12/30/14

From Jim McGuiggan... THE CHURCH AND THE "OUTER FRINGE"


THE CHURCH AND THE "OUTER FRINGE"

A reader asked about outreach and how it can be worked at with homosexual people. This is practical and pastoral theology and we need to work out responses to the issues that arise if we are going to take the "go" commission seriously. As long as we reject and conscientiously isolate a segment of society we'll never have to work up a plan of action on how to work with them. And as long as we despise and isolate a segment of society it won’t make any difference what it is we "go" with—it isn’t the gospel of God in Jesus Christ. We can waltz all we want around those funny texts in the gospel but Christ got into trouble with the righteous people because he kept hanging around the notably sinful [Luke 15:1-2].

I think many of us conservative Evangelicals have been wrong in our approach to noted sinners (that is people engaging in notable sins). We've tried to keep them out of jobs and in 'leper' colonies where they won't get among us and contaminate our children or us. We go for isolation rather than insulation. In isolating them we certainly won't get contaminated by them but they certainly won't get saved and transformed by us. It's difficult for these people to believe us when we say "Jesus loves you and so do we" when we treat them as unfit for our social world as a dentist, school-teacher or anything else for that matter. The only dialogue we have with them is via the ballot-box when we work like maniacs to defeat their advocate and his/her policies. At most, we talk to them as political opponents. We certainly don't talk with them about anything else on any other occasion.

Finally they get voting power and we think of preaching to them (but do we?). We reach out as a kind of damage control. If we make Christians out of them they'll be no threat to our families and way of life. "Did you know about Jesus loving me when you exercised your political clout to keep me out of a job or deprive me of some civil rights? I never heard you before I got some of that and now you come bringing Jesus. Is this because you want to save me or is it to keep me from becoming too powerful and threatening your comfortable little world? You worried that I might get too strong and begin to infect your kids?" We do the same with those movie houses that show hard porn. We (if we do anything) sometimes parade with placards STOP THIS JUNK. We never go to see the owners. If we went and they said their livelihood depended on it we'd tell them they shouldn't make a living polluting society. Suppose they ask us, "If I show only PG or family movies will you work to promote my business, will you come and bring all your friends?" What then? [And what of masses of believers who have a million junk TV channels? Those that watch porn in their homes? D’you think the kids don’t know that?]

If by now my children don't understand that I think all forms of sexual immorality are displeasing to God and ruinous to humanity I need to get to work with my children. It mustn't be done in a fever nor should we speak of such things only in the negative. It's not just what we're running from but what we're running to. It isn't only that we strive to avoid sexual and other infidelity it's that we pursue to embrace holiness. And it isn't just that we embrace a high moral standard, we image Christ and that is more than simple adherence to moral standards—it’s "gospeling". I don't say that we should make our homes a meeting place for all those who are deviant or rebellious. It isn't required for us to go looking for the philanderers and homosexual people and invite them home for tea. The deeper issue, so it seems to me, is not what it would "look like" if we did such things. We all know organizations that specialize in caring for the outer fringe and we know exactly what they mean to accomplish. We all know that the Salvation Army is up to its neck with the drug addicts and so forth and it doesn't "look bad" to us—fact is, we admire them. If we establish ourselves as Christ imaging only those who choose to be our enemies or those who are scruple-bound will find it offensive. Christ knew how bad it "looked" to the righteous when he consorted with notable sinners but he still went on with it. The sinners never thought their sin was being condoned—it was only some of the righteous that thought so. In reaching out for the lost Christ was obviously willing to take the flack and was also willing to live without the fellowship of the righteous if he had to. I don't think we should thoughtlessly put our children in jeopardy. They are not to be made cannon fodder in a war we take on and conduct in lunacy. However we wage the war against the Enemy we should be wise. It’s better than fine for us to risk ourselves to redeem people but it might not be wise to risk our children, though tens of thousands down the years risked their children in mission work. Most didn’t do it without thought or in a cavalier manner. They were prayerful, thoughtful and as husbands and wives they were risk-takers for Christ. I would fully expect that a lot of teaching and prayer and strengthening would need to occur before we put our vulnerable children on the firing line. However we do it we need to prepare them (as well as ourselves) for a particular kind of warfare. There’s nothing wise or loving or brave in throwing our defenseless children into profound moral and spiritual danger; it’s wrong to callously offer our children on the altar of a shoddy and ill-conceived program we generated in a fit of righteous passion.

