Friday, February 23, 2007

The Purpose of the "Law"

I know I have gotten away from my “Questions Jesus Asked,” I will get back to those in the future. Until then, you’re stuck with my random thoughts.

I am reminded again of how God wants us to treat each other. Throughout the Bible, God continuously points us to learn how to love each other. Now, you may ask, what about the Law. God gave us all these rules we are supposed to follow – that’s how we are a good person, right? Follow all the rules.

I hope this helps – NO! That’s not the purpose of the Law! The reality is we cannot keep all the rules – that was the point. If we could keep the rules we would not need Jesus. Well then, what did Jesus teach us about the Law?

Jesus was asked about the Law and He said this – Love God with everything you are and love others.

That’s it! Jesus said all of the Law and even everything we read about the Prophets are all summed up into those two things – actually, one thing – LOVE. Jesus demonstrated what that looked like when the women caught in the act of adultery was dragged out before Him. The Law said she and her partner should be stoned to death.

Jesus’ response? He said let the person who has never messed up throw the first stone. At least those people were honest enough to drop their stones and walk away.

What we tend to do is want to help everyone else live by the Law – we point out every “wrong” thing (at least in our opinion) they do – we pick up stones and hurl them.

If we really want to enjoy life, we need to learn to love – it starts with loving God and then moves to loving people as we allow God to transform our hearts.

Next time you find yourself standing with a stone in your hand – I hope you’ll drop it and walk away.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

God's Fairness

I had lunch with a friend to today and part of our discussion was on the “trouble” in this world. Jesus told us “in this world you will have trouble.” There was no ambiguity in His statement. He didn’t say you “might” have trouble; He said you “will” have trouble. We live in a broken world.

That led to some discussion about examples of people who seemed to be in the ultimate trouble – like John the Baptist when he was thrown in jail and about to be executed. He asked a very honest question of Jesus, “Are you really the One, or should we be looking for someone else?” He was admitting that he though Jesus was the Messiah, but his circumstances didn’t appear to be proving that. In other words, he was saying, “Hey, Jesus, I’ve done everything I was supposed to do but now I’m sitting in jail about to be killed. Where are you? Why aren’t you getting me out of this ‘trouble’?”

Jesus did not show up and bail John out and John was executed. What happened? We’re tempted to say, that’s not fair, that’s not right. Were on the verge (or maybe past the verge) of saying, “God, You messed that one up!” But did He?

John had fulfilled his mission in this broken world. John had lived in the wilderness, dealt with strong opposition, and lived on a diet of locust and honey. And it was time for John to hear God say, “Well done good and faithful servant. Come enjoy your Master’s pleasure.” John got to trade in this imperfect broken world for perfect heaven. He left a world of wonder and doubt, to have his faith full realized and to enter into the presence of God. What’s unfair about that? Sound pretty darn good to me!

How about Moses? We look at Moses not being able to enter the Promised land and say, “Hey, God, that’s not right! Moses dealt with a bunch of stiff necked rebels for 40+ years and then You don’t let him go into the Promised land? What gives?”

But let’s take a closer look. What happened when the people entered the Promised land? Did they all grab a La-z-boy recliner, a cold drink and watch football (ladies fill in something that would appeal to you)? No! They had to fight battles (some they won and some they lost). Where does Moses get to go instead? Heaven! Into the presence of God, into a place of no more fighting, arguing or dealing with the brokenness of this world. Which would you prefer?

The Apostle Paul wrestled with this question. He openly wrote about his internal debate about staying here in this broken world and being able to go to heaven. His heart’s desire was obviously heaven, but he also recognized that if he was still on earth then there was still a mission to continue.

Here’s my point. If you’re a follower of Christ and you’re still here in this broken world – then God still has a mission for you to continue. If you know what that is, then continue to fight the good fight knowing that God isn’t through with you yet. If you don’t know why you’re still here…’s time to figure it out. Spend as much time as you need reading the Bible, talking with God, and talking with other Christians until you know what God wants you to do now. Then get in the game, knowing full well when your mission is complete you to will enjoy the satisfaction of hearing God say to you, “Well done good and faithful servant. Come enjoy your Master’s pleasure.”


