Tag Archives: Jesus

So What Can I Do?

eyeseeyouI have finally come to grips that I will not be a “mover and a shaker.”  The world, alas, is not clamoring for my opinions, my advice, my counsel, my pontifications.  The President and members of congress no longer call (man, could I give them an earful if they did!).  It has been some time since some anchor person contacted me to get my take on foreign or domestic events and developments.  Celebrities fail to call me for my thoughts on the directions their careers should take.  No one sends me scripts for potential movies or plays anymore.  Congress persists in passing bills without my input.

So what can I do to make the world a better place?  Jesus said we can do this by serving; by letting our light shine through our good works (Matthew 5:13,14).  Consider:

Think of your fellow man
lend him a helping hand
put a little love in your heart.
You see it’s getting late
oh please don’t hesitate
put a little love in your heart.
And the world will be a better place
and the world will be a better place
for you and me
you just wait and see.

–Jackie Deshannon

Leave a comment

Filed under Aging, Awareness, Change Agent, Christlikeness, Culture Wars, Discernment, discipleship, Edification, Encouragement, Friendship, Jesus Christ, Love, Music and Poetry, Poetry?, Selflessness, Uncategorized

Are We Commissioned to Build Buildings?

eyeseeyouI received another note today (on an unnamed social medium) about another building expansion being completed.  It celebrated funds raised to add more brick and mortar to an existing building.  Oh Hurrah!

We act sometimes like the Great Commission said, “Go into all the world and build buildings to worship in.”  What He really said was to make disciples.  Furthermore, even though Jesus had nothing to say about “worship services,” we can worship anywhere…in a park, under a tree, in a rented hall, in a house…anywhere.

I can’t, for the life of me, see the connection between building or expanding buildings and seeking and saving the lost.  May God forgive us for putting untold billions into buildings constructed in the middle of neighborhoods we have no plans for reaching with the saving gospel.

2 Comments

Filed under "Worship Services", Assemblies, church, Church Buildings, Churches, Community, discipleship, Evangelism, Kingdom Growth, Missions/Evangelism, Preaching/Teaching

Getting Them “In”

eyeseeyouChurch leaders are lamenting declining attendance and seeking creative ways to get people into their buildings.  Preachers are even going to where the people are…imagine that!  (Sounds suspiciously like something Jesus did.)  But the goal appears to ultimately get people into their “worship services.” (We seem to forget that we are the “called out” not the “called in.”)

I hate to break it to you, but that’s not going to work.  People have better things to do with their time than to file into an auditorium, sing a few songs, listen to a few prayers, observe a few rituals, pay homage to a few traditions and listen to a monologue that may or may not be relevant…all the while staring at the back of the heads seated in front of them.

Some pin their hopes of getting people into their auditoriums on hiring a hotshot young Osteen-like preacher and a rockin’ band led by a highly talented choreographer/director/producer.  Unfortunately, without a large membership and a large budget, small congregations are left out in the cold.

The only way to increase attendance in assemblies is something any church of any size can do: fulfill their intended purpose namely, to build up our fellow disciples.  What we are doing now is just not cutting it.  When our assemblies become focused on encouragement, enlightenment and stirring up one another to love and good works…our assemblies will be packed.

1 Comment

Filed under Discussion, Garlic and Onions, Heart, Motion Pictures, Science, Uncategorized

Like Night and Day, Darkness and Light, Love and Hate.

I can’t remember a time in recent history that has provided a greater contrast between Christianity and Radical Islam.

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.

Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

1 Peter 2:21-23 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;”

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Attributes of God, Bigotry, Christlikeness, Current Events, Egypt, Good & Evil, Islam, Jesus Christ, Middle East, Peace, Religion, Scripture

From Service to Service

We read recently of a church that transitioned from primarily serving themselves to serving others as the result of a natural disaster.  I thought, “Hooray!  That’s one!”  Regrettably, this kind of change is outstanding because of its rarity.  Why is understanding and practicing the principle of serving so difficult for those who are followers of the One who said He came to serve and not to be served?

It’s ironic that we have come to call our times of assembly “services.”  Really?  Who are we serving?

  • Are we serving God?  Exactly how are we doing that passively sitting in a building?
  • Are we serving our brothers and sisters?  How? By sleepily listening to a preacher or singing to the back of their heads?
  • Are we serving our community?  Is that remotely possible segregated from the community with our butts planted in a pew/chair in one of our edifices?
  • Are we serving our world? How?  It is a stretch to gather into the rarified atmosphere of some auditorium going through motions of minimal meaning and claim we are “serving.”

Our times of assembly can be times of service if we turn them into times of edification and encouragement.  If our preaching, singing, partaking of the wine and bread bring us closer to each other and our Lord then mission accomplished.  If, however, we continue to lethargically linger to lifelessly go through the routine “exercises of this service” (“exercises” is an interesting way to put it), then, at the end of the closing prayer rush to our cars, who will be served?

