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!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Where Do My Loyalties Lie?: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #13

Something about watching romantic comedies makes us relationship gurus.

We can see potential threats to fidelity and loyalty from a mile away...within the unrealistic confines of one of Hollywood's steadfast genres.

  • "No! Don't go out with him! Can't you see he doesn't really care about you?"
  • "That guy better stop hanging out after work with her..."
  • "What are they THINKING??!?"

But when it comes to real life, we struggle a bit.

In fact, we struggle so much that it wouldn't hurt to get the 13th quote about Jesus (on azquotes.com's top-25 list) put on a pair of contact lenses so it was always in front of us:

"Beware of anything
that competes with your loyalty
to Jesus Christ."  -  Oswald Chambers

Truth is...Whether it's commitment to a sports team or loyalty to a job or even dedication to a particular idea about Jesus, anything that takes precedence ahead of allegiance to the actual person of Jesus is a foundation of shifting sand.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Acts 2:29-35 With Footnotes

Brothers: I must speak to you quite plainly about our patriarch David. He died and was buried, and his grave is here with us to this very day. He was a prophet, and he knew God's promise to him: God made a vow that he would make one of David's descendants a king, just as David was. David saw what God was going to do, and so he spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah when he said,
"He was not abandoned in the world of the dead;   his flesh did not decay."

God has raised this very Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses to this fact. He has been raised to the right side of God and received from him the Holy Spirit, as his Father had promised; and what you now see and hear is his gift that he has poured out on us. For David himself did not go up into heaven; rather he said,
"The Lord said to my Lord:'Sit here at my right side,until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet'."

I can see how blind I really was now
My lies were eyes for a blind man
Look at me, my Lord said look at me now
And He gave sight to this blind man

The devil's lost again
The devil's lost again

I can tell how deaf I really was now
My ears were jeers of the dying
Woah, Living Word, my Lord's the Living Word now
He spoke, I woke from my screaming

The devil's lost again
The devil's lost again

The devil is a liar
The devil is a liar

I could feel how dead I really was now
My pride was the guide through a graveyard
Rise and walk, my Lord said rise and walk now
My life is yours for the giving

The devil's lost again
The devil's lost again

The devil is a liar
The devil is a liar

"The Devil's Lost Again"
©1974 Latter Rain Music and Word Music, Inc.


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Truth is...The totally rocking nature of this song absolutely fits the message of Satan's defeat because of Jesus' victory over death. "The devil ain't got no hold on me!" (Want some more righteous rock-n-roll? Click that quote and rock on.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

You Have Heard That It Was Said (2)...

...God never gives you more than you can handle. But I say unto thee...mule fritters!

Don't get me wrong, I understand how the idea sounds Biblical. We hear "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear" and think, "See? God won't give you more than you can handle!"

But we need to read ALL of 1 Corinthians 10:13 to get the whole concept: "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

     1.  Paul is specifically talking about temptation; not the stressful or worrisome life situations that threaten to overwhelm us.
     2.  Even if we viewed those life situations as "temptations," God is not promising to make us powerful enough to blast them out of the water. He is promising to "provide a way out."  He is promising to help us endure them.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Truth is...God is not so much interested in strengthening us to the point of being able to handle anything that comes our way as He is longing to have us depend on Him: "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me." (Matthew 11:29)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Self-Awareness Made Holy: Top 25 Jesus Quotes: #14

It was C. S. Lewis who said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."

The Apostle Paul wrote, "Through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith." (Romans 12:3 NASB)

I would generally agree that thinking of oneself at all is a dangerous, slippery path.

And yet...

Brennan Manning traveled a long and twisted road to get to a place where his observations on life and love and himself mattered and were able to influence and encourage hundreds of thousands of people.

From page 19 of The Ragamuffin Gospel, this is Brennan at his best:

"My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it."

Truth is...I believe the more I can see myself in this light, the more I will be able to live a life of powerful humility...like Christ.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Acts 2:28 With Footnotes

You have shown me the paths that lead to life, and by your presence you will fill me with joy.

Stop, think it over
Over again
Stop, think it over
Over my friend
You can have these
If you're born again
My friend
So don't you try to hide any longer
'Cause you need love
You won't have to cry any longer
'Cause you'll have love
In your heart...

"Love Peace Joy"
©1974 Latter Rain Music and Word Music, Inc.

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Truth is...When I suggest Jesus as the appropriate object of your devotion, I'm not being judgmental or pushy. I'm just "one beggar telling another beggar where to find the bread" (Daniel T. Niles).

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Singlemindedness and the Right-Fielder

We turn to Lucy Van Pelt for today's reminder that attitude is everything.

Truth is..."If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." ~ Abraham Maslow