It makes no sense to me to go cruising the gay bars or the topless dancing joints to invite them home just to ease our outreach conscience or make up for past gospel-hoarding. Let’s have a gay roundup or a "gay outreach week" or a special service for gay visitors at an off-peak hour at the building. Programs can be stupid at worst or too contrived at best. They look fake and would probably, on consideration, feel fake. But I don't suppose we'll be in much danger of doing foolish things like that because we’re not even inclined to invite people home that we "don't like" even if they're as straight as an arrow and upright as a flagpole.

I'm not proposing some approach. I don’t know that I know "a good approach". I think approaches will be worked out in individual lives and churches because they know themselves and their families and their congregations and the interrelations between them all. That being the case, they will know best what will or will not be wise and loving. But I am of the opinion that our holiness has so much of the Pharisee in it. If we were all as strong as Christ there's nowhere we'd be afraid to go. Since that won't happen we shouldn't worry about becoming as strong or as wise or as selfless as he is/was. But it’s of vital importance that we see him as he is, admire him as he is, declare him as he is and follow him as well as God's grace enables us. It’s of critical importance for Christians to "gospel" rather than bludgeon with a political club. It’s perfectly legitimate to vote for someone we think is best for society as a whole but it’s infinitely better that our speech be gospel! To triumph over a bitter heart at the poll booth is democracy but to live and proclaim the good news about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is gospel. Fervent—and maybe even fevered—speech at election time is legitimate but day in, day out gospeling for all people is the image of Christ.

Here I Raise My Ebenezer! by Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=909

Here I Raise My Ebenezer!

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.

Many of us have grown up going to worship services where we sang age-old songs that were brought down to us from many years ago. In those songs, we often sing words or phrases that might not retain a popularly understood sentiment. Yet, even though we might not understand what we are singing, that has not stopped many of us from following the song leader through misunderstood stanzas of our old favorites.
One of the phrases that is of particular interest comes from the song O, Thou Fount of Every Blessing. The lyrics of this song (which originally was titled Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing) were written by Robert Robinson in 1758. The second verse of the song begins with these words: “Here I raise my Ebenezer.” If you are like many who have sung this song, the word “Ebenezer” immediately brings to your mind visions of old Ebenezer Scrooge from Dickens’ Christmas Carol, screaming at Bob Cratchet to conserve coal and get to work. Yet, we all know that is not the idea behind this song. Where, then, does the term Ebenezer originate, and what does it mean?
In 1 Samuel 7, the prophet Samuel and the Israelites found themselves under attack by the Philistines. Fearing for their lives, the Israelites begged Samuel to pray for them in their impending battle against the Philistines. Samuel offered a sacrifice to God and prayed for His protection. God listened to Samuel, causing the Philistines to lose the battle and retreat back to their own territory. After the Israelite victory, the Bible records: “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us’ ” (1 Samuel 7:12).
The word Ebenezer comes from the Hebrew words ’Eben hà-ezer (eh’-ben haw-e’-zer), which simply mean “stone of help” (see Enhanced…, 1995). When Robinson wrote his lyrics, he followed the word Ebenezer with the phrase, “Here by Thy great help I’ve come.” An Ebenezer, then, is simply a monumental stone set up to signify the great help that God granted the one raising the stone. In Robinson’s poem, it figuratively meant that the writer—and all who subsequently sing the song—acknowledge God’s bountiful blessings and help in their lives.
The next time you sing about raising your Ebenezer, you will be able to “sing with the understanding” that you are acknowledging God’s help in your life (1 Corinthians 14:15).

