Archive for May 2014

When does Jesus show up?   Leave a comment

In John 21:4, Jesus shows up after the disciples are out for a night of fishing, in which they haven’t caught a thing.  He shows up on the bank and has some advice for them.  “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

Interesting that they listened, since they hadn’t when this happened before.  And these men were professionals; they knew what they were doing.

But all that they had done hadn’t worked.   And that’s when Jesus showed up.

He showed up when he was needed, when they were ready to listen.  My natural instinct is to do things my way, but it takes times like that when nothing is working for me to really be ready to listen.

I don’t have to live trying to look good and make it work, I can live in my place of weakness and be (learn to be that is) perfectly content with that reality.

And as Peter leaps out of the boat and swims toward Jesus after this bizarre record catch, when he sees his own inability to perform, so can I “leap out of the boat.”  In every failure, I can move toward him, instead of running away.  My relationship with Jesus is not determined by my record, but by his record.


Thanks Lisle for the sermon on John 21!

Posted May 18, 2014 by swanatbagend in reflections

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The Bottomless Pit   Leave a comment

It doesn’t matter how hard I try, so far, nothing has ever managed to fill it up.

Oh sure, it can be temporarily satisfied.  I can think I’ve figured out the perfect method to keep it filled, I can think that I’ve arrived at a perfect nexus in which every circumstance is exactly as it should be, but then some time passes, and I’m back to needing to shovel stuff in as fast as I possibly can.

And what is that stuff?

Any number of things can get shoveled into the pit.

The ones I’ve used in the past have been these:

Personal achievement

Food and cooking

Fame, success and adulation

Buying stuff and creating the perfect pleasant home environment for myself

Self worth generated by doing something nice for someone else

Making things go my way

Friendships, relationships, intimacy

Really it’s even an intimacy addiction, because it does not matter how hard I work, or how much time I get with friends, new friends, old friends, good friends.  I could spend an entire week with girlfriends doing nothing but talking and doing fun things together, and I would be fine for a few days after I got home.  But that is about how long the bottomless pit would stay full.

It just won’t stay full.  It always wants more.

I don’t know why this still surprises me; it’s not as if I wasn’t warned.

Truly, all these good gifts of life, my home, my family, my service, my accomplishments, the friendships I’ve been so blessed to enjoy over the years, these gifts are good gifts.  They are worth wanting.

But they cannot satisfy.

It’s not the gifts I’m looking for, it’s the giver of those gifts.  Nothing I enjoy in this world was ever meant to be the full reward.  Good as these things are, they are fleeting.  They aren’t eternal, they don’t remain.  Why is it that as a 17-year-old I could look ahead and think about what my dreams and plans were for life, and think that somehow God was just a pleasant hobby to take along with me, that his love was only a part of the full package that I just somehow deserved to get?

No, no, and no; I really did have it all wrong.

This bottomless pit can only be filled in one way.  Thank God that we are not just stumbling around down here on our own.  He loves us and is winning us back to himself.  He is ready and willing, on top of all the good gifts he gives us, to fill us with himself so we won’t be alone any more.


Posted May 18, 2014 by swanatbagend in reality

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