On Tuesday, I have the privilege of flying to Florence, Alabama to speak for the Renewal Workshop hosted by the Sherrod Avenue Church of Christ. The theme for the Workshop is "Jesus is Here" and my assigned keynotes are "In His People," "In His Commission," and "In Our Worship."
In thinking through the challenge of this assignment, I keep coming back to John 4 and Jesus' exchange with the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's well. He engages her, despite the inherent prejudicial discrimination of Jews toward Samaritans. His disciples are baffled that Jesus would even speak to her. But speak to her he does, unveiling her dark life and bringing her shadowy existence into the light of truth.
Amazingly, once Jesus exposes her dark side, she doesn't walk away. She does deflect the conversation, raising the question of where the God-honoring location of worship should be: Mount Zion or Mount Gerazim. Unfazed, Jesus addresses her question about worship that honors God -- it isn't about place but about the marriage of spirit and truth.
In response, she runs into the city to share her discovery of the man who could be the Christ, the Messiah, who'd welcomed her into his presence and comforted her despite her past indiscretions.
I'm searching, struggling to tie this all together into one framework that fits the theme. Certainly, the living water offered this Samaritan woman by Jesus is the source for renewal, the overarching theme of the workshop.
Following my time in Florence, it's off to Arkansas and the privilege of preaching again on Sunday, August 17th at my home congregation, the Northside Church of Christ in Benton, Arkansas. What makes this opportunity especially meaningful is the fact I will speak there on my dad's birthday.
I am honored and blessed with the opportunity of spending my dad's birthday with him, a man who has taught me to love Jesus and to devote my life in service to His kingdom.
Because of my travels, I'm going to take a blog break until Wednesday, August 20th. I'll look forward to recapping for you my journey.
Till then, blessings...