Breakthrough

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S (Scripture): John 10:37 (Jesus replied to the Jewish opposition) “If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me. 38 But if I do them, and you don’t believe me, believe the works so that you can know and recognize that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again, they wanted to arrest him, but he escaped from them.

40 Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had baptized at first, and he stayed there. 41 Many people came to him. “John didn’t do any miraculous signs,” they said, “but everything John said about this man was true.” 42 Many believed in Jesus there.

O (Observation): Jesus spends a lot of time and energy trying to convince God’s religious elite that He is God’s Son. The leaders who have studied Scripture the most might be able to connect the dots, but they have such tunnel-vision, that all they can do with Jesus is throw him into a category that makes him a heretic.

The crowds, however, likely didn’t know the Scriptures as well, and focused more on the signs / works Jesus was performing. Perhaps their attention to the present was helpful, noticing not only what God did in the past, but also what God was doing in the PRESENT!

A (Application): Does this all sound familiar? I hope so, because this is what we do as a Church nowadays. We miss God’s movement in the present. When we notice God’s movement, we can name it and call it a “kairos.”

Taking time to dwell in that moment (and even inviting others to chime in with their thoughts on your moment) is helpful. For when we discern and invite community to help discern, we make less of a rash decision and we can actually see faith forming before our very hearts. This is called spiritual breakthrough, and I wish for so many of you to find a way to be in the moment. See what God is up to right here, right now. See every moment of your day as a pregnant moment, filled with the anticipation of God’s presence in those moments.

From that moment and discernment, you will know what to do, in God’s name. Your moment will be a time of reflection AND a call to action.

May you see the kairos moments all around you today…moments both big and small.

P (Prayer): Lord, guide us into the moments and help us see you in them. Amen.

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Outside of Ourselves

  

S (Scripture): Mark 3:13 Now Jesus went up the mountain and called for those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve (whom he named apostles), so that they would be with him and he could send them to preach 15 and to have authority to cast out demons

O (Observation): Jesus calls the first disciples…to be with him and to give them authority.  These are Jesus’ first actions once the disciples have been called together.  

Be present.  Equip. 

Being present.  Equipping.  These are the two things that strike me from today’s Gospel reading:  

1. Jesus chooses to be with his disciples.  He didn’t send them off to be trained.  He didn’t necessarily pick these twelve because of their background or former training.  He simply called and they responded.  He called them to be WITH HIM.  That means as he went, they would go.  He show them how to heal and preach and teach and BE.  They followed and learned. 

2. Jesus also gave them something that they could not gain on their own: Authority.  That had to come from outside of them.  That authority can only come from The King. 
A (Application): I have found that being present and equipping are two of the most fruitful acts in which I am blessed to play a part.  

Sitting with ill congregational members, hearing someone’s stories of praises or valley experiences, I am blessed to be with so many people.  And the opportunity to equip abounds almost daily.  I am fed by helping to feed others.  I hope this blog is a way for you to be equipped…so that you, too, can equip others.  

P (Prayer): Lord, guide us and keep us on a steadfast journey knowing that you are with us and that you equip us…so that we can be with and equip others.  Amen. 

Selling It All

  S (Scripture): Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

O (Observation): Jesus tells another parable as a way to remind the hearers that when something precious is before them, sole attention should be given to that precious thing.  

This is what the kingdom is like.  So this focuses on how we are to be in God’s Kingdom, how we are to respond to what is precious before us. 

A (Application):  As I think about this, I think about the precious people that God has sent my way:  my wife, my kids, parishioners at the church I serve…   These are precious to me.  

I also have encountered ministries of which I am excited to be a part of.  And more people and great books.  But most of all, I am thankful for what God is up to.   

The people and ministries that come before me, I try to sell all and give that person/ministry my attention.   That is hard.  I don’t always focus. Things get in the way…but that is what grace is for.  

What gets in your way?   What keeps you from selling all for that precious thing?

P (Prayer):  Lord, I seek your guidance when obstacles stand in the way of me being an active part of your Kingdom.  Amen.  

“Ahem!  I’m Standing Right Here”

 

 S (Scripture): Matthew 12:38. Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees answered Jesus, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. 41 The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them – and now, something greater than Jonah is here! 42 The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon – and now, something greater than Solomon is here!”

O (Observation): The Pharisees are at it again.  And this time, Jesus puts them lower than the evil residents of Ninevah and the outsiders in “the South” (perhaps the Ethiopian region).  Talk about a slap in the face!   

Of course, Jesus lifts up these strange folks as examples, because they saw the light of God, peeked into that light, and recognized God’s sovereignty.   The Ninevites “repented when Jonah preached” (Mt 12:41) and the queen of the South “came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon” (Mt 12:42).   And now, with Jesus, who is healing and teaching with authority ALREADY, he is that much greater than Jonah or Solomon!   And the Pharisees still want Jesus to show them a sign!   They are still not satisfied.  

Jesus acknowledges that these folks just won’t see the light…and he is deeply troubled by their resistance.  He is troubled with them, because the gift of God – Jesus, himself – is in their very midst and yet their hearts and minds are blind to God’s presence on earth.   It was easier for those outside the Church (Ninevites and Ethiopians of the time) to see God on earth than it is for this group of Pharisees  to see God in the person of Jesus…in the flesh and blood.  

A (Application):  I still sense that God has work to do in me, in terms of keeping my eyes open to God’s presence.  I’m a pretty insecure person, and I tend to look at what others are doing and compare myself.  Sometimes my insecurity leads me to inaction, because I think I’m not good enough to complete the task…to the point that I don’t even take step number one.   

Then I read a text like this and find that I’m in the seats with the Pharisees.   I’m looking for a sign.  And the truth is Jesus is already in my midst!  The sign is Jesus himself!  And stepping out in faith is less scary knowing that He is with me.  

What insecurities block you from moving forward in your callings and in your ministry?  Can you look back and see moments where Jesus was carrying you through with grace?  Or times when the Spirit was clearly in charge of giving you faith to move?

P (Prayer):  Lord, help us to know that you are already and always helping us to take one step forward in faith toward you and in love toward one another.  Amen.