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Showing posts from January, 2014

Living Water

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A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? John 4:7-11
I will always remember the first time I visited my new home in Sarasota, Florida.  It was late in the evening, the stars were twinkling over head, and we were meeting the chair of the search team at his condo.  Now you need to know two things: 1). we had just heard before boarding our flight from Wisconsin to Florida that our family cruise on a Disney boat had been cancelled; 2).  I dislike flying...really dislike fl…

Middle School and Scripture

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Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, "Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John" - although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized - he left Judea and started back to Galilee.  John 4:1-2
Over the next few posts I am going to slow down and savor one of my favorite chapters in John's gospel, chapter 4.  It is one of the most beautiful and powerful narratives (like the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son) in all the Gospels.  These first few verses do more than just set the scene for the story.  
Chapter 4 starts off like a scene from a Middle School hallway.  'When Jesus learned that the Pharisees knew how popular he was...', I just have to chuckle.  Seriously?  The first verse sounds like a popularity contest.  Yet...how often do we do the same thing in our churches today?  We end up comparing ourselves to the other church down the road where there are more members or a bigger budget.  We are caught up in the cycle of…

Moving

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So Abram went, as the Lord had told him ~ Click here to read Genesis 12:1-9
Scripture says Abram (who would eventually be re-named Abraham) was 75 years old when he pulled up the tent stakes and set out for some undisclosed locations that God was going to show him and his family.  Abram doesn't ask where he was going, in fact, he is mute to the possibility of moving - responding only by packing up the camels, circling the wagons, and heading out.
Today I set out on moving from the community that has been my home for the last seven and half years (Janesville, WI) to a new community that has called me to be their pastor (Sarasota, FL).  And today I think about Abram.  In the midst of his silence was there any trepidation or hesitancy?  Or did he just leap into the excitement of a new adventure?  Or was it a little of both?  
There is always hope that is heard with the sound of tape sealing a box.  A chance for a new beginning, a new start, time to escape those mistakes that can hang…

Cleanse

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Click here to read John 2:13-25
Quick review:  John begins his sharing of the Good News with a prologue in chapter 1 that really is a synopsis of his entire gospel.  Jesus the light that shines in the darkness and in Jesus there is grace upon grace; a huge heaping helping of grace in our ordinary every day lives. Then, Jesus is at a wedding where the wine skin runs dry and he changes water into the best tasting wine you've ever had!  There is an abundance of wine, more than was needed or necessary ~ which is to say this was a tangible moment of grace! Right after that...Jesus goes into the temple, makes a whip out of reeds and drives money changers out.  Whoa...wait...how is that again?
How do you go from the joy of a wedding feast to the anger of creating a ruckus in the temple?  How do you go from laughing and dancing at the new life of a couple to making a scene in the most sacred space known to the Jewish faith?  Talk about an emotional roller coaster!  And yet, perhaps, not s…

Whoa...Rewind

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Click here to start reading the Gospel of John...or feel free to find your Bible to follow along
I grew up in the era of VHS and cassette tapes.  I remembering the video store imploring us to "Be Kind and Rewind".  I also vividly remember them displaying what happened to those VHS movies if you left them in the car on a hot summer day and they became a mangled mess of melted plastic!  Good times.  Often in life it would be good to have a rewind button, especially for moments when you make a fool of yourself, which for me is about....every day!  I would love to have back some of the things I've said or done.  Then, again, I also know and fully accept that some of the best learning in life happens with mistakes; the reconciliation and forgiveness that are possible (although not always realized) in the wake of missteps.  
Still, there are moments it is good to step back and rewind just a bit, especially with this blog.  For the last several posts, I have focused on the Gosp…

More than Maybe

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Click here to read John 3:1-17 Although we don’t realize it, so many of us learn early lessons about love from nursery rhymes that to be honest, when you think about, are a little on the strange side.We learn that love can overcome differences when a dish runs away with a spoon, which makes us all wonder about what really happens in the kitchen behind the closed cupboard doors at night.We learn that love involves sacrifice as Jill hurls her body down the hill after her clumsy boyfriend Jack, yet we seriously wonder why she did not just walked down.And we learn the hard lesson that love is fragile when poor Humpty Dumpty falls from the wall and despite all the best efforts of the kings men, he could not be put back together again. But seriously why was the egg on top of a wall in the first place?That’s just risky.But so is love.And while those lessons sit in the recesses of our minds, they can quickly get covered up and confused by fifty shades of whatever you see and read in the cultu…