What do you think about the Holy Spirit? [Lesson 4.4]

30 Jun

This posting will be a little different. I want you to tell me your experiences. (Just click the comments link at the bottom of this article)

Here are some questions that can help you get started:

1. What did you think of when you first heard about the Holy Spirit?

2. How did you feel when you heard people speak about receiving the Holy Spirit or the Spirit talking to them?

3. What “Holy Spirit” experiences have you had, before becoming a christian and/or after becoming a christian?

Even if you don’t respond, maybe this will get you thinking. It will be great discussion in class on Sunday.

Have a great day.

Our Intercessor the Holy Spirit [Lesson 4.3]

29 Jun

Have you ever found yourself without the words to say something? On a few occasions, I found myself in a situation where I didn’t know what to say or found it better not to say anything. For example. One day, I ran into a lady that went to our church while shopping at the mall. I hadn’t seen her in a while so I thought I would try to be nice and start a conversation. Searching for a subject to broach a conversation, I took notice of her impending delivery. I asked, quite honestly, when she was due! Her answer was classic – “I’m not pregnant!”. I didn’t know what to say.

In my spiritual life, I very often come to God without the words to express what I am feeling. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been wrung through the ringer and left out to dry. Other times, I feel like I went 15 rounds with Mohammad Ali. Usually it comes out in one word

ARRGGGHHH!!!!!

Sometimes there are no words. 

A death of a loved one.  SIGH!   
A divorce.  #$@&*#!   
The loss of a job.  OHHHHH!

Jesus said that when He went away, He would send another Counselor. The Holy Spirit represents our needs before God. When we don’t have the words, we can count on the Holy Spirit’s prayer.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. – Romans 8:26 (The Message)

So, when the times get tough (and they will) – groan, sigh, ache. Let it out and let the Holy Spirit do the talking for you.

 


A Blessing

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

(2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV)

The Divine Nature of the Holy Spirit [Lesson 4.2]

28 Jun

Growing up, I always heard about the Holy Spirit. At first, my thoughts about the Holy Spirit was some faceless, non-personal spirit thing that was somehow related to God. Kind of like Star Wars’ Force. My father started something when we were younger. At bedtime, after prayers, he would give us a blessing. It was the standard blessing we had heard in church many times and like anything that was repeated over and over, it became meaningless over time.

As I got older, I experienced the Holy Spirit in a completely different way. Attending different meetings with my parents I witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit first hand. I witnessed miracle healing. I saw demons cast out in the name of Jesus. I heard people prophesying in tongues and then another person across the room interpreting. I experienced singing in the spirit, dancing in the spirit.

When I was in the Marines, I was keenly aware that the Holy Spirit was with me in Desert Storm. Many times I know I was spared from very dangerous situations. Either I would be on the helicopter the trip right before it crashed, or because of scheduling, I would miss a dangerous patrol. There was one time we were all gathered around for a briefing. Our commanding officer told us that we were about to attempt a beach landing in Kuwait. The port was mined and there were 5 Iraqi divisions lined up waiting for us. They expected half of us to get killed. I can tell you that as brave as we all liked to think we were, there were a lot of scared men on that ship. My best friend Paul and I went to our favorite spot on the ship to pray. During our prayers, the Holy Spirit told each of us, individually, that we would be alright. “Do not be afraid – I am with you always.” It was a powerful and personal message. If anyone knows how Desert Storm turned out, our amphibious force was used as a decoy. We loaded up, we were ready to go. The Iraqi’s responded. They moved two more divisions to protect the shore. They were going to repel the Marine landing. That was all our forces needed. The Army and other Marine units in Saudi Arabia went in behind them and the whole fight was over in 100 hours. We never had to land on the beach. We went ashore later, after the Iraqi’s realized that they had been duped. Nobody from our unit died. The Holy Spirit was faithful to His word – as always!

