Sharing another one of Rhonda's favorites.
Pastor Hurmon on the relationship between pastors and their congregation.
RSVP here for the March 9th Gathering.
We're happy to announce that for 10 days, I will be taking some time off for rest and renewal with my family, traveling to Mexico then to Louisiana. Below is a picture I shared on Facebook of us getting ready to disembark. Excited to see everyone on March 9th when I return! You can RSVP here.
I'd like to share with you my message from last week at Garden City Church in Santa Clara. We've been posting Rhonda's picks for sermons and will resume with posting another of her favorites next week.
Pastor Hurmon answers the question, "What are you going to do next?" from the Gathering on January 26th.
When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” John 11:32-36 (NLT)
Mary’s screaming question sounds all too familiar to anyone who is living through loss and pain. “Lord, if you had been here, this tragedy would not have happened!” “Where were you?” Mary is “weeping,” those around her are “weeping,” and then something surprising happens deep within the spirit of Jesus – “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled…then Jesus wept.”
Now what is intriguing about this short verse, “Then Jesus wept,” is that it occurred nine verses before Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead! “Where have you put him?” reminds us that Jesus was already preparing for this tragedy to end in a miracle. Jesus knew what he was about to do. But right now, with a weeping Mary, and a weeping crowd, Jesus feels what they are feeling – the injustice, the senseless nature of the loss and “a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled,” –then HE weeps!
Sometimes we want to just rush past the pain of loss (stuff it down) and get on to the next miracle. Other times, we don’t want to leave that place of pain, but wallow there, forever! Neither is healthy.
Those watching Jesus weeping said, “See how much he loved him!” You see, weeping reveals both our wounds and our love. And of course there is anger – anger is the flip side of love. If you loved that which is now lost, how can there not be anger? But be angry and sin not. Don’t be careless with your anger. Don’t mindlessly misdirect it at the innocent. Be aware of your anger and work it through. This passage is powerful because it encourages us to honor the reality of our pain – by being honest about the hurt and the anger. “Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” is Mary being honest with Jesus! Jesus affirms and spiritually absorbs the pain as well as the anger, allowing himself to feel what Mary was feeling. Her deep hurt, he felt it. Her anger at what she could not fix or control, he felt it. The injustice of death taking a loved one – Jesus felt it!
So Jesus invites us to come to him and share how we are feeling, and then to share why we are feeling that way. Pour it all out on Jesus, again and again. Let yourself go and weep! Weeping is good – it shows how much we loved. But here is the good news: if you will transfer your hurt and anger to Jesus, over time Jesus will transform it, as he weeps with you! Then comes the time when you will hear Jesus say, “It’s time to move forward – you are just nine verses away from the miracle of a new beginning.” At that point you will have to resist the urge to wallow and choose to walk with Jesus through the next nine verses – and experience God as He does more than you can ask or even imagine! So is it time for you to gird up your wounded soul and walk with Jesus to the tomb? Perhaps just nine verses later, there awaits a miracle!
Sharing a sermon Rhonda picked. One of her favorites.
Sister Rhonda shares her heart and powerful passages from Scripture at the Gathering, Jan 26th.
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! (John 19:19-20 NLT)
My wife, Rhonda, was waiting on her next patient. The door opened, and a man whom she had never met walked into the office. At first glance she noticed his shocked expression, quickly followed by recognition, and a huge grin. "You’re Doctor Hamilton?” The man said. "You're Sister Rhonda, my pastor’s wife!” “Yes, I am,” Rhonda answered, with a smile. “Okay, quick! I have been away for a month. Give me a sneak preview of what your husband will be preaching on this weekend,” he says, with great anticipation.
Rhonda stood stunned! For almost a minute she was speechless. How could she tell this patient, that her husband was no longer his Pastor? How would she proceed to shatter his joy, by sharing the painful experiences that led to this new reality? One of the things that Rhonda appreciates about her job is that it enables her to compartmentalize her life, to shut the door on the pain that may be occurring in other parts of her life – like my no longer being Pastor of our former church and the painful circumstances surrounding it. But despite this locked door, the reality of her pain had made its way in.
This is not unlike most of us who are working through tremendous pain. We look for ways to lock the door and escape it. Escape it, if not forever, at least for a little while. Or we attempt to quickly push past it, deny that it is there, and get on with our future only to be surprised as unresolved grief shows up in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. But there is no shortcut to working through pain. Any shortcut that we take, will simply short circuit the grieving process. As frightening as this thought is, we must allow ourselves to feel the pain and work it through. We must cry about it, talk about it, write about it and pray about it! We must run it out, work it out, and scream it out! We must face it and process it! Face it and process it, until the hurt no longer hurts, and only the wounds remain. Then we need to discover our new norms, since life as we once knew it is now gone forever, and integrate the new (insight, rituals, relationships) into old routines. And this takes time.
At this point, the text above is helpful. The disciples were hidden behind a locked door, traumatized by the crucifixion of Jesus, afraid that they would be next. Suddenly, Jesus appears and says the words, “Peace be with you!” Then he shows them his wounds. Remarkably, even though he was now the resurrected LORD, the wounds remained a part of who He is. The wounds are reminders of what Jesus came through; they are reminders of the price of love he paid for each of us; they are reminders that whatever our pain, however painful, HE understands. Most of all, when Jesus showed his wounds, they no longer bled. As you read this, you may be in your own locked room, surrounded by inescapable pain, loss and grief, despite your best effort. Stop trying to escape! Ask Jesus to join you in this room. Ask him to place his wounded hands on your wounded heart. Don’t ask him to take away the wounds. No! They are the proof that you once loved. They are the evidence that you survived. They will be the marks of new life-lessons and new life! Just ask Jesus to help stop the bleeding.
Pastor Hurmon's message of encouragement for the week