What Do You Have To Say Of Positive Impact?

What Do You Have To Say Of Positive Impact? 

 

Good Morning Friends,

 
 

This world is all I have ever known and yet something about it seems a little off kilter. Maybe it is hearing and seeing the words and actions that divide us when I am pretty sure we were designed to be in unity. Think this through. Some people cannot hear and yet may have something to share that is unique and unspoiled on how they experience God and the Gospel. There is a void of the divine in the world that needs to be opened to heaven. In imitation of God we desire to speak and proclaim things into existence, but we must do so with discernment. What Do You Have To Say Of Positive Impact?

 
 

Scripture: Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

 
 

Mark 7:31-37 (NRSV)

 
 

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.”

 

Genesis 3:1-13 (NRSV)

 

Message: Today we have a miracle of Jesus and a passage from Genesis, that amazing first book of the Bible that tracks the experience of life beginning with creation and the sad reality of the fall but ends with the reconciliation of a family and a burial of a patriarch. The book is a journey that takes us from our birth through life to the reality of death and the hope of reconciliation. I hope you get a Holy Spirit experience in reading the scripture. For me it engages the memories and senses of my mind in a way so that it might be renewed and reconnected to the world in a way to glorify God. Yes, life is messed up, but it does not have to be. Become opened to experience it as a journey where we learn to walk, all over again, with the God we were created to walk with. And the longer we are in relationship with God—the better life gets. We need to obey the path of wisdom and learn to love God as we respond to this love poured out through Jesus Christ. Friends, there is only one good faith and sometimes we can get in God’s way is we try to substitute our own. Friends, sometimes we are to back off and sometimes to step in. Only if we really love will we know.

 

And So, have hope. The longer we are in relationship with God the better life gets. God created us to be in a trust relationship with the Divine and in a love relationship with one another. There is no need to fear but there is a need to be strategic, for trust must be partnered with the Spirit filled insight of obedience guided by love.

 
 

Pray a prayer of silence that opens the mind and releases healing and the ability to hear and witness in new ways the message of Jesus. Pray our actions bring a little of heaven to earth. Pray our actions glorify God. Pray the meditations of our hearts and the words of our mouth honor God. Pray we walk like we believe in something greater than ourselves.
Pray we are open to God’s healing. Pray we are open to God’s way of salvation. Pray we not play favorites but extend love to those who need it most. Pray we seek and knock so the way will be opened. Pray we have the right state of mind. Pray we live in the moment of all moments as an infinite happiness that wants nothing. Pray we not mistake the world’s ways for the goodness of God. Pray therefor our faith is alive and filled with actions that nudge others closer to a closer walk with God. Pray
we overcome our brokenness.

 

Blessings,

 

John Lawson

Are You Seated At The Table of Christ?

Are You Seated At The Table of Christ?

 
 

Good Morning Friends,

 
 

Being part of dominate sociological structures does mean that there is not more to experience in who we are as Christians. Jesus took the symbol of the table and expanded the inclusion of the women and outcastes as a way of moving the cultural needle. That work has been more powerful in some ways than the miracles of healing. Perhaps it is a miracle itself. This reality has changed the world. Well parts of the world. Are You Seated At The Table of Christ?

 
 

Scripture: Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

 
 

Genesis 2:18-25 (NRSV)

 

But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.

 
 

Luke 14:10 (NIV)

 
 

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

 
 

Mark 7:24-30 (NRSV)

 
 

Message: The early church was made up first of Jews as a sect of the religion of the Jews. But Gentiles who studied religion found the teaching of Jesus to be very attractive and when the door was opened for them to follow the faith without adherence to strict dietary laws and circumcision they came to be accept the faith but with it came tensions for those who continued to follow the strict Mosaic law. Stories of Adam and Eve before there were Jews and Gentiles and of the Syro-Phoenician woman, a Greek and non-Jew are instructive on the nature of our condition as humans related to who belongs and who does not. Look at the story from Mark. The woman comes to Jesus, like so many, begging for her daughter to be exorcized of her unclean spirit. Jesus seems to be cruel, but He was probably mocking those who considered salvation to be only for the Jews: “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” The Jews were accustomed to dehumanizing their Gentile neighbors. The woman throws the joke right back at the Master: “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs, a sign of her persistence and faith.” The daughter is cured immediately. This scripture helps us to better understand the symbol of the table in the ministry of Christ beyond the image of communion but connected to it. And it demonstrates in a way just how radical Jesus was in the patriarchal society in which he lived. Indeed, Jesus has commanded us to go to the whole world and preach the Gospel but to Jews first in the context of the plan. And this has been going on, with varying degrees of success, for almost two thousand years. But of those who hear the Gospel, perhaps the majority, either do not get it, or if they understand the pleas and commands of Christ, they refuse to accept it. The example of Paul is most instructive here for he was a Jew who preached to Gentiles. The problem is that leadership typically wants to exert its power by requiring others to follow traditional authority. It is a problem in some ways we face today as well. The church and indeed all of humanity has a long history of pandering to the wealthy and powerful by blessing them while betraying the poor.   It is about power…who is in and who is out and who is at the table and who is not. Friends, the curtain separating us from the Holy of Holies has been ripped in two. The dividing wall between humans and the divine have been removed. Our power is now in Christ. What we need to understand is that this is not a utopian ideology. This is not an ethical demand. This is a statement of an accomplished fact. In Christ we are part of God’s family…. the one holy universal body of believers helping each other. And So, if we want to be part of the family, we need to be connected by faith to Jesus. And we need to reflect it in how we set the table.

