Tag Archives: Thomas

If it is of God… Acts 5:29, John 20:19

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We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who join Thomas saying to Jesus “My Lord and My God!” said … Amen!

We now have this pretty interesting conflation, two different perspectives have started to see Jesus as something much more than what was imagined. The leaders of Israel seem to be rethinking what they did to Jesus. Thomas straight out asserts Who Jesus is “My Lord and My God!” Gamaliel was a very important man at the time. Luke, the writer of Acts, singles Gamaliel out by calling him “a teacher of the Law held in honor by all the people. The Jewish Encyclopedia says: Gamaliel was the son of Hillel who is still one of the leading authorities on Jewish law and is quoted by many people today. He was the head of the school Hillel in his time succeeding his father. “Gamaliel, as it appears, did most toward establishing the honor in which the house of Hillel was held, and which secured to it a preeminent position within Palestinian Judaism soon after the destruction of the- Temple. The title “Rabban,” which, in the learned hierarchy until post-Hadrianic times, was borne only by presidents of the highest religious council, was first prefixed to the name of Gamaliel.”[1] Much later on in Acts, Paul seems to take special pride in being a student of Gamaliel’s. (Acts 22:3) He gets a lot of notice in Acts, during the early church. If he is proceeding with caution against the embryonic Christian church, then he must have some idea that Jesus is who He says He is.

The amazing things that have happened, certainly culminated in the Resurrection of Jesus, leaves little doubt as to Jesus’ claim to be God. Gamaliel had to have been part of the court that condemned Jesus. I would guess that Gamaliel fell right in line with the majority consensus. Caiaphas proclaims to the leadership that this man, Jesus, must die to save the nation. No thought is given that there might be something a lot more compelling with Jesus, that He might be who He said He was. The concern was with the preservation of the status quo; Israel, it’s leadership and maintaining their way of life. As highly regarded as Gamaliel was, he certainly followed the party line. While we know that there were members of the Sanhedrin who objected to the illegality of the proceedings to try Jesus, Gamaliel wouldn’t have been one of those objectors. If he had objected the Sanhedrin might have at least backed off from condemning Jesus to die and might have even decided to do something else regarding Jesus.

The paradigm has clearly changed for the leadership in Israel. They thought that they were dealing with a nuisance that would burn itself out. They tried, and for the first time in history, killing a man didn’t make Him go away. It seems Gamaliel is hedging his bets a little, but it’s pretty clear that he sees Jesus as a lot more than being an ordinary man. Gamaliel compares Jesus to Theudas and Judas the Galilean. It seems though that Gamaliel is taking Jesus a lot more seriously than Theudas or Judas, neither one of them rose from the dead. It seems that the leadership is trying to prevent a panic. They’re trying not to acknowledge it, but clearly there is a new archetype and they know that they can’t just make the problem, Jesus, go away. They hope that they can, but now they have something much bigger than they expected while trying to avoid setting the rest of Israel off, that Jesus is who He says that He is.

The difference is that while Gamaliel is trying to hedge, not set off a rush to Jesus and still not taking Him seriously. He seems to know the truth, but as so many people do for so many bad reasons, Gamaliel is trying to save his position in Israel. The disciples, as Luke writes, know the truth, they know that there is no other option, they are beaten and we know how brutally Jesus was beaten. Maybe the disciples weren’t beaten as badly, but you know that they suffered more than enough that they shouldn’t be back out on the street rejoicing and teaching and preaching about Jesus. They knew the truth and saw there was no alternative to Jesus, the Sanhedrin was still trying to play its political game with its own people, the Romans and irrational as it sounds God, even though Gamaliel certainly had some perception that Jesus and his disciples were more than the garden variety revolutionaries of previous years.