One other reason I knew that I would be coming home. The Holy Spirit gave me a promise. You see, Patti and I couldn’t have children. We had tried just about everything. God (through the Holy Spirit) said, “Just like Abraham and Sarah, you will have a child”. He told me that days before the briefing. That was in 1991. In August 1997, at age 34, we had our first child. We named her Sarah.

We now have 4 beautiful daughters and every night I give them the meaningful blessing that my father gave me. I will leave it with you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord’s face shine upon you
And give you His peace.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
Amen.

Holy Spirit : The Advocate [Lesson 4.1]

27 Jun

ad·vo·cate (noun)

1. One that argues for a cause; a supporter or defender
2. One that pleads in another’s behalf; an intercessor
3. A lawyer.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=advocate

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Many years ago, on a long and lonely highway in North Carolina outside of Charlotte, I had an unfortunate meeting with a county sheriff. You see, the audio book I was listening to was so good that I forgot to pay attention to that little needle on my speedometer that tells you how fast your vehicle is going. The sheriff didn’t forget to pay attention. In fact, all of his attention was on me! (And my shiny black Pontiac Fiero) After a very cordial but brief conversation with the nice policeman, I was given a sheet of paper with his autograph and told that I would have to appear in court in about one and a half months – in a little town four hours away from my home.

When I finally returned home, I debated on what to do. I could just plead guilty, pay the hefty fine – all through the mail or I could hire a local lawyer to go to trial in my place and plead my case. Since I was in North Carolina, I knew that southern justice worked a little differently than it does anywhere else. I knew that most of the lawyers knew the judges and that with a wink and a nod (and selecting the same lawyer the sheriff’s office recommended), I could possibly get off with a lesser punishment. In fact, the lawyers fees plus the fine for “defective equipment” (my speedometer didn’t work properly) was less than if I had just paid the speeding fine. The big bonus was that that little incident didn’t end up on my insurance record.

That was one of the few times I have ever had to use a lawyer. He was my advocate in this case. Because he could stand up for me in court, I didn’t have to make the long trip again. As nice as he was, I hope to never have to use his services again!

We also have an advocate in our daily lives. In John 14:16-17, Jesus says, “And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – The Sprit of Truth [Holy Spirit].” The Greek that has been translated here as counselor is the word “Paraclete“. Paraclete comes from the Greek word meaning “one who consoles” or “one who intercedes on our behalf”. Some versions translate this as advocate. Some might ask, “if we are Christians and can talk to God directly, then why do we need an advocate? Can’t we just ask for forgiveness ourselves?” In 1 John 2:1, we read that the one who will speak to the Father in our defense is Jesus the Righteous One [or Holy Spirit as our other counselor]. In God’s court, the defender must be, and is, sinless.

I’m glad my advocate knows the judge!

Jesus: Joseph and Mary’s son [Lesson 3.7]

26 Jun

When a child displays expert proficiency in a field usually only undertaken by adults, they are usually referred to as a prodigy.  Here are some examples:

Murray Gell-Mann – (Known as The Man With 5 Brains) Taught himself calculus at seven. Went to Yale at 15 and received his PhD from MIT at 20. Winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Lev Landau – Entered University at 14. Pioneered Condensed matter, and “created” the Russian school of theoretical physics. Winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Robert Clark Young – was reading and writing English and Spanish by age of five, wrote a novel at the age of 13 and submitted it to New York publishers before he was a freshman in high school, sold his first newspaper article at 14.

Steve Kirsch – Wrote an e-mail program at the age of 12, witnessed, participated in the birth of the internet.

David Farragut – First Navy command at 12 years old.

Eric Lo Shih-kai – a 13-year-old Taiwanese golfer who last November became the youngest person ever to play in a PGA European Tour event.

The parents of these children must have known that they were raising a special child. Think of the great responsibility it is to raise a child with special gifts. Think of the pride they felt as they watched their child develop his or her gift.

