Tuesday, September 28, 2010


"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
-Jesus of Nazareth

Afterwards, it says that 'When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.' How interesting, the crowds 'were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority'...I wonder...who has authority in your life?
In my previous blog I more or less illuded to the fact that there is a major difference between knowing about Jesus' teachings academically-just in the head and knowing him in your heart. David would be a good example of this-for the prophet speaks of 'a man after God's own heart.' Now, that's not to say that David didn't have any issues concerning his faith journey-as you might recall his relationship with Bathsheba and the hardships that followed him when he strayed away from God's commands.
Now, lets get back to the above scripture...Jesus himself says there's a huge difference-those who put his words into practice is like a wise man and those who hear his words, but don't put them into practice is foolish. Which brings me to another warning Jesus gave us in Matthew 23: 'The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.' Jesus warns of those who abuse their authority-those who talk a lot about righteous living, but do little to show it or live it among God's people.
When you think about it, it's rather interesting really. What Jesus was warning us about is the same thing we struggle with today-except that the power of 'authority' has been blurred and divided up amongst the things that take priority in our lives. And when you look at today's culture, not much has changed-there's still greed among us and not just when it comes to money either, there's still drugs and alcohol, there's still death and loss, and there isn't much hope in today's world. Our focus isn't on hopefulness or hope in a better tomorrow, it's in a here and now kind of hope-I hope I can get enough done today to leave early so I can do...or I hope so and so doesn't ask me...or I hope that I have enough money to pay for my bills. Fill in the blanks-what are the things you hope for each day?
Kenneth Boa shares this about hope: 'As children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we are called to a lifestyle of growing others-centeredness and diminishing self-centeredness as Christ increases and we decrease.' And that 'while we are aware that in a sinful world such a lifestyle makes us more vulnerable to the pains of rejection, indifference, demands, misunderstanding, and betrayal, we also realize that a wise person finds more joy in serving other than pursuing posessions, power, performance, or prestige.' (Conformed to His Image)
So, do you remember what I first asked? Who has authority in your life? I asked it for a reason. I asked it so that you might begin to think about your own life-think about your day to day tasks and duties. Ask yourself this: are things crumbling around me like the foolishing builder?
Take it a little further...what aspects of your life aren't you happy with? Once you've written them down, your next task is to indentify why. Remember, this is a process and will take some time...but take time to prayerfully consider and discern God's message to you in your situation-your life right now. Is he calling you to something more or asking you to give up on something in order to focus more time and energy where it's needed?
I will leave you with this-'That which is highly esteemed by among men is detestable in the sight of God'. (Luke 16:15)

*As always, don't be shy. Leave your comments and ask any questions you might have. We'll continue next week and dig further into the 'woes'.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
-Luke 10:25-28

Why do you suppose Jesus answered his question with another question? And why would Jesus ask an expert 'how do you read it'? Do you remember what Jesus talked about after that little exchange? The expert went further to ask 'who is my neighbor' and Jesus segued into a story about the Good Samaritan. The story itself struck at the heart of the matter-you may know what is expected of you, but will you do it?
God gave us freewill-the ability to make decisions on our own...good or bad. It's one of the many characteristics/abilities God gave us when He made us in 'His' image and also led to our eventual boot from the Garden-God told Adam and Eve to NOT to do.
Anyway, over the past 75-some years there's been this great disconnect concerning our relationship to God. We currently live in a 'consumer-based' culture, which has led to the gradual deteriation of relationships, but the bottom line is that we don't know God as we should. In an age of 'information' where it's at your very finger tips-sometimes daily and literally, we may know 'stats' about God, but we really don't have a vested interest in growing deeper in our understanding of God.
Again, lets go back to the above scripture-the expert knew what was written about God, but Jesus really asked him what he thought God was trying to say. Interestingly enough, the expert had to feel 'justified' and asked Jesus 'who is my neighbor'...as if he didn't know who his neighbor was...but I think this story fits well with what we see in today's culure. There's a reason why books like 'unChristian' by David Kinnaman, 'The Christian Atheist' by Craig Groeschel, or 'Loving God When You Don't Love the Church' by Chris Jackson. There is a broken world because of this disconnect-this lack of understanding what a true relationship is and not just between friends or loved ones, but with God.
So how do we open the door for understanding and healing? I think it starts by recognizing that there are those of us who learn differently-some of us are a sponge and information works fine, but there are those of us who learn by watching and doing. We also need to be mindful that each of us are in a different place concerning our spiritual journey-some of us carry scars left by Christians and are broken or lost, some of us have found the path of mercy and forgiveness, but some of us who are doing pretty well in our walk aren't doing enough to help those among us who aren't in such a good place. Hence the parable of the Good Samaritan...even the priest passed by on the otherside of the road-sure he would have taken pity on the man, but he didn't.
So what's better? To know merely information about God or to have a relationship with God?
Now, remember...this is only Part I of this series. I don't know how many there will be, but I do plan to share more. I hope to share more and even upload something based on 'A Circle of Sensibility'. So stay tuned!
*Don't forget to share your thoughts and comment...

