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Posted on May 9, 2017 in Blog, Church, Culture, Featured, Worship

Motive Shift

Motive Shift

What drives you? What are your motives? What is that thing, which, at the end of the day makes you push a little farther, work a little harder and drive a little longer?

Why are you doing anything that you do?

At the end of the day, for most of us, I think our motive is: self. I work hard so I can play hard. I work hard, so some day I can retire and do what I want to do. Yes, I’m working. But, the reason I’m working is for something else. I want this kind of a house, with this kind of a car, with this kind of a family, with this kind of a life.

I want.

Motive = me.

I’m that way. I often have selfish motives. So, I’m not judging you, I’m just speaking from what I know of me. Maybe you’re not selfish like I am. If so, good for you. You’re awesome. I’m pretty sure they make a T-shirt for that now.

This is probably no surprise. I mean, it’s not like any of us have to try to be selfish. We just are. I don’t have to try to make the world revolve around me, I just naturally do it. It’s not because I have some kind of psychological delusion. It’s because I’m human. Just like you.

So, what’s the problem? You might ask me. Well, as I said, self, when left un-checked, has a tendency to make everything about itself. Everything. We have a tendency to make work about us, to make family about us, to make relationships about us, to make money about us, to make church and God all about us.

“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We quote. And we get a hearty, “Amen!” from the batpicostals in the room. It is about me. Jesus died for me. That whole redemption story, is about God loving me. 

Then, everything has to be approached from that vantage point. And if something dares question that, well, there’s going to be hell heck to pay. When that crazy pastor dares suggest that God is all about His own glory, and that my salvation is for His glory and that my life is supposed to be for the praise of His glory, well. Be careful pastor. You’re treading on thin ice.

We can even endure such talk to a point. As long as it stays abstract and philosophical and intellectual, it’s fine. Okay, fine, God is all about God. He saved me for Him. I can intellectually affirm these statements. But, as soon as we take the next step from knowledge to heart and life change.

BOOM! Don’t you tell me how to worship God. That’s personal to me. I’ll worship him how I see fit. You can’t judge my heart, doesn’t the Bible also say not to judge? Who’s the hypocrite now? 

We are okay with God, as long as God doesn’t expect us to give Him total ownership of our lives. We’re okay with God as long as he remains external to our situation, a figure we can ask for free stuff and blame for the bad stuff. But, when God expects me to live my life as a sacrifice for His purposes, well, it’s time to find another church.

And many do, and many have.

This reminds me of Jeremiah. At the beginning of his ministry, as he is learning what it means to be a prophet, he has some soft words to share with God’s people.

“I will pronounce my judgements on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshipping what their hands have made.” Jeremiah 1:16

“What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” Jeremiah 2:5

Jack Hayford said: “Worship changes the worshipper into the image of the one being worshipped.”

When we have self at the center of everything, we are really worshipping ourselves. Me, with a capital M. And when we do that, there’s really no point to anything. Worship is about ascribing worth and honor to something. It’s about submission and surrender. What good is it to ascribe worth to ourselves based on ourselves. What good is it to submit to and surrender to ourselves. We are already pretty good at doing that.

That’s not how God designed things. He designed us, created us to worship him. When we worship things other than him, we become worthless. Ouch. Glad I wasn’t the one that had to tell people that. I can just pass the buck back on to Jeremiah.

But what does this mean? Let’s get a little more substance to work from:

“But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men…those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” – Psalm 115:4,8

“At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. They exchanged their glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass.” Psalm 106:19-20

So, when you worship something other than God, you are ‘exchanging your glory’ for the thing you are worshipping?

We still need a little more help:

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Wait a second! It’s right there, Pastor. We are the ones that are crowned with glory and honor. To which I would, say. “You’re right…kind of.” Yes, we are crowned with glory and honor, but who crowns us?

“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.”

Do you see it? The only way we have glory is because God gives it to us. The only reason God can give it to us, is because He already has it. He is the one true God. His glory is in the heavens, far above and beyond anything we can experience in its entirety. But, he has given us glory and put everything under our feet?

Why? We have to go back to see where the psalmist got this idea of putting everything under our feet:

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

God made us in His image. That is, was and will always be the only reason we have any glory at all. We have glory because God gave it to us. We are the only thing in all of creation that has his image. We are the only created being that reflects God.

