Blessed… Amazed

When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching because he was teaching them like someone with authority and not like their legal experts (Matthew 7:28-29, Common English Bible).

There is a You Tube video available for viewing that shows J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans leaping onto a box that is some five feet from the floor. I was amazed by what I saw this world-class athlete do. Even when I was in the best shape of my life, I doubt I could leap from the floor onto a two foot high box. I have never had much jumping ability.

I still find it amazing when I see old video footage of Michael Jordan jumping from the free throw line and slam dunking a basketball. I know I could go further in a broad jump than in a vertical jump but that seems like a super-human feet.

When I worked as an adult Cub Scout leader I saw a pinewood derby car that was built as a cross-section of a B-52 bomber wing. I was amazed to watch that car. When it was coming down the track it was a bit slow from the top to the curve. But, by the time it hit the bottom, it took off as the aerodynamics kicked in. It was very difficult to beat.

I can’t recall a time when a teacher amazed me when I was a student. Today, as an adult who has watched many teachers do their jobs, I am continually amazed at what they are able to get done under some very difficult circumstances.

If a teacher ever amazed you, you might have some idea of what the people who were around Jesus as he closed The Sermon on the Mount might have felt. Our lesson reminds us that people were amazed at Jesus’ teaching because he taught with authority.

I really don’t think this meant that the legal experts lacked knowledge. That is far from the case. The legal experts knew and understood the law better than any other normal humans. But, there is some kind of disconnect between the mouths of the legal experts and the ears of those listening. That disconnect didn’t exist between Jesus and those who heard The Sermon on the Mount.

I think most of us have had the “Ah-ha” experience. We have been going along and something just doesn’t make any sense. Then, suddenly, we read the right article, we hear the right teacher, we see the right demonstration and everything seems to fall into place. The light bulb goes on and there is somebody home. We get it. We understand. And, if we are honest, most of the time when things like that happen, we are amazed.

I would like to think, at least some of the time, the same God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) who amazed the people with His teachings in The Sermon on the Mount, is the same God who amazed us when the light bulb went on during our “Ah-ha” experience.

What revelations have you experienced when faced with one who has authority?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Grace and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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