True service will be accomplished in the world…not out of it (those who isolate themselves in monastic solitude need to understand this).  Our service must be taken out of our comfortable retreats and into our uncomfortable world.  Let’s lift up our eyes.  We are surrounded by suffering and need.  If Christians responded to these realities, there would be little need for a “Nanny State.”

There is no power greater than the words and works of the Holy Spirit as we blend the gospel with service.  One without the other is like faith without works: dead and useless.  Put them together and people will be saved physically, emotionally and, most importantly, spiritually and eternally.

To pin our hopes for national and international salvation on electing the right president, senator or congressperson is misguided and a striving after wind (and, we are getting a lot of “wind” at the moment).  Taking the same energy expended to get our favorite candidate into office and turning it to serve our world and save its lost would truly answer the prayer, “Thy kingdom come.”

2 Comments

Filed under Change Agent, Christlikeness, church, Community, Kingdom Growth, Religion

Where is the Love?

L
GOD
V
E

If love can’t be found among God’s people – where can it be found?  In the gospels and letters, Christians are admonished over and over to love one another and our neighbors. Love is our identity.  It is how we are recognized as followers of Jesus.  It is the badge that marks us as Christians.  It is the quality that sets us apart from the dog-eat-dog culture of materialism and greed.

What an unmitigated tragedy when the lack of love is noted among congregations of self-proclaimed Christians!  It is so contrary to what we should be that it even occasionally makes the news.  Most of the time, however, it is merely observed and noted.  The results are ugly.  People are driven away from such hypocrisy.  I am always reminded of what Gandhi, who lived and died a Hindu, had to say about the Christians he observed, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  Yes, some unfriendly observers may be looking for something wrong – but we make it too easy for them.  Lovelessness is always starkly obvious and always a source of ammunition for those who oppose any form of faith.

Recently one such unfriendly website chronicled the story of a young couple who dared to question leaders of their church about the expenditure of funds (to which they had contributed) and the lifestyle of some of the leaders (who lived off these funds).  If their account is credible, they became the object of scorn, anger and denigration.  Ultimately expelled from their church, their faith took a fatal hit and they are no longer practicing believers.

I really can’t verify this account but it is too much like some of my personal experiences and stories from others over the years to reject out of hand.  And, if true, what a repudiation of the love we should embrace and practice!  We have handed a gun to Satan and asked to be shot.  We have presented a sword to our adversaries and asked to be run through.  Truly, we are our own worst enemy.

I repeat: if love cannot be found among the people who purport to believe their God is the personification of love, where will it be found?  No matter how wonderful we think we are, without love we are nothing.

People killin’, people dyin’
Children hurt and you hear them cryin’
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek?

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questioning
Where is the love?

—Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the Love?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Altruism, Atheism/Theism, Attributes of God, Christlikeness, church, Community, Devil, discipleship, Faith, Good & Evil, Hypocrisy, Love, morality, Religion, Respect, Satan, Scripture, Songs

Wiener or Loser?

Just a few thoughts prompted by congressman Wiener’s indiscretions:

  1. 1. The congressman is not the first to lose his brain somewhere along the way regarding sexual matters.  I dare say most of us men have brainlessly given in (or been strongly tempted) to illicit sexual impulses.
  2. A little sympathy is due to the man whose world has crumbled.  He has destroyed his career as a public figure.  He lives in a glass house and his indiscretions were, and ultimately are, public and potentially career-ending.  Shall we write him off or give him a chance to clean up his career and marriage?
  3. You self-righteous politicians (on both sides of the aisle) need to shut up.  You know you are self-centered and politically motivated.  If something similar happened to you, what would you want others to “do unto you” as you have done?
  4. Let us pause and remember politicians and presidents who have fornicated and committed adultery and are still lionized by those who know the history but have chosen to ignore it.  Do you need names here?  Of course not.
  5. Did the congressman’s exposures need to be exposed?  Absolutely!  Such behavior on the part of a representative of the people must not be tolerated.  He didn’t just slip into lewd behavior, he dove head-first into it.
  6. As you know, Mr. Wiener resigned publically amidst catcalls and insults.  Yes, his actions were uber despicable.  But, under tremendous pressure to resign, he did so.  Let him go in peace!  Time will tell if he’s learned any lessons.
  7. Finally, what would Jesus do?  If you really want to know, read John 8:1-11.

Now it could be that none of my readers has ever come close to making a serious sexual mistake – even if it is only in your mind.  If that is the unlikely case, you apparently have permission to cast the first stone.  If not, then just go on about your business, leave the congressman alone and seek to be pure of mind and heart.

Is Mr. Wiener redeemable or incorrigible?  Since all I know is what I read in the papers or see on television, I don’t have a clue.  I do find myself, however, wishing that I could talk to him and see if he is open to the forgiveness and redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  I believe he might like the idea of “walking in newness of life.”

