Jesus’ Pool Day

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Listen, today I want to talk to you about some pretty interesting stuff in the first part of John, Chapter 5. If you’re new, we’re looking at the gospel of John, which is the 4th book of the New Testament. This is an amazing book. Again, for you new listeners, The gospels aren’t biographies of Jesus life. They are memories of Jesus. That’s why they have some similarities and a lot of differences. Just like when you get together with family and friends and remember someone that meant a lot to you. One person tells stories then everyone chimes in with their favorites. That’s kind of what the gospels are.

John was the last of Jesus 12 apostles who was still alive, when he wrote his memories. And an odd thing was happening, many people were arguing about Jesus. A few were saying he wasn’t even human. He just looked like a man. John tells the stories he does to show that Jesus is totally God and totally Human. And that’s what made him special.

Here in Chapter 5, we see a really neat story. But first, John points out that Jesus was in Jerusalem because there was a religious feast going on. In chapter 4 he’s still on the way home to Galilee from the last feast, which we read in Chapter 2 that he went to. I think that’s really interesting, because we learn how important worshiping, you know, going to church, was to Jesus. He lived 84 miles from the temple . That means every time he went to a festival, his round trip was 168 miles. And he had to walk. That’s how you got places in his day. Most of us in Buckie, don’t travel 168 miles a year to go to church. He’s just done it now, twice in a year. Plus all the Saturdays he went to the Synagogues along the way. These days, I know people who have never been to church, except maybe to a wedding or a funeral. And I know a lot more who just go when the mood strikes, or it’s convenient. Perhaps, from Jesus example, we should consider making attendance a little more of a priority. Just thinking out loud here.

He stops by this place called the pool of Bethesda, that had 5 covered porches. It was slammed with cripples and blind people. Multitudes were there. That means thousands. Shazaam. This is interesting, because we just read that and go cool pool. But for over 1800 years people said that there was no pool of bethesda. The Bible writers just made it up. No one knew where it was. See, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. They tore it up. Tore down the temple and wrecked the city. People didn’t know where much was. But in the 1800s archaeologists discovered a pool that had 5 covered porches on it, right outside the city gate. Exactly where the Bible said the pool was. The reason the pool was so badly destroyed was because it provide much of the water to the city. It’s source was a spring. So if the Romans collapsed the whole thing they would cut off water to Jerusalem.

But once again the Bible is proved correct in it’s history. Surprised? Don’t be. This kind of discovery has happened time and time again. The Bible is historically accurate. Full stop.

Anyway, there is this multitude of sick and desperate people at the pool because of a rumor that periodically, an angel came and made the water move. The first person in the water would be healed.

That doesn’t sound much like God to me. First, there is no other place in the Bible where Angels are healing people. And God doesn’t play tricks on people. I mean, the first one in gets healed, everyone else just gets wet. And there are so many people trying to be first in the water that they wouldn’t even know if someone was healed. And it was so crowded some people couldn’t even get in.

This is the story of the poor man Jesus spoke to. He had been totally disabled for 38 years. He couldn’t walk. He would have to crawl or wiggle his way to the pool, and couldn’t make it. But he had heard and believed a myth, a rumor.

That’s the way it is for so many people. They hear rumors and chase them. Some have help. People to throw them in, but some like the guy in our story, is left to suffer on his own.

And then comes Jesus. Jesus asks him if he want’s to be healed. The guy has no idea who Jesus is, and tells him, “What does it matter. I can’t get to the water anyway.” He is so discouraged.

Jesus heals him on the spot. On the spot. Tells him to take his mat and go home. How cool is that. The bloke, just gets up and walks away.

Sometimes, I’ve asked why just one? Why did Jesus only heal this one guy. I’ve read stories where Jesus healed every person in a town. Why just one person? Because the rest weren’t looking for a miracle. They were chasing rumors and myths. Jesus is right among them and they are buzzing all around, ignoring him, waiting for the water to move.

In the other stories, people are coming to Jesus, or being brought to him. That’s totally different than these people. They are chasing the wind. And walking right by Jesus.

How many of us are guilty of walking right past Jesus. We have so many needs, so many unfulfilled dreams, so much guilt, and we’re ready to do anything. But won’t ask Jesus. I’m telling you, He is right here. And He will give you a brand new start. Today. Now.

There’s just one more thing I want to talk about in the story. I mean there’s a whole thing about the Sabbath and all that, but we’ll talk about that stuff another time. Now, the man runs into Jesus later that day in the Temple. First, I think its so cool that the guy was so excited, he went to church that day to thank God. We could probably all learn a thing or two from that. But he sees Jesus, and Jesus says to him, “Sin no more, so that something worse doesn’t happen to you.” That is weird. What could be worse that 38 years of crawling around, unable to walk.

I know people don’t want to hear about it or talk about it, but Jesus is saying, “Don’t risk Hell, son. Live for God.” Jesus had healed more than his body. He had forgiven him. And he’s telling this guy to make the most of it. Being a hopeless quadriplegic was awful. But hell is real. And much worse.

Jesus warns us over and over again that hell is a real place that we want nothing to do with. He came so that we could avoid it. I’m all for taking him up on his plan. We repent and come to him. We turn. We change. We surrender.

Don’t chase rumors. Jesus is right here. He’s the one with the answers. The one with the power. And he offers help to us all. If you’ve surrendered to him, rejoice in that. Relax and live for him. If you’ve never handed over the keys to let Jesus drive, he want to do for you exactly what he did for that man at the Bethesda pool. What will you choose?

Do me a favor? Spend some time thinking about these events. So far, in every chapter Jesus has demonstrated that He is the God Man. In chapter 1, he is God. He made the world. In Chapter 2 he turned water into wine. You don’t see that every day. In Chapter 3 he tells Nicodemus how to be born again. In Chapter 4 he tells the woman at the well the He is the Messiah, the savior of the world. Then he tells the whole town. Now in Chapter 5, he heals a man who has been without a life for 38 years. Who’s chasing after rumors. Just think what Jesus can do for you.

And…That’s all I’ve got for you this week. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to use the comments feature on the website; www.radiofreebuckie.com or write me radiofreebuckie@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you. I’ll talk to you in about a week. But for now…..I’m out!

