There are still about 1,000 new cases of leprosy, now called Hansen's Disease, diagnosed each year primarily in India, Brazil and Indonesia. The number of social lepers feeling like untouchables is vastly greater!
The encounter between Jesus and the woman at the well is a classic. In terms of evangelism, we tend to think we need to be like Jesus, ready to say the perfect thing at the perfect time. In reality, the woman is more of a model for us. All she did was share her experience "I just met a man who told me everything I ever did" and ask a question, "Could this be the Messiah?"
If our church follows this model and uses my new book, Encountering Jesus Today: Revolution and Resurrection, as a tool, I think God may do something wonderful in our church.
The story of Jesus calming the storm is based on one of my life passages Mark 4:35-41. My experience is that Jesus can indeed calm both the storms around us and the storms within us. And he does it even when our faith is painfully small.
This Sunday marked the beginning of my second year as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo. I used the occasion to reflect on the church's rich heritage and the inevitable changes that must be made in order to be faithful to God's calling to reach a world increasingly disinterested in church. (Hint: the answer doesn't involve style of music, video graphics or preachers in skinny jeans telling hilarious stories.)