Saturday, December 25, 2010
There is a deep lesson in why this is funny.
Friday, December 24, 2010
It Wouldn't Be Christmas....
Merry Christmas From A Few Of My Friends
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Thursday, December 23, 2010
I’ve spent years listening to claims and counter claims about how various theologies, doctrines and denominations can get you the real Jesus if you’ll learn there bit or or join their team. Based on the resulting lives I’ve seen—starting with my own—I’d say we’re all full of “dung” on that one. Christ-possessed individuals exist across the spectrums of denominations, education and sophistication. In fact, I’m starting to suspect God puts his fingerprints all over more people from the wrong side of the tracks than on “our” side just to throw us off. He must enjoy hearing me say someone who does or doesn’t believe theology/doctrine “X” can’t manifest the deep imprint of the fingerprints of Jesus. (Heaven’s Comedy Channel must include hours of stupid things I’ve said.)AMEN!
Remember that Jesus was a teacher, but he never dismissed class. Life was his classroom, because he refused to isolate truth into compartments. He had no intention of producing a disciple who was an expert in theology but useless in a hospital ER. He had no plan to allow the specializations we use to excuse ourselves from what it really means to be a Christian. Carrying the Cross and Washing Feet weren’t talks. They were your life.
And if you’re smart enough to improve on that, you’re too smart. Dumb up, brother.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
"People don’t like to lose. People are fond of saying that they hate losing. They’re winners. They’re people you’d want on your team. However, I’m calling on everyone to give losing a second look. Scripture says that you’ve got to lose in order to win. In other words, if you can’t lose, you’re not going to win. The Bible magnifies losing."Sometimes I think we are our own worst enemies in Christianity when we try so hard to make a point that we say things like "The Bible magnifies losing." The real heart is this line:
Scripture says that you’ve got to lose in order to win.It's not even really "losing," its "sacrificing." we are called upon to sacrifice our carnal worldly understanding of what it means to win and replace it with a Godly on. We are called to sacrifice our meager goals for His immense heavenly ones. We are called to be winners on levels that we cannot begin to understand.
Any big winner ins ports has given up a lot. Female gymnasts generally give up their childhood. In my own experience, major college football called for some sacrifices educationally - certainly delays. Enormous sums of money are spent to get for people to achieve greatness in some aspect of life.
Our walk with Christ does indeed call on us to sacrifice greatly, but that is not losing - that's winning on levels we cannot even currently conceive of.
It's the biggest win of all.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Did You Get The Voice Mail?
There is a problem, however, in what is often not stated when somebody says that a minister has a calling. The unspoken presumption is that only “special” people have been called by God into ministry, folks like pastors and missionaries. The vast majority of Christians, ordinary Christians, if you will, are by implication, the “uncalled.”Mark then goes on to urge people to find a way to serve - good message. But here is my question - What would a church that truly believed we are all called really look like?
This view of calling misses the plain teaching of Scripture, which reveals that every single Christian has been called by God. Notice how Paul addresses the recipients of 1 Corinthians: “I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people.” Those who have been called are not some subset of the believers in Corinth, but rather the whole bunch of them.
I don't know for sure. We are called to different things, people often make mistakes about what they are called to do (I know I did) and then there is the inevitable (we are sinners after all) competition for the perceived "glory spots." These things are all huge problems when trying to run a church that believes in the ministry of all believers.
Then there are those that do not "pull their weight." Or more likely those that just have not dove in sufficiently to feel a call. Not to mention the people that don;t do things very well. All problems. I admit it.
But here is what I do know. The way we do church now does not uphold this ideal laid out by the apostle. We make church something we attend instead of something we do. We relegate very talented people to clean-up after the pitch in duty. We hire more and more and more staff, clearly indicating that you do not have "a ministry" unless you are getting paid - and driving talented volunteers further down the food chain.
There are a lot of problems that comes with really believing that we are all called to ministry - a whole lot. But I really would like to see then solved instead of doing something different to avoid them.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Martin Luther said that the life style of a Christian grateful for the free gift of salvation in Christ, is "daily repentance and renewal." Pursuing this life style--a life of pursuing Jesus, really--requires a courage and an honesty that only God can provide to us. But each day, we need to be willing to pray with the psalmist, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).And folks, it's going to hurt.
But be warned that if you pray that prayer and mean it, and aren't just mouthing pious words you've been taught, God will show you your sins. God will show you your character deficiencies.
I view being a Christian a lot like having a long, extended series of surgeries. The surgery hurts, it requires enormous effort for recovery, and perseverance to show up for the next one. Post-surgical therapy is sheer effort. But the results are a blessing.
I have had surgery where the doctor did not tell me fully in advance how long the recovery period would be, or my expectations were too optimistic. When I reached the point where I thought I was supposed to be 100% and I was not - I was pretty angry with the doctor.
We are often less than honest with people when we invite them to Christ. We make them think they simple take the sinners prayer pill and step into loveliness. What;s said is when they reach that point on anger - they just leave, they chuck it all and decide it was a lie.
The theology on the fate of such people is an open question to me, but what is not is that they will spend the rest of their lives calling the church a liar - and that steals glory from God's body here on earth. It harms God's name - and all because we promised wrong. We were in such a hurry to "close the deal" that we oversold.
Faith in Christ is the best thing that can happen to anyone. But the process of realizing that promise is surgery, not a pill. We need to be honest about that.