Clearly John is continuing to emphasize that Jesus is much more than what most people seem to want to believe. Thomas declares it: “My Lord and my God!” Jamieson writes: “He is overpowered, and the glory of Christ now breaks upon him in a flood. His exclamation surpasses all that had been yet uttered, nor can it be surpassed by anything that ever will be uttered in earth or heaven.”[2] This is not some gratuitous acknowledgement, Thomas was completely overwhelmed and was utterly sure who Jesus was. Meyer writes : “ It is a confessionary invocation of Christ in the highest joyful surprise, in which Thomas gives the fullest expression of profound emotion to his faith, which had been mightily elevated by the conviction of the reality of the resurrection, in the divine nature of his Lord. The ὁ κύριός μκὁ θεός μου was the complete and highest confession of Messianic faith,” This is the first time when someone really addresses Jesus as God. For those who like to question who Jesus was and whether He claimed to be God, here is where someone is declaring who Jesus is. It may not be bragging if it’s true, but it’s more credible when someone else is declaring the fact. And again, there are plenty of places where Jesus is readily understood by those He is talking to as to who He is. If it wasn’t true, wouldn’t Jesus lift Thomas off his knees and set him straight? If it wasn’t true Jesus wouldn’t have just let Thomas’ comment ride.

We are His disciples. We see Jesus is making it very clear that Jesus has the authority to and intends for us to take what the disciples then and we who are His disciples now, that we aren’t to just go back home as if it’s all ending. He makes it clear to His disciples then it’s only beginning. He tells them, and us, that the Father sent Him. He has been sent to us to take His word, His life, what He has done for us dying for our sins and then resurrected to give us eternal life, that it isn’t for us to keep to ourselves. Matthew 28:18, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Mark 16:15, Matthew, John, Luke and Mark all report that Jesus came to send us to tell the entire world about the salvation that Jesus gives us. In John He reinforces this message by giving them a preview of Pentecost. “He breathed on them.” The Greek word the hagios pneuma, the Holy Spirit, pneuma meaning the movement of air, the breath of His Body. He is giving them the Holy Spirit to strengthen them and for them to understand that they constitute His church. As He does by giving them the keys of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 16:9, He is empowering His church to not just bring the Good News to the world, but that Jesus is empowering His church to save people to the Kingdom, but to also make it clear to those who aren’t saved and that His work is done through His disciples in His church.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6494-gamaliel-i

[2] Jamieson-Fausett-Brown Bible Commentary on website  http://biblehub.com/commentaries/jfb/john/20.htm

En conjunto o individualmente, que es lo que piensa funciona? Juan 20: 19-31 First St Johns 3 de abril de, el año 2016

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el Nombre de Dios el Padre y en el nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo, y todos aquellos que se esfuerzan por ser excelente, junto con todos los de la iglesia de Jesús dijo … AMEN !!

“Colgamos juntos o con toda seguridad colgamos por separado”. La metáfora de la iglesia es en la medida en que se mantienen unidos espiritualmente, cada parte encajar de forma en que pensamos deben ser las cosas y acordar que la iglesia es el Cuerpo de Cristo y que somos todos servidos mejor cuando actuamos como el Cuerpo de Cristo y venimos juntos para servir a Jesús y entre sí. Colgamos por separado cuando tratamos de tener las cosas a nuestra manera, decidir la iglesia tiene que ver con nosotros, y dejar que todo el asunto implosión, colgar por separado, porque hemos puesto nuestros deseos por delante de todo lo demás.

pensamientos de apertura de hoy en el boletín lo expresó así en términos de estar allí para el grupo, en nuestro caso la iglesia, el Cuerpo de Cristo: “Thomas siempre será conocido como un escéptico. En realidad, debería recordarse menos por sus dudas, que el resto de los discípulos también compartió, y más por su fracaso para estar presente cuando Jesús primero se reveló resucitado de entre los muertos. Nadie crece en la fe al no montar junto con el pueblo de Dios en todo su Palabra y su tabla. Dios crece nuestra fe y se ocupa de nuestras dudas no con la distancia, pero con la intimidad de la presencia de Jesús a través de los medios de gracia. El Espíritu trabaja a través de los medios de gracia, y no nuestras dudas dan paso a la fe y la confianza en la muerte y resurrección de Cristo. “Sólo para asegurarnos de que estamos de acuerdo”, los medios de gracia “son … bautismo, ni siquiera se puede entender o aceptar lo que somos en la iglesia si no es nacido de nuevo en el bautismo. La Cena del Señor, usted no puede tomar el Cuerpo de Cristo para la nutrición de su cuerpo y el alma, si usted no es parte del Cuerpo de Cristo como un miembro confirmado en la iglesia de Jesús. La predicación de la palabra, lo que dice el pastor en sus sermones no va a tener sentido para aquellos que no han nacido de nuevo, no se han fortalecido por cuerpo y la sangre de Jesús, y no se han unido como el Cuerpo de Cristo con el fin de servir entre sí y los que están en el mundo. Podemos hacer que a medida que avanzamos, o podemos quejarse y decidir nuestro camino es la mejor manera, en lugar de tratar de construir, crecer y madurar, se optó por derribar y destruir, por el bien de nuestra propia satisfacción personal.

