Well, There is One Loophole Here

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 2 King 7-9; John 1:1-28


 The true light that shines on all people

    was coming into the world.
10 The light was in the world,
    and the world came into being through the light,
        but the world didn’t recognize the light.
11 The light came to his own people,
    and his own people didn’t welcome him.
12 But those who did welcome him,
        those who believed in his name,
    he authorized to become God’s children,
13         born not from blood
        nor from human desire or passion,
        but born from God.
14 The Word became flesh
    and made his home among us.
We have seen his glory,
    glory like that of a father’s only son,
        full of grace and truth.

15 John testified about him, crying out, “This is the one of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is greater than me because he existed before me.’”

16 From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
17     as the Law was given through Moses,
    so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.
    God the only Son,
        who is at the Father’s side,
        has made God known. (John 1:9-18, Common English Bible)

It is said that when W.C. Fields died in 1946, Americans remembered him as one of the funniest actors to appear on the big screen. Many critics in Hollywood today consider many of his films, such as My Little Chickadee, as classics. During his years of fame, friends of W.C. Fields knew how he felt about God. W.C. Fields considered himself an agnostic. That is why many of his friends were surprised to find Fields reading a Bible as he was dying. When a friend asked Fields why he was reading the Bible – a book he did not believe – he responded, “I am trying to find a loophole.” After he spoke these words, W.C. Fields died. (Homiletics, January 5, 2003,  https://www.homileticsonline.com/subscriber/btl_display.asp?installment_id=314)

Like W.C. Fields, we are always trying to find a loophole for something. We look for a loophole to lower our taxes. “Can I find a loophole that will let me pay less child support?” Is there something I can come up with that will keep me from getting fired even though I haven’t actually worked in six months? Is there a loophole that will get me out of this rule or this law?

That last one is like the picture above. He isn’t on a bicycle, rollerblades, rollerskates, a skateboard, or a scooter. He is on a unicycle. It must be OK. He at least thinks he has found a loophole.

John wrote in our lesson today, “The light came to his own people, and his own people didn’t welcome him. But those who did welcome him, those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God’s children, born not from blood nor from human desire or passion, but born from God.”

I doubt W.C. Fields could have found a loophole in that. But, I would submit to you there really is one. It is the loophole of grace. Because we have all sinned, because, at least at times, we don’t welcome him and yet God welcomes us as God’s children. Those are John’s words, not mine. But, I do know what that is called. It is grace. Grace is a free gift from God. We can’t buy it, borrow it, steal it, or in some other way receive it accept as a gift from God. Your mama or daddy, your Sunday school teacher or your pastor, your friend or foe, or anyone else can give it to you. It comes from God alone. That free gift opens up eternity for those who became God’s children, born from God.

W.C. Fields could have found that loophole. He knew he deserved what was coming and sought a way out of it, a loophole. All he had to do was confess Jesus Christ in his heart and he would have the loophole he was looking for but more importantly, through grace, he would have eternity with God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, 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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