Author Archives: val english
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psa 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Jer 17:5 This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
Jer 17:6 He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
Jer 17:7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.
Jer 17:8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Jer 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”
Joh 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
Joh 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
Joh 7:39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Joh 7:40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
Joh 7:41 Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee?
Joh 7:42 Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”
Joh 7:43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
Joh 7:44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him
As a child I wasn’t sure really what a Pentecostal was. As teens we had neighbours below us who went to a Pentecostal church – it was called “Living Waters: church. I should have made the connection.
I do remember once we were making a noise and the dad banged a broom stick on his ceiling so we could hear the knocking below.
- Living Waters church.
- It has a nice sound to it.
- As opposed to stagnant waters church.
- Or the dead sea fellowship.
(I remember when we had a swimming pool in the last Manse we lived in back in Africa – what is was like when that thing went green. A pool was supposed to be bright and blue. Mind you there was a snake who lived in the pool pump – not everyone got involved in pool maintenance.)
- We’ve talked this year about covenant and commitment.
- About transformation of our city
- About transformation of our nation.
- About the transformation of our selves through simply loving people – and earning the right to be heard.
That fits in with our current mission statement – always be ready to give a reason for the HOPE YOU HAVE. We are the ones in mission. We’ve talked about the hungry and homeless, and the prisoners. The lonely who need family – and how this family here is part of what we offer. It actually fits with what Jim taught us couple of years ago about being relevant to our demographic – the people who live here ae our mission field.
By the way the context of our Mission statement in 1 Peter 3 is really significant. Listen to the whole passage; 1Pe 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1Pe 3:16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
My personal challenge – in the sense that I am challenged by this – is that often I am too absorbed with my own life and issues. And there are things in my life that are not always helpful or hopeful.
I choose to be on the lookout for the needs of others though. I’m finding that spending Friday morning with the mainly music families is a great start. They’re right here. Listening to their stories and getting to know the names of their children opens doors of all kinds.
I’ll be visiting prisoners on Tuesday again. I told some people about that this week – and their immediate response was almost an incredulous “why do you want to do that?”
Well because of Matthew 25. And John 3:16. And a host of other bible verses.
It’s a choice to connect with people. Sadly, we are actually quite selfish as a default setting. Self-absorbed. Too busy.
I suppose I have a lower view of human kind as it were – theologically speaking. The lectionary readings today include one of those famous Jeremiah passages –
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
A bit like the Isaiah one that says our righteousness is as filthy rags.
- Jesus didn’t die for nothing. If we could have saved ourselves – why on earth would he come to die?
- The wonderful thing is that he died for all our sins. (In Colossians 2 Paul says quite directly: “He forgave us all our sins”.)
- The residue of our sinful nature lurks of course.
I was in a mortuary this week. The smell of presence of death always lurks there in the cold.
In Colossians Paul explains that we die in him, and are raised with him – but he hastens to add in chapter 3 verse 5: Col 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
The heart is beyond cure – says Jeremiah.
It’s not a good prognosis.
Ye in the scriptures there are these glimpses of a source of healing and life.
The very first Psalm alludes to this. Like me with my choices, they had choices too.
Listen again: Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psa 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. אשׁרי־האישׁ אשׁר לא הלך בעצת רשׁעים (v1) כי אם בתורת יהוה חפצו ובתורתו יהגה יומם ולילה׃ (v2)
They had the law – which was God’s word – his revelation to them. Our view of law is tainted by reformation theology.
They delighted in it – meditated on it day and night – and there was life there described in verse 3 – he one who does this is like a tree planted by streams of water. The result – fruitfulness, prosperity – BLESSING.
Jeremiah – just before his prognosis of a sick human heart – says this similar thing to the Psalmist: Jer 17:7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. Jer 17:8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Again a tree – a stream – fruitfulness and NO WORRIES this time. This is not just the Law that is delighted in and meditated on – this is what happens when people TRUST IN THE LORD.
(It sounds so like Psalm 37: Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Psa 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psa 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: Psa 37:6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
This is gospel – good news – in the New Testament – remember that the new is in the old concealed, and the Old is in the new revealed.)
WHAT IS DIFFERENT IN JESUS?
In John 7 today we heard Jesus’ announcement on the last and greatest day of the feast – this is the feast of tabernacles.
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Joh 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
We’ve already read about this kind of water In John 4 – the famous Samaritan who was a serial polygamist. Remember the story – how they miss each other – he is offering her something spiritual – she is looking for his bucket? There Jesus said:
Joh 4:14 but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
- Here in John 7 he says to the thirsty – come to me and drink
- This is not the law in Psalm 1- that helps us to be watered and given life.
- This is not trusting in God in Jeremiah 17 – that brings life from a river.
- People need to come to Jesus. It’s another claim by Jesus to be God. It explains why they try to grab him again later in this passage.
This is not water from outside of us.
Rather he gives us drink when we are thirsty – and the living water – the streams – will flow up within us.
You’ve got/ You’ll get your bottle of water today. The bible verse on it is verse 38.
Don’t say we never give you anything.
- A few weeks ago, it was an edible Auckland bridge with carrot cake celebrating Auckland anniversary.
- Today your own kiwi water.
- Just to remind you that the source is Jesus.
- He has the cure for everything – including the heart.
And he moves in as it were – taking occupation through His Holy Spirit – who is the source of life and blessing and prosperity and fruitfulness.
Sometimes our hearts are hard and hurting – they become like a hardened sponge or hardened like a rock – and need soaking in his love and power again.
He gives us a new heart.
Some translations of John 7:38 say that the streams of living water will flow out of the believer’s heart – others his belly. The word means a cavity – the abdomen – so it means a number of things. Heart, belly, womb. All nice words as they involve life.
- You sometimes we can be in church for decades and be bone dry. You see it when people can’t worship – or pray – when they just go through the motions.
- You need the living water.
- It’s the Holy Spirit who brings this life.
In John’s gospel so far – Jesus turns water into wine – there is water in the new birth – living water for the woman at the well – and now living water for those who believe in Jesus.
When Jesus cried out this invitation on that last day of the feast – he had to call it out really loudly. It was a major celebration. Very noisy indeed.
We have to call out too – come to Jesus!
We do that in worship each week – declaring that he is the way, the truth and he life.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE DRY
- You have to be thirsty.
- You have to really want this.
- It requires an open heart.
And then ask him for the life – the living water – the fulness of the Spirit – who if you are a believer is already in you.
Let the living water flow.