the miracle of obedience


Category : John, bible, faith, living a life of faith, miracles, taking action

What happens when someone asks you to do something unexpected?  Do you do it, no questions asked?  Or, are you more likely to roll your eyes?  If you’re really dramatic you might act like a certain 4 year old I know who likes to jump up and down and throw a temper tantrum.

Most of us don’t like to do things without knowing all the details.  We want answers to who, what, when, where and most importantly, why.  But maybe we need to reevaluate that.  Because Jesus pretty much never explained any of his miracles up front.  In almost every case before a miracle happened someone needed to act on faith first.

That’s how it was with Jesus’ first miracle – turning water into wine.

As the John describes the miracle, Jesus doesn’t really explain what he’s about to do.  There isn’t a 5 minute meeting to get everyone on the same page.  Jesus doesn’t send out a Facebook update saying, “I’m about to turn this water into wine.”  Instead this is how the Bible describes these events…

“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’”

No explanations up front.  Just an expectation of obedience.  Can you imagine what the servants were thinking?  “This guy is cracked.  And worse we’re going to get in trouble with the master.  Aren’t we going to look like idiots when we get up there and hand this guy some water!”

Despite their doubts, they were obedient.  And because of that, they witnessed Jesus’ first miracle.

But so many of Jesus’ miracles worked like this.  People were healed only after they believed.  Some friends believed in Jesus’ power so much they cut a hole in someone’s roof to lower their friend down to Jesus.  A woman believed in Jesus so much that she was willing to risk death to just brush against Jesus’ clothes.

They had no promises, no status updates, and no guarantees.  They just knew that when Jesus said to believe, they should believe.

One of the biggest challenges facing the modern Christian is the view that miracles don’t happen.  I’m not surprised at this.  We live in a cynical age where nothing is taken on face value.  While that may protect us from internet scams and cause us to celebrate public failures of stars and athletes, it makes a poor way to develop a relationship with a loving God.

When I look at the ministry of Jesus I see a bunch of people who missed out on the greatest moment in human history.  Not because they couldn’t understand what was happening.  Not because they weren’t smart enough to figure it out.  And not because they weren’t’ “good people.”  But because they couldn’t stop asking questions.  Instead of acting, they simply stood by wondering what Jesus was up to.

The people who missed out on Jesus were the ones standing on the sideline constantly wondering what this Jesus guy was up to.  The irony is the people who didn’t worry about all that were the ones who experienced the fullness of who Jesus is.

Maybe we should ask fewer questions and spend more time being obedient.  Maybe then we’d see a few more miracles.

a world of lies


Category : God, John, faith


I’m a news junkie.  Actually that’s not totally true.  I’m an information junkie.  I love to learn stuff, whether it’s about sports, science, history, or current events.  But there is a danger in all of this – some of what you learn is simply not true.

We live in a world of lies.

Now I’m not talking about some secret plan to control you through mass marketing or a political conspiracy.  Or even alien invasions (which, of course, is entirely true).  What I’m talking about is more fundamental.  More basic.

Right now the big news item is the Pig Flu or the H1N1 Virus as it’s more technically known.  Politicians are closing borders, stadiums are being shut down, people are heading to hospitals to see if they have the Swine Flu.  I have no idea if this is the next great pandemic or the next Y2K.

What I do know is that a lot of people are panicking.  And that panic is spread by the lies of this world.

There is money to be made in panic and fear (you hear the cliche’s about how “if it bleeds it leads”).  But I don’t think this is the root cause of why we are so afraid.  I think the reason we are so afraid, so willing to panic, is that we’ve bought into a lot of lies.  As I said earlier, these aren’t lies told to us in a well thought out master plan (there is no dark emperor sitting behind the throne).  These lies are the ones the world gives us.  The lies that tell us we aren’t good enough.  That we don’t have any worth.  That sex and drugs are the only ways to freedom.

Isn’t that why we are panicked by the collapse of the economy?  Because we believe that more stuff = happiness.  That a bigger wallet = success.  That my self-worth is defined by what I own.

These lies don’t lead to freedom – they lead to subjugation and surrender.

Jesus presented a radically different view of the world.  He exposed the lies.  And there are people who don’t like that.  Some of those people are even Christians.  Let me say that again.  Some of the people who are most responsible for the world’s lies are Christians.

God only loves you if you’re good.

You have to be perfect before God will talk to you.

The King James Version is the only true version of the Bible.

Jesus spoke of a thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).  It’s this thief that is stealing your freedom and planting lies in your life.  Not God.

Over the next week write down every time you hear a lie.  Don’t simply accept it – challenge it.  Ask God to show you the truth, and before long, you’ll start seeing all the ways the world lies to you.  Then ask yourself, who should I believe?  God?  Or the world?