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Once a week, my amazing husband watches the kids while I go out by myself for a few hours to run errands. I’m certainly blessed to have a husband who cares so much about me and enjoys helping with our kiddos.
Recently, on one of my excursions I decided to stop by our local Salvation Army. My goal was to get in and get out, and score a bunch of kid’s clothes for cheap. As I was perusing through old and dusty clothing, I heard right next to me, “Excuse me? Excuse me!”
Change. Change is not something widely appreciated by most people – including me. I like my socks to be in the same place in the same drawer each morning. I enjoy kissing my wife and children at the same time each night before we go to sleep.
Change? Well, it just seems like more hassle than it’s worth or perhaps too risky. What if I lose something I highly value when I change what I eat or wear, or how I behave?
Miley Cyrus tried every move imaginable to mankind in order to get someone to look… and she did. Heads turned. Heads rolled. And most heads shook, at first, with disgust, and then with deep sadness. Gone was the rather innocent girl, Hannah Montana, who drew massive crowds of mimicking pre-teen girls. Gone was the bright, happy smile. Gone was the calm, content, and loving picture of Billy Ray Cyrus with his sprawling family in tow. Gone…
Does behavior “A” always result in “B” – every time? Is Christianity just a cause and effect cycle? Does God keep the carrot of heaven’s hope or hell’s punishment out in front of our noses so that we behave properly? Does God say, “If you behave correctly, you’ll be safe and get what you want! So you better be a nice person, give money to the church, and not have sex before marriage!” Or is there something more?
To be honest, a lot of preaching in today’s culture resembles a man dangling a carrot in front of a donkey’s nose – “Just keep going – the carrot is your cause!”
The beautiful sunshine of spring was gently cascading across the landscape as our little son, Hudson, and I drove across town to worship Christ with the Evangel church family at this year’s Good Friday service. We sang cheerily as we turned northward onto Telegraph road, just a couple miles south of our church campus.
Suddenly the ominous, startling sound of an ambulance rang through our eardrums. Hudson fearfully grasped for my hand as a large EMS vehicle raced past us at breakneck speed. I wondered what we might find up ahead, but I never imagined the scene would be so shocking…
Cancer. That one, singular word cuts into the fabric of our lives with fear and anxiety, doesn’t it? Every person knows someone who has battled against cancer – perhaps you know one who is in the middle of the fight right now. This lethal, fearsome disease is waging war against their body, seeking to wrack their frame with total destruction.
More violence. Bloodshed. Destruction. Hate. Death…
And we wonder aloud: Are you going to put a stop to this, God??! If so, how? And when?! Are You really going to let this pass? We wonder if the wickedness, injustice, and immorality is ever going to cease…
How is the run of your life today? We are continually tempted to draw back, let up, and give in…
Maybe it seems easier to revert back to the old way of doing things – to figure out life on our own. Perhaps it seems as though God just hasn’t come through and life is only getting harder, not easier.
So how should we live in the face of doubts or the temptation to do life our way? How can you and I run faithfully for Christ?
Impure motives of pride, heartless obligation, superiority, longing for admiration, applause, success, wealth, rank, or pity are never sung aloud from our lips for all to hear. We quietly hide them, creatively disguise them, and carefully redefine them. We naturally think ourselves very good at judging the motives of others, but how about our own motives?
Ouch. That question seems to drop like a sharp knife between my toes. Perhaps the most penetrating and uncomfortable question for all of us to ask ourselves is: What is my motive?
To determine the answer to this question I believe we need a litmus test.
White supremacists, Neo-Nazis, the KKK, and all the rest who claim to know Christ while thumping the Bible are actually stomping on the Bible and know nothing of the Gospel of Christ. Their words and actions are repulsive to God and should be to everyone who knows and loves God.
How can I say this? Because God’s Word makes it abundantly clear….
As many of you know, since last November I’ve been serving as Staff Pastor and Mission rep. for two separate yet sister organizations: LifeChange Action and MissionTalk. Both of these entities are involved in creatively supporting and engaging in God’s mission within Mexico and Southeast Asia. . . .
…as we gather tomorrow for collective worship to glory in the Triune God, we will be joined in voice and heart with the great anthem of all God’s people across every continent on the globe in lifting our praise to the King of all kings. A tremendous harmony of different languages, ethnicities, and music styles will sound forth in a great chorus to the ears of our transcendent yet intimately personal God.