Tag Archive for 'faith'

the sick need a doctor.

I’m going to start by saying that I love and hate posts like this… because I feel like I’m calling people out, like I have it all together… but in reality any conviction or “calling out” is just me processing my thoughts about myself… because my righteousness truly is like filthy rags…

I just left from talking to a 21-year-old guy who has been on meth since he was 14. He is now sober for the longest time in his life, three months. He’s been in multiple rehab facilities. Every rehab facility he’s been in… he’s only counting down the days until he gets out. Three months ago he hit a tree at 65 miles an hour. He walked away with only a scratch on his arm. He has a daughter. All he has ever known is meth and that’s all he wants now. His sober days are not a struggle to maintain sobriety, but a small price to pay until he gets out.

Hanging out with this guy brings up so many questions that many of us don’t ever process. So… Do we believe that an addict can find Jesus to be greater than the next high? Do we believe in the power of Jesus to free someone from meth? I think we see lost people around us… and we’re hopeless… so we don’t even try to care or love them. We believe that Jesus can heal someone from an addiction to meth, but it probably won’t happen.

I’m thankful to know that Jesus came down in the pit with me to bring me out of it.

Because there are a lot of people walking around with the truth that are not willing to get dirty.

Jesus was a man.

Cross

One of my struggles is to remember that Jesus was a man who walked the earth and lived His life. The way I remind myself of such a basic truth is to make Jesus personal. This all probably sounds very fundamental, but I think a lot of people are missing this.

Let’s start with some Scripture:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped;
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6-8

Let’s think about this. I walk up to you and I say, “I’m the Son of God.” You’d either laugh at me or think, “He is out of his mind.” And then I say, “Come follow me.” You’d probably think to yourself, “Um… No thanks. I don’t follow crazy people.”

Ok. So now that we’ve established that I’m crazy, imagine some random dude walking up to you and saying, “I’m the Son of God.” You’d either laugh at him or think, “He is out of his mind.” And then he says, “Come follow me.” You’d probably think to yourself, “Um… No thanks. I don’t follow crazy people.” See a pattern here?

So you may be thinking, “Well since Jesus has already come, I have no reason to believe you or this random dude.” Well, ok. But why would you have believed Jesus?

“When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.'” Mark 3:21 Timeout. Jesus’ family just said, “He is out of his mind.” See a pattern here?

Does this make sense?
He was crazy (John 10:20). He was blasphemous (John 10:33). He was counter-cultural (Mark 2:17). He was miraculous (John 12:37). He was hanging out with “sinners” (Mark 2:15). He told the religious folks that the prostitutes were entering the kingdom of God ahead of them (Matt 21:31)! This is not the guy we invite to speak at our church.

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” John 1:10,11

It’s easy to look at the people around Jesus and wonder how they completely missed it. But if you can break Jesus down in this frame of mind, I would bet there would be a lot of Christians saying, “Wait. I’m following this guy? I’m trusting in what this guy said? I’m a ‘disciple’ of this guy? When did I agree to that?” (Matthew 7:21-23)

I have had so many guys tell me that they have always been a Christian or have always believed in God. If that’s you, I’d like to stop you right here — You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder (James 2:19). If a belief in God leads to salvation, the demons are more saved than most of us – because they actually know the character of God to the point that they shudder.

We have separated Jesus from God. Everyone says “God bless you” when you sneeze and “God bless America” on the 4th of July. Change that to “Jesus” and you will get some strange looks. A belief in God is culturally acceptable. What makes a person crazy is when they claim that Jesus the Christ is this God.

Is casual faith acceptable? Can you believe in the Jesus of the Bible and still fit into this world? I think we’ve missed it, because Jesus didn’t come begging for you to ask Him into your heart. He came offering His righteousness in exchange for every ounce of your being. You can’t claim to follow Jesus and still be of this world. You just can’t. Jesus said some pretty crazy stuff that doesn’t exactly increase our comfort and definitely doesn’t sit well with the world.

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2 Timothy 3:12). This is the one thing that moved me from a belief in God to following Jesus (the topic of suffering to be exact, as I heard it taught in Secret Church: The Cross and Suffering).

If you are a truly a Christian… you are crazy… so live like it. You’re placing your faith in a man who walked the earth and claimed to be the Son of God. You’re not normal. Quit trying to fit into this world… because you can’t.

ha ha ha.

There are so many stories of the Disciples “missing the point” that I can’t even write them all out (Just a few examples I’ll reference below: John 6:54-61, John 18:8-11, Mark 8:31-33, Mark 9:33-35, Mark 14:34-42, Luke 24:37-49).

Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” If someone told you this, what would you think? You’d probably think as the disciples did: “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” The next verse says Jesus was aware that his disciples were grumbling about this. ….Just wait. One day that will actually make sense to you.

