Friday, May 24, 2013

A million means little.... does it?

JUST A THOUGHT (don't get too charged up): you know, some music artists make over a million dollars on ONE SONG, so is part of the profit from one song really a sacrificial gift or a leadership initiative when it comes to the recent tornadoes? One NBA star, who makes over 20 million a year for their basketball skills (not including endorsement deals), gave a million; is that a true and sacrificial gift?

This is not me judging them; actually, I love that they are giving! Praise the Lord! I'm just trying to wrap my brain around giving when there are so many zeros involved, and it's relationship to sacrificial giving. And, I'm trying to get something else... I know alot of these people are giving huge amounts, like $1million, which could pay for 10 fairly nice homes, when many of them live in ONE HOME that costs more than the million they give away.

Just thinking through my fingers...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Authority Nobly Used

What would you command everyone to do if all authority was yours? 

I bet your mind started spinning with the things you would change, and most of those things are the things that irk you or affect you. You may have even thought about something funny, like being able to drive as fast as you want without being penalized or being the boss of your boss for a while. 

I'll be honest... if that question was posed to me, I'd probably tend toward selfish scenarios; I'd consider how I could better my life.

That's why the Great Commission blows me away...

Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
I believe Him. I mean, think about it, He calmed storms, so He had the weather on lock. He healed diseases, so He put smack-down on pain and sickness. He commanded demons, who didn't like Him, but couldn't deny Him. He ordered the dead to come back to life, so even the most final thing could not resist the word of His power.

So, yeah...I believe Him.

What does Jesus do with "all authority"? Simple, He commands those who follow Him to go and teach others to follow Him.

Sure, one day, EVERY PERSON will bow! I believe that, too. Right now, as the Lord of all, Jesus chooses to exercise at least some of His authority to commission His disciples to selfless work. I love this. I'm not going to fight it; I'll receive this commission!

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:18-20, ESV)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I am not ashamed of the Gospel!

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'" (Romans 1:16-17, ESV)

Yes, I am NOT ashamed of the Gospel!

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of God. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

It demands response from the God who demands worship. It demands surrender from the God who demands allegiance. It demands holiness from the God who is holy. It provides salvation through the God who is Savior. It commends the hell-bound to the hand of the Heavenly. It calls the lost sheep to be found by the Good Shepherd. It breaks bondage, conquers sin, kills death and grants life to the spiritually dead. It opens heaven and locks hell; it binds the wounded and blesses the brokenhearted. It gives purpose to the unfilled and hope to the hopeless.

Yes, this Jesus, in whom we can be saved, and by whom we must be saved if we will be saved, He is Whom the Gospel proclaims. There is the name I love to hear, and it's Jesus!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

God teaching us to listen again...

Have you ever heard of "TED talks"? I've listened to probably 50-75 of them on the internet, and about a dozen on the radio. Most of them are interesting; many are worthless; some are helpful. Most of them revolve around a "you can do it" kind of realization. You know, "If we just know this, we can do that." 

I listened to a TED talk this morning that was sent to me by some spiritual friends. When I say "spiritual," I mean Christian. Well, to be honest, it was not a good one. I wondered, "Why did these 'spiritual' people send me this humanistic junk?" (I am still wondering...) 

But, then, God showed me something. This TED talk was a few months old and has had tens of thousands of views. I thought of Acts 17...

"Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new." (vs. 21) 

See that? All they do is spend their time telling about "what's new" and listening to others talk about "what's new." Sounds like TED talks to me!

Paul, commissioned and empowered by God, gave one of the wisest discourses in all of Scripture: "For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you." (vs. 23) 

All this talk, it's something alright, but it's not much... yet. God is teaching thinkers to talk and talkers to listen. Me? I'm praying God put believers on hills with scholars.

And, classrooms with students.

And, corners with the drunks. 

And, websites with the searching. 

And, on and on and on!

We're learning how to listen again, and I'm praying our hearts are being prepared to hear...

Friday, May 10, 2013

No Fancy Passing for the things we make Passing Fancies

"Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness" (2 Peter 3:11, ESV)

Now, let me amplify it...

"Since [all of creation, even the cars and vacation homes, and computers and softball gear and fishing boats and dance trophies and bars and beers and church buildings and big screen TVs and everything the eye can see] will be [obliterated] [what things ought we to be really concentrating on with our lives, like] [being like the eternal God that will not be destroyed] and [doing what pleases Him more than was pleases self]"

What, or maybe we ought to say WHO, are we living for if where we are living will soon be no place for the living?

Through the Apostle John, the Spirit says, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17, ESV)

And, through the Apostle Paul, the Spirit says, "Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." (1 Corinthians 3:12-15, ESV)

We'd be wise to watch what we get wound up in or wound up by, for we may work for what will one day wash away in God's wrath...