Tag: Way of the Cross
Jesus did not use parables to teach them about the cross, he spoke plainly. It was his life that would be the lesson, his experience that would be their teacher. The Way of the Cross is always so. It is clear and plain and needs no fancy words. It is a path which we must walk, not endlessly discuss. It is the dust of the road on the way to Jerusalem that is the aroma of real life. The question is…and always has been…will we follow?Read More
When my daughter was 12 years old, she was full of curiosity. And she would ask very good questions too. But she didn’t always like the answers.
“Why is God hiding?” she would ask. “Why doesn’t he protect me from hurting myself. Doesn´t he love me?” “If God loves the whole world, why doesn’t he just get rid of hell and let everyone go to heaven?” Those were the good questions.
But she had other questions as well. “Who was Cain’s wife?” “Who created God?” and “What is heaven like?” Obviously, we had a lot of talks together coming home from school, walking in the park, sitting in my office.
I have a bone to pick with Pastor Rick Warren. I like him a lot and I promote his daily devotionals on my facebook account and read all of his material. He is a wonderful Pastor. I’ve read his books and I would normally say that he is “dead on” in his ministry. But not this time.
A couple of days ago, he published a post about reconciliation that he called, Requirements of Restored Relationships in the “You Make Me Crazy” Series. Basically he says that Restoring a Relationship Requires Repentance, Restitution and Rebuilding Trust.
Most of the post was very helpful but the last part brought in some very popular but unbiblical material. Let’s go over what he says together…
Money may make the world go round, but love is what makes it all worthwhile. Without love, without relationships it just isn’t worth the trouble. Everybody knows that.
People don’t wish that they spent more time at work or made more money when they are on their deathbed. They just want to be with their loved ones. They wish with all their heart that they could recapture those wonderful moments with their children on Christmas eve when they were young. They regret the hurts and misunderstandings that still hover over their heads and relationships. They want nothing more than that their estranged children, their brother, their ex-wife or friend would come back, that somehow, someway, a miracle would happen and love would be in the air, that Christmas would come in the middle of summer, something, anything that would close the distance and heal their hearts and make it better again.
So my daughter and I were on our way to the mall the other day to watch a movie. I’m not sure why but she asked me a question about something I was writing about and I decided to ask her the “Chicken and the Egg” question. It’s a good question.
“What came first, the chicken or the egg?”
“That’s easy,” she said. “The chicken, of course. God had to create a chicken before you can have a chicken lay an egg.”
Today I want you to help me solve a mystery. It is a mystery, I suppose, of our own making but it is a deeply shocking revelation of the human heart. I know, I know, it’s nothing new. The Bible says that the “heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV). And that especially applies to mine. The mystery is really about the ways my heart is deceitful, the manner in which my spiritual blindness manifests itself and what I can do about it. Let me try to describe the problem in some more detail….Read More
Confessions are scary business. For everyone.
True confessions sounds like one of those rag mags you find on a newstand full of the foibles and follies of the rich and famous. People love their reality shows and true confessions spice things up nicely. And celebrities are used to it, aren’t they? Nobody gets hurt. Some people like to air their dirty laundry in public, sharing their accusations and stories of betrayal and disappointment with the whole world watching. Those of us who have a bit more sense, avoid those kinds of situations like the plague. True confessions are the dirty side of reality and it just mires you in bitterness and resentment as you are reminded of all your hurts and offenses.
So when it comes to the church, most of us are rather uncomfortable with the idea of confession. Isn’t that a Catholic idea anyway? We don’t do that in my church. The Pastor might talk about it once in a while, but it is always a silent confession just between God and myself. Nobody else’s business. It’s a private thing, not public. Thank God.
I like those words, “Your Life Ministry.” It puts a bit of a different spin on things. Ministry is often seen as a career choice, as something that Pastors or teachers or missionaries do, but not you and me, the common folk, the simple disciples.
We know better than that, don’t we? When we read the words of Paul in the Bible, very often we automatically think that he is talking about the ministry leaders whether in the church or in the many parachurch organizations (and perhaps even some NGOs).
By now you must realize that when the Bible talks of ministry, it includes you. Perhaps you aren’t the Pastor or a teacher of the Word, but you are involved in ministry. Through your life, through your spiritual conversations, through your spiritual gifts, you have a ministry. A Life Ministry. Your discipleship is practical. And it is likely that at some point your efforts will be recognized as useful in the role of an elder or deacon in the church. Before you embark on that journey, I have a few questions for you.Read More
I love spiritual conversations. I don’t get enough of them.
I love to talk about the Lord and hear what He is doing in the lives of the people around me. I want to hear about reality. Sin transformed into life. Losers finding the humility to go to the cross. Pride junkies (like me) who are brought low and are extremely thankful for that severe mercy.
Yes, I love spiritual conversations. It is one of the most important ministries in the church. It is part of my Life Ministry….an expression of who I am in Christ. It is one of the ways that I please God and give glory to Him or, better said, reveal His glory in me.
Having spiritual conversations is a ministry to both those inside and outside the church. Use your own life and testimony as a powerful witness and tool to bring glory to God. Show the reality of your sin transformed by grace. Justice fulfilled by love. Here are a few suggestions…
Here is a truth that we don’t like to talk about. It is something that affects every church, every body of believers. We are either cursed or blessed by the leaders we have chosen.
Rather than choose leaders, learn to recognize the leaders that God has chosen.
Maturity in Christ is necessary for recognizing maturity in Christ.
Do you have ears to hear? I hope so. This is important. Discipleship is serious business. Many churchgoers will simply not make it to glory because they did not take discipleship seriously. Yes, it is an expression of your walk with God and not a pre-requisite for salvation, but that is pretty serious stuff. If the quality of your walk with God does not look something like what Jesus expects, then shouldn’t you ask yourself whether or not your weak-kneed, half-hearted attempts at church work is more an expression of a religious spirit and not true discipleship? This is the “heavy” stuff and Jesus is pretty blunt about what he expects from us.Read More