i believe in miracles

do you? why not add your miracles too?


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Can I Get a Witness? John 5:31-47 (how I would say it)

DSC05233fb (totally random Maypole)

I’m telling you straight up who I am, but nobody believes it. But I’m not the only one, there’s someone else saying the same thing, and it’s all true. You asked John about me and he told you the truth. Not like he’s any real authority, after all, he’s just human, but I’m just trying to help you to understand this for your own eternal good. John was like a beacon pointing to me, and for a while, it looked like you might see the light.

What I say about myself carries a lot more weight than what John says about me. Every time I do what I’ve been sent here to do, I prove I’m from the Father. Even the Father has proven that I’m for real. But I guess you’ve never really seen God or never really internalized his word if you don’t believe the proof he’s offering you. You burn the midnight oil analyzing the ancient texts, thinking in some way this is going to make you good with God. Those same texts prove my identity, and yet you refuse to come to me to save your life!

It’s not like I’m looking for people to fall all over me, I’m just saying, I’ve got your number. There’s no love of God in your hearts. Here I am, representing my Father, and you just don’t buy it. But along comes someone else with absolutely no backing other than his name printed on a business card and you’re welcoming him into your club. How could anyone expect you to believe in the real deal when you’re so busy congratulating yourselves, and spending zero effort to discover what God can award?

Don’t worry about me telling my Father, though. Moses has that covered. After all, he’s the one you’re counting on, isn’t he? Then again, if you really believed what Moses said, you’d believe in me, because he was the first to write about me. But you don’t believe what he wrote, so how could you possibly believe I say?

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What Gives Him the Right? John 5:16-30 (how I would say it)

DSC05172 fb (random pic from my recent trip to Hohenschwangau)

The Jewish authorities really had it out for Jesus because he had broken the laws about working on Saturday (their holy day). In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father works nonstop and so that’s how I work.” This only made things worse. Then they were really hot because not only was he breaking the law, he was also calling God his Father in a literal sense, which in Jewish custom is as good as saying you’re equal with that person.

Jesus tried to explain: “It’s like this: the Son can’t do anything on his own; he can only follow the example of his Father. Like father like son. And since the Father loves the Son, he shares everything with him. That’s right, and you haven’t seen the half of it. What’s still to come is going to blow your mind. Just like the Father can even bring people back from the dead, give them another chance at life, the Son can also give life away to whomever he feels like giving it to. More than that, the Father has delegated to the Son the authority to declare someone guilty or not guilty. Dis’ the Son, you dis’ the Father—the one who gave the Son his marching orders.

Listen, it’s like this: If you will just open your minds and accept the Father’s decisions, you’ll get life after death. You won’t be declared guilty because you’ve crossed over into the camp of the living. Real soon, in fact the wheels are already in motion, dead people are going to hear the Son of God, and the ones who do are going to cross over into the camp of the living. Just like God has the power to give life, he’s also delegated to the Son the power to give life. And he delegated to him the authority to declare someone innocent or guilty because he’s the Son of Man.

Don’t let this shock you. It’s mild compared to what else is going to happen—the day of the living dead, when everyone comes back to life at the sound of the Son’s voice. Then those who are declared innocent will live on forever, and those who are found guilty will come back to life to get what’s coming to them. So, you see, I’m no maverick. I’m just calling ‘em like I see ‘em and I always make good calls, because my sole motivation is to follow my marching orders.


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Bummed out by Bethesda: John 5:1-15 (how I would say it)

Jerusalem Bethesda BW 1 (Pool of Bethesda today. Not much to look at…)

Later on, Jesus went to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem, there’s a pool called Bethesda (an Aramaic word). The pool is encircled with five rows of columns, which are shaded. A lot of people with various disabilities—blindness, mobility challenges, paralysis—hung out there. One of them was a man who had been disabled for 38 years. Jesus saw him lying there and struck up a conversation. When he found out how long he had been disabled, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be free of your disability?”

“Sir,” the man replied, “When the water starts to bubble, I try to get in the pool, but I never make it in time because I don’t have anyone to help me. Other people always beat me to it.”

