Geek Out

I didn’t do well in high school science. I nearly failed Biology 11 and thought it best to leave my science career right there. But in the light of what the Bible has to say about a lot of things, I’ve suddenly become very interested in some areas of scientific research.

And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through gloom—
    the Light that darkness could not diminish!

John 1:5 (TPT)

Most people understand that light is a spectrum. Visible light (what our human eyes can actually process) is a very small part of what makes up the electromagnetic spectrum.

What does this have to do with the Bible, you ask?

Everything.

In the third verse of the entire Bible, God called light into being. He didn’t create the sun or stars or the moon. He simply said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (Genesis 1:3). If we take this literally, that means that light existed in creation before there was any celestial body to create it.

John 1:5 tells us that the Word—the Living Expression, Jesus—is also the Light. So we can suppose then, that when God announced light into creation, Jesus burst forth.

Like vine-dressing in relation to John 15, I’ve learned some really interesting things about light that pertain to John 1. For instance, “It is proposed that all electromagnetism [light—visible and invisible] in the Cosmos is a consequence of sound. Put differently, electromagnetism would not exist without sound.”* Imagine that, something makes a noise and light is the result.

If you stand outside on a clear day and yell, someone a mile away might be able to hear you. But that doesn’t mean that that’s the end of it. It is hypothesized that, while sound waves eventually peter out beyond what is audible to the human ear, the electromagnetic waves created by that sound (an atom bumping into an atom that bumps into an atom…) go on through the atmosphere and into space forever, barring an unexpected meeting with dense matter. Each atom affected holds and transfers all the data from the initial event that caused the sound. So, in effect, every word you speak is truly eternal.

Human beings are frail and temporary, like grass, and the glory of man fleeting like blossoms of the field. The grass dries and withers and the flowers fall off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever! And this is the Word that was announced to you!

1 Peter 1:24-25 (TPT)

God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, created humanity in His image and invited us to participate in a union with Him that allows us not only to speak to Him and have Him respond, but He’s actually allowed us to take on His identity. As Jesus is Light, so we are invited to not just be in His light, but to actually be that light.

There are things on earth and in the atmosphere that affect sound. It can be stopped, but light cannot. We need to think beyond what we can see and hear with our physical senses. We need to learn to see beyond what merely seems to be to what really is. If science can prove that light is a result of sound and that the waves it makes are eternal, what can we learn from Jesus—the Light of the world—living within us and we in Him? If we can learn to truly see Him as Light and learn that our place is in Him and His is in us. Who or what can stop us?

What was made in infinite power could not be unmade by any finite power. It could only be hidden by darkness.

Ted Dekker, The 49th Mystic

The commentary for John 1:5 will soon be available here.

*John Stuart Reid, The Special Relationship between Sound and Light with Implications for Sound and Light Therapy

Because He said so

When you were a kid and your mother told you to do something you didn’t really want to do and you argued about it, what was her response? I bet it was something like, “Because I said so.” If Momma said to do something, there was no arguing allowed. You weren’t allowed to question motives or reasons why. She said so.

So why do we question Jesus? Should his word not be enough for us?

For some, seeing is believing. But that’s not what faith is about.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

How can we trust what Jesus says is true? How do we know his words will come to pass? Because he is the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 (NIV)

We can take Jesus at his word because God sent him as His Word and He promised that His Word would accomplish the purpose for which it was sent (Isaiah 55:11).

We can take our example from the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus spoke to her. He performed no miracle. But the truth of his words drew her to him.

And because of his words many more became believers.

John 4:41 (NIV)

The royal official, too, took Jesus at his word. He believed that his son would be well if Jesus would only say the words.

Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed.

John 4:50 (NIV)

Words have become so cheap that we have devalued that which the Son of God spoke. We struggle to believe that what he said is really true. Yet, because God said so should be all the proof we need to believe. Even more than the Samaritan woman and the royal official, we have a long record of the lengths God will go to just to keep His Word. We can see, yet many still do not believe. What more should it take for people to see the truth of God’s Word? His Word should be enough simply because He said so.

Read: 2 Kings 6-8, John 4:31-54

Out of the ordinary

 

Do you ever wonder why Jesus performed certain miracles for certain people? I don’t think it was so much that he was selective about whom he did things for, I think he performed miracles for those who went to the trouble of getting his attention.

Once Jesus’ ministry took off, he was in high demand. People followed him everywhere he went. And, let’s face it, if you knew he was going to feed you, you’d probably show up, too. There were always crowds around him. He healed a lot of people. I’m sure the Gospels only list a small portion of what he really did. But the ones that stand out are those who took the extra effort.

In Luke 18, there’s a blind man. He discovers Jesus is nearby.

