COME AND SEE John 1: 35-51

We loved a church member named Etta Good, who graced us with her good life well into her 102nd year.  What a gem.  Etta loved the Lord and was so appreciative of her church family and pastor.  How could we not dote on this most gentle of the Lord’s flock?

On her big day, I asked Etta in Sunday worship ‘what’s it like to turn 100’?  And also ‘what’s your secret’?  She piped up saying that ‘it’s not all it’s cracked up to be!’  As to her secret? — ‘just don’t die!’  See what I mean?  What a joy, our Etta.

Ever wonder if being a Christian is not all it’s cracked up to be?  And better not to die, not to test it?  Who hasn’t wondered?  Will there be a yonder over yonder?  We wonder.  After all, we’re not there yet.  Still breathing earth’s air.  All we’ve ever known.  But then, when our time comes, only two airports open.  I know which one my ticket heads to.  Can’t take any baggage on board, however.  Need not a thing.  All provided.  Only the best of the very best for God’s own people.

But even Jesus’ disciples wonder about this strange prophet-like character from Nazareth.  Here in John 1, they’re not so sure.  Who is He?  A false messiah?  One more religious charlatan?  Where does He stay?  Where’s He from?  Can anything good come from that flea-bitten town of Nazareth?  Their questions float in the air.

Jesus’ response?  Anger?  Disappointment?  Hurt feelings?  All of the above?  None of the above!  He says–‘Come and you will see…’ (John 1:39).  That’s the call of Jesus to them then and to all of us now.  Come and see.

It’s not testing God though it sounds like it.  Rather it’s accepting an invitation to experience what He offers us.  A finding out for ourselves.  A discovery of what could be right under our noses.  Come and see.  Have you?  Would you like to?  You’re invited.

When you do, you’ll note Him at work in your life.  Faith produces evidence.  Often in hindsight but you’ll know for yourself that Jesus is smack dab in the middle of your life.  When you need God’s encouragement, come and see.  No matter what your prayer needs, come and see what God can and will do…in His time, in His way.  But there’s the rub.  Getting behind Him.  Letting Him take the lead.  Never easy.  Certainly not for me.  Nevertheless, necessary.

Ready?  Give whatever disturbs your heart to Him.  Wait on Him.  Don’t push ahead forcing God’s hand by bargaining, making false promises, or laying out acceptable solutions that He must deliver, or else you’ll tell Him to take a hike.  Better do what I want or else.  I’m the quarterback calling the plays.  Really?

Is that faith?  Hardly.  More like trying to keep God under my thumb.  Throwing my weight around.  Holding tight to the reigns.  All eventually lead to a dead-end canyon with no way out.

But there’s hope.  An invitation, which is engraved with your name, has been sent!  RSVP?  Yes?  Then come and see.

Thank you, Jesus, for being true to your word always.   Amen.


This week let’s celebrate all we have in Jesus Christ, while getting off of ‘me, I, and myself’ with aches and pains, disappointments and bad memories, bitterness, and loneliness.  You name it, I can suffer with it.  At least I’m not a hypochondriac.  I’m not, am I?  I’ll check back with you later if I’m feeling better!

Rather, let’s look upward to our heavenly Host and home.  Think of it– we’re blessed three times over.  2 Corinthians 13:14–‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’

Oodles of blessings.  Grace, love, and fellowship.  Couldn’t get much better.  But it does.  These blessings are not only for a few.  No.  For the rich, the poor, the intelligentsia, and deplorables–‘…with you all.’  All believers everywhere.  That’s you and me.  Can hardly contain myself!

Jesus gives us grace.  We know what that is, don’t we?  Getting what we don’t deserve.  Akin to mercy, where we don’t get what we do deserve (think I need mercy more than grace, although both together will fit the bill!).  Jesus lives to give.  All four Gospels spell out His life of sharing, healing, restoring, and birthing salvation.  Relish His grace.  It never ends.  Never.

God the Father shares His love for us.  ‘Love’ here is the Greek word ‘agape’.  Like Jesus’ grace, the Father’s love keeps coming our way.  When we’re His, love surrounds us in more ways than we can count or imagine.  Sometimes it’s a tough love that feels rough and painful.  Probably more so for Him.  But it’s a love that reshapes us to become more like Jesus, God’s Son.  A shaped vessel in the Master’s loving hands.

Then the Holy Spirit fellowships with us.  Gathers us close in.  Draws ever near, meaning we’re never alone.  The church that blessed me as their emeritus pastor has a fellowship hour following the worship service.  Both last about the same amount of time.  A healthy balance.  Similar to what the Holy Spirit does, as He comes to stay close within each believer.  And stay He does.  Never leaving.

What blessings!  All God’s gifts are freely given.  None earned.  None?  Nada and zippo.  Get it?  Then let’s not forget it.  Or to thank the Lord for our being blessed many times over.

