Archive for May, 2007

Innovative Help Desk

I, sometimes, get behind on good “youtube” videos. (I just wish I had the time) I’m sure many of you have seen this one already. It’s just fitting for me as our church is moving forward with some innovative ideas. Thank goodness for the “Help Desk.”

Hope you enjoy.
peace.
johno~

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Chasing the fields of hills turned green

Breaking free, ready to fly
Head down, on the ground tethered by my side
Don’t they know I want to be free
Look through my eyes, you might just see

I’m Chasing the field of hills turned green
Open to the things unseen
Redemption red, winter white
She Lights my darkness and helps me fly

“Ending poverty” they say, is just a lie
Dying in a dirt street, hear little children cry
One man opened up the door
Giving more than bread crumbs off the floor

To those chasing the field of hills turned green
Open to the things unseen
Redemption red, winter white
She Lights their darkness and helps them fly

One step doesn’t make you walk
One word doesn’t make you talk
It’s the child who gets up again
And the child who’s life is in your hands

Who am I to think I AM
I’m just a beggar with a secret plan
Crawling on a old wood floor
With a map to find an open door

To the fields of hill turned green
Seeing all the things unseen
Redemption red like winter white
No more darkness only Light

Ready to fly

peace.
johno~

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Road to Gaza (part 5) Conclusion

In the beginning, God chose the Jewish nation to proclaim His name; announce Him to the world. He could have picked a stronger nation like Egypt or Rome or someone else, but He didn’t. God has always taken the less the smaller to show His power. Now the Peace has come. Funny, it really didn’t look like what we thought it would look like. However, the promise still came in a lowly manger.

The Promise came in the lowest form, with all odds against it and by the power of God became flesh. God would come to where we are and rescue us with His power not ours. This is what we were made for. It’s the “Mitzvah”, the command given to us long ago never to forget.

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Some of you may remember one of my first blog entries, On the road. It was my turn to listen to the Spirit. I will let you re-read the story If you like.

In short, Whitney was from the South, Texas. She was broke. She was an un-wed mother who just gave up her child to adoption. She knew God, but was losing hope because she didn’t know “who” He was talking about. Am I stretching this? Very contrasting to the Ethiopian eunuch, yet, the spirit led me to her to remind her of the LORD and his promise. He met her where she was… on a street curb.

Jesus said this, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Mitzvah, which means commandment or Mitzvot [plural] which means commandments.

How would our world be changed it we lived by these two Mitzvot? I’d like to find out.
I believe God placed “certain people in certain place at certain times so that they might reach out for Him and grab hold of Him because He is not far from each one of us.” We all travel the road everyday; are we listening to the spirit? Do we share the Mitzvah along the road? Do we live the Mitzvah?

The “Road to Gaza” describes, for me, the story of God meeting a man right where he is. What is my response everyday as I listen to the spirit?

Each person I meet, wherever I am, is the commandments [mitzvot] to love the LORD and proclaim his promises in the Messiah and love my neighbor so that we might have fellowship with the LORD someday in heaven. It gives me hope and builds strength even when I don’t know the final out come, I know what it looks like because of faith.

I grew up alone as a child. No father around, mother working all the time I felt alone. However, many people met me on the road to show me something about the LORD’S love for me.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. [the temple] I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commandments [mitzvot] and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

One of the men who walked with me on the “road” told me this good news, and when I ask him, “what do I do now?” he said, “share this with someone else.” He left, to Texas, and I went away, to college, rejoicing. Well, I wasn’t happy about school work… you know what I mean. Rejoicing about not being an orphan boy, a bastard child. Rather, a true child of God the Father.

The “Road to Gaza” is my journey following and listening to the Spirit of the LORD. It is not about simple nods and greetings along the road as you pass by people. It is walking 140km or farther alongside one another telling the story of the new covenant. Some will leave rejoicing. Other might choose to take another road. That’s ok, I’ll still be walking and I’m sure I’ll meet some more people along the road.