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Luke 18:38-39 (NIV)

There was no way this man was going to let Jesus go without getting his miracle. And he did. All his hollering got Jesus attention.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

Luke 18:42 (NIV)

This blind man wasn’t the only one to take extra effort in getting Jesus’ attention. Remember those four crazy friends who tore a hole in a roof to lower their paralysed friend down in front of Jesus (Luke 5:19)? What about the sinful woman who came into the Pharisee’s house and dumped a bottle of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:38)? Or the woman with the issue of blood who crawled through a crowd just to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak (Luke 8:44)? Then there were the ten lepers who stood at a distance yelling at Jesus to heal them (Luke 17:13).

It seems to me that those who want something from the Lord, really want something, will do whatever it takes to get it. And here we sit and pray a little prayer once and assume it’s not God’s will if it doesn’t happen immediately. Have we really done all we can to get Heaven’s attention? Have we, like the blind man, called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” until he has no other choice but to acknowledge our cry?

Those who received the most from Jesus are the ones who couldn’t care less what society thought of them. They were the ones who shoved social and cultural norms aside and said to themselves, if Jesus is able to do this, I’m going to make sure he does.

Maybe, just maybe, we don’t see the signs and wonders we want to see because we’re not really asking for them. What have you done lately to capture Jesus’ attention? Have you done anything unusual or out of the ordinary?

Read: 2 Samuel 4-6, Luke 18:18-43

Better blind than guilty

It is said that ignorance is bliss. To a point, it’s true.

“If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.”

John 9:41 (NLT)

There is a grace to be had in blindness. You can run right into someone and, as soon as they discover your handicap, you’re forgiven. You can get away with a lot more simply because you aren’t as aware of your surroundings as those with sight.

But if you can see… You’re on the hook for everything. You no don’t have the luxury of being able to run into someone and holding up your white can as as free pass. You are completely accountable for your actions whether they were intentional or not.

Sin is like bumping into someone. For those who are completely unaware of their actions, there is a measure of grace. But for those who have heard the truth—whether they accept it or not—there is accountability.

In a later verse, Jesus went on to say this:

They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father.

John 15:22-24 (NLT)

As Christians, there will always be those who doubt, hate, and mock our faith. Even in Jesus’ time, those who saw his miracles refused to believe the Truth. They hated [him] without cause (John 15:25). When we encounter those who claim they can see, but are truly spiritually blind, it is not up to us to set them straight. We can speak the Truth, but only the Holy Spirit can open their eyes.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Chronicles 14-16, John 9:24-41

Here and now

One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, ” When will the Kingdom of God come?”

Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Luke 17:20-21 (NLT)

How will the world know what the Kingdom of God looks like if they can’t see it? How do we, as the Church, present the Kingdom to an unbelieving world?

We act like it.

The Pharisees wanted specifics. They wanted Jesus to give them a bullet list of things to look for when it came to the Kingdom. But Jesus gave them the opposite. His answer was vague and specific at the same time. You won’t see it coming, but it’s here and now.

Jesus spent a lot of time telling parables that described the Kingdom.

Then Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds come and find shelter among its branches.”

Luke 13:18-19 (NLT)

Jesus also likened the Kingdom of God to a little yeast used to make a lot of bread. It spreads. It permeates. It activates. It causes things to rise.

Let’s put it this way: if unbelievers are unable to see the Kingdom, it isn’t their fault, it’s because the Church has failed to show it to them. Like the mustard plant, we should provide shelter, like yeast, we should permeate.

If the Kingdom of God is here and now, let’s act like it. Let’s live like it. But I can’t see it.

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 30-31, Luke 17:20-37

REACH293

Since purchasing our building over four years ago, Chilliwack Victory Church has been working hard to see a big vision come to fruition. For a small church, it was no small feat to make the big decision to purchase a building that could seat over three times our regular attendance.

Like many churches making a move, a large number of those who heartily agreed to support the church in attendance and finance didn’t make the move with the us and we were left with a small crowd in a large room and even larger building. I’d only been a member of the church for a few months at that point, but I could see glimpses of the vision that Pastor Morris Watson was putting before the church.

Since then we’ve seen many ups and downs, but now we’re going up.

On October 2 of this year, we are going to fill every seat. All 293 seats (we tried for 300, but they just wouldn’t fit!). It’s a big vision for a congregation that’s held an average attendance of 60 over the summer.

There are some in the church who may say we’re biting off more than we can chew. They are probably the same people who said the same thing when we took over a behemoth of an ageing building. Look where we are now. Where orange was king on nearly every surface, a little paint and a lot of sweat equity has changed the physical atmosphere. Now it’s time for  the spiritual atmosphere to change.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people [are discouraged].

Proverbs 29:18 (ESV)

I firmly believe that October 2 and the weeks leading up to it will serve as a catalyst for growth and change in our church. For those of us who can see the seats full and the building in constant use with classes and community enrichment programs, we will see the miracles, signs, and wonders promised in Mark 16:17. For those who cannot grasp the vision, they will be like those in Proverbs who see nothing but discouragement in a room full of empty seats.

