From the monthly archives:

August 2010

Brenda Salter-McNeil challenges us to give our witness credibility by going through Samaria- the neighborhoods of the marginalized.

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Gospel according to the mighty ant

by Lon on August 23, 2010

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John 9:35-41

by Lon on August 23, 2010

Continuing our journey through the gospel of John

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 

36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 

37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 

38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 

40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 

41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

It’s stories like this that get Jesus into trouble.

Why must he speak in such riddles?  Sometimes there seems to be a circular nature to Jesus’ arguments.  Last will be first, the blind will see… but then the first become last… and those who see are blind.

Maybe it’s not so much the destination, or the permanence of a state, but the dynamics of a living relationship.

Our desire for God leads to knowing him.  But as soon as we think we fully know him, would we still desire to know him more?

The truth of God is a dangerous thing.  Be careful of when your mind races faster than your hearts and your ability to respond to God.

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John 9:13-34

by Lon on August 16, 2010

Continuing our journey through the gospel of john together

13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind.14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath.

15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” 
But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?” So they were divided.

17 Finally they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” 
The man replied, “He is a prophet.” 
18 The Jews still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents.

19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?” 
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind.21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.”22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue.

23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 

25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 

26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 

27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses!

29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” 
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind.

33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 

34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

The mud on the eyes would seem a step backwards from regaining vision.  How might this relate to how Jesus is working in your life?  And what might it suggest that the man had to wash his eyes out himself afterwards?

I’m a bit saddened that the story here doesn’t quite capture the emotional reaction of the parents now that their son can see – though that may not be the point of it all.

“One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!” – How can anyone dispute a life transformed?  How might we live indisputable lives?

v29-31 It’s fascinating how this blind man, who with my own prejudices, I wouldn’t imagine being very intelligent – has such a profound grasp of the Scriptures.

Do we ever find ourselves, throwing out those who speak truth in our lives?  Could the voice of God possibly be resounding in another person’s life than our own?  What it mean for us to embrace God wherever he speaks – even if we can’t quite hear him ourselves?

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Be Here Now

by Lon on August 12, 2010

How does our pace of life reflect the upside down kingdom values of Jesus?

Do we keep going, and going, faster, and faster, so that we can avoid the more important things in life?

How might we learn or build disciplines towards slowing down and being fully present?

Could God actually be working in the world, even when I’m not? How can we rest in this truth?

What would repenting from the sin of dissatisfaction look like in your life?

Why would we spend our lives chasing after things, even good things, and never enjoying them?

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Francis Chan – clip on spirit dependence

by Lon on August 12, 2010

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John 9:1-12

by Lon on August 12, 2010

Continuing our journey through the gospel of John

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.

2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 
6 Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.

7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. 
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?”

9 Some claimed that he was. 
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.” 
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.” 

10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they demanded. 

11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

12 “Where is this man?” they asked him. 
“I don’t know,” he said.

Jesus saw a blind man as he walked.  How many blind, destitute, and lonely people to we come across every day, but have failed to even notice?

“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me” – notice how he says ‘we’ must do the work, and the level of sacred urgency that ought to be in our lives.

Why go through the theatrics of spitting on mud?  Walking to the pool?

Imagine encountering God and being so transformed people debate whether it is still really you?

Why didn’t Jesus tell him where he was after?  Could there be a wider understanding of what it means to encounter Jesus and follow him here?

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