 

And So, friends, it is not good for us to be alone, because we won’t have the help we need to survive without others and we will not be able to satisfy the desires we have without support and positive influence of others. We are not to assess the problems that confront us limiting a solution in our minds to our own personal resources. Discover that every problem we face, every difficulty that challenges us is allowed or even sent by God to enrich and increase our capacity to serve His Kingdom. When it comes to understanding God, believe that what is over our head is under His feet. In Christ we have a place at the table. Pray, when it comes to cooking culture, we turn down the heat of persecution but never be lukewarm when it comes to our perseverance to promote the purpose of peace in Christ. God’s intention from the creation of Adam and Eve is that humans be members of a single family.

 
 

Pray we see beyond agendas as we come to the table of Christ. Pray Christ’s table is a place of connection and inclusion. Pray this table is a place of blessings shared and received. Pray that though the table might address our brokenness that it might also be a place of forgiveness. Pray that in our Christian hospitality that we make room for the fellowship of believers. Pray we realize that no one is too small or unimportant. Pray we realize that we all play a unique part. Pray we realize that all are welcomed at the table of Christ. Pray we partake of the food that comforts us in the new covenant. Pray we serve one another in love. Pray we seek to be healthy. Pray we receive new life in the supernatural power of His Communion. Pray we help shine a light on a way out of the melting pot and not fall into the frying pan in the process.

 

Blessings,

 
 

John Lawson

Have We Washed Our Hands?

Have We Washed Our Hands?

 

Good Morning Friends,

 
 

The scripture of the day lays out the Terms and Conditions that God laid down for the first couple in the Garden of Eden. So too today there are rules by which we must agree to abide to receive the benefits of belonging to a group. Often in this regard there are items we have never read or understand. We make the mistake that it is always something external when the real challenge is internal. We confuse the law and tradition…privilege and peace. Still, since it is the height of the Flu Season it makes one wonder about the relevance of today’s double-edged question for the church community. Have We Washed Our Hands?

 
 

Scripture: Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

 
 

Mark 7:14-23 (NRSV)

 

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”

 
 

Genesis 2:4b-9, 15-17 (NRSV)

 

Message:  Friends, we are to grow in civility through the joy and pleasure of imitating God in the planting of gardens while realizing that not everything is meant to be consumed and not everything brings a lasting joy. For here while our hands are covered in dirt we learn that our Spirit might experience the great goodness of God. Of course, cleanliness and bathing have deep rooted history in Jewish Law and Tradition. Certainly, the aspect of hygienics played a very important role in Biblical times, as it does today and an increased relevance after the fall. But what we are reading, and I hope understanding is how the Pharisees had taken ceremonial tradition to the extreme of creating man-made laws and in so doing miss the joy of the Garden and fell in a way of missing the mark of joy in life. It would appear, that among their thinking was the element of control and dominance but the deeper message is not only about the distortions of culture in driving expected behavior but also in the realization that working the soil is not a point of defilement but part of the challenge of life. So today we put on our thinking caps in the hopes that our gardens of imagination grow productive in ways that not only bring satisfaction but also glorify God.

 

And So, living in fellowship with our Creator was the goal in the Garden of Eden and it is our hope today as well, but to have this relationship healthy the focus cannot be caught up in the outward signs of the law without an inward reality present of Christ’s good news. Regardless of what some people want you to think there are right and wrong things to do in this life…there is the Way of Christ and everything else.

 
 

Pray we humbly understand right from wrong in the context of a relationship with Christ. Pray we realize that the message of the Garden does not answer all the questions that the mind and soul of people can imagine but is a good place to begin. Pray we appreciate the awakening of the Spirit as we contemplate the role of gardens as an image of paradise that reveals to us a better understanding of life. Pray in the reality that it is a sin of civilization to rob people of the beauty and hope of heaven imagined in a walk with God in the Garden.
Pray we have an instinctive wonder about the creation stories and an appreciate of the imagination of people that captured their mystery in a way that is immortal. Pray we realize that growth cannot be forced by human desire and that the silent process of the divine revelation must be trusted. Pray we be humble realizing the God will make known the mysteries of life. Pray we differentiate between the law and tradition…between love and culture. Pray the gardens of our bodies be sanctified for a new creation.