Cuando la gente comienza a decidir que es todo acerca de su opinión personal, como Tomás, y no sobre el grupo, si el equipo, el equipo implica trabajar juntos por el mismo objetivo, para la iglesia que el objetivo es estar ahí como testigo de Cristo, para que los demás podría llegar a conocer a Jesús como su Salvador. Cuando la iglesia ya no está en ese curso y ha decidido que es preferencia personal, el Espíritu Santo no puede guiar algo que no se está moviendo en un curso unificado. Se convierte en DIW, muerto en el agua. Todavía está flotando, pero no está haciendo camino. En mi tiempo como pastor, he observado una construcción bastante extraño, que el mundo nos ha hablado en, porque no puedo encontrar nada en la Biblia que lo justifique. En vez de dejar, incluso ayudando, el empuje de la iglesia en las personas, el desafío de ellos, animarles a crecer y madurar, hay demasiadas personas que piensan “equipo” significa el denominador común más bajo. También sin duda, un equipo y la iglesia para el caso, es sólo tan fuerte como su eslabón más débil. Para muchas personas, la lógica va de esta manera, en lugar de tratar de fortalecer el eslabón más débil, debilitamos todos los demás eslabones fuertes. ¡No! Un excelente equipo, y esto va para la iglesia también, es sin duda de cuidar, fortalecer y animar a la parte más débil del equipo. Pero eso no quiere decir que renunciar a la misión que el Espíritu Santo pone frente a nosotros con el fin de permitir que de alguna manera la parte más débil de la cadena de dejar que toda la construcción se separan. A menudo, esto incluye a las personas que están aquí, pero francamente no me importa. Paul cortó Marcos sacó porque le falló una vez, Pablo no iba a permitir que su misión de Cristo sufren porque no podía confiar en la marca. Si Thomas se preocupa lo suficiente como para estar con el resto de los discípulos, a continuación, cuando le dijeron lo que el resto sabía que era la verdad absoluta, Thomas habría sido mucho más inteligente manteniendo su opinión de sí mismo, en vez de conseguir todo pomposo y condescendiente con su infundada “opinión”. ¿Ha oído hablar de la frase; “Se sentía como un centavo de espera para el cambio.”? Me puedo imaginar que es exactamente como Thomas sintió cuando fue confrontado con la misma presencia del Señor resucitado. Thomas no hacen absolutamente una confesión: “Mi Señor y mi Dios” Thomas sabe que estaba muy mal y en su haber hace una confesión de todo corazón absolutamente incondicional quién es Jesús a él y que debería ser la confesión de todos nosotros, todo el tiempo. Como un excelente equipo, que sin duda se preocupan por los más débiles. Pero así como en una unidad militar, que no pongan a los más débiles en el lugar donde se van a fallar. Los débiles, los heridos, los cobardes se ponen en alguna parte que no reciben otras personas heridas. Desde luego, no están tomando decisiones importantes, o que se espera para realizar funciones importantes, y el resto de los interesados ​​saben lo suficiente para mantenerlos en los que no van a destruir el resto de la unidad, o hacer que otros fracasan en su importante funciones. Desde luego, no deje que otros arrastran el equipo, la iglesia, a la mediocridad y el compromiso. Puede que no quiera salir y alcanzar el mundo para Cristo, pero es mejor que no hacer que sea difícil para otras personas que quieran realizar la misión de la iglesia. Un excelente equipo y eso es lo que la iglesia debe esforzarse por ser, tenemos un Salvador, un Padre y el Espíritu Santo que supera los más altos niveles de excelencia, un Salvador, que tomó todo el mal, la degeneración, la debilidad de un resfriado, mundo oscuro y lo superó para darnos la seguridad de la vida nueva en la vida resucitada del mundo perfecto resucitado. Podemos esforzamos por ser nada menos que excelente para aquel que se esforzó en toda excelencia para nosotros? Un excelente equipo, la iglesia, persigue la excelencia y no tengo ninguna duda de que los apóstoles fueron guiados como un excelente equipo, por un excelente entrenador, que el entrenador de bienestar, … el Espíritu Santo. No se puede obtener más excelente que eso. Parece que siempre estoy corriendo a las personas que aman a decirme cómo que no necesitan la iglesia, ellos pueden hacerlo por sí mismos. De Verdad? ¿Estás a punto de ser que el testimonio público de Cristo, haciendo todo lo posible para pasar sobre el cristianismo, el amor de Cristo a la siguiente generación? Si estaban en todo serio sobre lo que decían, se darían cuenta de lo mucho que necesitan la iglesia de Cristo. Pero demasiados simplemente no son serios acerca de Jesús, por lo que ¿por qué estarían serio sobre su cuerpo, la iglesia? Parece también hay un montón de esas mismas personas en la iglesia. Dicen cosas, pero simplemente no son graves.