If we have glory because God gave it to us, is it any wonder he would be a little put off when we decide that we are the most important thing in the universe, that we would make this whole thing about us, and we would make our relationship with him all about what God can do for/give to us while at the same time refusing to give anything of ourselves back to him?

We’ve taken the glory that He has given to us, and exalted ourselves to His position – WITH HIS OWN GLORY!

The reality is, none of any of all of creation has any worth or value if it wasn’t given by God.

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.” – Charles Spurgeon

When we realize that, we begin to understand why things have gotten to be such a mess in the world. We’ve prostituted God’s glory for our own purposes and agendas. We’ve used God’s glory to advance our selfish pursuits and desires. We’ve made it all about us, and we get mad at God or anyone who would dare suggest it should be any other way.

May I ask you a question: Do you really want it to be this way? Haven’t you ever seen Bruce Almighty? Do you really want to be God? Of course, even asking such questions is ridiculous because none of us can be God.

“Isn’t it a comfort to worship a God we cannot exaggerate?” – Francis Chan

Wouldn’t you rather worship the God who created you, the God whose name is “I AM.” The one who is the beginning, the middle and the end. The creator of all things and sustainer of all things. The author of life, the one who numbers the hairs on our head, whose thoughts for us are more numerous than the sands on the seashore. The one who knows each and every one of us by name, formed us in our mother’s womb, created us for a purpose and created good works for us to do. Wouldn’t you rather worship the one whose name is provider and healer? Wouldn’t you rather worship a God who is too big to comprehend, who is immortal, all knowing and all powerful?

Obviously, none of us are any of that. And, (also obviously) none of us will ever be any of that.

What is worship? Paul makes it clear:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 

Worship is living sacrifice. Why does that ring a bell?

“24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Matthew 16:24-27

May I ask, what are you living your life for? Who are you living your life for? Have you spent your life in pursuit of your own dreams? Are you chasing the pleasures of this life and this world?

For those who are Christ-followers the call is clear. Worship isn’t about my own wants, desires or preferences. Worship is actually denying them. My true and proper worship is not touting and lauding me, it is sacrificing me. Worship is conformity with God’s will, which requires nonconformity with the world. Can you and I say this is our motive right now? If not, it’s time for me and all of us to repent and turn away from that desire to seek our own glory.

If you happen to be reading this and you’re not a Christ follower, may I make an invitation to you? Step into this idea and see for yourself if God really is who He says He is. Try it out. If I’m wrong, what have you lost? But, if I’m right, it could change everything, literally, forever.

 

 

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Posted on Nov 28, 2014 in Blog, David Lindner Music, Recording & Sound, When The Snow Falls, Worship

When The Snow Falls

When The Snow Falls

You may not know this, but two years ago I recorded a Christmas album. It’s a combination of Instrumental music, some traditional carols and a few original Christmas/Winter songs that I wrote. It was a lot of fun, and even more than that, it was therapy for me at a time when I really needed it. For me, the Studio is one of the few places where time seems to disappear and I can get lost in music.  

As you may know, I love Christmas. It’s my favorite time of year. I love Snow. I love looking at Christmas lights. I love it all. For all of my life I wanted to record an album and, as many of my friends and family know, I often said that my first album would be a Christmas one. Well, I’m so glad that it is.

There may be another Christmas album in the future. Actually, if I’m being honest, there will probably be a couple more. What I would actually like to do is record an all piano Christmas album. Then record an all vocal Christmas album. But for now, this album has a combination of it all on there!

You can purchase the album in one of two ways; either buy the digital download or order a physical CD that I will mail to you! Thank you so much for your support. Have a wonderful holiday season.

Click Here to Buy on iTunes!

Click here to buy on Amazon MP3!

If you would like a physical CD mailed to you, please fill out the form below to start the process!

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Posted on Oct 22, 2014 in Blog, Creativity, Fathering, Leadership, Worship

Creativity the Missing Piece(s) – Part 4

Creativity the Missing Piece(s) – Part 4

Slowly, but surely, this series is going to get finished! I started the series in 2009! What the heck Lindner! Get it together, it’s 2014!

So, since the chances are astronomical that you’ve never even heard of this series, therefore you’ve never read the first three articles, you might want to go check them out. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

In Part 4 of the series, I want to talk about setting the ground rules for the team & the meetings.

