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.

The true reconciliation: Comparing Tax day and Judgment Day

Yesterday was the day where everyone has to report to the United States government there income and assess the appropriate level of responsibility.  It is a day of accounting and ensuring appropriate reconciliation of the data. Up until the day taxes are do people work on adjusting the ledgers and seeing how they can reduce their share of responsibility and get most for self.  Every possible angle at reducing the cost to self is examined. Stress levels increase; conflicts arise, all over sorting through what the financial reconciliation of data comes up to.  There is relief and joy when the numbers are put together in such away that money is returned. Agony, despair, and desperation can occur when the numbers line up to needing to pay money in. 

Now there is a more important Day of Judgment and reconciliation of facts coming; the day when God will judge all of mankind. Now many think of God’s judgment to be like Tax day. Does the good behavior, selfless acts overcome the selfish, hurtful things. Is there more good than bad?  Was enough done to just make it by, am I just good enough?  Well guess, what?  God has a short form. God has a means of cutting through and sorting through everything that was done and the motives behind it.  The means of cutting through that is known as redemption and forgiveness.  God created a means by which there is no need to reconcile a balance of good and bad.  God sent Jesus to reconcile for all and pay the debt. It is as if someone with immeasurable resources agreed to pay for your tax burden if you chose to accept the offering and follow his directions.  Most people though choose to run their own life, sort out the reconciliation for themselves.  Most figure they got the balance tilting pretty well on the postive side.  Most of us really do not grasp the level of depth of own self-centeredness.

There is one true way in the judgement to come to have favorable results, move beyond self and take the gift of having it all accounted for.  Yes, it means loss of  just doing things your own way, but doing things your own way while driving down a path that only leads to a sudden extreme destructive drop-off.   In order to gain you need to give up self.  It is that simple.

The Saints Win

The Saints win.  Yes, that is the result of last nights Superbowl game.  Yet the words mean more to a Christian. Before going on further in my thoughts, I do not believe the game was won on the basis of name or anything symbolic that can drawn from the results of the game. Fact is, it is just a game. 

Now that being said, it is important for Christians to remember the end results are that “The Saints win.” The victory is already declared.  God has conquered sin and death and brought victory.  The forces of darkness, the tyranny of suffering, the selfishness of humanity are all defeated, the end of the story has been written. We just are playing out how we get to the final chapter. 

Now for someone who has accepted the Gospel and believes God has won it is at times hard to keep that focus.  The forces of darkness and tyranny of suffering seems unending.  It is easy to focus on the evil and pain, but we can have a different focus. Not on the pains, hurts, and struggles of this life, but recognition that God is in Heaven on the throne and He saw to make a way that selfishness can be overcome and everything made right. So, set you sight on Jesus, His victory, and walk in surrender.  In so doing you will sense the Joy and Peace of knowing victory is assured. The Saints win.

Musings on Seasons

Life consists of a varied series of seasons. We know the obvious seasons of spring, summer, winter, and fall that are part of the regular ebb and flow of life. Yet, the seasons of life are more than the orderly flow of time. Even the flow of the seasons is variable. The Bible even indicates that in life there are many seasons in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 (ESV):


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Many things come, go and are part of life. Often the things we enjoy and get pleasure from last too short. The things that hurt and are painful last too long. The lengths of season are variable and impacted by our perceptions of the season. Sometimes a treasured relationship ends abruptly; conflicts last too long. In the end, our time in life is but an instance. As James 4:14 (KJV) states: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Yet, many focus on capitalizing and focusing on pursuit the seasons of pleasure. We all like pleasure, yet when we encounter it, we do not savor it but rather often seek to engorge on the pleasure. For many, life is just moving from one momentary pleasure to the next. Yet, those seasons of pleasure fade, times of pain and sorrow always come. For many, life is about minimizing the suffering and maximizing the pleasure. There is another way. A way that looks beyond the constant shifting of seasons, there is something solid that stands up to the shifts. While seasons come and go, the Kingdom of God always stands. The rock of the Gospel is everlasting and un-shifting. It is not a momentary pleasure that last but awhile. It is the source of wholeness and completeness. For only in establishing right relationship with the Creator, which only happens not by self-effort but by, the redemption offered in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It all really comes down to where the focus of your life is. The continual pursuit of self and the temporary seasons of pleasure, or surrender to the King of Kings and accepting the gift of redemption allowing reconciliation and citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

    

News Commentary: Brit Hume’s comments about Tiger Wood.

Currently the internet and varied blogs are posting and up and arms about a comment Brit Hume made today on Fox News.  He made the following statement:

“The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith,” Hume said. “He is said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So, my message to Tiger is, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Bloggers and commentators through out the internet are mocking and decrying the comment.  Quick reference is made of professing Christians infidelities. Additionally, the personal tragedy of the suicide of Mr. Hume’s son and a father’s rejection of homosexuality being seen as a trigger.  It is amazing to see the rage and scorn for such a simple statement.

