Archive for March, 2014

It may be an important conversation or just getting ready for a trip but just when we think the conversation is over or we’ve finished packing, we hear “just one more thing” and cringe wondering what’s coming next. It could be good news or…

In Mark 10:21 is the climax of a conversation Jesus had with a man who in today’s terminology would be a wall street tycoon who bought a few thousand shares of Apple stock at $10 a share or a business executive who had a lot in several banks.

Jesus had just finished listing the Old Testament check list of the “Big Ten” and probably a few more and the guy was feeling good about this conversation. Then, the bomb-“one more thing you lack” Jesus said. Maybe the guy was beaming with excitement or somewhat confused, but when Jesus told him to sell everything he owned and give it away to the poor and then follow Him, well…The Word on the Street perhaps captures it like this-“The guy’s face shifts through the gears, from anticipation down to hollow. He walks off looking suicidal-he’s stinking rich.”

Just like when we get a cut on our arm and someone offers to help with it we say “don’t touch it!” because it’ll hurt. It’s the same with truth or the facts-it usually hurts to deal with it and we would rather not.

Is there “just one more thing” you know God has been pointing out to you to face or deal with? Why wait? Be a Psalm 119:60 kind of person.

“Be careful little lips what you say” is an old time phrase used in a song sung to little kids a while back. In one sense, this is a powerful warning to set a guard on what we say. Psalm 141:3 speaks directly to this. And what we say is so powerful, it could be compared to being an arsonist. Look at James 3:3-6 for even more about how what we say can be highly destructive.

Yes, we need to exercise some caution when speaking. However, when you are involved in a conversation over a beer with Christian buds or with the top pagans in the city and you know you are about to introduce something into the conversation that probably will result in some unpleasant or confused reactions, what do you do? If God whispered in your heart and told you to say it because it is right, would that make a difference?

Jesus cared deeply about what was right and spoke truth into conversations even though He knew it would make people angry or confused but it was necessary. Jesus seemed to risk his reputation everywhere He went. Sometimes it was intentional and others it was the result of who He was.

One such instance in Matthew 12:46-50 is one of those. Think about just hearing this without the background you and I have with the Bible in our homes and apartments. Jesus stretched the understanding of everyone who heard Him or heard about this. Think about the implications of being connected to Jesus in this way. Believing the stuff Jesus said is one thing, but doing what He said is the indicator that you or I are Jesus’ brother or sister. Would He be able to speak to you or me as one of His brothers or sisters?

The common response of “whatever” is tagged on to about anything in our culture. It conveys a lack of interest or commitment to just about anything. It represents an unwillingness to commitment. Acceptance becomes easy in our culture if you accept everyone’s position as ok for them. A logical conclusion of this way of life is a belief that truth for you does not necessarily mean it is truth for me.Obviously this can have disastrous consequences.

It takes effort to develop strong convictions about the critical issues in life. Examination, thinking and studying are required to discover what is really important. There are many exits available to leave this track of learning. A focus on what the culture values or on what the majority of one’s friends believe to be important, consistently ends in tragedy if the friends are on the “whatever” track.

Satan is no fool and he cleverly provides Christians with opportunities to buy into shallow obedience or watered down convictions. God has provided Godly men and women who consistently have a deepening relationship with Jesus to equip other followers of Jesus with accurate truth. Ephesians 4:11-14 spells it out and when we know the truth about life, we are not tossed back and forth with wondering what is right and wrong. 2 Timothy 2:15 speaks about how we can know the Word of God to deal with everything that comes up in life.

What are some convictions you have developed from the Word that you know will not be shaken by anyone or any circumstance? When you and I know and follow Jesus who is the truth, we are able to offer freedom to others trapped in the maze of “whatever.”

We like the Jesus who is gentle with children, or mothers who have lost a child, or maybe even the man who just lost his job. We love it when he hammers the religious types of his day because in our thinking, they were beyond repair.

It’s kind of like checking out a web site and seeing a whole bunch of stuff we like and agree with,but as we get to the section on values and convictions or non-negotiable issues, we decide not to save that web site to our favorite list.

We can be like that with Jesus and develop our version of Christianity that paints a picture that does not offend us or anyone else. But as soon as we see something in scripture that we aren’t about to do or become, we discard it with an explanation that puts a Band-Aid on a gash that not dealt with,exposes the real self-centeredness of our life and our unwillingness to come to the cross.

Look at the different responses in Acts 2:37 and 7:54. One group determined to hold on to their lifestyle, were determined to eliminate Jesus from changing anything that cost them too much. The other group realized their life was way off track and were willing to do whatever to change regardless of the cost. One group was offended and the other saw the offence in their own life. Two responses with two entirely different endings.

Why not take some time to think about how you have justified maintaining a lifestyle that really doesn’t give any indication that Jesus is the boss? What is one way you can begin to change this?

I am.” I  sure most of us have played the game “hide and seek.” I always like to hide because I could be clever in hiding but I quickly got bored looking for someone. Occasionally, Jesus would leave the crowds but that was to reflect and rest. It was never to hide-you never had to look very hard to find Him. All you had to do was look for the dust that a few demons made as they were exiting someone Jesus was having a conversation with. Often everyone’s attention was drawn to a hill or lake where Jesus just healed someone and the applause and yelling was so loud you had to go check it out-but you knew Jesus was in the house or on the hill.

Jesus lived with intentionality. He got up just like you and I but everything changed in a flash because He was talking with the Father about the day-where He should go and who He should talk with. He knew His conversations would alter someone’s vocation or scare the spank out of them but one way or another, they would not be the same. There were times He knew his match would light the dynamite in someone and they would put a contract on Him to eliminate the hard stuff He was talking about.

In Matthew 4:18 &19 Jesus challenged these guys to think about a new job. He aroused Matthew’s curiosity to such a place where he stopped focusing on the extra money he was going to get for that Mediterranean villa. Look at Matthew 9:9,

And then Zach was perched in a tree so he could see Jesus when he walked by. They had dinner together that night. Luke 19:1-6. And there were times that the mood of some of the listeners was so filled with hatred, that you wondered why Jesus was there. He never missed a beat-He always knew where He was going and who would be in the crowd. Matthew 12:22-37.

Jesus lived with intentionality. How does your day start? What would living with intentionality look like for you? It really depends on if your purpose is the same as Jesus’.