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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Jesus for Sale

Confession time! Okay so, sometimes I struggle with how to encourage students to come to Symposium. I’ve tried to entice them to come for the activities, or the music. I’ve pushed them to come because I think they should. But I can’t help but think about how we do that same thing with Jesus. We dress Him up like the culture and society we live in, we offer bakery and hugs along with Jesus because maybe if they see they can get coffee and listen to cool music, more people will come to our church and add Jesus as a friend too.

 I have a lanyard attached to my key ring which says “Life with Jesus is better.” What does that even mean? Is life here and now better with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior? I guess if you have a fear of death and separation from God, than it’s better than living without Him. But there’s a verse in 2nd Timothy which says, in fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. WILL BE PERSECUTED! How often do we bring up Jesus with that as the clincher? I can hear the infomercial now: If you call now, not only will you get Jesus with the unbelievable “get out of death free card” (you better believe it!) but you can also have a life of denying your wants and needs. Wait there’s more! If you act now, you’re guaranteed to suffer persecution and be considered an outcast by most if not all of your loved ones! Operators are standing by.

Standing up for Jesus won’t get you millions of dollars, nor will it get you all that your heart desires. Nearly everything in our society tells us that we need to be comfortable. It says we can have our cake and eat it too. I think a lot of well meaning people have adopted that same attitude with Jesus. If we dress Him up like the culture and make Jesus cool, maybe more people would “buy” our product. Yet Jesus himself was bold and manly, and he called out the masses that followed Him. Christ was always testing the hearts of those who dared to call themselves disciples.
Following Jesus isn’t safe. It isn’t always pleasant and comfortable. But in a world of deceit and disheartening news, wouldn’t a true message be greater? I need to stop trying to sweeten the deal and let Jesus Christ be the center. Let’s stop seeking what man can offer us and start seeking the real Jesus.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Babies vs Vikings

       I want you to meet 30 year old Stanley Thorton. He is an Adult Baby. Say what?! That's right, Stanley sleeps in a giant crib, plays with baby toys, drinks juice from a bottle, sucks on a pacifier and perhaps the worst part, the guy wears a diaper! Warning: This video will probably scar you. I don't apologize. There's a point to this... Let these images burn into your brain.

       These images should be disturbing. An adult living like a child is just wrong. But I wonder how many of us are living like Spiritual Babies. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 Paul writes to those in Corinth, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." At some point we ought to put away the toys and the sippy cups and use tools and drink from "big boy" glasses.
      "We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." -Hebrews 5:11-14
      ARE YOU HUNGRY? Do you thirst for righteousness, or are you still choking on milk like a baby? I think we are like adult babies sometimes. Now don't get me wrong. When you first become a believer in Jesus Christ, you gotta crawl before you walk. But at some point, we need to grow up. We need to mature... But what does that look like?


          No doubt Vikings are strong. (Much stronger than a baby, and I bet they eat a lot better too!) Not only did they row themselves miles across the seas, but they also built their own boats from scratch. Imagine all the axe swinging it would take to chop down trees, and cut logs into planks and hammer them together all by hand! No wonder Vikings are still known today. They worked very hard; an not just at war, they worked hard at all the little things too. Nothing was beneath them. They were willing to take on responsibilities that others delegated or neglected. That's why the Vikings were so great.
         So who would win in a fight, a Viking or an adult baby? It's not even a question is it? Vikings are trained for battle. Their whole lives are a training ground for it. Now contrast that with the generation around you. Are those around you, be-it at school, work, or even church really working hard doing the little things? Or are they "just making it” ? We live in an age of laughably low standards. Almost no one does more than is required. Yet aren't we in a fight? (See Ephesians 6:12) So why then are we not preparing to fight like the Vikings?     Simple answer? Being a Viking is hard, being a baby is easy. The expectations placed on a baby are to eat, sleep, poop and cry when they don't get their way. Are you living that way? What kind of standards do you hold yourself to? Do you succumb to the low expectations society places on you, or will you hold yourself to a higher, more heavenly standard and expectation? 

"For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:14