Archive for September, 2014

This week was one in which my indulgence to eat whatever I wanted for most of my life was exposed. It had been concealed for quite a few years although I was aware there was a growing consequence to my personal preferences. I had an echo-stress test done that revealed a block in an artery. An angiogram was required to find it. Three stints had to be inserted into the main artery to the heart to resolve the issue. The rest of the resolution was on me to change my diet and be involved in the lovely practice of serious exercise.

In a similar manner, we often disregard what really matters to God and substitute that which we believe has equal value or at least gives us some notion of significance. We can do this for what seems an indefinite amount of time before our life is displayed on the billboard entering town.

A few sentences in the Word illustrate this. Luke 10:38-42 reveals a truth that is often hard. Jesus points out that there is only one thing Martha needs to have in her life, only one thing is essential and that is to be in a listening and learning relationship with Jesus. Everything else goes out the window when we realize this is what matters most in life. Our busy schedules we cram life into actually suffocate us and we do not hear God speak into our life-we just don’t have time for it.

Galatians 6:7 is often learned a lot later in life. Whatever we invest our life pursuing will always produce either mess or order, traveling in circles or in a God directed direction, confusion or certainty, frustration or joy…It is our choice, but no one makes a fool of God.

What do you know is hidden from view in your life that you would rather no one knowing about? How can you be certain you are investing your life in what really matters?

We recently took a trip from Boise, ID. to Levenworth, WA. I thought we would never get out of Oregon because the speed limit was 55 on the 2 lane roads and 65 on the Interstate. The distance seemed to keep getting longer as we traveled.

Our relationship with Jesus is not static because as he introduces us increasingly to himself and his perspectives, we realize we have the option of moving toward or away from him. It is not unlike any relationship with another person. As we share more of our life with someone, we introduce something into that relationship that can cause some to realize we are going to have to be honest with them and it can quickly get painful. Or, it stimulates something in us to be more open with them as we realize this is a safe place to be.

In Luke 9:57-62 and 14:25-34, Jesus makes us think about the implications of “following him.” He’s not interested in our learning more or “correct” doctrine, memorize more verses about him, or most of the religious stuff we think he values. He’s interested in us getting closer to him, trusting him with every doubt or question we have, and doing life his way.

The more Jesus defined what he was about and looking for, the fewer were interested. Some walked close enough to hear him whisper but most moved further away and only heard a word or two.

As you look at the last 6 months or a year ago, what would you write about the distance between you and Jesus? How can you change it?

Only a connoisseur would be interested in asking how old a bottle of wine is. That is an important question. How old the chef is in the restaurant is, really, not that critical for an important evening out with your honey. But the wine…well, the age would be more important.

Some would rightly argue-“who cares about the chef’s age or the age of the wine?” In the scheme of life, these questions are not the important ones. So what are some of the important questions in life?

We all have options, choices, and decisions that contribute to God’s purposes or our own interests and focuses. We are always asking questions but not necessarily the important ones. Our questions reveal what we believe are the critical or important issues in life. They expose our thinking about life, values and purpose.

Every question we ask (except whether we should get a Coke or Dr. Pepper type), is rooted to something. Matthew 6:33 for example shows what many questions we ask should be related to, . And, when you consider Isaiah 43:7, you have a good foundation for what questions have value and those that really don’t matter.

What are some questions you should ask as you consider these aspects of life: Job/Career, Decisions, Relationships, Church, Money, Use of Time, Where to live…?

Another way to think about this is to look at the questions Jesus asked. Look through a gospel and think about why Jesus asked the questions he did. What can you learn  from the questions Jesus asked?

Occasionally I see an old VW Camper like the one I used to drive. It is very distinctive and is not seen very often because most people trade their car for another one every 5 years or so. It definitely stands out as something we may long for but the new technology invented almost daily steals away our longing to drive such a distinctive vehicle without the newest technology.

Jesus and a true follower are also distinctive today. Colossians 2:8 speaks loudly that we are to be alert to not being taken captive by the empty and misguided data we are fed today. So much sounds right and good but this is a reason we must know what God says about life and what really matters.

An alive relationship with God where we really do hear him tell us how to live from his perspective is so refreshing but contrary to most of what vies for our attention.

What keeps you from standing out from others when you know what God expects of you? How can you begin to live more distinctively in the cultures that speak a language other than what God says in the Word?