Come and See New Water—One Drink will Last Forever

GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

“Come and see,” said Philip (John 1:46).

“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (John 2: 10).

gary-2015I’ve never been thirsty—I mean like the experience of days without a drop of anything liquid. Were I able to step outside of my body and observe myself, I would probably be astonished at how often I go for water. I’m talking anything that drips or pours.

My water world isn’t dependent upon wells, open springs and muddy water holes. Long trail hikes with empty containers in search of water is not my reality.

water2We humans must have repetitive water intake to survive. God used this reality, a thirsty woman and a distant well to setup an attention getting invitation. What if someone offered water with the guarantee, “One drink will last forever?”

In my last post John introduced a Jewish God follower named Nicodemus. The apostle wants us to come and see a Water-Spirit birth. This one who comes through Water and Spirit is God’s best saved for our now. However, the Water-Spirit gift was not limited to insiders. It is a God gift offered to all creation.

So immediately after the introduction to the religious ruler, John takes us to Jesus who stands ready to meet a foreign outcast at a well. The Nicodemus conversation is repeated with a woman who Jews would envision as outside the reach of Holy God. She too is invited to come and see God saved the best for now.

water3The conversation begins when a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4: 7-10).

In the beginning God’s Holy Spirit hovered over the waters ready to create (Genesis 1:1). Now, the Gospel of John pictures God’s Holy Spirit as a resident in living water ready to create eternal life from within.

water10 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14)

There are times I wonder if the grandeur of God’s gift fades behind the glaze of familiarity with the generosity of Holy action. Jesus’ claim is dramatic. I can give you water that satisfies forever.  I echo anew the woman’s request, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty” (John 4:15).

Millions of Christ followers have tested his claim and found it to be true. As I struggled for words to express this promise of Jesus I came across a hymn written almost two centuries ago by the Scottish poet and horatius-bonarchurchman, Horatius Bonar. It’s a hymn I remember from childhood.

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give.  The living water; thirsty one, stoop down, and drink, and live.” I came to Jesus, and I drank of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, and now I live in Him.

God saved the best for now. Come and see new water. One drink will last forever. If you are thirsty why not stoop down and take a free drink?

Come and see.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See New Water—One Drink will Last Forever


Come and See a New Kind of Birth

GodReflection: Come and See—God Saved the Best for Now

gary-2015Born in an antiseptic hospital the urbanism of my nation shields me from contact with ever present birth. First century Palestine didn’t have a phonebook with a list of local hospitals were births take place out of sight. Throughout history births were rather common events that happened wherever might be the expectant mother.

With large families and abundant livestock, I suspect the people of Jesus day were quite accustomed to new births at home and in stables. So, when Jesus first birth5introduced Nicodemus to a superior birth process, this learned member of the Jewish ruling council familiar with human and animal birth, struggled to understand how an adult might be born again into what Jesus described as a water-spirit birth.

In essence, Jesus asked Nicodemus to come and see a birth process that equipped the new born with the Spirit of God on board.

My guess is when Nicodemus thought of the Holy Spirit of God the Law and Prophets came to mind where people rarely survived close encounters with the Holy. In his reality birth7God’s Spirit-presence was in a box and safely hidden behind a thick curtain in the Temple.

To have Holy Spirit access so near that it was willing to pitched its tent inside of Nicodemus was unthinkable. Who could survive God’s presence within? Surely, that would be deadly close.

I’ve found all analogies fail in any effort to describe the Holy. So as weak as it may be, here is how I would attempt a description in 21st Century language of the challenge given to this Jewish visitor who came to Jesus at night:

birth8What if there were a birth that came with Holy radar on board? What if Holy God actually came at birth to live inside of you? His inside mission will be to grow and to protect you from evil’s control and destruction. It comes with an eternal guarantee.

John’s Gospel is an open invitation to come and see this new kind of birth.

He invites us to see the first clue given by John the Baptist when at Jesus baptism. The baptizer testifies, I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God (John 1:32-34).

I listen as Jesus tells Nicodemus no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit (John 3:5-6).

birth6John invites me to witness a conversation Jesus has with his disciples where I learn, the Spirit gives life (John 6:63). The vision of Spirit-birth continues to build throughout John’s Gospel. It will become my reality.

In chapter seven I come and see Jesus make a statement that requires John’s explanation. Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

John then explains, 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.  A time was about to come when the act of Holy Spirit birth would allow the Spirit of God to flow inside and sustain all of God’s daughters and sons.

