Lent – Day 16 – Jesus Questions

“Were you looking for a prophet?” (Matthew 11:9)

John the Baptist had been arrested and imprisoned and Jesus, who had a deep affection for his pious cousin, began to ask the crowd who had once gone out to hear John preach, “Were you looking for a prophet?”

When crowds gather, there’s always a reason…or multiple reasons. We’re all looking for something. Today or tomorrow, for example, many of us will gather with other people in church services around the world. What are we each looking for?

Looking for Christ.jpgSome of us may want to experience God. Others may want to see friends. Others may want to maintain a habit (for the sake of conscience or appearance). Others may simply enjoy the fun and entertainment of the production. Perhaps it would be good if, from time to time, we clarified and declared (as honestly as possible and at least to ourselves) what we are looking for. It might help re-align our hearts and re-focus our purposes.

But I also wonder what we’re looking for when we seek Jesus. I wonder what I’m looking for? It seems to change in different seasons of my life.

Sometimes I have looked for Him because I needed a Savior; someone to deliver me from my sin and myself. Other times I have looked for a Teacher; someone to provide wisdom and advice on how to live a flourishing life. Yet other times, I have looked for a Healer; someone to step in and physically or emotionally restore me or someone with me. Still other times, I have looked for a Provider; someone to pop that unexpected check in the mail when the bills were due and the bank balance had bottomed out.

Remarkably, graciously, He plays all of these roles in my life at different times. He assures me, comforts me, convicts me, empowers me, restrains me, humbles me, encourages me, restores me. I imagine (and hope) He has done much the same for you. But today I’m intrigued by His question to that ancient crowd: “Were you looking for a prophet?”

The question speaks not only to purpose but also motive. Once I know what I am looking for in Jesus, perhaps it would be helpful to explore why I am looking for that. Might we look for certain things from Him because of fear, guilt, or shame? Might we look for other things from Him because it makes Him manageable and comfortable? Might we not really be looking for Him at all (!), but like the benefits of being with people who are?

On this third Saturday of Lent, let’s take a few minutes to prayerfully consider what we’re really looking for in the Church and in Christ.

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4 Responses to Lent – Day 16 – Jesus Questions

