Monday, July 27, 2009

saving or destroying

There comes a place in the life of Jesus, where it says he resolutely set out for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-55 NIV). This is actually the NIV translation for a Hebrew idiom that means to "set your face towards" something. Why was Jesus setting his face towards Jerusalem at this point in his ministry? Because Jerusalem is the place where He would do what he would come to do - save the world from their sins.

Funny thing happened along the way. Jesus sent some interns ahead to a Samaritan village (apparently heading south from Galilee) to see if Jesus could do a preaching rally there. Well, the people who were less than excited about any one heading to Jerusalem said, "no thanks" and didn't welcome Jesus into town. So James and John do what any dedicated, hard working, Jesus following servants would do; they ask Jesus for permission to call down lightning from heaven and smoke these ingrates! I mean who do they think they are? Denying a visit from Jesus. Don't they know who they're messin' with? So logical. So impulsive. Get on the Jesus train or die!

Jesus got mad. The bible says he rebuked them (which means he yelled at them probably) and then he went to another village.

Here's my simple question for you to ponder today (which i have pondered from my prayer room this morning): As Jesus has his face set towards saving people, are you as his follower just wishing you could destroy them? I know, you would never think followers of Jesus would do this but here we have the apostles doing it and I could name some others (myself included). As we are on mission for Jesus are we focused on the salvation work in their lives or are they just obstacles to what we want to do for God?

Just a deep thought for Monday...not very deep, but deep enough!

Monday, July 20, 2009

facebook jesus

many of you know I don't face book...i have many reasons. one is that I barely have time to keep up with e-mails and stuff let alone all the things I hear posted on my wife's face page. two is i really find this whole phenomena a pursuit in triviality (don't even get me started about tweeting, i do not care that you had coffee for breakfast, or are wearing your favorite red shoes, or had to stop and go to the bathroom, seriously who really would care?). three i'm a fan of real f2f and lol. I value and enjoy being in the presence of flesh and blood human beings and responding in real time, live! finally, i think face book gives people the boldness to say things they shouldn't say, post pictures they shouldn't post, and talk about things they shouldn't talk about (has everyone forgotten that this is the world wide web and people can read what your are writing?). Anyway, this blog is not designed to rail againt face book (after all how hypocritical to blog? Who wants to read what I say anyway? Oh well...).

Someone asked me the other day if Jesus would have face booked or not. Very interesting question. First glance says "yes". I mean he loved people and called his followers friends. Can you imagine how many he would have had? And he had a lot to say and his tweets would be a lot more interesting ("just healed a blind guy", "guess what? Lazarus is alive again", "told the wind and waves to shut up - now back to my nap"). He could make a mass appeal to follow him. But as I thought about it...I don't think Jesus would dig facebook. Here are a few reasons why:
1. The whole deal behind Jesus is incarnation. There is no substitute for flesh and blood when dealing with humans and so God became man. God didn't facebook earth, he came to earth. And that incarnation I believe meets the deepest human need.
2. Jesus dealt with people one on one a lot and facebook really isn't that way. Jesus spoke to and taught the masses, but he tried to get away from the crowd too. He preferred one woman at the well, one blind man, one teacher of the law. These are the meetings he held face to face.
3. Jesus spoke with his actions as deeply as with his words. Can you imagine the seven quotes from the cross without his actually hanging there? They would be good words and all, but they just wouldn't carry the weight. If he had simply posted "father forgive them..." that wouldn't have done.

Well, I've got more, but my 2:30 apointment just showed up so I'm done.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Galena with the elders

Well, I'm gonna post a quick blog this morning before church since I'll be in Galena tomorrow and I'm not sure about computer access. As soon as church is over today, I and the elder team from Eastview is heading north for a couple of days of retreat (yes, we are riding in an old school 15 passenger van that is a really ugly light blue - flashback to youth ministry days). We will be led in Scripture and devotion by my great friend J.K. Jones. Sandi and Bob Knapp (along with my wife) are preparing some awesome meals and i and the elders are going to get away and vision for Eastview. How do you do that? Well, you get together in a room with men of faith and you pray for God to lay direction on your hearts. Then you discuss and talk and circle back and pray some more and think and sleep on it and talk and pray some more and then it seems that the Spirit always leads to some concrete things. I'm stoked about this. I love these guys and I love that we are going to talk about our role in being stewards of all that God is doing at Eastview and what He will do here if we have enough faith! So pray, eternal stuff is at stake. Oh yeah, we'll have some intensely honest conversations and we'll laugh a lot. I'll try and update when we get back.