One On One With Jesus

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First, I’m batching it for a little while. My wife is out of town and I’m cooking for myself. I’m trying to keep the dishes done, the hoover run, laundry clean, you know, all the household stuff. The only thing she reminded me about before she left was, clean the toilet. She knows me so well. Yes, I miss her. Especially as today is valentine’s day and my valentine is far away. Can I get an Ohhh….? Ok, maybe not. I get it.

Holidays are kind of hard to deal with publicly because, there are always people who can’t celebrate. You know, on mother’s day, people who’ve lost a child, or maybe can’t have them. And on Valentine’s day, today, many people are out there, maybe someone listening, who has recently lost your valentine to death, or you’ve just gone through a troubling break up, a divorce. The last thing you want is to hear about people passing around cards and chocolates. I get it. It can be a hard day. For you, I sympathize. You are on my mind. But for those of you who can celebrate, I hope you do. I hope you remembered to get a card, some flowers, or something. If not, get it done now. If you’re listening to this after Valentine’s Day, and you forgot. You got some serious make up to do. I’ll pray for you.

Hey, we’ve got a really neat story to look at today. It’s in the 4th Chapter of John. Just a reminder, John is the 4th book of the New Testament. Jesus is on his way home after being in Jerusalem. And he stops to rest in Sychar in Samaria.

He sends his disciples out to Harry Gow to get some lunch, while he sits by the well. There’s a whole bunch of weird and cool stuff about this. First, no one who is a Jew liked to stop in a Samaritan town. Jews hated Samaritans and vice versa. It’s kind of like Glasgow Rangers and Celtic fans used to be. I mean they still don’t like each other, but you probably remember how ugly it used to be. Or even better, the problems between Catholic and Protestents in Northern Ireland. The hatred was deep and it went back hundreds of years.

And Jesus sits out in public in Sychar. How risky is that. And then a woman comes to the well and Jesus just starts talking to her. This is not a sexist thing. She isn’t surprised by the fact that he’s talking to a woman, but he’s a Jew and she’s a Samaritan.

But see, that’s the whole nature of Jesus good news. Back in Chapter 3, Jesus has a private conversation with Nicodumus. Nick is a prominent Jewish leader. But Jesus tells him he needs to be born again. Here in chapter 4, he is having a private conversation with a woman who is not Jewish. His gospel is for everyone. Rich, poor, male, female, it doesn’t matter. He came to offer salvation to us all.

We find out that the woman has been married 5 times and is now living with some other guy. How 21st century is that? This woman could have a reality show on the BBC or MTV. Her life is a wreck. She comes to the well at lunch time. That was not what people did. They came at morning and in the evening. But she want’s to avoid the crowds so she comes right at lunch. And there is Jesus.

First, this story reminds us that we don’t have any secrets. Whatever we’ve done, wherever we’ve been, or who or how many we’ve been with, God knows. Even when we try and hide from him, he meets us at lunch time. We can’t get away from him. But Jesus doesn’t come to judge her. He comes to offer her a chance to start over. Who doesn’t want that? What if that were true? Would you be interested? Jesus tells her that he has a ‘living water’ that would be so tasty for her soul. She would never be thirsty again. She immediately runs back to tell everyone about this guy.

One of the things I love is the enthusiasm felt by people when they first meet Jesus. They want to tell everyone about Him. Sometimes people laugh and make fun, but lots of time they can see the change, that somethings different and they come to find out.

That’s what happened here. The people in the town all came out to meet Jesus. We’re not told a thing about what happened. But they invited him to come and stay with them for a few days. And He did. These people were natural enemies of the Jews. And Jesus decides to stay in the village.

This is so different that many of us think about Him. We think we have to be all cleaned up and churchy to spend time with Jesus. And we either can’t or won’t do that. But Jesus just comes and stays.

After he finally leaves, they all say to the woman. “wow, we came to see this guy because of what you said, but now we know him. Thanks so much.”

People see me, and they assume many things. After all I’m a preacher. A clergyman. And an American one at that. Some people avoid me like the plague. That’s ok. I get it. But the reality is, I’m more like the woman Jesus met than I am anybody else in the story. My life has been messed up and messed with so bad that that you would have a hard time believing it. But Jesus met me and told me he could give me a new start. I grabbed it. And I’m just trying to tell people about Him.

Yes, I go to church. But I’m not churchy. I’m a pretty normal bloke, for an American. My wife could tell you the same thing about her. See, Jesus did change us. And I’m so glad He did. He is still doing the same things for people he’s always done.

I don’t know you. I don’t know whether you’re more like this woman Jesus met at the well in Sychar or whether you’re more like Nicodemus Jesus met in Jerusalem. He tells you the same thing. Whether you’re a religious leader or you’ve been married 5 times and now living with someone outside of marriage. You need a new start. And He will give it to you.

Please, read chapter 4, then go back and read chapter 3 of John and see what I’m talking about. It’s quite amazing. Any man or woman is capable of Having Jesus meet your deepest need.

It might feel kind of weird, but I’m going to ask you, Do you want to start over. Be born again? You can. You can come to him right now. Where you are. You can do it.

If you have any questions about what I’m saying, write me: radiofreebuckie@gmail.com and ask away. I will answer them right away.

This is a short session again this week, you’re welcome. I do want to tell you that in the very near future, I’m going to be relaunching another radio show called, Rediscovering the Bible. I did that show for a year and a half and people keep asking for it to come back. It will be up within the month. I’ll keep you posted. I’ll tell you, each episode is about 30 minutes. Some more, some a little less. But it’s been tons of fun. I’ll let you know how to tune in.

For now, Thanks for tuning in. Please tell your friends. Thanks to all of you. And a special thanks for those of you who re-post the show to your friends. You rock. I’ll talk to you in about a week. That’s it for now. I’m out.

What Are The Rules? And What’s All This Stuff About Being Born Again?

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Where does your sense of right and wrong come from? Your morals. I’m not asking what your doing? I don’t know you. But where does it come from? Some will say, from what’s good for society? But where does that come from? Some will say, I decide what’s right and wrong? What if we all did that? Would there even be such a thing as society if everybody decided for themselves what’s right and wrong?

