Bible Devotions · Commentary · Uncategorized

Cut to the Heart

Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength?

This was the question Jesus posed to the religious leader in Mark 12. He, like us, interpreted Jesus’ cutting words as “THAT is some really good teachin’!” Because we have the enormous privilege of having all access to God’s word we have allowed the most amazing words ever to be uttered to become too familiar. We’ve  turned them into pleasantries, instead of heart breaking challenges.

Jesus establishes His Kingdom by helping people come to terms with their deficiencies, so that they might find that His provision is more than enough. In like fashion His people are called to do the same.

This is how Hell fire and brimstone preaching works. Not that it is right or the way of Christ. But it shakes people out of their slumber.

Jesus did it over and over again in the gospels. He cut people straight to the heart. Nicodemus came to Him in the night pontificating and Jesus CUT STRAIGHT to his heart “You must be born again!” The rich young ruler came to Him wanting to be justified and He told him to “Sell all you have and follow me!” Peter did it at Pentecost.

Yes, there are wonderful things we can learn about the statements, about the Greek, about the culture of that time etc. etc. etc. But don’t miss the fact that Jesus most always needed to sober people up to the Kingdom.

The reality is that God’s love for us is so very immense that whatever causes us to crack and see Him gets overshadowed by His goodness. There is no dark thing that the Light of God’s love can’t out shine.

Application:

  1. Ponder that first question I asked at the top of this page. Bring it into prayer and allow the Lord to meet you in the answer.
  2. Realize the enormous love God has for you and depend on it. Make it such a fabric of your being that you become willing to call someone else out of the slumber of their sad lives unto that same love. Be willing to be that girl or guy. It’s the way of the Kingdom.
Bible Devotions · Commentary · Uncategorized

Supposed (Luke 2:44 Reflection)

The first red letters of the New Testament come at the climax of Luke chapter 2 when Jesus’ family visited Jerusalem for Passover.

“Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”

In the midst of this short story I believe we are exposed to a CRITICAL character trait about the Lord Jesus, to follow Him. His family “supposed” Him to be in the caravan but He was not.

How many times do we do things and suppose Jesus is with us? How many times do we take action and suppose this is what Jesus wants us to do? Are we at a job we suppose Jesus has called us to?

In fact, supposing goes against the act of following. People who are fond of Jesus are sharply separated along these lines. We can confidently recognize one group as disciples and the other group…. not.

70ADE6CC-B41C-437A-AD55-456D5E075BFB

Bible Devotions · Commentary · Uncategorized

Habits of Strong Disciples

(I totally hijacked an entire article on weight training/power lifting by Jim Wendler and changed about 25 phrases to reflect a life of discipleship. The bold words are mine the rest is his. The original article is here www.jimwendler.com/2015/09habits-of-strang-lifters/. He has some pretty brilliant training perspectives. As you’ll see bleeding through this re-written article)

jim-wendler

Consistency

Without a doubt, the strongest and best disciples in the world have consistently busted their buns in the prayer room. For decades. Not weeks, not a year, but decades.  There are genetic freaks out there that achieve a high level of spirituality quickly, but comparing yourself to them is unfair and will probably drive you out of the faith and into a 10-year “I hate church” bender. Now, consistency doesn’t always mean they’re going all out, every day. It means they chip away slowly, but surely.

Drive/Perseverance

Even with failures, hard times, faltering of spiritual leadership, terrible churches, etc., the great disciples will find a way to adapt and overcome. If that means following Christ alone in your own sanctuary at your house, they do it. If that means having to train in a mega church by themselves, they get it done. If that means they have to train around wounds, they research and find a way. Nothing will stand in their way and when an obstacle appears, they don’t get frustrated; they simply find a different route around it. It’s easy to be motivated and excited to pray when everything is going your way. It’s another thing to hit a wall, scramble, kick, and scratch until you look back and see the marks of blood and sweat you leave behind.

Continue reading “Habits of Strong Disciples”

Bible Devotions · Bible Interpretation · Christian · Meditation · Uncategorized

Being Human

(This was written to be read allowed as a devotional for ADD listeners like myself.)

A friend asked how I was doing the other morning and I responded “I’m here… I am human”. I was training for a race and my feet hurt. I had been doing too much on every level. Real life stuff, here. I guess I could have just said that I was “doing great!”. But it wasn’t that type of friend and besides, I’m becoming more and more comfortable with the status of my humanity.

For seemingly well intended reasons we find all kinds of reasons to remain reserved when interacting with one another. Even in some of our most intimate relationships we still don’t feel safe enough to share some of our true feelings and perspectives. Surely this is a problem.

Sharing all of our inner workings is an error, of course. In fact that can be a different problem all together. More important is the way in which we live so very isolated among plenty of people and find ourselves feeling lonely.