Jesus was a child prodigy. The Bible says that Jesus was found at the temple teaching the men at age 12. Can you imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt? (I can hear the other mothers now – “Get a load of Mary’s son. Did you see him teaching those men in Temple yesterday? It was amazing, I tell ya!) They knew that their son Jesus was from God. (He didn’t have a natural human father) They knew He was special. What kind of feelings dwelled up inside them as they realized the great responsibility of raising the Son of God!

Jesus was still a boy. A human being. He had feelings. He felt pain. He felt sad, happy, angry. He became physically tired and thirsty. But yet, He was still God. His ultimate human experience also showed us His deity. Jesus became man so that he could experience a human death. The greatest proof that he was human. But, we know the “rest of the story”. His death was necessary as THE final sacrifice for sin. Jesus demonstrated that He was also God by conquering death. He became alive again. It is in this single act that we receive our HOPE. It is the CORNERSTONE of our faith.

Joseph and Mary must have been proud…

A.K.A. Jesus Christ [Lesson 3.6]

25 Jun

Names have great significance in the Bible. A name was not just the label that differentiated one person from another, but often described something about the person. The name Abraham is translated “Father of a multitude”, Jacob means “supplanter” and David “beloved”. The most important names in the Bible, however, describe God Himself. He uses His names to help humanity understand the reality of who He is. God does not cloak His identity and distance Himself from His creation. Instead, we have a God who desires to be known:

Jesus: From the name Joshua, or Yehoshua, which means “Yahweh is salvation”.

Immanuel: From the Hebrew words Immanu: “with us” and El “God”.

The Word: Logos in the Greek – God’s living, breathing message of who He is, by whom He created all things.

Son of David: The Messiah the King.

The Lamb of God: Innocent, pure, and sent to die in our place.

I AM: The very name of the God of Moses, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator

He is the Son of Man and the Son of God. He is the Rock, The Good Shepherd, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. May God be blessed for his goodness toward us, for “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” (John 3:17)

That is who Jesus is.

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Quick – Get a piece of paper and write down all of the names you can think of for Jesus Christ. I’ve listed a couple below:

 