Wow, talk about the best saved for my now.

Perhaps the most revealing clue is when we come with John behind closed doors on the first resurrection Sunday. Through walls and locked entrances Jesus appears. Overjoyed to see him John tells us he comes with a gift. He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit . . .” (John 20:22).

birth10John has set the stage.

His invitation to come and see that God saved the best for our now revealed  a new kind of birth that will be the reality the church lived out through the remainder of the New Testament.

God’s Holy Spirit birth continues in centuries since and stands available even now. Come and See.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Come and See a New Kind of Birth

Soul Mates: Strength, Mind, Heart

GodReflection: Is It Well With My Soul?
“You stir us to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” ― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

gary-portraitIn my culture I often hear a desirable home described as one with an open floor plan. The idea is a home where family time is not hindered by walls. The kitchen, and other spaces where we eat and congregate are open to family flow. The open concept is designed to promote soulmates4warmth and interaction.

It seems to me the interface within family space is a good way to describe what takes place in my soul. Remember, my soul is me. It does not consist of separate rooms but rather is an open concept where body, heart and mind live as soul mates in the present of the Holy Spirit of Father and Son.

soulmate2I am drawn back to the house of my childhood at 511 North Second Street. I didn’t know it at the time but the linear placement of kitchen, dining room and front room (known today as a living room) could be described well as open concept living.

In addition to family space, our little remodeled wood frame government barracks moved from a local airfield had three small bedrooms and two minimal bathrooms. Non-insulated walls and thin doors facilitated instant dialogue from any point within.

Anyone who has ever lived in family knows there are lots of rough edges that grind against siblings, parents and whoever else may be housed under the roof. The commonality among all who reside there is togetherness. We are housemates. The take and give of members is a refinement process for all who bump and collide within.
My Second Street house provides a symbolic image for my soul. Within my soul is housed strength, mind and heart.

Jesus taught that I am to Love the Lord your God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all my mind (Luke 10:27).

Body strength and health or the lack thereof is felt in my soul. My body affects my soul in ways I don’t completely understand. My mind is the conscious space in my soul. It is the soulmate10processor for every thought. Then there is my heart.

How do I describe my heart? Could it be that my heart serves as the sanctuary of my soul? It is where good (God) dwells. As in all of life my sanctuary has a long way to go to become the perfect uncompromised home of the Holy.

Here is what I think. The soul mates of heart, mind and strength interact within my Holy framed soul barracks. When we live in Jesus His Spirit and the Father’s Spirit take up residence in our soul. Throughout the process of life our heart, mind and strength bump and collide within. As these soulmates mingle together the resident Holy works on the rough edges.

soulmate12The end result will be a perfect soul that operates at full strength with a flawless mind and a heart fully dominated by the Holy. And to think I will be the recipient of all this perfection and enjoy it on the new earth in the presence of Father and Son in a relationship that will be beyond my current comprehension.

Sounds like my soulmates are in for an eternal treat when all the restlessness settles into rest within the embrace of the Holy. Seems as if all pain that comes from life’s refinement will be worthwhile. What do you think?
Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Soul Mates: Strength, Mind, Heart.

Abba Father’s Love

20161004_150844 (2)Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” – Galatians 4:6

I met a six-year-old recently who let me play doubles on his ping pong team. He was a confident young lad.

At one point, I asked someone who knew him who his parents were. She let me know his parent’s names. They little boy came up about that time and protested!

“My Mom and Dad’s name is Mom & Dad!” He said with confidence.

The Holy Spirit within us cries out Abba Father; Dad! That’s my Father’s name!

There’s a lot I don’t understand about the evolution of languages, yet it is fascinating how language holds in its DNA the history of nations.

After a head-spinning yet exciting reading into where the word “Abba” comes from, it boils down to this. It is used three times in the New Testament as a Greek word (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6), followed by the term “Father,” a term of endearment for God Himself.

The first use of the word is Jesus only use of “Abba” in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The next time it is used is in the book of Galatians, dated sometime around A.D 40 – A.D. 55. I imagine the Holy Spirit conversing with my spirit, which is Christ my lawyer at work on my behalf speaking to God Himself not only reverently, but as a child reaching out for Father God’s affections and absolution when needed.

Father is protection, love, direction, wisdom, comfort, provision and so much more.