Jesus taught us to call God our Father which was vastly different from the religious teachings of his time. One of the most unique facets of Christianity when compared to the varied strands of philosophy and religion is the right to “become children of God”. This was one of the most unique things Christ brought to our attention: creator, all-powerful, brooding over the darkness, hand spanning across the universe God is our daddy.  It was on this point that the religious of Jesus’ day had such a hard time. Continue reading “Being Human”

Christian · Commentary · Confessions · Meditation · Uncategorized

Not So Among You

My friend Kelsey once introduced me to her dad as her pastor, a title I both love and hate. It’s a biblical term and one that I am called to. I love pastoring and shepherding  people, helping them to get disentangled from the evil that seeks to entrap them. Much to my surprise, Kelsey told me after the fact that I had a funny facial expression when she introduced me. I had no idea at the time but I do know that I have a hard time hiding the way I’m feeling so it made sense. christ-carrying-the-cross-to-his-crucifixion-by-battista

My knee jerk reaction when that title was publicly awarded me has some association with what our culture interprets when they hear the word “pastor”. Nine times out of ten it isn’t good. The other ten percent seems to be a title that people give one another when they have ducked out of their responsibility to walk with God as individuals and rely upon others to represent God for them.

Continue reading “Not So Among You”

Commentary · Street Corner Devotions · Uncategorized

Sexuality and Christianity

I am troubled by how we have become so over aware of sexuality. Most every advertisement, every song, every article of clothing, every thought has been steered towards sex and sexual attraction. Sex, being a perk of life and the point of procreation is a wonderful facet of life. Despite popular opinion it is not the sole purpose and function of our lives. More specifically it is a fruit of a deep covenant relationship between a husband and a wife. It’s a mysteriously beautiful gift given to a relationship that is hidden in the secret places of love and deep connection with another person. Yet, in all it’s mystery and beauty a child can study sexual acts and look upon various naked bodies and presume to understand the mystery and beauty of sex.

Continue reading “Sexuality and Christianity”

Commentary · Uncategorized

Gospel of Love 10 of 21

In this passage Jesus depicts Himself as the Good Shepard, a term and a reference that would carry such significance that we are still unpacking it today finding great insight and beauty in it. As He reveals some of the dynamics of Himself He is challenged by His opposition, a trend that seems to be a constant in His life.

There are complexities in these passages that share great insights, these are some great passages to meditate on.

John 10 <— Link Here

There is a common trait of those that are walking with Jesus, they’re gentle. When you’re around them you feel like they listen and are aware of your heart. You may never have an opportunity to hear what’s going on in their lives as you seem to spill your guts when in their presence.

Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye labouring and burdened ones, and I will give you rest, take up my yoke upon you, and learn from me, because I am meek and humble in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls, for my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”

The very nature of our Shepard is gentleness and tenderness. He welcomes us with open arms taking care of our wounds, keeping back the wolves.

In John chapter 10 Jesus sets in place an open invitation for everyone who would ever read or hear His words. Many heard and have humbled themselves and have drawn near.

Many others never humbled themselves and put themselves under the hand of the kind and understanding Shepard. And that is what differs many fans of Christianity from the Children of God. Will you humble yourself and let Jesus be your Shepard? That is where the peace and joy lies. That is where your rightful place is in the Kingdom of God. That is where your victory is.

Let us do what it takes today to re-invite Jesus to be our Shepard. Let us make Him the Lord over all the facets of our lives. Let’s let His gentle hand rest over us, speaking love and eternal life over us. This is His heart toward us.

Commentary · Uncategorized

Gospel of Love 9 of 21

Chapter 9 Tells the story of the man blind from birth whom Jesus healed. Becoming a controversy amongst the religious and those who were relatives of the formerly blind man, because it was on a Sabbath that the man was healed and the religious had made a pact that anyone who accepted Jesus as the Messiah would lose their place in the synagog.

John 9 <— Link Here

`If ye were blind, ye were not having had sin, but now ye say — We see, therefore doth your sin remain.’ John 9:41

It can be a strange journey living a life of commitment to a God who chooses to cloak Himself in mystery. Often times we are left to our memories to help us shape what our next actions will be. Other times it’s the stories in the Bible that help shape our actions. Either way for us who live surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus there was a moment in time when the supernatural took over the natural, a miracle when God healed us of our blindness and awoken us to the reality of His presence. And yet we judge others as Godless who have had no such experience.

Out of all the characters in John 9 the man who was born blind is the only one who had experienced the miracle of God first hand. As a result, he was willing to be rejected by everyone, was willing to be removed from the current religious institution, and even make Jesus Lord right in the face of His fiercest competitors.

This is what the people around us need- a real encounter with God.

So how can we do that?

We can’t, but God can.

We share our stories of what we have seen and heard, but it is not our job to save people. There is only one name under heaven that men can be saved by, Jesus Christ. It’s time for us to quit trying to be God’s salesmen- walk in proper relationship with God and our neighbor- and let God be God. We gotta quit looking for a way to evangelize and be evangelical. Taking time to talk with God about those around us. Praying for our friends and meeting them right where they are.

The best thing we can do for the world around us is to live our lives with God as authentically as we know how. To share with others as He leads and to let God be God. After all, a God initiated miracle will go much farther than a man derived one.