Skip to content

Well-1

This last Sunday, I had the wonderful opportunity to preach at Pascack Bible Church, my home church. Prior to preaching my dear sister Sharon Chang presented a reading of "What I Found at the Well."

You can listen on line, or download the sermon and share it with a friend.

PascackBible.org

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Ben

3

River of Living Water

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24 NASB)

Did you know that God is looking for something? It is not something that he does not have, but it is something He wants more of.

And this is nothing new. Do you remember this verse out of 2 Chronicles?

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB)

Do you see it?

The Father is looking for people who’s hearts are completely His. I love that phrase, completely His.

I expect that many of you, like me, learned this verse in the King James Version where it says whose heart is perfect toward Him. But I love this phrase – heart is completely His.

That is such a perfect description of true worship.

Is your heart completely His?

Maybe your saying to yourself – if I am honest – I was lusting after other stuff yesterday, or earlier today, and my heart was going after this or that.

How bout right now – as you read these words – isn’t your heart crying out to be completely His?

Guess what – that right there – that moment of giving your heart to Jesus completely – that was a moment of worship.

Can you go longer – just a bit longer – in worship – full on desire to love Him more today that you did yesterday?

If you will put your will to work on what you know in your heart and reborn spirit is right, before you know it you will be just the kind of worshipper the Lord is spending considerable effort looking for.

Let today be better than yesterday, and tomorrow we can get after it again.

BenLet’s live a life of ever-increasing worship!

Thank you for stopping by today.

Ben

 

This post originally posted in February of 2013

2

River of Living Water

In this encounter with the woman at the well, it takes some time for the woman to catch on that Jesus is not talking about natural things.

When He starts talking about living water she says this.

“Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? (John 4:11 NASB)

I started to ponder this question. What did Jesus have with which to draw. He was talking about a well, or better, a spring of living water. How was He able to draw from this well of living water?

photo credit: las - initially via photopin cc
photo credit: las - initially via photopin cc

To take water from a fountain you would need a bucket of some sort. (For you who like old lingo substitute the word vessel where I use a bucket.) And in the case of a well, you would need a rope to lower and raise your bucket.

Jesus tells us this 'living water' is the Spirit, but how to find a bucket that can hold this living water? The fact is you actually have to become the bucket, be the bucket, man! [Tweet This]

Jesus laid out a detailed plan for this in Matthew 5:3-11. Religious folks call this the Beatitudes, today we will call it the ‘How to be a bucket list.’

  • Poor in spirit - see you need before God
  • Mourn - confess and forsake your own sin
  • Meek - submitted to the heart of the Father
  • Hungry and thirsty for righteousness - walk in a way than shuns sin in your own life.
  • Merciful - tempered by an unwavering mercy, fed by the mercy you have received.
  • Pure in heart - keeping yourself free from guile, seeking His face daily, hourly,  moment by moment
  • Leading men to peace with their Heavenly Father.

This is the path Jesus laid out to truly blessed life - one flowing with living water.

If you want an abundance of this living water, start with step one and get your bucket on.

BenThanks for coming by today.

See. You tomorrow.

Ben

For lots of detail on this ‘How to be a bucket list’ check out my series on the Beatitudes.

This post was originally posted on February 15, 2013

4

By Carl Heinrich Bloch (http://masterpieceart.net/carl-heinrich-bloch/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I have been spending a majority of my time in John’s gospel these days. My home church has been working through it for over a year, and now we are in what is likely to be a year long pulpit series trekking through it as well.

I will have the opportunity to preach on the story of the woman at the well in a week and a half, so I am spending some time and attention on her story again. I blogged through this a little passage over a year ago. You can find those posts here.

One thing I noticed in both John 3 and John 4 was this ever-so-promising word – WHOSOEVER. (Well – actually I had to go to my KJV search to find this word – it doesn’t actually appear in many of the modern translations. – ah well – their loss [wink])

Check it out:

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:15-16 KJV

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. - John 4:13-14 KJV

There are some serious parallels in these two presentations of the Wonderful News.

What strikes me here is not just the fact that He used the word WHOSOEVER but that He demonstrated “whosoever” in no uncertain terms.

Check out the whosoever we are talking to here.

Nicodemus Woman at the Well
Man Woman (that’s a bigger deal that you may realize)
Rich Poor
Educated Not permitted to learn to read
Memorized the Torah Talmud says better to burn the pages than to let a woman read them.
Jew Samaritan
Good reputation Terrible reputation
Named Un-named
Came to Jesus Jesus came to her
Met at night Met at noon
Believed and kept quiet Believed and told everyone

I am not sure there could be two more different people in that time and place.

