you'll think I'm just this names are super important Dale Carnegie in his famous book from the 40s or 50s how to win friends and influence people he said remember that a person's name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language to them there's something about our names that is a representation of who we are in the most personal level and as we dive into this series and by the way we call this our blue series it's one of our large group studies where all over town throughout the next seven weeks are gonna be groups that pop up and study through the book of John with us just for these seven weeks if you want to join one see somebody in the atrium of the info center say you want to join a blue grip or you can go to Westside church a dork slash blue and find the groups there and also the study guides they're free and they're all the exits on your way out and in the atrium as well even if you're not in a group and want to study on your own you can grab one of these study guides and follow along over the next seven weeks heading into Easter but names are so important and it is I think not surprising that a personal God would have a personal name and we find this to be the case in the book of Exodus we go all the way back to the Old Testament that God actually isn't just known by what he does that he is the creator he is many things but beyond just having descriptors he has a proper name a personal name the divine name of God and the way he chose to reveal it was in the book of Exodus chapter 3 Moses who is a Hebrew he's been raised in the house of Pharaoh and now he has left Egypt he's out in the wilderness he's a shepherd and as he's doing his thing he looks over and he sees a bush that's burning but it's not being consumed is a very strange so he goes over to to investigate and when he gets there God speaks to him out of this bush it's a famous story he speaks to him out of the bush and he reveals for the very first time his name but first he says Moses I'm gonna send you back to Egypt you're gonna speak to Pharaoh and you're gonna be the deliverer of my people and Moses's response which is a good one is when I go back to my people Who am I to tell them has sent me it's a fair question he can't just say God there they're all in Egypt there's hundreds of God's gods for everything from the rain to the Sun to the crops to fertility I mean there's God's for everything so what is gonna distinguish and set apart you Bush speaking God from all the other gods if I just say the god of the bush the god of the fire we already have God's like that they'll get confused so who do I say has sent me and God says this in the revelation of his name for the very first time he speaks back to Moses and he says tell the children of Israel I am has sent me to you and then the next very next verse he has to give Moses a name that Moses can speak because of the language issues if Moses went and said I am has sent me to you he'd be speaking to the first person and the conversation would be that he would be saying that he himself is God and that doesn't work so God has to give Moses a version of the name I am or I will be or I exist that's all what I am means he has to give Moses a third-person version of that name that Moses can speak to the people so in the very next verse I believe it's verse 15 of Exodus 3 he says tell them that the Lord has sent me to you and then were to use this for Lord does anyone know what it is city Yahweh so any time you hear the word Yahweh what it is it's the third-person version of the name I am a Divine Name of God and if you look through your Bible you'll flip through and you'll see the word Lord spelled out in all capitals all the way through your Bible from the front to the back and everytime you see that that is the English transliteration of this word Yahweh or the third-person version of the I am and so for centuries and centuries after Moses the the children of Israel grow up knowing that this is the story of Moses and the burning bush and the revelation of the divine name of God and they won't even speak it it's so holy to them they want me to say the name Yahweh they say Adonai because it's just so holy it's held in such reverence I am is held in such reverence and then Jesus comes on the scene and he starts to throw the name around in reference to himself if you're wondering why Jesus who is just healing people and saying nice things like the golden rule and blessing children and wearing his purple sash if that's what you're thinking why would they crucify someone like that here's why because he started using the name and we're gonna look at this for the next six seven weeks how Jesus used this name how Jesus had the audacity and the nerve to stand in groups of people and utter the name of God John chapter 8 sorry in verse 58 he's in the temple and he's speaking and he's he's talking about opening scripture and all these things and then he says this in verse 58 very truly I tell you jesus answered before Abraham was born I am now you might say that doesn't sound all that weird but you can tell they thought it was crazy because at this they picked up stones to stone him but Jesus hid himself which is a good thing to do if you over picking up stones to stone you if you're taking notes you can just write that down if people are trying to stow me hide away just like Jesus WWJD okay Jesus hid himself slipping away from the temple grounds so here we have Jesus in one of many times throughout the book of John he is invoking the name the divine name that Moses got at the burning bush I am but he's not doing it in reference to God and even that would have been a crime to speak the name he is invoking in reference to himself he is putting himself on equal footing with the divine creator of all things he is saying in essence I always I am now I will always be I am and they hated him for it and and the absurdity of this I mean we have centuries of stained glass windows and church experience and religion wrapping up this this idea of the man Jesus that makes us think well of course he would say those things