The final use of the word is in Romans, dated later than Galatians, yet trekking along the same path. As Christians, we are under God’s parenthood by adoption (interpretation mine) where we can call him Abba Father anytime.

I don’t know of another god that claims the same. The gods of this world all have one goal; to grab and proselytize their next convert through fear.

But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7), and when I need wisdom, I call out to my Heavenly Father anytime, and He gives more wisdom (James 1:5). In fact, James say that God gives wisdom to “all liberally and without reproach,” and that excludes no one, believer and non-believer alike.

What joy to know that the brotherhood of man is a real deal. That all humanity can consider themselves God’s.

I personally believe I should not draw lines where God has not. He rewards His own with His name, so that more may want to come into the Family of Light, afterall, He is the Father of Lights, who never changes and desires all humanity to come to Him.

I love being in His Family, am grateful for His acceptance and love, and stand with Him as Father as He enlarges the circle of spiritual family, teaching me to love all without partiality.


Coffee with Christ

20161004_150844 (2)You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. -John 1

Coffee and Christ are a constant theme in my life.

In a day of 24/7 media saturated bad news, I chose to have a positive imagination. When God captures it, it’s allthemore wonderful.

I woke up one morning with an image of Christ sitting with His Father over a cup of coffee talking about their Kingdom and the subjects who live there.

“Father, there is a sister who has lost some precious things, could you help her find whatever she needs to continue her journey”?

“Yes, son. Because you asked, I will do it.”

After another cup, I can hear Christ say, “Father, did you see the humor in that brother’s misstep? He humbly sought to do good. It backfired and he laughed it off. I can so relate. Remember the time on the mountain, it was just the two of us. I was walking as I spoke to you and was transfixed by the sunrise. Then I was sideswiped by that branch. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at how strange and wonderful it is to be human.”

“Yes, son. Without your perspective and wounds, I would never know what my own creation is feeling or suffering. I am glad to give the gift of comfort, humor and anything else to those who ask.”

I don’t know a thing about what God and Christ really talk about, but I do know Christ speaks up for His own. The most beautiful union is between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. By His grace alone I know He is speaking up for me. He also looks out for everyone in the world; those bearing His image.

I imagine the Holy Trinity caught up in laughter in their perfect Heaven, the place where pure happiness resides and is awaiting the gathering of all of God’s family home one day. I also see God wiping away our tears in this realm and forever in the life to come, empathizing with our sorrows.

Won’t it be marvelous to enjoy the Heavenly delights with our Father and big brother Jesus in the Spirit in which life was created from the beginning to be…


And it’s still all good!


The Ties That Bind Us

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart;
good news makes for good health.

-Proverbs 15:30

Recently I dropped my daughter off at her youth group and went to a sister church who was studying Daniel. Though this was the third time to return to this class – a church we attended many years ago and have many loved ones – this particular teacher didn’t know me.

The text was Daniel 6, Daniel in the Lion’s Den. It’s so much more than a children’s story that can come across as a fairy tale at times. It speaks of God’s relationship with Daniel, and Daniel’s faithfulness to impart God’s wisdom. Every king to obey God through Daniel succeeded, or repented, and one unfortunately was obliterated on the spot.

I made a comment admiring Daniel’s faithfulness, and have sought to be as faithful, but know I have some work to do and aim more for that goal every day.

The teacher immediately went to Hebrews 11. I love this passage, but felt the teacher might have thought I was unchurched, a new Christian or something along those lines. He then spoke to everyone, We can have this faith. Then pointing my way, Can you have this faith?

I did a double take between my ears and didn’t respond in case he was not pointing to me. But he repeated the action and the phrase.

Somewhat surprised I said, Are you talking to me? He didn’t respond.

An aside, though we never saw the movie “Taxi Driver,” my husband and I usually quote this line in a Robert DeNiro voice. So I couldn’t help myself. In my best DeNiro I replied again, You talkin’ to me? The teacher smiled and a few laughs broke out cutting the tension. This particular church appreciates the impact Christianity has had on art and vice versa, so it was a natural exchange.

He nodded, and went on.

Afterwards, as we left the building, the teacher held the door open for me and commented, Thank you for participating tonight. He built me up as well.

And then it happened. It came out – that part of me which enjoys connecting to other Christians through identifying that myself as a Christian – or I admit that sometimes it’s insecurity that needs assurance by making sure the other person knows I am a committed Christian. I am slowly growing out of this as my word and actions should show that I am who I am in Christ. I find myself explaining less the older I get.