Uno de mis últimos grandes casos de la Guardia Costera de un barco de pesca de 60 toneladas fue DIW cerca de 50 millas de la costa, que es generador falló. Esa es una situación muy mala para cualquier barco. Era febrero, la temperatura del aire era de unos 17 grados y el viento estaba a punto de 30 millas por hora. El mar estaba a unos cinco pies, no está mal, pero sin duda una situación difícil. Trate de imaginar esto. No hay poder en el barco. Están utilizando la radio con baterías y las baterías antes de morir. Es de color negro, no hay luz a su alrededor, fue sobre las 11 cuando los alcanzamos. No hay calor, hace frío y más frío. No se puede ir a ninguna parte. Cinco mares del pie y cualquiera que sea la corriente se le está empujando en torno de una manera completamente arbitraria. No hay nadie más a su alrededor. Usted está confiando en que la Guardia Costera tiene los medios para llegar a usted. Pero todavía estás ahí fuera esperando, y en ese tiempo todo tipo de otras cosas puede suceder. Si vas en que el agua, nadie va a llegar a usted en el tiempo. Ahora bien, si la Guardia Costera está sentado alrededor y todo el mundo está debatiendo sobre cómo debe resolverá, todo el mundo tiene una opinión, del Grupo de Boston que tenía el control de este caso, hasta el miembro de la tripulación en el barco, ¿cómo cree que eso va a ¿fin? Ese barco se va a perder, más que debatir y discutir, más los vientos arbitrarias, las olas y la corriente se va a tomar ese barco. Hasta el punto en que ya no será capaz de encontrarlo, en el momento en que decidimos con todo el empuje y tracción que el barco se va a estar en otro lugar e incluso el mejor navegador va a ser muy cuestionado factor en el viento, olas y corrientes tengan una idea de dónde es. Eso es lo que la iglesia está experimentando en estos días. Nuestro generador es el Espíritu Santo. Pero muy a menudo lo tomamos fuera de línea, decidimos que vamos a debatir y discutir cada punto insignificante, no confiar en aquellos que han sido entrenados para averiguar cómo la iglesia debe funcionar y mientras que estamos haciendo todo esto el dobladillo, hawing y debatiendo, hay un mundo muy frío y oscuro que está siendo empujado por todo tipo de ondas negativas, los vientos y las corrientes, y si la iglesia nunca se da cuenta de lo que se trata, que parece que no puede encontrar en el mundo es y como llegar a tiempo. Esta es la verdad absoluta, sólo para extender la ilustración. Fuimos a la puerta de la estación a las 10 pm. En las bases militares, 22:00 es grifos. Esto quiere decir que mientras estábamos caminando hasta la casa del barco, grifos estaba jugando en los altavoces de la estación. El nombre del barco, era la Parca. Debido a que actuamos como un equipo, desde el Grupo de Boston, a unas 15 millas de distancia, la dirección de estación y el boatcrew que encontraron el barco con bastante rapidez y lograron conseguirlo remolcado, incluso en algunas condiciones difíciles. Cinco chicos se fueron a casa esa mañana, recibieron una comida caliente, se fueron a dormir en una cama caliente. Es sólo porque todo el mundo entrenado durante largas horas, día y noche durante años, aprendió los hechos, no en su opinión, no estaban allí sólo para rescatar, pero estaban dispuestos a rescatar, sabían sus papeles en el proceso de ahorro, y hacían lo que eran entrenado y espera que lo haga. Eso es lo que el trabajo en equipo de la iglesia produce. Nos acercamos a las personas que están muy muerto en el agua, que no tienen idea de donde deben estar, lo que deberían estar haciendo. Están siendo golpear hacia abajo por el viento, las olas y de la sociedad que les rodea. Ellos están en el medio de la oscuridad, el frío y el caos de todas las cosas que están pasando alrededor de ellos. Sin duda, puede ser un Thomas, el resto del equipo se acurrucó detrás de las puertas y ventanas cerradas, encogidos de miedo en cada sonido, cada bache; “Carraspeo, carraspeo, no me importa lo que ustedes piensan. Jesús no estaba aquí, es todo acerca de mí y yo no voy a creer nada de lo que tiene que decir, por lo harrumph, carraspeo, voy a hacer las cosas a mi manera, y todos vamos a encogerse juntos completamente DIW con la esperanza de que vamos a sobrevivir. “esa no es manera de vivir, y desde luego no va a ayudar a sobrevivir en un mundo frío y sin esperanza.

