Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Hey brother David! Hey Miss Bunny!"

We'll be here 12 years this summer Lord willing, and having a bunch of kids who are playing baseball across the street stop and call out to us NEVER GETS OLD! One of the things I felt God wanted me to do as a pastor was to connect in a real way with kids. Bunny and I LOVE kids and should have had a dozen. But for all the years here, God has blessed us with the chance to love many more than even the Duggars have.

And the rest of our companions here at New Hope also recognized that part of our calling as a group of Christians was to reach out in love to every child that we came in contact with. We've done everything we could think of to let them know that Jesus loves them and we do too. And when I hear them call our name, it never fails to make me grin.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Matters

Well, I decided to listen to music as I walked this morning and it shuffled "Can't Get No Satisfaction" and "19th Nervous Breakdown" first. I had to laugh out loud. For "preacher-creatures" like me, Mondays can be toxic. We have a tendency to analyze everything that happens on Sunday with a hyper-critical eye. So any humor helps.

The last day of Spring Break 2011 has come and gone, and I'll be glad to get everyone back next weekend. In our post-multiple PCS state, we can really tell when some of our regular families aren't with us in worship. And with vacations, sickness, and whatever keeping people away, we're less than we could be. Still, I thought we had a pretty good day, all things considered. Our worship team stepped up and delivered on songs that we had trouble with in practice. "God of This City" is usually a New Hope favorite, but we just could not get it done Wednesday night. In fact I was 90% sure I would leave it out on Sunday. But after praying about it, even up to the last minute, I thought that we needed to sing it - that God would speak to us through it. So I asked everyone in the congregation to both pray and sing us through it. Thank God, it worked.

The songs were: Our God Is Greater (first time we've done it); Forever, God of This City, and Grace Flows Down. I thought the singers did well again and the band was really good at following them. Sean just blew me away on lead guitar on the first song. Just wow. If worship is bringing your best to present before God, then he did it!

We've been looking at John's gospel - specifically the portrait of the Messiah he tries to paint with the 7 "signs", and yesterday we looked at the man of Bethesda who Jesus asked "Do you want to be well?" All week long as I thought about the passage of Scripture, I kept seeing other people - people today - that over time found that their misery was more comfortable to them than the idea of change and healing. I also kept thinking that I had to make sure that the answer people walked away with wasn't a Tony Robbins like human potential message, but that the secret to change was reliance on Jesus. Hope that happened and some people were helped.

Be praying for New Hope as we go forward toward Easter.

Pray that we will have the opportunity to see people come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Pray that God will provide the resources we need to continue to minister to our community.

Pray that I will be able to balance family, school, substitute teaching, and my calling as pastor.

New Hope needs me to relieve some of the financial pressure by cutting the amount of compensation the church provides for my family to live here. We're operating on a shoestring and really need a change until God sends us more to work with. Without that change, we are going to face some tough choices that I don't want to have to make. So pray that I'll continue to do well in my teacher certification program, and that I'll get enough substitute work to contribute to New Hope's needs.

This is such a special place, and I serve alongside some amazing people. I truly do thank God every time I remember that. Even on Monday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Carrying Water In A Sieve

From It's Like Herding Cats

So I was born with "that" chromosome.

You know, the one that doesn't like to ask directions. The one that likes things spelled out. That puts things in boxes and just presses on. Shows up for work every day unless an arm is falling off and pushes the rock a little farther uphill. Takes the licking and keeps on keeping on.

But sometimes it feels like no matter what...

It's not going to be enough.

Like carrying water in a sieve. Lots of activity but a poor result.

Key words are "going to be", as in hasn't happened yet. So yeah, if I let myself go there I am literally pre-stressing out. And right about here the Holy Spirit shows up and reminds me of some important information that I know, but for whatever reason sometimes let slip out of my view.

God is with me. When Jesus said "I am with you, always" that means I am never alone, and never have to face anything or anyone by myself.

God is for me. The most powerful force in the universe is working everything I encounter together for my good.

So my feelings of inadequacy may be completely valid. Or not.

What matters is God's ability, not mine.

Thank God!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What Dogs Teach Us

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His name was "Gordo" and he was loved by everyone who came in contact with him, but especially by his best friend Michael. Gordo passed away this weekend after a month or so of illness, baffling the doctors and breaking everyone's heart.

