Archive for the ‘Superficiial’ Category

Throughout life we bump into many people. Sometimes on a crowded street or party we might say “excuse me” when that happens. At other times, we seem to be only too concerned about what someone thinks about the weather, politics or any meaningless trivia that never reveals their heart or anything about them.

Jesus was never this way with people? In John 15:15 He shows us who is a real friend. Jesus lets us in on everything He heard from His father. He talked about those things closest to His heart with His friends. In Mark 8:29 Jesus asked these men a question “who do you say I am?” There was something Jesus wanted these men to know-a real friend asks meaningful questions of another because that shows they are interested in them. Jesus, the ultimate friend told His friends the truth. Take Matthew 16:24 for instance. This was a hard word but He loved them enough to tell them the truth. Do you have someone in your life who loves you enough to tell you the truth?

Do you want to know someone? Ask them a meaningful question. Do they want to know you? They will do the same with you. Think about some meaningful questions you could ask people. Always be a friend to the people God intersects your life with.

Why is it so easy to be occupied with the skin-deep issues of life? Issues like: “What was the final score?” “How many yards did he gain?” Is it going to be cloudy again?” Do you want onion rings or fries?” There is no problem asking these questions but why do we rarely ask “How would you describe your thoughts when you heard…?” or “What would it take for you to get serious about ending that habit?””What does our music today indicate about how life has changed over the past 50 years?” That’s too much for our brain to deal with.

We can become focused on religious things that parallel these first four questions very easily and never get to the heart of what Jesus’ focus was. For example, we easily get caught up in how many show up rather than being concerned if they really learned. And do we really know when someone is learning? These things make us think whereas making sure there are enough chairs is an easier deal.

We are to make disciples. How do we know when that is happening? Why is it crucial to know who is a disciple? How do we know we are doing church as God intended? Why is it necessary to understand how to make an application of scripture? All of these questions demand that we think and move beyond the skin deep responses that are much easier to repeat

Matthew 23:23-28 deals with shallow people Jesus confronted. He did it not to embarrass but to help them begin to understand what really matters.

So, what did you think about this week that you would rather no one know about? It is imperative for us to have others in our life who are serious about dealing with stuff like this and love us enough to risk asking us these kinds of questions.

I will be away for the next 8 days and will begin the blog when I return.

Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn_BACK_FROM_ICELAND)

Flirting with Disaster (film)

Flirting with Disaster (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes our relationship with God resembles someone who wants something on their own terms. It’s sort of fun to listen to worship music and then go to that movie you wouldn’t invite your grandmother to come to with you. The Tuesday Bible study group is great because it’s interesting discussion and they serve great snacks but you always forget where you put your Bible as you prepare to go the next week. What the spank is going on here?

We’re just flirting with God! But at least we’re showing up at the study and we have 3rd Day on our Pandora play list. God did not speak us into existence so we could check into him every now and then. Flirting is a common game played by people who really have no intention of developing a meaningful relationship with a person. It’s just fun we say. Flirting can lead to disaster between two people but what about with God? What happens when we occasionally give God some attention? This “beyond extremely shallow” relationship with God, like the game we play with people, will not give us the freedom and full life Jesus promises us.

The people showed up one afternoon to listen to Jesus, they might get a free meal, but what they got was a description of what it really meant to follow Him and all but a handful got out of there as quickly as they could. Seriously look at John 6:47-67 and 8:31&32 and think about whether you are flirting with Jesus. If we act on what Jesus says, then and only then will we know the truth about who God is, how we can make life work, and be set free from the traps of the enemy.

Flirting with God is like partial obedience, in which you are only willing to go so far. In 1 Samuel 15 there is the story of Saul and what his “flirting” resulted in. Don’t settle for anything less than an uncompromising relationship with God.

Thomas and Sarah at The Ritz Hotel

Thomas and Sarah at The Ritz Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One popular slang expression in the 1920’s was “putting on the Ritz” meaning to dress very fashionably and was inspired from the apparently very fine Ritz Hotel. We do like people to see us at our best, to think we are really some cool dude, or that we have it all together. But usually that is as deep as it goes. No way they are going to see what we just thought about while we were at that last party or the glance we just gave their spouse. We’re not taking off the Ritz!

For most of us, being close only equals showing up for the church group meeting or the small group. We might even contribute an idea that causes people to think we’re special. That really is what being real and authentic is about, right? Our intellect is on display for them but not our heart. If we only talk about how great our week went, we tend to be in competition with each other. But when we share how we really blew it last night, we have a chance to become part of a family.

James 5:16 in the Message starts off “Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other…” It results in living together in considerably deeper water. Being real opens the door; consistently being real allows people to sit together on the couch  sharing things that really matter.

Are you sitting on the couch or standing by the door?  Is courage in your vocabulary?

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?