Sunday, December 14, 2008

your story with God

communicating your story

1 - Realize the Power of Your story
First and foremost - remember - there is power in your testimony! Revelation 12:11 says we overcome our enemy be the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony.


2 - Study an Example of a Testimony from the Bible
Read Acts 26. Here the Apostle Paul gives his testimony.

3 - Spend Time in Thought Preparation
There are a few things to consider before you start writing your story. Think about your life before you met Jesus. What was going on in your life leading up to your transformation? What problems or needs were you facing at the time? How did your life change after that?
4 - Start with a Simple 3-Point Outline

A three-point approach is very effective in communicating your spiritual biography. The outline focuses on before you trusted Jesus, how you began a relationship with him, and the difference since you've been in a relationship with him.

Before: Simply tell what your life was like before you knew Jesus. What were you searching for before coming to know Him? What was the key problem, emotion, situation or attitude you were dealing with? What motivated you? What were your actions? How did you try to satisfy your inner needs? (Examples of inner needs are loneliness, fear of death, insecurity. Possible ways to fill those needs include work, money, drugs, relationships, sports, sex.)

How: How were you transformed? Simply tell the events and circumstances that caused you to consider Jesus as the solution to your searching. Take time to identify the steps that brought you to the point of trusting Him. Where were you? What was happening at the time? What people or problems influenced your decision?

Since: How has your life with Jesus made a difference? How has his forgiveness impacted you? How have your thoughts, attitudes and emotions changed? Share how God is meeting your needs and what a relationship with him means to you now.

5 - Important Tips to Remember


  1. Stick to the point. Your conversion and new life in Christ should be the main points.

  2. Be specific. Include events, genuine feelings and personal insights that clarify your main point. This makes your testimony tangible - something others can relate to.

  3. Be current. Tell what is happening in your life with God now, today.

  4. Be honest. Don't exaggerate or dramatize your life for effect. The simple truth of what God has done in your life is all the Holy Spirit needs to convict others of their sin and convince them of his love and grace.

  5. Be Relevant. Use the language of our culture and then write it; practice it; record it in Mp3 or video it to Blue Ray.

Then give it away!

sworn statement


A screech of tires…the car flips over…then an eternity of silence…


You are stuck in the vehicle upside down, trapped inside. Blood trickles down from your head, and you try to not pass out.

Then suddenly you see another car coming down the highway towards you. It stops and someone gets out. They come over to the car, and smile at you, and you try to smile back. You start to try to explain that you were driving too fast on the ice…that you are trapped inside…that you need help.

And then he does the amazing. He grabs the car with two hands and actually flips the whole car over. He then rips off the doors and gently places both of his hands under you and pulls you out of the wreckage and close to himself.

You wonder if your hallucinating. Or if you are in an out-take of a scene from the next SUPERMAN movie. Then you pass out.

When you awake in the hospital you tell people the story. And there starts to be some buzz about it. Reporters visit the crash site and investigate the car. The find finger dents in the metal where the man grabbed the car and flipped it over. Evidence of what happened. The door to the car as well has fingerprints.

CNN picks up the story, and there is a search in the nearby towns for this stranger. And as you get better you too are obsessed to discover who has saved you. Your insurance agency asks you to fill out a sworn statement about the events. And the police ask for your testimony.

But you never find the man…BUT…what if you did? What would happen? To you and to him?

And after all, weren’t we all in a car wreck call life? And didn’t Jesus rescue us from ourselves? And if we revisit that in our minds aren’t our hearts filled again with wonder and joy?

And in light of the fact that it took his death to save us, shouldn’t we tell somebody.

Couldn’t we tell everybody!

Who should you tell?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

intercession relationships

i had a conversation about prayer with someone today, and thought i would share what intercession means for a church.

this will take several posts, but the simplist one is first

intercession relationships:

we all need to be back to back protecting one another. what this means for us is that we engage consistantly in praying for 3 groups of people...probably daily.

