Missed it by that much…..

Max Smart from Get Smart was famous for this line but all too often we as Christians have to say it as well. I can sit back and think about numerous times where I missed what Jesus was saying. Times that I was so close but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. In John chapter 4:10 we see Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman and he says to her “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.” Now it is often easy for us when we read the Bible to look at the people who missed it with a certain smugness as if to say “if that were me I would have done better” but the truth is we miss it all too often.

How many times have we prayed for an open door and then walked right by it? Or how many times have we asked God to provide and then when He does we think we figured it out? I have decided that I am going to make a more conscientious effort turn the doorknobs and if they open a door I will walk through them as the child of God I am. I will be more intentional with my daily praise. Small or big I will praise Him who gives. I believe if I do this I might not have to regret missing it.

I don’t like looking back and thinking what if, maybe, I’m not sure, should I, or you fill in the blank. I am not talking about being careless and there is a fine line but all too often I personally err on the side of caution and not grace. All too often to I pray when I should act. I am not built for that, and neither are you. We are called out of the world to be active. Our faith is in an active God and we should be more like our Father. After all, if He can speak the world into existence he can surely…….

Born Again….Wait What?


I have been going back and forth on John 3:1-21 for a little over a week now and I think I finally understand why.  The problem I have with sharing from this particular section of John is it makes me emotional so sharing my gleanings from it keep coming from an emotional place.  So rather than fight that I am just going to go with it.

Jesus declares in verse 3 “no one can see the the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” But what does it mean to be born again?  This is the question Nicodemus asks Jesus and I think many of us have asked that same question.  I would imagine any non-Christians reading this or any other writings would ask the same question.  I mean after all it sounds very new agey and hokey pokey.  It sounds like something people say when they reach the end of their logic and cannot think of anything else to say “Well you just have to be born again.”  My question is what do we do with a statement like that?  Where do we go with something like that?  How do I put that into my daily life?

The simple and easy way to understand this is that God wants to be in a close and personal relationship with you.  He does not just want to be your Father He wants to be your Daddy.  That is mind blowing!  Maybe you read that last statement and went “OK and”…. But let me tell you why that is so powerful.  What Jesus is saying by be born again is God the all powerful, Creator, Maker of all, Master of the Universe wants to be your Dad.  He wants you to be His child.  This is so beyond amazing that I want to just stop typing because I cannot think of how to expound on that.

Jesus has changed the entire paradigm with the born again statement.  He has shifted everything.  So many of us have this idea about God that He does not care and has left us to our own devices.  But that is so beyond wrong that it make me almost cry.  God loves you, God the Father wants you to call Him Daddy.  He wants you to run to Him and let Him hold you.  He wants you to be with Him.  That is the Gospel message.  You want the Gospel here it is: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son to be the sacrifice so that you can believe in His name and be born again as a child of the Most High and call Him Daddy.

There it is.  It really is that simple.  What does it mean to be born again, how do I apply that to my life?  I understand that God wants me.  I understand that God chose me.  I did not chose Him, but He reached down when I could do nothing and chose to love me and give everything for me.

When I came to Christ I did not do it in a church building, or with someone standing there giving me a prayer to pray (I am not saying anything bad about any of that), or after or during some tragedy.  I accepted Him when I was doing the dishes.  It was not an emotional event.  It was not a pressured event. It was simple and to the point.  I had a million questions about God and I was told I have to have faith.  I had enough faith to believe that God was real.  That was it no more no less.  I told Jesus in a very plain and clear way that I had destroyed my life by 22, taken drugs, tried to kill myself, and hated everything about me and most people.  If He wanted me and could use my life He could have it.  That was it.  He said yes and now I am no longer my own.  I am a son of God.  I was born again.  How do I apply what Jesus says in John 3:1-21 to my life I remember that my Daddy loves me.  I remember I am His.  That no matter what comes it is well with my soul.

Oh to feel the love of God, to feel His presence.  I cannot express it but I so badly want everyone to know it.  You don’t need to understand it all, you don’t need to “feel” it.  You need to accept it.  That is the reason we are reading though John together.  I want you to take a chance and say “Jesus I give you a try.”  I want everyone believer and nonbeliever to try Jesus.  If you know Him give Him another area of your life, if you don’t know Him then tell Him you would like to.  I did not feel it when I gave Him my life, but I was willing to try Him.

