One of my favorite TV shows is now found on Netflix, of which I watch on many occasions due to the characters and the writing done by the, well, the writers. The show is ‘Arrested Development’ and it follows the Bluth family as they struggle to run the family business after the arrest of their father. On any given day, my wife and I try to use lines from the show within social interactions. We have used many of them well and have gotten some laughs from people and due to that, have introduced the show to others of which our older kids are now fans. One of my favorite episodes is titled, ‘Amigos.’ The main reason why I like it is due to a line used by a character named G.O.B.
G.O.B.: And I’m not afraid to make mistakes. Or have you forgotten to read this little… (he breaks a glass framed poster that was previously hanging) Darn it! My legs are so powerful.
Michael: So I thought you might want to read it (message from the President of the Bluth company) seeing as how you are the President now, even though it’s just a title.
G.O.B.: Right… yes, Well, we should “circumverent union penalties.”
Michael: “Circumvent.” It means “to go around.”
Within a minute of this take, G.O.B. is found interrupting a meeting Michael was having with his mother and G.O.B. again uses the word, ‘circumvent’ incorrectly, thinking it literally means to go around someone.
Lucille: Michael, this is your office now?
Michael: Yeah. Well, it’s temporary. We got to make sure G.O.B. looks like he’s in charge.
G.O.B.: Oh, please, allow me. I’ll just circumvrent you.
Lucille: Let’s make sure we don’t give him any real power.
You have to watch it. So why do I bring this up. Well, one time when I was leading the prison ministry in Paraguay, I had a class in which all of my students would have to pick a verse from the Bible and have two minutes to share their thought about it. The class had two days to select and write and then when we met, we shared one by one and gave input. When it was my turn, I gave this message.
John 4:4 Jesus had to go through Samaria…but instead, Jesus circumvented Samaria.
These guys were tripping when they heard me say that. I used many words that fit into the definition of circumvent. I said, ‘Jesus avoided, Jesus evaded, Jesus bypassed, etc. They had no idea where I was going with this so I reiterated that Jesus DID NOT avoid Samaria, He did not go around, He did not bypass this place. He went through! I finished by saying, ‘this prison, your person, was not bypassed by Jesus. Jesus has come to you.’ Yes I got an ovation but that ovation was for telling the truth. I felt good because I spoke about my king, my Savior, my truth that Jesus didn’t avoid me.
I write this because we as a church are heading into our annual meeting. This meeting is about slowing down to give thanks for all that God has done in front of our eyes. To give thanks for all the reports we have heard form all that belong to our church and from all that we support as a church. It’s a time to say thank you father for all of 2016.
But this is also a time to look at 2017. As a staff, we are reviewing what we were able to accomplish in 2016 and to project into this New Year. We are at a point of review and revamping. In the scripture found in John 4:4, the words saying that Jesus had to go through Samaria are very important. Jesus was accepted as a fellow priest, a teacher and a man of God. All that was cool and accepted by the other priest. The issue was that Jesus did not ‘circumvent’ the people. Jesus never avoided the people and the other priests did. The practice of going from Galilee to Jerusalem, which is found in the previous verses of John 4, was for the Jews to circumvent land that was not Holy. So instead of going through Samaria, which was shorter in distance, they avoided it. The other priests did what was common, what was safe, what kept them liked.
Every ministry within this church has many things that keep us like other churches, that provide a safe religious ownership, things that can be appreciated by many and make the ministry leader popular or acceptable. This year to me is not a year of avoidance, it’s not a year of playing it safe and its not a year of bypass. This is a year of advancing.
The land of Samaria has a place called Jacobs Well. Jacob being the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. The land of Samaria was once full of the Lord’s people but due to an exile and a repopulation by various races, the land lost its previous standing and became rejected by the Lords people. This means that Jesus had to go through Samaria in order to restore it. As your staff looks to advance in 2017, we invite you to move with us. We don’t want to avoid details, we don’t want to withdraw from what is difficult and we don’t want to accept the bare minimum. We want to progress and do even more in this year. So as you feel led, ask us what we have planned for 2017.
There’s always money in the banana stand,
One such way that you can join and assist is through the men’s ministry. This coming Saturday we will be gathering in the gym at 10am and having breakfast from Black Bear Diner. The topic will be an invitation to join us in vision casting. You will hear from the committee how it has been difficult these last few months of gathering, how we have grown to like each other, and how we feel led to go. Come and see how you can help us walk well into this New Year.