There are probably a hundred rules you could make up for a team like this. Maybe you want everyone to wear skinny jeans and a scarf. So you make a rule that no baggy pants are allowed.

But that’s not really what I’m thinking of. I’m looking more at those rules that keep the team functioning in a healthy manner. These rules are blunt and straightforward by design. It is better to be clear at the beginning with expectations. It’s easier to hold people to something they are aware of. If they don’t know a rule exists, they’ll break it every time.

So, what are they?

Team Rules

1.) Everyone is committed. 

If you’re on the team, you are an owner. You’re self-employed. You are not a road construction employee. We can’t have 5 guys watching one guy work. Everyone is committed. It needs to be made clear to those coming onto the team for the first time, that this is a Getting Stuff Done team. We don’t just talk, we do. For every meeting, we have a series we are executing, a series we are planning and a series we are brainstorming. We model the way by working the hardest. If you commit to this team, you’re committing to diligence.

2.) If you miss the meeting, it’s your responsibility to find out what you missed. 

Because we are committed to the team, we don’t wait until the next meeting to get caught up on what we missed. We get in touch with the leader or someone else who was there to find out what happened. It’s not the leaders’ responsibility to call me, it’s my responsibility to call my leader. I realize that I may have been assigned some tasks based on the strengths my team knows about me, and if I wait to find out what they are until the next meeting I might miss something that needs to be done this week. It’s not someone else’s responsibility, it’s mine.

3.) Everyone Follows Through

We don’t drop the ball. Period. If we drop the ball, it’s not just a loss of a service element. It’s the loss of an experience for hundreds if not thousands of people. It’s not just me who loses out, it’s the whole body. Every minute of the worship service is multiplied by the number of people in attendance. If 100 people come to church, a 60 minute service accounts for 6,000 minutes. If I don’t follow through, my 3 minute responsibility costs the church 300 minutes of potentially life-changing experience.

4.) Not meetings after the meeting

We are committed to being united as a team. If there is a problem between members of the team, we don’t engage in gossip about them outside the meeting, we encourage them and possibly force them to work it out with the other person. We confront ideas in the meeting because we are trying to get the best idea to the church. So, we don’t have meetings after the meeting about how this person just doesn’t get it. Or how that person isn’t very creative. Every person on the team is there for a reason. We confront and keep short accounts, because we are too busy with the big idea to get bogged down with drama.

5.) A God-honoring experience is primary, personal feelings are secondary. 

We don’t allow our personal feelings to be attached to an idea. My feelings aren’t important – Jesus is. We are here to create the most creative experience and expression of our collective bodies adoration of Jesus. We aren’t here to get credit. We aren’t here to prove that we are the most creative, crazy person in the church. We aren’t here to get our immature ego’s an extra stroke on the back. We are here to be a part of a team creating a God-honoring experience. My personal feelings cannot get in the way of that. That’s idolatry.

Meeting Rules

1.) Everyone is on time. 

We start our meetings on time. To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late. We don’t show up 15 minutes after the meeting starts, even if we are musicians. We respect the time of everyone on the team, and we understand that when we are late, we are disrespecting the time of those who cared enough about me to be there on time. That makes me an egotistical hypocrite who expect people to serve me, but I’m not willing to serve them in the same way.

2.) More from the thinkers less from the talkers. 

Just because you can talk a lot doesn’t mean you have the best idea. Often times those who have the most words need to shut their pie hole so someone who thinks can process the ideas on there and come up with a better idea. We don’t need you to prove how smart you are, how creative you are, how in touch with culture you are or anything of the like. We get the hint by your beard. You’re cooler than us. We get it. Now, please be quiet so I can come up with an idea that will make you cry.

3.) Only the team leader gets to cut someone off. 

We aren’t afraid to confront ideas that come to the table. But we also don’t get to be jerks. We are respectful of the people on the team. So we let them finish their idea before we jump in and change the subject. And just because the person takes a breath doesn’t mean they are finished. It is the responsibility of the leader to know the people on the team so they can silence the ones who talk too much and pull in the ones who talk too little.

4.) During brainstorming times, completion is not the goal – initiation of an idea is the goal. 

We aren’t trying to finish an idea during brainstorming. We are trying to find the best idea. My idea might initiate a better idea in your head. And your idea might initiate an even better idea in someone else’s head. So, we don’t stop and try to complete my idea. We don’t try to begin to implement my idea because I want my idea to win. When we are brainstorming, we are flooding the board with ideas in the hope that our idea might implement a coalition of creativity that truly expressed the creativity of the collected body of Christ.

