Monday, October 31, 2005

He Believed In Us

"13"You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. 14You are the light of the world--like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. 15Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. 16In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5: 13-16 NLT

"You are salt. You are light."

Absolutely no question that Jesus believed that His followers could be agents of His Kingdom work here on earth. With all the failures of the church in reaching into culture, just the knowledge that Jesus Himself believes we can do it is both challenging and comforting.

I watched the movie "Kingdom of Heaven" this weekend. As Jerusalem is about to be attacked by Saladin's Muslim army, the defender of Jerusalem has every man who can fight kneel. He then recites the Knight's Code over them and has them rise as Knights.

The clergyman says sarcastically "So you believe they will fight better, just because you said a few words? Just because you made them Knights?"

"Yes. Yes I do."

Jesus believes in us.



Sunday, October 23, 2005

Batting .500 stinks

I'm beginning to think that the only one who could preach the sermon on the Mount was Jesus. Spent hour upon hour this week in background, in contextual study, in word study, in exposition and exegesis. (for the non-seminary geeked people who read this, that means I worked hard and pulled out all the stops). But frankly, when a clip from the Lion King is the highlight of the whole sermon, then you stunk. I stunk. As they said about Lazurus "but Lord, he stinketh". That was me.

Don't really know why except that my reach exceeded my grasp. So I'm praying hard for understanding and direction, reviewing what I did and limping away.

Tonight (yes a true Baptist 2x Sunday), I broke open the book of Judges to the story of Samson. I had a ball exposing the folks to this conflicted character's highs and lows (ok lows and high). It was everything that morning should have been. Application, inspiration, correction - all of that.


It's not enough in this vocation to bat .500.

Father forgive me. You'll do better through me next week, if I can get out of your way.

Grace - and Lord I need it!


Saturday, October 15, 2005

You Have Heard It Said...

"once more into the breach, men."

Tomorrow I bring the Sermon on the Mount to the people - again. My wife told me that when she hears me start to preach on passages like that or the Fruits of the Spirit, she instantly goes "yada yada yada".

When I read it though, I hear giants from the past calling out to me saying, "Tell it, brother. Make it ring." Like Clarence Jordan.

The story is told that after one sermon before a southern congregation, an
elderly woman approached Clarence and said, “I want you to know that my
granddaddy fought in the Civil War, and I’ll never believe a word you say.” Returning
her steely glare with a gracious smile, Jerdan replied, “Ma’am, your choice seems quite
clear. It is whether you will follow your granddaddy or Jesus Christ.”

That's how I want to preach tomorrow - to lift Jesus' words before the people assembled, and have them make a choice. Lord, make me fully yours.



Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Challenge of A Lifetime

Ephesians 5:2 (The Message)

2Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.

Since I've been a pastor, I've tried to "always be ready to give an answer". I've worked hard to "preach the Word."
Those are skills.

The verse above is the challenge of my lifetime. I can get to feeling pretty good about myself - good sermon, strong teaching, church growing, building bridges.... me - and then I read that verse and realize just how far I am away from God's ideal for anyone who shepherds His people.

But reread it. he gave us the secret for making it happen in our hearts. "Keep company with Him and learn a life of love."

Let me ask you a question.

How much time have you spent with Jesus lately?

Join me in admitting "not enough" and then let's see what God does as we spend our lives in close communion with Him.