Abraham’s Seed (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:16).
Advocate (1 John 2:1).
Almighty (Revelation 1:8).
Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8; 22:13).
Amen (Revelation 3:14).
Angel (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 23:20,21).
Angel of God’s presence (Isaiah 63:9).
Angel of the Lord (Exodus 3:2; Judges 13:15-22).
Apostle (Hebrews 3:1).
Arm of the Lord (Isaiah 51:9; 53:1).
Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9).
Beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14).
Beloved (Ephesians 1:6).
Beloved Son (Matthew 12:18).
Blessed and only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15).
Branch (Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12).
Bread of Life (John 6:35, 48).
Bridegroom (Matthew 9:15).
Bright and Morning Star (Revelation 22:16).
Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10).
Captain of the Lord’s hosts (Joshua 5:14,15).
Carpenter (Mark 6:3).
Carpenter’s Son (Matthew 13:55).
Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6).
Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).
Christ (Matthew 16:20; Mark 14:16; Luke 23:2).
Christ Jesus (Acts 19:4; Romans 3:24; 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1:30).
Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39; 1 Timothy 1:12).
Christ of God (Luke 9:20).
Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
Commander (Isaiah 55:4).
Consolation of Israel (Luke 2:25).
Cornerstone (Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:20).
Counselor (Isaiah 9:6).
Creator (John 1:3).
David (Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23).
Dayspring (Luke 1:78).
Deliverer (Romans 11:26).
Desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7).
Door (John 10:7).
Elect of God (Isaiah 42:1).
Eternal life (1 John 1:2; 5:20).
Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6).
Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11).
Faithful witness (Revelation 1:5; 3:14).
First and Last (Revelation 1:17; 2:8).
Firstborn (Psalms 89:27; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 1:5).
Forerunner (Hebrews 6:20).
Fountain (Zechariah 13:1).
Glory of the Lord (Isaiah 40:5).
God (Isaiah 40:9; John 20:28).
God blessed forever (Romans 9:5).
God’s fellow (Zechariah 13:7).
Good Shepherd (John 10:14).
Governor (Matthew 2:6).
Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14).
Head of the Church (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18).
Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).
High Priest (Hebrews 4:14).
Holy Child (Acts 4:27).
Holy One (Psalms 16:10, with Acts 2:27; 3:14).
Holy One of God (Mark 1:24).
Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:14; 54:5).
Horn of salvation (Luke 1:69).
I AM, (Exodus 3:14, with John 8:58).
Image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).
Jesus (Matthew 1:21; 1 Thessalonians 1:10).
Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1).
Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 21:11; Mark 1:24; Luke 24:19).
Judge (Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:8).
Judge of Israel (Micah 5:1).
Just One (Acts 7:52; 22:14).
King (Zechariah 9:9, with Matthew 21:5).
King of Glory (Psalms 24:7-10).
King of Israel (John 1:49).
King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14).
King of peace (Hebrews 7:2).
King of righteousness (Hebrews 7:2).
King of Saints (Revelation 15:3).
King of Salem (Hebrews 7:1).
King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2; 27:37; John 19:19).
King of Zion (Matthew 21:25).
Lamb (Revelation 5:6, 12; 13:8; 21:22; 22:3).
Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).
Lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22).
Leader (Isaiah 55:4).
Life (John 14:6; Colossians 3:4; 1 John 1:2).
Light of the world (John 1:8; 8:12).
Lily of the valleys (Song of Solomon 2:1).
Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
Living Bread (John 6:51).
Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4).
Lord and Savior (2 Peter 1:11; 3:18).
Lord Christ (Colossians 3:24).
Lord God Almighty (Revelation 15:3).
Lord God of the holy prophets (Revelation 22:6).
Lord Jesus (Acts 7:59; Colossians 3:17).
Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 11:17; 16:31; 20:21).
Lord of all (Acts 10:36).
Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8; James 2:1).
Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 44:6).
Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16).
Lord our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16).
Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3).
Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5).
Messenger of the covenant (Malachi 3:1).
Messiah (Daniel 9:25; John 1:41).
Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6).
Mighty One of Israel (Isaiah 30:29).
Mighty One of Jacob (Isaiah 49:26; 60:16).
Morningstar (Revelation 22:16; 2 Peter 1:19).
Most Holy (Daniel 9:24).
Nazarene (Matthew 2:23).
Offspring of David (Revelation 22:16).
Only Begotten Son (John 1:18).
Only Begotten (John 1:14).
Our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15).
Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Prince (Acts 5:31).
Prince of life (Acts 3:15).
Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Prince of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5).
Prophet (Matthew 21:11; Luke 24:19; John 7:40).
Rabbi (John 1:49).
Rabboni (John 20:16).
Ransom (1 Timothy 2:6).
Redeemer (Job 19:25; Isaiah 59:20; Isaiah 60:16).
Resurrection and life (John 11:25).
Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4).
Rock of Offence (1 Peter 2:8).
Root of David (Revelation 5:5; 22:16).
Root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:10).
Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1).
Ruler of Israel (Micah 5:2).
Savior (Luke 2:11; 2 Peter 2:20; 3:18).
Savior of the Body (Ephesians 5:23).
Sceptre (Numbers 24:17).
Second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45).
Second Man (1 Corinthians 15:47).
Seed of David (2 Timothy 2:8).
Seed of woman (Genesis 3:15).
Servant (Isaiah 42:1; 52:13; 53:11; Acts 4:30).
Servant of Rulers (Isaiah 49:7).
Shepherd (Mark 14:27).
Shepherd and Overseer of Souls (1 Peter 2:25).
Shepherd of Israel (Psalms 80:1).
Shiloh (Genesis 49:10).
Son of David (Matthew 9:27).
Son of God (Luke 1:35; John 1:49).
Son of Joseph (John 6:42).
Son of man (John 5:27).
Son of the Blessed (Mark 14:61).
Son of the Father (2 John 1:3).
Son of the Highest (Luke 1:32).
Star (Numbers 24:17).
Stone of Stumbling (1 Peter 2:8).
Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2).
Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28:16).
Surety (Hebrews 7:22).
Teacher (Matthew 23:8; John 3:2).
Tender Plant (Isaiah 53:2).
True God (1 John 5:20).
True Light (John 1:9).
True Vine (John 15:1).
Truth (John 14:6).
Vine (John 15:1).
Way (John 14:6).
Wisdom (Proverbs 8:12).
Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).
Witness (Isaiah 55:4; Revelation 1:5).
Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6).
Word (John 1:1; 1 John 5:7).
Word of God (Revelation 19:13).
Word of Life (1 John 1:1).