5.) During implementation times of the meeting, financially responsible execution is the goal. It’s time to shut off the new ideas and implement the best idea you have. 

When you’re being creative, it’s hard to stop coming up with new ideas and get to work. This is a problem for creatives around the world. They never get started doing anything because as soon as they start, they have a newer and better idea. Creatives are awful for completing things.

Given the magnitude of the role of this team, (preparing experiences that prepare people), we don’t have the luxury of waiting until the absolute best idea comes along. Instead, we have the responsibility of implementing and executing the best idea we have. It’s not fair to those showing up on Sunday to drop the ball because we thought we had a better idea, and if we just had another week, we could make it happen.

Brainstorming Rules: If you need some good rules for brainstorming, make sure to check out the 10 commandments of brainstorming. 

 

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Posted on Dec 17, 2012 in Family, Humility, Leadership, Lost Virtues, Worship

Lost Virtues: The Death of Humility – Part 1

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” ― C.S. Lewis

There has been a lot of talk lately about how bad things are. Everything is getting worse, people are getting worse, the planet is changing, species of animals are dying and for crying out loud, the world is ending on Friday. I mean, I can sit on a couch, watch my 10 month old daughter play, listen to an awful jazz arrangement of Coldplay’s clocks and write about how bad things are. That must mean things are out of control.

Well, sure, I’ll admit that I’m a bit concerned for our culture. And as much as I may enjoy a good doomsday show, my concern isn’t one you’ll be likely to read in a headline somewhere. At least from news outlets who seem more concerned about ratings than common decency (but don’t get me started on that rant…).

You see, it seems to me that the modern age is where humility has come to die.

Goodbye selflessness, hello ego-centric world. You’re welcome in to my atmosphere as long as you don’t try to make things about you.

You’d think that with all of the advances in science that have been made in the last two centuries, we’d be more convinced than ever that the world doesn’t revolve around us. Yet, it’s becoming harder and harder to find anyone that truly thinks of others more than themselves.

Stop for a minute and think, how many people do you know who are truly humble? I can imagine, you’d have to scroll through most of the letters in your address book before you found someone who is truly humble.

Can we become agents of change? Can we be catalysts for humility? I just can’t imagine the benefit of a society that becomes more concerned with themselves than they are with the community at large.

Real concern.

Not the patronizing kind that’s offensive and still makes you out to be a little better than me.

Real concern for one another.

The Question is, where does humility come from? C.S. Lewis gives us a good start. Let’s start there for today. Perhaps we can just think of ourselves a little less today than we did yesterday.

Where do you think humility begins? 

Join the conversation for change today! Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Posted on Nov 5, 2012 in Worship

Three Things to Make Sure to Include in Thanksgiving Services

Thanksgiving is coming, and I ca seem I’m getting quite a bit of traffic on my Thanksgiving Service posts from years past. So, what I thought I’d do is give us all some framework for how we go about planning our thanksgiving services.

And to answer your question, YES! You need to do a Thanksgiving service! We have too much to be thankful for to simply overlook the holiday as the church. Thankfulness is something that is intertwined with who we are as Christ-followers. So, we must set the example for giving thanks in our culture.

There are two kinds of thanksgiving services. Most churches will simply use some of the time in the services before Thanksgiving. Then there are other churches who will do a Thanksgiving Eve service. Whatever kind of service you are responsible for planning, make sure to include aspects of giving thanks in all services before Thanksgiving.

What I mean is, even if you do a Thanksgiving Eve service, you should still include times of giving thanks in the weekend services before Thanksgiving. Many people go out of town for the Holiday, so you want to make sure they have a chance to give thanks before they take off.

We need to give people the opportunity to start the Holiday season with thankfulness.

So, here are the three areas that I see as necessities for our services.

  1. Give thanks for the work Jesus did on the Cross.
  2. Give thanks for provision (a la the first Thanksgiving) and blessing.
  3. Give people the opportunity to give their own thanks.

First, we give thanks for what Jesus did on the Cross. It’s the most amazing gift we could ever receive, therefore we must give thanks for it. There are a number of ways to do that. Obviously through worship music, but also through communion and reflection on scripture, artwork, readings, etc.