I believe one reason John tells us of these two encounters back to back, is to bring our attention to the WHOSOEVERness of the gospel.

He offers both of them in turn access to eternal life.

How great is our God!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Don’t forget to shine.

Ben

8

photo credit: robertmorgan.net via photopin cc
photo credit: robertmorgan.net via photopin cc

A few years back Billy Graham was coming to New York City. It was a Big Deal. His team came before him and contacted every church in the tri-state area. Church members everywhere in a 50-mile (I am guessing at 50) radius were recruited and trained as counselors and ushers. There were local and regional prayer gatherings. There were classes set up for follow up after the big event, and training for those who would receive a large influx of attenders in the following weeks.

It is a great system, and it is set up to insure that no one falls through the cracks. That if someone comes to the moment of ‘decision’ they would be able to navigate their way to grace.

If you wanted to reach your town or city with the gospel message, where would you start?

  • Would you start by approaching the mayor perhaps?
  • Prayer walks around all the neighborhoods?
  • Postcards in every mailbox?
  • Street theater?
  • A booth in the town flea market?
  • Knock on every door?
  • Signs in the front yard?

(Just for the record, I've been involved in almost every one of these strategies – I'm in favor of them all.)

Jesus had another plan. Jesus plan in John 4 was pretty simple. ~I am going to head down to the well in Sychar in Samaria, and sit at the well. I sense that I,m supposed to skip lunch and see what happens~

The Word tells us that Jesus only did and said what He heard and saw with the Father, and I am not sure how clear those pictures were, and how much detail He got in advance. I feel like it was impressions, because I get that, but I know people who hear things and obey – more like taking dictation, and others who see scenarios in their spirit’s eye and have a better idea of how things are going to break.

We're told most Jews go around Samaria to get from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. Not Jesus:

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
But He needed to go through Samaria. (John 4:3-4 NKJV)

Then there was a divine appointment.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. (John 4:7 NKJV)

Conversation ensued (see the last couple weeks worth of posts if you want details)

And in a few short minutes an evangelist was born.

And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” (John 4:39 NASB)

Hmmm – sounds like the key to the city was a woman with a broken life, bad reputation, and a deep draught of living water. [Tweet This]

photo credit: Theophilos via photopin cc
photo credit: Theophilos via photopin cc

I have a few take-aways today.

First, planning is great – plan, pray, strategize – all great, but as you execute your plan, keep listening for the Spirit of God on the inside and be willing to go with His plan. Even if you don’t have a plan laid out, let your plan be to listen for the Master’s plan.

Next don’t discount anyone the Father puts in your path. Woe to me if the Lord puts a person in my life who I deem unworthy of or maybe impenetrable with the gospel.

Finally, perhaps you see yourself as damaged goods (a leaky bucket). Maybe you’ve screwed up every relationship you have ever been in, or perhaps more people than you can count have abandoned you. You have become jaded and disheartened because every thing you have ever set out to do has fallen apart before you. Your reputation has betrayed you, and you have nothing to offer.

You, like the woman at the well, need a drink - a drink of living water. One drink from this fountain and a river will form inside of you and flow to your city.

This woman with a past and no hope or vision for a future tuned out to be the key to the city.

What will God unlock with you today?

BenI am psyched about the possibilities.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

 

Originally posted March 8th of 2013

meadows

I grew up in an era when “testimony” meant a sordid story of evil that turned good. People came and spoke, and gave their testimony. They told us for 20 minutes of their wicked exploits and close with an “I came to Jesus” moment and invitation.

It was encouraging on one level, God cared for the worst of sinners. But, honestly, I felt like I had no testimony of my own. I was a church kid, and never did anything bad. I was, in fact, a good church kid, who didn’t even do the bad stuff that other church kids did.

I want to think for a minute about our girl from the well of Sychar.

And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” (John 4:39 NASB)

As I said last Friday, there is great power in your testimony. When combined with the Word of God and attentiveness to the Spirit, it makes for unstoppable evangelism.

The woman of Samaria had met Jesus hours, perhaps minutes, before. They had talked, and Jesus had, by the Spirit, seen into her life.

This was her entire experience in Spiritual life.

She went into the city telling everyone about her amazing encounter. Her story, her testimony, began that day.

However, there is a misuse of testimony out there that I want to poke at a bit today. Please hear me – before you read on, please apply grace.