Did you know there’s a whole book in the Bible about a society where everyone was making up the rules as they went along? It’s in the Old Testament. It’s called the Book of Judges. It’s the 6th book. Twice in the book, it says that everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

If you read the book its just one disaster after another. War, chaos, murder, lies, and nothing but problems for the people. Some of the stories are really disturbing. That’s how society turns out when everyone gets to decide what’s right and wrong. Somebody has to make the rules.

So, who makes your rules? Do you have any? For me, the whole concept of morality, is easy. God has told us all about it. It’s in the Bible. Jesus even told us the short version. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as you love yourself. Can you even imagine what the world would be like if we all lived like that? How families and nations would heal? How wars would end? It’s phenomenal. Just think about it.

See some people think the Bible is a set of don’ts. It isn’t that at all. It is a book to teach us how to love God first, and everyone else next.

But the Bible tells us how we’ve messed that up. It says, we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We know that’s right. We know how we’ve messed up. But did you know that the Bible also tells us that God doesn’t want anyone to die in our sin. He wants us all to be forgiven. All of us. No matter how rebellious we’ve been.

In John Chapter 3, Jesus says, we have to be born again. I bet you’ve heard that expression. That’s what Jesus called, conversion. Being born again. It’s a fresh start. A new beginning. We’re starting over. And how many of us love the sound of that?

He says even more than that in Chapter 3. He says God loved the world so much that he gave us his son, and that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn us, but to save the world through Him.

That is so different that what some of us think Christianity is all about. Stop listening to what people say, and start looking at what God says. The Bible says God loves us. That’s not just a saying. That’s a fact. He loved us enough that Jesus came and died in our place. Jesus took our punishment. We don’t have to spend eternity in outer darkness. That place we call Hell. Jesus said, Believe in me.

God knows what we’ve done. He knows our dark side as well as the face we present to the public. He knows where we’ve been, what we’ve done, what we’ve thought. He knows every piece of us. Sometimes that’s scary. Sometimes we have something we want nobody to know about. And it scares us to think that God knows it.

And he still loves us. Think about that for a minute. It will make your head spin. God knew your mess ups long before you were born. Yet he still allowed it. He loves you so much that Jesus died for you, even before you were born and messed up.

He says you can start over. You can try again. He says believe and be born again. Love God first, and others next. That’s a great way to start over. I know, because I’ve been born again. I know what it’s like to be so messed up that my head was spinning. But God forgave me, and has given me a new life. I’m different. Not perfect, but different.

And God wants to do that for you. Frankly, I want that for you too. I know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to make up the rules as you go along. The game is absolutely no fun that way.

I want you to read John chapter 3 this week. And if you get a chance, read the book of Judges too. You’ll get a picture of what life is like without God. And what is promised if we’ll be born again. No contest.

I hope you’ll think about that for a little. I hope you have an awesome week. That’s all I’ve got for now. So I’ll talk to you next week. Until then … I’m out.

Why Are The Books Of The Bible In Such A Crazy Order

(Re)Discovering The Bible: Vol 1 – A Quick Start Guide For  Understanding the Bible’s Origins, its Purpose and its Translations by [Burton, Sam]

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This week we’re kind of taking a rabbit trail. I’ve gotten a ton of questions since I did a broadcast on the best way to read the Bible. Most of the time, people have asked things like, then Why is the Bible in the order it’s in, if that’s not the best way to read it? Fair question. So I thought I’d take a break from our normal Study and explain why the Bible is in the order it’s in. Fair enough? Next week, we’ll get back to our look at the Gospel of John.

Most of us think of the Bible as a Book. In fact, that’s what the word Bible means. It’s just the ancient Greek word for book. I remember in a lot of old Movies and Television programs it was referred to as “The Good Book.” And how do we read a book? From beginning to end. Most books are designed to be read that way. You know, novels, history books, biographies. But not every book. I can’t help but think of several text books back in High School, or even at Uni, where we jumped around according to the topic we were dealing with. The Bible is kind of that way.

The simplest way to explain it, is to say that the Bible is not a book. It’s a collection of 66 books. It was written over a period of about 1500 years, by various authors and editors. The first book probably written was the book of Job. Seriously. Most scholars suggest that Moses wrote it during the time the Jews were wandering in the wilderness. About the same time he was writing his other books. The last book to be written was the book of Revelation. That, however, is not necessarily the reason it’s the last book in your Bible.

Confused yet? Think of the Bible as a library or even a book store. I realize that book stores are mostly a thing of the past, but most of us have been on one. Libraries might be an easier comparison. BTW, if you haven’t been to the Buckie Library recently, you should really go. They have an excellent selection. And the staff are very helpful. And, there is internet service with a great selection of computers for your use. Ok, commercial over.

When you go into a library, you’ll find books grouped according to subject matter, if what’s called the dewey decimal system. First is the group, let’s say we want to study dogs. You’ll search for that section, then you’ll find the books about dogs in general followed by breeds. The subsections like breeds, are grouped in alphabetical order by author name. In the fiction section, books are grouped in more generic topics like, science fiction, romance, murder mysteries, etc. And the books are listed by Author. There are some exceptions, but that’s generally the pattern. No one would just go in and start by reading the first book, and working his way around. That would be more boring and confusing that I could even begin to suggest.

The Bible is put into groups. First, there are two major groups, the Old Testament which has 39 books, and the New Testament, which has 27 books. The word Testament kinda means will. As in Will and Testament. So we have God’s old will, or his old relationship and His New Will. I truly believe that we would understand the Bible better if we would read the New Testament first. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Just hold that in mind for now.

There are 39 books in the Old Testament. They are grouped together in 4 categories. When we look at the breakdown of the books think 5 12 5 5 12.

  1. The Law of God

    1. Genesis

    2. Exodus

    3. Leviticus

    4. Numbers

    5. Deuteronomy

These 5 books are sometimes called, The Pentateuch, which means, roughly, The Five. The Jews call it, The Torah, which means, “The Law”. They were written by Moses during the Israelis’ forty years of traveling in the wilderness. They are a mix of history and laws, with a song or two thrown in, and cover a time period from the Creation of the world to (give or take) 1407 B.C.