Last night (due the generous gift of one of our members - or was she just being ornery?), I finished third in the donations for the make a wish foundations annual "celebrity" sing. I performed "R.O.C.K. in the USA" with Gerry and the G men. I was nervous, but we got through it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

crying and stuff

First of all, I want to respond to many who have not been able to get my sermon on-line today. Sorry, but it will not be able to be posted until next Sunday, when the one person who controls that download will be back from vacation! Sorry, we just don't have any other options this week, but we will.

Second, many of you have asked about my upcoming celebrity sing for wishes? Here's the scoop: I offered to be a local celebrity for Make a Wish foundation and an event they do each year to raise money for this really cool cause. Here's how it works. If you go to you can make a donation in my name for this charity. The three "celebrities" who get the most money donated in their name have to sing with a cover band (Jerry and g-men I think) this Saturday night (11th) at Gill Street Bar from 7:00-11:00. So now you know. I haven't pushed this because as a rule I push one thing - Jesus. So I offered to play along, but won't work extra hard to drum up support. Am I nervous? Nope - don't think I'll be singing, but if I do, "r.o.c.k. in the usa" will be a good tune don't you think?

Finally, as you know I was in Louisville last week for the North American Christian Convention and then Sara and I headed to Cincinnati for a reds game before riding home (on our bike) in a complete monsoon all day Saturday. Anyway, we had a great day in Cincy and I cried three times at the ball game. No, it wasn't because my team choked and lost to the cards in the 8th inning! Here's where I cried. At the star spangled banner in the beginning of the game I cried. I always get a lump in my throat because the song is a reminder of my freedom, but at the game they released an eagle at "the land of the free and the home of the brave" who swooped down so majestic across the field and to his trainer...I couldn't contain a tear. Then, there was a family sitting in front of us (mom, dad, son and daughter). The mom had a tattoo on her shoulder (which I always notice since my son is in the business) that had five names on it...obviously her family,but one name had a halo (Scotty) so I deduced that they had lost a son. Later, the dad stood up to cheer and he was wearing a memorial baseball game shirt in honor of his son Scotty. Wow! During the game, she bought her other son some cotton candy and he smiled and she patted his head with a look only a mother can give and I cried because I thought how much pain she must have to not be able to buy cotton candy for her other son. Then after the game, they had this really cool fireworks display set to music. Again the finale was the star spangled banner...same line (land of the free home of the brave) and fireworks and explosions filled the sky with the music loud and then 42,000 people cheered and I cried. What a baseball game.

Then Sunday a man came forward at the invitation and simply said, "I need Jesus" and i put my arm around him and cried (and I'm teary eyed typing this).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

convention update

Back at the hotel studying and writing for Sunday's sermon. Really powerful sermon which will call people to life! If you are an Eastviewer invite a non-believing friend and pray they will choose life (Read Deuteronomy 30:11-20).

I heard two great sermons this morning. One was by Rick Rusaw and he hit a chord that is always a part of my heart beat. the theme for the week is "Still Amazed" and his topic was "Grace that feels". His text was the story of the good Samaritan and the idea behind the sermon was that the grace we have been given prompts us to focus on the needs of others and motivates us to help meet those needs.

the most poignant part of the teaching for me was the response of the "religious types" (Priest and Levite) and the Samaritan who was a "neighbor" Jesus was talking about: the religious types saw the need and asked, "what will happen to me if I stop and help?" And the neighbor asked, "What will happen to this man if I don't stop and help?"

Are you going through life concerned for yourself and what might happen if you get involved in the messed up lives of those in need around you? If so, you'll always pass by on the other side and you'll miss the point of your life (ephesians 2:10). Are you going through life concerned with the needs of others, willingly getting involved with the mess so that you can bring grace? If so, you'll always be stopping to help those in need. And you'll be the kind of person Jesus commends as loving their neighbor as themselves.