Thursday
Apr102014

Spring Cleaning: Dead Bones & Dirty Dishes

Spring is here.

Time to take off the winter coats. Time to get outside. Time to think about gardening, bike riding, walking, throwing the baseball, hitting the tennis ball . . . and cleaning out the garage.

Spring cleaning. All the stuff (read "junk") that has accumulated on screens or windows, in basements or garages can now be removed.

Spring is here. The church has referred to Spring as "Lent." And for Christians Spring is a time to not only clean the outside but to give attention to the inside too. Maybe these words from Jesus will motivate us to do some spring cleaning.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish and then the outside will be clean.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of bones of the dead and everything unclean.

In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:25-28 NIV)

I don't like to be talked to that way, do you?

I'd much rather have Jesus say "well done good and faithful servant." But to hear the "well done" we have to do some spring cleaning.

Where would Jesus point to our lives and say we are "full of greed and self-indulgence?”

Where are we "full of bones of the dead and everything unclean?”

Now is not the time to wait. Spring is here. It is time to clean out those things from our lives. It is time for Spring cleaning.

As I write this, my prayer for you and me today is that the Spirit of God would begin to move us off of our couches and chairs and into places of action; that the wind of the Spirit would begin to blow the dust and the junk out of our lives; incite us to pick up a broom or a leaf blower and remove the things that keep us from being like Jesus.

I am ready for some Spring cleaning. How 'bout you?

Grace & peace

Wednesday
Apr092014

You Made a Follower Today

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. (Matthew 23:15 NIV)

What kind of disciples did you make yesterday?

You may be surprised and respond, "I didn't make any disciples yesterday.”

You may mean, "I didn't intentionally talk to anyone about being a Christian (or whatever your faith).”

But that doesn't mean you didn't help to shape and form someone today.

That doesn't mean you didn't send them further down one road or another.

The parent who claims to be a Christian but doesn't talk to their child about faith has sent a message, "It doesn't connect with the rest of life" or "Faith in God isn't REALLY what I'm about.”

The person who calls him or her self a Christian but lives life as a mean, unforgiving, bitter, selfish, always complaining, "me-first" person has sent the rest of their contacts a message: "you probably don't want to be like THIS.”

The person who claims to be a seeker, but doesn't spend time reading, contemplating, wrestling with hard questions, and avoiding easy answers isn't seeking at all. They're just lazy or wanting to throw stones at others.

The world has enough of those types of believers.

So the question is asked of you and me again, "What type of followers are we making today?”

May God convict us, encourage us, and wake us up to the influence we have, and the opportunities that are available all around us today.

Grace & peace

Tuesday
Apr082014

Tonight in the Sky...

"Skywatchers will get a rare treat tonight when Mars, Earth, and the sun will be arranged in a nearly-straight line. Every two years, Mars reaches a point in its orbit called 'opposition,' when the planet ties directly opposite the sun in Earth's sky, according to Astronomy magazine." (Doyle Rice, USA Today)

NASA reports Mars will rise in the east just as the sun sets in the west. Mars will continue to rise and be visible until it sets in the west Wednesday morning as the sun rises again in the east.

Opposition. Contrasts. Two sides. Easily visible.

But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted (Matthew 23:11-12, NASB)

Human nature wants to be exalted but the call is for God's people to be humbled.

Human nature wants to BE served but the call is for God's people TO serve.

Jesus set the pattern and the example.

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

Everything within us fights AGAINST this holy calling.

It doesn't happen often enough in our world, does it?

It doesn't happen often enough within us either.

The contrast or "opposition" between Mars and the sun won't happen gain until May 22, 2016 Astronomy reports.

May we cry out to God and seek the work of the Spirit in us today so serving and humbling happen sooner than that.

Grace & peace

Thursday
Apr032014

What's Going On in There?

It is a classic moment in the life of Jesus. Ask people, "When did Jesus get angry?" and one of the first moments most people will point to is THIS one.

"Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves." (Matthew 21:12 NIV)

But that's only HALF of the story.

We remember what should NOT have been there in the temple: Greed. Selling relationship with God. Making a buck on the crooked system.

What we often forget is what SHOULD have been there.

"It is written . . . 'My house will be called a house of prayer . . . ' " (Matthew 21:13 NIV)

The place God is to dwell is to be called "a house of prayer.”

"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple . . . ?" (1 Cor. 3:16)

"Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . ?" (1 Cor. 6:19)

Would you say prayer is a large part of what happens in the temple, in you? How much time have you spent today in prayer? Where can you point to and say HERE was time I spent talking to God?

Be careful.

"NO person is greater than their prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing. The people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere." (Leonard Ravenhill)

What's happening in the temple, in the place where God wants to live in you?

Why not take a couple minutes today.

Turn off the screens.

Shut down the distractions.

Be INTENTIONAL.

Create space and time for the Spirit to speak.

Talk to God.

Pray.

Be the temple God created you to be.

Grace & peace

Thursday
Mar272014

Death is Better than...

Jesus said death would be better.

Jesus, who said hateful thoughts are as bad as murder.

Jesus said:

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6 NASB)

It shows how serious Jesus was about the model we set for others, especially our kids.

It shows how big the responsibility Jesus puts on parents, adults and other leaders.

Do NOT cause them to stumble.

Do NOT give them reason to DISbelieve.

DO give careful thought to your words, your actions, your attitudes.

Because they end up being not only your words, actions and attitudes. They end up being the words, actions and attitudes you pass on to THEM.

May we give careful thought to intentional living today.

Grace & Peace