God Running

A Remarkably Tragic Childhood

sharing faith

Alone, by Camilla Nilsson – Creative Commons (This image is not of Francis Chan)

Read John 4:16-42

Last post we saw what the woman at the well did (and what you and I do) when she was confronted with her sin. Today we’ll see that what she does next is truly amazing. But first I want to look at a man who reminds me of the woman in our text.

A Remarkably Tragic Childhood

This  man’s childhood is remarkable to me because it was so filled with tragedy. It’s hard to imagine a childhood worse than his.

 

His mother Read More

The Controversy When Confronted With My Sin

 

Guitar and Bible by Mark Hunter - CC

Spirit and Truth, by Mark Hunter (Creative Commons)

Last Post we saw how Jesus shared about the gift he had for the woman at the well, and the gift he has for us, the water that becomes a well inside, a well of living water that springs up into everlasting life.

The 7th Man In Her Life

After he spoke of that gift, Jesus talked about the six men in the Samaritan woman’s life: her previous five husbands and the lover Read More

The Best Investment

Living Water by Shellie Gonzalez-CC

Thirsty Again

Last post from the gospel of John we talked about how Jesus loved both the Samaritan woman living on the margin, and the Jewish man leading the mainstream. And we talked about how we need to love people in the same way Jesus did: all people, from all walks. Jesus loved them all.

We left off with Jesus asking the woman at the well for a drink of water. And when he does, she asks him why he, a Jewish man, would ask her, a woman of Samaria, for a drink.

And this is how he answers:

“If you knew Read More

What Every Parent Wants (Including God)

Christian discipline

“I’m not sure I like bathtime.” (by Tom Page, Creative Commons)

Read John 2:13-24, Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Sin Inside The Temple

So the people selling animals in the temple, and the people changing out currency were taking advantage of the situation. If you traveled to Jerusalem for Passover, and you showed up with a sacrificial animal, it had to be without blemish. The priests were the ones who decided if it was acceptable or not. Well guess what, it was usually found to be unacceptable. But, conveniently located right here in the temple we happen to be selling pre-approved animals for sacrifice–for an exorbitant price. And, you have to pay for the animal with the temple currency. We can exchange your cash for our currency, in fact we have money changers right here in the temple standing by, but, it will cost you.

Providing a means of exchanging currency and providing animals for the Passover sacrifice was a good thing, but overcharging wasn’t. It was a sin. It was a sin found right there inside God’s temple. And Jesus, out of love for his Father’s house, turned the tables on those taking advantage of the people. He took action.

The religious leadership of his day asked Jesus: What sign can you show us to demonstrate you have the authority to cleanse the temple like this?

Jesus said: Read More

Mark Watney’s Connection From Mars (And what that has to do with our connection to Heaven): John 1:50-51

Jesus is the way to heaven

And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:51

The Martian And Mark Watney’s Connection

I just finished reading the book The Martian by Andy Weir. And if you’ve already read the book or seen the movie you know that Mark Watney, a mechanical engineer and botanist, is left stranded alone on mars–for a very very long time.

He’s alone but he’s alone in a way no one has been alone before. He’s the only living creature on the entire red sand desert, unbreathable atmosphered, super frigid temperatured planet. Mark Watney spends every day on that planet just trying to figure out how to survive. But there’s one place in the book where he talks about this great connection he has that makes all the difference. His connection is with a team of scientists in Houston. Watney says, Read More

When Christians Are Wrong: John 1:44-49

When Christians Are Wrong Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”

Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:44-49)

How Philip Was Wrong (And Nathanael Was Right)

Have you ever considered Nathanael and Philip’s words in this passage? Philip gets it wrong on Read More

Finding Your Identity (and what that has to do with Jesus): John 1:42-43

find my identity

He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” John 1:42-43

Nate Larkin, Samson And The Pirate Monks

I recently heard a man speak by the name of Nate Larkin. Nate wrote a book called Samson and the Pirate Monksand in his book and during his talk he spoke of the different personas he developed as he navigated life. For church and when he was in the presence of God there was Saint Nate. Saint Nate was good (at least on the outside), he memorized scripture, and he said all the right things. He polished that persona to perfection. Nate was great at looking bright and shiny to other Christians. But later, in high school, he found girls weren’t attracted to Saint Nate, so he developed another persona he calls Date Nate. Date Nate was smooth and fun and cool. And you know what? It worked. He could find dates when he took on the Date Nate persona. Then he met the girl of his dreams. But the only problem was, she didn’t like Date Nate. So he invented yet another persona he calls Mate Nate. And that worked too. The girl of his dreams married Mate Nate. Awhile later Nate entered the ministry. But he did so while carrying a dark secret: he was a sex addict, addicted to porn since his teens. After a few years working for a church, Nate noticed several high profile Read More