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

No TRUST-passing

My two girls love to draw, doodle and journal. Our house is filled with little notebooks and binders. Today there was one sitting on the floor in the family room. I was doing a little straightening (I was tempted to call it cleaning up, but I actually only picked up four things).

As I picked up the notebook, I opened it to the front to see who the proper owner was. Here’s what I read:

This Diary belongs to the one and only [my daughter’s name in all caps]
Do not open uness permetted
No TRUST-passing

It’s really cute. And as I thought about what she wrote it hit me. When Jesus taught us to pray He mentioned us asking God to forgive our trespasses and to help us forgive those who trespass against us. I think my daughter is on to something here – when we trespass the real issue is we have TRUST-passed. We’ve done or said something that breaks the other person’s ability to Trust us. When we go against God, we’ve broken Trust. When others trespass against us – they’ve broken our Trust.

So, how do we get back on track? We must rebuild Trust. This can be a lot more difficult then we may first realize. When I break a trust with a friend, it’s natural that when something else even seems a little off – well, they will wonder, “Can I really trust him?” This is why it’s so important to maintain trust in our relationships – because it’s so easy to lose, and when we lose it we seem to lose it all.

Yet, God’s way of dealing with things is a bit different. He tells us if we admit we’ve blown it He’s faithful to totally forgive us. Wow! But then He reminds us that this is how He wants us to treat others – to forgive them. One thing I have learned is that when I forgive someone I begin to let them rebuild the trust. Trust doesn’t come back all at once, but until we are willing to forgive, it can’t come back at all.

So, be careful with others – work hard at not TRUST-pass against them. And when others TRUST-pass against you, learn to forgive and begin rebuilding the trust. And, thank God that He is willing to fully forgive us every time we ask Him to!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Little Busy


Yes, I'm still here. However, things are very busy with tax season kicking into gear. This week is my final week of seminary until after tax season, so I hope to get back to posting more regularly after this week!


Friday, February 02, 2007


I’m going to step away from the Questions Jesus Asked this post, but we will continue with those in the future. This post comes from a conversation I had with some good friends today – it was about tipping at restaurants.

I understand some of the frustration people have with this subject. Here are some facts regarding tipping:

1. A standard tip used to be 10%, then it was 15%, now its 20%; and
2. The price of food has increased (so it’s 20% of a larger bill); and
3. In many places the food quality is the same (if not worse); and finally
4. The service in many places has decreased.

Sooooo… I understand the frustration…HOWEVER –

Let me attempt to provide a paradigm shift. The hourly rate for waitstaff is barely over $2 an hour. Many of those working these jobs are either young people trying to get started in life or people who need the flexible hours (such as single parents). I don’t know about you, but two bucks an hour won’t take you very far.

What if we looked at those serving us as people – people who are trying to get on track or back on track. People who may be working multiple jobs to support their family. People who are struggling with some real tough life issues. Is this all of them? No, but its many!

So, rather than view the tip as a you-do-a-good-job-and I’ll-reward-you, why not make someone’s day by giving them a generous tip? Maybe the service they provided you wasn’t so great, but just maybe your generosity will inspire them to serve the next table a little better. Maybe they’ll feel a little better about themselves. Maybe it’s just what they needed to keep going.

One last thought for those of you who consider yourselves Christians. Do you know that most waiters and waitresses hate working Sunday afternoons because Christians are notoriously horrible tippers? PLEASE, PLEASE do not leave a tract on the table as a tip!! God is NOT a tip! If you want to leave something for them, do it right next to the big fat tip!

BTW – I am not, nor have I ever been, a waiter (I was a busboy for a while during High School). I’d probably ruin more clothes by dropping stuff on people then I care to even think about. But I really do appreciate those who serve me – and I hope you will, too.