 
 

Blessings,

 
 

John Lawson

How Do You Fight Evil?

How Do You Fight Evil?

 
 

Good Morning Friends,

 
 

There are rules all around us if we belong to any religious institution or community. Sometimes we agree with the rules and other times we do not. Sometimes the rules make sense to us, and at times we think they are absurd. In the Bible there are 613 Jewish laws. If you were a keeper of the law like the Pharisees you would have studied these laws and known them very well and probably figured out ways around them. Many of the laws applied to the Temple as a Holy place but the intent of the Messiah was and is to apply the law of love to our hearts and minds as a consciousness of Christ. The Pharisees believed that God gave Moses the knowledge of what the Jewish laws meant and how they should be applied. But the Pharisees had substituted an expanded tradition for the real intent of the law which Jesus would seal on the Cross. Jesus reminds us that we are made in the image of God and when we have a consciousness in Christ the laws is pointless. How Do You Fight Evil?

 
 

Scripture: Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

 

Genesis 1:26-32 (NRSV)

 

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” Then he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.’ But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, ‘Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban’ (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.”

 
 

Mark 7:1-13 (NRSV)

 
 

Message: Now tradition can be good but if taken it too far for the wrong reasons can end up drawing us into sin. Of course, the answer to today’s question is probably yes from time to time for it is not such an easy thing to live in the light of Christ. Still I think we all have experienced what happens in our minds when confronted with laws that control our behavior as opposed to relationships that motivate our actions through love. The mystery is how this experience of thinking both draws the community together through common interest and beliefs and creates a collective consciousness and shared relationship that brings order and an observable sense of belonging and meaning to life. On one level when we remember the law in our mind we are encouraged to carry out moral behavior but when the law is embedded in a loving relationship the worship becomes something much more. You see being a Christian is not about keeping up with man’s traditions, being religious, or ritualistic, but being a devoted, disciple for Jesus Christ. Our minds, spirits and souls are transformed by spending time with God, praying, fasting, reading scripture, and letting the Holy Spirit lead and guide us. Friends, our relationship with Jesus grows when we spend quality time with God.

 

And So, the purpose of the law is summed up in our love of God and love of each other manifested in the power of a Christ relationship, so we might confront evil.

 
 

Pray we not ignore God’s scripture but embrace it as a way of revealing our heart. Pray we are not controlled by obsessive rituals but freed to honor traditions that bring abundance to life. Pray we not be critiquing, criticizing, and condemning as a way of justifying our existence. Pray instead we attain a consciousness that gives us a glimpse of heaven through a relationship with Jesus. Pray we set aside time to develop a relationship with God so the sacred might spill over in our lives and the places we live. Pray we develop a Christ consciousness as a spiritual force with a sacred purpose in a movement that responds to the flow of holy history. Pray for a time when the Lion lays down with the Lamb. Pray for forgiveness.

 
 

Blessings,

 
 

John Lawson

 

 

Are We Living Into The Light?

Are We Living Into The Light?

 
 

Good Morning Friends,

 

The challenge of loving a stranger and maybe someone with whom we would not recognize as like us, seems an unlikely evolutionary trait, and yet like the overwhelming self-interest of some, both realities demonstrates themselves in the lives of people and maybe in creation itself. We offer privilege to some and not to others. Some are hunters and others the hunted. And often as we seek to love we are faced with unintended consequences. Sometimes we are compelled to act, and it not seem completely rational. We wonder if we can help everyone and then are faced with individual decisions. Take the example of a child drowning in the rough surf and you are the only one around to see the event. Do you risk your own life saving that one child that you do not even know and perhaps one with whom you might consider… not one of us? The problem is a bit perplexing for many of us would jump in without a second thought and yet when it comes to similar potential negative outcomes in the lives of others, do to economics and access we might well turn a blind eye. We hide behind a veil of plausible deniability, but our alibies are lies. So, I wonder this morning if we are making as much progress as we would like to claim. Are We Living Into The Light?

 
 

Scripture: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

 
 

Genesis 1:1-3 (NRSV)

 
 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being.