Thomas decidió que era de él y lo que vio o no vio. Jesús le dio la opción; “Lo que realmente necesita manos en la prueba? Vaya por delante, me toques. “Thomas se dio cuenta que tenía que confiar en sus hermanos y tenemos que darnos cuenta de que tenemos que confiar y confiar en nuestros hermanos y hermanas en la iglesia, el Cuerpo de Cristo.” Vamos a hacer nuestras mentes para mantener Thomas “confesión en nuestros corazones y para situar la excelencia en lo que hacemos en el Cuerpo de Cristo como Jesús equipo, sus discípulos.

La comunidad del pueblo de Dios, salvados por la gracia, que funcionan a través de la gracia, a través de la iglesia donde buscamos levantar a Cristo por nosotros mismos, por los demás y por el mundo, de manera colectiva, a través de la gracia de ampliar la iglesia de Cristo, de modo que todos verán la iglesia y la esperanza y la promesa de Cristo a través de su iglesia. Si bien hemos sido salvados de forma individual por la gracia, “el ideal de la gracia no se vive de forma aislada, sino en comunidad, la iglesia.” La Iglesia se esfuerza en la excelencia y la gracia en Cristo para el apoyo mutuo y aliento, sólo puede influir de manera efectiva el mundo en el que la excelencia y la gracia que Jesús nos da.

La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús. Amin y Shalom

Together or individually, which do you think works? John 20: 19-31 First St Johns April 3, 2016

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who strive to be excellent together with all those in Jesus’ church said … AMEN!!

“We hang together or most assuredly we hang separately”. The church metaphor is to the extent that we hang together spiritually, each conceding part of how we think things should be and agreeing that the church is the Body of Christ and that we are all served best when we act as the Body of Christ and come together to serve Jesus and each other. We hang separately when we try to have things our own way, decide the church is all about us, and let the whole thing implode, hang separately, because we put our desires ahead of everything else.

