Sunday, April 3 we considered the text in John 20:19-31 and we focused on the thought “Jesus Made Real”.  This is the account of the first and second appearance of Jesus, after his death, with the disciples.  This is also where the term “Doubting Thomas” comes from.  You see the disciple Thomas was present for the first appearance and had doubts concerning the other disciples’ story.  Thomas stated he would not believe until he saw the wounds in Jesus’ side and hands and touched them for himself.  Scripture tells us eight days later when Thomas was with them Jesus appears again and calls Thomas by name and has him touch his hands and his side.  Sometimes it is hard to believe where we have not seen.  It is difficult to except someone else’s story or experience.  Faith falls into that anomaly.  We all want to have strong faith but faith is often based on things we cannot see or explain, so we struggle.  I however believe that God offers us opportunities to experience the real living savior and most of the time we miss them.  It happens most often in those moments when faith impacts our life or when life impacts our faith.  I received a birthday card today and it had one of these “Jesus made real” stories on the back.  Written by Dr. Scott Walker adapted from the Daily Guidepost 2007.

            Today has been filled with committee meetings and counseling.  Late this afternoon, as I walked down the hall toward our midweek church family dinner, I felt emotionally drained, fatigue from listening to complex stories of grief, disappointment, failure, sickness, and loss.

            Lost in thought, I suddenly glimpsed a six-year-old girl around the corner in front of me.  Seeing me, she stopped, broke into a wide smile, and ran toward me. “Dr. Walker!” she squealed and jumped into my arms, giving me the tightest hug her little arms could muster.

            As I looked over her tiny shoulder, I saw her mother and little brother following behind her, also with smiles on their faces.  Her mother looked at me and said, “I think somebody loves you, Scott,” and I felt my eyes brim with tears.  This little girl had put joy back into my life.

            Sometimes the most precious gift I can give to another isn’t wisdom or answers to problems; it’s a genuine smile, a gleam in the eye that says, “I love you. I care for you.”

On Sunday I also shared that we can be taught all the stories of the Bible and we can memorize scripture but until the stories and scripture touch our life it is not real for us.  The world wants and needs to hear how our faith is real.  I used a seen from the movie Soul Surfer to illustrate this thought. Soul Surfer is the story of Bethany Hamilton and teenager living in a Christian home in Hawaii.  She lived her life in the ocean and dreamed of becoming a pro surfer.  While practicing for a surfing competition her left arm was bitten off by a large shark, as you can imagine this changed her life in a tremendous way.  She attempts to go back to competitive surfing and but it does not go well and so she goes on a mission trip to Thailand with her church youth group and she is seeking her place in the world.  While in Thailand this scene unfolds and I saw Jesus being made real in this young ladies life.

We pray, we come to worship, we study scripture but is Jesus real in our lives?  Have we experienced the living God?  Have we seen the hands and side of Jesus?  The world wants and needs to know how Jesus is real in our faith and in our lives!

This Sunday get ahead by reading John 21:1-19 and we will focus on the title “The Wake-Up Call”