Christ: The visible expression of the invisible God [Lesson 3.4]

24 Jun

 “He is the very image of his father.” Have you heard someone say this about a young boy? Sometimes we ask ourselves, “Just how are the two alike?” If a father and son look alike, we can see this easily, but sometimes the similarity is not so clear. For example, they may be alike in their actions or in their way of thinking, or their personalities may be much the same.  By watching the child, you can see in many ways what his father is like.

Jesus came into the world to show us what God the Father is like. He is the visible representation of the Father, who is invisible. Jesus embodies the natural and moral characteristics of God. Through the miracle of the incarnation, He took upon Himself the nature and form of man. In doing this, He gave expression to the qualities of God and communicated these qualities to man. Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9)

Keep reading in your lesson book…it gets better!

A Fishing Story [Lesson 3.3]

23 Jun

I love a good fish story. I never get tired of hearing about the one that got away or the big one that was finally caught.

There is a great fish story in John 21. (Read the New Living Translation – it’s a great read)

Here’s my version:

Jesus had appeared to the Disciples (including Thomas) days ago. The initial thrill must have wore off and they were bored. Simon (the Rock) Peter had enough of just sitting around and so he said “I’m going fishing.” Some of the others answered “Hey dude, wait up – we’re going too.” (I think it’s significant to note that Thomas was one of them. He did not want to be left out again!)

Anyway, back to our story. They fished all night and caught nothing.

Peter: “This is depressing. Jesus is gone and everyone wants to kill us.”

John: “And now we can’t even catch fish! Do you ever think we’ll get jobs again?”

Thomas: “I doubt it.”

Just as the sun was coming up, Jesus was on the beach, but they were just far enough away that they didn’t recognize Him. He said to them “Hey guys. Now that you’ve gone back to fishing, have you caught any?”

Peter: “Nope”

John: “Nada”

Thomas: “I doubt it.”

Jesus told them to put their nets down on the right side of the boat. When they did that, they immediately caught so many fish that they couldn’t pull in the net.

John: “Dudes, that’s the Lord!”

Peter: “Later Dudes, I’m swimming to shore.”

Thomas: “I’m not saying that I doubt you but I’ve been fishing all night and I’m kind of hungry. We’ll stay and bring in the catch.”

When everyone finally got to shore, they saw a fire burning with fish cooking on it and bread already fixed. Now if the load of fish didn’t convince them that it was Jesus, the bread on the beach should have. I’m sure they didn’t have Ali Akbar’s Beach Bakery.

Here’s the great part of the story and it must be significant because it is in the Bible story. They caught 153 BIG fish. They must have been BIG because God inspired the writer to actually use BIG in the description! For a hand-held net, 153 BIG fish would have been a lot. Can you imagine the photograph? They should have shredded their nets – and yet – the Bible says that the net didn’t tear. (Can you imagine the guys telling their buddies that stayed behind?  No, really, we caught 153 BIG fish and they didn’t even shred our nets! – What, you don’t believe me?  The Lord was there…go ask Him!)  

Continuing our story…

Jesus said, “Come – have some breakfast!” And so they ate and talked. Nobody doubted that it was Jesus. They knew – even Thomas.

Now that’s a great fish story!