 
 

John 1:1-3 (NRSV)

 
 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

 
 

John 8:12 (NRSV)

 
 

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

 
 

Mark 6:53-56 (NSV)

 
 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

 
 

Psalm 119:105 (NRSV)

 
 

Message: It has been said that early to bed and early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise. And perhaps that is true for one spends more time in the light. And that I think makes us happier. As I mature I tend to live more in that way. Along this line of thinking today’s scripture seems to be saying that we should give up the darkness of our emotional baggage…to sin less and love more if we are to become the Christians that Jesus would have us to be. And one cannot really argue with that at all as we count the cost of engagement and determine the direction of our lives guided by the lamp of scripture. And as we evaluate how to jettison our dark garbage, we may just want to also ask today’s question. For today we explore things that lighten our load for the journey with Jesus and help light the path in our own spiritual development…the light of love.
And it comes to my mind that when Jesus walked the earth it was not particularly safe to walk around at night but that it might just be a bit safer if others knew you had given away all your possessions and if one had a lamp on loan to light one’s path. I would think that part of the way to light the path is to make wise decisions. But our decisions need to be exposed to a process that counts the cost and then decides, with some degree of illumination of what it will take to pay that price to have the desired result. Sometimes the decision-making process helps us to see the risks involved. Still, when it comes to love we must step out as an act of faith empowered by grace. The light literally needs to be turned on as a protection here. We need to be freed of the darkness of life and recognize our debt to Christ. And in this lighter, transformed life we are to focus on a devotion to God that comes out of a heart lightened by love where things are really turned around. Even the dark side of the moon. We avoid the darkness of the world by embracing a lifestyle of light and surprisingly looks a lot like risking. But if we wear God’s armor of light the risk is mitigated in a way. Ultimately becoming creatures of the light of Christ is the only safe path.

 

And So, science may be able to answer more questions about light than it can about love. For science cannot tell us what a tear means for another person or what laughter to a joke means for a person who did not get it or why Jesus was willing to die for us. Extending love is not only a great challenge of life, but also a great mystery. Friends, the magnitude of God’s love for us may never be fully comprehended even if we experience it.

 

Pray we love in a way that matters even though we do not completely understand it. Pray the weights of the world be removed from our dark life. Pray we make wise decisions. Pray we see the possibilities. Pray we count the costs but risk to love anyway. Pray we realize that there are eternal consequences to the development of our souls. Pray
we have an appreciation of Christ’s love and action in the world. Pray we share the blessings we have received. Pray we meet people where they are with compassion. Pray we realize that we have been freed to love everyone in the way the God loves. Pray we enjoy a full life of salvation and spiritual transformation that helps us to become creatures of the light. Pray therefor that we be people of love.

 
 

Blessings,

 
 

John Lawson

Are You Ready For A Profound, Deep And Everlasting Change?

Are You Ready For A Profound, Deep And Everlasting Change?

 

Good Morning Friends,

 

A French Philosopher, Descartes, once said, “I think, therefore I am.” It is a famous phrase. But if you can say, “I work for God, therefore I am,” then this opens up a whole new existence. You see, the means of life is only the purpose of life when one is following Jesus. Here one’s character, perspective, courage and the strategic favor of God converge in surprising ways. Writing about this is, of course, easier than doing it, for the way of leadership requires taking risks and facing the possibility of
failure. Here the person who provides vision and motivates is exhibiting transformational behavior. Here the person who analyzes problems and completes tasks is exhibiting transactional behavior. A leader should exhibit both behaviors, but the reality is that a majority, including myself for the most part, stay in the transactional mode. We catch fish but not men. But friends, do not make a mistake on this! Transformation is not a series of shallow transactions, for that leads to a slow death. Are You Ready For A Profound, Deep And Everlasting Change?

 

Scripture: Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

 

Luke 10:25-37 (NRSV)

 

Once while Jesus was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets.  He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.  When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”  Simon answered, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.”  When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink.  But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.”  When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

 

Luke 5:1-11 (NRSV)

 

Message: Today’s scripture readings are about the deep things of God. One is of a scene of Jesus’ calling his first disciples at the place we know best as the Sea of Galilee. There, Jesus called fishermen who failed to catch any fish all night long to be his disciples and continue the work of The Way. There, the fishermen were advised by the unusual guidance of Jesus, to experience something astonishingly abundant…they were called to follow him. People in all walks of life live by some philosophy, if even only unconsciously. For example, there are three philosophies of life illustrated in the parable of the Good Samaritan as an answer to the lawyer testing Jesus. They reflect Jesus’ deep understanding of us in the characters of the robber, the priest and the good Samaritan…..”What’s yours is mine and I’ll take it.” “What’s mine is mine and I’ll keep it.” And, “What’s mine is ours and we’ll share it. So too the story of the selection of the disciples presents us with a philosophy of life. Here Jesus teaches us to change from a shallow expression of life into a deeper one. Here our dream should be changed, in the hands of God, to an even bigger dream…. not just catch fish but catch men… not just stand on the bank or wade in the shallows but discover the dynamics and power in the deep water. Friends, where there is danger in the deeper level of life, there is God’s grace. Like repentance we are not looking for incremental change but a profound one which we do not control. Friends, Christian faith assures us that life finds its deepest meaning through relationships with other persons and most profoundly, with God. Our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows so often come through human relationships. When things are right in our human relationships, there is a sense of well-being and of fulfillment. When things are wrong in our human relationships, there is frustration, emptiness, and loneliness. Friends, my advice is not to leave your life’s work just yet. Experience the bigger dream God has prepared for you first. Yes, embrace a life that is willing to go deeper even if the risk is a little frightening. Be prepared when Jesus comes calling you to not just success but significance.

