Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Twenty Three Minutes In Hell

Last week I picked up the book "Twenty Three Minutes in Hell" and read it in two days. Since reading it, I cannot stop thinking about those around me without hope of eternity. I posted the video below of the man who wrote the book speaking about his experience. He was taken to hell and describes the events. Watch the video, it will impact you to reach out to those around you.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

23 Minutes in Hell

Thursday, April 14, 2011

He Will Meet You Where You Are

A certain girl lay at the pool with a multitude of others. Sick for many years, she waited at the pool. She waited for the angel to stir the water so someone might have mercy on her and place her in the water. Years went by as she begged for someone to help. Yet each of the others at the pool were in need and sick themselves. Each one waiting.... for the stirring.... for a miracle. Who might reach the water first? Only one will reap the healing that so many need. "I can't fix it myself" she told those near her as she writhed with pain but held tight to her old ways.

That girl was me... waiting by the pool just like the man in Bethesda in John 5:1-15. It tells the story of a man who was sick for 38 years. Day after day he waited at the Pool of Bethesda for a miracle. Everyday he waited for someone to have a little bit of pity on him and place him in the pool. He just needed one dip after the angel stirred the water. He needed one person to put him in the water before anyone else had stepped in. Year after year he yearned for a healing so he could live a life worth something. But no one cared for him enough.

Why Jesus came for him I cannot explain. Many others were there. Many others needed to be healed. The blind, lame, paralyzed and sick were there by the multitude. But Jesus had come to save this one man at the pool. Just like He always comes for me. I don't deserve it. I can't understand why he continues to be faithful to me. So many around me have needs so much greater than mine. But yet he continually comes where ever I am. He comes to find me amongst all the multitudes of people. He comes in spite of my rebellious heart and my tendency to want to control things.

"Do you want to be made well?" was the question Jesus asked the man. It's the same question he has asked me so many times. Just like the man at the pool, I said "I have nobody to put me in the water while it's stirred, everyone gets there before me." Excuses... I gave excuses for a very long time. "I don't have enough will power to overcome my behaviors." "It's too big to overcome."

Basically, do I really want to be made well? Or do I want to hang on to my sin? Do I still love my sinful ways so much that I am willing to stay sick in them? Do I still want to do things my way? Or will I allow God to begin a miracle in me?

This week I answered "Yes Lord, I want to be made well." I picked up my mat and I am walking away from the pool I once felt so prone to lounge at. It's time to quit waiting for the angel to stir the water. It's time to let Jesus make a change in me. It's time for a miracle.

The last instruction Jesus gave to the man was in the temple. Jesus goes to the temple to find the man and He tells him this "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." It's a warning. A warning I feel was meant for all of us. If you want to stay well... don't go back to the sin! Stay in the miracle He has made in you and trust Jesus to keep you pointed the right direction.

I don't know about you but I have decided to heed the warning. I have decided to sin no more, least a worse thing come upon me. I asked to be made well and Jesus started the process of healing in me. I am pointing myself towards that change. In His strength I will persevere tell I get to the goal.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Desperate Man

I have heard many say what a great and kind man Jesus was. I heard Lisa Ling state this recently in a documentary. She said that she was not a religious person but her experience reporting on a story about Christians had drawn her to this man. He was such a kind and loving man. The statement that Jesus was kind and loving is a true one. But exploring the nature of Jesus is crucial if you really want to know who you are talking about.

You see, if this great man was not God then he wasn't really so great. If Jesus was not fully God then the kindness was a complete farse and His ministry meant nothing. He spoke to many while here on earth and made the claim to be God. If it's not true then He is nothing but a liar and His greatness is not so. But would a liar do what I am about to tell you about? Or would it have to be God?


In John 4:46-54 we are told a story that takes place in Galilee. A nobleman, called so by either the largeness of his estate, the extent of his power or the royalties that belonged to his manor. Some scholars say he may have held an office to the King. In spite of his stature and largeness of estate, he could do nothing to help his sick son. So we see him seeking the real King for help.

He implores Jesus to come down and heal his son that is back in Capernaum, for he is at the point of death. A desperate father pleads with Jesus, "Sir, Come down before my child dies!"

Imagine this fathers anguish and pain, at the point of dispair, ready to do and believe anything if it will save his son's life. He goes to the man he had seen in Jerusalem doing miracles. "Maybe this is the Messiah, that can do such miracles."

Jesus doesn't need to travel to Capernaum to heal this man's child. He only needs to speak and the healing is done. I think we forget that. We forget that it only takes a word for Jesus to heal what ails us. For the nobleman it was easy. He was at that place of complete surrender and trust. He had no other place to go but to the Savior. So he went, pleading, with a surrendered heart, in complete belief that Jesus could heal his son.

