Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; John 9:1-7, 35-41; March 26, 2017

Scriptures for this Sunday: John 9:1-7, 35-41 

You can read these Scriptures here: {NIV and ESV}

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We are in the Season of Lent when we are challenged to take stock of our lives, to ask ourselves, “How is it with my soul?” Lent is the season when we take the time to make sure that with every day of our lives we are growing in our love for God, we strive to better discern God’s presence in our lives, and we make an effort to direct our lives toward God.

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The hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness (UMH 140) puts it like this, “morning by morning new mercies I see…”

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Last week we met the Samaritan Woman. We saw that in the beginning of the conversation, she dealt with her own pain by trying to bring Jesus down by making snide remarks. By doing so, she was elevating herself in her own mind.

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  • “You are a Jew, why are you talking to me?”

  • “Who do you think you are, do you think that you are greater than Jacob?”

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When Jesus was finally able to get through to her, when she stopped hiding behind combativeness and bringing everyone around her down, she learned how to interact with her neighbors on a totally different level.

In the beginning of last week’s reading the Samaritan woman was alone. At the end of that reading she was a part of the community. She actually became a leader, she led people to Christ.

Because she opened her heart to Jesus, her life was changed.  She was no longer burdened by her past. Her past no longer defined her future. She heard Jesus say, “Look at me! Put your focus on me, not on your past life” and her life was changed! What a transformation!

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Today we heard about the transformation in the life of a man born blind. After Jesus restored his sight, some of his own friends and neighbors did not recognize him (verses 8-9).

We have a tendency to define others in terms of their shortcomings, challenges, or perceived deficits.

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  • That woman is unemployed; this man is divorced.

  • She’s a single mom; he’s a high school dropout.

  • She is a failure; he is an addict.

  • She has cancer. He is depressed.

We even do it to ourselves.

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We allow past setbacks, disappointments, and failures to shape how we see ourselves and how we see our future. Because we live in a fallen world, we tend to define ourselves and others in terms of problems rather than possibilities.

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When our disabilities are turned into possibilities we are not sure what to do, and we have to figure out new ways to interact with the world.

The opposite is also true. When our disabilities are turned into possibilities those around us are not sure what to do, and they have to figure out new ways to interact with us.

Friends and neighbors of the man born blind had defined him and their relationships with him in terms of his blindness and they did not know how to interact with him after he regained his sight. They no longer recognized him (verse 9).

When the religious people learned about his transformation, they wanted to question him as well. Not happy with his testimony, they asked his parents. It had to be a scary experience because his parents distanced themselves from him (verses 18-21) without disowning him outright. It is a great example of how communities and families tend to react to change.

Time after time countries, companies, communities, congregations, and families, tend to organize themselves around a defined problem. We develop routines and habits to compensate for our disabilities instead of finding a way to heal.

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Because we live in a fallen world, these routines and habits make it difficult for us to move toward health, restoration, renewal, and transformation.

{Illustration}

Because we live in a fallen world, a known problem seems safer than an unknown solution; that is why we have such a hard time letting go of the things that limit us.

Jesus came as an answer to the fact that we live in a fallen world. That is why the transformation that Jesus offers is always disruptive.

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When Jesus comes into our life, things change. That sounds good until we realize that change is always disruptive. And then we wonder whether the change, that promise of a new life, is worth the effort required to reach it.

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{Illustration – This is Us}

Words of Paul found in Ephesians 5:

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NIV2010 Ephesians 5: 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

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