REFERENCES

Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (1995), (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.).

From Mark Copeland... The Cost And Reward Of Discipleship (Mark 10:28-31)

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

             The Cost And Reward Of Discipleship (10:28-31)

INTRODUCTION

1. Jesus had just completed His encounter with the rich young ruler...
   a. Who sadly left when he chose his possessions over following Christ
      - Mk 10:17-22
   b. When Jesus then warned His disciples about the difficulty of
      riches - Mk 10:23-27

2. At which Peter began to say, "See, we have left all and followed
   You..." - Mk 10:28
   a. Matthew adds in his gospel "Therefore what shall we have?"Mt 19:27
   b. Matthew also mentions the promise of the apostles sitting on
      thrones of judgment in the regeneration - Mt 19:28

[For everyone else who follows Jesus as His disciples, there is the
promise of both cost and reward.  With Mark's account (Mk 10:28-31)
before us, let's first examine...]

I. THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP

   A. EARTHLY RELATIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of leaving family - Mk 10:29
      2. He mentioned wife; not found in some mss of Mark, but is in Lk18:29
      3. Not to suggest such is always necessary - cf. 1Co 9:5
      4. But sometimes even one's family turns against a disciple - Mt 10:21,34-36
      5. Thus Jesus and His gospel must come before family - Mt 10:37;
         Lk 14:26
      -- Sometimes the greatest cost of discipleship is imposed by our
         own families

   B. EARTHLY POSSESSIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of leaving house and lands - Mk 10:29
      2. Not to suggest that it is always necessary - cf. 1Co 16:19; Ro 16:5; Col 4:15; Phm 1:2
      3. But disciples often sold lands, opened their homes to others
         - Ac 4:36-37; Phm 1:22
      4. Paul certainly gave up much to serve Christ - Php 3:7-8
      5. Thus Jesus and His kingdom must come before possessions - Lk 14:33; Mt 6:33
      -- We must be willing to forsake all that is necessary to be a
         disciple of Jesus

[The cost of discipleship can certainly be great.  For some, it is more
than others.  But for all who are willing to bear the cost of being His
disciple, Jesus promises...]

II. THE REWARD OF DISCIPLESHIP

   A. ETERNAL RELATIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of hundredfold blessings "in this time" - Mk 10:30
      2. Of brothers, sisters, mother, children
         a. He likely refers to fellow disciples as family - cf. Mk 3:31-35
         b. Jesus does not mention "fathers"; could it be because God is
            our Father? - Mt 23:9
         c. The fulfillment of this can be seen in the church, the
            family of God - 1Ti 3:15; 5:1-2
         d. Our spiritual family (the church) is the only one that will
            survive death
      3. Of houses and lands
         a. Perhaps through fellow ties with other disciples - Ac 4:32
         b. Who opened their hearts and homes to one another (Mi casa es
            su casa)
         c. Like Aquila and Priscilla - Ac 18:1-3; 1Co 16:19; Ro 16:5
      -- Even now, through His church, there are great rewards for
         following Christ

   B. ETERNAL POSSESSIONS...
      1. Jesus spoke of eternal life "in the age to come" - Mk 10:30
      2. As Paul described, the gift of God to be received at "the end"
         - Ro 6:22-23; cf. Mt 25:46
      3. This eternal life includes the "people of God" - cf. Re 21:3
      4. This eternal life includes spiritual houses and lands
         a. The Father's house, in which there are many rooms - Jn 14:1-3
         a. A new heaven and a new earth - 2Pe 3:13; Re 21:1
         b. The holy city, New Jerusalem - Re 21:2,23-27
      -- What glorious rewards await those who follow Jesus to eternal
         life!

