Passion Week Musing: The Dangerousness of Jesus


Jesus was a dangerous.  Think about it. See he came to change things. His mission was to make things different. He posed risk to those that were in charge. He posed such risk that Herod the Great killed many infant males to try and kill one. He was so dangerous that the crowd tried to kill him on more the one occasion.  Most had hoped that his dangerousness would mean the end of Rome and re-establishment of Israel as a country and kingdom. However, that was not what yes was about. He did not meet those expectations. This also made him dangerous.  It was his dangerousness that led to his death. He lived God’s way. He was concerned for each individual. He loved and demonstrated concern for others over appearances of righteousness. He was so dangerous that they decided that He needed to die for the good of all. They considered Him so dangerous that the tried him at night, examining ultimately if He was one who is leading Israel astray and worthy of death. They decided He was and assured his death. Jesus was dangerous.

Jesus is a dangerous.  Think about it. He changes things.  Following him involves loss of control and submission. There is great risk in following Jesus.  If you truly follow Jesus your life is will be the same.  There is no one in history who unsettles people like even the name of Jesus does. Mention of the name can bring unease and unsettle others. See following Jesus involves trust and faith. It involves a belief without absolute certainty. It involves following a different way and going against the ways of the world. Jesus is dangerous.

Jesus will be dangerous. Think about it. There is a time coming when Jesus returns. It will be a time for those that do not follow him to fear for there will be wrath untold. The twisting on creation due to the impacts of life outside of dependence on God will be undone. All of creation will not go untouched. There will be wrath. There will be judgment. There will be making things right. Never before will there be any greater danger and no greater power unleashed.  Jesus will be dangerous

Now that you have done some thinking. Realize that to some the danger of Jesus is the making of a villan because there is great danger. He does not meet expectation. If you follow Him you are good, if not, an enemy. Either he is Lord and King or not.  See, there are many who want to live their own way. Many who think that they are good enough for they care about and try to look out for others and do other nice deeds.  How dare the creator of the universe be told to show self and come in such a manner? How dare He require complete surrender? Yet, Jesus brings forth life. He sets things right and in all that danger He alone brings true peace. For all the danger that is there, the danger only exists if you reject and turn away. And there are those who have thought about it, recognize it and follow Jesus, this ever so dangerous one. The letting go brings far more than any risk and true life and peace are gained.  So, yes, Jesus is dangerous, but in the end He alone brings about true health and wholeness. So accept the dangerousness and surrender. Once you do you will never be the same and it will be good.

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Resurrection Sunday Musing: God’s love shown in power demands response

Today, April 8th, 2012 was Resurrection Sunday, more commonly known as Easter Sunday. It is a central day to the Christian faith for it is the day we recognize the power of God. On Friday the focus is death, pain, and loss and the act of one in obedience in love meeting the demands of justice. One act engaged in to impact all of creation, making things right. However, that one act would be meaningless without what happened two days later. A tomb was found empty, death was overcome, and Jesus was alive. He rose again. Death meant nothing. God showed His power as his plan played out. A way was made. See God, up to that point could not interact face to face with mankind, for doing so he faced the twisting and distortion of His creation. He saw that which is good corrupted. Can you imagine looking at what you created and seeing the flaws? Knowing that there was much better that could have been in store. He real would be unbearable. So God did not just accept the corruption. He did not just wipe us all out. Sure, with a simple word, God could make all right. He could undo the curse and make everything as it should with a word. He could end pain and suffering in but a moment. No, he had a plan, one that would demonstrate His love and power. God made a way, so that which was corrupted can approach God’s thrown and interact with Him day to day. He had wanted Israel to hear his voice and listen, and they declined that option. Now, we have God with us, the Holy Spirit in residence when we turn to God in surrender. God’s plan is one that teaches and demonstrates His love and goodness. It allows us to learn and grow. It forces us to move one direction or another. God’s power demands response and action. One cannot be silent about something so powerful. One can accept what happened and submit for look for other explanations. See, there were stories and alternatives presented at the very beginning. For what God made a way. God did and what happened with the empty tomb throws everything in chaos. It forces a choice. Some say that incredible claims demand incredible evidence. There has never been any more incredible evidence than the empty tomb and lives changed, Lives standing for what happened through pain, death, and torture. Lives were changed and uprooted. Yet, people still just cannot believe, for it demand a choice an giving up of self and what one hold dear. God showed His Love and Power. The world changed that day and while the curse is still playing out every day God has a plan to make all things right, in due time. So while we await that great and powerful day, we live each day growing, learning, and enduring life amidst the curse. Yet, we do so knowing God’s love is amazing and we only get but a glimpse, yet each glimpse contains the fullness of God’s love and power impacting each of us day by day.