We LOVE dogs around here, so I thought I'd try to explain a little of the "why?" today for those who don't understand or worse - are cat people. :)

Dogs help teach us how to love. Not just the scratch behind the ears kind of love, but love that takes responsibility for the welfare of another living being. You receive the love everyday from your dog, and not only are you inspired to try and be the person your dog thinks you are, but you look out for him - feed him - care for him - sacrifice for him.

Dogs teach us that responsibility isn't an event, it's a way of living. If you want your child to learn responsibility, you don't go and buy an Easter chic - buy a dog. Dogs like to be fed regularly, enjoy a cool drink of water as well, and they require frequent trips for relief, relaxation, and exercise. They aren't an event - they are a regular part of the ebb and flow of everyday life - more than you ever realize - until you lose one to death.

Dogs teach us about that too. Many of us have our first real encounter with the finality and heartbreaking loss that death brings when our dogs pass away. Just know that when you buy your child a puppy, that they will have to deal with the loss of that faithful friend one day, and it's going to hurt. A lot. My first dog was a collie named Cheyenne and one day when he followed me to the mailbox, the garbage truck came by and he chased and caught it. Still as vivid today as it was then. When we lost our Great Dane (Henley) to cancer, it was a tear in the fabric of our hearts that's still healing nearly two years later. The only thing worse than losing a dog is never having one to love at all.

Dogs and mankind have been companions for centuries now and dogs have proven the "man's best friend" quip to be true thousands upon thousands of times over. Unlike other pets, they see their "master" as worthy of everything they can give. So when something like the untimely death of "Gordo" happens, forgive all of us who love dogs when we ache with Michael. It's just we know what he has lost.

Here's hoping that in time, Michael will find another pup to love, care for, and be loved by.

Dogs rule.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hello Mr Wilson :)

From It's Like Herding Cats
Well, I'm officially a substitute teacher. After spending some time yesterday in Amy Anderson's class to get oriented, today I was officially the "substitute teacher" while Amy went to a conference. Amy's an ESE teacher at Lewis School here in Valparaiso and has an all boy class (at the moment). Every one of the boys can touch your heart in one way or another - and they did mine.

Even with a "head start" from yesterday, I still needed some help from Amy's assistant to get started teaching. Her lesson plans were clear, I just didn't know what grade each of the kids were in. :) That helped a lot. Once that was cleared up, I was able to grasp where each of the kids needed to be. It was a blast to be able to help them work through some roadblocks and finish their work.

And yes, I ate in the cafeteria and got to play with the kids at recess! The atmosphere at Lewis is just infectious from the minute you get there. The principal, Mr. Fantaski, and a teacher Jimmy Harrison (who I met delivering Supper on Saturday a couple weeks ago) were at the curb greeting kids as they were being dropped off. And every other staff person I saw was just as kid-focused. Great school.

I saw lots of kids I already new from New Hope or from Bunny's piano teaching. Most of them were happy to see me but a couple were a little shocked. That was funny. "What are YOU doing here?" was the most common question and then when I answered it changed to "that's cool."

Once I got through today, I got about an hour turnaround at home before heading to New Hope. Bunny had spent hours cooking the chili for tonight's meal, so all I had to do was cook the grilled cheese sandwiches for tonight's meal.Once that was done, then worship practice and finally teaching 1 John 4. It was a LONG day.

But it's a good tired.

Going to dial it back to only two things tomorrow - sermon prep and then working on my schoolwork for Gulf Coast.

Because Friday I get to go teach Middle School!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours

Seems like a good time to write that line, given the weather right now consists of a deluge of rain accompanied by thunder and lightning. But most of us would use that phrase to describe those times when circumstances in our life are already tough, and life serves up a double helping of misery. Toothache PLUS head cold. Car trouble AND dishwasher dies.

Well what about poverty AND losing the $12/day fleabag "home" you had, maybe along with everything you own?

The residents of the "blockhouse", also known as "Smitty's" suffered just that Saturday as a fire took what little "home" they had away. They were already living in the grimmest conditions I have ever seen. Now they have nothing. The Red Cross has put them up in local motels for a brief period, but what then?