1 Comment

Filed under Adultery, Condemnation, Current Events, Good & Evil, Hypocrisy, Infidelity, Jesus Christ, Judgmental, Men's Issues, morality, Politics, Redemption, Ridicule, sex

Arizona Anguish

In the aftermath of the horrible tragedy in Tucson, we in the U.S. are taking another look at ourselves and our conduct.  This shooting is another in a series of multiple murders occurring in public places.  We are attempting to surface and analyze factors which might have contributed to such horrible bloodshed.  It seems to this writer these incidents have at least two common ingredients:

1.       Some deranged nut has decided to make his point by killing innocent people then, in some cases, committing suicide.

2.       Very often their erratic, potentially violent and aberrant behavior has been revealed in their public ranting and raving on the internet and in other forums.

Otherwise, commonalities are hard to find.

Some have pointed to the obvious decline of civility – especially among politicians and particularly during campaigns (where the mud-slinging is equivalent to excavating the Panama Canal) — as a cause.  They have specified rancorous debates in Congress where one member actually dares to interrupt another – even the President of the United States!

I find this amusing.  Our congress is actually much more sedate than the British or Australian legislative bodies.  If you don’t believe me, listen in to public debates and speeches (even by the Prime Ministers) in the English or Australian Parliaments.  So far, these have not provoked anything worse than name-calling.  Nasty campaigns and rowdy debates may be reprehensible, but there’s no evidence they morph into massacres.

As of this writing, citizens of the United States are in mourning for the senseless loss of life in our country.  How to avoid similar tragedies in the future will be the subject of many future discussions and investigations.  In the meantime, what can we do?

1.       Our leaders/public figures/politicians/celebrities can be more circumspect and take responsibility for their conduct.  Unfortunately thousands, like sheep, look to them as trend-setters and examples, for good or ill.

2.       We can be sensitive to warning signs in our neighbors, family, co-workers and fellow-students.  Parents, counselors and teachers need to take erratic behavior and threats of violence seriously.  So often the shooters are lonely, marginalized people who need help we can give or get for them.  And, for goodness sake, keep guns out of the hands of the obviously mentally disturbed.

3.       Finally, and most important of all – those who claim to follow Christ can live as our Master dictates: loving our God, loving our neighbors and treating others as we wish to be treated.  There are enough of us to make a major positive difference.

In the meantime, as you pray, be sure to lift up the precious families and victims of the Arizona heartbreak to the Father.

1 Comment

Filed under Community, Current Events, Life, Love, Politics, Prayer

THE MEANING OF THE TOMB

Mark the 16th chapter begins like this:

After the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they said to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (It was a very large stone.) Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. So they entered the tomb, where they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe — and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here — he has been raised!  Look, here is the place where he was placed. Now go and give this message to his disciples, including Peter: “He is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ “

But why the words, “Including Peter?” Why is that in this text?  Could it be because Peter had denied him?  In Luke 22, starting with verse 54 we read the story: Continue reading

5 Comments

Filed under Eternal Life, Faith, Jesus Christ, Meaning of Life, Resurrection, Salvation

The Full, Upright Position

When one flies economy (cattle) class, space is precious.—between you and the passenger next to you – especially space between you and the person in front of you.

All flights are different … some with more room, some with less.  It is seldom enough for comfort.  And so, it is particularly difficult when the person in front decides to put his seat in the recliner position.

By some unknown combination of mysterious “forces” and blind chance, it seems I get placed behind someone who, with thoughtless disregard, reclines his seat upon reaching cruising altitude (sometimes before) and leaves it there until a meal is served and the flight attendant makes him put his seat forward.

It happened today on a flight from Brisbane to Auckland – not a terribly long flight but too long to have someone’s headrest nestling in your beard.  I looked around and absolutely no one (even the beardless) in sight was having a similar problem.  One feels “singled out” in some way.  One asks, “Why me?”

Now the temptation is to express one’s irritation in a number of ways: leaning forward and clearing one’s throat loudly in the offender’s ear; bumping one’s knees against the back of the offending seat; pressing the button to return the chair to the “full upright position” while the perp has gone to the lavatory.  Or one could loudly say, to no one in particular, “Don’t you hate it when someone reclines their chair when no one is sleeping?!!  How IRRITATING!”

Two forces combine to keep this from happening: 1. Reluctance to create a scene not orchestrated by the Holy Spirit and, 2. A desire to be like Jesus.  What would Jesus do with the situation under discussion?  Well, since Jesus gave little consideration to personal comfort, I don’t think He would do anything unless it furthered the mission He came to accomplish.

And so…when it became apparent that no good could come from creating a scene, I did nothing.  Ok, I did bump his seat a couple of times…but that’s all.

2 Comments

Filed under Christlikeness, Humor, Jesus Christ, Kingdom Growth