  1. those in authority over us. Our boss, the president, our parents, our pastors, our small group leaders etc. We bring them before God and ask that God would be in thier lives; that his presence and protection would fill them. That His wisdom and agenda would infiltrate and influence them. etc.
  2. those that are our peers. Our co-workers; spouse; other people in the church etc. we do the same as above.
  3. those that are our disciples. our employees; our children; people on our teams or those we are mentoring. we do the same as above.

when we do this we find that prayer also has a call-back feature that effects us. We end up with Gods heart for these people starting to draw us into Gods will for them. we then find we can be gods agents in thier lives and give them grace, mercy, forgiveness etc. we also find that we then understand how to serve and love them. sometimes this means obedience, or confrontation, or 7 times 70 forgiveness, or a word of encouragement...

prayer is an act of God's people [or persons] caring for one another as a spiritual family with a Father figure leading us all.

many times we have unnatural breaks in relationships simply because we don't spend time with our Father searching to understand how he wants the family to operate. When we are with him, we enter into his feelings, wisdom, and will. Sure we can listen to Oprah, Dr Phil, and Dr Laura and all the self help books and therapists. But the 1st place to go is to God.

when a church does this, and invisible spiritual bonding begins to happen. the church becomes God's people...his tribe...his family. And in this context joy, hope, love, mercy, and compassion flow freely and strongly. in the absence of this...striving, resentment, bitterness, passivity, and hopelessness often saturate relationships. and in this atmosphere sin breeds and forms crusts and wounds in our hearts.

pray...and you will find and feel God pull you into his world. and in his world we change and can handle this world 1,000 times better.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

We listen to stories, because we find ourselves in them.

Everyone walks or rides a road. And sometimes you have to pull over and somebody you ask directions from says, you can’t get there from here. You need to know…they’re lying.

He goes through a farm road in Samaria. Another place Jesus isn’t supposed to be. But Jesus is often where he isn’t supposed to be; doing what he isn’t supposed to be doing; spending time with people he just isn’t supposed to be with. But this is one of the 1st times he does this.

Even the disciples wonder about this as the come up to Jacobs well. A famous place, infamous now. And as Jesus sits down to rest he sends his followers off to get supplies. Amongst those…they despise. Jesus is sneaky like that, teaching them early something they will understand much later.

And so he sits. Exhausted from so many miles through waves upon waves of undulating and scorching heat. He is weary, both from what is behind him as well as from what he knows is unfolding in front of him. His mind is tired of strategy, his heart is tired from the battle yet ahead, and his body aches from the footprints he has left in the sand. He wipes the sweat from his brow, and his hand comes down on the smooth stones of the well. He is alone, more alone than anyone who has ever lived. And he looks down into the well, and feels the cool breeze that comes up from it splash across his face. 100 feet down is an underground river, an unseen river much like his kingdom, rushing with power and life just beneath the desert that surrounds us. But for now in his human form, the river is inaccessible and the God of the universe cannot reach the very water he created. He smiles at the irony. Perhaps this longing in him, will help him understand the great longing in us.

And his irony looks out into the wind tearing desert, and off at a distance he sees a small black dot on the horizon. It bobs back and forth trudging forward resolutely against the driving winds, against the sun, and against exhaustion. And as it comes near him, he knows his Father is brining him someone. And so prays for them, and himself, as the sands of time fall all around him and the stage is set for the sacred to gush forth in the desert of the secular.

She is exhausted. She has come so far, and has so far to go. The rope on her shoulder and the bucket at her waist rub her skin raw; they are usually not just carried by an individual but a group. But she doesn’t have that option; she lost that option years ago. She is coming to the well at noon, the hottest hour of the day. The other women come at dusk, a cooling, and comfortable time. But she comes as a displaced daughter of Sychar with a scarlet letter upon her veil. She can take the sun starring at her, but the withering looks and blazing glares of accusation of the other women coupled with the whispering winds of their gossip about her…these she can no longer bear. 5 husbands, 5 weighty stones have come and gone as she has come her alone. And so her shoulder is torn and bloodied by the rope, and the bucket digs into her side. But she has learned to live with pain; it has become her 1 true companion…her bitter BFF. On her other shoulder is the water jar, and as hard as it is to carry it now, it will be worse when it is full. But she trudges on, as we all do from time to time. A survivor, an outcast, forsaken, broken and bruised…but still moving. Relentlessly moving. Running on empty.

And then she sees him at a great distance and her steps stumble and become heavier and harder somehow. Nobody is supposed to be there. She grits her teeth, trying to gather strength for another challenge she isn’t up for. She asks God for help, expecting none.