  1. The People of God

    1. Joshua

    2. Judges

    3. Ruth

    4. 1 and 2 Samuel

    5. 1 and 2 Kings

    6. 1 and 2 Chronicles

    7. Ezra

    8. Nehemiah

    9. Esther

This next set of 12 books tell the story of the Jewish people from when they entered the Promised land under the leadership of Joshua, circa 1407 B.C. and runs to the time of the Artaxerxes I, King of the Persian Empire.

  1. The Heart of God

    1. Job

    2. Psalms

    3. Proverbs

    4. Ecclesiastes

    5. Song of Solomon

Right here in the middle of the Bible are five books of Poetry. These books have multiple authors who include: Moses, David, and Solomon, among others. They cover a wide range of subjects and emotions. The Book of Psalms, by the way, formed the first Hymn Book of the Church. In some denominations, like the Free Presbyterians of Western Scotland and Northern Ireland, it’s still the hymn book they use.

  1. The Promises of God

    1. Isaiah

    2. Jeremiah

    3. Lamentations

    4. Ezekiel

    5. Daniel

    6. Hosea

    7. Joel

    8. Amos

    9. Obadiah

    10. Jonah

    11. Micah

    12. Nahum

    13. Habakkuk

    14. Zephaniah

    15. Haggai

    16. Zechariah

    17. Malachi

The last 17 books of the Old Testament are the messages of the Prophets of Israel, mixed with little bits of history from time to time. To put them in their historical setting, they begin about the time period covered in 1nd Kings and 2nd Chronicles and end just after the story of Esther.

These books are entered roughly in order of size, though a bit inconsistently. Lamentations, for example, has only 5 chapters and Obadiah has only 1. Lamentations is listed after Jeremiah because he is the source of both books and many ancient manuscripts have them together in one scroll.

Sometimes Isaiah through Daniel are called the “Major” Prophets, and Hosea to Malachi are referred to as the “Minor” prophets. This designation, broadly speaking, is related to the length of the books, and has nothing to do with perceived importance or value.

The Prophets are most often calling the people to repentance from sin, and include the promises of judgment if the people fail to repent as well as promises of blessing when they do. There are many prophesies that refer to the coming of the Messiah (Jesus) and even to the last days of human history when Jesus returns.

Let’s move on now to the New Testament and see how it’s 27 books are divided.

  1. The Son of God

    1. Matthew

    2. Mark

    3. Luke

    4. John

These first 4 books of the New Testament are often called, “The Gospels” and introduce us to Jesus. They tell us who Jesus is. These 4 Gospels explicitly lay out the claims Jesus made about His own identity. It’s rather amusing (bemusing, really)when we hear preachers, philosophers and professors offering their opinions about who Jesus is and who He claimed to be, when there is little ambiguity in the Gospels themselves. Once you read them, you’ll know what I mean.

Two of the Gospels were written by men who actually walked with Jesus and were a part of the 12 men Jesus called, “Apostles”. One was written by a traveling companion of The Apostle Peter who was probably writing the book on Peter’s behalf. He also may have alluded to himself in one of the later chapters of his Gospel. And one of them was written by a Gentile convert to Christianity, who was extremely detail oriented, was a physician and a companion of the famous Apostle, Paul. I guess you’ll have to read them for yourself to discover which is which. (Spoiler alert: I’m about to give away part of the answer.)

  1. The Church of God

    1. Acts

The Book of Acts is often called, “The Acts of the Apostles”, and covers a time period from A.D. 30 until probably the early 60s A.D. when Nero is Emperor of the Roman Empire. It describes the founding of the Church and its early spread from Jerusalem, throughout the Empire, and to the Capital itself.

Acts is the only book in the Bible that describes how people became Christians and how Churches were born. I like to say that the Gospels tell us Who Jesus is and the book of Acts tells us what to do about it.

  1. Living For God

    1. Letters to Churches

      1. Romans

      2. 1 and 2 Corinthians

      3. Galatians

      4. Ephesians

      5. Philippians

      6. Colossians

      7. 1 and 2 Thessalonians

    2. Letters to Individuals

      1. 1 and 2 Timothy

      2. Titus

      3. Philemon

    3. Open Letters

      1. Hebrews

      2. James

      3. 1 and 2 Peter

      4. 1,2, and 3 John

      5. Jude

  2. The 21 books I call, Living for God, are letters written to Believers to encourage, rebuke, teach, and correct them as they cope with life in Christ and learn to grow in Faith. As with most other categories, there are sub groups. Each subgroup, like most of the categories, is ordered according to length. The author of all the specific Church letters, as well as those to specific individuals, was the Apostle Paul. Many scholars also believe he wrote the general letter, Hebrews, as well.

  3. James and Jude were written by two of Jesus’ half-brothers who became Christians and leaders in the early Church. The letters of Peter and John are authored by the Apostles to whom the books are attributed.

  4. The Kingdom of God

    1. Revelation

      1. The ever mysterious and challenging last book of the Bible was written by the Apostle John somewhere around A.D. 90 while he is living in exile on the Mediterranean island of Patmos, where he had been sent by the Emperor Domitian because of his Faith. The book is written to encourage Christians under persecution, that Jesus would ultimately conquer evil and set up His Kingdom forever. A great number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, have been written about understanding the Book of Revelation and ‘the end times’. Some of them have been really good; some, not so much. I would say, on the whole, these books, sermons and movies have caused more confusion than they have solved. Revelation was a book of hope and comfort. It has far too often become a revenue stream for televangelists and con artists. (Preview Note; if you think I used strong language right there, just wait until you read my book about it. It will be in Volume 5).

I know that’s a lot to take in. I’m going to refer you to the Notes on this broadcast at www.radiofreebuckie.com. And in another blatant plug, most of the information in this broadcast is taken from my book, (Re)Discovering The Bible, Vol. 1. Its currently available as an e-book on Amazon. Later in the year, I am thinking about turning into a paperback. I’ll keep you posted.