 

Pray we repent and acknowledge that change is needed. Pray we thirst for vision and direction. Pray we not accept things as they are but make a deep change in our lives. Pray we face our fears and be open to failure, experimentation, and uncertainty. Pray we stop pursuing just the next task. Pray we enlarge our perspectives. Pray we think beyond proven paths that led to past success. Pray we take risks. Pray we realize that sometimes, we must do things without asking for permission. Pray we resist the pull to conform. Pray we align our inner values with our external tasks.  Pray we develop an empowering environment that generates energy. Pray we are both technical and relational. Pray we have integrity. Pray we have a vision from within that inspires and motivates others. Pray we experience a deep change that glorifies God.

 

Blessings,

 

John Lawson

 

 

How Do We Remember What Is Important?

How Do We Remember What Is Important?

 

Good Morning Friends,

 

We are all to have a relationship with Jesus and since Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever it seems right to think that we would have a similar view of him…the experience of despair turning into joy for example. But not everyone is so blessed, even though it is available to everyone and perhaps this is because our focus and retention of knowledge and life experiences are not the same. We do not all have the same capacity to love those not like ourselves. Still I wonder what would bring us a more unified faith to extend our ability to love so that more might believe. In such ministry, How Do We Remember What Is Important?

 

Scripture: Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

Hebrews 13:1-8 (NRSV)

 

Message: There is something here I want you to remember and not miss. You see typically we think of hospitality we think of feeding the hungry part first and indeed there are a lot of hungry people, but today’s focus is on the outreach to strangers, to the isolation and loneliness of people. Not just feeding a hungry person but getting to know them and helping as we have been helped to know Jesus. Now before you get a little nervous about this let me say that visiting people in prison or greeting strangers may not be for everyone. You need to be prepared to discern the Holy Spirit as well as know the environment and people with whom you are interacting. For most of us feeding hungry people… is fine, clothing naked people… is fine; but comforting a stranger, that’s inviting danger, right? On the surface it is edgy and risky and may require a relationship you do not want. After all who wants to associate with outcastes, tax collectors, prostitutes and convicted criminals and sinners? Oh yes, Jesus did, didn’t He? And children and Samaritan women as well. So yes, it is part of the mystery of our faith to have an outreach to the stranger. To be a strong community of faith we must not all look and act alike. We must have diversity but still have a focus on the same Jesus. For that reason alone, it is important to be prepared for the Holy Spirit to give cues for our action to reach out to someone we do not know and who is not like us. For in remembering them with dignity looking into their eyes we meet Jesus and so might remember him. In the pews on Sunday morning we have the Passing of the Peace. No, that safe and controlled environment is not where this passage is meant to end, begin perhaps yes, but not end. We are to spend time having an honest conversation with a stranger all the time remembering Christ. It is a Holy activity to remember strangers…to tell and write stories that link their story and our story with His Story… with History… passing on knowledge from one generation and culture to another of our journey into the Holy and out of bondage, realizing all the while that someday we will, each one of us die. There is so much we have in common if we would just remember where we came from and where we are going.  So, we tell stories that comfort us and wean us from the concept that we are in control. We tell our stories of how we have learned that our redeemer lives. These are not trivial anecdotes or mindless twitter, but a remembrance of our process of salvation. We are to remember the when…. the where…. and the why of our salvation. We are to describe what our life was like before and after. Our friends and the truths we have learned are to be remembered and shared. We are to remember the roots of our faith, the great writings of the ages. We are to sing the old hymns as well as the new and especially we are to read the Bible. But in all this reminiscence, this sharing, there is nothing more important than to embrace that inspiration, that transformation of our life, from turmoil to transcendence in the experience of remembering our Lord and that joy of believing that someday we will be renewed with a new body, a new mind, a new home and a new beginning. Telling our story and writing it down linking it to Jesus helps. Yet there are some things about the Kingdom of God we are just not going to understand. There are some things we will forget. There are some things too strange to us and that is sad. However, I think to have the right memories we need to risk enough to honor those who have served and remember the Spirit in the ultimate outcome of their lives and imitate their faith of reaching out to those in isolation. It is in doing this that we remember what is important.

