Super Bowl?

I have heard so many people this year referring to Easter Sunday as the super bowl of Christianity.

I guess I get it.  Gives people kind of a frame of reference that they can relate to.  But, well really…

Easter stars the true Greatest of All Time, Jesus Christ, THE KING OF KINGS!

And, let’s see, for all eternity, He’s undefeated.  Every play, every movement of the defense, every breath of every player is controlled by Him.  Oh you think that Christians get killed, suffer persecution and ridicule, so they must be losing?  Not so, every jeer they endure, every moment they suffer, every drop oof blood they shed moves the offense closer to winning.  

Hypocrites, liers and cheats, money hungry con artists say they’re on the team but the deceit they clothe themselves in reveals who they belong to.  And it also reveals more clearly the patient, enduring, self sacrificing love of our coach, the owner, the GM, the quarterback, the captain (He’s all of them).

And if you’re keeping score, um, before you check, God can’t be scored on so we know the enemy is at zero.  And Jesus scores at will so after two thousand plus years, there’s quite a few points on the board.

Seriously, the only “points” God wants are people.  And we know we’ve lost too many, one would be too many.  But what we celebrate at Easter is not a win we might get someday.  He already won it.  He is the Victor and we are too, in Him.

Maybe the super bowl should call itself the eternal, ever glorified, final, debt releasing, all forgiving, culmination of human effort.

I don’t know.  Doesn’t sound right to me either.

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Married Up

My brain gets stuck on things and then once again, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

See, I’ve listened to great marriage counselors and speakers who talk about how they “married up”, married someone who was out of their league.

Always, it is a guy.  I’ve never heard a woman say this.  Of course, I’ve also never heard a woman say, “he married up when he got me.”  That would be weird.

Now, as someone who married up, I find myself still having a problem with this.

What is the end result?

OK, so your husband is an idiot.  He’s a loser.  He can’t do anything right.

Oh wait, your wife is perfect.  Walk in shame next to her.

Yeah, I know, overly dramatic, but here’s the problem.  God gave us to each other.  I don’t believe he ever goes, “well, this one is great but I can’t find a good match for them.  Guess I’ll just give them this one.”

I’m pretty sure that when God brings two people together, he’s stoked because he is bringing the best for both people.  Even with all their faults and issues, they are RIGHT for each other.  RIGHT!  Each is blessed to be with the other.  The world is blessed because they are together.

It really is amazing.

So yeah, I married up.  I would never claim to be better than her.  But maybe I should see myself as perfect for her and step it up a bit.

Unauthorized

One of the strangest and most disturbing stories (to me, at least) in the bible is in Leviticus 10.

Yeah, Leviticus.  Old Testament.  Laws out the wazoo.  Skipped by many.

No, it is not all boring.

At least it wasn’t boring for Nadab and Abihu.  They were the sons of Aaron, the first high priest of Israel.  In line to become high priests themselves after their father dies.  And nothing tells us they were bad guys.  However, they offered “strange” fire at the altar.

This story has been told for, literally, thousands of years to show how we better not mess up or God will “get” you.  Screw up and you are fried.  And I’ve always wondered, what the heck did they do that was so bad?

Understand, Aaron, good old dad, made an idol for the children of Israel to worship.  Didn’t die.  Later on, some other sons of the high priest Eli were drinking on the job and having sex with women that came to the temple.  And they, well ok, they died too but way after the sinning started.  And Caiaphas, don’t even get me started on Caiaphas.

The explanation given needs to be looked at in a couple translations:

NIV – Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: “‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’”

ESV – Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” 

So what it sounds like is, if you are approaching or already near God, don’t screw up, cuz then he’ll GET YA!

Wait, that’s not right.  I thought those who were close to God or trying to be close to God got a little grace.  You know, kind of a mulligan, because we’re friends.

And shoot, if we don’t get that mulligan, why get close to God?  I know for a fact I’m going to fail badly.  Probably better if I just keep some distance between me and the big Guy.  That’s what the children of Israel did when Moses got the Law in the first place.

“You go talk to Him.  We’ll do what you say, but you have the relationship.”

After walking with God for a while, I’m starting to see how I’ve looked at God that way.  I’m starting to see what is meant when we say, “God IS love (emphasis mine)!”

So how do you justify frying to guys for unauthorized fire.

The fire in question was intended to light the censers that held the holy incense.  Incense, burning incense, has always been a symbol of prayer, even in other cultures.  And the fire was only supposed to come from the altar of sacrifice.

The fire of my prayers is supposed to come from a heart and life laid down on the altar.

I want to be a better husband, a better father.  I have dreams and hopes that are yet unfulfilled.  I want to see my family, my church, my friends and brothers, my city, state, country following Jesus, living for Him completely.  I pray for healings to take place, miracles to be seen, truth to be revealed, love to triumph over hate in all its forms.

So what fires my prayers?

The warning isn’t that God will kill me.  The warning is that I will lose my place near Him.

I’d rather die.

What Are You Selling?

