Saturday, July 19, 2014

Never Too Busy for a Beggar

Leaving Jericho, Jesus was headed to Jerusalem.  

The triumphal entry, planned from eternity past as a type of coronation for Calvary's King, was probably less than a day away. 

After that, there would be a temple to cleanse, parables to teach, Pharisees to put in their place, a Passover to prepare, a new Supper to institute, feet to wash, a friend to be betrayed by, an arrest to endure, a trial to face, a scourging to receive, a cross to carry, and an almost innumerable number of people to die for. 

The most significant event in all of history, the crucifixion of Christ - where the Son of God would be slain for sinners, was to happen before this week drew to a close. 

There was much to do.  M U C H  to do! 

Have you ever been at the beginning of one of those weeks where the calendar is just overflowing with fullness? The events of the days ahead are critical ones.  The things that you must do will have far reaching affects on others.  There will be little time for sleep and not a second to spare. "Tick tock. Tickety tock!"  Every moment can seem manic because you've just  so  much  to  do!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Cause and Cure for Quarreling

The lust for power, pleasure and preference can cause all kinds of problems. Our wants lead to wars.  Our desires do damage.  Our flesh starts fights. Our cravings bring conflict. 

James (the same James from my last post - the one who selfishly wanted the best seat in heaven's house) understood this.  He wrote:
"What causes quarrels and conflicts among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war within? You desire and do not have; so you commit murder.  You covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel."  (James 4:1-2)

James knew that passions within are the things that lead to problems without, and I'm pretty sure he learned the lesson from Jesus. It seems the great Teacher was often schooling His students in the subjects of selfish hearts and the need for improving interpersonal relationships.

Rodney King wondered "why can't we all just get along?" and Jesus gives us the answer.  In Matthew 20 He gives us a glimpse into the cause of quarreling and offers to us the cure.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Seeking the Best Seat in Heaven's House

Our society seeks success.  We can be crass creatures of competition. Chomping to eat others in our jobs. Chanting to defeat others with our teams. Choosing to cheat others in order to get our way and achieve our goal.  

We're proud people who far too often mistake our own merit.  
"I deserve that dignity!" 
"I've earned that honor!"  
"I'm owed that award!"  

In our craving of the crown we may knock out our neighbor, sell out our sister, and throw our brother under the bus.  And for what?  All that we might secure the best seat in the house - the place of preeminence where others' eyes might look upon us and marvel at just how wonderful we are. 

Now, you might be thinking, "Oh, the wicked world!!  How terribly they can treat one another!" 

And at times it's true, they do!  

But is the church a whole lot different?  
Are Christians free from the tentacles of this temptation?  
Are pastors immune?
Do sheep and shepherds ever become carnivorous cannibals?
Do I ever hurt you in order to help myself?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Good 'Nuff for Glory (?)

Without question, one of my favorite New Testament narratives is the account of the rich young ruler's conversation with Christ.  

Here is a young man pondering perhaps the most important issue any of us ever can - the issue of eternal life. Here is a rich man, one who has so many things of temporal worth, actually pausing to contemplate things of eternal value.  

We'd do well to contemplate with him.

People regularly came and asked Jesus questions.  Often it was the Pharisees, but sadly they came with queries that sought to trick and trap the Messiah. This dude seems different.  He comes humbly and respectfully. In his words, posture, considerations and cogitations he appears unique. When he approaches Jesus it is not to tempt, but to be taught. 

We could learn a thing or two from him.
We can learn a lot more from the One to whom he talks!