Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Your Life or His: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #11

Today's Jesus quote could also qualify as another "You Have Heard That It Was Said" entry.

It comes to us from Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the moral and public policy agency of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

I've got just enough of the 1970s left in me that those credentials would normally be enough for me to move on to a different quote, but these six sentences contain some things that deserve some consideration:

For too long, we’ve called unbelievers to “invite Jesus into your life.” Jesus doesn’t want to be in your life. Your life is a wreck. Jesus calls you into his life. And his life isn’t boring or purposeless or static. It’s wild and exhilarating and unpredictable.

I understand, of course, that there are plenty of people who will immediately take umbrage at the phrase "your life is a wreck." And I don't blame them. At surface level, not every unbeliever is living a miserable life. For that matter, at surface level, not every believer is having a grand ol' time.

But let's get beyond the surface level. When you think about deep satisfaction, sense of purpose, eternal significance...how are you doing?

In those kinds of categories, I don't need a Jesus-shaped bandage or a gulp of God-elixir to temporarily cover-up my hurt or disguise my symptoms. I don't need a Jesus wristband or a Holy Spirit bobblehead as an accessory.

Truth is...I need to back up several yards, get a running start, and hurl myself full-tilt into "the reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God."

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Eleven Things I've Learned About Love By Listening To Music

I've learned a few things about love by listening to songs on the radio.

Love will find a way.
Love will keep us together.
Love is all you need.
Love isn't always on time.
Love is an open door.
You've got to hide your love away.
Can't buy me love.
Only love can break your heart.
Love is a battlefield.

When a man loves a woman, he can't keep his mind on nothin' else. He'd change the world for the good thing he's found.

According to Johnny Cash, love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring. A ring of fire into which one can fall.

More than anything else, we hear about falling in love. Like it’s something that uncontrollably happens to you.

Yes, there is a certain level of the unexplainable that happens when you find yourself being attracted to one person instead of all the other people you’ve met, but the love that Paul wrote about in First Corinthians isn’t a lacy, fuzzy-focused thing like an emotion. The love that couples say “I do” to isn’t as flimsy as a feeling.

Brides and grooms promise to love each other as long as they both shall live, but that's not a feeling or an emotion. You can’t promise to feel a certain way for the rest of your life.

“I will always like Frosted Flakes more than any other cereal! The Beatles will always be my favorite band!”

You can’t do that, but you can promise to behave a certain way. You can commit to being patient. You can promise to be kind. You can devote yourself to humbly putting the other person’s needs first and to always protect, always trust, always hope and persevere.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...Love hurts, but I don't care what they say, I won't stay in a world without love.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Acts 2:36-38 With Footnotes

"All the people of Israel, then, are to know for sure that it is this Jesus, whom you nailed to the cross, that God has made Lord and Messiah!"

When the people heard this, they were deeply troubled, and said to Peter and the other apostles, "What shall we do, brothers?"

Peter said to them, "Turn away from your sins, each one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven..."

I don't wanna go home
Without sharing the Word
How He came to wash us
With His blood precious
And I start crying

Don't you wanna be free?
Things that hassle your soul
Keep your life from livin'
And your give from givin'
Are you dying?

If you could do it from the start again
And change those things that you'd rather hadn't been
Stop your lying

Jesus offers the way
You can be born again
All your past forgiven
And new life to live in
He's worth trying

Now you can do it from your heart, my friend
And change those things that you'd rather hadn't been
Stop denying!
Are you dying?
Stop your lying!

"I Don't Wanna Go Home"
©1974 Latter Rain Music and Word Music, Inc.

Truth is...once I stop lying to myself; stop pretending that I'm basically a good person and start believing the bad news that my sin nailed Jesus to the cross...once I do that, then I'm able to appreciate the good news that it's because of that sacrificial death that I can go Home with a clear conscience.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

You Have Heard That It Was Said (3)...

..."There's no time like the present," but I say unto you:

There's no time BUT the present.

Different scientists will argue in different ways, but it seems clear to me that the only moment of time in which we can actually operate is the present moment.

The past is gone and the future is just a mental concept. All we have is the eternal Now. (And no, I didn't know anything about Alan Watts until after thinking of that term.)