Just a thought,


Nothing, I gots nothin

This is draft number three for John 2.  I have so far written about the history of what happened using a most excellent Bill and Ted reference.  I have also written about how we need to go through our own lives and flip over tables.  The tables representing the sin and other things in our life that we allow in our lives.  But alas you will never read these because they have been deleted and I could not form a single cohesive thought out of them.

I really want to say something profound and deep, and I think that is the problem.  I want to be thoughtful but lately I cannot seem to put a thought together and I am not sure why.  So instead of trying to do anything I am going to just throw something out there.  It might be a mess and less than I want but it will be honest.

John 2 Summary:

We are going to do an overview of Chapter 2.  Why an overview?  Just because…..

The Wedding (verses 1-12).

So a couple of things here, first of course is the wedding.  The wedding was held on the third day.  This is interesting to take notice of because the third day (Tuesday) is the day of double blessing.  It is called this because during creation God says it is good twice on Tuesday.  This was the day he created land and seas which is called good, and then He created vegetation which He also called good.  This is the only day He calls good twice, so this is the day of double blessings and in ancient times (and to some extent still) Jewish people prefered to married on this day.  Just a little background for you there.

Next is the wine…..OK before my ultra conservative friends go absolutely nuts I am not telling people to start drinking, but I am going to let everyone in on a little secret.  When the Bible calls a drink wine it actually means wine like you think.  It’s not grape juice.  Show of hands who has heard of Thomas Bramwell Welch?  You are correct he is the Welch’s grape juice guy.  He became famous for pasteurizing grape juice so it did not ferment and become wine.  Grape juice was not invented until the 19th century.  Some reports mention a possibility of others doing this before Dr Welch but nothing out of the 19th century.  So lets do math…..Jesus somewhere about AD 30-50, grape juice somewhere about AD 1849-1869.  That gives us about 1819 years between Jesus turning water into wine and Welch making juice.  Sorry but it was wine.

Now do not think I am saying everyone should start drinking wine or other drink.  The Bible speaks on this topic many times and no one should be a drunkard.  Some are called to completely abstain and that is great my only point is let the Bible be.  Don’t start saying it says something it doesn’t say.  Jesus made wine and that’s OK He is God He is allowed to do that if He wants.

OK next on our trip we find ourselves traveling from Galilee to Capernaum (probably to stop at Peters house) to Jerusalem (does everyone still have their traveling buddy).  It is so exciting this time of year.  Everyone coming in for the required Passover festival.  Oh look pony rides….  OK lets focus we need to hurry or we will never pass our history test (see a Bill and Ted’s reference).

As we make our way to the temple we stop in the outer courtyard, and we have to stop because we are Gentiles (I assume we do not have any Messianic Jews in the group if we do you are free to wonder).  This is where verses 13 and on take place.  This one area.

Money Changers

The money changers were converting foreign money like the Roman Denarius to the proper currency for Temple Tax the Shekel.  This was a good thing because the Temple Tax had to be paid in Shekel or third or half at times.  The money changers were the equivalent of the teller at the bank changing currency from US Dollar to Canadian.  Only they were charging a fee and using dishonest scales.  That is always a bad idea. God HATES dishonest scales.  He never approves of that.

Animal Sales

Here is the deal with the selling of animals.  It was not so much like the outside of a Tractor Supply in the spring.  You had to have sacrifice and offering at the temple, and it could be BYOS but the priest had to approve of your offering.  Don’t get me wrong I very much approve of the practice that there be an approval process however like so many other things it became corrupt.  You could typically count on someone finding something wrong with your offering.  They would also point out that they had animals for sale, quality merchandise too.  For a small handling fee, convenience fee, fair market value charge, and so on you could purchase one of these fine animals.

Jesus was not happy to say the least.  He got table flippin mad.  He let them have it, flipping tables, running animals out of the courts, and whippin folks.  He never lost His cool though.  He was angry but always in control (read verse 16 and take notice to what he did).  We can learn from Him here to be angry at things that deserve anger do not become rageful.  I get this one to a point because false teaching really makes me mad.  I hate it and a fire starts to burn in me that causes me to spend a lot a time in prayer to react Christ like.

