One day, a friend and I were on a walk (a girl friend - ok?) and she mentioned hearing a program on Focus on the Family about an internet matching service that starts with an "E" and ends with a "Y". ** Sorry, I can no longer endorse this organization and I don't even want any blog searches on their name here. ** I basically said - thanks but no thanks. Not for me.
Well, you know where that is going right? Our pastor was teaching through John at the time and his message on John 5 particularly jumped out at me.
A few notes I jotted down from the message:John 5: 2-9,
"Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie - the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'
'Sir,' the invalid replied, 'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.'
Then Jesus said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked."
Take a Hike: The Provision of Initiative Part 1
3 habits of a "Spiritual Hiker"
1. Taking an honest inventory - vs. 5
- How long had he been ill?
- It seems an obvious question, Jesus wants us to respond with what our real need is.
- Sometimes we don't want to get well - we find our identity in our stagnation and pain. Staying the same: safe, secure.
- Staying the same is the worst that can happen. If I am deeply satisfied with the way I am - the Bible has nothing to say to me.
- The longer the time spent in sickness - the more normal the sickness becomes. We begin to define our situation by those around us.
Settler Theology vs. Pioneer Theology
* Church: courthouse - where records are stored, the center of town vs. the covered wagon: where they eat, sleep, love, die, fight
* God: mayor - don't see him, don't know him - but know he is there vs. trail boss - favorite person yet also the most scared of this person
* Jesus: sheriff - enforces mayor vs. scout - going before; knows about every coming danger and difficulty
* Holy Spirit: bar tender - listens, comforts, only responds when you need it vs. buffalo hunter - gets food for the pioneers
* Christian: settler - likes having the same address vs. pioneer - likes to be on the move
* Pastor: banker - has an "in" with the mayor that no one else has vs. cook - dishes up whatever the buffalo hunter has provided - some meals taste better but they are all nourishing
* Faith: safety and security vs. adventure
* Sin: breaking the town ordinances vs. turning back
* Salvation: having an address vs. adventure
2. Pursuing authentic maturity: maturity is the realization that I'll never arrive; continued growing and learning; trying to make progress attached to a rope; life-long learner
- Hebrews 11:13
3. Facing a confused majority.
- Did the Jews (settlers) say to the man - he's walking for the first time!! No, they said it was unlawful. Don't go the same direction as the confused majority! Don't run from God's question - Do you want to be made well?
Be a palate-carrying people! Don't keep going back to the camp site!
Do I want to be well? Through a different set of circumstance, this passage became meaningful to David that Fall as well. Unknown to either of us at the time. We often still say to each other, "Do you want to be made well?"
God kept bringing this to my mind along with what my friend had mentioned and I knew it was a step of obedience God was asking me to take.
So, I borrowed her tape of the Focus broadcast. I listened to it and prayed about it. I had my parents listen to it and asked their opinion. We agreed it would not be for everyone, but together agreed it could be something that might be a good fit for me. So, I took the plunge and signed up.
I took my time filling out my profile - I studied it and had my parents read it. Did it accurately describe who I was? I wanted to make sure that it did.
Finally in the Fall of 2002, my name was in the database. I had a rule for myself that I would never initiate any kind of conversation, they would have to take the initiative. Even though my method was unconventional and modern - I am still old fashioned at heart.
Initially, the results were disappointing. Divorced. Not like-minded. Self-centered. Just not good fits at all. Until around Thanksgiving. I started getting to know a guy from Albuquerque. We e-mailed and eventually talked on the phone. After Christmas, a friend of his from Colorado Springs was going down to visit her family and offered to take me along and let me stay with her at her parents house.
So, I went.
To be continued ...