but you have to understand he is saying this among people who grew up with him could you imagine if you went to your next class reunion you know and and you're hanging out by the the drink table just trying to see people that you remember and and there's Jim and you remember Jim from from class 4050 years ago 20 years ago how old you are say hey Jim how you doing seems like I'm doing really good actually really good and then he leans and he goes I'm doing really good cuz I'm God how would you handle that right I mean would you want to hang out with Jim anymore no you be you'd be avoiding Jim and looking over your shoulder to make sure Jim's not there because Jim is a crazy person that's the truth about Jim if your name is Jim I'm so sorry I'm using your name we just talked about how how sweet that name is and now I go using it like this but the reality is is Jesus grew up with these folks Jesus was just another one of the guys and all of a sudden he's making these claims and the fact that people would stay with Jesus and follow after Jesus and believe in Jesus after he makes these kind of claims speaks to the power and the compelling nature of what Jesus was up to you don't take just a normal guy who claims to be God and take him at his word and keep following after him he better back it up with something compelling and this is what is the the the beautiful thing about the Gospels is we see a Jesus who could say things like this many would leave him because it's just too crazy but so many would stick it out why because he was showing not just with word but indeed with his actions that there was something behind this crazy crazy claim and today I believe this that if we would allow Jesus to have work in our hearts that we would believe things that people might think are crazy but our lives would be so compelling some would try to leave and say I just there's there's something about him there's something about her there was something so intriguing because I've seen I've seen something Jesus goes on and there's seven famous statements that Jesus makes in the book of John each week we're gonna look at one and today we're going to look at one out of John chapter 6 where Jesus says the phrase I am and then follows it with something that he is offering to provide for those who would follow him you know as we go there you can turn in your Bible to John chapter 6 as we go there we have to understand that we are looking we are on the hunt these six weeks for the real Jesus the real Jesus that is revealed by his own words it's much more important that we hear what Jesus has to say that it is that we hear what evan has to say or pastor Steve or pastor beau has to say what Jesus said about himself is is the most potent and important words about understanding of God in our faith that we'll ever have and so we would do well to pay attention when Jesus speaks about himself because we have this tendency to always frame our understanding of Jesus through the lens of our experience our culture and as an example I want to read out of this book the Jesus I never knew a classic book actually about understanding the real Jesus by Philip II and I want to read this passage where he describes our tendency to filter our experience in Christ as we think about his identity and so I want to read this he says as I think about Jesus an analogy comes to mind a man stands by a window gazing into the street outside people are shading their eyes with their hands and looking up into the sky because of the overhang of the building the man cannot see what they are pointing towards we who live 2,000 years after Jesus has have a viewpoint not unlike the man standing by the window we hear the shouts of exclamation we study the gestures and words in the Gospels and the many words that books they have spawned yet no amount of neck craning will allow us a glimpse of Jesus in the flesh for this reason sometimes those of us who look for Jesus cannot see past our own noses the Lakota tribe for instance refers to Jesus as the Buffalo Calf calf of God the Cuban government distributes a painting of Jesus with a carbine slung over his shoulder and during the Wars of Religion with France the English used to shout the Pope is French but Jesus Christ is English not true but it works and this is the nature that you might think that your vision of who Jesus is and his character and his identity is something that you have a lock on that I think my view of it is probably pretty correct you know blond hair blue eyes holding a lamb like historically accurate right but all of our experiences are filtered through history and culture and so we want to go back to the book and hear what Jesus has to say about himself John chapter 6 verse 30 so they asked him what sign will you then give us that we may see it and believe you what will you do and by the way he had just fed 5,000 people miraculously with a single lunch bread is on the mind some of you bread is on the mind I can tell a little hangry in here all right our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness as it is written he gave them bread from heaven to eat if you go back to the book of Exodus the people come out of Egypt they're wandering in the desert and they get hungry they get grumbly and so God provides for them this this miracle of bread every morning like dew on the ground this flaky bread substance and they said when they saw it the hebrew said what is it and literally translated that word what is it is manna and so they called it man of this bread from heaven but jesus said very truly I tell you it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven but it is my father who gives you the true bread from heaven so he's saying there's a better bread than what Moses gave you for the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world this sounds pretty good they're thinking so sir they said always give us this bread and then Jesus declared I am the bread of life whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty let's pray Jesus we just pray that you would illuminate your words from so long ago