The bucket jostles when she takes a bad step, and it cuts into her ribs. And she thinks about the empty bucket. How alike she is to it. Once she was a bucket full of potential and options…now she is a bucket of emptiness and alleys. And as she walks forward she thinks about all that has gone wrong. She thinks about the wild liquids she has drunk and then drowned in, the great laughter and joy that they first seemed to offer and the hangover and regret they eventually-inevitably brought. She thinks of the empty relationship she is now trapped in. She has gone been passed around the boys. Each looks like an oasis, but in the end she finds herself drinking burning sand. Love has become a mirage to her, and even the man she lives with now offers nothing but a shot-glass of satisfaction. But for one such as her she knows that is all that is left. One there was laughter, then their were tears, and now there is just deadness and a great numbness that has scarred and calloused her heart into stone itself.

And then suddenly she is jostled back awake to her surroundings. The well is right in front of her, just a few yards away. She checks her veil, making sure it is adjusted for a modesty she no longer owns. But the man in front of her shouldn’t be here, and after all she knows she needs to be careful around men. So she averts his eyes while studying him from the edges of her view. He too is alone, but he is far more than that…he is hopelessly out of place. He is alone yes; but he is also a Jew [is he lost, they don’t come here amongst us “dirty” folk]; he has no bucket or rope for the well which is odd and amusing; and so her fear and weariness slowly drains out and is instead filled with humor and curiosity as he silently sits there watching her as she puts down her water jar…uncoils the rope…and carefully stands on the other side of the well. A safe distance from him, a length she believes no bridge will ever span. He is already unsettlingly close, best to maintain it as best she can.

She throws the bucket into the well, and as she does so he startles her with his words:


Will u give me a drink?

She can only be surprised, while we are shocked and chagrined as the God of the universe approaches one of us and asks for of all things…help.

But she isn’t some na├»ve seeker…she is a battle tested cynic and skeptic. And the sands of sarcasm scorch out with her words in return.

You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?

And her words are full of warnings, condemnations, and perhaps a slight edge of curiosity. Because Jesus in his simple words of asking for a drink is breaking a lot of taboos. Taboos that dam the distance between them.

1. Jews aren’t supposed to be here
2. Jews don’t talk to Samaritans anywhere
3. A man does not speak directly to a woman that is a stranger

And she wonders, doesn’t he know!!! But he does know, and as is so common for Jesus he uses the taboos of the world to build a bridge between himself and others. To rescue those trapped in a well, Jesus knows he will have to take risks and get dirty.

And so he smiles at the sarcasm and the banter…he retorts

If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.

So many things are dripping tantalizingly in these words.

1. What is the gift of God of which he speaks, and is it really available to me? Aren’t I disqualified…an outsider…a cast-aside
2. And who is this man that is talking to me, is there perhaps far more to him than has initially been perceived
3. And what is the living water? What is the water that makes life…life again?

Now they finally lock eyes. And as he looks at her he sees the cavernous cistern of brackish misery and parched emptiness that has made her heart and soul hollow and empty. And he knows he alone can fill it.

And as she looks she finds herself unwilling to stop believing that she can throw her bucket into him and finally pull up the water of life that has escaped her for thousands of desert noon’s.

Sir…she says respectfully…you have nothing to draw with and the water is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons, his flocks, and his herds?

And he smiles again. She takes the literal path, cautiously sliding around risking her heart and the growing hope that is bubbling up within her. And so she challenges him on several levels.

1. You don’t have anything to give, nor the means to give it. At least not to the observations of the naked eye.
2. And who are you…are you greater than our patriarch Jacob? Who do you think you are…who are you…to me?
3. We all so easily Jesus

Jesus uses his arms in a sweeping way as if to an unseen crowd of thousands who are listening…and indeed as the years stretch on billions will come to this story, this well, this Jesus. And he says everyone who drinks of this well will thirst again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

And as she stands there a refugee of failure and burnout, he offers her an internal everlasting oasis of refreshment and regeneration. And he uses big words like NEVER and ETERNAL. Her eyes are now wide open, even as she is overwhelmed with this staggering offer from a man who just a moment ago seemed to have nothing to offer her.

So she rushes headlong into the moment, diving like a bucket into this well of promises and opportunities. Sir! Give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water…she is almost giddy now.