Thursday, September 16, 2010


'No man is rich enough to buy back his past.'
-Oscar Wilde

'Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.'
-Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 12:13-21)

In the above we have two thought provoking quotes-both speak truth and deal with something we constantly struggle with: greed. However, one assumes that it's all about money, when in fact, I think it's so much more than that-'life is not measured by how much you own'. It's pretty clear it's more than just money, it's about what we buy with our money, do with our money, and how money affects us.
People who generally have money, wish they had more money. Those who have more money tend to worry about losing money and the only people who think about more money than those with money are those without money to pay for the things we take for granted-like shelter, clothes, and food.
When Jesus began His illustration the goal was to talk about something beyond money-He used a 'hot button/ talking point' as we might call it today, to open our eyes to our foolishness and misplaced anxiety. There are some of us who are living paycheck to paycheck, just hoping we have enough to have a little extra until the next wave of bills. And there are also those of us who are one emergency away from bankruptcy-whether it's an accident or a diagnosis beyond our control. But there are also those among us who have the money and aren't very good stewards of it. *Now, that's not to say that everyone fits into one of those categories, but I think the average person struggles with one of the above mentioned, has struggled with one of the above mentioned or is delusional.
While there is some truth that money is important, it shouldn't be our only focus. If we were to seriously take a step back and ask ourselves how we got to this place-we would find out it was because of decisions we made. Perhaps some decisions seemed good at time and not much prayerful consideration was given to how it might affect the future...and others were just flat out poor. The bottom line, regardless, is that there is no one else to blame but ourselves. 
Now, it may seem that there's an inherently big contradiction in my posting-concerning how foolish it is to plan for a future...to store up your treasures here on earth when you don't know when your time will come-when your time is up and to 'prayerfully consider' how a decision that will affect your future-for better or worse. Let me assure you there isn't one. 
You see, when our focus is on us, our own abilities, what we feel we've earned and is rightfully ours-we forget that it isn't ours, and we forget that life isn't fair and that this world is often cruel and unforgiving. Why are we shocked when something bad 'catches' up on us? Usually...it's because we weren't paying attention to our future-at least not in a serious way. 
When we lose sight of God's many blessings in our lives-like health, which enables you to earn money, and in turn more money that helps you purchase a vehicle to get you to and from work, and even more money to put food in your stomach, clothes on your back, shelter for rest, and gas to fuel your vehicle. If we forget that God fuels our lives, like gas fuels a vehicle...if we neglect to pay attention to the signs-blinking fuel gauge or squeaky breaks, then it serves us right to have a wake up call in our lives. God tries to get our attention, but we choose to not listen and ignore His warnings-keep 'this up' and you'll go broke, keep 'this up' you might die, keep 'this up' and you might find yourself without a job...you fill in the blank...
You and I are richly blessed and forget that what He gives...He can also take away (Job 1:21). Don't let life 'sneak up' on you or 'catch' you off guard. Be mindful of what you have been given because you may not be here tomorrow. Work on relationships you know are suffering and remember that it first starts with you. Sometimes we're unable to see it because of our past...so stop looking to the past, it has no future, it has come and gone...what was done can't be undone.
Take some time away. Go on a personal retreat-maybe not for a day, but at least a good chunk of the day (4-6 hours), to work through the things in your life that you know are getting in the way of true relationships. What in your past has ruined the future? Identify, those negative triggers in your life and find away back towards a path that leads you to a better life.
*The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Enjoy this video by Switchfoot: