25 February 2008


In JOHN 8:1-11 Jesus offered compassion and grace to the woman trapped in adultery ... and He responded with truth-speaking and judgment to the Jewish religious leaders who brought her to Jesus and nearly demanded that He join them in stoning her.

Remember JOHN 8 begins the day after the FEAST OF TABERNACLES ended … and Jesus had gone back to the Temple in the morning to teach. And like the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with the woman they caught “in the very act of adultery” – now they’re trying to catch Jesus in another trap. But wisdom is hard to bait.

And just like 2nd Streeter Edie Salmon most effectively displays the beauty and radiance of the gemstones she sells in her jewelry store against a background of black velvet … Jesus knew that the next words He was about to speak, as recorded here in JOHN 8:12, would come most vividly into focus when placed against the backdrop of the blackness and darkness of the story that just preceded it.


12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I
am the Light of the world; he who follows Me
will not walk in the darkness, but will have
the Light of life.”

And as we move into the study of these nineteen verses, I want us to ask ourselves several questions …
  1. What does it mean that the world is dark, and in need of God’s Light?
  2. What does it mean that our hearts are dark, and in need of God’s Light?
  3. What is the purpose of Light?
  4. What are the benefits of walking in the Light?
2nd Streeter Karl Harn sent me an email earlier this week with an apocryphal story/parable whose dialogue speaks into some of what Jesus is driving at as He tells these Jewish religious leaders that He’s the Light of the world.

The story begins with a college philosophy professor trying to trap a couple of students in his supposed logic. He wanted to show that if God “created evil” then God must “be evil” … and that faith can’t be basis of belief because unlike science it’s non-provable and non-sensory. And when the professor stopped talking in order to watch his bait squirm in the trap, one of the students speaks up and says …

“Professor, is there such a thing as heat?”
“Yes,” the professor replies. “There's heat.”
“And is there such a thing as cold?”
“Yes, son, there's cold too.”
“No sir, there isn't” the student said firmly but politely.

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested … the classroom becomes very quiet … and the student began to explain.
“Sir, you can have more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but there is no scientific classification of something called ‘cold’.

Every body or object is susceptible to study when it either has or transmits energy. And heat is what makes a body or object have or transmit energy. Absolute zero … or -458 Fahrenheit – is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only the word we made up to describe the absence of heat. Cold isn’t the opposite of heat … it’s just the absence of heat .” And as the student spoke these words, the silence in the classroom deepened.

“What about darkness, professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?” the student continued probing …
“Yes,” the professor replies without hesitation. “What is night if it isn't darkness?”

“Respectfully speaking sir, you're wrong again. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, and flashing light, but if you have no light, you have nothing and it's called darkness. Darkness is merely the word we made up to define, or give meaning to the absence of light. Darkness isn’t something. Like cold is the absence of heat, darkness is simply the absence of something.

“So what point are you making, young man?” the professor asked.

“Sir, my point is that when our philosophical premises are flawed to start with, our conclusions will also be flawed. You argue that there is life and then there is death; a good God and a bad God. You’re viewing the concept of God as something finite, something that you and I as human beings can measure. But to view death as the opposite of life is to ignore the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death isn’t the opposite of life. Death is merely the absence of life.”

The story goes on with their conversation focusing on issues of faith, life, and good and evil … and it ends with the student saying to his professor …

“Evil doesn’t exist sir; or at least it doesn’t exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. Evil, like darkness and cold, is a word we’ve created to describe the absence of God. God didn’t create evil. Evil is simply the result of what happens when we don’t have God's love in our hearts. It's like the cold that comes when there’s no heat … and it’s like the darkness that comes when there’s no light.

Gang, God created the world. And God knew that without His Light it would be dark. This is the truth Jesus Christ is revealing here in v. 12. And as Jesus was sharing this hard teaching, some people made the decision to invite His Light into their darkness, and other people made the decision to stay in the dark. And this is the way it has always been.

But how many of you know that Jesus Christ always speaks the Truth? And when Jesus speaks the Truth to us, even when it hurts, we’re drawn to Him and to the words He shares with us about Himself, about ourselves, and about the world we live in.

And this is why we need to serve Jesus Christ as our Lord, follow Jesus Christ as our shepherd, obey Jesus Christ as our King, sit at Jesus Christ’s feet as our Teacher, and embrace Jesus Christ as the Lover of our Souls. Godspeed.



11 February 2008


I love it when I'm asked to describe 2nd Street Community Church -- the flock I've been serving as lead pastor-teacher since July of 2006. Here's what I shared with them yesterday at the beginning of our worship services ... I think that my words describe pretty well who we are, what we're up to, and why we exist.

Welcome to 2nd Street Community Church. We’re a rag-tag band of followers of Jesus Christ who want to take off our masks and be real before God. We want to be a church where acceptance of hurting, disenfranchised, people – people who are in the margins of life – is the rule and not the acceptance to the rule.

Our MISSION STATEMENT says that we’re "spiritual seekers cooperating with God and one another to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ." We value LOVE, COMMUNITY, AUTHENTICITY, SEEKING, TRUTH, GROWING, and SERVING.

We’re not perfect people piously opening our arms to imperfect people. Rather, we’re people from all walks of life, from all kinds of backgrounds, with all kinds of baggage, who gather together here at the Armory each week – and in Community Groups throughout the week – to worship God, to learn from God, to be in God’s presence and to hear God’s voice, so that through surrender and sacrifice we can become less and less like the “old us” and be transformed more and more into the image of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the Lover of our Souls …

So that His THOUGHTS become our thoughts, so that His WORDS become our words, so that His ACTIONS become our actions. Because if we’re not being transformed into the family-likeness of Jesus Christ, no matter how badly we want to, we’ll never be able to live into and live out the will of God for our lives. Welcome ragamuffins.

Does this sound like a place where you might fit in? If so, come visit us. Our website and other contact information is found below. Godspeed.




Cell | 971.832.0010
Email | gregg.lamm@gmail.com
Web | www.2ndstreet.org