Today’s opening thoughts in your bulletin put it this way in terms of being there for the group, in our case the church, the Body of Christ: “Thomas will forever be known as a doubter. In reality, he should be remembered less for his doubts, which the rest of the disciples also shared, and more for his failure to be present when Jesus first revealed Himself risen from the dead. No one grows in faith by failing to assemble together with the people of God around His Word and His Table. God grows our faith and deals with our doubts not with distance but with the intimacy of Jesus’ presence through the Means of Grace. The Spirit works through the Means of Grace, and there our doubts give way to faith and trust in Christ’s death and resurrection.” Just to make sure we are in agreement, “The Means of Grace” are … Baptism, you can’t even understand or accept what we are about in the church if you’re not born again in baptism. The Lord’s Supper, you cannot take the Body of Christ for the nourishment of your body and soul, if you are not part of the Body of Christ as a confirmed member in Jesus’ church. The preached word, what the pastor says in his sermons is not going to make sense to those who have not been born again, have not been strengthened by Jesus’ Body and Blood and have not come together as the Body of Christ in order to serve each other and those in the world. We can make it up as we go, or we can fuss and decide our way is the best way, instead of trying to build, grow and mature, we chose to tear down and destroy, for the sake of our own personal gratification.

When people start deciding it’s all about their personal opinion, like Thomas, and not about the group, yes the team, team implies working together for the same goal, for the church that goal is to be there as a witness to Christ so that others might come to know Jesus as their Savior. When the church is no longer on that course and has decided that it is personal preference, the Holy Spirit can’t guide something that’s not moving in one unified course. It becomes DIW, Dead in the water. It’s still floating, but it’s not making way. In my time as a pastor, I’ve observed a rather strange construction, that the world has talked us into, because I can find nothing in the Bible to justify it. Instead of letting, even helping, the church push on people, challenge them, encourage them to grow and mature, there are too many people who think “team” means the lowest common denominator. Too be sure, a team and the church for that matter, is only as strong as its weakest link. To many people, the logic goes this way, instead of trying to strengthen the weakest link, we weaken all the other strong links. No! An excellent team, and this goes for the church too, is certainly to care for, strengthen and encourage the weakest part of the team. But that doesn’t mean to give up on the mission that the Holy Spirit puts in front of us in order to somehow let the weakest part of the chain let the entire construction come apart. This often includes people who are here, but frankly just don’t care. Paul cut Mark loose because he failed him once, Paul wasn’t going to let his mission for Christ suffer because he couldn’t rely on Mark. If Thomas was concerned enough to be with the rest of the disciples, then when they told him what the rest knew was the absolute truth, Thomas would have been a lot smarter keeping his opinion to himself, instead of getting all pompous and patronizing with his unfounded “opinion”. Ever hear the phrase; “felt like a penny waiting for change.”? I can imagine that is exactly how Thomas felt when he was confronted with the very presence of the resurrected Lord. Thomas does make quite a confession: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas knows he was very wrong and to his credit makes an absolutely unconditional whole-hearted confession who Jesus is to him and that ought to be the confession of all of us, all the time. As an excellent team, we certainly care for the weakest. But just as in a military unit, you don’t put the weakest in the place where they are going to fail. The weak, the wounded, the fearful are put somewhere that they don’t get other people hurt. They certainly aren’t making important decisions, or expected to perform important functions, they and the rest of those concerned know enough to keep them where they aren’t going to destroy the rest of the unit, or cause others to fail in their important functions. We certainly don’t let others drag the team, the church, down to mediocrity and compromise. You may not want to go out and reach the world for Christ, but you better not make it difficult for others who do want to perform the mission of the church. An excellent team and that is what the church should strive to be, we have a Savior, a Father and Holy Spirit that exceed the highest levels of excellence, a Savior who took on all the evil, the degeneracy, the weakness of a cold, dark world and overcame it to give us the assurance of new life in the resurrected life of the resurrected perfect world. Can we strive to be anything less than excellent for Him who strove in all excellence for us? An excellent team, the church, pursues excellence and I have no doubt that the apostles were guided as an excellent team, by an excellent coach, that coach being,… the Holy Spirit. Can’t get more excellent than that. Seems I’m always running into people who love to tell me how they don’t need the church, they can do it all by themselves. Really? Are you about being that public witness to Christ, doing whatever you can to pass on Christianity, the love of Christ to the next generation? If they were at all serious about what they were saying, they would realize how much they need Christ’s church. But far too many are just not serious about Jesus, so why would they be serious about His Body, the church? Seems there are also plenty of those same people in the church. They say things, but they are just not serious.

