My Personal Journey Through Johns Gospel- An Online Journal

Since confession is good for the soul, I do have a confession to make.

Perhaps the public nature of this confession will work even more medicine within me. I confess that over most of this past year, I have been spiritually very dry and near empty. That’s not an uncommon phenomenon for anyone, but believe it or not, I think running on empty is a more treacherously wide pitfall for spiritual leaders, those who are supposed to be shining examples of gushing fountains of spiritual fervor and depth. After all, don’t we have hours upon hours of idle time to prayer and searching the Scriptures at the center of our vocation? If only…

Coming out of last year’s bad personal depression left me emotionally and physically in a much better place, and I’m greatly thankful for that. But I don’t think I truly recovered the major spiritual losses from that dark time. In other words, God and I are not where we need to be on our personal one-to-one basis. In my ministry and as a husband, father, and friend, I pour out so much to others, but in the end, there is little left over for me– only a few faint embers of God’s love, truth, presence at this altar of my heart. It’s not that I expect a constant raging fire of God to consume me; no one can endure that.

But on most days, one should expect to find a steady, low-burning bed of strangely warm, glowing embers of Christ’s transforming, redemptive presence within the heart, stoked by God’s Word, fanned to flame by the Holy Spirit, fueled by a steady diet of prayer, Scripture, the Sacraments, and mutual holy conversation. All that is truly enough. I don’t ask for a whole lot in my life. At least I don’t think I do. But to have God this way, this intimately, and to be continually renewed by God’s Spirit to encounter the world, other people around me, and myself with a life uniquely my own and authentically inhabited by Jesus… That would be more than enough.
ImageSo… part of this re-invigoration of my heart will be a reading through the Gospel of John with you, if you care to keep reading and talking with me. Whenever I’ve gone dry, turning to a gospel, getting back in touch with the words, action, and person of Jesus, is my necessary beginning. This will not be in-depth biblical exegesis. I’ve done that already, and that will not do this time. This will not be writing to teach and inspire others. I do that already, and it won’t do this time, either. These posts will not attempt to stir up the pot or to push cutting-edge ideas through the blogosphere. I’ve done that and will continue to, but that will not meet the need this time. In fact, most of the world will probably find these posts exceedingly overly-personal and tame– not the stuff of trending blogs or bloggers at all!

None of that really matters. This is an attempt at an exercise intended to stir up my heart. Anything else is a purely unintended bonus. Even if only one other person reads what I write and offers a bit of reflection in a comment, the purpose has been served. Even if no one does that, I know that God has listened, and that his “comments” will show up somewhere much deeper within me.

Most days, I will center on a full chapter from John’s Gospel. I’ll provide a link to the passage en lieu of taking up precious space with a long Scripture passage. My writing will reflect on this passage’s inroads with me. What does God want me to see? What are the implications on my own life at this moment? How does this passage puzzle or trouble me? How is Jesus encouraging me to become more like him?

More later…


Filed under Bible, Spiritual Growth and Practice

5 Responses to My Personal Journey Through Johns Gospel- An Online Journal

  1. thecrediblehulk

    I’m interested.
    Are you at all interested in doing an overview of John? When it was written, who wrote it, why they wrote it, stuff like that?

    • Thanks, Ed! I tell you, I just eat up that kind of thing– the exegetical work. I absolutely love every aspect of it. I’ve often thought that if I wasn’t called to the local church, I would go on to get a PhD in biblical studies. But, therein is part of the problem, actually. It’s extremely tempting for me to turn devotional Bible reading into an intellectual exercise which conveniently doesn’t land the Word heavily enough into my lap. Or, it’s also very easy for me to study and teach for others’ benefit and still largely bypass myself. I’m not discounting personal spiritual value in exegesis or teaching to others. Indeed there is! But part of this exercise is re-learning how to read Scripture for myself, not necessarily leaving my intellect, knowledge and skills outside, but rather harnassing them to put Scripture onto and into me in a significant way.
      John poses a unique challenge in this regard because I have done PhD level exegetical work in this gospel before. John is the true test in that regard!
      So, in my journals, I’ll probably allude to exegetical issues as a means of drawing personal meaning.

  2. thecrediblehulk

    Just so you know, I did the reading.

  3. What a GC (God Coincidence)! I started reading John last week. For me, it was to reacquaint myself with the basic truth of who Jesus is…both as a shot in the arm for my spiritual growth & because I’m conversing with a Pagan – hope that I can answer her questions better. I’m also getting to know the Holy Spirit in a new & deeper way. I look forward to reading with you! Thanks.

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