Friday, January 30, 2009

Jesus gives us a clean slate

Romans 8:1-2 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

We know the feeling well: guilt. It has followed us during the day and kept us awake at night. We can't forget the things we've done, no matter how much we may want to.

The good news is that in Christ, God accepts us as His children. We can be free from guilt knowing that He has forgiven us--completely. "Though yours sins are like scarlet," He tells us, "they shall be as white as snow." Isaiah 1:18b. And while we still face the consequences of our sin and sometimes the discipline of our Heavenly Father, we can finally sleep at night, resting in the assurance that God is for us.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jesus talks with a Samaritan woman

John 4:5-26
Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Please give me a drink." He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?" Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water." "But sir, you don't have a rope or a bucket," she said, "and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you're greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?" Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life." "Please, sir," the woman said, "give me this water! Then I'll never be thirsty again, and I won't have to come here to get water." "Go and get your husband," Jesus told her. "I don't have a husband," the woman replied. Jesus said, "You're right! You don't have a husband- for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!" "Sir," the woman said, "you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?" Jesus replied, "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming-indeed it's here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming-the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus told her, "I Am the Messiah!"

He was seated on the ground: legs outstretched, hands folded, back resting against the well. She stopped and looked at Him. He was obviously Jewish. What was He doing here?

Sensing her discomfort, Jesus asked her for water. But she was too streetwise to think that all He wanted was a drink. Her intuition was partly correct. He was interested in her heart.

They talked. Who could remember the last time a man had spoken to her with respect? He told her about a spring of water that would quench, not the thirst of her throat, but of the soul.

"Please, sir...give me this water! Then I'll never be thirsty again, and I won't have to come here to get water."

"Go and get your husband,"

"I don't have a husband." (Kindness has a way of inviting honesty.) This woman wondered what Jesus would do. He will be angry. He will think I'm worthless. "You're right! You don't have a husband-- for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!"

No criticism? The woman was amazed. "Sir, you must be a prophet."

Then she asked the question that revealed the gaping hole in her soul. "Where is God? My people say he is on the mountain. Your people say he is in Jerusalem." I'd give a thousand sunsets to see the expression on Jesus' face as He heard those words. Of all the women to have an insatiable appetite for God--a five-time divorcee? And of all the people to be chosen to personally receive the secret of the ages-- an outcast among outcasts? His eyes must have danced as He whispered the secret. "I AM the Messiah!"

Then leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could He possibly be the Messiah?" Did you notice what she forgot? She forgot her water jar. She left behind the burden she brought. Suddenly the insignificance of her life was swallowed by the significance of the moment. God is here! God cares for me and He cares for you!!

Quarry Rockers and cyber rockers.......Burdens are lifted at Calvary. Jesus is very near. He longs for us to bring the heavy burdensome things we carry around to Him.......and leave them at His feet. He is the only one who can truly help you through your life's problems. He is here! And so is your church family!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The magic of a thankful spirit is that it has the power to replace....

anger with love,
resentment with happiness,
fear with faith,
worry with peace,
the desire to dominate with the wish to play on a team,
self-preoccupation with concern for the needs of others,
guilt with an open door to forgiveness,
sexual impurity with honor and respect,
jealousy with joy at another's success,
lack of creativity with inspired productivity,
inferiorities with dignity,
a lack of love with an abundance of self-sharing.
Donald E. Demaray

Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

As I sit here in my office pondering this past year, I have been reminded with many emails, letters, phone calls, personal visits and even text messages of the roads travelled by the people of Quarry Rock this past year. I have compiled a list of many of the highlights. Some of them were joy unspeakable. Some were sadness unspeakable. And many in between. God is good....all the time. And all the time, God is good!! Here it is:

This year I.....

got involved in the prison ministry,
changed jobs,
took children horseback riding and fishing,
had children move away,
had children move back home, ( smile....)
had my marriage restored by the "Fireproof" movie,
traveled overseas,
had a baby,
lost a baby,
became a parent,
lost a parent,
got married,
lost a grandparent,
became a grandparent, (ha ha)
got promoted,
got engaged,
completed my master's degree,
got new foster kids,
was healed of cancer,
acquired a deeper love for God and the scriptures,
found family, love and acceptance at Quarry Rock!

In all of this, we will raise our hands and praise our God who gives and takes away. He is more than sufficient. Join me today in praising our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Jesus teaches faith, not legalism

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. "Rabbi," he said, "we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you." Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God." "What do you mean?" exclaimed Nicodemus. "How can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again?" Jesus replied, "I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. John 3:1-6

Nicodemus is drawn to the carpenter, but he can't be seen with Him. Nicodemus is on the high court. He can't approach Jesus in the day. So Nicodemus goes to meet Him at night. He goes in the darkness. Appropriate....for legalism offers no light.

It's rigid. It's mechanical....and it's not from God.

Can I give you the down and dirty about legalism? Legalism doesn't need God. Legalism is the search for innocence-- not forgiveness. Legalists are obsessed with self, not God.

--Turns my opinion into your burden.
--Turns my opinion into your boundary.
--Turns my opinion into your obligation.

If you want to be in the group, stay in step and don't ask questions.

Nicodemus knew how to march, but he longed to sing. He knew there was something more, but he didn't know where to find it. So he went to Jesus.

May we truly see that Jesus has the answers for everything in life and may we come to see that His yolk is easy and His burden is light. He is not hard to follow. Legalism is hard to follow. Jesus is the source of contentment, peace, and acceptance. Legalism is the source of stress and rigid rules. Jesus makes it simple. We make it difficult. Seek Him today. Don't chase after what the world considers, "religion" or "spirituality". Jesus is the author of peace and contentment.