Saturday, August 20, 2016

Experience Matters (First John 1:1-3)

Until a few months ago, the closest I had ever come to Hawaii was seeing scenes from TV. Three television shows shaped my vision of the great state. First, there was The Brady Bunch. Who doesn't remember the evil idol that wreaked havoc upon the Brady clan, most memorably as we were left in suspense after Greg washed out on his surf board and dear ol' Mike Brady ran into the ocean to rescue his son? The music was ominous as the three most hated words in television appeared on the screen - To Be Continued. We saw the family learn the hula, and we learned that family trips should always include an Alice. Show number two? Charlie's Angels. The 1980 season was based largely in Hawaii, and the landscape was beautiful. Of course, as a twelve year old boy the only thing that caught my attention was the landscape ..... Then, the third show is the new version of Hawaii Five-O. McGarrett and Dan-O are on the target providing top action scenes and meaningful dialogue that reminds us that men can still be friends. That's it. That was my experience with Hawaii. Until this past March.

With Daniel graduating from high school, we wanted to do something special for spring break and for his senior trip. I had enough airline miles and hotel points to pull the trip off with only having to pay for food and activities. We decided this was the year to experience Hawaii. None of us really love the sandy beaches so we found a resort that overlooked some amazing volcanic rock. The resort had a sweet pool with a young man named Mark who was there to assist us with various needs that might arise during the day. Can I just tell you that the experience was remarkable? We took a bus tour and ate at some very nice places. We didn't see the Brady's, the Angels, or Dan-O, but we did see them setting up a scene for the season finale of Hawaii Five O. Pretty cool to watch the episode and know the spot where it was filmed.

Why does all of this matter for a look at 1 John 1:1-3? Simply because until we went to Hawaii, I only knew what I had seen on TV. Once I experienced Hawaii first hand, I was a changed man. I could pick up right now, move to a remote house in the middle of the island and be perfectly content. Experience matters, and that is what John is trying to tell us in 1 John 1:1-3. The reason so many people have trouble knowing Christ is because they are trying to know him with rules and regulations while keeping Him at arm's length. The reason so many have trouble telling others about Him is that they have never experienced Him themselves. Jesus was both God and man, and He wants us to know Him, not just know about Him. The best way to know Him is to start with His book - His own words. Read the journal of those who knew Him best. Those who ate with Him, travelled with Him, lived with Him. These men know Him from experience, and God has preserved their letters and their journals for us to know Him too. We don't have to settle for a TV version of Jesus. We can know Him and know Him completely.

Oh God, show me your heart so that I may be changed and that I may be content to dwell with you forever!!!

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