Moving on now to 18-21.  Jesus upset a lot of people and they demanded a sign.  He tells them to destroy this Temple and He will raise it up in three days.  He was referring to His death and resurrection but they did not get it.  Before you get all “well that just shows how blind they were, and I tell you what” you wouldn’t have gotten it either.  You and I have already read the end of the book and probably watched the movie.  There are so many times when Jesus is telling us something and woosh we miss it until later (verse 22).

Lastly verses 22-25.  Mostly all I want to point out here is verse 24.  Jesus did not commit himself to them because He knew all men.  This idea comes up a few times in John (at least once more) so be looking out for it.  Remember Jesus knows you and what you desire/want.

So my friends we just blew through John chapter 2.  Next week I am leading chapel at the prison so we will be out of John for a week and either be in 1 Cor 15 or Rom 8.  Please do me a favor and throw out a prayer for me as I have no idea which or what to speak on.  Also be excellent to each other.

Just a thought,

Tower or Ladder….I’ll take the latter

You won’t believe it but I have finally finished the first chapter of John.  OK, to be honest, I have almost finished the first chapter of John.  I stopped on the 51st verse because I noticed something.  Also while we are being honest I stopped along the way but it was more personal revelation than something to share.

Anyway, here we go…….

He (Jesus) then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open up, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man”
John 1:51 NIV

So here’s the deal.  Jesus said things to the people of His day that to us does not always make sense.  When we read these things we have to do our best to try and understand what He was communicating to the people of His day.  This verse is a great example because this one of the first hints of His deity.  This one phrase is actually very important and I think we should take a look at it.

What does He mean?  Glad you asked.  To understand we need to flip a few pages back (actually almost all the way back) to Genesis and because I am a nice guy I have done it for us.

Then he (Jacob) dreamed, and behold a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Genesis 28:12 NKJV

The scene continues where Jacob says that God was in that place and he did not notice, he then goes on to say this is the ‘Gate of Heaven’ and names the place Bethel which means House of God.  Now, why is this important to go back and read?  Because what Jesus is saying in John is I am the ladder Jacob saw….grasp.  Jesus just hinted at something beyond what all other teachers, religious teachers, and good men say.  He is affirming that He is all that Jacob saw and proclaimed.  That is pretty heavy and in case you think I am reading too much into it read Colossians 2:9.

This is a profound statement because every good Israelite knew the story of Jacob’s Ladder.  It’s like two plus two.  This simple looking statement has deep implications.  It was three days after this statement He performs His first earthly miracle.

What can we take away from this, though?  As a modern individual, where do we go with this?  Honestly, we go to the same place in my opinion, and I think it would help if we look at Genesis 11:4.

Genesis 11:4 is where we learn about the Tower of Babel and the consequences of this failed building project.  This was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken and it was also one of the greatest failures ever recorded.  I mean it is such a stunning failure that the name of the man in charge is now an insult (Nimrod).  This was a horrible, horrible failure.  Not many things have failed this bad.  Get the point?  This was stupid.  But what was it that failed?  What was so dumb?  If you guessed the tower itself you are wrong but I won’t call you a Nimrod.  It’s OK because the first time I read those verses I honestly thought that was the problem, and in part that is true.  The big issue here is not so much the building but what the building represents.  What the builders were attempting to do was meet God on their terms.  They had been commanded to spread out and reproduce on the earth, you know the whole be fruitful and multiply deal.  Instead, they stayed together and said we will do what we want and we will go to God and tell Him we stayed.  We will go to God on our terms and by our strength.  God disagreed, and not just in a ‘come on guys’ kind of way.  He was pretty adamant about wanting them to spread out.

When we look at the Tower of Babel and the Ladder to Heaven that is Jesus we have a pretty black and white contrast.  The tower is mankind’s attempt to reach up to God, while Jesus is God reaching out to us.  It does not get much clearer than that to me.  Seeing as there are two options here I think I take the Ladder, please.

Just a thought,


Who are you? or Who do you think you are?

It’s funny how the question of ‘who are you’ can be asked differently depending on the inflection of your voice.  Or you can add a few words and the question takes on a whole new meaning.

