Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Lazarus Experiment Day 11


One of the recurring questions that I've dealt with over the years as a pastor is, "How do I know that Jesus is for real?" Lazarus was one of them. After being raised from death, Lazarus settles in for a nice quiet life in the Jerusalem burbs. But unfortunately, news got out real quick about what had happened. Someone went and told the Pharisees. Bad move.

 John 11 tells us that the religious leaders were all aghast at Jesus' actions - the great Bethany Boo-Yah! - and they accelerated their plans for extermination of the pest. Jesus decided to take his closest friends on a camping trip to Ephraim to avoid the hassle. But Passover was approaching, and Jesus knew Jerusalem was the final destination. John records that six days before the celebrations, Jesus brought his followers back to Bethany, and Lazarus and his two sisters threw a little soirĂ©e. (Side note: Martha served; Mary "wasted" some perfume).

 According to John 12:9 - "When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead." Lazarus was now proof. Living, breathing, walking, talking, partying proof that Jesus was the real deal. Lazarus was dead. Now he's alive. Jesus did it. What more do you need? Our lives - having been raised from the dead ourselves because of Jesus - are the proof that Jesus is who he claims to be. I am all the evidence anyone needs to verify the accuracy of Jesus' claims.

 Oh my. As I sit here at my desk writing these words, it burns me that when people look at me they might see more death than life. They might notice more proof against Jesus than for him. I so want people to see that Jesus has redeemed my life from the pit. But often my life looks like I'm still living down there, wallowing in self-pity and wondering why life is so crappy.

 At TLE, we've been pushing ourselves to live like we really are. If you know Jesus, and have anchored your whole life on him, you've been brought from death to life, just like Laz. Who knows this? Who is chasing you down to find out what happened? When is the last time you had a party at your place, invited Jesus and a few of his friends, and then invited the whole town over to tell the story again about your own personal BOO-YAH moment - your resurrection?

 Here's an interesting thing: Lazarus never says a word. NOT ONE WORD. Because of that, I think Lazarus was a shy person. He let Mary do the talking, I think. But I think Lazarus lived out the proof of Jesus' actions on his behalf every day of the rest of his second life. In fact, rumor has it that he eventually lost his head in France because he would not stop telling people about what Jesus had done. The proof that Lazarus provided made the enemies of Jesus angry and frightened--so much so that Lazarus was added to their hit list.

First, take out Jesus. But that's not enough, because as long as Lazarus is still around, there's undeniable proof. They decided to kill Lazarus "because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus."

 Have you made any enemies of Jesus upset lately? I long to have it said of me, "As long as Benson is around, there's undeniable proof that Jesus is the real deal."

What if that could be said of all of us on The Lazarus Experiment? We could change the world? 

Suggested Scripture For Today:
John 11-12

 Suggested Ideas:

1. Write out the story of how you came to Jesus and how he saved you from death. Mail it to three people who may not have heard it before. Just tell them, "I really wanted to make sure you knew about this, because you're my friend."
2. Host a Lazarus party at your house. Invite Jesus and a few of his friends, and invite some people who have never met him. You'll never know what might happen.
3. On the back of several Laz cards (attached), write out a one sentence testimony and your phone number. Leave them in places where people might find them. (Yes, this is risky. Lazarus would have taken some risks. In the past, TLE participants have put the cards in library books and on restaurant tables).
4. Answer this question by making intentional changes TODAY in your life: "What could I do to make my BOO-YAH new life more outrageously visible to others?"

 Have you read these posts? Are you as amazed as I am about how God puts this group together and does His thing? You - yes you! - are changing lives through TLE. Your posts, encouragements, comments, and prayers are making an eternal difference.

Keep living like Laz!

My day 11 response:

Day 11 Look out everyone, I've become more and more spontaneous and I might actually like this "spur of the moment" thing.

Today I got an email from not so little boy's algebra teacher. (Just as a little background, he was sick 135 out of 180 days last year and catching up with his math was really tough - as in he failed the first two grading periods.) We've been a little trepidatious about the Standards of Learning test coming up in 4 weeks since he did so poorly the first.

Right after that I got an email from his other nemesis, English, which he also failed the first two grading periods.  He has struggled with English since his 5th grade teacher made fun of him in front of the students and parents at an "Author's Day" celebration. Additionally, he and this teacher have NOT gotten along - at all. She's way over the top stern and obviously needs to retire (I say this as a past teacher and daughter of three generations of teachers and educators.). Her email was really simple but emotional.

 "We took a test to assess and check their skills for the upcoming SOL… Dalton scored an 89%!!!! YAY!!! So proud! J "

I took him to his favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner as a gift to show him how proud I am (we don't go out often). We had excellent conversation over dinner and he opened up to me about some other thngs too. It was all in all a great afternoon. We just simply celebrated the moment! So awesome. God is good, We celebrated the resurrection of not so little boy's self esteem.  SO proud!

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