Then Jesus said, “Just get up already! Take that mat you’re lying on and get going.” Immediately, the man stood up, picked up his things and off he went.

It was a Saturday, the Jewish holy day, and the Jewish religious leaders busted the guy for walking with a mat, saying, “Hey, you can’t carry that today! It’s a holy day and it’s against the law to carry anything.”

But he replied, “Listen, I just got healed and the man who made it happen told me to pick up my mat and get going, so that’s just what I’m going to do.”

They asked, “Who was this guy who told you to pick up your mat and get going?”

The man looked around but couldn’t spot Jesus because he had slipped away in the crowd, and he hadn’t bothered to ask his name.

Later Jesus ran into him at the temple and said, “Look at you, you’re all better! Now you better start living right or you’ll be worse off than before.”

The man went off and found the Jewish leaders and reported to them that Jesus was the one who had restored his abilities.


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The Case for Caring for Your Grandparents: John 13:4-17 (how I would say it)

After dinner, Jesus got up, took off his Sunday clothes and tied an apron around his waist. He poured some water into a bucket and went around, one by one, washing the grime (dust, goat goo, etc.) off of the feet of his closest followers.

When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, should you really be doing this?”

Jesus answered, “I know you don’t get this right now, but it will make sense later on.”

Peter replied, “There’s no way you’re washing my feet!”

Jesus said, “Peter, if I don’t wash your feet, we’re finished. We have no future together.”

Peter replied, “In that case, wash my hands and face too!”

Jesus said, “Peter, did you take a bath today? Then all we need to do is get the grime off your feet. Besides my followers are always clean. Well, not all of you…” (He was referring to the one who was going to betray him.)

After he finished, he sat down and asked, “Any idea what just happened here? You call me ‘boss,’ ‘teacher,’ ‘master,’ yadda yadda, and that is exactly what I am to you. So if your master will perform for you the most menial hygienic service which we allow another person to do for us, is there any reason why you shouldn’t do this kind of thing for each other? I did this to set precedence for you to do likewise. Are any of your better than I am, that you can’t do this kind of thing? Is there such a thing as a disciple who is greater than his teacher? Of course not. You know that, so just do it—any and every kind of service that any brother needs. Serving each other in even the most humbling ways will give you a deep sense of contentment.

 


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Jesus Heals an Officer’s Son: John 4:43-54 (how I could say it)

looking thru trees to sky (random picture, but I really love it)

After a couple of days, Jesus set out for Galilee. Understand that Jesus had predicted that he was going to get no respect in his own hometown. Nonetheless, when he first arrived in Galilee, people welcomed him. Those who had been at the Passover celebration in Jerusalem had been very impressed with Jesus there. He also went back to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned water into wine at that wedding reception.

One of the local authorities had a sick son, at the point of death, in Capernaum, a village on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. When he heard Jesus was in town, he tracked him down and begged him to come cure his son.

“You people always have to have some proof to believe in something,” Jesus told him.

The officer replied, “Please, I’m begging you. Come help my son; he could die any minute.”

“Your son is going to be fine. Go on now,” replied Jesus.

The officer accepted this answer and set off toward home. On the way, one of his staff met him and told him that his son was on the mend. The officer asked when his son’s condition had started to improve, and the staffer told him, “His fever broke yesterday at 1 p.m.”

The officer realized this was the exact time that Jesus had said, “Your son is going to be fine.” That was enough for him and everyone in his family to believe Jesus was for real.

This was the second inexplicably amazing thing Jesus had done since he had arrived in Galilee.


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Reel ‘Em, Boys: John 4:27-42 (how I would say it)

IMG_0792 (random picture)

Just then Jesus’ followers walked up on the conversation and couldn’t believe that Jesus was actually talking to this Samaritan woman; but they didn’t have the guts to ask him what was going on.

The woman forgot all about drawing water from the well and hurried back to town to tell whoever she could find, “I think I’ve met the savior of mankind that all the prophesies talk about. He knew everything about me.” Some of the townspeople followed her back to the well.