that that you would maybe cut through millennia of context and culture and lenses that have may be distorted some of our view of who you are what you offer to us and today Jesus the real Jesus you would be present in this moment and speak to us we pray in Jesus name Amen I brought bread with me this is a sourdough loaf loaf roll any bakers can help me I don't know it's sourdough I got it off the bread rack after services last week and it was still there so I grabbed it and it's been sitting in my office on my desk ever since and so I don't forget here this it's a very harsh it's like hard as a rock and I was thinking about this in comparison to fresh bread there's one time I was at a youth camp and there was a baker who had volunteered his time for all the kids that were there and he would get up every morning at 3 a.m. and go into the kitchen at this camp we were staying at and he'd begin to bake so that by the time we would wake up at 7:00 7:30 the house would be full of the smell of bread there's no mistaking when the bread is fresh but the thing is if you look at this from your vantage point you may not know that it's stale and here's an important distinction when we talk about our experience of faith and our experience in Jesus and that if our life and our faith is fresh there will be no denying it that people will be drawn to what you got desperate people hungry people will be compelled by your life no doubt I remember my freshman year high school I grown up in church and religious settings and it was it was a good church and I was fine and I read my Bible and but about the start of high school around 14 years old had a incredible deep experience with the Holy Spirit and this new new experience of faith and I didn't even know existed it was something that went deep in my soul and I didn't know it at the time but it was actually pretty infectious and I attended Mount View high school and I remember one of the first weeks of my freshman year we had this little Bible study at at school and they asked me to share a little bit and so I stood up in front of a bunch of the kids and and I just I just talked about Jesus and His grace and and then I was like hey you know if you want to commit your life to Jesus just why she just come up up front I didn't I didn't think anyone would do it and we had 12 kids a public high school as a freshman and I probably wasn't preaching that good you guys it was probably like a c-level preaching you know sometimes Ben and I were talking sometimes we struggle up here on this platform it was probably way worse than that but listen there was something so compelling about what was on the inside what I had taken in was fresh and more than I knew at the time it was something that was infectious and and there was there was people that would that would encounter our little group in those days and trust me they were not like the good squeaky-clean Christian family kind of kids they but they were compelled compelled because the bread was fresh and here's the thing about stale bread you don't know if it's not fresh until you get up close and personal and I think some times in my life I would wonder you know in different seasons of my life when maybe the bread has gone stale my experience with Christ and my faith has grown stale if you were to open the cupboards so to speak of my soul today would you find fresh bread or stale bread because from the outside it probably looks just fine but I want an experience where people can get as close as they want to me you can invade my personal space and my bubble and you will find bread that is fresh and it will be irresistible and undeniable there's no mistake in it when the experience in Christ is fresh in our lives and the truth is that if you're hungry enough you might try to eat this maybe not right now but if we trapped you in here for 3035 days you might try to take a bite the bread isn't good but if you're desperate enough you'll try it and what I don't want to see happen is that our lives that we can get by with a stale experience in Christ because it's better than nothing and the people will still come and my co-workers will still want what I have and I can think ah that's pretty good when there fresh bread available come on you don't go to Subway and say yeah that looks good in the rack but do you have any stuff from yesterday come on you know you don't ask for a day old when the real stuff is fresh and free and available and so Jesus comes to the people in there they expect expecting another lunch really and he says I'm gonna do something better for you I'm gonna offer you myself that she would never be hungry or thirsty again if we allow this kind of experience with Christ and in our faith to flourish and if we take the times in quiet moments to even just sit whether it's in your car or when you first wake up in the morning you just sit in his presence and said Jesus I don't even maybe you don't even know how to pray you say Jesus I just want something fresh the pastor said you've been up since 3:00 a.m. baking something good I want that today I don't want the old stuff if we do this here's what he offers number one because he is the bread of life I don't have to go back to old ways you can say the reverse of this if you don't have fresh bread you'll have no choice but to go back to the old ways people that return to addictions people that go back to toxic relationships when they know it's no good for them doesn't doesn't help to say how dare you what are you thinking it's not that it's when you have no other choice you'll go back to what you know do you have that jar I asked my team if they could find me see water I asked him on Thursday it's hard to find sea water in Central Oregon in the middle of March it's weird so they made some from an aquarium salt thing Thank You team I love you guys there was a British position and he did a study after world war two of sailors who were shipwrecked and the number one cause sorry the number two cause of death after hypothermia wasn't just dehydration or starvation it was saltwater poisoning because when you get