 

And so, in a way we remember Jesus and Jesus remembers us in those micro moments of love that provides us an antidote for fear. Risk here has its rewards for in this way we offset the addictions that keep us off the path of the life abundant. It is through a love that risks we remember the important things in life. Friends, when we are truly hospitable…. when we love someone who cannot love us back that is when the reality of God comes alive. Here we can help those who question the reality of God because the love they have always received has never felt genuine. Here God can help us to know what dignity in life is all about.

 

Pray we keep the first things first. Pray we take time to remember the hospitality of the Lord in our lives. Pray we remember the joyful experiences and challenges, so we can share the detail of our journey of faith when moved by the Spirit. Pray we remember the heroes and leaders in our life that spoke the Word of God into our lives. Pray as a community of faith that we are strengthened in our diversity, in the presence of Jesus. Pray we risk enough to reduce the barriers that isolate people from Christ’s love. Pray we remember the love and sacrifice of Jesus in communion. Pray we remember often the joy of Jesus in our life and His faithfulness especially to those in need. Pray we be strengthened and renewed in the process when Jesus remembers us. Pray we remember the importance of love received and shared. Pray we take time to share a love story. Pray we model our lives after Jesus. Pray we discover the wisdom of being content. Pray we realize that Jesus gives our hearts courage and liberty of conscience when we love.

 
 

Blessings,

 

John Lawson

Are We Climbing The Right Mountain With The Right Gear?

Are We Climbing The Right Mountain With The Right Gear?

 

Good Morning Friends,

 

The letter to the Hebrews reads a lot like a sermon series. And, in chapter 12, we see a message on the Old Testament narrative where Moses came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments. The early Hebrew tribes were so frightened by the events that they asked Moses to pray that God would not speak directly to them. They asked that God would communicate with Moses as an intermediary. And such is the beginning of the role of prophecy that was reconciled in Christ in a new covenant. So when we worship and witness today we are not to come to a Mount Sinai in our minds separated from God but to assemble at a mountain top celebration to spread the Gospel of repentance and healing to others. And that brings us to a very practical question for the Saints must be equipped. Are We Climbing The Right Mountain With The Right Gear?

 

Scripture: You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them.  (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.”  Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”)  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

 

Hebrews 12:18-24 (NRSV)

 

He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

 

Mark 6:7-13 (NRSV)

Message: We all have mountains that we face in our lives. Some mountains are small and take very little effort to overcome, but then life throws us those mountains that we cannot even see the top of them let alone conquer them. We cannot do it alone. For some of us effective witnessing can be such a mountain. And part of the problem might just be that we are climbing the wrong mountain. The book of Hebrews gives us some profound images of mountains echoed from the Book of Exodus and the image of a shining City on a hill as a place of perfect worship in the heavenly Jerusalem. Interestingly, today’s Gospel selection points us in the direction of a mission of evangelism with Jesus and that is a mountain we cannot go around. Here we must stop playing at being the church and get serious about our assignments. The choice… it is either the blood of Abel, which demands vengeance, or the blood of Christ, which provides forgiveness. The rule of God’s grace and judgment cannot be deterred. The power and promises of the Word of God is assured, for we have been promised that the children of God shall dwell in eternal inheritance in that city atop mount Zion whose architect and builder is God. We are not alone in this search. Many seek this place so holy that it multiplies God’s glory in a brand-new dimension of love. Perhaps you have experienced this kind of worship. Perhaps you are ready to go to the mountain where the saints and angels gather. Perhaps you want to witness to Jesus on the throne. But are we approaching God boldly? Maybe the bold step God is leading us is to accept Christ. Maybe the step is submitting to God’s will. Maybe it is sharing our faith. Friends, there are some mountains God can guide us around but then there are some mountains we cannot ignore.

 

Pray we set an example of climbing the right mountains. Pray we discern the mountains to walk around and there embrace God’s plan of deliverance. Pray we turn our mountains over to God. Pray we realize that God has already conquered the mountains we will be called to climb. Pray we do not let the mountains of life separate us from God. Pray we realize that God is with us to guide us. Pray we take bold steps of sharing God the Gospel. Pray we have character, perspective, courage and God’s favor. Pray we realize that though the Gospel is a gift it is also a priceless one. Pray for a City on a hill where redemption rules. Pray we are called out for purpose. Pray for a solution that is a living vibrant relationship with God…an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Pray for God to destroy the bondage and replace it with a purpose whose architect is God. Pray we get out of our sins and messes and replace them with a vision and purpose worthy of God. Pray we are shaken into real worship in the Spirit of heaven…a place the devil is not allowed to go. Pray we get wrapped up, tangled up in the persistent presence of the Glory of God. Pray we live in the city of the living God where the saints pray with us.