One of my last big cases in the Coast Guard a 60 ton fishing boat was DIW about 50 miles off the coast, it’s generator failed. That is a very bad situation for any boat. It was February, the air temperature was about 17 degrees and the wind was about 30miles per hour. The seas were about five feet, not bad, but definitely a difficult situation. Try to picture this. There is no power in the boat. They are using the radio on batteries, and the batteries soon died. It is black, there is no light around you, it was about 11pm when we reached them. There is no heat, it’s cold and getting colder. You can’t go anywhere. Five foot seas and whatever the current was is pushing you around in a completely arbitrary manner. There is no one else around you. You are trusting that the Coast Guard has the means to reach you. But you’re still out there waiting, and in that time all kinds of other things can happen. If you go in that water, no one is going to reach you in time. Now if the Coast Guard is sitting around and everyone is debating about how this should get resolved, everyone has an opinion, from Group Boston who was in control of this case, down to the crewman on the boat, how do you think that’s going to end? That boat is going to be lost, the more we debate and discuss, the more those arbitrary winds, waves and current are going to take that boat. To the point where we just won’t be able to find it, by the time we decide with all the pushing and pulling that boat is going to be somewhere else and even the best navigator is going to be very challenged to factor in wind, waves and current to have an idea where that is. That is what the church is experiencing these days. Our generator is the Holy Spirit. But too often we take Him off line, decide that we’re going to debate and discuss every piddling point, not trust in those who have been trained to figure out how the church should function and while we’re doing all this hemming, hawing and debating, there is a very cold, dark world that is being pushed around by all kinds of negative waves, winds and currents, and if the church ever figures out what it’s about, it can’t seem to find where the world is and how to reach it  in time. This is the absolute truth, just to extend the illustration. We went out the door of the station at 10 pm. On military bases, 10pm is taps. That means that while we were walking down to the boat house, taps was playing on the station speakers. The name of the boat, was the Grim Reaper. Because we acted as a team, from Group Boston, about 15 miles away, the station leadership and the boatcrew we found the boat fairly quickly and managed to get it towed back, even in some challenging conditions. Five guys went home that morning, got a hot meal, went to sleep in a warm bed. It’s only because everyone trained for long hours, day and night for years, learned the facts, not their opinions, were not just there to rescue, but were eager to rescue, knew their roles in the process of saving, and did what they were trained and expected to do. That is what the teamwork of the church produces. We reach out to people who are very much dead in the water, they have no clue where they should be, what they should be doing. They are being beat down by the wind, waves and current of the society around them. They are in the middle of darkness, cold and the chaos of all the stuff going around them. Sure, you can be a Thomas, the rest of the team huddled behind locked doors and windows, cowering at every sound, every bump; “harrumph, harrumph, I don’t care what you guys think. Jesus wasn’t here, it’s all about me and I’m not going to believe anything you have to say, so harrumph, harrumph, I’m going to do things my way, and we’re all going to cower together completely DIW hoping that we will survive.” That’s no way to live, and it’s certainly not going to help you to survive in a cold, hopeless world.

Thomas decided that it was about him and what he saw, or didn’t see. Jesus gave him the option; “do you really need hands on proof? Go ahead, touch Me.” Thomas realized he needed to trust his brothers and we need to realize that we need to trust and rely on our brothers and sisters in the church, the Body of Christ.” Let’s make up our minds to keep Thomas’ confession on our hearts and to put excellence in what we do in the Body of Christ as Jesus’ team, His disciples.

The community of God’s people, saved by grace, functioning through grace, through the church where we seek to lift up Christ for ourselves, for each other and for the world, collectively, through grace to expand Christ’s church, so that all will see the church and the hope and promise of Christ through His church. While we are individually saved by grace, “the ideal of grace is not lived in isolation, but in community, the church.” The church striving in excellence and grace in Christ for mutual support and encouragement, can only effectively influence the world in that excellence and grace that Jesus gives us.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom