Friday, February 24, 2012
Anyway, the other night, we were watching Adele sing on The Grammys(please don't judge me...that was the only performance he watched). By the end of her performance he was already humming the melody of the chorus. After that, I figured he would have forgotten the song...until tonight.
I walked into our bedroom to find that he had found my ipod...the following conversation took place:
Me: Keller what are doing?
Keller: listening to your ipod!
Me: What are you listening too?
Me: KELLER what are you listening too?
Keller: Dad...can you please be quiet...I'm just rolling in the deep.
Me: excuse me?
Keller: you know (now singing in his best Adele voice) Rolling in the deeeeeeeeeeeep!
I think Adele is a great singer and performer. This is a whole lot better then him trying to sing another Justin Beiber song!
Thursday, February 9, 2012
We have had another great and busy day. I confess to you that it was a little hard balancing taking time to reflect spiritually about these different locations and filling a little rushed getting from one place to the next...regardless of the schedule, the Lord is still able to reveal Himself is remarkable ways.
The sites we visited today included the ruins of Belt She'an, Ancient Tel Megiddo, the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, The church in Cana (where Jesus performed the first miracle), and to end the day, several from our team were baptized in the Jordan River. How exciting for them....except the water was super super cold.
A cool side note for me happened this morning at the ancient Theatre in the ruins of Belt She'an. I took a moment and took the stage and sang a sample of my favorite aria (Nessun Dorma). It was a beautiful place and I could go on and on about the history of the town, but I encourage you to take a moment and research this place. It is one of the largest digs in the area.
We journeyed to Nazareth to see the Church of the Annunciation. You have to realize that when Mary was here in this village, there may have been a couple hundred people living there...which is a completely different feel to the modern Nazareth, that boost 60,000 people and many modern conveniences.
We stopped at the Church of the Annunication which tradition says is the place that Mary was told that she would give birth to the Son of God. One the wall of the main enterance there is a Latin statement: Verbo carp Factum est et Habitauit en Nobus which means " And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
Inside this church on the first floor, you will find the cave that belonged to the Holy Family. Interestingly, the second floor of the church is dedicated to Mary herself. Along the walls, you will find images of Mary from different parts of the world. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this sanctuary and had to pull back and reflect on the story of Mary. She was ready and willing to be used by God. Yes there were questions....but there was no hesitation "Let it be as you have said according to Your word." Wow!!!!
My hearts desire is to be ready and willing to serve and be used by God. I found myself praying in that Church that He would help me to be so in tune and so aware of his presence so that there is no hesitation when he calls my name. I don't consider myself a songwriter, but, feeling inspired by my experienced, I wrote these lyrics down in my journal as we were leaving....
Be in me, work in me, Here I stand, Here's my heart.
Be in me, work in me, in all I say and do.
Lord, I want my life to honor You.
I hope that this is your prayer as well.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
How excited am I that I am blogging from another country? As many of you know, I am on a once in a lifetime trip to Israel with the pastoral staff and other members of our church. There are no words to describe what it is like to be in cities like Kursi, travel in a boat on the Sea of Galilee, and stand on the Mount of the Beatitudes! It is historically exciting and spiritually overwhelming....and the crazy thing is, we are just on day one.
This morning I had the honor of giving the devotional in the ruins of Kursi. If you don't know about the events that happened take a moment and read Matthew 8:28-32. I was excited to find out that I was going to bring the word in this location...then I read the passages of scripture and started to panic. I mean how do you explain the spiritual ramifications of possessed pigs running off a cliff and plunging into the sea. I thought the pastor was playing a joke on me....or that this was some kind of hazing ritual since I am the new guy! But the task was before me and I knew we could talk about more then just deviled ham.
So printed below are some of my thoughts about this story.
I begin with this quote,
"Who is like our God and to whom shall we compare him? He is all knowing. He knows our hearts. He is the creator and redeemer of mankind. He has bought our lives with the blood of Jesus Christ." We are not our own. Our lives belong to Him.
When I stand here in Kursi and read this story, I am thankful for the authority of God in my life. I am thankful that He has authority over the dark things that can threaten my life....but it is much more then spirit demons. It's little things like attitudes, communication with others and so on. Take a moment and think back to the person you were before you met Christ. Now take a moment and rejoice and give thanks for the authority that He has over you life.
Now, when we look at this story we have to understand that the disciples have just witnessed the power and authority of Jesus through healings and the calming of the storm. They have crossed the sea to a place that they did not necessarily need to go, and were greeted by some interesting people. I don't think they were the welcoming committee, selected by town leadership. These men were dark, consumed with evil and death. And when Jesus approaches them something unique happens:(from verse 29)
"Why are you bothering us, Son of God? You have no right to torture us before God's appointed time."
These demons identify who Jesus really is as Son of God. So many people,both common and religious, were blinded to Jesus' personhood. And because the demons knew Him, they feared him as well. They knew that there was a judgement in store for them....a judgement they didn't want. And so, they asked for mercy in verse 31: (cue the pigs)
"If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs."
Now, many have wondered and argued that the region and area of Kursi was populated by Gentiles....because of the pigs. But I think the important thing to remember is that Jesus still came to minister. In his eyes, no one is so far out of reach that God doesn't extend His arms of love and grace and mercy.
But the story continues....the herdsmen have seen this take place and they run to tell the townspeople. At this point you would think there would be a big celebration. There should be parties in the street...afterall Jesus just released this heavy darkness from their town! This is a reason to rejoice right? WRONG!!!! (Cue the pitch forks and torches) the townspeople were hot to trot! Apparently this was a village comprised of passive agressive people. One would think they would want the evil gone, they get their wish, but now they are mad about. Clearly, there is another lesson about priorities and the kingdom but we will save that for another time.
So the people tell Jesus to leave....and leave quickly they did. But I have to wonder what the disciples were thinking. They had just seen the storm, they have now seen this miracle with the demons, and yet the people make them leave. They have to wonder if the people of Kursi missed the point all together. And just as they head back into the sea, there is a glimmer of hope that comes in Mark 5:18-20.
One of the men that was healed begged Jesus to take him with them. But Jesus commanded him to stay and "tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful He has been." And so the man did as he was told with the complete understanding that the authority of Jesus had done an amazing work in his life.
That man's response to authority should also be our response to the authority of Jesus in our own lives. So as we stand here in these places that Jesus healed and , preached and taught, let us be reminded of the calling that we have to submit to the Authority of the Lord and fulfill our responsibility to share and extend his love and grace to others.