 

Blessings,

 

John Lawson

Are You Motivated More By The Spirit’s Conviction or Comfort, By Doubt Or Faith?

Are You Motivated More By The Spirit’s Conviction or Comfort, By Doubt Or Faith?

 

Good Morning Friends,

 

Sometimes we put too much emphasis on numbers and what we have done, when the focus needs to be on love and the Spirit and what God has done. God gave it all to us and frankly when we count all the good stuff we do and what we might consider the bad stuff of others, we may be misjudging God and making false assumptions about what best should drive us emotionally. We have a choice in how we will approach God and others if our eyes are open and our mind aware to the possibility of peace. For sure it requires character, perspective that is focused, and courage but also the strategic favor of God to witness effectively…to glorify God. So, Are You Motivated More By The Spirit’s Conviction or Comfort, By Doubt Or Faith?

 

Scripture: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as children— “My child, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, or lose heart when you are punished by him; for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.” Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled.

 

Hebrews 12:4-7, 11-15 (NRSV)

 

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching.

 

Mark 6:1-6 (NRSV)

 

Message: Ok, there are all sorts of reasons to be discerning and sometimes cautious, and certainly we need to count the costs, but we also need to risk enough to step out in faith. Leadership is so critical here. But sometimes even the best leadership is ignored or worse yet feared as happened to Jesus in Nazareth. Still leadership in the Spirit is the one thing critical to salvation and the Christian life and honestly it is part of the reason I work in Immokalee. It is a place like Nazareth that people could easily despise and is often discounted because it is decentralized. Yes, in some ways it is in the backwoods and out in the sticks… a small village. In the eyes of more educated and urban populations, the populations of these places like Immokalee are often judged as ignorant at best and perhaps as simple-minded sinners at worst. But what we learn today is that prejudice need not be external. False judgement can occur if we take our focus off God and fail to realize that the world has changed when it comes to our prejudices. The reason why the people of Nazareth reject Jesus in Mark 6:1-6 has never been entirely clear to me. I am more familiar with instances where a small town celebrates, even exaggerates, the success stories of locals who have made it big. Still he did heal some. Maybe they thought him crazy smart or just crazy. Maybe they decided his authority was demonic. Maybe they had fixed his status and questioned the legitimacy of his father and the limits of his lowly status as a laborer. Maybe they had too much baggage. But what I think is happening is the formation of new allegiances that supersede traditional country and family values. So, in reflecting on today’s scripture I think it is calling us to believe in the possibility of a faith that leads to hope and abides in love without fear but truth in abundance to humble us. Still, ultimately, we will interpret what happens in retrospect. A miracle in our lives and in the scripture today is not just an event, but it is an interpreted event. So too is leadership. For if Jesus is not regarded to be capable of healing, any healing that does happen will not be attributed to him. Perhaps there is nothing here to see. But hold on, if we do attribute the possibility of peace to God then rejoice in praise. The one who changes everything is at work in our midst. Jesus’ whole ministry calls us to live a life victorious, to experience with optimism and share the more excellent way, to bear the fruits of the Spirit, to be filled with the fullness of God through the eyes of love guided by the Spirit.  Our motivation must start with a vital connection with God and be a response to the simple fact that Jesus is worthy whether we are doubting or acting out of faith…whether the Spirit is convicting us or comforting us. Love is the chief motivator for the Christian and sometimes it is tough love and sometimes gentile but it all should move us in the direction of glorifying God. Doubt is not the opposite of faith here. Friends, unbelief is the opposite of faith and God does not condemn us for inner uncertainty. Those struggling with God are demonstrating a sure sign that the faith they have can grow. Believing is hard work and is sometimes filled with disciplining and trials. John the Baptist had doubts. Peter had doubts. Doubt can be the prelude to a growing faith. God can and will use it all.

 

Pray we learn to trust God. Pray we receive and share a perfect love that casts out fear. Pray we realize that acts of control stifle the work of the Spirit but that disciplining, and trails might be the prelude to spiritual growth. Pray we realize that without some faith it is impossible to please God. Pray we realize that success is having a relationship with God. Pray therefor that we act to restore proper relationships with God and others as an act of faith. Pray we not just respond to the problems of the world but help to prevent them. Pray we stop being so prejudice. Pray we not count on our strength so much but look to God for strength. Pray we welcome Jesus into our lives and homes and communities. Pray we believe and belong to a fellowship that believes. Pray we appreciate God’s undeniable leadership in freeing us and forgiving us. Pray we realize that both faith and forgiveness are miracles. Pray we get ready for a new season that will change our lives forever. Pray we walk through life’s transitions with grace. Pray we risk enough to forgive. Pray we become more holy each day. Pray we have received grace so that we might bestow it. Pray we cross over into new thinking that realizes that God’s plan is for spiritual victory. Pray we are transformed. Pray we live a victorious Christian life. Pray our motivation is to glorify God.