Jesus Christ: His Humanity and Divinity [Lesson 3.5]

22 Jun

 Note: I accidently sent this out of order so I realize that I missed 3.3 and 3.4. I will catch up later in the week.  Sorry

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In my own personal journey with Jesus, I have taken paths that lead away from Him and then other paths that bring me back to Him. I’m the type of person who has to get beat down many times before it finally sinks in! ( Do I hear an Amen?! ) I think it finally took having children to make me realize that I can NOT do anything without Jesus.

All through Jesus’ ministry, it seemed like He was always having to prove to people that He was indeed the Son of God. It seemed that even those closest to Him needed some reassurance.

In John 11, we read the story of Lazarus. Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.” They said, “Rabbi, you can’t do that.

The Jews are out to kill you, and you’re going back?” Do you see that they didn’t believe that Jesus was God’s Son? Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there.

Now the disciples should have already had strong convictions that Jesus was God but learn that Jesus had to keep reassuring them. Jesus said, “You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”

Essentially, Jesus said – I am going to do something so unbelievable that you will have to believe that I am God’s Son!

I love Thomas – Mr. Glass-half-empty himself. I can just hear him: “Ok, we might as well come along and let the Jews kill us too! Do you see the unbelief?

Jesus even acknowledged this unbelief when He prayed to His Father to raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this [unbelieving] crowd standing here I’ve spoken [out loud] so that they might believe that You sent me.” [amplification mine]

That was a turnaround for many of the Jews who were with Mary. They saw what Jesus did, and believed in him. But some went back to the Pharisees and told on Jesus. The high priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish ruling body. “What do we do now?” they asked. “This man keeps on doing things, creating God-signs. If we let him go on, pretty soon everyone will be believing in him and the Romans will come and remove what little power and privilege we still have.”

Some people believed but even more unbelievable, some people didn’t. They were tired of Jesus creating “God-signs”. They plotted to kill Jesus.

Amazing!

If you had witnessed Jesus creating “God-signs”, would it have changed your mind?

Where in the world is Didymus? [Lesson 3.2]

21 Jun

Toward the end of my high school junior year, there was a concert at Kansas City’s Arrowhead stadium called Summer Jam ’80. It was two days of non-stop-rock-n-roll. Bands like Ted Nugent, Kenny Loggins, Journey, Black Oak Arkansas, Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac, the Doobie Brothers and more all did sets that weekend. It was the best concert experience any seventeen year old, future rock star, could imagine! The problem was, I didn’t get to go. My friends did.

The next Monday at school, my friends would tell stories about the concert. They would tell me about Ted Nugent playing so loud your ears hurt! (Rock on Ted!) They would tell me about Black Oak Arkansas coming on stage riding horses or my idol Peter Frampton playing “Do you feel like I do?” just like it sounds on “Frampton Comes Alive”, only better! I kicked myself for not trying harder to go with them. I regretted not trying to talk my parents into letting me go. I missed Frampton and Nugent in the same day!

I would not miss it the next year!

Like most stories that get told over and over in a rock-induced haze, I kind of doubted some of them. (A recent Google search did confirm that Black Oak did come out on horses for that concert!)

A couple thousand years ago, a man named Didymus missed one of the most significant events in history. He was scared. His best friend had just been killed and now they were out to kill him and the rest of his friends. He didn’t want to be seen with them. One day he shows up at the house where his friends are. It seems that his best friend, the one who was killed, is now alive and visited the house! Didymus couldn’t believe it. In fact, he actually doubted their stories. He wasn’t going to believe them until he saw his friend himself. (He didn’t have Google) A few days later, he was with his friends again and sure enough, his best friend did come and talk to him. He even told him to touch him to make sure! Finally Thomas (also called Didymus) saw the resurrected Jesus and believed!

Fortunately for Thomas, he got a second chance. Jesus came back to talk to him one more time. I wonder what Thomas would have thought if Jesus never came back a second time. Do you think his life would have been different?

There wasn’t a Summer Jam ’81.