Will you see with me? Will you ask God to open the eyes of your spirit to see the great things He has planned not only for Chilliwack Victory Church, but for every other church in our city, in your city?

And when we see, we can stand. If the church doesn’t stand up for herself, who will? It’s time Church. It’s our time. Now.

Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2b (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Proverbs 28-29, 2 Corinthians 7

His Voice

Jesus said to him [Thomas], “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

John 20:29 (ESV)

Are you a have-to-see-it-to-believe-it kind of person? I’m not. I can read a fantasy novel and drink it up and have no problem believing in other dimensions, alternate universes, or time travel. Call me crazy.

Thomas, on the other hand, was a touchy-feely kind of guy. He had to touch Jesus’ wounds before he could confirm that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead.

But what about Mary Magdalene? Earlier in John chapter 20, Mary is one of the first people on site at the empty tomb. A man appeared before her asking whom she was looking for. She saw the man yet did not recognise him. But when he said her name, she knew immediately who stood before her.

Where Thomas needed to see to believe, Mary had to hear.

We’re not all going to see Jesus standing right in front of us. But we all have the ability to hear his voice.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

John 10:27 (ESV)

Even if you are not like me, easily able to believe in the supernatural, you can still listen. Mary, in her firm belief that Jesus was dead, did not recognise him in appearance, but his voice, his voice she knew. After years of sitting at his feet listening to him speak, she would know his voice anywhere.

Have you been listening? Even if you can’t see Jesus, can you hear him? Do you know his voice? Is his voice proof enough for you?

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 3-5; John 20

He hears

Sometimes, when I pray, I feel as though I’m praying against a wall. There are occasions where I wonder what I’m doing. Am I really talking to someone? Is someone up there or around here really listening?

But then there are moments in prayer or worship where I know the presence of God. English isn’t enough to explain it. In Spanish, there are two words for the verb “to know”. One refers to a general knowledge. Something learned. The other refers to a personal knowledge. To know someone more intimately. Not just to know of them.

God wants us to not just know of Him, but to know Him. Intimately. But how are we supposed to do that when we can’t even see Him, hear Him, touch Him? How do we even know He’s out there listening?

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)

Hebrews 11:6 says that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Are you going to feel the presence of God every moment of every day? Probably not. But when you enter into prayer or worship, like Hebrews says, believe that He is. God has promised us that, if we go to Him in belief and humility, He will hear. And when He hears, He answers. When He answers, we are blessed and He receives glory.

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV)

Daily Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 7-9; John 13:1-17

Touch and see

Do you ever doubt that Jesus lives in you? Does it ever cross your mind that, maybe, this whole Christianity thing is one great big hoax that has been fooling millions of people for millennia?

Doubt is not the problem. Our response to it is.

And he said to them, “Why are you trouble, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

Luke 24:38-40 (ESV)

Jesus accepted the doubt of the very men who walked with him. Rather than rebuking them, he gave them proof.

Draw near to God, and he he will draw near to you.

James 4:8a (ESV)

This is one story among countless others. For many of us raised in the church, we may find it difficult to remember a single defining moment in our faith. But for people like the man in the video, God went out of His way to show Himself to a single person who was doubting.

God doesn’t hide from us.

You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! I will let you find me,” says the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:13-14a (NCV)

When we have doubts, God wants us to come looking for Him. He wants to show Himself to us. He lets us find Him.

Daily Bible reading: 1 Kings 12-13; Luke 24:36-53

See

Sometimes… okay, a lot of the time… most of the time, I have trouble seeing God’s promises and provision through my situation. I’ve even taken a Sharpie to my arm to remind myself that God is greater than my circumstance and He is able to see me through. In my frustration, I ask God to send me His provision. I remind Him of His promise (like He’s forgotten what He said).

My line of questioning should not be whether or not God has sent the answer, but rather, whether or not I have seen His answer.

There is a great Old Testament account that brings this to light. Here is some back story: Elisha has been helping the kings of Israel and they’ve been kicking butt with all the information that God has been providing through Elisha. All of the other kings are getting tired of having their butts kicked and decide to gang up on Elisha once they realise he’s the reason behind it all. Elisha and his servant are camped out in a city and, one morning, the servant heads outside the tent and sees a massive army surrounding the city. He tells Elisha they’re in trouble.

So he [Elisha] answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

II Kings 6:16

At this point, I’m sure that the servant is sure Elisha has gone mad overnight. But Elisha sticks with his observation.

And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

II Kings 6:17 (NKJV)

In this case, it wasn’t that God had not sent the provision, it was that the servant couldn’t see it.

I know that, in my life, I need to focus more on what God has provided for me rather than looking for all that I think He hasn’t. His promise is sure. He hasn’t failed me yet, why would I think that He ever would?