Monday, December 30, 2019

2020 "Receive Quest" Challenge—Mark 11:24

Last week, I was blessed with three books:

The New Testament and Wycliffe Bible Commentary
The New English Bible
Matthew and Mark—A Relational Paraphrase (Ben Campbell Johnson)

I immediately opened all of them to Mark 11:24, and it gave me an idea: What if I took one verse for one year and looked it up in every translation I could find?

Rather than just scribble in notebooks like I always do, it seemed easy enough to at least document the versions on a blog. I could work ahead and populate the versions, schedule them, and comment along the way. We shall see how that system works!


There are some motivating elements in play which may be of significance. This section will be updated (and hopefully expounded) when I have time.
  • I am on a slow-motion quest with this word: RECEIVE 
  • The quest began after I listened to a recording of my cousin being interviewed about his time in Heaven
  • I have a hunch that receiving is the same as the currently popular topic of manifesting
    • Note: I believe God's design is everywhere, and if something works, it's because of His under-girding design. 
    • Also of note: I believe the same design can work in negative or positive ways and in many cases is subject to our governance of it. (Example: Belief. Too much to say here, but may delve in more later.)


The white board hiding behind my office door holds little quest nuggets. It's very "organic" and not unlike a walk in nature where I might collect fallen leaves, stones, twigs, and photos of textures/colors/whatever captures my attention. These scribbles have already evolved quite a bit, but here's an image to document where they stand when my 2020 Challenge started. We shall see if it changes!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Emailing Jesus

Today I emailed Jesus. I asked for a calendar.

"Hello, Jesus ...
I noticed Janet had her new wall calendar up.
She mentioned that you have them.
Could I get a horizontal one, please?

Jesus is my Columbian coworker, not the Savior! It's pronounced differently, of course, so saying* his name is not odd. But as soon as I put "Jesus" in writing, things get amusing!

Instinctively, I began, "Hey, Jesus." Too casual. But "Dear Jesus," seemed too formal. I cycled through several options that all seemed weird. Ultimately I chose a simple "Hello." It seemed suitable for either a human or deity.

I know it's "just" a name for humans -- like John or Paul. But I really can't think of any other name I would have stumbled over like that.

Recently an inter-department envelope went around with a card for everyone to sign. We always have a sheet with when it is due back and a list of names to check off as it is passed along. Jesus' name was not alphabetized with the rest of us; It was at the top of the list. How funny! So I'm not the only employee who can't treat his name like everyone else's.

Occasionally, I get an email from Jesus. It makes me laugh every time. Sometimes Jesus invites us all downstairs for donuts. I like Jesus. :-)

Isn't that funny how much weight is attached to those five letters?

But on the other hand, seeing "Jesus" in the context of an email request caused me to back up a moment and consider the simplicity of asking: What if I approached Jesus Christ like I did my coworker?

"Hello, Jesus ...
I noticed Janet had her new roof installed.
She mentioned that You arranged it.
Could I get a solar one, please?

Biblical Jesus said, "I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you've received it, it will be yours" (Mark 11:24 NLT). [I know there is more to this passage (verses 22-26 in answer to Peter noticing the fig tree had withered and died) ... but really, not much!]

So do I believe Mark 11:24? My head jumps to, "YES! Of course!" I always assume I believe the Bible because I choose to do so ... but in a moment like this, I wonder where my believing is. It must be limited to my intellect (or "mental assent" as the late Brother Hagin would say) because I don't think I act the same way with the two different Jesuses!

When I emailed coworker Jesus, I didn't wonder if I would get a calendar. Really, the only question was how long until the calendar showed up! (And in his case, it was surprisingly fast. )

When I think of a similar request to Biblical Jesus, suddenly it gets pushed out into the "maybe" zone! I'm tempted to filter it through scriptures and rules or teaching messages to get a solid perspective on whether I could/should ask for any such thing and if I'm properly positioned to do so.

What would happen if I kept everything that simple -- as simple as a "Hello, Jesus" email?

Maybe that will be my New Year's challenge for 2020: K.I.S.S. E.J. (Keep It Simple, Silly. Email Jesus!)

*I find it ironically funny that my coworker's name when spoken sounds like "Hey, Zeus."

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