Jesus was teaching about how he must be rejected, killed, and after three days rise again. Scripture says, “He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” ….Peter. Do you even know who I am?

After Jesus and his disciples had travelled to Capernaum, Jesus asked them what they had been arguing about on the road. They kept quiet because they had been arguing over who was the greatest. Jesus sat down and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” ….You think I couldn’t hear you? Clearly you have all missed the point.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch.” Three times Jesus goes away to pray and comes back to find them all asleep. ….Thanks fellas.

Jesus was about to be arrested in the garden and Simon Peter whipped out his sword and cut the high priest’s servant’s ear off. Jesus then said, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” ….Simon Peter! Seriously? You just cut that dude’s ear off!

In Luke 24:45, Jesus appeared to the disciples after his death and “he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” WOW. Talk about “mind-blowing.” All of these prophecies, this “eating of flesh”, resurrection… it all made sense.

So. Do you laugh at the disciples’ ignorance? Do you sympathize with it? Do you find yourself in their shoes? These verses and the disciples’ stories bring me to this conclusion that I cannot let go: When I get to Heaven, Jesus is going to laugh at me. Of course, His intentions will be pure and holy. But I think He’s going to run towards me like the father of the prodigal son, sweep me up in His arms, and laugh. And like Luke 24:45, my mind will be opened to understand the Scriptures… and I’m going to laugh at myself, too. I missed it. I missed the point. I missed it all.

All of the valleys I have faced, all of the suffering, all of the trials and tribulations… they weren’t to harm me, they weren’t to hurt me… they were for my good. Wow. So that time I was struggling through… Oh. That was the reason.
And all that time I spent doing things hoping to earn a little more favor?… Wow. You really couldn’t have loved me more.
And that time when I faced temptation?… When I looked it dead in the eye… and I consciously weighed the sin… and You… and I chose the sin? You still loved me.
And that dark time when I didn’t know which way was up? You never hid Your face from me.

That’s why I think Jesus will laugh at me. I missed it! So what can I do with this thought that is plaguing me and won’t leave me? I can take the disciple’s story and this thought and use it for my good and His glory. The first conclusion I come to is that the “ups” and “downs” are not. God’s love for me and His face are ever upon me. The reason I’m struggling and I’m in a “valley” is because He’s teaching me, growing me, preparing me for what He has coming for me. This time is the best time to trust, have faith, hold on to Him. He’s not punishing me, torturing me, or messing with me. He’s molding me. It’s hope. Secondly, I can have faith in the Rock of Ages. Whenever I face a situation, thought, or I’m faced with anything that is new, I can rely on the truths that I know and have faith through the things I don’t understand. I need to take my situations and thoughts and hold them in the light of Jesus. I know His character and I know who He is. So, like the disciples being told to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood, I can stand through these thoughts with the truths I already have.

Anyways. I can’t wait to get to Heaven and see the King of Glory in an all-out sprint, like the father of the prodigal son… And just laugh.

fears of the everyday.

I’ll speak for myself.

Fear is always in me, in some form or fashion.

Where am I going? Who will I meet? What will I do? How will I do it?

And these are not deep fears of a vast, unknown future.

Webster says:

turn – to cause to move around an axis or a center; make rotate or revolve

Fears of the everyday.
I’ve got a meeting…

Oh my gosh I’m so late. I’ve never met this person before. Will they understand what I say. What if I can’t do it.

The fears of the everyday.
These might be the times I turn to God the most.

I turn to God in the fears of the everyday.

Oh please don’t let me be late. Please let them be nice. Please let me speak clearly. Please help me through this.

Webster says:

rely – to be dependent; to have confidence based on experience

Hardly do I rely on God… “post” fears of the everyday.

Thank you for them being late, too. Thanks for getting me there safely. Thank you for their joyful heart and their good mood. Thank you for the conversation. Thank you for helping me get my point across. Thank you for handling it all when I can’t.

Turning isn’t a change in location.
Reliance is a leap.

Hours after this meeting, the part God played was brought to my attention.

I quickly recalled every worry I had before it. I realized everything went perfectly.

I would have passed through my day without any thought to how well the meeting went, but beforehand I was extremely concerned with my fear. If things went sour, I might’ve even prayed about it.

Realizing God’s role and acknowledging Him after the fact is what pushes ‘turning’ to reliance. I acknowledge how He acknowledged me.

I prayed in my fear, out of fear. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious prayer to God. But thankfully,

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

For some reason, God doesn’t base His response to me on my response to Him. God has no reliance on me.

If I face the fears of the everyday relying on God, I have confidence based on experience. There’s no need to fear. His faithfulness to me has nothing to do with me. It’s not about me. At all. He hasn’t let me down… He hasn’t ignored me. I have let Him down… I have ignored Him.
Reliance on Him will take the fears of the everyday and turn them into thanksgiving.

Turning is stationary.
Reliance is a leap.




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