As I think I’ve said a few times on earlier broadcasts, and hinted at a few minutes ago, if you’re new to reading the Bible, or have had trouble understanding it, or staying focused. And I know plenty of people who have suffered from all those, you should read the New Testament first. Read the Book of Luke first, followed by the book of Acts. The first will tell you who Jesus is, and the second will tell you what to do about it. As for the rest of the reading, I shared that in an earlier broadcast. But in case you didn’t get to listen to it, I will include that information in the notes page on the website. Also, you can write me radiofreebuckie@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to send you a copy.

Before we leave this section on how the Bible is divided, I want to add a sentence or two about the chapters and verses.

When the Bible was written, there were no chapters and verses. Frankly, there wasn’t even punctuation. I bet that was fun reading, eh?

There were a few rudimentary chapter type divisions as early as the 300s (4th century A.D.), but the chapter divisions as we understand them, came in the 1100s and were put there by one, Stephen Langton. The verses were added in roughly 1551 by a clergyman known today simply as Stephanus (real name, Robert Estienne).

These divisions were added to the text to make the Bible easier to read and memorize. They are not inspired, nor does anyone claim they are, but they do help in understanding the flow, even if some of them seem to stop in weird places.

And that’s how and why the Bible is in the order its in. No secret code. No mystifying theological reasons, merely an attempt to organize the contents. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and ask away. I will get back to you as soon as possible. I love hearing from listeners. That’s it for now. Have a great week. Stay warm. We’ll get back to John’s gospel next time, but for now, I’m out.

Here’s the Document on the Best order in which to read the Bible. Contains recent edits.

First Start with the New Testament. This is more important than most people understand. I am convinced that if we have Jesus in Place, then the rest of the Bible makes more sense.

Luke, Acts, 1&2 Thessalonians. Essentially, this tells us who Jesus is, what to do about it, and how everything turns out in the end.

Gospel of John, 1, 2, 3 John – Because Matthew Mark and Luke are very similar, reading John and his letters next gives variety and make a great deal of sense.

Galatians, James, Matthew,1 &2 Corinthians

1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Mark

Ephesians, Colossians, Hebrews

Philippians, Philemon, 1 Peter

2 Peter, Jude, Romans

Revelation

Now before reading the Old Testament, I highly recommending reading the Book of Hebrews again. Hebrews is the Key to understanding the Old Testament. Especially the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy.

When reading through the Old Testament – Read a chapter or two from Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon each day as you are reading other books. Eg.

3 chapters from Genesis, 1 from the Poetry section,

So:

Genesis, Joshua, Isaiah

Exodus, Judges, Jeremiah

Leviticus, Ruth, Job

Lamentations, Numbers, 1 Samuel

Ezekiel, 2 Samuel

1 & 2 Kings, Daniel

The Day Jesus Went All Jackie Chan At Church!

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HERE

I had to go to the doctor this week. She called me in, I wasn’t ill. Anyway, through the course of our discussions, it was decided that one of my prescriptions should change. So she wrote me a new prescription. I went straight to Taylor Pharmacy and got it filled.

While I was there, I had an amusing experience that left the people shaking their heads and smirking at the American. See, I’m from the south. In the southern part of the States, when we are speaking to more than one person, we tend to call them, y’all. Short for you all. I’ve been here long enough that my language is getting mixed up. For example, many times, I will say Aye, for yes. And I will say, Cheerio for goodbye. I refer to cookies, as biscuits, and will say piece to mean either a biscuit or a small sandwich. Yesterday, my old life merged with my new one. After a great chat with the ladies at the Pharmacy I waved my hat at them and said boldly, Cheerio, Y’all. It came out as naturally as if everyone did it. Perhaps I’ve introduced a whole new vocabulary into the Buckie Dialect. Or, I sound like a bit of an idiot.

Anyway, for some reason I just had to share that story with you. It made me smile. I can’t help but wonder how goofy my accent must sound to folk. But I’m happy to entertain the masses.

If you’re new to Radio Free Buckie, we’re looking at the life of Jesus, as remembered by his friend and follower, John. We’re looking at the gospel of John. Today, we’re looking at the last half of Chapter 2. Now if you don’t know, John is the 4th book in the New Testament. Probably, I should take a week and just explain how the Bible is put together. It will really help you understand it better. Ok, it’s a date. That’s what we’ll do next week. It will be fun. I promise. Ok, back to John.

The part we’re looking at today, starts in verse 13. It begins, The Jewish Feast of the Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

At first, that seems kind of like a throw away statement. Just a change of scene or setting. But there are several things I find interesting.

First, its Passover. That lets us know this happens in the spring. But it also tells us that its a major time of worship for the Jews, and Jesus went to Jerusalem to join the worship. When we look at the gospels, we see that Jesus went to Jerusalem regularly for the Big Jewish Festivals, and the rest of the time, he was at the synagogues every week. Even when he was traveling, he stopped to worship. And here’s the kicker. Jerusalem was 84 miles from Jesus base of operations in Bethsaida. And he had to walk. No bus, not train, no plain, not even a camel tour, he walked. That’s like walking from Elgin to Arbroath. And he did it two or three times a year. That’s how important Jesus thought it was to worship God. Here’s another insight. The Bible says, he went up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is south of Galilee. Up means that essentially, the trip is uphill. I guess the good news is, it’s downhill going home.

But Jesus considered worshiping God to be something so important, that he would do more than Just go to synagogue on Sunday, he walked to Jerusalem. Contrast that with how many of us, don’t go to Church at all. Yikes. Or we go when it’s convenient.

First, let me talk to those of us who don’t go at all. Do some homework and see why people like Jesus thought is was important. I encourage you to come along and join us on a Sunday. It will be weird at first. It’s not normal to stand up and sing. We just don’t do that, except at concerts or in the shower. And usually, when we’re singing in the shower the only one listening and watching is the dog. But it’s uncomfortable, I know. It’s weird for me going to a new church. Because I don’t know the people, their style, or anything. And I’m a preacher. I’m in church every week. If I didn’t go, it would seem like I’d been kidnapped by aliens. But we know that, and we’ll make things as easy for you as possible. We’ll even explain it as we go.

At many Churches we take the Lord’s Supper every week. Sometimes called the Eucharist or Communion. That’s odd. I get it. And then, there’s the offering. The collection plate is passed around. What do I put in? What if I don’t have anything? First, I don’t know a single church that expects guests to give. If you find yourself in one that does, find a different church.

