11 January 2010

John 2 - at the right time

< John 1 | Index | John 3 >

Everyone knows of the wedding in the village of Cana near the Sea of Galilee and the water into wine event.The best wine There's not much left at Cana now, just some remains of walls in a field at best (even the precise location is uncertain).

There's a great deal in this rich chapter (John 2) that we could discuss, but for me one of the significant features is hidden away in this business of water and wine. Notice in verse 4 how Yahshua tells his mother, rather brusquely, 'What's it got to do with me, woman? My time hasn't come yet'. Yet just a short time later he's telling the servants what to do and the water they draw is wine when it is poured out.

What's going on? Why does he say one thing but do another? This is not the only example. When his brothers were going to the feast in Jerusalem and invited him to join them he told them, 'No, my time has not come'. But as soon as they had left, he too set out for the city! (John 7:1-10) Why?

Perhaps the answer is that Yahshua, when he was here in the world in a human body, did literally what he later explained to his critics, 'I only do what I see the Father do' (John 5:19). So look at it like this...

Mary - 'They're going to be embarrassed, they've run out of wine.'

The Father - 'It's not your time yet, Son.'

Yahshua - 'It's not my problem, my time hasn't come yet.'

Mary (to the servants) - 'Just do whatever he tells you.'

The Father - 'Now is the time, my Son.'

Yahshua - 'Go and fill those pitchers with water. Then draw some out and take it to the MC.'

I think that really is how the Lord lived his life day by day. He did and said what his Father showed him and told him, moment by moment. And that is how he wants us to live too. He sent the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ) as a permanent advocate and comforter for all his people. If we are listening we will hear, if we are looking we will see.

There was a short time when the Father stopped speaking to Yahshua, and he cried out in a loud and desperate voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, why have you forsaken me?' (Mark 15:33-34) But that was a unique occasion. He has not (and never will) forsake his followers on the earth today.

< John 1 | Index | John 3 >

10 January 2010

John 1 - the Word

< No earlier chapters | Index | John 2 >

River Church in St Neots is studying a chapter of John's Gospel each day beginning today, January 10th. The Light shines in the darknessAs John has twenty-one chapters the process will finish on the last day of January. Rob McFarlane is planning to post a blog entry every day with some thoughts on the chapter. I thought I'd like to do the same thing because it's a really great idea.

Here's Rob's post on John 1. And here's mine...

First, a general comment. John's Gospel (and indeed every book in the Bible) is rich with depths of meaning. There are superficial things that everyone will see right away, and there are also deep things that are more difficult to dig out. But we each have our own personal approach to the book too, so to some degree each reader has a unique understanding of the content. What follows is just a note on what stood out as I read today - nothing more and nothing less.

I was deeply struck by the reminder that Yahshua (Jesus) is the voice of the Almighty. He is not his own voice, he is his Father's voice. He is the Word and was there right at the start (verse 1-2). Once, in discussion with some Pharisees about the washing of cups, Yahshua said that it's not what goes into a person's mouth that makes them unclean, but what comes out. It's not whether we drink from ritually clean cups or not, it's what comes out, what we say, because the source behind the words is contained in our hearts (Mark 7:1-23).

Yahshua is the Word spoken into the world by the Almighty. And the Father's heart is clean and holy, therefore so is the Word that he speaks. And 'the Word became human and lived among us' (John 1:14).

This is so awesome that we struggle to grasp the significance of it! Imagine if the Queen came to live in your home for the rest of her life; left Buckingham Palace, rang your doorbell, and came in to share your family home. How would you feel about that?

The King of the Universe came to live amongst us! How awesome is that! One of the first things he did on arrival here was to call people to follow him. He still does that. He still wants us to follow. But first we need to understand who he really is. If you want to know more about all of that read the rest of John 1.

< No earlier chapters | Index | John 2 >

08 January 2010

St Neots - lunch at Barretts

Today we met for coffee and lunch at Barretts in St Neots. It was refreshingly different to sit together at a table surrounded by the buzz of shoppers stopping for a cuppa or a quick lunch before dashing back to the bargains again. A nice cup of coffeeWe were in no such rush, Paul and I arrived first and then Roger joined us. We had a leisurely coffee followed by an equally leisurely light lunch, and then stayed at our table to talk and pray.

We shared news about the many friends we regularly pray for and we also tried out something else. Paul and I are already doing Church of Two (CO2) together daily, but this time we were able to include Roger as well.

This was a good experience as always, it helps us to express things that otherwise might remain unsaid. Not that we would deliberately hide our feelings from one another, but just because the simple VIRKLER process gives us a good set of hooks to hang things on.