But Jesus is about to stop this conversation on a dime, and turn it far deeper than she has expected. He tells her go call your husband and come back.

she says I have none


Jesus presses in, not to wound her, but to pull up the wound so he can lance it…bleed its poison, dress it, and heal it. And so he says You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had 5 husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband. What you have said is quite true.

The bucket stops on a ledge ½ ways down and lingers almost in mid air.

She speaks back slowly…looking at the ground, ashamed.

She retreats. Sir…she says coolly…I can see you are a prophet. Our fathers worship on this mountain but you Jews claim that the place to worship is Jerusalem.

This dodge Jesus understands. She feels shamed…exposed. But she takes her own situation and tries to duck around it by asking a religious question. A question that she hopes will distance him from her again, because she is mad she allowed herself to be tricked into a moment of intimacy and hope.

So he declares, in the plural to an audience of one. Believe me woman a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you don’t know; we Jews worship what we know, for rescue is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming, and has arrived right now when true worshipers will worship the Father is Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father is seeking. God is Spirit and he must be worshiped in spirit and in truth.

While she struggles to take in the enormity of this theological statement, she asks dumbfoundedly a question. A question all the Jews and Samaritans have been asking. A question that is all the more poetic and ironic given she doesn’t know who this stranger is.

She says I know that Messiah is coming and that when he comes he will reveal everything to us.

And the smile on Jesus face is now a full grin. His eyes open with wonder, awe, and love for this woman who has waited so long to be filled.

And a hush of silence fills the desert, the winds die down, and a fresh breeze of coolness comes up from the well to splash upon her face.

And he says I who speak to you am he!

The bucket breaks loose and falls to the bottom of the well, and for the 1st time she can remember in several decades…she cries.

This forgotten lonely woman. On the backside of nowhere. Trapped in a loveless survival. This is for whom the God of the universe has come this day. And perhaps for you.

And we, who watch the story, may find ourselves in it from time to time. He states her past, but doesn’t crucify her on her sin. He gives no call to repentance but to refreshment. There is no structured plan of salvation, no prayer…ultimately he offers only himself-and what he alone can give her from inside himself to inside of her.

He shows her a true reflection of herself, and she is repulsed…but he is not. He who knows her even deeper than she knows herself is here. Here to be her Lord. Here to be her true love. A love far more secure…and infinitely more satisfying than the mere love of a lover.

So wherever you are at, and if you think you can’t get home to God from where you’re at. This story reminds you…you can. Or more importantly HE can.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

“Religion has declined not because it had been successfully argued against, but because it has become irrelevant, dull, oppressive, uninteresting. When faith is replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crises of today are ignored because of the remembered splendor of the past; when faith becomes an inherited heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority and rules rather than the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.”

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

video stories

check out www.iamsecond.com and listen to stories of surprising people who have come to faith. Joe Gibbs, guitarist for Korn, d Waltrip etc.

very dynamic

staying fresh as a christian

I am as susceptible to spiritual droughts as the next pastor. Because I know my vulnerabilities, I work hard to keep my passion alive.

Here are a few things I try to revisit:

See God working in another part of the world. God is so much bigger than what we see week in and week out and our churches. visit the operation world website or the blogs of some missionaries. The voice of the martyrs is good as well. Sometimes I also read stories from Butler's book of Saints

Visit an impoverished place / neighborhood and serve at least once a year. Some moms choose what to feed their children. Some moms have to choose which children to feed. Putting yourself in a place that crushes your heart keeps the passion alive. A friend told me once [who worked in the poverty of mexico city] that christians are to live life with [full but broken hearts]

Fasting. I don’t know why fasting works, but it does. Fast from something that consumes your time and use that time to feast on God's presence.

Develop friendships with non-Christians. Caring about people far from God helps keep me closer to God. Just to enjoy them and get to know them without pressure. Trust God and enjoy the people he has created. Someday his perfect timing may make room for more.

§Devoted time to prayer. If I don’t spend time with my wife away from all the other pressures, it is hard for us to stay close. My relationship with God is the same. If I don’t spend time with Him, how can I know Him? Get a copy of Richard Fosters book on prayer or get a copy of the Common book of prayer...or...in a pinch pray some of the Psalms out loud. I go to the park several times a week and pray about all sorts of things; and late at night sometimes just take a prayer-walk around the neighborhood.

Give extravagantly. Something about giving big breaks the grip of this world and connects me closer to God.