 

Blessings,

 
 

John Lawson

Will We Keep Our Eyes On Jesus?

Will We Keep Our Eyes On Jesus?

 

Good Morning Friends,

 
 

In dealing with life in the world we must become disciplined. The Hebrews knew that perhaps to a fault. But their story and that of Gentiles is not all that different. Life is not easy, and it is not meant to be. We were meant to have struggles so that together we can, in love, figure out what to do about it. And because of human failure we know that the struggles might include heartbreak and the knowledge that remedial action might well require sacrifice. Thankfully the revelation of God’s love in Christ does just that. With that reality in mind we look today beyond death to the healing of two daughters as a witness to Christ the Messiah and his legacy and ask, Will We Keep Our Eyes On Jesus?

 
 

Scripture: When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?'” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

 
 

Mark 5:21-43 (NRSV)

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

 

Hebrews 12:1-4 (NRSV)

 
 

Message: Today’s scriptures combine to point to the real reason for Jesus coming as the Messiah and how to engage his work in the healing of the world today. The focus of the Gospel text is about people who need Jesus but represents much more. The stories of the two daughters are intertwined, for one is about the healing of a 12-year-old child coming of age and the other about a woman, a daughter of Zion, who had been hemorrhaging for 12 years. The focus though is to bring understanding to the unfolding purpose of the coming of the Messiah and part of that story is told in the person of Jairus. The setting is on one of the busiest days one can imagine and Peter, James and John are soaking this all in as it unfolds but not comprehending it yet. Jesus and the disciples had just been on multiple boat trips. Jesus had miraculously calmed the seas in a storm as a demonstration of his power over creation. Jesus had cast out legions of demons into swine to die in the same area where John the Baptist had been killed as a political statement to Rome. And then after another boat trip Jairus, one of the religious leaders approached Jesus with a mission. Jairus’ little girl was about to die and he was desperate to save her. Such is the nature of a father and a child. Such is the nature of Jesus and his Father. Now Jairus’ approach was somewhat distressed for Jesus was opposed by most people in his position as a leader of the Synagogue. So, it is worth mentioning that Jairus’ motivation seems selfless and devoid of the pride one might expect from a prominent person. Jairus was humble, earnest and yet expectant of a positive response from his plea. He believed in Jesus and was persistent and politely insistent. Then as Jesus commits to the request and the crowds walk with him to Jairus’ home, we have the story of a woman who had been suffering for as long as Jairus’ daughter had been living. She came up behind Jesus because her illness was a personal matter and she wanted to touch Jesus without being noticed. She was unclean in the culture and an outcast that could not worship in the Temple because of her condition. Maybe she believes that she is so unworthy that she does not deserve the help but she too is desperate not to seek to touch Jesus. Jesus was her last resort. He was her final hope. But she did not even need to touch Jesus only his cloak and was healed instantly. Amazingly the Mosaic Law is reversed here in this transformation.  Rather than the Lord Jesus becoming unclean and contaminated by her, she is healed and purified by the holy power that resides in him.  And so too the little girl. Even though people were already grieving her death Jesus calls her his daughter and tells her to get up and she does…healed. Here Jesus is building the foundation of his church with flesh and blood. Here these women are a metaphor for Israel and the loving, caring, patient relationship God has with His chosen people to save the world. Here Jesus continues the act of creation and healing and transformation that points to the cross and resurrection but also to the work of the called-out assembly of God and the Kingdom to come.

 
 

Pray we get the message about why Jesus, the Son of God, walked this earth….the Messiah. Pray we seek an understanding of Jesus for the right reasons and look to him with the right attitude. Pray we are expectant. Pray we are humble and earnest, persistent and polite. Pray we have the heart of a believer. Pray we realize that the work here is serious business. Pray we realize that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and need something new. Pray we realize that life can be changed by the touch of faith perceived. Pray we realize that sometimes our disappointment can become appointments with Christ. Pray we never lose sight of the fact that Jesus gives hope in the darkest of situations. Pray we repent. Pray we affirm who Jesus is in our lives. Pray we have a heart for reconciliation. Pray we realize that faith releases the power of God to birth something new. Pray we look to the winners and look at ourselves. Pray we look at our status but always keep our eyes on Jesus. Pray we see the race to the finish line. Pray we realize that our struggles are rooted in something deeper than ourselves and that if we stand faithful and strong we can overcome, and we can finish the race with our faith intact. Pray we do not let our struggles win or define us. Pray we keep your eyes on Jesus.

 
 

Blessings,

 
 

John Lawson