After the woman left the well, Jesus’ followers tried to get Jesus to eat. They said, “Teacher, you have to eat something!”

Jesus replied, “I’ve been feasting the whole time you were gone!”

His followers couldn’t figure it out. They mumbled to each other, “Do you think someone brought him some food?”

“Doing what God sent me to do is like a four-course meal to me.” Jesus said, “You know how people say, ‘Friday’s payday,’? Open your eyes, boys, it’s time to cash in right now! It’s time to start converting assets to cash—not really cash, but treasure that will outlast this life. You know that saying, one does all the work and another gets all the credit. It’s true, but in this case, both the one who did the work and the one who get the credit are happy about it. You guys are cashing in on work you didn’t do. Someone else did all the hard work; all you have to do is reel ‘em in.”

[Disciples shooting each other looks that say: “Anyone got a clue what he’s talking about?”]

A lot of the townspeople ended up believing Jesus was for real because the woman was so convincing when she told them, “He knew everything about me.” They followed her back to the well and convinced Jesus to hang out for a couple of days. Then Jesus himself convinced them of who he was.

They told the woman, “At first we just believed what you told us, but now that we’ve heard Jesus for ourselves, we know first-hand that this guy is really the savior of the world the prophesies described.”


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Jesus Exposes Himself to Samaritan Woman: John 4:1-26 (how I would say it)

[no disrespect intended in the title. It was just too funny, and I know God is the author of humor]

When Jesus learned that the fact that he was dunking more people and becoming more popular than John was causing a real stir among the Pharisees (even though he wasn’t actually doing the dunking, but his followers were), he decided to leave Judea and go back to Galilee.

The way they went back took them through a town called Sychar in Samaria. The town was near the land the Jewish forefather Jacob had bequeathed to his also infamous son Joseph. There was a famous well there called Jacob’s well. It was about noon and Jesus was already worn out, so he stopped to rest at that well.

One of the local Samaritan women came along to draw water from the well and Jesus said to her, “How about giving me a drink?” (He was alone—his followers had gone into the town to get something to eat.)

The Samaritan woman replied, “You’re asking me for a drink? You’re a Jew and I’m a Samaritan woman.” (Jews normally wouldn’t associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered, “Yea, well, if you only knew who’s asking you for a drink—God’s gift to mankind—you would be begging me for a drink of life-giving water.”

“Is that so? You don’t even have anything to draw water with, how would you get it out? What’s life-giving water anyway? Is this water not good enough for you—the very water that our forefather Jacob, his sons and livestock drank?”

Jesus answered, “Drink all you want from this well. You’ll just get thirsty again. But the water I’m offering only has to be drunk once and then no more thirst. Because my water becomes a spring inside the person who drinks it—a spring of eternal life.”

The woman replied, “I’ll take it! Then I won’t have to keep coming back here to get water.”

Jesus said, “Okay. Go get your husband and come back.”

 “I don’t have a husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “Good answer.  The fact is you have had five husbands, and the man you’re with now isn’t one of them. You’re absolutely right.”

 “Wow,” the woman said. “Okay, then, if you know so much, tell me why you Jews say we can’t perform our religious ceremonies on this mountain when our ancestors worshiped on this mountain. You say we have to go to Jerusalem to worship.”

“Listen,” Jesus replied, “soon enough it’s not going to matter where you worship. You don’t even know what you’re worshipping anyway. We Jews know though, because the hope of mankind is Jewish. Anyway, the game is about to change—it’s changing already—and those who are actually revering and adoring God—not just going through the motions—do it through his Spirit, and it’s real. That’s the kind of person God wants worshipping him. God is a spirit and so if you want to worship him, you have to do it with your spirit, and sincerely, and it doesn’t matter where.”

The woman said, “Game changer, huh? Well, I know that a christened savior of mankind is supposed to be coming, and when he does, he’ll explain everything.”

Jesus said. “And who do you think you’re talking to right now? It’s me! Christened savior of mankind, at your service!”