I hope this answers the question, “Why the Road to Gaza?’” It is not a short answer. Sorry. However, it’s an honest answer. It may also answer why my blog entries drop off here and there. It’s me asking myself the question, “am I listening to the Spirit?” Empty spaces reveal a transparent answer.

I do desire more accountability. I want to listen and see more. It’s one of the reasons I started my 52 people photo blog. Who are the people I’m walking with? It makes you stop and look around. Daily being lead by the Spirit.

To my friend who asked this question, thank you. You know me a little better now. Maybe more than you ever wanted too. You are one of my best friends though we have never met face to face. When the day comes, if we are not to old, I would love to literally walk this road with you.

Peace.
Johno~

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Road to Gaza (part 4)

(I hope to conclude this in one more part. It’s a long road… about 140km)
The Ethiopian asks, “Who is this man talking about? Himself or someone else?” It’s with this scripture Philip shares the “Good News” of Jesus. What did Philip say? What story of Jesus came out? As I look at the relationship of Isaiah 53 to what took place in Jesus’ life, I can see there are many similarities to his “sacrifice”. If this scripture does refers to Jesus as the Messiah, then he [Jesus] is the atonement sacrifice for our sins that was promised. God is keeping his covenant with His people to rescue them.

As I explore this story in Isaiah, as a father, I’ve come to look at things a bit different. If any of my children were hurt or lost, believe me, I would never stop looking for them. Some of you reading this have lost your children in the shopping mall or somewhere else and know what I mean. If someone tried to harm my children, I would take any the abuse or pain that I could to save them. Sometimes they do get hurt or sick and I wish I could take it all away or transfer it to myself. If I could, I would. If someone took something that belonged to them and wouldn’t give it back, I might get it back for them or give them something better. That’s how much I love them. This is what I believe to be the “Nature of God” and the “Image of God” that I am “made in.” That God, as a father, would desire all of the above for me… That’s good news.

So I wanted to know what “good news” was in Isaiah for this Ethiopian eunuch and here are some of the things I found in Isaiah 53, 54, 55 that connect well with the message of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven:

who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.

He was pierced for our transgressions.

The LORD makes His life a guilt offering.

He poured out His life until death.

For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed.

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters.

I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my unfailing kindnesses promised to David.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire.
Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples.

Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.

Truly, many of these words speak of a wonderful Creator [Elohim] who desires relationship. A Father [Abba} who has the best in mind for his children even when they do not understand His ways. But, what’s the deal with the Ethiopian eunuch? How does any of this relate? I would read the story in the book of Acts, then jump over into Isaiah 53 to confirm this testimony, then back to Acts to see the final statements.

Until one day I walked the journey, [read] long enough to travel [the road] into Isaiah chapter 56. I had, many times before, stopped reading this prophecy of Isaiah at chapter 55, but not this time.

Isaiah 56

Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely exclude me from his people.” And let not any eunuch complain, “I am only a dry tree.”
For this is what the LORD says: “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.
6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”

“Who is this man talking about, himself or someone else?” He’s talking of the Messiah and he’s talking to YOU! It is the message of God to a chosen people let loose. God would come into the world to save the world. Whoever could keep his commands, they would find themselves inside the gate. God’s love is for all men, all nations. His rescue would be so that all could come to the holy mountain. A new kingdom come.

I can’t imagine what was going on in this Ethiopians mind as these words came up. According to the law he would not be able to enter the temple courts and offer a sacrifice but this prophecy changes everything when you include the story of Jesus.

“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. Anyone who would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

“The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

“Jesus came so we might have life and have it abundantly.”

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

“Then the teachers demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
The teachers replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”

“He poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Philip was telling “good news” to this devout man of God. When Jesus was crucified and gave up his spirit, the “Temple curtain tore in two from top to bottom.” God would no longer be confined by a building made man, rather, He would dwell in the “temple” of His [God’s] creation, man. Finally.

If I could sacrifice myself in place of my children to set them free, as a father, I would… However, God did.

peace.
johno~

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