And Now doesn't last very long. Several Nows have become inconsequential memories since you began reading this post.

But just because they are short-lived and faster than a speeding bullet, it doesn't mean they don't add up to something pretty significant.

Something pretty valuable.

I heard the following as part of a sermon by Alistair Begg, but it comes from Marc Levy's book, What If It Were True.

If you want to know the value of one year, just ask a student who failed a course.

If you want to know the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

If you want to know the value of one hour, ask the lovers waiting to meet.

If you want to know the value of one minute, ask the person who just missed the bus.

If you want to know the value of one second, ask the person who just escaped death in a car accident.

And if you want to know the value of one-hundredth of a second, ask the athlete who won a silver medal in the Olympics.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16  NIV)

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

What Would Jesus Do?: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #12

When a world-famous Hindu mentions Jesus in a positive way, a person might want to stop and think about it just a bit.

The famous Hindu is Mahatma Gandhi.

The Jesus shout-out is worthy of contemplation:

Live like Jesus did,
and the world will listen.

While I can't be sure, I'm thinking Gandhi wasn't necessarily referring to wearing sandals, keeping Kosher, and never marrying. And I'd be willing to wager he wasn't focusing on serving a carpentry internship, walking everywhere, or speaking in Aramaic, either.

What I DO think will make a difference in this world...enough of a difference that people will notice...is if we who bear the name Christian will live lives fueled by generosity instead of greed, compassion instead of selfishness, and humility instead of prideful aggression.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...the point isn't so much What Would Jesus Do? as it is How Would Jesus Be?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Acts 2:36 With Footnotes

All the people of Israel, then, are to know for sure that it is this Jesus, whom you nailed to the cross, that God has made Lord and Messiah!

Open your eyes and see
That the morning comes with Me
For I am the light of the world
No one goes to the Father but by Me
Why must we be so blind and not see
That the Light is free?
Oh, just to think that He died
Thinking of you and me
And the lives we would lead
In the sins of our words and deeds
And yet He loves you
He loves me
He loves us, hallelujah!
Oh Jesus loves you
And He loves me
He loves us, hallelujah!
He took away my sin and shame...

Lord, here I am
And I can't change a thing
Except my appearance
And that don't mean a thing
I don't wanna hide
Or tear myself in two
That's not up to me, Lord
That's up to You
Oh, Lord, let me see how I've used You
To sing my song

Yes, I know I do wrong
Even though I belong
And yet You love me
He loves me
He loves me, hallelujah!
Oh Jesus loves me
Yes He loves me
He loves me, hallelujah!
He took away my sin and shame...

Lord, here I am
©1974 Latter Rain Music and Word Music, Inc.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...I don't know exactly what each phrase of this song means, but the main thing is the plain thing: Jesus was motivated by love to pay the debt of my rebellion, He continues to love me beyond measure, and my appropriate response to that is to place myself at His disposal.

Lord, here I am.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Being Weird Because Normal Isn't Working

It was my daughter-in-law who took the risk of recommending I read Craig Groeschel's book, Weird. I mean, it IS kind of funny to tell a person that you're pretty sure they would appreciate a piece of writing with that title.

And yet, here I am, telling you all the very same thing.

And I've got a weird way of whetting your appetite.

You know how, in order to break up endless pages of nothing but text, publishers will pull out a quote from a page and print it in a call-out box or sticking out into the margin so that it becomes a graphic instead of "just words"? Well, let me share a bunch of those from the pages of this book...

  • You have enough time to do everything God wants you to do.
  • While normal people continue to add items to their to-do list, maybe you should do something weird instead: start a to-don't list.
  • When is the last time you were completely at rest?
  • Maybe the question is not "What's in your wallet?" but "What's in your heart?"
  • Giving is not something we do; generous is who we are.
  • If the grass looks greener somewhere else, it's time to water your own lawn.
  • Have you noticed that we tend to judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions?
  • When we place the approval of other people ahead of doing what we know will please our Father, we're creating a false idol.
  • Why work so hard to be normal when God created you to stand out?

Truth is...Groeschel isn't the first person to encourage Christians to be weird. You've got to read it in the King James Version to get the full impact, but Jesus' disciple, Peter, said it in his first letter: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."

So go forth and be weird!