Friday, July 31, 2015

The Morning After.

The crowd woke up the morning after the party, and saw that their hosts had slipped out during the night. So they grabbed all the boats they could find along the lakeshore and went across in search of Jesus and his students.

They found him on the other side; "Teacher! When did you get here?"

He answered; "Listen to the Truth. You follow me, not because you correctly understood table-fellowship or the other signs, but because I gave you free food! Stop worrying so much about making money to buy food that does not last - but look for the food that never rots, food that is not devoured only to be excreted. I am the Bread that you need."

"What does God want from us?" they asked him.

"To believe in me," he answered.

"What signs should we be looking for? Manna?"

"Exactly! The Bread-of-Heaven did not come from Moses, but from my Father; and it is the Father who now gives you the true Bread-of-Heaven - for it is the Bread-of-God that descended from heaven to nourish the world."

This sounded pretty good to the crowd, and someone shouted: "SIR, GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD!"

"I am right here. I AM the Bread-of-Life. No one who comes to me will go away hungry. No one who believes in me will be thirsty."

(Story from John 6:24-35)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Letter From Prison.

I beg you to lead a worthwhile life, to live up to God's potential within you.

Put up with each other in love: with true humility; with abiding patience. Spare nothing to encourage and nurture the unity of His Spirit and the bonds of His shalom in your community.

There's One Body;
There's One Spirit;
One hope for all.

One Lord and God,
One faith and baptism,
One Father for all.

One above all, 
     through all, 
          and in all.

Each is given grace as a gift - a gift measured not by our worth, but by Christ's love. "He ascended to Heaven and descended Hell, and made captivity a captive - He gave Gifts to His people."

Some are leaders.
Some are speakers.
Some are encouragers.
Some are caregivers.
Some are teachers.

We are called to be specialists working together for the sake of the Body, until the time when we all come to maturity together and each know what the other knows. We are no longer children, at the mercy of human doctrine and dogma, at the mercy of flesh and self-interest. We must each stand up and speak out loud in love the Truth! We must in every way grow up and act like responsible grown-ups for a change.

Christ the Head and we the Body,
Working together through the ligaments of Gifts,
Each part working in its way,
Working together for the health of the Body,
Building it with the mortar of Love.

(Taken from Ephesians 4:1-6)

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Sins of the Powerful.

When she heard of her husband's death in battle, she went into isolated mourning. But as soon as the time came for the widow to put aside her black dress, David had her brought to his home to become one of his women. All the while, his seed had been growing in her, and she would soon be showing. He had killed her husband to hide his disgrace, it would not do for her to be seen by the public. She was sequestered in his palace. After a time, she bore the King an heir. God was not pleased, and so the Prophet Nathan appeared before the King and told him a story.

"There were once two people on Wall Street. One was the CEO of a powerful trading firm. The other lived on the street. The homeless one could only bear her life because of the love and devotion of her cherished dog. She gave most of her food to the dog, and brushed him often - he was her pride and joy. The rich man had always ignored her, and never gave her any pittance out of his vast fortune; but one day, he noticed her dog. What a spectacular dog! All his other dogs paled in comparison. He had the police come and arrest the woman for loitering, and he took her dog home to his trophy wife."

This appalled the King. "Who is this monster? I will bankrupt him and force him to return her pet! I will knock him down."

Nathan answered: "He is you. You were anointed to a position of authority and you abused it for your own gain. You killed a faithful friend and soldier to steal his wife and cover up your rape. Just as you said, God will knock you down. Your family will be always in discord and what you did in private, He will do in public. Your wives shall be taken from you, and raped for all to see."

And David replied: " I have sinned against the Lord."

(Story from 2 Samuel 11 and 12)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Let Them Sit and Eat.

After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee (some call it Tiberias). A huge crowd followed him, attracted by the miracles they had seen him do among the sick. When he got to the other side, he climbed a hill and sat down, surrounded by his disciples. It was nearly time for the Feast of Passover, kept annually by the Jews.

When Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” He said this to stretch Philip’s faith. He already knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered, “Two hundred silver pieces wouldn’t be enough to buy bread for each person to get a piece.”

One of the disciples—it was Andrew, brother to Simon Peter—said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”

(John 6:1-9; The Message)

One day a man arrived from Baal Shalishah. He brought the man of God twenty loaves of fresh-baked bread from the early harvest, along with a few apples from the orchard.

Elisha said, “Pass it around to the people to eat.”

His servant said, “For a hundred men? There’s not nearly enough!”

Elisha said, “Just go ahead and do it. God says there’s plenty.”
And sure enough, there was. He passed around what he had—they not only ate, but had leftovers.
(2 Kings 4:42-44; The Message)
Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted.

When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves.
(John 6:10-13; The Message)

The people realized that God was at work among them in what Jesus had just done. They said, “This is the Prophet for sure, God’s Prophet right here in Galilee!” Jesus saw that in their enthusiasm, they were about to grab him and make him king, so he slipped off and went back up the mountain to be by himself.

In the evening his disciples went down to the sea, got in the boat, and headed back across the water to Capernaum. It had grown quite dark and Jesus had not yet returned. A huge wind blew up, churning the sea. They were maybe three or four miles out when they saw Jesus walking on the sea, quite near the boat. They were scared senseless, but he reassured them, “It’s me. It’s all right. Don’t be afraid.” So they took him on board. In no time they reached land—the exact spot they were headed to.

(John 6:14-21; The Message)
1. Why is it so important for a community (or a family) to sit down and eat together?
2. They did not believe in the potential for a miracle of "adequate", and so were shown instead a miracle of "abundance" - how do miracles expand our vision?
3. What is the spiritual aspect of "enough" vs. "more than enough"?
4. What is the difference between a Gospel of Abundance vs. a prosperity gospel?
5. Were the disciples part of "the people" that wanted to crown Jesus? Was that why he went away from even them?
6. What kind of ghosts do we envision when we think of Jesus?
7. Why is it important that once those in the boat accepted Jesus they arrived at their goal?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Spiritual, But Not Religious

Me: "I love God, but I'm not a fan of "church".

1. Church and Christians are often unlovable. OFTEN.
2. God loves me, even though I'm often unlovable. OFTEN.
3. God calls me to love the unlovable too. :(
4. God calls me to love the Church and Christians. (Seriously?)
5. It may be easy to be A Christian, but it is way hard to BE christian sometimes..