Jesus's answer was this... "Go your way; your son lives" In belief, the man started back home. No more pleading or waiting for Jesus to go with him. With a trust that Jesus could do all things, he began his journey back to Capernaum.

As he made his way back toward home, he was met by his servants. "Your son lives!" they shout to him from a distance. "What hour was it when he got better?" Their answer proved that his trust had been correct. It was at that very hour when Jesus had said to him "Your son lives." His trust in Jesus had not been in vain and he believed on that very moment. His whole household also became believers from this miracle.

Jesus knew this mans heart. He knew that in his desperation this man would come to him. What He also knew was that the nobleman and his family would be saved by this situation. He knew that His kindness and mercy would cause their to be belief in His deity. Jesus wasn't walking the earth to do great deeds of kindness for no reason. His mercy was to cause those who saw Him to believe He was God in flesh. It was to teach them to believe He was the living God here on earth to pay for our sins.

A man who was "just kind" could not do the things that Jesus did. Only God could.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some Sow and Some Reap

In my last post I talked about the Samaritan woman at the well and how she needed the living water Jesus had to offer. Today I am picking up in Verse 27 of John and reading through Verse 42. The Samaritan woman is still in the picture but there is more than one thought I want to explore with this part of the story.

We remember from the previous post that Jesus revealed to this woman the details of her life. Also, He had just told her He was the Messiah that her people had been looking for.

So we start in Verse 27, the disciples have returned to the well. They marvel that Jesus is even talking to this woman, but say nothing to Jesus about it.

Immediately the woman leaves behind her waterpot and goes back to the city. Did she leave because the disciples returned and she was afraid they would now admonish her for speaking to a Jew? Or was she so enraptured by what she had just found out that she was in a hurry to go back to her city and tell everyone? Personally, I think it was the latter because in her haste she left her waterpot behind. Also, after arriving in the city she goes to the men and tells them to "Come see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?"

Her declaration caused these men, whoever they were, to go out of the city and go to Jesus (Verse 30). She only testified to what she had encountered with Jesus. He had known the truth about her. By her admission that someone knew all she was guilty of, those she knew were intrigued enough to go see for themselves.

She put herself out there. No false persona's, no mask. Everyone knew her past but to go face everyone with honest humility? That took guts. Her honesty and transparency caused others to go see Jesus for themselves.

The story picks back up in Verse 39, where we see the result of her truthful disclosure to the others. "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all that I ever did."

Because of her willingness to tell others, many were saved. They even urged Jesus to stay with them, which He did for two days. During that time more were brought to belief. Not because of her words but because of her willingness to use her weaknesses to bring them to Jesus.

We have all heard the old saying "don't air your dirty laundry in public." Our reputation can stay untarnished if we just keep the baggage in the closet where it belongs. Our reputation, or what people think of us, is something many of us value very highly. We evaluate our worth by it. The problem is when we put such a high value on what others think of us, our authenticity goes out the window. Without authenticity, we will affect no-one for the Kingdom of God. Our life will be about ourself and not others.

What we must finally figure out is how to evaluate our worth by what Jesus says not others. When we do that, we will begin to allow Jesus Christ to use our failures and baggage to change the lives of others.


While the woman ran back to the city, forgetting her waterpot, the disciples got a lesson from Jesus. Verses 31 through 38 give us the discussion between Jesus and His beloved disciples.

"Rabbi, eat" The disciples urge. But He says to them "I have food to eat of which you do not know." This confuses them and they begin to ask each other if anyone has already brought Him food.

Jesus then takes the conversation from being about the physical need of food to the spiritual need. "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." He tells the disciples. He then begins to talk to them about the harvest.

"Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."

By this statement, Jesus has proclaimed the superior position of spiritual things. We cannot be so consumed with the physical nature of our lives and forget what we were left here on earth to accomplish. Just like Jesus, we to finish the work the Father God began.

The field of souls are ripe for harvest. By our transparency and humility we are to share our lives with those that do not yet know the greatness of Jesus Christ. There are many that do not know the glory of God and will die without really knowing what is in store for them after death. We are to be tillers of the soul of man. Sometimes we will sow the truth of Jesus into someone. Other times we may get the benefit of reaping what someone else has sown previously. The disciples were sent out to reap a harvest for the Kingdom of God. They were told to reap the harvest and bring others into eternity with Jesus covering them.

This story speaks to us as Christians today. Some will sow and others will reap. Only by humility and transparency like the woman at the well will we be effective enough to change the lives of others. Lay down your mask and find your sufficiency and worth in Christ. That way the truth of your life can shine for others to see Jesus in what He did for you.