From the monthly archives:

September 2010

John 11:17-37

by Lon on September 29, 2010

Continuing our exploration of the gospel of John

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.

20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”
28 And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.”29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him.

31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Again this passage opens by stressing that Bethany was not that far away, and Jesus could have done something about it.

There are problems, issues, conflicts, pain, in all of our lives – and Jesus is no less capable of doing something about it – but why doesn’t he?

Christians believe that Jesus is God.  We have plenty of solid theological arguments to make the case.  Notice how when Mary refers to God as a separate being Jesus can make requests of, his response is not to make immediate theological corrections.

Jesus wept.  Is it possible that Jesus could be fully able of changing our circumstances, yet doesn’t?  Could it be that it is more in line with his character to join us in our suffering rather than removing our suffering?

Maybe Jesus is not just with us in our Sunday best, but in our very worst and lowest of times?

Be the first to comment

Reflection on Francis Chan’s vision

by pomankwan on September 28, 2010

As the new vision of Pastor Francis Chan unfolded, more communication is needed. The way to handle it has profound impact to the faith community at large. I pray that his vision will gain more and more support from his community. I found his sharing was not only inspiring but also challenging my way of following Christ. After all, I do believe God Has His purpose in my life which may be different from others. I should share it boldly as God wants me to do or be. However, it is only by His grace and our submission that we can work together in His kingdom.
I also found some interesting comments on his interview, like:
• Following Christ step by step for real will often lead us away from the institution called Church.
• Somehow I doubt that sanctification is achieved through the means of simplicity, poverty and suffering. If so, then everyone in poor third world countries is heaven bound and everyone in rich first world countries is hell bound.
• I agree that there was all kinds of interesting tension in this conversation. I think Francis Chan really stumbled in explaining his decision. He could have boiled it down very simply: “I’m following Jesus’s call on my life.”

Be the first to comment

John 11:1-16

by Lon on September 20, 2010

Continuing our exploration of the gospel of John

1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.

3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

7 Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light.

10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”

13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,

15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus waited for Lazarus to die.  There’s nothing else in the text to suggest that he was busy doing anything else.

Jesus waited, and Lazarus died.

How often do we try everything we can to prevent death, failure, pain, and suffering?  Could there be a chance we’re working against God’s desires?  Could it be that in some cases life can only come through death?

I love Thomas’ remark at the very end – they’s something bold and brash, and slightly off about the disciples.  It’s amazing how close we can be to Jesus and still miss him and what he’s about.

Be the first to comment

Recent News…

by Ian on September 15, 2010

I just want to share a related short comic to everyone, enjoy.

Be the first to comment

Dave Gibbons – Listening to God

by Lon on September 13, 2010

Be the first to comment

John 10:22-42

by Lon on September 13, 2010

Continuing our journey through John

22 Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter,23 and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.

24 The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me,26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him,

32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’?35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came–and the Scripture cannot be broken–36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?37 Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does.38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. Here he stayed41 and many people came to him. They said, “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true.”

42 And in that place many believed in Jesus.

The people are mad in suspense here.  They know there is something wondrous about Christ but they can’t quite line it up with their worldview’s and religious upbringings.

Jesus doesn’t get much clearer than here – as he describes himself as “God’s Son”; the Father is greater than all; ‘the Father is in me’; These are astounding claims.

And he challenges people to test him, reject him, or understand and believe.

I like this last bit about John “Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true” ~ may it be said of us as well.

Be the first to comment

Bricks, Fish, and Microchips

by Lon on September 2, 2010

Be the first to comment

John 10:1-21

by Lon on September 1, 2010

Continuing our journey through the gospel of John together

1 “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but they did not understand what he was telling them.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.

13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again.

18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
19 At these words the Jews were again divided.

20 Many of them said, “He is demon?possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”

21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”

This is a stunning passage.  Jesus is using a ‘figure of speech’ here – maybe we need to too sometimes?

Jesus shares about how his sheep don’t recognize the voice of others and don’t follow them in turn – yet how often do we find ourselves tuning into plenty of voices other than Jesus?  what does that say about us?

You can get ‘hired help’ and plenty of other replacements and alternatives – but what can possibly compare to Christ himself?  The creator and provider of all life?

“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also.” – Again Jesus is speaking of the outsider.

“Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” – Another great example of Jesus complementing his words with his deeds, and vice-versa.  What can we learn from his example here?

Be the first to comment