desperate enough you will consume that which you know will do you no good and if we don't have a fresh experience in our lives from Christ we will no choice we'll get desperate enough to return to old ways old thinking old addictions old toxic relationships old religion we'll go back the children of Israel they were wandering in the desert and without food they were beginning to have this conversation maybe we were better off in Egypt maybe we were better off in slavery maybe the salt water is better than nothing at all and so Moses comes to the people and he says the Lord is gonna provide with for you bread why so that you don't go back and instead you keep keeping on towards the promise because Egypt wasn't better slavery wasn't but that addiction wasn't that relationship wasn't better and here's how I'm gonna keep you and sustain you in your journey I'm gonna give you fresh bread so that we can go to someplace new and IIIi think sometimes I know in my life when I've done this when I've gone back we go back to old ways or old things or all thinking and then we stand in the old ways we stand back in Egypt so to speak and we said God would you just bless me now that I'm here in my old ways am i old thinking and he says come on would you step back into the wilderness step back towards the promise step back to where you need the fresh bread because back in Egypt the stale stuff kind of works and you can kind of survive and scrape by but that's not where the promise is so come on follow me to where you're in the desert and and you're scraping by unless you have fresh stuff I want to get to the place where I have no other option but to cry out to him every morning and say I need fresh bread for today I need it for today I don't have to go back to old ways isaiah 40:3 says to remember not the former things nor consider the things of old behold I'm doing a new thing now it springs forth do you not perceive it I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert people would come to Jesus and they would want the way without the river they want the path to success the path to eternal life without the soul food the sole sustenance that the river of life that would feed them and and quench their thirst along the way can I tell you a quick way to burn out it's an the path to success but not have the resources to sustain you along that path Napoleon famously said this an army marches on its stomach he had one of the best fighting forces the modern world had ever seen and after losing more men to spoiled food than to battle he did the very first crowdfunded reward he offered twelve thousand francs to anyone who could keep food fresh so that it would last until it got to the people that need it and you know the winner of that you know what he invented canned food how about that next time you open a can of baked beans just think Thank You Napoleon thank you don't do that that's sweet but listen you can have the the best strategy to get to success in your life the best strategy for your marriage the best strategy for your family you can have the that the path all laid out and I'm gonna go do college and then give this career and find this spouse and or or I'm gonna you know climb the ladder and my company or I'm going to become you know at the top of my field and all these things listen if you if you focus only on the path and not on the sustenance along the way the food for your soul is a recipe for burnout and so Jesus comes I'm the bread of life that's gonna sustain you on the journey the bread that's gonna come in the desert and get you to the promise the thing that when you want to give up you won't have to go back or give up because I'm going to provide you bread for today get into the new place that God is taking us into and the implications of this fresh bread means that externally everything can fall to pieces the world could get much worse than it is you can find yourself unstable externally and yet rock solid on the inside because of what you take in sometimes we think that that our circumstance the the external has to be all in order for God to prove himself can I tell you God proves himself every morning when we take in fresh bread the bread of life the daily bread that Jesus taught us to pray he proves himself because I'm okay my job falls apart I'm okay hey my family is struggling I'm okay my job I'm okay because of what's on the inside my soul is at rest even when circumstances are spinning because he's the red of life I am sustained along the journey and then finally because he is the bread of life I have something to give away you can't give what you don't have you can't heal souls if your own soul is in ruins you can't give out bread if your pantry is empty and so in a moment and actually the ushers can begin to prepare communion we're going to take communion together and this is what this is about it's about saying before we go out there before we have lunch at Greg's grill or spoken moto I don't know where you're going that would be weird if I did know where you were going before we leave before we do City without orphans and and try to reach kids who need families before we do any of it we're gonna make sure there's something on the pantry shelves of our lives and our souls we are going to allow a fresh experience in Jesus to be in us and this is not something anyone can force on anybody I can't stand here and tell you and you're gonna have an experience in Jesus no matter no you got a you got to do what what the disciples had to do at the Last Supper when Jesus offered this meal for the first time you got to take it you got to receive it and you can begin to pass that we're gonna take it all together in a moment so you can just take it off the the pans as they go by and hold it there we'll take it together in a moment but we have to receive this Jesus offers everything we need but there's an if with it and the F is will you participate will you allow his work to be enough for you will you trust in what he's done and not in what you can do you know once he stood in front of people who were adoring him and he said if you if you don't eat my body and drink my blood you can't be my disciple and people thought it was crazy and it said mini left him at that point but for those who would stay for those who today when we take this together you would just say Jesus I just try your work and your your sacrifice for me what you did on the cross I trust it for my life I'll tell you what there's food for your souls there's food for your souls Corey's gonna lead us in this song I love it goodness of God as they continue to pass let's just allow his presence now in this moment to be something that we're aware of maybe communion you grew up taking it a lot and maybe became routine I know many have had that experience where communion is just another ritual thing would you allow Jesus to make this something fresh for you right now in this moment you know when Jesus had the disciples at the Last Supper it was Passover it was something those guys we're done every year of their lives since they were born it would have been routine and mundane except for the fact that this time Jesus was with them at that table and in the the routine is of a church service on a Sunday in March I want to tell you the only reason it can be fresh today is because Jesus is at the table Jesus is present even as you hold the bread in the cup Jesus is president to bring a freshness to your faith again I know that some of you you had something fresh years ago and there's something in your soul today you're saying that it's not good enough it's not it's not good enough just to have that memory of when I first came to Jesus as a teenager in college or as a young guy I need something fresh today he offers it he's here he's present see me now as we worship let's allow that fresh experience in Christ I to invade us let's see I love you more no you mercy never fear [Music] from the moment that away [Music] we'll see [Music] you [Music] don't [Music] moving that away [Music] I see [Music] so my [Music] I [Music] the fire [Music] and the good [Music] so [Music] [Applause] [Music] my [Music] [Music] [Applause] we'll see [Music] it's wrong [Music] I can it's funny your goodness his [Music] [Music] so my life you have [Music] every [Music] eyes that [Music] what an opportunity if you have been scraping by on stale bread the water that's not fresh he is the better bread he's the water of life he is what satisfies our souls I was thinking just as we were singing how every time that the Jesus is friends after that meal they share with him they didn't know at the moment but they would know soon what he was up to after watching him give his life and experiencing the resurrection and seeing him again but then for the rest of their lives every time that they would share in this meal I'm actually what they would think they would they would have had to think how he loved us to know that at that meal he could have demanded that they save him protect him get your swords boys let's do this hide me just like when I was getting gonna get stoned by those guys you know he could have done all those things and what did he do he he knelt down and he washed their feet and he served with him dinner and then he gave his life for them and and they must have every time that they shared in this meal they must how He loves us and that's the experience I want to have I guess in communion is not just some religious thing not just some ritual not just some church we do it on Sunday whatever thing but that we would hold this and if you just take the bread now you we would hold this in our hand that's how He loves us and then we would do like he told us to in remembrance of him we would take this and remember his body broken for us would you take the bread now in the same way he also took the cup after supper saying this cup is the New Covenant in my blood I do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of me would you take the cup with me I want to pray over us I want to read this quote before I pray NT Wright said they were looking for a builders and construct the home they thought they wanted but he was the architect coming in with a new plan that would give them everything they needed but within quite a new framework they were looking for a singer to sing the song that they had been humming for a long time but he was the composer bringing them a new song to which the old songs they knew would form at best the background music and Jesus I would just pray for a new experience in our faith now that may be our expectations that he would just be more of the same just just I guess it's just more Bible study more prayer we'll get there no but Jesus that you would come with something fresh something new that you as the composer would sing a note a new beautiful song over our faiths and over the stale parts of our lives and where we have allowed the bread to go stale God would you take it away and bring it now Jesus the bread of life fresh ready for us to experience your life and your love Jesus how we love you how would I pray for those still on the on the fence and just not not convinced God would you be so compelling Jesus would you be so compelling to them thank you for your new work tonight today we thank you for the bread that is fresh I'm afraid this in Jesus name Amen amen a couple things as you go guys the prayer team is over here they have the blue lights it would love to pray with you for any reason they're a great team also if we could put the slide up this Saturday leader advance not just for leaders for anyone if you feel like Westside is your home and you want to hear where we're headed in the next two to three years pastor Steve ambassador bow would love to invite you and have you here back in this room on Saturday childcare is free breakfast is free there'll be free ponies giving away at the door we'll give you whatever you need just come and hear kind of what up the vision moving forward is this is so exciting you guys are going to love it on that grab these study guides on your way out and have a wonderful week we'll see you next week [Applause]

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