But I got creative, and know I am not the only one whose fallen for a little bragging, but, yes, I fell for that one too.

I love Hebrews 11. In fact, I recently did a 5K race (and name-dropped the race as it was a well-known one – though part of me was simply grateful for having participated). My playlist included Hebrews 11-13. As I spoke, I felt the Holy Spirit’s inner presence guiding me, and any trace of ill-motivation fell away, and progressed naturally.

Another aside, I love road races. John and I have been connected to the race community for over twenty years. We have enjoyed supporting others and ourselves enjoyed participating in the races, always feeling a deep sense of connection to Hebrews 11-13.

The teacher and I then realized most of the people from church were in their cars or far from us. Feeling the awkwardness of it all, we then set to proving our familial faithfulness.

I dropped my daughter off with her youth group and my husband is working. I wish he were here. He would have loved the class.

He then introduced himself, got my name and added, My wife and two boys were on the back row. So we talked family, and before anymore awkwardness could set in, I asked, So, what books are you reading?

As he walked me out the direction of my car for safety’s sake – for it was dusk – we discussed some wonderful books that we each either have read or will add to our reading list.

On my way to pick up our daughter, I called one of my college roomates, a close friend and sister in Christ. She shared her own mixed-motivations and how she has learned from them. In it all, we had a grand laugh, as well as my husband later that night, and then my parents the next day.

Before this post sounds much ado about nothing, I want to say that not only did I glean more about Daniel’s faithfulness – for we know nothing of any of his motivations except that his actions were honorable – yet, we can deduce that his motivations were pretty spot on.

There were other saints in Scriptures whose motivations were mixed, and yet God’s grace extended to them. Yahweh covered them and turned their stories around as they grew their faith. How grateful I am to live in an age of Grace, where walking with Jesus not only comes with truth spoken in love, but I find He laughs with us in our humanity.

I am also grateful for growing up with some special people who themselves have shared their imperfections and gotten a great laugh at the end of the day. My parents are at the top of this list, and have told many a story on themselves which have become legendary. My husband and I, as well, love laughing at our foibles as we learn. How wonderful Grace is! How I want to give it more!

There is nothing like story to help us tie and bind us together more in relationship to Jesus and to each other.


God Call—His Timing

GodReflection: When God Calls

gary portraitIn my last post I closed with a faint echo of God’s call here in my sunset years. Let me make one more observation.

Not many weeks ago we went through the clock reset in our home as we moved forward each timepiece one hour to coincide with the new daylight savings time change throughout the nation.

In our time conscious world, we have at least one clock per room. Some timing3rooms may have two or three clocks to be within easy glance day or night.

Funny thing about those clocks, they are never in sequence. Every clock may have a one to three or four-minute variance from the others.

My clocks are not precise.

Then there is God.

His eternity to eternity nature seems to have no comprehension of my time phobia.

Yet His eternal time piece keeps precise time with every tick of my life. He reads me like a clock—His clock. God knows my every thought before I think it. He knows each step I take before I take it. He feels every beat of my heart and smiles at the times when that timing5beat is in sync with His.

He reads my clock perfectly but my little human brain can’t read His eternal Rolex at all.
That one fact makes God’s call an exercise of faith. To follow God’s call demands trust.

I read David’s confession of God’s presence in Psalms 139:

You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

I think back over the long roll call over the pages of Scripture with names of those who followed God over the centuries. In the vast majority of cases God’s call, the answer of the person, and God’s action or answer turned into a scene played out over a lifetime.
In cases like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses the results of obedient answers timing6were only fulfilled centuries later.

So here I sit without a timepiece that accurately anticipates or verifies God’s calls throughout my day, my week and my year. I have no way to predict His future action in my life. Where does that leave me?

OK, here is where I think I’m at.

I believe deeply that Holy God resides in me through His Spirit as He constantly calls out for me to follow and to grow. He is at work to aid my slow metamorphic walk into His likeness.

However, I may not recognize impulses as His call. And, even when I do, my mortal self can not predict the full implications, consequences or His timing. I am left only to follow with a sometime weak and at other times confident trust.

My bottom line is yes God calls and it is always His perfect timing.

Will you join as together we attempt to believe what I just wrote?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: God’s Call—His Timing