Thank you, Lord, for all you give.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

SIMPLY Zephaniah 1

Why do I make life more difficult than it already is?  I’ve earned my dishonorary doctorate in catastrophizing and nail-biting from the unaccredited, no profit, no good University of Hard Knocks!  Something a tad dodgy becomes devastating to my emotions, loosely held together by chewing gum.  What’s seemingly bad graduates to far worse without even lifting a finger or batting an eyelash.  Am I alone in this?

When it comes to our relationship with the Lord, simplicity should rule day and night.  Did you know that that last phrase is technically called a ‘merism’?  Two opposites that signify totality.  Day and night=all the time.  There I go again.  Muddying the waters.  Discombobulating what should be easy as pie.  After all, who gives a flying fig?

See what I mean?  I make things all tangled and tied up in knots.  Anyway, reading the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah, there’s hope.  As in God wanting my relationship with Him to be out in the open, no bones about it, a snappy walk in the park.  Really?  Yes indeed.  Simply enjoying my loving relationship with God.

Zephaniah 1: 6–‘…those who have turned back from following the Lord, who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.’  Turning that verse’s negative into a positive, I’m assuming that we all want to follow the Lord Jesus.  But let me be up-front–I’m a poor example.  Flawed, cracked, and broken.  You say that you know that about me?  Thanks.  With friends like that you, who needs…!

So, don’t follow me.  Follow Jesus.  For it’s the will of God that we do just that.  Get behind Jesus allowing Him to take the lead.  Follow the leader.  Stop trying to do what only He does best.  God wants more followers than leaders.  Get out of His way.  But don’t lag too far behind.  Use the gifts given you by you-know-who, doing what He wants.  Simply follow.

Then seek Him.  Pray.  Talk it over.  Not like He’s clueless, as if your bad news comes as a shocking surprise to Jesus.  Hardly.  Seek Him.  He’s all ears, eager to help in His way, in His time.  Lay it all at His feet.  Hold nothing back.  Simply seek.

Then inquire of your Lord.  This means getting into your Bible and having it get into you.  Not long ago, a professor at my old Bible school tells me that today’s Bible student knows so little about the Bible.  Say what?  Clogged ears?  No.  These are coeds at one of the leading and oldest Bible schools in our nation.  The cream of the crop, so to speak, may have soured a bit, sad to say.

Get serious about inquiring of the Lord.  See which way His wind blows.  Pay rapt attention to your Bible.  Immerse yourself.  Wonder why we know so little?  Any ideas?  You know.  Simply inquire.

Follow…seek…inquire.  God’s will, with all its simplicity, that even I can understand.

Lord Jesus, I want to know you better.  Amen.


The conclusion of the Old Testament prophetic book Habakkuk has been preached on many times.  Even by me.  It’s about Habakkuk’s faith standing tall and firm despite economic collapse from barren fig-trees, missing sheep and cattle, down-the-drain olive harvests along with wheat and barley crops going belly up.  Life downsizes almost to a goose egg as the grim reaper knocks at their front door.

The prophet’s reaction?  Habakkuk 3:18–‘…yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation’.  Now that’s faith.  No cursing at God or waving an angry fist in His face.  No.  Habakkuk’s faith triumphs.  How would I do under similar circumstances?  And you?  I’m feeling a twinge of guilt knowing how wishy-washy and out of gas my faith can be.  Only me?

But there’s more to this story.  Check it out for yourself.  Habakkuk 3–a psalm, a song of praise to God, which lifts high the Lord’s name as creator and sustainer, who stands with Israel through the toughest times.  Nevertheless, Habakkuk accepts that victory will have to wait.  Just around the corner yet not any time soon.

For the Babylonians lurk and skulk around that bend, and they’re not a happy bunch until they wipe out almost everyone and everything in their path (not such ancient history in light of today’s warring tragedies).  Destruction and violence will plague God’s people.  Habakkuk questions his Lord –‘…why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?’ (Hab.1:13).  Why Lord?  Why?  Include my voice in Habakkuk’s mournful choir.

What’s happened to his faith?  To be strong and firm?  Like an immovable rock?  Again, there’s more going on here.  For Habakkuk gets right in God’s face.  Bold as brass.  Layered with chutzpah.  Do you know why?  Do you?  Habakkuk knows that God can take it.  Whatever questions he has, the Lord will hear him out.  They possess a vital and spirited relationship.  Full of faith.  A no-holds-barred bond that lays it out all on the line.  More confidence than cowering.  No hiding of true feelings with the One who knows all anyway.  Our loving heavenly Father wants to hear from His own.  No matter what.

There’s more to this story.  Read again that ending in chapter 3.  Habakkuk knows that no matter what troubles God’s people face, they’re never alone.  Not only them.  Can you not hear His reassuring words?  That abandonment is not God’s plan for His own?  Can I hear my Lord Jesus’ loving words as found in the four Gospels of my Bible?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  But, then again, He’s not done with me yet.  Or with you.  That you can hang your hat on!  No matter what.

Lord Jesus, increase my faith and trust.  Amen.