Archive for September, 2012

“He’s such a popular guy, everyone likes him, I can’t wait until he gets here, and the jokes he tells…”-quote seen  in the Jerusalem Post  in  AD 32. Wait, who are they talking about? “This guy has to be stopped, he is ruining everything we have tried to build and he discredits our tradition…and us, look who he is hanging with now.” Now, who said this?

One thing is certain-Jesus was loved or hated. There was no middle ground. He never allowed that. He cared too much for those looking for a way out of the multiple jails they had been put into by the religious people of their day as well as what life had dictated. They knew he didn’t approve of their lifestyle but he always showed up at “happy hour” to be with them.

To make an impact with people outside of the Christian sub-culture we are going to have to be embedded in the culture of the world. This does not include compromise but rather association.

Take a peek at Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:39; 19:5-7. Do you need to change anything in your routine to follow Jesus in this aspect of life?

You Don’t Have to Leave

Posted: September 15, 2012 in Church, Perspective

For some situations and some places in the world change is required to participate in an event. A summer military boot camp requires you to leave your shorts and flip flops behind as well as your secure location and enter a strange “what the spank is going on” situation you are not used to.

Some of our  kinds of rules should not apply to being involved in church. We really need to understand that you do not have to leave your culture for another one in order to be involved in church.

Debates about religious practices are usually a waste of time. The early church often met where people could easily drop in with the clothes they wore every day and even a glass of wine or some food. It is better when God writes the rules and not us. Romans 16:5 is an example of where a church of early Christians and perhaps not yet Christians met. Some of the most effective churches today meet under bridges of interstate highways. These churches are packed with people who might be looked on with suspicion or prevented from entering the building.

Are we making more opportunities for people to be involved with Jesus or making their decision to sleep in easier?

Wouldn’t it be sweet if you could study hard for 3 months and then take a 3 1/2 year trip around the world with your diploma under your arm? Not going to happen. If you want the degree, get ready for many long nights and many opportunities to bail on the whole deal. No one would think this is possible but then think about the whole idea of  discipleship or disciple making.

 Shortcuts to being a committed disciple and disciple maker would never sleep in the same bed. When Jesus told the original gang to teach others to practice everything he taught and modeled to them, that would include teaching others to do the same thing. Check Matthew  28:18-20. By the way, Jesus spent about 3 years with these guys.

Then Paul added in writing Timothy that Tim should entrust what he learned from Paul to those who would keep the whole deal moving forward to the 21st century and beyond. 2 Timothy 2:2. Not sure how much time Paul spent with Timothy but they travelled throughout Asia and who knows where else. 2 Timothy 3:10 & 11 detail some of their time together.

Does your life reveal that being and making disciples is an option to consider or are you involved in the life of someone helping them learn how to make a difference while they are on this planet? Who could help you get started?

The Parking Lot

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Church, Culture, Evangelism

It’s Sunday morning and there are no parking places. Referring to those driving to visit a church? Not really-it is the parking lot at my apartment complex. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know you get up and go to church on Sunday morning? These people don’t get up until 10 or 11 and then they wander over to the pool or hot tub. A lot of them walk around the lake with their dog.

What about bringing church to these people instead of trying to take them to another location? Jesus frequented the synagogues of his day but most of his ministry to those called “sinners” (all of us). There is nothing wrong with meeting with other believers on Sunday but most people who do not know Jesus won’t get up on Sunday morning and drive to another parking lot to be with religious people. We must think about how we are going to get the gospel to these people. Maybe they would come to our apartment or a clubhouse or Panera Bread to talk about what life is about. This is what my wife and I are working at while we live in this part of the world.

Jesus seemed to be highly interested in making friends with and bring life to a culture that did not know how to make life work. Think about Luke 14:25 and the sentences that follow or just read a gospel and notice how Jesus used up many of his days and evenings.

What are your not yet Christian friends doing next Sunday…or Tuesday evening?

Regardless of what you put an artificial sweetener in or on it is never quite like sugar. It might be cleverly packaged but it always fails. It promises but never really delivers.

Like the sweetener we all have something in life that defines for us what life is about. It is the ultimate power that all of our decisions are related to. It is in effect our “god.” As life goes on, we often change it but it remains a “god” to us even though we have this bad taste in our mouth after taking a swallow.

Think about the implications of “I AM” in Exodus 3:14 and the many “I AM’s” Jesus dropped on people. (John 8:57&58; 6:35; 8:12; 14:6 etc) And then there is the conversation in Mark 10:17-23 where Jesus makes it clear that our “god’s” will never cross the finish line. Acts 19:26 and 1 John 2:15&16 further emphasize the futility of trying to replace Jesus in our life with anything as our ultimate meaning, authority or whatever.

What does your schedule for the last month reveal what you really believe is the point of life?  Talk with someone who will keep you accountable with your making a change.