Second, even though many of the people in our communities are struggling right now, the majority of us still have it pretty good. We must give thanks for God’s provision for us personally, and for our churches, communities and nation.

Third, people need the chance to reflect and think about their life and what they are truly thankful for. If our thanksgiving is confined to the cross and standard thanksgiving topics, we don’t give people the chance to personalize the thanks. If it’s not personal, people will forget it as soon as they walk out the doors. If it’s not too big of a service, you could have an open mic. If it’s too big for that, give people a note card and invite them to write down what they are thankful for and post it somewhere at the front of the church. You could have people tweet what they’re thankful for, and using pro presenter, display them during an instrumental section of a a worship song. You could set up a blog post beforehand, make a QR code for it that people can scan then go to the post and leave a comment with their thanks.

There are probably hundreds of other ideas – would you leave your ideas in the comment section so we can all learn from you!

That’s about it, though there are a few other things to consider including:

  • If you’re going to have kids in your service, make sure to give them something to connect with. (ie Madame Blueberry from the Veggie Tales.)
  • Prayers for those aren’t as blessed as we are. (Those in our country who don’t have a job, are homeless, have terminal illnesses, etc.)
  • Prayers for those in the world who aren’t as blessed as we are, those who are living in captivity or don’t have the same freedom we do.
  • A chance to give back. We are entering into the most greed filled season of the year. Give people a chance to give back to start the Holiday season with the right paradigm.

 What have you done in your Thanksgiving Services?

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Posted on Oct 1, 2012 in Blog, Culture, Devotional Thoughts, Leadership, repost, Worship, Worship Ministry

Let Justice Roll On Like a River

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”
says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.

In my last couple of posts I have been going through Amos 5 and drawing out questions that I think it raises for us and our churches today. The first post (Seek the Lord and Live) talked about how what God really wants us to strive for in our worship is Him. The second post (Why Do You Long For the Day of the Lord?), talked about us doing today what we won’t be able to do in eternity. (I also talked about this in a post a while back: What’s Missing from Our Worship?)

Today we come to the part of the passage that many of us are probably familiar with, or we have at least heard mention of. The people of Israel have become greedy with their desires and have stopped living as they should. The things they should be doing, they either don’t do them or they do them for the wrong reasons.

21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.

The people of Israel had their traditions. They knew what time of year it was based on the festivals to come. We do this to a certain extent from October through January. We know what time of year it is based on the holiday we have just celebrated and which one is next.

But, the intentions behind the celebrations have gone from remembering events and times when God Almighty had provided for them and become routine, rote, marginalized and perhaps even monetized.

Though this definitely serves as a reminder for the season we are about to enter in, Thanksgiving, Christmas and what not, it also serves as reminder of what our intention should be each and every day.

How quickly we forget. The Lord God Almighty has provided for us in ways we cannot measure. For the people of Israel He released them from captivity, provided protection and sustenance and eventually a land of their own. For us, He has given us a roof over our heads, food on our table, electricity for our electronic devices, free speech with which we can rejoice or complain without recompense…oh yeah, and he sent His Son to die a cruel death on a cross for our sins.

25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god—
which you made for yourselves.

Therefore, I propose that we begin a revolution.

Not the kind that you are thinking of. Not a revolution against political agendas and financially driven parties. Sure, those have their place. Rather, I propose that we rebel against the status quo of worship. I say we stop being concerned with what other churches are doing, what our friends’ church is doing. We should stop trying to do the things society and the world we live in tell us we should be doing. And instead, return to our first love, the Lord God Almighty.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the society we live in provides us with excellent resources to do what we do the best we can. I also think there is a lot we can learn from other churches and organizations about how we can do this thing called church in the best possible way.

[tweetherder]The problem is, comparison has become the game and conformity the the prize.[/tweetherder]

When what awaits us when we seek the Lord is life. What awaits us when we engage in worship as the pursuit of God and submission to His ways is freedom.

24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

May the ways of the Lord, be what drives us in our pursuit. Otherwise, our offerings are an unacceptable stench, noise that God has no regard for. Let our pursuit of Him open us up to His righteousness and may it flow in us from the spring of life.

Let us do the work of the Lord, believe in the one He sent for us (John 6:29). Instead let us feast on the Bread of Life and drink from the water that will never let us thirst again.

35 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. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

 

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