Monday, December 29, 2008

The birds have nests and foxes have multimedia...

A teacher of the law came to Jesus and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Another disciple said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus told him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead."
Matthew 8:19-22

Is following Jesus easy and fun, or is it difficult and dangerous?

Modern churches spend most of our time and money on enhancing our worship experience. We pay people to preach and sing to us, and we strive to do everything so well that people will want to come back week after week. We serve up the Word with a smile, and hope that our customers "would like an apple pie with that."

It seems that our approach to making disciples is somewhat different than Jesus' approach. Are we actually continuing the work Jesus was doing? Or somewhere along the way did we just come up with a better idea?

Move over, Jesus. We've got it covered.
Joe B

Friday, December 19, 2008

Deconstruct THIS!

God once wrote scripture in stone, with his very own finger. But only once. In fact, the Word written that way wound up in a beatiful box that got lost amid the rubble of time.

Nor did God choose to drop the Word, intact and leather-bound, from heaven. Even Jesus Christ, God in flesh, didn't bother to write down even so much as one shred of the bible we now read, revere, and sometimes thump.

It tells us something about God that he would rather write his perfect law on the hearts of imperfect men. And Man's endless quest to "decode" it, to deconstruct it, to confine it to letters in ink or stone...well that tells us something too.

“The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”


Monday, December 15, 2008

Where Heaven and Earth Overlap

Recently a lady confided to my wife that she's behind on her rent and needs help. "But", she said, "I really have no idea how to ask my church for help. I've never even heard this kind of thing mentioned before at church."

What...?? That struck me hard. Because when she wanted to volunteer for the choir there was no was obvious. And when she volunteered for the nursery, there was no doubt where to go; heck, they came looking for her! But when her life hit the fan...well, then she had no clue. As it turns out, there is no banner in the foyer advertising for people who need help paying rent. Go figure.

People need help sometimes. Sometimes they need a LOT of help. A thirty second Yahoo search tells me that, statistically, her church should expect to have about 38 adults and 28 children living at poverty level at any given moment. That's not so many. Beds, food, clothes, safety, a few bucks...a fresh start. Material need is inconvenient, but it's sure not complicated.

Take Jesus, for instance. Jesus was faced with a food shortage: thousands of people had followed him far out into the countryside without bringing any food to eat. The disciples pressed him about it, but he replies in his usual, annoying way: "Okay then, YOU feed them." I imagine they're pretty stumped at first. But then some kid, one too stupid to understand the math, offers to share his lunch...with everybody! So he passes his lunchbox around, and around and around and around until somehow, miraculously, everyone has eaten their fill. And the disciples went on their way, each with his own lunchbox filled with leftovers.

In the family of Jesus, all it takes is for somebody to have a little, and soon everyone will have enough. Welcome to the kingdom of God! Here, where Heaven and Earth overlap, there is plenty for everybody. All that's necessary is that our faith is stronger than our mathematics.

Where are you living?

And hey, what are you going to do with all those leftovers?