Archive for December, 2012

Why would you be on either of these roads? Well you say “it depends on where you want to go.” There are many differences in these two highways but one of the obvious is that one is about 6 lanes going to San Francisco and 6 lanes going to San Jose; the other, well let’s just say you will have to wait for other cars to go through some of the narrow parts before you can. One is filled with cars and trucks almost all of the time and the other, you do now want to meet even one truck on this road.

Matthew 7:13 and 14 describe a couple of differences between narrow and broad that not only apply to roads but also our lives as Christians. To be clear, there are times you need the interstate but that narrow road has beauty not found with multiple lanes or many cars. We need to be careful we don’t substitute the size and speed of travel on the interstate with the reward of the narrow road.

Not many in the Western world have either time or courage to travel the narrow road as it relates to the Christian life. Churches are groups of Christians who are basically on one or the other of these ways of living the Christian life. For example, one road results in superficial change while the other is so real it is scary; one builds shallow community while the other is a tight knit family; one allows only those who are “like us” in while the other is often characterized as “messy”(you”re not sure what someone might say or wear or have pierced).

Let’s not present a revised or watered down version of church or how to live the Christian life.

Which road do you prefer? What would happen if you chose the other one?  It does really depend on where you want to go.

San Jose, CA freeway interchange 280 and 87

San Jose, CA freeway interchange 280 and 87 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mardi Gras Exposed

Posted: December 27, 2012 in Authentic, Courage, Fear, Honesty, Real, Superficiial
New Orleans Mardi Gras: Street costumers in th...

New Orleans Mardi Gras: Street costumers in the French Quarter, wearing elaborate flower costumes in the traditional local Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I grew up in New Orleans-spent 11 years there and in the time I was there went to 11 Mardi gras celebrations, riots or whatever you wanted to call them. One of the interesting aspects of it was how many people dressed either extremely weird or wore a mask of some kind. Either way you really did not know who they were. You could easily bump into a high powered lawyer who had black grease all over his body with moss hanging from his head and was carrying a giant bone of some kind in each hand. Fascinating to look at but he was not interested in sitting down at Starbucks with a coffee and talking about his life with you.

Mardi gras is celebrated in so many small groups-maybe not the wild decorated bodies but definitely with masks that seem to be permanently attached. What I want is to be a part of a band of brothers and sisters who are not going to pretend anything, will tell you what you might not rather hear because they value honesty so much, do not live in superficial hiding places and are so authentic that it makes everyone else remember they had an appointment somewhere else and have to leave now.

Following Jesus always exposes and severely challenges us but the freedom of being real is refreshing and what others long for also. Tim

othy saw Paul’s life up close and chose to be a part of his small group. Take a look at 2 Timothy 3:10 and 11.

Are you willing to let people be real with you? Are you willing to be real with them? Or do you prefer the Mardi gras group?

Men easily get impatient when someone takes longer than 5 minutes to get ready. “Just grab any pair of jeans and a t shirt and you will look strikingly gorgeous.” 30 minutes later you are now into the second quarter of the bowl game and have all but forgotten about going anywhere. Now all you’re concerned about is making popcorn.

A couple of comments we often hear go like this: “You should know better by now” or “You keep doing the same thing, when are going to get it?” These are not random comments but reflect our impatience with people who have become Christians and are not changing  fast enough for us. And maybe we even say “if you were really following Jesus, you would think differently.”

No one changes quickly. Colossians 2:6 reminds us that the Christian life is like a walk-we begin with faith and grow in faith. You can jog through a cathedral and everything will be a blur or you can walk and observe the creative genius of the artist. When we walk with Jesus at a steady pace  we see, think, learn and we change. Sometimes we trip

English: A black T-shirt.

English: A black T-shirt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and if someone sees us flat on our back on the walking path they could conclude we are lazy or out of our mind.

Why do we think we have the right formulas for changing patterns of someone’s life that may have become entrenched for years? God says “you are going the right direction, keep walking, you’ll change and by the way , can I walk with you today?”

Games People Play (book)

Games People Play (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are sure they scored, all they have to do is review the play from this angle and they will overrule their decision. We get tired of how many times a play in a football game is checked again and again as if the ruling will keep us from going over the “fiscal cliff.” I mean we are talking about things that really matter here. At least while they are checking the play we can go to the cabinet and get more chips.

God has some really outlandish things to say in the Bible and sometimes we are not sure we can go there. He says some things about our life, lifestyle and beliefs for which we would like him to review this call. We show up for every spiritual meeting available, memorize tons of verses, understand all the stories, volunteer at the homeless shelter and then he says things like “you don’t get into the big house by telling me I am the boss.” Liking the idea of Jesus being in control and being under his ownership are opposite realities.

We come to the end of our life and think we have our ticket punched and Jesus says something like Matthew 7:21 or Luke 6:46 and we want his call reviewed. He has to see that we did all of the right things, right? But we also have convenient ways defining what he must mean in Luke 14:26,27 and 33.

How can you remove this potential surprise comment from Jesus to you?

Noise or distractions-we don’t want them and don’t need them but they are everywhere. So let’s drive to Denver and buy some of those Bose head phones to eliminate noise or any distraction. Last Friday we drove to south Denver from Loveland which is normally an hour drive. The noise from traffic and the thousands of distractions and more than one accident on I-25 left us almost wishing we were on a tractor in the middle of a 1 million acre farm in eastern Colorado.

But you can’t usually find that farm and you have to make trips to IKEA even when it is south Denver. So, how do you keep the noise and distractions at bay in everyday life? Noise and distractions are thieves that rob us of the life God intended. We need Bose head phones or…something else.

What is it that will allow us to focus on what really matters in the midst of the noise and distractions that surround us? Psalm 46:10 is not only a challenge but also an essential lifestyle decision we must make in our world of fast pace everything.

What are you willing to change in order to live free from the ever pursuing marketing schemes of the enemy to provide everything that never satisfies? For extra credit check out Luke 10:38-42; 12:14-21 and Colossians 3:1-2.

Bose retail store located in Century City, LA, USA

Bose retail store located in Century City, LA, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph...

A Norwegian Christmas, 1846 painting by Adolph Tidemand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Almost everyone hates delay of any kind. Why do we have to wait for Christmas? Just do it now. “The Interstate is backed up for miles; I’ve been waiting in this line for hours.” These are common words we use to express our disapproval of how our perspective reflects our understanding of how life is supposed to work.

Delay does not remove opportunity but rather teaches us valuable lessons. Think with me about Jesus getting a text from a couple of women about his friend who was really sick. They knew he would respond immediately but instead he turned off his phone…for 2 days! And Laz died while Jesus and the gang of 12 hung out doing whatever. Finally it was time and Jesus said “let’s go see him.”

Jesus had a different perspective, a different time frame and a different objective in waiting two days before going to see his friends. This does not make sense…or does it?

In 7 months my wife and I will move from our apartment. Our lease is up and we are out. Where are we moving to? What exactly are we going to do? We have told God over and over that we are willing to move anywhere so just let us know and we will get after it. Even an apartment on a ski slope in France next to a bakery would work. What if it is June 2013 and we do not have an answer? What are our conclusions? Do we still believe God knows or that he is maybe on a vacation somewhere?

Check out John 11:1-16 and Genesis 22:1-14 before you get frustrated with y

our perspective of “God’s delay.”

Are you willing to learn from “delay?” How can you deepen your trust that God knows exactly what his is doing?