The Flip Side Of Envy: John 1:39-42

Envy ChristianHe said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. (John 1:39-42a)

One Day With Jesus

So last post from the book of John we saw how John the Baptist was with two of his disciples when Jesus walked by. “Behold the Lamb of God,” John the Baptist said. And these two disciples of John the Baptist, they immediately left him and followed Jesus.

When Jesus saw them following, he asked, “What do you want?”

And the two responded, “Where are you staying?”

And Jesus said, “Come and see.”

So they did. They followed Jesus to where he was staying. And they spent the day with him.

Imagine what you would ask if you spent the day with the Messiah. These two former disciples of John the Baptist, now Jesus’ first two disciples, probably spent the day asking the same questions. Whatever the discussion, we know from what happens next that they were deeply and profoundly impacted, because one of them, Andrew (the other isn’t named) leaves Jesus to tell his brother who they found.

Peter’s Brother

“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother,” that’s how Andrew is referred to in our text. That’s how Andrew is usually referred to throughout scripture, as Simon Peter’s brother. One imagines that it was that way for Andrew, for a long time. We can imagine Andrew growing up hearing himself referred to in this way: “You know who I’m talking about, Simon’s brother.” Do you know someone like Andrew? Someone who is always referred to as “so and so’s brother?” If you do, you know it can be a point of contention. Envy can creep in. And when envy creeps in, that person who’s referred to as “so and so’s brother” begins to wish for, hope for, and even enjoy the defeats and failures of the person who is the object of their envy. That’s just how envy works.

You might think that Andrew, having lived in his brother’s shadow all these years, would have looked at his new relationship with the Messiah as an opportunity: an opportunity to escape his brother’s shadow, an opportunity for Andrew to shine for himself.

“I’m Andrew, the very one who found the Messiah (with a little help from John the Baptist). Maybe now they’ll call Simon, ‘Andrew’s brother.'”

But to Andrew’s great credit, he didn’t let envy or anything else get in his way. After spending one day with Jesus, he felt compelled to find his brother Simon and to tell Simon all about who he, Andrew, just found: the Messiah, the Christ.

The Flip Side Of Envy

But there’s another side of envy that we rarely hear discussed. The flip side of envy is Read More

The One Thing That Changed Everything For Me As A Christian: John 1:35-39

Why don't I feel joy
Read John 1:35-39.

“What are you seeking?” (John 1:38)

Why Don’t I Feel Joy?

So you’re a Christian. And you’re wondering why you feel the way you do. I mean, you read about, and hear about joy, and fulfillment, and an abundant rich life in Christ, but, that’s not what you feel. That simply has not been your experience. Maybe you feel anxiety, frustration, or even depression, and you’re wondering why.

This blog post answers that question, and offers you a chance to change everything. Read More

Did Jesus Need the Holy Spirit? (And do you and I?): John 1:32-34

Holy Spirit

And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34)

We know very little of Jesus’ life before he went public with his teachings and his miracles. We know something of his birth. And we know about the time his parents lost track of him when he was twelve years old, when he was hanging out in the temple. But that’s it.

Did Jesus Need the Holy Spirit? Read More

How the lambs of the Bible bleed a stream of blood (that leads to Jesus)– John 1:24-31

Jesus in Old Testament In our last post from the gospel of John we saw how John the Baptist was grilled with questions. And he answered all their questions, all the questions asked by this group of inquisitors sent from the Pharisees.

One Last Question

So now they ask him one final question: “Okay, if you’re not the Messiah, and you’re not that prophet, and you’re not Elijah, then why do you baptize?” (In those days baptism was for gentiles newly converted to Judaism, but John was baptizing Jews. This was unorthodox and confusing to the religious leadership.)

John the Baptist says, Read More

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