Two of those residents in particular, in the short period of time we at New Hope have known them, have made an impression on our hearts. Richard and Rhonda were doing "the best we can" coping with Richard's medical issues (100% disabled) and Rhonda's pregnancy. But last week when Joe Stoy and Pam Roberts delivered the Wednesday meal and talked with them, they found out that someone had slashed the tires on their bikes - their only means of transportation. So Joe volunteered to come back and put new tires on Friday, as well as provide some more minutes for their cell phone. A pregnant Mom needs to be able to get help. Joe made sure she could.

We are trying to find out what we can do for our friends at the blockhouse through the Red Cross and folks involved with Suppers On Saturday. In the meantime, will you pray for them - for Richard and Rhonda, and their baby? They've already named her Graci.

Lord, in your mercy, show all of those displaced from the blockhouse your grace. Provide what they need. And show your people - New Hope and everyone else - what we can do for these and others in need. Help us pour out your love.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Introducing Jesus - Son of God

New Hope Unplugged

Had hoped to have a recording of this message from Sunday. But the electrical power failed us. Ah, but the real power didn't and never will. This is not a transcription, nor is it the notes I used Sunday, since I don't preach from notes. I won't remember everything I said that day, and I will add some things today I couldn't remember then. So be it. But here's what I want you to know - You can know God. You can know God personally through His Son Jesus Christ. He is actively seeking to form a relationship with you. You have questions, doubts. You cannot understand or deal well with what you see as inconsistencies in the Bible or what seem to be incredibly cruel acts by God. Friends, after 37 years as a Christian and more hours than I could ever count in prayer and Bible study, I still have questions, still wonder about certain things, and still get frustrated at times. But one thing I know beyond all doubt, all fears, all questions.

Jesus loves me. He will never leave me or forsake me. He has made me right with God through His sacrificial death. He has assured me of life eternal with Him through His resurrection. He will walk with me through the fiercest trials and darkest nights. He is my Savior, He is my God, and He is my friend. 

So as we begin this study of John during this Lenten season, understand this please. Everything I am doing is to convince you that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is offering you LIFE TO THE MAX!

And so I am beginning by introducing Jesus.

Put yourself for a minute in John the apostle's shoes - okay, sandals.

You are an old man who has lived 2/3 of your life or more since the three years that you walked over Galilee and Judea with Jesus. Those three years changed EVERYTHING. They reset your compass. Your priorities changed. Your value system changed. Your understanding of who you are and why you were alive changed. And your simple life became a world-changing one. All because of Jesus.

As you pick up the stylus, all the other "gospels" (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) have been "put to bed." They've each told their stories to everyone who would give them an ear. But you are driven to write a different narrative - one in which the scenes you choose to include are not selected because they are chronologically correct - but like a great director - God is guiding you to tell a Story of who Jesus is.

Every time I think about the magnitude of John's task, I am amazed at how he even got started. I used a slide of great opening lines in books to sort of plant the idea that those first few seconds of entry into a story matters. Some of the books that make up the classics though, don't have first lines that are memorable. Many begin quietly and it's in the introduction and fleshing out of the characters that the story takes on life for the reader.

Not John. He begins with a theological statement that changes everything. I likened it to someone raised in a cave who on one clear winter's night is taken outside and asked to look into the sky and sees the slide from the Hubble telescope. Breathtaking in scope. Awe-inspiring in depth. Incomprehensible at first glance. But so "Other" that it tugs at the mind and the soul for if that is reality, then it changes everything.

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.

"The Word that John speaks of is uncreated. There has never been a time when it was not. Here is existence beyond time, that which was when time and finite being began its course." All of us are mortal. We have a beginning and an end. This week begins the season of Lent and millions of our fellow believers will kneel before a priest or pastor who will take the ashes of palm fronds used last year during the Palm Sunday celebration and dipping his thumb in them, will make the sign of a cross on each person's forehead while saying "From dust you came, to dust you will return." A very solemn act of worship that reminds us that our time on earth is very short. Contrast that to John's description of Jesus - the "Word" made flesh - and you begin to understand that knowing Jesus is more... much more than the flippant cultural Christianity or virtuous veneer many practice. 

John uses the Greek word "logos" in his opening statement and it is translated "Word" for us. We'll have to unpack the meaning of that into our language and context or we'll walk out of here glazed. He's hitting a theme that will play on both sides of the cultural divide in the early church and society - Jews and Gentiles. Certain themes can serve as a bridge for us. We know that. Music and TV does that around the world. Bunny and I are trying to listen to some of the newer music because it carries cultural messages and darn it because we don't want to miss out on the joy that music has always been for us. So we're turning over to channel 20 on our XM radio and trying. But you know we keep coming back to the "language" we know - that we grew up with. There are songs that we all know - like the opening refrain of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, or Bach's Toccata and Fugue. Oh, you would know them if you heard them. OK, here's one "Come sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip..." (motions to congregation to continue) See - we just know because even though there are three or four generations in here, we've been exposed to that.

Well the Hebrews would have understood the idea of "the Word" because in their culture of less than 10,000 words - words meant things. They were tied to actions, and once a word was spoken the event was unstoppable. When God spoke, creation happened. When Issac mistakenly blessed Jacob instead of Esau, he couldn't take it back. The people of Israel during the Exodus went out to Sinai to meet with the "Word."

The Greeks on the other hand saw the "logos" almost like George Lucas's "force". It was the causative agent in all of nature - the First Cause, the Prime Mover, the world-soul. But neither party would have imagined that the "logos" was a person. They'd have been glad to talk philosophy with John  - both the scribes and the Greek philosophers would have relished that. But believing in a God who became a man?

John starts out by expanding reality for them.

You know that the Bible talks many times about the world which is seen and the unseen world. And I've always wondered about that unseen world. This past week I was reading about a teacher who took her class to visit the home of a botanist. As you can imagine, his yard was filled with all sorts of interesting plants. The kids just drank it all in, turning this way and that and "ooh-ing and ah-ing" at what they saw. And yet, they didn't see everything that was there. When the botanist looked at the same plants he saw not only the exterior, but he knew and "saw" the processes going on inside each of them. He could gauge their maturity and their health. Both the kids and the botanist saw pretty flowers, but only the botanist saw the things unseen.

Physicists studying the atom know that there are forces yet unexplained that hold each atom together. One is called the (for lack of a better term) the "strong force" and without it, all what you and I see and think of as solid, as real, as matter would instantly cease to exist and become simply energy.

John is making a case here, along with other New Testament writers, that everything was created by Jesus and that everything has its origin in Him and nothing exists that He hasn't caused to be. Other writers will elaborate, but John starts the expansion of what we know of as "real" by introducing Jesus as Source.

In this world, with our natural eyes we are limited too. And the unseen is all around us. John is speaking of a Person in Jesus who is more than we can see with our eyes. He is the "First Cause" but beyond that since He exists outside of time. And yet, He is the "Word made flesh" who came as a baby, grew up through childhood and teen years, and became a man - tested and tempted in every way - but without a fault or sin went to the cross and made everyone who believes in Him right with God.

15  Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,*
16  for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17  He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18  Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.*
So he is first in everything.
19  For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20  and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1

Continuing on....

The Word gave life to everything that was created,*
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

So John is presenting Jesus as Creator, as Sustainer, and now as Redeemer. As the power beyond anything we can even imagine. Limitless.

So let me stop for a moment and ask you this - Why do you think that Jesus isn't able to supply everything you need? Why do you NOT let Jesus handle your doubts, your questions, your fears, your worries and anxieties? Isn't He BIG enough? Isn't he POWERFUL enough? Or is it that you can't see? Listen, Jesus brought "light" into our darkness and you know in your gut and by your experience that darkness cannot win if you have a light. Light comes, darkness ends. True then. True now.

See friends you may look on these few verses as just words, but right here and right now I am here to tell you that THIS IS THE THEOLOGY OF HOPE. THIS IS GOD'S LOVE FOR YOU, FOR ME, IN THE PERSON OF JESUS.

John, who never names himself in this book, simply refers to himself as "the disciple that Jesus loved." Now you can choose to think that he was a self-promoter by doing that. That he was lifting John up at the expense of the other disciples, but I don't think you'd be right.

I think that John could never get past the fact that God, in the person of Jesus - LOVED HIM. As I said, it changed everything for him. John would tell you this morning that you need to put smaller things aside and plant your life in Jesus Christ. Give Him the allegiance of your heart, mind, and soul. Jesus is so much more than we can even see. John wants you to believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, Sustainer, and Redeemer.

Look. I know this has stretched you some if you've tried at all to follow it. Imagine John again, writing it with God giving him the words. Really it boils down to this. Who do you believe Jesus is?

Just as the creator intended

“Come, follow me..."

About 10:20 AM Sunday, I was in the sanctuary getting ready and it appeared that the lights flickered. Then they did it again. Every so often, they'd flicker for a few seconds. Then about 10:40, it got worse - much worse. I went around back to where the main power line comes in and there was a branch across the line. "Maybe that's it", I thought.

Went back inside and it got really strange. The lights up front were really bright and those in back weren't. Then the projector and PC started recycling on and off, and the piano turned off by itself and wouldn't come on for a minute. In the age of electronics we live in, that was our cue to take radical steps.

We cut all the powered devices off and went old school - no ppt, no praise band, no amplification.

In the aftermath, we discovered a light bulb that blew apart, and a fluorescent fixture's ballast gave up the ghost.

And two surge suppressors died to save our PCs and printers.

We spent some money on the suppressors, but they did just as their creator intended. They gave up their lives for the devices that plugged into them.

Was just reading a passage from the Message.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Romans 12:1

...and wondered how many of us will be able to look back over our lives and know that we lived them just as our Creator intended.

It's not too late to start following Jesus.

Monday, March 07, 2011

One of the most interesting TED talks I've seen

Nancy Duarte's talk at TEDx East from Duarte Design on Vimeo.

She basically dissects what makes great speeches great. Really interesting when she does that to the "I Have A Dream" speech.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

There's Teaching, And Then There's Preaching

So today was one of those days where you endure.

Anybody out there had one?

A day you endure is one that you know you need to go through, but in the big scheme of things is just one paving stone on the highway. Not going to get you excited, and won't slay you. But you know you have to do it. So you endure.

I spent several hours I'll never get back in classrooms over at Gulf Coast Community College today, as I continue to work on teacher certification for next fall. Three separate classes. The first was technology in the classroom and it shouldn't be too bad overall. The second two were intros to two courses that are about student teaching. Oh my goodness they were dull and repetitive. But I took the notes and gathered the information I needed.

Still, I could not help thinking about tomorrow morning, when I will be teaching/preaching John 1:1-5. It is such a tremendous passage that all week long I could not keep it from popping into my thoughts. I found myself thinking about it in class today and taking notes on what popped into my head. Had to make myself stop and concentrate on class.

Make no mistake, I am going to work hard in my classes so that when I enter the classroom I will be the best teacher I can possibly be. And I'll do everything I can to help my students succeed in mastering their lessons. But I don't expect an eternal change as a result of what I do there.

Every time I preach I go praying that lives would change forever.

Not because I'm skilled, or well prepared. (Insert humble comment here)

But because God is in it. He's gathered the people. He's called the servant. He's directed my thoughts and guides what I say. And He has promised that if the preacher faithfully speaks the Word that God will see changes happen in people - even if I can't.

There's an excitement from just reading the Word -knowing that it's more than a book - that it is "God-breathed." I look at the passage I will preach through tomorrow and realize that even after hour upon hour upon hour of study, I will only scratch the surface of the mystery of God.

Yet I will be a part of His plan to let everyone who lives know that He has provided a Savior in Jesus.

That's preaching. And I can't wait!

Friday, March 04, 2011

When Scuffed Up Is Just Right

From It's Like Herding Cats

When I first came to New Hope, as we pulled into the parking lot two things caught my eye and my imagination - just down the street sat Valparaiso Elementary, and just across the street sat the Little League field.

I love baseball. From time to time I find baseballs here at New Hope that have been fouled off across the street and have found their way into our shrubbery. Since many of the games are played at night, finding them apparently is difficult then. So I have a drawer full. :)

Holding one of those takes me back. To my Little League days as a scatter armed pitcher with more speed than control. Particularly if the umpire had given me a new baseball. They were just too perfect, too slippery to use. So you'd try to rub some mud on them, or try to keep one with a couple of scuffs in the game.

Turns out they do that in the big leagues too. A company out of New Jersey supplies river mud (just where from is a closely guarded secret) to every major and minor league time, and has since 1945. Without it, the baseballs are too perfect to use.

Think about that.

Every stitch is in place. The horsehide cover is blemish free. The classic red stitching and white cover - perfect. But it's useless until rubbed in the mud - scuffed up.

Too many of us are wishing and hoping for lives of pure perfection too. Plenty of money, perfect health, successful job, never a care or worry, no grief nor pain. We think if everything were perfect, we'd be happy. Maybe we would be, but we wouldn't be as useful to God. Our "scuffs" are something that helps us relate to other people whose lives are "scuffed up" too.

