overwhelmed with wonder

I just stumbled on this verse a couple weeks ago in my morning quiet time that I don’t recall reading before. I’m sure I have, because on a couple other occasions over the years I have read through the entire Bible. I never saw it any of the other times but this time it just jumped off the page and I have not been able to get it out of my mind since then. It has excited my mental processes more than any verse I have read in some time. Here it is. It comes from the New Testament book of Mark, chapter nine, verse fifteen.

“As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.”

A couple phrases are packed with color and imagination. The first is where it says they were “overwhelmed with wonder.” What was it about Jesus that His mere presence would overwhelm a group of people with wonder? What was there about His presence and person that brought forth such a response? Was it His countenance, His confidence, His mercy, grace or love, His humility? Whatever it was, it was overwhelming.

A more personal question though, is how long has it been since you were overwhelmed with wonder at the thought or connection with Jesus? Have you ever been? Isn’t this a response that we should frequently experience?

I challenge you to identify ways to be overwhelmed with wonder at the presence of Jesus. Here’s a suggestion. Designate a time each day, or as often as possible, to get alone with your Bible and God. Read from the Gospels and connect with Jesus there and let His presence overwhelm you.

The other phrase is the one that follows “overwhelmed with wonder. The verse continues, “and they ran to meet Him.”

The natural response to being overwhelmed with wonder at the presence of Jesus is running to meet Him. Here’s a question? What in your life might be standing in the way of you being overwhelmed with wonder at the realization of Jesus and running to meet Him?  Isn’t it time to deal with it?

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what is the most important quality as a Christ follower?

I’m in this exciting and intense series on Sunday mornings in the New Testament book of First Peter. The theme of the series is Hope Beyond Belief. This Sunday, June 21, is week four of the study.

This week I am going to discuss the most important quality we can have as a follower of Jesus. This one, in my opinion, far outweighs all the others. If you have it, it’s tremendous. If you don’t have it, it’s bad, really bad.

But, what is “it?” How would you answer the question, “What is the most important quality as a Christ follower?” what do you feel is of greatest value and why do you feel that way? I would be interested in hearing from you.

And to tip you off, I’m not talking about love. Love is in a league all by itself, but other than love what do you feel is the most important quality we can possess as a Christian?

a fish story

I can’t remember the last time I went fishing. I’m sure I have but it was just so long ago that I can’t, for the life of me, recall the time and place. I have always expressed a desire for fishing but never did much of anything about the desire. I guess the reason is that I like to get more production out of my time and the few times I did go fishing I sat there forever with no action. If I ever caught anything it was never enough to tell anyone about.

So this past Sunday Mike Gorski stuck his head out the window as we were leaving the road from Tomahawk Creek School, after our services and said, “If you aren’t doing anything tomorrow evening why don’t you come on over and we’ll go fishing.” He had mentioned this before but he had never been so specific as “tomorrow evening.” So I decided I was going to take him up on the offer. After all, Mike is an “expert” when it comes to fishing and if I am going to fish I want to go with an “expert.”

We put out on the pond behind his and Linda’s place up in Amelia about 6:15PM. (He and Linda are the couple that usually greets you at the door on Sunday morning at NV.) He gave me a few lessons on casting, baited my hook with live crickets and I went to work.

We were floating out from land about fifty to sixty feet casting up to the edge of the shore. My first couple casts were laughable. Then I began to get the hang of it. About my forth or fifth cast I had a strike and I was reeling in my first catch of the day. Another cast or two and I was reeling in another. The blue gills were biting and I was on a roll. About fifteen minutes into the expedition I hooked into a big momma. As I reeled it in Mike was beside himself. “That is a huge blue gill.” And he begins saying something about state citation size, whatever that means. So I asked him and he said that any blue gill over eleven inches is considered citation size. He measured it and it came in at eleven and a quarter inches. So fifteen minutes into the trip I had hooked a state citation blue gill. Here’s what a blue gill looks like.
BLUEGILL
That means I get a certificate with some kind of official recognition on it. Sure, we took a picture but it turned out to be the last picture on the camera so there is a good chance it didn’t take. If it didn’t, this is nothing more than just another fish story and there goes my citation.

But it was fun anyhow. We fished for another couple hours and I caught ten or twelve including a couple pound bass. Thanks Mike for making my first fishing experience, in who knows how long, a state citation evening.

Facebook Trial

I have decided to relinquish my holdout status on Facebook and give it a six month trial. I don’t guess I will get any peace and quiet until I do. I have received numerous comments concerning my holdout position, some written, some spoken, some encouraging me to give it a try and others telling me to not waste my time.

So I am ready to see if my quality of life improves and my effectiveness as a husband first, then father and ultimately a leader in the church increases. I am so anxious to discover what others have extolled as the “greatness” of Facebook. I am sure it will engulf me within a few hours. I hope I can control the excitement.

Now, I know that I will receive some additional comments as a result of this decision. That’s ok, bring them on. I can take them. Good or bad, let me hear them.

I must confess that my decision was initiated somewhat by an anonymous person. Somehow, I strangely showed up as a new user on Facebook this week even tough I did not activate my account. So to not disappoint the 1,287,000 people who asked me to be their friends since then, I have decided to continue my Facebook page, for six month at least. Don’t expect too much at the current time. It is just a skeleton. I have to locate the extra time it takes to set it up properly and maintain it, but I’m sure I will.

I will be anxious to write in six months about my experience. I hope it is worth the while. What do you think?

strangers

Ok, on Sundays we have begun this tremendous new series called Hope Beyond Belied. It is a study in the New Testament book of first Peter. Each week we investigate a different section of this book. We began last week with chapter one verses one through twelve. Each Sunday I will cover as much of the test as I can but it is just impossible to highlight everything that needs our attention. So, I am going to use some of my blog time over the next few weeks to discuss a few of the parts I am not able to get to on Sundays. Here’s a link to the free online recording of the entire message, if interested. http://relaxedchurch.com/wmspage.cfm?parm1=57

Let’s start with a word that is worth exploring. It is used a couple different times in the first chapter. In verse one Peter describes Christ followers as “strangers.” Then in the same chapter, verse seventeen he instructs us to “Live your lives as strangers hers.” In different translations the word strangers is replaced with “aliens, sojourners, exiles, foreigners and refugees.”

What comes to your mind when you think of someone as a stranger or any of the other descriptions? To me, there are a two or three words or concepts that emerge. Here they are.

Unfamiliar
Detached
Looking Beyond

A stranger is someone who is not overly familiar with his or her surroundings, only familiar enough to get to the next destination.

A stranger is someone who is not willing to connect too securely with their temporary place of existence. They hold things loosely. They release easily.

And a stranger is always looking to their “home” beyond their refugee status. They always know that this is not home. Home is someplace else.

So how do you feel about being a “strangers” in this world that we call “home?”