One of my favorite passages on Good Friday:
Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”
22His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” 25Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
26Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. 27As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, 28but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. John 13:21-28
Note that Satan did not make a move without Jesus’ permission.
Thanks to the Upper Room for posting prayer as a lost art. We’re currently talking about spiritual practices at the Orchard and just recently talked about how we can spend time with Jesus in a meaningful way. I don’t think this is what God had in mind…
Cool bible reading for me this morning out of 1 John 4 especially verses 18-21:
The Message phrases it this way…
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.
That last verse is my favorite. John Wesley’s commentary says this about verse 21(bold emphasis mine)…
And this commandment have we from him – Both God and Christ. That he who loveth God love his brother – Every one, whatever his opinions or mode of worship be, purely because he is the child, and bears the image, of God. Bigotry is properly the want of this pure and universal love. A bigot only loves those who embrace his opinions, and receive his way of worship; and he loves them for that, and not for Christ’s sake.
Is there anyone in your sphere of influence whom you show fear of God (not reverence, but the fear of punishment) as opposed to the love of God?
Well here I am, coming up out of the water yesterday at my baptism. OK, my and 130+ others’ baptisms! What a great day. Kids had a ball on the huge inflatable slide, crawl-thru caterpillar, face painting and balloon creations. 5Bs BBQ laid out an awesome spread of BBQ chicken and pork chops. Ashton Gap provided some bluegrass for the day. The fabulous smile in the picture is that of Kathryn Egly, the Orchard‘s Children’s Ministry director accompanied by Ted Egly, one of our awesome teaching pastors. Just a very cool couple to get baptized by. Kathryn encouraged me when we first joined the Orchard to join Orchard Kids, leading worship for the little ones which eventually turned into my leading the K-5th grade kids in worship once a month.
I don’t know if I have processed it all in my head yet but my first reaction was, “Finally!” I’ve done what I wanted to do for years but didn’t think I was allowed or supposed to. Finally, I can bury the past and move forward. Finally, I can cheer on others as they are baptized without a twinge of “I wish I could…”
It was very cool to hear my kids cheer my name from across the pool and each one give me a huge hug. Some other kid notes…5 minutes before the baptism started, I was informed that JD had been lost for about 30 mins. Turns out he couldn’t find me(I went ahead with the other baptizees), couldn’t find Dad and ended up getting caught up in the crowd walking over to the water park. Thank you to Miss Michelle, one of his church teachers who knew him and kept an eye out until Dad arrived. Maddie told me she had a very good poop in the pool bathroom(after the baptism). And I got a big hug from Annaliese to which she exclaimed, “Mom you’re making me wet!” Special thanks to our friend Mike for taking the pictures while Doug & I were in the pool. I’m sure there will be a video up soon. Check in at the Orchard for that. All in all, not a bad day for a baptism.
On my pastor’s recommendation last weekend, I decided to read through the book of Romans this week. I thought maybe it could help me get a handle on some things. Namely, why I lack the courage to receive good things from God like health, living freely, peace of mind. And, as I’m reading, a few things do jump out and that’s all fine. Then I get to Romans 6. The passages are familiar to me but always come across as “Therefore, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” The New American Standard translation says in Rom 6:4 “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” or from The Message “That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land! That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.”
Could my inability to easily embrace this newness of life be about baptism?
I was baptized as an infant. I was baptized as an adult when I first accepted Christ. I was not immersed in water. I was sprinkled with it. My old church did not do dunking until the next year. Long story. For the last 17 or so years, I lamented that I never got to have a “proper” baptism but didn’t feel I should get re-baptized just because I didn’t get what I wanted. My sprinkling was a public declaration of my faith and it was very meaningful to me then. Yet something is missing every time I hear about or participate in someone else’s baptism. And something is missing every time I read or hear this scripture. I can’t identify with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Would having a full immersion baptism finally fill in the gap after all these years? Would getting baptized again be just an exercise or would it solidify a sense of unity with Christ? For me its not about a public declaration anymore. A private baptism would be fine too, I think. Things I’m pondering with my church now as we prepare for our annual baptism celebration in August.
Thanks Paul for a “coincidental” post on having a relationship with Jesus vs. religion which was a theme this weekend at The Orchard. Scott related the story of Mary, Lazarus’ sister, who at one time sat at Jesus’ feet, hanging on his every word. Yet when Lazarus dies contrary to the message Jesus sends that his illness will not end in death, Mary is not the first to greet Jesus when he finally arrives 4 days after Lazarus dies. She stays in the house until Martha tells her Jesus is asking for her. She tears out of the house to meet Jesus and throws herself at his feet in agony–possibly anger?–and cries out “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Yet later she is the one who pours expensive perfume on his feet in blatant unashamed worship.
Definitely a woman with a genuine relationship with Jesus. An ebb and flow of devotion, doubt and worship. We see she did not have all the answers. And Jesus did not scold her for that. He was sympathetic and mourned with her even though he knew everything would turn out fine. She didn’t always do the politically correct thing either and was actually defended by Jesus, again not scolded. There is something freeing about reality. Scary too but most definitely freeing if you’re willing to go there.
Sorry, there’s lots of links to reference these stories. For the full scoop, check out the book of John in the bible, chapters 11 and 12.
Just got back from reading an awesome post at Floating Axhead entitled “The Church of Oprah”. Check it out for all the specifics. Essentially it quotes Oprah in her recent promotion of Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” as the be all and end all philosophy to live by. It appears self focused and scarily, Oprah would like to teach us all via the world’s largest interactive classroom. She believes she was “born to be a vehicle to bring this information”.
Its taken me YEARS to NOT be self focused. That didn’t come out right. Its taken me YEARS to realize I can not fix myself, con myself into making changes, pull myself up and carry on, portray someone other than the real me. Its not about me. Whatever “it” is, is NOT about me.
We’re closing up an awesome series this weekend at the Orchard called “The Other Side”. We talked about the afterlife, heaven, and this weekend–hell. Fun. Scott has been teaching what the bible says about all these things. Not tradition, not supposition, but the bible.
The first week on The Afterlife, Scott laid out the clearest instruction on sin, salvation, and guilt that I have EVER heard. I’m begging you to get the podcast. If you struggle at all with what to do about the sin we just can’t seem to stop doing even though we desire to do the right thing, if you can’t seem to free your mind from your past or fear the future, please take a listen.
One of the biggest things I’ve learned in the last two years is that the more I look at Jesus, the more I understand who I am. When I spend that time looking at myself and trying to fix myself, I’m blind as a bat. What do you think? How much introspection is a good thing?