Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love - IV

No one has actually seen God. There are no pictures, statues or videos of God. But if we follow him, he abides with us and in us, and his love flows through us. Then, we become individually imperfect pictures of him. And collectively, we become better pictures of him. And together, his love matures in us and his love matures us.

His Spirit lives in us. We testify that Jesus is the savior of the world. We demonstrate that truth by our love.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Love - III

Many Christians seem to get hung up on distinctives. What is the thing that makes them different from everyone else? What makes them different from every other Christian?

Maybe what they should focus on is not what makes them different. Maybe it should be what God says is important. Love is central. Not manifestations of the Spirit. Not philosophies of ministry. Not church models. The central fact is that Jesus died for sins. Jesus died to ransom mankind. It is God’s love that motivated and drove the incarnation, the death and the resurrection. God’s love under girds, builds and propels the whole Jesus movement.

God’s love sent Jesus to the cross. God’s love raised him from the dead. God’s love brought those who chose to follow him into one community. God’s love sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise.

So, if God’s love motivates, empowers and puts into practical action whatever he does involving mankind, then …

Friday, March 25, 2011

Love - II

Francis Schaeffer said that the “mark” of the Christian is love. It is the one certain distinguishing feature. It is the bright-red exclamation point, three feet high on the Christian’s chest. Like the “S” for Superman. It is the thing that should followers of Jesus stand out like beacons in the night.

God’s Spirit resides in the hearts of his followers. God is the creator of love. So, love dwells wherever God dwells.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love - I

God loves us tremendously. That’s why he adopted us into his family. That’s why we are his children. When we are adopted, we take on his nature. We begin to become like him. Who knows how we will turn out?

That’s why the world does not understand us. The world sees our life is different. And it threatens their lifestyle.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Living in the Light

God is revealing the way he wants us to live. This “way” is not a surprise. He has been revealing it to us since the beginning. But it has taken on new meaning. Things are changing. New life is taking hold in people who follow him. They are living in increasing measure in the light.

Love is the main quality of living in the light. If a person does not love a brother, he is still walking in darkness. He is blind. No matter who you are or where you have progressed in your relationship with God, this is true. Love, light and knowing God travel together.

But do not love the world. It is a system that runs counter to God’s system. Its values run counter to God’s values. It lifestyle runs counter to God’s lifestyle. And it is temporary.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

This is a link to an article I read today concerning the disaster in Japan. It is not about the disaster per se. It is about the response of people to disaster. And how Japan -- who has had a number of earth quakes -- has learned from previous disasters.


The point of life is to know God. He is the maker, the designer, of life. He urges us to walk in a certain direction. He urges us to follow certain guidelines, because he want us to live as we were designed to live.

A football was not designed to process “html” traffic from the internet. A laptop was not designed to play rugby with. A human life was not designed to engage in certain practices. It ruins their relationship with God. It ruins their relationship with people. It damages their own inner being.

If someone follows these practices, they do not have a relationship with God. It is impossible to engage in “stuff” which ruins a relationship and still have that relationship.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

God is Good

God is good and perfect. There is no stain in him. There is no darkness in him. Before we come to know him, we are all in darkness. And when we come to know him, we will change and live differently.

We cannot claim to know him and walk in darkness. We will at time stumble into darkness, but we will not let our eyes grow accustomed to the lack of light. To be accustomed to darkness means we are not accustomed to light, where he is. To live in relationship with him, we become accustomed to what he experiences. If we are with him, we will become pure and become more like him.

We cannot say we have never done anything wrong. If we had never done anything wrong, we would be like God. No one but God is perfect. That’s why we need someone to defend us. Jesus has satisfied God’s demand to punish evil. All evil, all over the world, has been dealt with because of Jesus’ sacrifice.

This doesn’t mean evil is gone. It means the evil people do will not come between them and God.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

And Still More Preparation

After he told the story about the ten young women and the three servants, Jesus made announcement. He revealed that he would return at the end of the age, and all the people of the world would be brought to him. And they would be judged. They would become part of his kingdom, or condemned to eternal fire, based on their treatment of him. Did the people feed, shelter or visit him? If they did, they would be allowed into the kingdom. If they didn’t, they were condemned. As there were people there, who had never met Jesus personally, they did not understand how that was going to work. And he informed them that their treatment of people was the same as their treatment of him.

It is interesting that the eternal state of people is not based on the proclamation of the gospel. It is based on love and service to people. No one is arguing that this proclamation is not vital. Is Jesus talking about a perspective of people that creates an environment and generates action that creates receptivity for the gospel? Or is he talking about an attitude that forms a foundation for any proclamation?

Monday, March 07, 2011

More Preparation

After he told the story about the ten young women, Jesus told another story. A man was going on a journey. His house and property would not take care of themselves, so he gave different servants different responsibilities. In the story, he gave three servants different amounts of cash.

When thinking about these stories, people usually focus on the cash. I think Jesus was focusing on the job and the servant’s attitude about the job they were given. The job was the same whether it was $50,000, $20,000 or $10,000. The attitude of two servants was to gain as much profit as they could with what they were given. The attitude of the other servant was to avoid trouble.

At the end of his ministry, Jesus gave his disciple marching orders.
•    Engage the peoples of the world.
•    Develop “apprentices” of Jesus by:
       o    Fostering identification with Jesus.
       o    Training the apprentices to follow the values attitudes and practices of Jesus.

There are some pre-requisites to these marching orders.
•    We are living like apprentices of Jesus.
       o    We have identified with Jesus.
       o    We are following Jesus’ value, attitudes and practices.
•    We are engaging people.
•    We are training more apprentices.

In the stories about preparation, being ready when the master, king or bridegroom comes, maybe he is talking about those marching orders?

Friday, March 04, 2011


Jesus told a story about ten young women going to a wedding. Weddings in Jesus’ day were not held like today’s weddings.

The bride and groom were betrothed. Which is like getting engaged, but it was more formal and more binding. They were married, but just not living together yet. The groom had to prepare a home for the bride. When it was completed, he could bring her home. Then, family and friends would gather together to celebrate the marriage. So, timing was important.

In the story, the groom was detained. It was late before he came and the celebration began. The guests were waiting. It was dark, so they brought lamp. The lamps used oil to produce light. The oil in the lamps of the young women was consumed. But five of them were prepared. They brought extra oil. The others needed to purchase more oil. So, they were not there when the celebration began, and were not allowed in.

The story is about preparation. People need to be prepared to meet God when he comes. How do you prepare to meet God? Where do you go? What do you do? What do you bring with you? It is not quite like going camping. Do we say a little prayer, receive our ticket to heaven and that’s it?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Marching Orders - IV

The second part is “teaching to do all I command.” This is the very simple, complex process that Jesus put his disciples through.

A current implementation might involve class work, lectures with maybe even a lab. Jesus knew that the current educational model was inadequate for the life transformation that Jesus intended to take place.

Jesus was intentional about this process. He went through a selection – involving all night prayer and an invitation to those he wanted to come to him.

Jesus appeared to be a master of recognizing opportunities to give spiritual lessons from what occurred in everyday life. But he also arranged planned learning opportunities. The last supper and the sermon on the mount were more class-room-like.

Part of the heart beat of Jesus’ “coaching” method was his awareness of God’s being and working in the world, and a heart full in his relationship with the Father. There was an ongoing, daily butting against practices, attitudes and values that went against God’s practices, attitudes and values.  He had the father’s desire to be investing and working at all times in the lives of those around him.

The core of Jesus’ coaching methods may just be the intention of his heart to make a difference in the lives of those around him, the realization that genuine healing requires God touching a situation, and the purpose to bring both of these things together.