Monday, February 16, 2015

John 3:16 in a way I never thought of before

So, I've been doing my new way of Bible journaling and I've been going through the book of John since that's what we're talking about right now at my church. Last week I was in John 3 and was floored at how, though I've known John 3:16 for most of my life, I had never considered the context it was in. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus here and when he had told Nicodemus that he must be born again, and Nicodemus questioned it, wondering how this could be, Jesus answered with this:

 For only I, the Messiah, have come to earth and will return to heaven again. And as Moses in the wilderness lifted up the bronze image of a serpent on a pole, even so I must be lifted up upon a pole,  so that anyone who believes in me will have eternal life.  For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
 “There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust him to save them. But those who don’t trust him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God.  Their sentence is based on this fact: that the Light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil. They hated the heavenly Light because they wanted to sin in the darkness. They stayed away from that Light for fear their sins would be exposed and they would be punished. But those doing right come gladly to the Light to let everyone see that they are doing what God wants them to.”

We miss that Jesus is saying this. He sees the desperation of mankind firsthand, because he is here walking among us. He sees the things we keep in darkness, rotting away our souls because they do not see light. Here he recognizes not only His purpose and mission, but pauses to comment on the love His father has not only for him, but for us. In the midst of commenting on the darkness in us, Jesus speaks of God's immeasurable love for us - that he would do everything necessary to buy us back. There is no ransom He will not pay to get us out of darkness.

For God so loved this mess, He gave everything for her.

Jesus says here: He sent me to buy you back.

I wish we did a better job communicating this to the world. That it's not about following rules or being good or getting things right. It's about being prisoner to our own darkness, and someone coming who can set us free. All because of love. Not obligation or duty or to drag us around as a slave afterward. He simply loves us that much, and wants us free from darkness.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bibe journaling

So, I've always been one of those people who liked marking in their Bibles. Lately I've seen lots of people on the interwebs doing Bible journaling, where they draw and do other cute things in their Bible. I'm in awe.

And I want to do that!

But here's the thing -  I don't draw. Well, I do draw, but it's mess. I can't draw or paint. And I definitely do not write cute (Alas, the one skill I wish I had more than anything!) So, yeah, as wonderful as I think it is, drawing in my Bible would just result in a mess. Plus, pictures aren't my thing.

Words are.

And not in the Greg Pinker "this is what this means in Greek" type of way. Goodness knows I am no theologian. But I love stories more than anything. So instead of putting my thoughts on the Bible page, I thought "Why not do the opposite?". So I found an old Bible, got a journal, and now cut and paste passages of Scripture that speak to me and write around it. Thoughts, stories, prayers, sometimes I make a modern day story out of what I read.

Perhaps not everyone's way of getting the Bible in, but this is how I soak it in. I share this to say: find how the Bible speaks to you, and ingest it that way. Some people eat their vegetables in salads. Some people like their veggies cooked. Others blend theirs in smoothies. The point is that you're getting vegetables. 

Everyone has their way. And this is one I am loving. I'll share my random thoughts on here in case anyone's interested. I love seeing different takes and angles on Scripture. Mine may be quirky, but maybe it'll get you thinking!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Follow the bee


So years, ago, my pastor Rick Dunn spoke about how following God was like following a bumblebee. Bees don't fly in straight paths. Instead they buzz here and there, suddenly changing direction and coming to stops so suddenly you almost can't keep up. They are very erratic, those bees.

(Though, let's be honest. If there is a bee somewhere within a three mile radius of where I am walking, he will make his way to my face and buzz there enough to cause a pretty spectacular spastic fit. Really, hide somewhere and watch me walk or jog outside. Bees inevitably find me, and my reaction is pretty hilarious).

Anywho, back to bees. I loved this analogy of following God being like following a bee, because it's such a great picture of what walking with God looks like. Sometimes I swear God is leading me one way then we veer and head toward something completely different. Something that I probably would have run from if I'd seen it a ways back on a linear course. If you had told me seven years ago I'd be married to Dave, working as a financial secretary, and have two dogs in my house, I would have doubled over laughing at you.

(I am pleased to report, by the way, that I love all these things. That God, He knows what He's doing!)

I was going through an old notebook this weekend and came across a poem I wrote in response to Rick's sermon. It reminded me again of the truth of following God on His heels, so wanted to share.

Follow the Bee

Follow the bee - 
when he zips along at a frenzied speed,
No account for rest, no account for need.
Follow the bee - 
when He changes His course
without apology, and without remorse.
Keep your eye ever on Him so that He can always be found.
And if you do lose sight, just follow His sound.
His movements are swift, sometimes too hard to see -
Keep right up with Him! Follow the bee.