Good Friday Musing: The center point of the fullness of God’s grace and justice

Today, 4/6/2012 is the day set aside to commemorate Good Friday. Today also happens to be full moon, a night of full reflection of the sun’s light. It is an interesting combination that really points to God’s fullness in operation on this day. Good Friday is always a day of fullness. It is a singular moment that has changed all to make things right. On this day we remember what God did in that one moment that is really the center of all that went before it and all that is to come regarding the story of God and mankind.

See, there was another singular moment, one that defines all that was to come, and that was the day mankind separated from God and want to define all for self. It is the day when that which was declared as “good” became twisted. It is the day when pain, sorrow, despair, and death became realities. It was a day that earth tilted on its axis and moving more and more off centered since. It was a singular moment that needed another singular moment, the one at center when God made the way to begin restoring that which was broken, starting with allowing people to interact with God and choose to follow His ways.

Today was both a wonderful and awful day. It was a day God showed all of who He was and showed His love. Sure, some do not see the love for what it was, for Jesus endured much. All of the pain, sorrow, and betrayal of life in the fallen world, He took on. The depths of human suffering Jesus endured. The most painful death mankind ever created, Jesus went through, out of love and to make things right. This center point in time, this action, makes it possible for all to turn to God. It is a choice that is given and received by all that receive. The fullness of God’s grace and justice happen at one point in time creating this singular moment and display love and setting the scene for all to be right. Take some time and think about this center point of God fullness. This point where God reveals fully His love, and it is shown to all. There will never be any other point in time similar. It is the center of God’s plan and everything that went before and all that follow are rooted at that one point on the tree when the words were declare “It is finished.” And that which was demanded was met. This point is a great, wholly wonderful, awesome, horrible, and tragic day. A day needed because of my own desire to run thing my way apart from God.

Now, there is another singular point in time coming, the time when all corruption will be no more. The time when all of creation will be set back in proper alignment and no longer twisting out of control. For Jesus will return and set all right. All will be under Him. The worst that is, will be undone and no more. All will be made new. But that day would not be coming, if not for that one fateful Good Friday. It was a day foretold after the other singular moment, after an act of sin set death and decay in motion. So the day coming where Jesus returns and the day of corruption are met at God’s center point of the cross where relationships with God and man and enabled to be made right and God’s plan and the story of God and man plays out in full course, in all fullness, love displayed and that center point. If you not, please meet God at that center point and take His gift of grace, for there never ever will be a more precious and costly gift, that cost all.

Holy Week Musings: Palm Sunday- Evaluate Expectations

Today, 4/1/2012, is celebrated as Palm Sunday. It is the day Jesus made is triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a colt and people laid palm fronds before Him proclaims Hosanna. Jesus came to Jerusalem for Passover and excitement was buzzing. He had raised Lazarus from dead and taught from the Mount of Olive. People were excited about what Jesus was about to do. They eagerly expected that the tyranny of Rome would be shaken off and that Jesus would take his place on David’s throne to rule as Messiah. On that day, many years ago, Jesus entered Jerusalem in the way that scripture prophesied Messiah would enter Jerusalem. The buzz that day had to be immense and it culminated in a huge spontaneous celebration. Palm Sunday was in essence really the first flash mob, only there was no planning involved, it just happened. People were excited. God was about to change everything and life would soon be better for all. Unfortunately, they missed the reality. Yes, God was about to change everything, just not in a way that matched expectations. Rather, God moved in a greater way that was beyond improving our life now, but rather making a way for all to be made right, fully. For Jesus did not lead a revolution or take the throne. He did not destroy Rome and life was not going to be any different. Now certainly the throngs and cries of the people had to bring temptation to invoke the plan of doing whatever to make life best for now. He could have taken the throne and undid of Rome but that would have missed the point of undoing what had been done. Adam had put all of creation under a curse of sin by one action. Jesus by one action made the way of restoration and redemption. He made it possible for man to be in direct relationship with God. He suffered greatly to bring freedom.