I think that is what we need to keep in mind when we read John 1:19-23 and yes I realize I am never going to finish reading John if I keep stopping every couple of verses but there is so much here.

Here is the abridged version.  The priest and Levites sent men to ask who this John fellow was.  They asked him first who are you and also tried to interject who they thought he might be.  John answered them each time simply saying no I’m not that guy.  He knew who he was not.  Finally they reached a point where they asked one last time but I think the tone was more of a ‘Who do you think you are?’  Simply put they were probably getting a little frustrated with the locus eating hippie.  After all he was out here baptizing people talking about the Christ, but says he is not the Christ, or the Prophet, or Elijah.  Just who does he think he is then.  Come on man we have got to bring answers to people who do not like surprises.  John knew who he was though.  John told them he was simply the one calling out in the wilderness “make straight the path of the LORD.”

John knew who he was, he knew who sent him, and he knew what he was supposed to do.  I notice from reading these verses (and the ones after) that John also knew who he wasn’t and what he wasn’t supposed to do.  It is easy to try to become someone you are not when you don’t know who you are.  When you are unsure of what you are supposed to do you can easily do what your not supposed to.  But what happens when you know who you are supposed to be and when you know what you are supposed to be doing?  What happens when you can stop all the noise and only do what you are supposed to do?  I’ll tell you what happens….something happens.  Yeah that’s right something happens.  That something is also far better than the nothing that happens when we don’t know who we are or what we’re doing.

How’s that for some profound insight; something.  I am not going to say something ridiculous like the earth shakes, money rains, and AIDS is healed.  I’m also not saying that cannot happen.  But what I think does happen is you become something new, something great in the hands of God.  I believe that when you know who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing you becomes a great mom, or dad, or son or daughter, or teacher, or technician, or librarian, or preacher, or whatever you are and do.  When we get rid of the noise, and stop trying to let people tell us who we are then we can become something different.

When these men came to John notice again that they did not just ask who are you.  They asked who are you, are you…..  They thought they knew who he might be and they decided to fill in the blank.  Many people (and good natured ones at that) do this to you and I.  They think they know who we are or should be and if we are not confident then we can fall into what I like to call the OH CRAP I DID IT AGAIN hotel.  Yeah been there and I have a room on reserve.

We forget sometimes who we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to be doing and start doing what others think we should be doing.  But I want to encourage you that if you know your supposed to’s then hold on to them and return to them if you need to.  If you do not then I cannot tell you even if you wanted me to.  Are you supposed to work there?  Are you supposed to live there?  Marry them?  School there?  How would I know?  I don’t write your plans and supposed to’s.

Here is what I do know: God loves you.  God has a plan for you?  God has a wonderful supposed to for you that He wants you to know too.  He will not tell you the whole plan but He will give you enough direction to get started and hold on to.  He will give you just enough so that you do not have to check into the OH CRAP I DID IT AGAIN hotel.  All you have to do is ask Him.

Just a thought,


Can you see me?

No one has ever seen God, but God the one and only who is at the Fathers side has made Him known. John 1:18 (NIV)

In this first part of the verse, it says that no one has ever seen God but some verses in the Old Testament talk about so and so seeing the Lord on High and seeing the appearance of God. This catches my attention because both statements cannot be true. What I mean is you cannot both see and never have seen someone at the same time.

If we do some digging we find that Greek definition for the word eōraken (stay with me here I promise not to use anymore Greek right now) means to see, perceive, and attend to. I like to give analogies so here is one. My bride can see me like no one else does. You can see me and you can know me to a point but no one knows me like her, no one sees me like she does. She can look at me and know what I am thinking or feeling. In a similar way, others may have seen a part of the Father or part of His glory but none have seen Him like Jesus sees Him.

Jesus and the Father are one and that means that Christ has and does see the Father in a way that we never can. We are redeemed and saved but I think we will spend eternity in heaven always seeing something new about God. However, Jesus sees the Father completely and wholly.

This brings me to the second point and I will keep it brief. Jesus is God, He is not the first creation, not the most important creation but He is God in flesh. He has always been and will always be. He is part of the Holy Trinity. If someone tries and get you to believe anything other than that about Jesus they are not preaching the Jesus of the Bible.