Cry hard and Laugh hard. Do some deep breathing. Do some deep CONFESSING and you will cry over your own faults; laugh at your own stupidity; and be able to give empathy and forgiveness to others in MUCH bigger ways.

Visit a cemetery. Seeing today in light of eternity always changes me. Jonathan Edwards [famous old pastor] and his wife used to go to the cemetery once a day on horseback and ride through it in silence. While there they asked God [silently] what they MUST do if today was their last day on earth. Then they shared with each other when they got through. This helps keep a dynamic sense of immediacy alive!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"O, Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life. Amen."

Hey Dave -

This reminded me of something you said a while back about gifts and getting up in front of the congregation. Thought you'd like it.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing
enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel
insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our
own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission
to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our
presence automatically liberates others.


~Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Prayers

My prayers today:

For Kyle who just lost his father
For my church family and those struggling with laying down condemnation
For the couple that just loss a child
For fred finks, john shultz, and dan lawson
For several pregnancies
For the men of our church to lead themselves and their families
For this weeks service
Nate and his car
For faithfulness in our tithes in tough times
A/U students still struggling with the suicide
For a widow
For divorced persons
For those in Ashland that don't know god
For those here that are sick
For the lonely during the holidays
For boldness sensativity and love in telling others about Jesus
For breakfast lovin at a/u
For revival and churches being united in Ashland
For 3 churches mosaic westwinds and new hope
And Lifechurch ezekial and park street
For park street search team
For our new youth pastor
For vision
For heart renewal

Monday, December 1, 2008


oh the weather outside is frightful

But the fires of fellowship are delightful.
And since we’ve no place to go [I mean really…in this weather]

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

Tonight at planning meeting we will enjoy fellowship, creativity, maybe some hot coffee and cocoa…and plan what God has in store for our church family this week. Pray about being there, and what you might contribute to having a service where all our gifts are experienced by our friends and family.

This week we have a fun one…

John 4
Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman


1The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, 2although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. 3When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.

[why?]


4Now he had to go through Samaria. 5So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. 6Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.


[What is weird about Samaria?]


7When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)


[Is this odd in some way?]


9The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[
a])
10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."


[when was the last time you said something like that around the water cooler?]


11"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?"


[she takes it pretty literal…as nicodemus did a chapter back]


13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."


[what is this like in the Christian experience?]


15The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
16He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."


[this seems a little odd…like he’s selling Amway or something]


17"I have no husband," she replied.
Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. 18The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."


[yikes…who’s been hacking my computer and reading my e-mails?]


19"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."


[why is she distancing herself with religious arguments and jargon?]


21Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."


[what does this mean, and why does it matter….what’s he trying to do to her…and me and you?]


25The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."


26Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."


[…]

john 3: 17-21

John 3
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."


Relevant reading and verses
Luke 6:37 "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Romans 14:3 The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
John 12:47 "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.
Colossians 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
James 4:11-13 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 5:9 Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Matthew 18:21-23 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Homework:
1.Who do you need to stop CONDEMNING
2.Who do you need to FORGIVE
3.Who do you need to CONFRONT with love
4.Who do you need to forgive 7 times 70
5.Ask God for help!



Johnny eight [modernized redux]

Jesus went to Ashland Ohio. At 10:30am he appeared at 5 stones community church, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
But then things got interrupted. A group barged in suddenly with their own agenda. These were the professors and the fundamentalists who brought in a person caught in the very act of a sexual sin [but it could have been: lying; cheating; stealing; drinking too much; gluttony; gossip and slander; disobeying parents; being judgmental; lazy; addicted to meth; etc you pick the sin].
They made her stand before the church ½ naked wrapped in a bed-sheet and said to Jesus, “preacherman, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. In the Old Testament law Moses commanded us to stone such women to death. Now what do you say?" [uh oh…what’s Jesus gonna do?]
They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus just started to write on the whiteboard with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and sneered to them,
"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
Again he wrote on the whiteboard. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you,"
Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your sin.“
And then all the protest signs came down; and the negative petitions; and the slandering blogs-talk-radio-spam stopped being sent. And the crowd that was so focused on holiness finally learned to be truly holy by learning that love, grace, and forgiveness are a part of holiness. And people learned to confront each other with truth THROUGH love instead of accusation, judgment, and abandonment. Or at least that what should have happened….

 

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