She did not go off and tell of all the evil she had been into, giving lurid details, names, dates, and ‘old life’ photos of all her men summing up with a few short ‘Come to Jesus’ words. The gist of her message was – Come see a man who told me all things – this must be the Messiah.

It is really good to know that Jesus can save to the uttermost those who are terribly lost, and I presume the people of her town did know her past to some extent. But I feel like our testimony begins where God shows up. There is nothing wrong with giving the broad stokes of who you were before.

The power of the woman’s testimony was not in the wretched life she lived before her encounter with Jesus, but in the river of living water that she sensed gushing out of the deepest part of her. That which was dry and parched, was now a source of life for everything in its path.

Turns out I did have a testimony. I was the rich young ruler (all but the rich part.) I had kept the commandments from my youth, but needed to step off the throne of my life and let Jesus be Lord over me.

Our past is an important witnessing tool, and can bring glory to God as a beginning to our stories. But we are called to testify to what we have seen, heard and how Jesus has touched our lives.

Let’s not sensationalize our past. There is a verse in Ezekiel that always gives me pause.

Yet she multiplied her harlotries, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 23:19 NASB)

Sometimes when we glorify our evil past, in our lives BC, we actually multiply our transgression!

Let’s glorify God by shining light on our transformation, not on the monster we were before. It’s OK to display how desperately far from God you were, it’s important, so that God receives glory for the full transformation. It’s just a mistake to make that the whole story.

Our girl’s story started the day she met Jesus, and so did mine. That other guy – he is not me, that is the story of a dead man. Now there is life flowing in and through me, and out of me to the world – Hallelujah! Only Jesus could have pulled that off.

Tell someone what the Lord has done in your life today.

BenLet’s talk again soon.

Ben

photo credit: robertmorgan.net via photopin cc
photo credit: robertmorgan.net via photopin cc

A few years back Billy Graham was coming to New York City. It was a Big Deal. His team came before him and contacted every church in the tri-state area. Church members everywhere in a 50-mile (I am guessing at 50) radius were recruited and trained as counselors and ushers. There were local and regional prayer gatherings. There were classes set up for follow up after the big event, and training for those who would receive a large influx of attenders in the following weeks.

It is a great system, and it is set up to insure that no one falls through the cracks. That if someone comes to the moment of ‘decision’ they would be able to navigate their way to grace.

If you wanted to reach your town or city with the gospel message, where would you start?

  • Would you start by approaching the mayor perhaps?
  • Prayer walks around all the neighborhoods?
  • Postcards in every mailbox?
  • Street theater?
  • A booth in the town flea market?
  • Knock on every door?
  • Signs in the front yard?

(Just for the record, I have been involved in almost every one of these strategies – I am for them all.)

Jesus had another plan. Jesus plan in John 4 was pretty simple. ~I am going to head down to the well in Sychar in Samaria, and sit at the well. I sense that I am supposed to skip lunch and see what happens~

The Word tells us that Jesus only did and said what He heard and saw with the Father, and I am not sure how clear those pictures were, and how much detail He got in advance. I feel like it was impressions, because I get that, but I know people who hear things and obey – more like taking dictation, and others who see scenarios in their spirit’s eye and have a better idea of how things are going to break.

We are told most Jews go around Samaria to get from Judea in the south to Galilee in the north. Not Jesus:

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.
But He needed to go through Samaria. (John 4:3-4 NKJV)

Then there was a divine appointment.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. (John 4:7 NKJV)

Conversation ensued (see the last couple weeks worth of posts if you want details)

And in a few short minutes an evangelist was born.

And from that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” (John 4:39 NASB)

Hmmm – sounds like the key to the city was a woman with a broken life, bad reputation, and a deep draught of living water. [Click to Tweet]

photo credit: Theophilos via photopin cc
photo credit: Theophilos via photopin cc

I have a couple take-aways today.

First, planning is great – plan, pray, strategize – all great, but as you execute your plan, keep listening for the Spirit of God on the inside and be willing to go with His plan. Even if you don’t have a plan laid out, let your plan be to listen for the Master’s plan.

Next don’t discount anyone the Father puts in your path. Woe to me if the Lord puts a person in my life who I deem unworthy of or maybe impenetrable with the gospel.

Finally, perhaps you see yourself as damaged goods (a leaky bucket). Maybe you’ve screwed up every relationship you have ever been in, or perhaps more people than you can count have abandoned you. You have become jaded and disheartened because every thing you have ever set out to do has fallen apart before you. Your reputation has betrayed you, and you have nothing to offer.