People expected and wanted one thing but God had something else in mind. Today, often times we are not any different than the Palm Sunday crowd. We want God to make our life best in the moment. We are focused in what God is doing for me know. We get upset if God doesn’t somehow bring circumstance to our liking. Personally, I have had my own expectations shattered at times and it did lead to periods of great anger and sin. God didn’t do things the way I thought He should. See our expectations are dangerous things and are usually wrong. Our expectations are based on our view of the world and what we think is best in the moment. Our expectations come out of our selfishness. Life doesn’t play out in accordance with what we think is “our best life now.” Things do not work out in accordance with what we want. And if we get what we want, the how we get there is usually not the way or path chosen on getting there. The story that plays out in life is never what we expect and always filled with surprises. There are many reasons for the many twists and turns of life that run contrary to even the most honorable of expectations.

So does that mean we should not have expectations? No, but we need to be constantly evaluating our expectations and desires. We need to continually be submitting whatever we expect or want before God. We need to exam self and the motives behind what we expect. We need to continually pursue God and his truth and change our own perspective to line up with His perspective. We need to move beyond the momentary and temporary and be open to whatever greater has in store. Ultimately, God meets our wants, desires, and expectations. When God does act, He acts in ways that far exceed whatever we could hope or imagine. Just like God’s plan of redemption truly met the needs of all who are willing to accept it. God had a better way. This remains true to this day. So, take time to examine where you are at, what you expect of God, what you expect with others, and what you expect of self. Examine all in light of scripture and ask God to direct paths and steps, even if things to do not go the way you expect. For Gods ways always exceeds expectations, even if we do not grasp it.

Resurrection Sunday Video’s for Meditation and Reflection

 Hope you are having a blessed Resurrection Sunday. Last year posted a variety of Video’s celebrating the Resurrection. Takes some time to review them: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/resurrection-day-songs-of-worship/. This years approach is a little different. The videos being posted are really ones to meditate and reflect on what Jesus Resurrection means for us and the impact. There are some interesting pieces that are not quite as well known at least by me. Some comment will accompany each piece. So take some time and examine and see what God stirs in you. Then perhaps go back to the video’s posted last year and celebrate.

The starting point is a piece of music and choreography reflecting on our brokenness and the need for resurrection. The piece was created by Nicole Sponberg in 2008. The Dance is by a dance group, Selah Warriors:

From that piece the next one is passed on Psalms 30, a Psalm that really points to the resurrection. A key element of the psalm is that God will turn our mourning into dancing. The song is entitled Alright Psalm 30 and is by the group Tree63. (Apparently need to go to you tube to watch it, click on the video to watch it on you tube)

 Next up is a 5:00 minute sermon jam on the empty tomb and related facts. I do not know who the quotes are taken from, perhaps John Piper, but it worthwhile to listen and review the facts related to the empty tomb. 

 Next brings us to spend time focusing on God’s act of love and that Love Crucified Arose. This piece is by Michael Card and draws into the focus of what Jesus did and the importance of His resurrection and how the grave became a place of hope.

The next piece is from Hillsong United: My Redeemer Lives. It is a song of some celebration of what God has done with God conquering sin and His cleansing us from sin. (Apparently need to go to you tube to watch it, click on the video to watch it on you tube)

The celebration continues with a piece of music from Tim Hughes focusing on how Happy this Day is for each of us. (Apparently need to go to you tube to watch it, click on the video to watch it on you tube)

The next song really continues the meditation and celebration of the Resurrection. This is more widely know. It is Casting Crowns Glorious Day with focus on Jesus coming to this earth, died, and then rose again to justify us. It looks forward to His return, the next Glorious Day. (Apparently need to go to you tube to watch it, click on the video to watch it on you tube)

The next piece focuses worship to God Almighty for His actions, for the victory the resurrection provides. It is by a group called Forerunner and is based on Psalm 136 with the key phrase: His love/mercy endures forever.  

After focusing on giving thanks to God for His love that endures forever, the next piece of music is a worship song known as the Victory Chant.  It follows the Celebration and focus on Jesus return and surrender to the Lamb of God who is the Lion of Judah.

The last piece for meditation is a “flash mob” kind of experience. Last year in Budapest Hungary a worship dance was performed.  This year the plan is for the same dance to occur in multiple locations around the world. Information on this action is found at http://uptofaith.com/.  When I watch the video the Holy Spirit was stirred within me. It is the perfect video to draw this post to a close.  I hope you were blessed by the Music, let God stir within you what He will.  Celebrate the Resurrection:

(Disclaimer: Nothing is known of the varied groups the pieces of music included on this blog or the theology of the people who compiled the music.  The pieces of music were what God led me to include. The inclusion does not show support or promotion of theology of the people who created the pieces.)