CONCLUSION

1. In Mark's account, Jesus also mentioned persecutions...
   a. Together with the rewards of following Jesus - Mk 10:30
   b. Leading some to view them as a reward rather than a cost of
      discipleship
   c. Those who suffer persecution are certainly blessed - Mt 5:10-12;
      Re 20:4-6

2. Jesus concludes:  "But many who are first will be last, and the last
   first"... - Mk 10:31
   a. Which is followed in Matthew's gospel with the parable of laborers
      in the vineyard - Mt 20:1-15
   b. And is repeated again after the parable - Mt 20:16
   c. Thus a cautionary warning not to serve the Lord with a mercenary
      spirit

Whatever the cost of discipleship, whether our service proves to be long
and hard or short and easy, the reward of discipleship more than makes
up for it.  As Paul (who suffered greatly for Christ) wrote:

   "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working
   for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we
   do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which
   are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the
   things which are not seen are eternal." - 2Co 4:17-18

May the words of Jesus in our text always remind us of the things that
are eternal, some to be enjoyed even in this age, others to be realized
in the age to come...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading December 30


Bible Reading   

December 30

The World English Bible


Dec. 30
Zechariah 13, 14

Zec 13:1 "In that day there will be a spring opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
Zec 13:2 It will come to pass in that day, says Yahweh of Armies, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they will be remembered no more. I will also cause the prophets and the spirit of impurity to pass out of the land.
Zec 13:3 It will happen that, when anyone still prophesies, then his father and his mother who bore him will tell him, 'You must die, because you speak lies in the name of Yahweh;' and his father and his mother who bore him will stab him when he prophesies.
Zec 13:4 It will happen in that day, that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision, when he prophesies; neither will they wear a hairy mantle to deceive:
Zec 13:5 but he will say, 'I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground; for I have been made a bondservant from my youth.'
Zec 13:6 One will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'
Zec 13:7 "Awake, sword, against my shepherd, and against the man who is close to me," says Yahweh of Armies. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
Zec 13:8 It shall happen that in all the land," says Yahweh, "two parts in it will be cut off and die; but the third will be left in it.
Zec 13:9 I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will test them like gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say, 'It is my people;' and they will say, 'Yahweh is my God.' "
Zec 14:1 Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst.
Zec 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
Zec 14:3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Zec 14:4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Zec 14:5 You shall flee by the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azel; yes, you shall flee, just like you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Yahweh my God will come, and all the holy ones with you.
Zec 14:6 It will happen in that day, that there will not be light, cold, or frost.
Zec 14:7 It will be a unique day which is known to Yahweh; not day, and not night; but it will come to pass, that at evening time there will be light.
Zec 14:8 It will happen in that day, that living waters will go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter will it be.
Zec 14:9 Yahweh will be King over all the earth. In that day Yahweh will be one, and his name one.
Zec 14:10 All the land will be made like the Arabah, from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and she will be lifted up, and will dwell in her place, from Benjamin's gate to the place of the first gate, to the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananel to the king's winepresses.
Zec 14:11 Men will dwell therein, and there will be no more curse; but Jerusalem will dwell safely.
Zec 14:12 This will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the peoples who have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will consume away in their sockets, and their tongue will consume away in their mouth.
Zec 14:13 It will happen in that day, that a great panic from Yahweh will be among them; and they will lay hold everyone on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand will rise up against the hand of his neighbor.
Zec 14:14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered together: gold, and silver, and clothing, in great abundance.
Zec 14:15 So will be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the donkey, and of all the animals that will be in those camps, as that plague.
Zec 14:16 It will happen that everyone who is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of Armies, and to keep the feast of tents.
Zec 14:17 It will be, that whoever of all the families of the earth doesn't go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of Armies, on them there will be no rain.
Zec 14:18 If the family of Egypt doesn't go up, and doesn't come, neither will it rain on them. This will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike the nations that don't go up to keep the feast of tents.
Zec 14:19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations that don't go up to keep the feast of tents.
Zec 14:20 In that day there will be on the bells of the horses, "HOLY TO YAHWEH;" and the pots in Yahweh's house will be like the bowls before the altar.
Zec 14:21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to Yahweh of Armies; and all those who sacrifice will come and take of them, and cook in them. In that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of Yahweh of Armies.