And all the prayers. That’s too weird for words. Especially when some people pray using language that sounds more like Shakespeare than normal talk. It sounds like God doesn’t speak modern English. And some people pray so long that its hard to concentrate.

Finally, there’s that preaching stuff. The only time we have to listen to something like that is in school or in a political rally. I know. It’s rough. But I get it. And some of us are trying to make our services more understandable to people who don’t go regularly. But if Jesus thought it was worth going. It might be worth it at least to try. Think about it.

Now for those who just go to Church when it’s convenient, Can I bend your ear for a minute? Jesus walked 84 miles one way. Plus he was in Synagogue every week. He set an example for the rest of us. He thought spending time with other people worshiping together was important. I don’t ever read in the Bible, “I don’t need to go to Church, I can worship God anywhere.” You don’t have to convince me. Tell Him. He knows what’s in your mind when you turn over and fluff your pillow, or when you log into your iPad, or whether or not you’re worshiping Him as you hike up Bin Hill.

For my American friends who listen, God knows what’s on your mind as you sit in your deer stand, or in your fishing boat, or as you lay on a beach, or whatever you’re doing rather than going to Church. You don’t owe me an explanation.

I’ve spent far too long on that subject, but I am fascinated by the fact that Jesus went to so much trouble to go to worship, and most of us look for ways to avoid it. Hmm…

Anyway, the bulk of the story is about Jesus going to the temple, seeing that it had been turned into a shopping center and foreign exchange center, and he gets so upset that he goes all Jackie Chan. He makes a whip, runs out all the animals, turns over the money tables and sends the whole place into a tizzy. I would have loved to have seen that.

No body knew who Jesus was yet. He wasn’t famous yet. But he was outraged that people didn’t take the temple, or the worship of God seriously. Wow. It really was important to him.

We don’t have temples today. The new Testament teaches that we are the temples. Our bodies are the new temples of God. God wants to live inside of us.

Now think about how we treat our bodies. All the alcohol we drink, the drugs we swallow, smoke, snort or inject, the way we have sex with anyone who we find attractive. Or the crappy food we consume. Do I treat my body like a place God lives. I’m fat. Seriously overweight. I had heart surgery in June. I’ve had to think a great deal about how well I’m treating my body. What about you? How are you keeping God’s house? Is it a nice place, or does it stink and in dire need of some serious renovation? Just something to think about.

If you’re reading along, did you notice that nobody tried to stop him. It’s not like Jesus is the Incredible hulk, or Iron man. There are armed temple police all over the place. Yet no one says, hey, give it a rest. No one arrests him. I wonder if in their hearts they knew he was doing something right. Something holy.

Afterwards, they asked him what authority he had to do what he did, but they made 0 attempt to stop him.

His answer is quite interesting. And cryptic. It’s one of the things I really like about Jesus. He often ignores direct questions and goes straight for the main point. It’s like he knows sometimes we’re trying to change the subject or cause confusion, or something, and he wants us to get to the main point.

He says, Destroy this temple, and I’ll rebuild it in three days. He’s talking about his body. He’s already telling people that he’s going to rise from the dead, but they don’t understand that. See, the resurrection of Jesus is the main event in Human History. It matters more than world wars, or capitalism or socialism or earthquakes or empires or freedom of speech. If Jesus showed up for breakfast three days after people saw him publicly executed, then we absolutely need to pay attention to him, but if not, then his church is silly. Its nonsense.

Think about that for a minute. Don’t think about churches, or preachers, or what family, friends and workmates think. Just ask yourself a question, What if it’s true? What if Jesus really rose from the dead. What does that mean? Then do your homework. Study for yourself.

There will be other questions later, but lets take one at a time. Why did Jesus make this claim about rising from the dead? And then, Did he actually rise?

Wow, this short story gives us a lot to think about, doesn’t it? I hope you’ll go on and read it and think about it for a while. If you have any questions or thoughts, write to me: radiofreebuckie@gmail.com or use the comments section on the website where we post the radio show. www.radiofreebuckie.com.

I would say that’s about it for now. I hope you have an awesome week. Next week, like I said, we’ll give you some help in understanding why the Bible is put together in the confusing way it seems it’s in. Can’t wait for that, but for now, cheerio y’all. I’m out.

Water Into What?

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For those of you who are new, what we’re all about is really simple. We’re looking at the Bible in a way to see if and how it relates to real life. We’re not so much interested in Church traditions or differences, but rather we’re looking to see what the Bible says. Sometimes we might be surprised because the Bible doesn’t say what we’ve heard it says. And sometimes it says exactly what we thought. Then we have to decide whether or not we’re going to adjust our behavior to match.

One of the things we’re doing right now, is we’re looking at who Jesus is. Not who we think he is, and not what churches say, but what does the Bible actually say. I mean, I hear people say all the time, well I think Jesus would…. And I respond to that with, “and what authority do you make that claim by.” Before I accept or reject the guy, I want to know what he is actually about. Not what I, or a preacher, or a teacher, or a professor, or the guy next to me at the pub says. What did Jesus actually say and do. That’s interesting.

And we’re doing that by looking at the Gospel of John. John is in the New Testament. It’s the 4th book of the New Testament. If you want to read it for yourself, and I encourage that, the Bible has a table of contents. It’s ok to use it. Especially, if the Bible is new for you.

Here’s a quick summary of some things you might find useful. The first 4 books of the New Testament are called Gospels. Gospel is just an old word that means good news. They are memories of things Jesus said and did. They are not full biographies. They are highlight reels, as it were. The first three, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are all very similar to one another. John’s book was written after Matthew Mark and Luke were already dead. John was the last of Jesus original disciples alive and he decided to write some of his memories that the others had not written about. And because he and Jesus were very good friends he offers us some cool insights to events in the life of Jesus. And he lived long enough for some weird doctrines to begin spreading, and he wanted to correct those. For example, there was a group of people called the gnostics who had become really popular. They taught things like, the body is evil and the spirit is good, so as long as you focus on your spirit, you can pretty much do anything you like with your body. When gnostics joined the Church, they said, Jesus can’t be both God and Human, because the body is evil. He must have just looked like a man. John goes out of his way to show that Jesus was fully God and fully human.

