Monthly Archives: March 2017

What an Open Heaven Means to You

Under an Open Heaven: A New Way of Life Revealed in John’s Gospel

Under an Open Heaven: A New Way of Life Revealed in John’s Gospel by John E. Jonson

When reading the gospels, do you ever wonder what it’s all about? What it means to you? If those stories from so long ago really have any impact on your life today? I think if we’re honest, we all feel that at least on occasion.

John E. Johnson tackles these questions in his new book, Under an Open Heaven: A New Way of Life Revealed in John’s Gospel.  In a conversational, almost irreverent tone, he takes thirteen of Jesus’ conversations with others in the Gospel of John and explains how in each, Jesus is demonstrating what an open heaven looks like and what difference it made to His hearers and to us.

Contemporary and Scholarly

Johnson weaves his language between 1st century commentary and 21st century vernacular, reminding the reader that yes, this applies to you. He takes pages out of today’s headlines with mentions of elections, human needs, and the #NeverJesus crowd. And he inserts his reader into the narrative with, for example, Jesus asking the disciples “what food stores remain open” or the disciples recognizing that “even at thrift store prices, there is not that much money in the deacon fund to cover the need” of feeding five thousand adult males, not to mention the women and children. Blended into this very real, very contemporary narrative is excellent scholarship, many quotes, and precise documentation.

Applies to Real Life

So what does an open heaven mean to an ordinary person pursuing splendor? I found myself engaged with Jesus, the human, the one who faced common everyday needs and opportunities in his setting which strangely had a lot in common with my setting. This book took Jesus from “way back then” to right now, from “I wonder how this applies to me” to “Wow, that’s just like my life.” More than any commentary I’ve read, Under an Open Heaven gave me actionable concepts. In addition, application questions at the end of every chapter helped to extend the concept of an open heaven to my everyday life.

This book is readable and penetrating. Well worth your time.

BASS 2017

Ministering at BASS 2017

Ministering at BASS 2017

I just spent the weekend ministering at BASS 2017. What is BASS? It’s the Bay Area Sunday School Church Workers convention. Held in Castro Valley the first weekend in March every year. This year I had the privilege of keynoting in the counseling track. That meant doing five workshops over Friday and Saturday. It was exhausting at one level, but oh so invigorating at a much deeper level. I love ministering at BASS. It’s a wonderful picture of the church in the Bay Area, filled with hungry people eager to learn more about ministry.

This year I taught five workshops, all of which were well received:

  • Why Didn’t You Warn Me? How to Deal with Challenging People
  • Obstacles to Healing
  • How to Talk so Others will Listen and How to Listen so Others Will Talk
  • Survival Tips for the Wilderness Journey: When the Itinerary You’re on Isn’t the One You Signed Up For
  • How to Get Your Warrior Back

Can’t wait for next year!