 
Dec. 30
Revelation 21, 22

Rev 21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.
Rev 21:2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away."
Rev 21:5 He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." He said, "Write, for these words of God are faithful and true."
Rev 21:6 He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life.
Rev 21:7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.
Rev 21:8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Rev 21:9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb's bride."
Rev 21:10 He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
Rev 21:11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
Rev 21:12 having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
Rev 21:13 On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Rev 21:14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
Rev 21:15 He who spoke with me had for a measure, a golden reed, to measure the city, its gates, and its walls.
Rev 21:16 The city lies foursquare, and its length is as great as its breadth. He measured the city with the reed, Twelve thousand twelve stadia. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
Rev 21:17 Its wall is one hundred forty-four cubits, by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
Rev 21:18 The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass.
Rev 21:19 The foundations of the city's wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
Rev 21:20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst.
Rev 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Rev 21:22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.
Rev 21:23 The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Rev 21:24 The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
Rev 21:25 Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there),
Rev 21:26 and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.
Rev 21:27 There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Rev 22:1 He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,
Rev 22:2 in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3 There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him.
Rev 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:5 There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever.
Rev 22:6 He said to me, "These words are faithful and true. The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his bondservants the things which must happen soon."
Rev 22:7 "Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Rev 22:8 Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who had shown me these things.
Rev 22:9 He said to me, "See you don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
Rev 22:10 He said to me, "Don't seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
Rev 22:11 He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still."
Rev 22:12 "Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.
Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Rev 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star."
Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!" He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Rev 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book.
Rev 22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20 He who testifies these things says, "Yes, I come quickly." Amen! Yes, come, Lord Jesus.
Rev 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints. Amen.

From Gary... And the sun (SON) dawned on me this day


Happiness, possibility and hope were on my mind as I awoke this morning. I do not know why- perhaps it was the movie Anastasia which I enjoyed yesterday afternoon. Come to think of it- that must be it, for the movie ends with a message of hope (hope for a new life of the grand-duchess).  However, today I learned that in real life- this is just not possible: 

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duchess_Anastasia_Nikolaevna_of_Russia) 

And yet there remains an over-riding sense of light-heartedness that persists in spite of the gloomy weather outside. Then there was this saying that I kept reading and rereading yesterday....


Life holds an infinite number of possibilities- we have to keep looking for them, however....

John, Chapter 4 (WEB)
  1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself didn’t baptize, but his disciples),  3 he left Judea, and departed into Galilee.  4 He needed to pass through Samaria.  5 So he came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son, Joseph.  6 Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being tired from his journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”   8 For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 

  9  The Samaritan woman therefore said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 

  10  Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 

  11  The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. From where then have you that living water?  12 Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself, as did his children, and his livestock?” 

  13  Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again,   14  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” 

  15  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I don’t get thirsty, neither come all the way here to draw.” 

  16  Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 

  17  The woman answered, “I have no husband.” 

Jesus said to her, “You said well, ‘I have no husband,’   18  for you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband. This you have said truly.” 

  19  The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.  20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 

  21  Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, will you worship the Father.   22  You worship that which you don’t know. We worship that which we know; for salvation is from the Jews.   23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshipers. (emp. added G.D.R.)  24  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

  25  The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.” 

  26  Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.”   27 At this, his disciples came. They marveled that he was speaking with a woman; yet no one said, “What are you looking for?” or, “Why do you speak with her?”  28 So the woman left her water pot, and went away into the city, and said to the people,  29 “Come, see a man who told me everything that I did. Can this be the Christ?”

To Gary: Remember to be open to possibilities and be willing to recognize them when they are right in front of you. If a Samaritan woman can do this- so can you!!!

To Everyone Else: Rejoice in whatever the day holds for you!!!  (even if it rains where you are)  The afternoon may bring wondrous things and serendipities!!!!