Holy Week Musing: The Dark Sabbath: Resting When All Seems Shattered

The day after Good Friday is a day not much attention is paid. Not many sermons are given on the day in between the cross and resurrection. When we do not spend some time focusing on this day of deep, dark despair we miss part of the picture. See the disciples; those who left all to follow Jesus had nowhere to turn. Jesus was just crucified, now what were they to do? They really didn’t have a clue. The choices basically were less than inspiring. All their hope was nailed to the cross, depression and despair took hold. Fear was great. Peter was so afraid he denied knowing Jesus three times. There has never been a period in time darker. Hope was gone. Some gather together and waited; some went back to what they knew best. Simply put, they were devastated and were just surviving.
Each of us do have moments of time where dreams are shattered, hope seems lost, things do not go according to our expectations, and often to the contrary. We can pull back, shut down, sleep or go back to what we knew. Of course each moment when we engage in those actions in the times of dark despair, we know that our response doesn’t suffice, but we know not what else to do. We do not know what God is actually doing or saying. All we know is we need to follow, hold on to God in spite of all appearances. For none of us knows what tomorrow brings, all we know is what God set before us, even when we cannot see any sign of hope.
But this we can know for certainty. God is at work. God is faithful. He will accomplish all He has set forth. He always keeps His promises and His word. Any period of dark despair is but temporary. Morning will come but does not last, the mourning is turned to dancing as God reveals His will and intent which is always better than anything we devise of our own accord. So in those dark times, God calls us to trust in him, rest in Him. The darkest time, a time where rest truly was needed, happened on a Sabbath, with the focus to be off self and on God. And on the darkest Sabbath, God was acting to secure the Eternal Rest, found in Jesus. Thus a call when times see dark, no where to turn, no where to go, no idea what God is going to go, remember to rest in God, for He is at work and will show the way, you can rest. Morning is coming and soon you will dance. Soon!

Now given these thoughts and musings, take some time to meditate on Psalms 30

A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Holy Week Musing: The Growing Confusion

 

Yesterday, Palm Sunday 2011, thoughts were focused on the great expectations found in the crowd of people when Jesus enteredJerusalem.  Emotions and expectations were at a peak. Those expectations readily turned to great confusion.  People expected that when the Messiah came toJerusalem, all would be made right the Son of David who would reign forever would take his place. So Jesus, came, people were ecstatic for Jesus did recently raise Lazarus from the dead.  There would be no stopping Him.

So what did Jesus do?  Did he go after the Roman tyrants? No, He went to the temple and wreaked havoc with those plying their goods and services for Passover.  Questions started to mount.  They listened to Him, and He talked of things that didn’t make sense such as to gain your life you must lose it. He talked ofJerusalembeing destroyed. He told parables and stories that didn’t make sense.  The question on peoples mind is “Is this what we were waiting for?” or “What on earth is He doing?” leading eventually to “This doesn’t make sense.”  The crowd clearly became confused.

The disciples, those closest to Him also became confused. Yes, they heard Him talk of needing to die.  Peter boldly proclaimed He would follow Jesus anywhere.  But the disciples didn’t get it, for how could they? We know read the accounts and at times wonder how they could miss it, but each of us would to.  It was very confusing.  Talk of going where cannot follow.  Talk of not knowing the day and hour of the coming of the Son of Man. Jesus was right there with them. It was just all so confusing. 

Yet, God knew this.  God knows we do not grasp or understand His ways. He does give us what we need that if we see and hear, things at one point will be made clear.  Certainly not in the immediate moments of great confusion, but when needed, God’s answers are provided as needed.  If we are seeking, following, and surrendered to God, we will get clarity in time.  If not, there will be anger, disgust, and despair for the truth is rejected with the thoughts that the truth does not make sense enough to be true.

See, the truth of Jesus coming toJerusalemto die as the eternal sacrifice, the eternal lamb made no sense. What mind could grasp the plan of God, which was the Messiah would die.  He left the message, it was clear, but people were confused and did not understand.  Yet, God had His plan, and now there is way for all to be set free and redeemed by acceptance and surrender to God through Jesus.  This concept still confuses many today, yet is the truth. For the fact is we really do not grasp the depth of God’s love and His actions. We really just do not “get it” at times.  Yet, God works through it all.  God is in control and He will be glorified.  For His love is so great that He in His love, served us by taking on Humanity while fully God and engaging in an action that sets right that which was twisted.  The choice is to accept and walk in that way, or reject it. All it takes is getting beyond the confusion, letting God, and trusting God and His great love.