07 January 2010

Brampton - Heal Our Land

It was wonderful to meet with Jim and Sean again after a bit of a break. This time we met at Sean's which worked out really well.

Jim told us about The Awakening, a period of 21 days during which the plan is to read John's Gospel and spend time in prayer. Heal Our LandHe also mentioned that Rob McFarlane of River Church is posting his thoughts on John daily.

I talked again about Church of Two (CO2) and we gave it a try there and then, maybe we'll do this on Thursdays for a while and see whether it's useful in this form. I enjoyed our first trial and imagine it will help us grow deeper in relationship as well as helping us hear the Spirit's direction for our lives week by week.

Sean wondered what would be the next thing to hit the UK. We're currently struggling with a difficult winter, we had the recession, there seem to have been a string of problems in recent years, society is damaged or broken in so many ways. Sean senses there may be trouble ahead and that something big is coming, perhaps something oppressive and perhaps especially so for the church. I think he may be right.

Jim reminded us of the 'Heal our Land' event taking place in the UK during 2010. It's using a version of Jimmy and Carole Owens' musical 'Heal Our Land' as a way of focusing the church's attention and prayer on the current state of Britain and reaching out to those around us with the gospel message of hope and love. As he was sharing these thoughts, Jim had a picture of a flashy,, polished Mercedes. Inside were two people who appeared almost dead. They had the trappings of a good life but were withered. We need to look away from the world and look instead towards eternity.

Jim went on to remind us of Hosea's story. He fell in love with a beautiful young woman and they were married. She later left him and became a prostitute. One day, when he was in the town market, Hosea saw his wife on sale as a slave. He paid a heavy price for her and took her back home. This is how the Lord feels about his people, he was prepared to pay a heavy price to get us back. He has shown how much he cares about us.

We all went on to discuss a little more about the course of history and where we are now headed. Where is history taking us? And more importantly, where is Yahweh taking us?

We also considered Esther who was 'here for a time such as this'. She had a particular function and responsibility in the Almighty's plan. So do we. We, too, are 'here for a time such as this'. We need to fulfill that purpose as the Lord unfolds it for us.

04 January 2010

Colworth (CU) - Our calling

Steph Whitney led the meeting today. She had prepared some material on various aspects of our personal calling. A crown, symbol of royal authorityShe explained that she and Ron are part of a small group that meets regularly at home, for prayer, Bible study, and to be led and guided by the Holy Spirit. Steph based today's session around a series of Bible verses and short extracts.

Hebrews 3:1, Ephesians 1:18, 2 Timothy 1:9, and 2 Thessalonians 1:11 explain that our calling is something that we need to discover. I believe this is true, and for me these verses speak powerfully about the fact that we have been called out of darkness into Jesus who is the light of the world.

We thought about the fact that we need to be faithful to the Lord, we need to be worthy and fulfill all that he has for us. Our hearts need enlightening. There are practical aspects to this as well, for example finding a framework for Bible study that is right for us.

1 Peter 2:9 shows us that it's about sharing in a group, not just an individual matter. We are part of a priesthood, we are part of a holy nation. And it's not merely up to us (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 2 Peter 1:1-11).

03 January 2010

ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger Meeting - 7th February 2010

Hi everyone, here's a date for your diaries - 7th February 2010 for a regional gathering at Moggerhanger near Bedford. Come and join us for fun, a shared lunch, invited speakers, and more.

We plan to meet at 13:30 for a snowdrop walk in the woodlands at Moggerhanger Park Snowdropfollowed at 14:00 with a light but warming lunch in the old house. It will be something like jacket potatoes and a choice of fillings, more details nearer the time.

After lunch we have some invited guests who will share about events in a wider context. These will be short sessions of no more than 20 minutes each.
  • Peter Farmer from Nottingham has been invited to speak about organic church networks and church planting movements in the UK.
  • Someone from South-West England may be coming to tell us about church planting and growth in that region.
  • I will describe our experiences with the Church of Two (CO2) concept in and around St Neots.
  • We hope to hear about the work of X-treme Youth Camps in north-Bedfordshire. 
There will also be an open time for prayer, praise, and body ministry, as well as an opportunity for open discussion and a Q and A session with the invited guests.

There is no charge for attending, but to help with catering please let me know if you are coming, how many adults and children are in your party, and whether any of you have special dietary needs. There will be an opportunity to donate to the work of Moggerhanger Park if you wish to do so.

More details in mid January,

Grace, peace and joy to you all in the new year,

Chris Jefferies
chris@scilla.org.uk

124 St Neots Road

Eaton Ford
St Neots
Cambs
PE19 7AL

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