Brit Hume in a blurb compared Buddhism and Christianity. One that provides an answer to mans sinfulness.  Brit Hume was correct in pointing out Christianity offers a way of restoration and recovery.  If Tiger turned to Christianity and turned himself around he could receive some restoration and be a great example. However, in the brief blurb Brit’s comments are also short-sighted. While, to receive true healing and restoration, the only true way is turning to Jesus.  Yet, such an action should never be about regaining what was lost, like reputation. Rather, it is about recognizing our own selfishness and need for answer beyond self. 

When I think about the rage of responses in varied commentaries, it really seems down to pointing to an answer beyond self-determination.  The anger is about the Christian faith indicating there is only one true path, and not many paths that is determined by self.  Yes, people can make changes in their life outside of Christianity. Christians also have done very bad things.  Here is the essential difference though, it comes down to eternal matters and forgiveness. Brit Hume made a limited comment, essentially comparing what the path of Buddhism provides and compared to Christianity. It clearly is Brit’s opinion and with indications that he is leaving Fox, he clearly spoke his mind.  The sad part is the statement and context come off as self-righteous and condescending and without a broader context of love.  It is not the way to convince Tiger or anyone else of the value of the Gospel. The truth always needs to presented within the context of love.  Brit here made a statement of truth, he may have done so with love and care for Tiger in mind, but it falls short of presenting the truth in love.

Tiger would be better off in this life and in terms of what is ahead because turning to the forgiveness provided by Jesus brings completion.  When someone is totally surrendered to Jesus there is a wholeness that brings true peace.  Yet, no matter how anyone says it, without a demonstration of love accompanying the words, they are empty.

Video Selections:The necessity of Hell-Tim Conway Sermon

Musings on the pain of separation and relationship to feast of trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

Well this last Saturday was Rosh Hashanah. If you haven’t read last years article on the subject I hope you take the time to do so, it focused on the alarm and awakening aspect of the first trumpet. Now while I have some other thoughts related to Rosh Hashanah for another article I want to first attend to thoughts related to my experience which happened to fall on Rosh Hshanah.  The day for me was a traveling day.  Me and the wife were in the midst of traveling to visit family in Brazil.  In this process we needed to leave our little dog, Bella, behind.

Now we left her in good hands with my mother. She will be treated more like a dog and will have the company of my mom’s dog.  Yet, leaving her behind was very difficult.  As we left her friday night, the sadness was great.  The worst part was when we left and she followed us right to the door expecting to leave with us and having to see her watch us leave not understanding what was going on. My mother reported that whole first night she kept looking for us to see if we were returning.  She has now settle into the routine of that house but clearly she missed us.  Now, me and the wife feel this way over our little dog. I cannot yet imagine what it is like to be separated from a child you love. 

Thoughts that came to my mind during this time centered on how much pain God experiences over separation from us. There are two thoughts related to this.  First of all is the separation of sin.  The choosing to turn from God that goes back to Eden had to be devastating for God. God was enjoying his fellowship with his creation and then choices were made that brought on lasting separation.  This separation is so severe that God refers to it as death.  God certainly felt an intense amount of grief over that choice.  In the same way each time we go our own way, chase after whatever idol seems to satisfy, God is in great pain. He wants be with us.  He wants to be with us so much that he has taken whatever means necessary to reconcile the relationship.  He pursues connection and for each rejection, He has great pain.  The thought of such pain of separation draws me to examine myself and turn from that which separates me from the love of God. It is important to note, that once reconciled with God, there is nothing that we do that brings back that separation of sin. God has made it so that pain does not have to be experienced again.  Nothing will ever separate us from his love again.

The second thought the pain of separation brings to mind is about the joy of reuniting.  During this trip we are going to spend time with the wife’s family. Several of them we haven’t seen in five years.  When we landed the family members that were present were literally jumping with joy.  It is of great joy to be reunited with those you love after separation.  The same is true with God’s relationship with us.  There will be nothing of greater joy than when Jesus is able to end the separation and return to be with us.  The first trumpet is a call that says the time is truly near and Jesus is coming soon.  Now regardless of end times theology one subscribes, the fact is the first trumpet signals the soon and coming return of  Jesus. It is a time of exceeding joy.  The time of the pain of separation is over, and the joy of fellowship returning.  

Another thought that crosses my mind is that when there is separation we always have something to look back on with memory. For our dog we left something behind with our scents on it.  We have pictures, videos, and our memories to ease the times of separation from those we love.  God did not leave us without means of relationship.  He left us two things.  The Bible and the Holy Spirit.  The bible gives us God’s words and gives us pictures, memories and directions on how to live until his return.  Yet, he did not just leave us with his Word but also has indwelt us. While Jesus has left, we do have the Holy Spirit dwelling within.  God is truly with us.  For me it may seem like interacting with God on similar levels to communicating by phone or internet.   We have that direct connection but yet it is not quite the same as full physical contact with another body.  Yet, God even left us a third piece to deal with that separation.  We are the body of Christ. When we interact with one another, we  are able to step into the void of seperation. We reflect and demonstrate pieces of God’s love. 

So for each Christian, we eagerly await the soon and coming return of Jesus.  We long to hear that first trumpet blast that says the time is rapidly approaching.  God left us the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and each other to help us in this time of separation. But the time is soon coming when we will no longer be longing for the return of Jesus and experience the joy of His return.