Galatians 6:9–10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Scuffed up is just right.


David Wilson

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Busy, busy

From It's Like Herding Cats


If you read this blog on a fairly regular basis you know that I love to write. Writing for me is one of those acts of expression like music is to a pianist. And this called life is such a window into the work of God that I can't wait to try to paint pictures for you, dear reader, of what God is doing. But life has just hit maximum overload lately and I have been unable to keep up. So forgive me if I give you the "Cliff's Notes" version of what has been happening until things slow down.

Supper On Saturdays - Was able to participate again with delivery, and Pam and Jaime Roberts participated in cooking this past Saturday. The route was split so we didn't have as many people to serve, but it was still a huge blessing to be able to do it. Oh and I got promoted to driver/scooper of soup! Since I live and work in Valparaiso, I did not get lost once while we made 17 stops and delivered 57 meals. The weather was gorgeous and the people were warm and receptive. Was able to pray with one senior saint, and talked about New Hope with two other people. I placed a flyer for that night's family movie in each bag. Met some new people while serving alongside three others from FUMC Niceville. Great time had by all as we "loved, because He first loved us."

Family Movie Night - John Anderson and minions really worked hard prepping the fellowship hall with lights, a red carpet, and plenty of comfortable sanctuary chairs. Add to that the "Grillmaster" Frank Weech cooking hot dogs and hamburgers, Sydney Hoskinson dishing up the sno cones, and the work of Amy Anderson, Diane Weech, Micheal Weech, Kristen Morton, and Bunny and Sean behind the scenes and it made for a great event. Despicable Me was a great choice since the laughs were spread evenly over all ages. Met some new friends who came out to the showing and hope to meet many more as we'll do this again.

On the last week of the first trimester of teacher certification. Carrying high "A's" but the workload in these education courses has been the most I have ever encountered in any of the colleges, universities, or seminaries I have attended. Very challenging. Thank a teacher the next time you see one. People outside have no idea of the paperwork horrors they endure. Think of the DOD paperwork on steroids and you are getting close.

Began work last week on a series that starts this Sunday and will carry us through Easter. Haven't pinned a title yet, but "Introducing... Jesus" wouldn't be too bad. We'll use John's gospel to help us to step back and realize just what God has done in and through Jesus Christ.

Oh and small group starts again Sunday evening. :)

Pray for me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

An introduction worthy of Him

1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 All things were created through Him,
and apart from Him not one thing was created
that has been created.
4 Life was in Him,
and that life was the light of men.
5 That light shines in the darkness,
yet the darkness did not overcome it. John 1 NLT 2.0

1 εν αρχη ην ο λογος και ο λογος ην προς τον θεον και θεος ην ο λογος
2 ουτος ην εν αρχη προς τον θεον
3 παντα δι αυτου εγενετο και χωρις αυτου εγενετο ουδε εν ο γεγονεν
4 εν αυτω ζωη ην και η ζωη ην το φως των ανθρωπων
5 και το φως εν τη σκοτια φαινει και η σκοτια αυτο ου κατελαβεν

1:1 In the beginning* was the Word, and the Word was with God,* and the Word was fully God.* 1:2 The Word* was with God in the beginning. 1:3 All things were created* by him, and apart from him not one thing was created* that has been created.* 1:4 In him was life,* and the life was the light of mankind.* 1:5 And the light shines on* in the darkness,* but* the darkness has not mastered it.* NET Bible

The rule in communication is to grab the reader, listener, or viewer by the heart quickly. The amount of time you have to draw them in varies in the studies I have read from 1 minute at the most to 15 seconds at the least. So imagine that you want to tell the world about the most important thing that has or will ever happen.

How would you start?

What would you say in your introduction?

These verses are my obsession this week as through them my prayer is the Holy Spirit makes Jesus plain to everyone who will hear or read the message I'm driven to give Sunday. Having read a lot about John and his context, I'm diving in today - word studies to ground myself in what the text says before I widen my search to commentaries and what other people say.

I'm also carrying them around in me. Meditating on the passage for Sunday all week means I can spend time listening for what the Spirit might teach me in MY context. Sometimes that turns out to be the best "study" I do all week.

Today, I am just in awe.

For a man like John to pick up a stylus or pen and write these verses and know that God was speaking through you? To be entrusted with explaining the nature and character of God?