Today we’re going to look at one of the occasions where Jesus shows both his human side and shows his God side. It’s the first 11 verses of Chapter 2. It’s a very famous, sometimes infamous story. Jesus and his disciples go to a wedding in the town of Cana in Galilee. Cana is less than 4 miles from Jesus hometown of Nazareth. It’s like Portgordon or Findochty is to Buckie. Jesus mother is also there. In fact, she plays a very important roll in what happens.

First, we need to understand that weddings at that time were not like they are today. These days, a wedding lasts a whole day. But in Jesus day, the wedding party might last a week. At least 3 days for a small family in a tiny village.

Anyway, the wine ran out. Ah oh. That would be a bad thing to happen now. Back then it was a disaster. Jesus mum says to him, They’re out of wine. He says, And… what’s that to do with me. Mary, simply says to the servants, “just do whatever he tells you to do.”

Jesus looks around and sees 6 big jugs sitting empty. These are for storing water. Each of them will hold about 20 to 30 gallons. He tells the servants to fill them with water. Which they do. Then he says, now dip some out and give it to the guy in charge of the catering. Oddly, they say ok. And dip out theSo water. When the caterer tastes it, it has become wine. Not just any wine. He says it’s great wine. And the party is saved.

First, this is just plain cool. But strangely, it’s also been the source of all kinds of arguments about whether or not it was real wine. As in, alcoholic. If there’s anything I hate, its when a detail in a story becomes so prominent, that it causes people to miss the main point. And that’s what this argument does.

The simple, short version is this, Jesus made wine out of water. In the first place, even if it was grape juice its still a miracle. You can’t do that. I dare you to try. The simple fact though, is, yes it was real wine. The Bible doesn’t cause confusion. The text doesn’t say fruit of the vine, it says wine. Period. The people who I’ve seen argue about it in Churches are either people who are totally against alcohol or people who are totally looking for a reason to drink to excess. There aren’t many people in the middle.

When I preached on this passage at Church, I printed out every verse in the bible that talks about alcohol and brought it with me. I asked people who had read them all. Who had done a study. See nobody does that. We form our opinions and that’s it. How weird.

I pointed out that the Bible calls wine a blessing from God. That He designed it to help us relax, forget about hard times, and to celebrate with. But between 2/3 and ¾ of the verses, about 216 verses. That’s more than in the books of Galatians and Ephesians combined. So the Bible has a lot to say about alcohol. Like I was saying, most of them talk about the dangers of abusing alcohol. See God made it. When we use it in context its a blessing, but when we use it out of context there are all sorts of problems.

It’s kind of the same way with sex. God made it. He made it for our enjoyment and for reproduction. When we stick to the plan God made, sex is always and only good. When we use it out of context there are nothing but problems, and fear of problems. I won’t go into detail, because there may be small children in the room or car with you, but you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Anyway, for the Religious sticklers out there, Jesus made real wine. If you want to discuss that, feel free to write me. You can use the comments section on the website, or you can email me radiofreebuckie@gmail.com.

But for those who drink, the bible is very clear that drunkenness is unacceptable to him. I offer you the same offer I made to the sticklers. Write me and ask away.

But the arguments about alcohol, cause us to miss the point of the whole incident.

  1. First, his mother Mary, is worried about the bride and groom. Running out of wine is a disaster and could ruin their whole celebration and get their marriage off on the wrong foot. Since Cana is a small town, the whispers and gossip could be devastating. She knows that Jesus is the one who can fix things. I don’t know if she knew what he would do, but she knew that he could solve it. Man, we should view Jesus the same way. When there’s a crisis, Jesus knows what we should do. He is the one we should go to for answers.
  2. Jesus cares about the little things as well as the big ones. Yes, he cares about national and global issues, but he also cares about your personal ones. He wants the best for you.
  3. The caterer called the water made wine the best wine. See, Jesus didn’t just make wine, he made excellent wine. He doesn’t just want to do something, he wants it to be the best.
  4. The faith of the servants needs to be noted. They knew they had filled the jars with water. Jesus told them to take some to the caterer. And they did. How much trust did that take. They had to have thought, this Jesus guy is going to get us into big trouble. When the caterer tasted this water he’s going to be really mad. They didn’t know what Jesus was up to. But there was something about him that inspired their trust. Remember, he has never performed a miracle. He has never told a parable, he has never preached a sermon. There is something about Jesus, that is attractive and trustworthy. I think it would do you well to stick around and see how this story of Jesus ends. It’s not at all what you think. Jesus doesn’t just care about world peace. He cares about your home, your spouse, your children, your job, your education, your car that won’t start. Your heat, your groceries. He cares. And he invites you to share your concerns with him. Tell him what you’re thinking. What you’re feeling.

Like I said, you can read this story in the 2nd chapter of John. Read it and think about it. The story just might surprise you. Write me and tell me what you think. Ask me about it. Ask me anything. I’ll talk to you in about a week, but that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m out.

Introducing People To Jesus

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For those of you who are new, first, thank you for tuning in. But if you’re new, this radio show is supposed to come out on Thursdays. But this week I got absolutely slammed with work and now it’s Friday. To be honest, I was going to skip it. Let it slide because I was so frustrated with my crazy schedule. But last night I got several questions as to where the show was, and I noticed I have about 15 new people following me. So here I am.

It’s kind of a side issue, but thank you for caring. Sometimes when I get busy, or distracted, I get discouraged and think, oh, nobody cares anyway, I’m just talking to the air. I think that about Sunday sermons sometimes too. You wonder whether or not people are listening, you know, really hearing what you’re trying to say. Well, this was one of those weeks for me. Then last night, some people started talking about one of my Sunday Sermons and how it helped them. I was so touched. I was humbled. Then I went home and saw all the messages about where the radio show was. For a few minutes, I just sat there and thanked God that people, you are listening and want to hear what God is telling me. So Thank You for waking me up. You rock.

