Wednesday, September 29, 2010

.Sheep or Goat?.

Matthew 25 has this incredible account of Jesus describing His own judgment on the nations... Now, for those of us who get caught up in some of the details... the question arises, "When does this happen, and who is Jesus judging?" While I recognize there could be a variety of answers to that question, one thing is clear:

The standard is NOT exclusive to this one judgement!

A person only needs to look up the themes of poverty and justice in the Bible to find that we are called over and over to care for the poor and the needy... the orphan and widow. But back to Matthew, Jesus describes this scene where He is separating the sheep (true followers) from the goats (those who claim Christ, but do nothing for the "least of these"). Jesus gives us the gold standard when He says,

"I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me."

It makes e think of the book of James... " doers of the Word and not hearers only..." or "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble..." or "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" or "...even the demons believe-and tremble..."

It looks to me like James got it... What good is head knowledge if our hearts aren't broken? What good is a broken heart if it doesn't move our hands?

According to Matthew 25, "...inasmuch as you did {or not} it to one of the least of these, you did {or not} it to me..."

Jesus, give me your eyes...

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

.C'mon Jesus... just this one thing.

I used to joke that Jesus' favorite football team was the New York Giants.


Because I gave in "to the dangerous temptation to take the Jesus of the Bible and twist Him into a version of Jesus [I was] more comfortable with." [Platt]

I wanted "A Jesus Who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on [my] comforts." [Platt]

I wanted to "gather in [my] church building and sing and lift up [my] hands in worship..." [Platt] to me.

This may not make a lot of sense to anyone who reads this, but if you knew my heart... it did not ache for Africa, it ached for the Meadowlands... it was not desperate for the Scriptures, it was desperate for it did not yearn to find followers of Christ, it yearned to make converts to my beloved royal blue NY. In fact, my daughter recognized a Giants logo long before she recognized the cross.
Friends, I have been crying out to God, what can I sacrifice that I have not already given... so today, I will go home and gather my Eli Manning football, my Lawrence Taylor Jersey, my Tiki Barber prints, my Harry Carson hat, and my Jeremy Shockey helmet... the symbols of my former allegiance... and I... [without exaggeration I paused here to think... I wish it were not true] give it all away. Our school is putting on an auction to support Christian education... may God bless the sale of my idolatry.

Forgive me for my sin, I am so foolish to see it as anything valuable in light of You.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have begun reading The Hole in Our Gospel. Let's just say, I didn't make it through the introduction without crying and running to the office next to mine reading quotes. How have been a Believer this long and just now realize I have been missing the point?

Honestly, I am pretty ashamed of myself. Who grows up in a Christan home, receives a Christian eduction, grows up in a church that cares only about Truth, attends a great Bible college, serves in ministry for years and somehow misses the point? Who? Me.

One of the huge recurring themes in my life is my pride... I grew up in a world where meeting external standards were most of what matters. People say don't drink, don't chew, don't go with girls that do... it was more like "don't show evidence of sin (even if you need help), dress right and sing hymns, judge all by what you can see."

Yesterday, in the midst of a conversation with a woman who is watching her grandchildren grow up, desperately desiring their salvation, while dealing with the reality that the Truth is not coming from her children, tell me, "My children rejected church because I gave them legalism." I didn't know what to say, ummm, gulp. Yeah you're right... or it'll all be okay? Nope. The answer? Be changed, and tell them all about what God is doing in you. Then, trust Him. Ouch. I know, not the promise it'll all be okay. Tough words to hear... but the Truth is, God is the only One sufficient to make all the wrongs right again. His transformation is all that matters.

So back to my shame... Today, I cling to the reality that I am so foolish, so limited, and I need to be transparent and transformed by Him. Because, while I am ashamed of me... "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." ~Romans 1:16

God, change me... You, not rules is what this world needs.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

.Count the Cost.

My family is in the process of adopting, and one of the funny nuances of adoption is money. It is so akward for me to look at a dollar figure and say: "Can I afford to adopt?"

I have always felt that you do not chose to expand your family based on your budget... but is that biblical?

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to
them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and
mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own
life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear
his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which
of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and
count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after
he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it
begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not
able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another
king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able
with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with
twenty thousand?
Or else, while the other is still a great way
off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So
likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot
be My disciple. ~Luke 14

Now, here Christ says that in order to be a disciple (follower) of Christ [not some extra-special-super-Christian], a person must count the cost of following Him.

So here is my question: Does that mean we should constantly be asking ourselves"Is it worth it?" or does it mean that at a point in time we ask, then live our life with the answer "yes, God"?

Here's the thing: The answer is not simple. We grow, things change. Life happens. Choices get complex.

Here's where I am at: I want my life to count for His glory. So, with eyes wide open to the reality that life is hard and clinging to the Truth that life is short, I want to blindly say, "Yes God."

Why? Because I trust You, God. You will never leave me or forsake me, You will never give me anything I can't handle, and You are sufficient!

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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

.Evidence of the Gospel.

I have been thinking through the reality that if my life is completely shaken by the Truth... it should look like it. So, this morning I took a peek at the first few chapters of Acts to see what should be true of me...

If the Gospel has changed me, I should...

  1. show evidence of the Holy Spirit's work in me.
  2. be a powerful witness of Christ in my community.
  3. be baptized by water in the name of Christ.
  4. praise God in word and song.
  5. live contently in simplicity.

God help me to remember... God, make me more and more attune to Your Gospel, and give me the strength to be shaken by Your Truth!

How about you? What evidences does the Text say you should show?

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