I’ve been involved with church for a long time at multiple levels.  I’ve done everything from preach to scraping gum off the undersides of chairs.  I’ve seen phenomenal leadership and some that was, well, less than…

I’ve seen street evangelists that were beyond weird.  Shoot, I’ve probably been the weird street guy and done so much of what I’ve done out of a sense of obligation.

Good christians go out into the streets and throw tracts at people.  They leave tracts instead of decent tips at restaurants.  They accost people at awkward moments and let them know “the way, the truth and the life.”

I’ve been on both sides of those conversations and never been successful.

Most of the time, I was more embarrassed than the person that I was talking to.  I was more afraid.

We sing the songs in church.  “How Great Thou Art”, “How Great is Our God”, so many others.  But what do I truly believe?

See, I know a little bit about Him.  And He actually is amazing.  What I offer to my friends and family is a King who will never leave them.  He doesn’t judge them or hate them.  He doesn’t condemn them for their choices.

Yes, He wants to heal.  He wants to bring life and peace and love.  He has a reason for why I’m here, why my life matters, why there has been pain and how I can do better.  And He promises to go with me through it all.

I can’t offer anything better.

No one can.

 

Please click on the link to check out Cory Asbury’s new album. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/reckless-love/1320253615

Not Joseph

I hear the testimonies…

People who were put in hard situations and remained faithful.  Diamonds forged by the pressures of adversity.  Gold refined by the fire of tribulation.

Yeah, that’s not me.

I came to Jesus from difficulty.  Truly encountered him and have seen my response to betrayal, illness, fears and sorrows.  And I always choose wrong.

In one sense, though many things are going so well, I feel the desert around me.  And I’ve still been choosing fear and bitterness, depression and anger.

In the comparison with Joseph’s life, I’m the guy that slept with the wife and probably got impaled (did they have worse executions).  If facing the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I’m the coward crawling on the floor, worshiping the lie of another god.

Yet God chose me, and not only did He choose me, He is still choosing me.

And He didn’t choose me to just get me out of hell.  He chose me for a purpose, a calling, something amazing.

What amazes me even more is that He walks with me!  Not sidestepping when I fall in the faeces.  Not waiting for me to clean myself off.  He is with me every step, in every pit, never letting go of me.

So that leads me to today.  Another day to choose.  Another day to live.

He’s not giving up on me.

Maybe I won’t either.

Hard to tell since I’m not Joseph…

I think I just heard someone rattling some keys…..

Maybe it’s the baker and the cupbearer…

 

Needing encouragement?  Check out Cory Asbury and any of his music!

Trying

I love working with my son.

Mind you, he drives me crazy sometimes.  It’s possible that I drive him crazy, too.  But, I doubt it.

We were working on reflooring the one bathroom in our house.  After tearing up the old flooring, we both looked at the bare wood before us and then glanced at each other as if to say, “what do we do now?”

“Have you ever done this before?”  Nope!  Neither one of us had done that type of flooring.  And so we walked away from it.

A day later, I put in the floor and put in the new toilet.

Here’s a secret that most people that do remodeling won’t tell you.  We haven’t always done or ever done what you might want us to do.  What you are asking for probably could be done by you almost as well as it can be done by me.  The only difference between us is that I will try it.  Most of what I have learned, I learned first by doing it wrong.

I still make mistakes.  If you look closely, you will see imperfections in most of what I do still to this day.

That’s ok.

And it’s ok in life too.

Most of the experts we praise in life still make huge mistakes.  They are flawed.  They fail.

It just doesn’t stop them.

So, are you looking at something that God wants you to do?  Are you seeing something in front of you that you know is doomed to failure, simply because your hand is in it?  Are you afraid of your future?

Yeah, I’m not actually talking to you right now.  I’m talking to me.

Feel free to listen in.

Jump.

Fly.

Try….

Sitting, Running, Giving

The bible makes me laugh so much of the time….

Many of us have read or heard the story about Jesus feeding the five-thousand.  For those who haven’t, check out John 6.  The story is in Matthew, Mark and Luke also if you want to compare.

Anyhoo…

The people gather, they want something to eat and three types emerge.

There were five thousand men plus women and children.  Those aren’t the three types.  It tells how the Lord told them to sit down.  So the men sat.  The fact that we don’t hear about the women sitting is what makes me laugh.

We’ve all been there.  The guys sit down to watch the game while the children are climbing the walls, causing trouble.  The moms are running around after them saying, “put that down, quit hitting your brother, don’t eat that…”

So there were three groups, the ones sitting, the ones running.  But, then there was Jesus and by association, his disciples.  They were giving.

I have been the one sitting.  Waiting for something amazing to happen.  Looking for God to move so that I can see for myself that He is real.  Not lifting a finger except to put food in my mouth.

I have been the one running.  Chasing my tail.  Busy with so many things, so many good things.  Mainly just running.

I want to be someone that is giving.  Giving Jesus the little that I have, all that is me.  Letting Him break it and bless it.  And then giving to those that God puts in my life.

It’s easy to get caught up in sleeping, apathy, checking out.  Just as easy to be caught in the race to prove myself, to follow the chaos, chasing dreams that evaporate before I can put my hand on them.

But nothing compares to being a vessel.  Being the one that God calls to touch and bless others.