You, like the woman at the well, need a drink, a drink of living water. One drink from this fountain and a river will form inside of you and flow to your city.

This woman with a past and no hope or vision for a future tuned out to be the key to the city.

What will God unlock with you today?

BenI am psyched about the possibilities.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

River of Living Water

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us. (John 4:25 NASB)

Well now she has said a mouth full!

When the anointed one comes He will declare all things to us.

Jesus is the Word made flesh

Jesus is the express image of God

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son. (Hebrews 1:1-2 NASB)

So here is this woman, who does not know the first thing about worship, talking to the King of Kings and Lord or Lords, the very Word that God spoke to spin the universe into the nothing.

Do you get how completely crazy it is that someone like this broken woman should have an audience with the First born of all Creation, the One who has all above all and in all, in whom all the fullness of the God head dwells bodily?

Jesus is nothing like the gods of this world who spin us to their whim and fancy, bending us unnaturally to do their bidding, then letting us crash and burn, all the while laughing at our plight.

Not Jesus. He actually takes time away from the 12 who left everything to follow Him, and spends time interacting with a broken woman.

I love this man!

Do you hear today that no matter how you have screwed up your life to date, Jesus is ready to meet you at the well where you are trying to draw life, and lead you to living water?

And what will He declare over your life?

Much as He said to this woman – it might go like this.

I know who you are, I know what you’ve done, yet I have living water for you to drink that will satisfy the longings I placed in your inner most being, when I spoke your name in your mother’s ear.

Come to Jesus and drink deeply today.

BenThanks for stopping by.

See you tomorrow.

Ben

 

River of Living Water

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24 NASB)

I have heard this told a number of different ways. Some say mind and heart, and I am OK with that. In fact Jesus said it was the foremost command in scripture:

Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ (Mark 12:29-30 NASB)

Please allow me to take this phrase for a little spin.

I see spirit worship as that which happens when you sit in the presence of the Lord. For sure your mind is involved, and your mind feeds your spirit the wonderful delights of your relationship with your Maker – Lover – Friend – Husband – Master.

The praise that comes from your lips draws the presence of the Holy One into the room in a tangible way. Your whole being is involved – heart, soul mind and strength.

  • Heart – your will – you set yourself to glorify your Lord, regardless of the music, style, décor, seating or smoke machine.
  • Soul – your emotions – you actually feel the joy of the Lord in the midst of your circumstances.
  • Mind – your memory floods with testimony after testimony of all the details of what the Lord has done in and through you.
  • Strength – You body responds – perhaps you stand, kneel, lay on your face, jump up and down, raise your hands, dance, sing.

This is worship in spirit.

But what of worship in truth?

Is it a worship of the Bible – the Holy writ? I think not.

No, it is worship played out in the work place, school yard, PTA meeting, market and ball field. [Tweet This]

It is your body offered up on the altar of life – a living sacrifice – acceptable, nay pleasing to Him – your act of worship.

It’s funny, because strictly speaking, the Word actually says in Romans 12, that this is your act of spiritual worship – so maybe I have them swapped, but I guarantee this is the blessed pair the Father is seeking – holy eyes running two and fro across the whole earth looking for one man or woman whose life is an act of worship.

Are you in? All in?

BenTell Him – Show Him

See ya,

Ben

River of Living Water

But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24 NASB)

Did you know that God is looking for something? It is not something that he does not have, but it is something He wants more of.

And this is nothing new. Do you remember this verse out of 2 Chronicles?

For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB)

Do you see it?

The Father is looking for people who’s hearts are completely His. I love that phrase, completely His.

I expect that many of you, like me, learned this verse in the King James Version where it says whose heart is perfect toward Him. But I love this phrase – heart is completely His.

That is such a perfect description of true worship.

Is your heart completely His?

Maybe your saying to yourself – if I am honest – I was lusting after other stuff yesterday, or earlier today, and my heart was going after this or that.

How bout right now – as you read these words – isn’t your heart crying out to be completely His?

Guess what – that right there – that moment of giving your heart to Jesus completely – that was a moment of worship.

Can you go longer – just a bit longer – in worship – full on desire to love Him more today that you did yesterday?

If you will put your will to work on what you know in your heart and reborn spirit is right, before you know it you will be just the kind of worshipper the Lord is spending considerable effort looking for.

Let today be better than yesterday, and tomorrow we can get after it again.

BenLet’s live a life of ever-increasing worship!

Thank you for stopping by today.

Ben

%d bloggers like this: