Apr 30, 2009

Great Quote - Says it All

"Jesus loves you just the way you are. And He loves you too much to let you stay where you are." Anonymous.

Apr 21, 2009

Oh, That's What the Log in My Eye Looks Like

I just got back from having lunch with my wife.

But here's the thing.

I told her that we would meet at Angelina's at noon for lunch. I've been looking forward to some good Italian pasta, you see.

So I get to Angelina's a few minutes before noon so that my wife doesn't have to wait for me. You see, that's the kind of guy I am.

And once there, I'm messing around with my Blackberry wondering what could possibly be taking her so long. So I try calling Helen but for some reason my phone has no signal. And the longer I'm waiting, the more irritated I'm getting.

I wait 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes.

I go outside the restaurant to see if I can get a signal, but no signal.

Why is it that there is no signal when you need it the most? So annoying.

Now, I'm not only thinking bad thoughts, but now I'm getting flat out mad. It's almost been 40 minutes and she's not around.

Finally, I can't take it anymore and I do a full reset of my phone which gets me one bar on my phone. I make a phone call asking where she is.

And guess where she was? Angelina's.

Where was I? Amores. OOPS!

The whole time I was thinking Amores - the Italian place, but I called it Angelina's - the Mexican place.

To top it all off, while Helen was waiting for me outside Angelina's, a bird flies by and poops on her hair!

She was not a happy person. She was not happy with her husband.

And the entire time, I was thinking bad thoughts.

I apologized profusely to my wife.

That's what Jesus was talking about when he was talking about the speck and the log in the eye.

Apr 10, 2009

Fulfilling or Full

Jesus said, "I came that you might have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10).

And as I observe church going Americans, I think we have taken Jesus at His word on this. This is probably the most obeyed command of Jesus in the Bible.

Most of our lives are just full.
- full of activities
- full of running here, running there, running everywhere not really accomplishing anything of lasting importance
- full of stress
- full of unpaid bills
- which leads to even more stress and now coupled with anxiety
- our lives are so full of it!

I know this isn't what Jesus had in mind when He told us to that He came to this world to make our lives full.

There is a huge difference between full life and a fulfilling life. The life He came to give, the life offered is the fulfilling life. And that is what this day - Good Friday - is all about. It is "Good" because Jesus came to die and descend into hell to rise again on the third day to enable those who believe in Him and trust Him to live fulfilled lives.

And that is indeed good news.

Blessed Good Friday everyone.

Apr 7, 2009

Ridiculous Faith

Faith makes no sense. That's why it's faith.

It makes no sense that Jesus fed thousands with two fish and five loaves of bread. That's ridiculous!

No way the Red Sea could have split in two to let the Isralelites through and they swallow up the Egyptian army. Stuff like that doesn't just happen. That's ridiculous!

No man can be swallowed up by the whale and live to tell about it! That's ridiculous!

No way you can put all the animal kingdom on a boat! That's ridiculous!

No way that a young teen age boy can charge the Goliath with nothing but a sling and stones and win! That's ridiculous!

And that's exactly what faith is - it's ridiculous. And that's the kind of faith I want to live. I don't want some safe, sterile, sensible faith. I want to know what it's like to slay the giant. I want to know what's it's like to see thousands added to the kingdom on a single day. I want to know what it's like to see God feed the thousands.

Kerry Shook says, "When you're operating on the basis of reason, all you can see is how big your giants are. If you're operating in faith, all you can see is how small your giants are compared to God."

Give me a ridiculous faith God. I want to see God!

I just slept 37 Hours!

Wow! I had no idea how tired I was, and I had no idea that a person could sleep so long.

I guess I was more tired after preaching for the first time since surgery than I thought.

I came home Sunday afternoon and we had some guests for dinner. I then went to bed. That's pretty normal. What was different was that after breakfast I was still tired and my head felt like I was in a fog. So I went back to bed.

I then woke up hungry around 4pm. I had an early dinner and hung out with the family for a while. Still felt like my head was in a cloud and still felt tired so went back to bed and slept.

I then woke up at around midnight and I thought to myself, "Oh oh! I just slept around 30 hours and I woke up at midnight." I thought I was going to stay up all night.

But I felt tired. So I went back to bed and slept soundly until 7:30 this morning!

That's got to be a record or something. I slept for 37 hours in about 40 hours!

Finally this morning I felt like my head was clear.

Surgery does crazy things to the body. I thought I would have fully recovered by now.

Apr 3, 2009

The Dung Gate Builder

Malkijah son of Recab.

Never heard of him?

But he was the ruler of the district of Beth Hakkerem!

Still have no clue who he is?

That's okay because very few people do. Malkijah son of Recab is only mentioned once in all of scripture.

So what's the big deal about Malkijah?

When Nehemiah started rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he gathered all the leaders of the city together to divide up the sections of the wall they would build. I imagine there were many who wanted to build the Golden Gate, or the Fountain Gate. I bet there were others who vied for the chance to build the Fish Gate or the Valley Gate. But there weren't any takers when it came to rebuilding the Dung Gate.

You see, your name would go down in the annals of history forever. It would be written in the book of life itself and forever people would associate your name with the Dung Gate.

And when no one else stepped up to rebuild the Dung Gate, there was one who would.

That's right. Malkijah the son of Recab.

I can just imagine what Malkijah's children said to their daddy when they found out what their daddy had done. Daddy! How could you? Now everyone will associate our family name with DUNG!

But you know what? If your city doesn't have a Dung Gate, your entire city stinks up to royal heaven!

If your church, organization, office, home, doesn't have a Malkijah, I guarantee your place stinks. You see, Malkijah are the ones who do the work that few people want to do, but must be done. Malkijahs are the ones who do their work while no one is watching. They do it because it must get done. But more importantly, they do it because it's God's work.

You'll see the Malkijahs every Sunday who stay behind while everyone else leaves the sanctuary to pick up all the bulletins and trash.

Malkijahs are the ones in the kitchen washing dishes and setting things up so that everyone else can have a good time at the potluck.

Malkiajahs are the ones when no one is watching, shows up to work on the church grounds to plant flowers and plants to make the church pretty for Easter.

And if your church or organization doesn't have many Malkijahs? Well, you know how stinky that is.

Thank God for Malkijahs. You are my heroes!

Apr 1, 2009

The Wrong Battle

Once again, the Presbyterian Church (USA) finds itself debating the ordination of homosexuals. The cost of the debate over sexuality has debilitated the ministry and the mission of the Presbyterian Church for the past four decades.

Sure, there are pockets of ministry still taking place. Sure, there are people who are coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. But these ministries are taking place in spite of what the national church is doing.

This debate has cost the Presbyterian Church much. That is an understatement. The countless hours, energy, money this has cost the church is incalculable. This debate has stolen so much creativity and energy from what the Presbyterian Church could have been.

We have fought this fight strictly on the polity front. We keep trying to preserve language or add language that will change the polity.

This is the wrong battle.

The question before us is not an issue of polity. The real question that continues unaddressed is the question of ecclesiology. The real question that must be answered is - What does it mean to be a connectional church in a post-denominational, post-Christian, and post-modern world?

What does it mean to be Presbyterian or any other brand of Christianity in a world where those denominational distinctions mean almost nothing to a people who reject the Christian worldview?

What does it mean to be the body of Christ when there are churches on both extremes who find much more in common with others who may be of different denominations?

For churches who want to maintain traditional standards, we have much more in common with other Baptists, Lutherans, Methodists, non-denominationalists, and others who affirm unabashedly the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture.

For churches who favore a change in ordination standards, those churches have much more in common with other churches who are already ordaining homosexuals.

What does it mean to be Presbyterian, when if the only thing that seems to be binding and connecting us is the property clause?

What do we think would happen to a denomination called the PC(USA) if the property clause was no longer binding?

And what does it say about our denomination as a whole if the only thing keeping this denomination together seems to be the property clause?

Unless we answer these ecclesiological questions, we will find ourselves fighting a fight that's not worth fighting.