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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Daring and Emboldened

This morning I was working with Acts during my daily time here at the office, and I was once again stopped in my tracks by God. I read something that I have read many times, especially in the last couple of years. I read about the conversion of Saul, who becomes one our most famous evangelist in Paul.

But I read the story about Saul’s blinding on the road, and how for three days he ate nothing. Then Ananias being told to go and explain the gospel to Saul, but there were two things that really struck me this morning. Ananias was so comfortable in talking with God that he registered his objections and actually had his mind changed by God. When was the last time that truly happened for us? Probably less often that it really should be.

Also the other thing that really struck was me was just how quick, bold, and daring the early actions of Paul are. Here is a guy who just a couple of weeks before who was trying to kill “followers of The Way” now preaching. That must have seemed so schizophrenic to the people in the synagogues, and let’s not even start with the reactions of the chief priests. It also says that Paul was so bold that some in the synagogue were trying very often to kill him.

But Paul has a reputation of saying things that get him into trouble, but often that is because he has no filter between heart (or brain) and mouth. I know many people like this, but I do not know many people who channel their lack of filter to speaking boldly for God. I think the amazing thing about Paul is that he dives in headlong. He does not worry about the consequences of the things he’ll do.

When I think about my own faith life, and how I am about sharing my faith with others I wish I was a bit more like Paul. I think many of us know the way it goes when we attempt to not step on toes with our convictions. Paul did not care, and he probably turned some people off from “The Way,” but he also brought in thousands.

I don’t want my faith to become like that of Westboro Baptist Church, or other groups who spread hate and call it religion. What I want is the strength and integrity to speak love to teenagers and others whose life could be impacted by the love of Christ. Amen.

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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Incognito

I read the story this morning of the walk to Emmaus, but two previously anonymous disciples of Jesus. And something really jumped out at me. The story is of two of Jesus close disciples walking to Emmaus  a town that was approximately 7 miles away (according to my translation). They meet a man who seems to be clueless about what has been happening just up the road in Jerusalem.

While talking to this man, one of the disciples says “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21.) Now I think this phrase alone probably made Jesus pretty mad. I believe he had to be thinking, Did they get it at all? Did I not make it really, explicitly clear what I was doing? How could they spend so much time with and yet understand so little of what I was doing? Can’t they see the bigger picture? This is so much bigger than Israel!

But Jesus couldn’t just stop and give them both a good face palm. Jesus was incognito remember, the disciples did not get it, so what does Jesus do? He explains it all to them. From Genesis to his resurrection. And still they don’t see that it’s him. Eventually Jesus breaks bread and that opens their eyes to the fact that it is Jesus that has been with them. Their reaction, “weren’t our hearts burning within us?”

Maybe Jesus often comes to us incognito also. Maybe we miss Jesus because he doesn’t come with a huge flashing neon sign that says, “Son of God, Right Here” with a big arrow. But don’t we often have that sensation of our hearts burning within us, with our hearts being set ablaze with Jesus zeal. The disciples saw Jesus, but they did not see how big the plan actually was.

When they say they had hope for Jesus redeeming Israel I think Jesus was screaming inside his mind. Jesus was saying, “WHY MUST YOU PUT ME IN SUCH A SMALL BOX!” My plan is not just for Israel, but for the whole world! We often miss Jesus because he’s incognito, but we feel the tug and burn of our hearts. When Jesus finally reveals himself we have that face palm experience that Jesus was dying to give the two disciples.

This week lets pay a little more attention to our burning hearts, so that we end up exactly where Jesus wants us to go.

 

 

Inspiration in Weird Places

Recently a new show began on Fox and my wife and I have begun to watch it and follow it pretty closely. It’s called Terra Nova, and although I’m not huge on sci-fi or futuristic stuff this show is pretty cool. The show begins in the year 2149 with an earth so polluted that the sun cannot be seen and the air outside cannot be breathed. Somehow these future people have discovered and created a portal to an earth millions of years prior.

So (this is the big sci-fi leap) they send people back into the past to create a new society, to hopefully help correct the mistakes of the future. Terra Nova is full of dinosaurs and other animals that like to prey on the new tasty humans who have taken up residence in Terra Nova. Now I have to also admit that the special effects and explosions on this show also excite that young boy who is still inside of me.

The colony at Terra Nova is led by Captain Nathaniel Taylor, who was the first man to go through the portal, who survived 118 days in this jungle by himself, which we see was an incredible accomplishment. When the new recruits who are the 10th pilgrimage (notice the religious tinged language) he walks out on the front of his command center hutch.

Captain Taylor introduces himself and tells these people that they have come to a new place and have been entrusted with a second chance to create a new society. The world they came from had fallen victim to the “baser” natures of greed, pollution, and the degradation wrought by human mistreatment of the world.

This speech got my mind rolling from the moment I heard it, and I have since watched it several times again. But I was struck by the idea of grace that is woven throughout the speech. Even the family that the show focuses on, that broke population control laws in 2149, are given a second chance in Terra Nova. The father of the family was an escapee from a maximum security prison, and also brought their third (breaking the strict population control of two children per family) daughter to Terra Nova with them.

The idea of second chances is something that I think we often miss. We get the second chances, but we are not lining up to give them to others. God is constantly giving us opportunities to live out our faith in substantive ways, and we are constantly failing. I hope that today I will be more willing to give the second chances to all of those around me. I pray that God will help me to be the person he has called me to be. What are you praying that you might get a second chance at today?