While I’m in confession mode…you didn’t know you were going to be priests today did you? Listening to the confessions of my sins. Well, surprise! Any way, recently I had to get a new mobile phone. So far I don’t love it. I had to get a cheap one, and it has some limitations. The worst thing is the number of things that didn’t transfer when I tried to get all my contacts and stuff to move. One of the things I lost was the contact information for a group that rents the Church building on Fridays. They’ve cancelled for a few weeks for the holidays and haven’t needed the building. Anyway, I agreed to let a funeral director use the building today. Then I remembered the group and couldn’t remember whether or now they were still cancelled for today. I’ve looked everywhere for their contact information. It is nowhere to be found, and I am the only contact they have with the church. So I’ve got to head over to the building in a few minutes to see whether or not they show up. I’m hoping they’re still out, but if not, I’ll apologize profusely and give them a few weeks of free rent to say how sorry I am. I will also get the contact information so it doesn’t happen again. I hate it when stuff like that happens. I feel like such a numpty. Because when I do that, I am a numpty.

Once in a while, we all do stuff like that, don’t we? When all we can do is, say I’m sorry. There are not words or excuses that will atone for what we’ve done. We simply have to live with our mistakes.

One of the great things about God, is his willingness to say “You’re forgiven.” Sure sometimes there are consequences to our actions or words. God is just. And sometimes that means there is a piper to pay, but He will always forgive us and give us a chance to start over.

Ok, confession time is over. Thanks for hearing me out. How is everyone else doing out there? Is your new year off to a great start? I do hope so. Mine is. I mean apart from my crowded schedule that is playing heck with my routine and memory. I did have a dentist appt. today. I hate going to the dentist. My heart bypass surgery was easier on me than a visit to the dentist. Seriously. My dentist is a very pleasant young lady with a nice smile. Her assistant is also very nice. She’s professional, courteous, all the right traits, but it terrifies me. Always has. Something about that gosh awful grinding sound the machines make when cleaning or grinding out cavities, makes me want to cry like a three year old.

What about you? Does the dentist scare you?

The other day, on facebook, there was an announcement about a friend of mine who is going to be married. Obviously, both fiancees are extremely excited and telling everyone the good news. I am always fascinated by newly engaged, newlyweds, People who have just learned they’re having a baby, and people who’ve just had a baby. I’ll add into that mix, those who’ve just bought a new car and those who’ve just bought a new house. You know what I’m talking about. Pictures everywhere. All over facebook and instagram. Sharing the good news with everyone they run into. People want to look at the car, the new baby, or the ring. Smiles abound. Its a glorious time.

When the kid is 4 years old though, things go from, smiles and photos all the time, to, “anybody want to buy a child?” Same with spouses. A few years down the road from the wedding day or engagement announcement and suddenly we’re not as excited as before. I find that really fascinating.

A similar phenomenon happens when we follow Jesus. When a person is a brand new believer, we tell everyone we meet. But after a few years, we hardly tell anyone. And that’s a tragedy.

I want you to look at something in the Bible for a minute. If you want to look it up, it’s in the Gospel of John. John is the 4th book in the New Testament. If you need to use the table of contents, that’s ok. That’s why it’s in there. Anyway, its in Chapter 1, starting in verse 35. I want you to see what happens. First, John the Baptist, tells his followers about Jesus. Then some of them become Jesus followers. One of them, Andrew, immediately goes and gets his brother, Simon and introduces him to Jesus. Jesus gives Simon the nickname, Peter. Jesus calls a friend of Peter and Andrew, Philip. Philip is from the same town, Bethsaida, in Galilee where Peter and Andrew are from. Anyway, Philip runs and gets his friend, Nathaniel and brings him to meet Jesus.

Here’s what’s really interesting to me about this. Jesus has not done a single miracle yet. He has not preached a single sermon or told a parable. First, there is obviously something about his character that is different. But it all starts with John the Baptist. John is pretty well known. He dresses funny and his diet is pretty weird, but everyone knows what kind of man he is. He tells his friends about Jesus. They follow and tell their family and friends.

When you start to follow Jesus, the first people who will listen to you are friends and family. And it’s natural to talk to them about it. The interesting thing is, both Andrew and Philip say, come and see. They know that if their friends or brother will come and see Jesus for themselves, then they will follow him too.

The verses say that Nathaniel was skeptical. He said, “Jesus is from where? Nazareth? Can anything good come out of Nazareth. And we learn later in the book that Nathaniel is from Cana, less than 4 miles from Nazareth. He knows its just a little nowhere, nothing little town. But simply because of Philip’s enthusiasm, he comes to meet Jesus. And at the end of the meeting, he acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God. Philip did the introductions, but Jesus did the rest.

Oh and Andrew introduces Peter to Jesus. Peter, that’s st Peter. The guy our Catholic Church in Buckie is named after. The Peter who preaches the first ever gospel sermon in the book of Acts when 3000 people are baptized as followers of Jesus when he’s done. Yeah, that guy. All because Andrew says, you’ve got to meet this guy. John the Baptist told us all about him. He’s God’s savior. You’ve got to come meet him.

If you’re just listening, wondering what all the fuss is about, I want to encourage you to meet Jesus and find out for yourself. Since you’ve already heard the first part of the story, here in John 1. You can just go on and read the rest of the gospel of John. I’m pretty sure you’ll say, wow. Before it’s over. Or come to church on Sundays. I’ll be teaching through the gospel of John every Sunday for a while. We’d love to have you visit. Or find a friend who is part of a Bible believing Church and ask to go along with them. We’re here to make you welcome and introduce you to Jesus. He’ll take care of the rest.

And if you’re listening and you’re already a believer. You should take a lesson from John the Baptist, Andrew, and Philip. Just tell someone about Jesus. They all said, “come and see” to workmates, family and friends. Jesus does all the hard part himself. Our job is simply to make the introductions.

Next week should be pretty fun. We’re going to look at Jesus’ first miracle. At the time, it caused no problems at all. It only brought happiness to a newlywed couple. But these days, it causes all sorts of fussing and fighting. But we’re going to see what all the fuss is about. Here’s a clue. It’s in the second chapter of John’s gospel.

That’s it for now. Have an excellent weekend, Y’all. I will talk to you soon. But for now. I’m out.