Category Archives: spirituality

It’s not good news — it’s GREAT news!I

[This is the second installment of the People Jesus Touched series.]

Jesus is seated on a hillside, perhaps overlooking the Sea of Galilee in the distance.  Throngs of people have gathered to hear Jesus, whose fame is increasing every day.  The people crowded in and around Jesus to hear him and to see him.  Perhaps on this day, they’ll be able to see a miracle like has been rumored.  Jesus begins to teach.  They listen with bated breath to his every word.  All eyes are on him.

People from the city, the villages, and the country have gathered to hear this rabbi teach.  Young and old.  The schooled and the simple.  The wealthy and the poor.  Clean and the unclean.

Ah, the unclean.  The ceremonially unclean, though not necessarily because of sin, they’ve been separated because of their uncleanness.  Separated from their community until they no long suffer from their condition.  On this day, it’s a man with some sort of skin disease and is unclean because of it.  He’s come to hear this rabbi teach, but only from a distance.  Close enough to hear.  Not so close to cause an issue with the other people. Continue reading



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Importance of connection

Terry Rush is a great speaker. I’ve only heard him a few times, but every time has been insightful, energetic, and captivating. He recently blogged about how connecting with God has made all the difference in his preaching.

I don’t do any preaching, but his thoughts there caused me to wonder if I spend too much time thinking about how to make a difference in my own personal ministry . . . and not enough time cultivating my own personal connection to God.

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Thanks, JC. Care for some iced tea?

iced_tea1I think mothers-in-law (MIL’s) get a bad rap.  Most of the time, anyway.  In our situation, we live close enough to visit and help each other when it’s needed, too close to bother spending the night, and too far away pop in all the time. We live just the right distance away from the in-laws.  🙂

It’s interesting that the first person that Jesus touched (in Mark‘s & Luke‘s gospels) is Simon Peter’s mother-in-law.  Mark’s and Matthew’s accounts actually mention that Jesus touched her.  I think this one of the funnier healings in scripture.  Let’s set this up.

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The Power of Touch

I’m beginning a new series on the people who Jesus touched.  I’ll begin with a personal story — and though it does not come from scripture, I could sense Jesus’ presence all the same.

I don’t touch people.  Except for immediate family, I regularly go hours and days without touching another person.  Handshakes, pat on the back, hug, high-five, fist bump, chest bump, you get the idea.  Nope.  None of it.  Not me.  This isn’t a point of pride for me.  I don’t have an objection to physical contact.  Touching just isn’t a part of my normal behavior.  The absence of touch is my default behavior.

This past summer, I experienced something that made me wonder if I’ve been missing out on something — if I have a previously unnoticed and unsatisfied need to be touched.  Continue reading

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Where are we going?

Patrick Mead is running a new series on his blog about what happened to the disciples after Jesus ascended.  It’s been very interesting.  Yesterday, I finished reading his entry on Thomas, and something in it struck a nerve.

In John 14:1-7, Jesus tells the disciples not to worry.  He’s about to leave them to return to the Father, but he’s going there to prepare a place for them, he’ll return later and take them with him.  Jesus also tells them that they know the way to the place.

Thomas then asks the obvious question — We don’t have a clue where you’re going.  How can we know the way? (my paraphrase)

roadThis sentiment feels familiar to me.  There have been plenty of days when I wonder in my mind — and occasionally even aloud — God, I have no idea where you want me to go, what you want me to do, where you’re leading me.  How am I supposed to get there?

Let me explain.  When I was young, I actually believed them when they told me that God had a plan for me.  And I know a plan when I see one.  Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, . . . , Step 41, Step 42.  Ta-da!  Plan complete! Now that’s a plan.  You follow it step-by-step.  You get to the end and achieve the goal.  It’s a way to go from where you are to where you want to be.  Or in this case, where God wants me to be.

In the last few years or so, I’ve begun to question whether God really has a plan in the same sense that I’ve been expecting.  My walk in Christ just doesn’t fit the image that I’ve had of God having a step-by-step plan for me.  Either I’m missing it or it’s not that kind of plan.

Thankfully, Thomas fleshes it out for me.

When Thomas tells Jesus that they have no clue where he’s going or how to get there, Jesus doesn’t answer with a detailed plan or turn-by-turn directions (Garmin Nuvi-style).  He answers by telling Thomas:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6 — That’s the verse you use to brow-beat someone when they think that you can get to heaven some other way than Christ.  Okay — I believe that’s true . . . well, not the brow-beating part.

But maybe there’s something more here.  Instead of looking for a step-by-step plan from God to guide my every major decision, maybe I need to be looking at the Way / Truth / Life that he’s already given me.

As oversimplistic as WWJD seems, maybe that’s exactly what I need to be considering.  There are no step-by-step directions to follow.  Just follow Jesus because he leads the way to my final destination and hopefully he’ll help me be a blessing at all points between here and there.

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More Christian media on the way

Purpose Driven Connection

Purpose Driven Connection

It must be exciting being Rick Warren these days.  Six months ago, he was just another pastor at a mega-church and author of Purpose-Driven series of books, memorabilia, bobble-head dolls, and action figures.  (Okay, maybe not the dolls & action figures.  Rick — if you’re reading this, bobble-head dolls & action figures are a great idea and could make your Purpose-Driven empire complete.) In the last several weeks, it seems that the mantle of “Pastor to Presidents” has been passed from Billy Graham to Rick Warren.

Earlier this week, I read an article in a national newspaper that Rick Warren is starting a new quarterly magazine, Purpose Driven Connection., complete with an accompanying DVD and access to a Christian social networking website (similiar to Facebook?).

I just have to ask a question:  Why?

This isn’t a criticism of Rick Warren.  Never met him.  We don’t hang out on weekends.  I’m guessing he’s a great guy.  My question is about why Christians need another magazine and special social networking site.  (Let’s call it FaceBible for now.)

Christians are already perceived to live in a bubble, their faith incapable of being exposed to regular life — out there.  I’m not saying it’s true or false, just that we are perceived that way.  It seems to me that this helps reinforce that perception.

Setting those perceptions aside . . . I’m sure Rick Warren’s new projects will be successful.  I hope subscribers for this new magazine and FaceBible (that’s my fictitious name for it) use them as tools to move out of the pews and into the community.  Like Jesus did in his ministry — living, walking, and talking among normal, everyday people.  And admittedly, like I should be doing more of in my own personal ministry.

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