Blessed… Give Me a Sign

At that time some of the legal experts and the Pharisees requested of Jesus, “Teacher, we would like to see a sign from you.” But he replied, “An evil and unfaithful generation searches for a sign, but it won’t receive any sign except Jonah’s sign. Just as Jonah was in the whale’s belly for three days and three nightsso the Human One will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. The citizens of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it as guilty, because they changed their hearts and lives in response to Jonah’s preaching. And look, someone greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will be raised up by God at the judgment with this generation and condemn it because she came from a distant land to hear Solomon’s wisdom. And look, someone greater than Solomon is here (Matthew 12:38-42, Common English Bible).

I was never much a fan of Jim Carey until Bruce Almighty came out. Before that movie, I thought the title of one of his earliest movies fit his body of work, Dumb and Dumber. That being said, I thought he was brilliant as Bruce.

Without question, one of my top five favorite movie scenes come from Bruce Almighty. Take a look (Click here).

How much are we like Bruce? At some point, just about all of us want a sign from God and yet we fail to open our eyes to see what God is doing right in front of us. We challenge God and ask God to speak to us and then at the end of it all, we say something like Bruce says, “Don’t know you. Wouldn’t call you if I did.”

I can’t help but think the legal experts and the Pharisees who were asking Jesus for a sign, had he given it to them, wouldn’t have been impressed. They, like Bruce would have ignored what God was doing right in front of them. Perhaps they would have attempted to explain the sign away. Perhaps they would have just ignored it, but either way, they would have missed the sign and then dismissed Jesus.

Before we go and get on our high horse, we need to think about how easy it can happen even to people like us.

I once knew a man who experienced a very clear call to ministry. Everyone around him could see it. He was waiting for a clear sign from God. I think he wanted to see things in sky writing or something. Every time he got a good clear sign, he would attempt in some way to explain everything he experienced away.

There is also the story of Gideon in the book of Judges. Gideon wanted a sign from God. He set out a fleece and wanted the dew on part and the rest was dry. Gideon wasn’t satisfied with that even though he was the one who decided on the sign. The next day he flipped the challenge. The part that was left dry was to be wet and the part that the dew had covered was to be left dry. Once again, God gave him the sign.

In the story of “Doubting Thomas” when Thomas sees Jesus and believes, “My Lord and my God,” Jesus responds by saying, “ Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe” (John 20:29, CEB). Jesus knew there would be those of us in the future that would never have the opportunity to experience life with Jesus in a physical way, yet many of us would still come to believe. Sometimes we may want a sign, but sometimes we still have to move forward on faith.

Before the movie was over, Bruce had gotten many signs. In the end, however, what changed in Bruce was his heart and it didn’t happen because of a sign. It happened because he opened himself up to God’s new possibilities.

What signs have you seen from God?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

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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