  1. E Tse says:

    Good morning, David-(Well, it was when I started this reply…)  I have sensed God’s touch in my life through your Jesus Questions writings. Not only that but His breath filling its words and His activity in choosing the questions. Another opportunity to marvel at His goodness. I thank Him for your love for His people and your faithfulness. I’m thankful for all the ways you have ministered to me over the years. I no longer say that I owe you email. My drafts folder evinces quite a number of unfinished and unsent starts! These days I say I want to reply but realize responding to how the Spirit’s working is better while trusting Him to let you know. Actually, I decided I want to use your emails as a prompt for prayer to bless (i.e. His favor and activity in) you and Kim and your family and your blog readers as well. Maybe one of these days I’ll even finish writing you about the post I included in my Christmas email! I have grown a lot in recent years. I have spent most of my life minimizing and being in denial of the physical and mental abuse experienced in my family of origin. Much (though not all) through Christian counseling I am coming out of shame and experiencing freedom in that. Thankful that God will be active and with me with the further releasing and renewal to come in that department because I want to dispose of inherited wrong hoarder thinking and declutter my apartment. It has been sad to realize how pervasively fear, anxiety, and terror have formed much of who I am, having been born into that environment. My main goal in life has been to stay out of trouble because mistreatment has been just around the corner. Rules have been easier, measurable. Grace is messier. Thinking about His tender mercy past, present, and future is now filling my eyes with tears. Thankful that He is still re-creating me. When I graduated from Hope, I valued content over relationship in my studies. Noticing more recently that it was safer in my paradigm that way: easy to see people as instruments of hurt and harm and content less so. Nathan definitely a good gift from Father for me, but I was still under the indoctrination of shame. I’ve grown to see that the context of community actualizes the fullness and richness of the content. So, knowing you blesses your posts even more! Recent influences on my faith journey:-Taize services at Episcopalian churches have been blessing my relationship with God. -Pray As You Go (Ignatian) podcasts have been lovely. Its content even lined up with your post about alms early this lenten season! -The Shack movie and book-Learning of the Charismatic tradition as my life intersects with others of that background or who are also exploring it: teaching on YouTube from Bill Johnson and Joe Sweet. Will probably visit that Lancaster church with my friend/dentist (since ’92) at some point. He’s in the exploring category and gave me Bartleman’s Asuza Street book to read. Arty always asked me, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” I still have no idea. I just know I want to help and encourage people and have the Kingdom in mind, but that’s very broad. My upbringing says it’s not safe to dream as one can only look up from time to time under hands covering the head to see if the small piece of sky looks calm and secure. I have recently sensed the Lord telling me over and over, “I have better things for you than Hidden Villa” and believing Him more now. Such an unhealthy work environment!  Yet I am perceiving my growth (Thank God!) and becoming stronger through it. Lots of opportunities to minister in prayer and kindness to coworkers. It has been good to minister more openly to colleagues outside the organization whether it be the consultant who’s seeking, the vendor who’s a young Christian, or professional Christian workers through our charitable organization. Yesterday a friend from Eastside invited me to her company’s Open House this Tuesday night. They are the educational arm of TransAmerica, teaching people about getting out of debt, investing, managing finances, etc.  They teach the 10-10-80 plan with increased giving as finances increase. She said they are faith-based: if clients are not Christians, then they encourage their charitable giving from whatever faith background they have. There are Eastsiders and people from the Rock Church at the office, which is close to the Fullerton Courthouse. The company believes in meeting people in person and in references/referrals and less in resumes and websites. They are growing so much and are hiring. Thinking this could be a good fit, given my work with the finance dept at my current job and Gene’s teaching at Eastside. It is also encouraging that they are not limited to TransAmerica financial instruments but have partnerships with other financial companies. Please pray as the Spirit prompts, not just for this opportunity but for having a dream in general. I am excited to participate in an Ignatian (silent) retreat next weekend. A first for me. It’s in Fullerton, so I’m attending as a commuter. In the beginning I wanted to go to gain guidance and clarity concerning what next, for a dream, etc. Now it’s just expectancy in communing with Jesus. So that’s cool. The retreat’s theme is: “I Have Called You Friends… “. Its flyer says, “Jesus called us his friends, saying that he has revealed to us everything the Father taught Him. Come away with us this Lent to silently reflect on what Jesus has revealed to you.” Well, I didn’t want the day to end without writing you. It’s been a 2Co 1.3-4 Memorial Service day today in a good friend’s fresh grief journey as a widow. It has been good to support her since Martin’s St. Jude CCU days late last month. Walking with Mary Ann has been strengthening me on mine. Needless to say it’s been a long, tiring, but good day. This family has supported William and me very well and I also thank God for all your support from the early days of my grief journey. My notes on my responses from this morning to today’s post follow, abbreviations and all. I am certain of God’s using your writing in this post in many lives in mighty ways. Blessings, David!–Eleanor 🙂 Jesus: Creator- Life as intended (who He made me2b), vitality Way – Freedm! Friend – Love, Goodness, Grace Father – (weeping: looking2Joe&Liz (parents) who simply can not) Constantly Initiating eternity past, present future Compassn Paraclete- leader/guide/advocate Pro-transformatn/XLikeness -present  Church:Embody/represent/reconciliation/sanctifyHands and feet InHer find identity, rightly related2GMutual fulfilling need, encouragem, edification,  truth-spkng/declaring (in action & wds) Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • David Timms says:

      Dear Eleanor, I marvel at the work of God in your life — steady, gradual, transformational, and real. Thanks for taking the time to share more of your Journey. I’m honored to be a small part of it, and pray that your Retreat Weekend creates wonderful space for you and the Lord. Grace and peace, always, from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. — David

  2. Kenneth Wadum says:

    HI David,
    I won’t write as deep of a responses to your recent article as E Tse did. I would imagine it is heartwarming for you to read of the impact your life and writing has had on his life over the years. I would echo many of these impacts in my life as I have gotten to know you and read your excellent books and articles that cut through the craziness of our culture and cultural church. This article is no exception. For me, who I want to see is whatever the God of all creation wants me to see. I agree with your understanding of faith as trust. I trust Him to show me what I need to see and then pray for the wisdom, knowledge and discernment to follow this in faithfulness.

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