Friday, February 12, 2016

Our Bridge

Read John 10:1-39

This past Wednesday the Church celebrated Ash Wednesday, and with it, we celebrated the beginning of lent. Lent marks out the 40 days leading up to the greatest representation of love this world has ever come to experience…

It is my hope that over these next 40 days each of us would stop, contemplate and reflect…

How many of us have found our bridge over troubled water?

Not many of us find someone who will lay down their life for us – someone to become our suffering. Sure, most of us have close friends, but even in these friendships we come to find that there is a limit to how much they will sacrifice for us.

In today’s world of consumerism and utilitarianism, it is hard to find someone who is as Simon and Garfunkel sing of in their cover of Elvis Presley’s song:
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Truth is, the world does not promote a sacrificial lifestyle. Our society seeks to make a better America by making a better life for “me.” And the result of this mentality is that life becomes saturated in selfishness. But it doesn't have to be this way… If only we believe

Jesus came to be our bridge over troubled water. He came to lift us up out of selfishness so that we might begin to see the other—to see the beauty of self because it sees through a heart of selflessness, not selfishness. Yes, when we give our hearts to Jesus and believe in His truth we come to see what it means to actually become a bridge over troubled water for the sake of the other.

As Jesus tells us, He came to be our bridge. He came to lift us up by laying down.
“I lay down my life for the sheep…For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life” (vs 15-17).
Jesus is our bridge over troubled water so that we might become His bridge for the sake of the world. But know this, when we live Jesus, the world (and sometimes those in the church) will think that such living is ridiculous, even insane…
“Many of them said, ‘He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?’”
Today we face the same question, “why listen to Jesus?” Why believe in Him?

Do we want a life of abundance according to the world or do we want the abundant life according to Jesus?

Let these next 40 days be a time of reflection—a time when knowing that there is one who was slaughtered for us so as to be our bridge over troubled water elicits tears from the heart. To know someone is willing to traverse the oceans of despair and become our suffering so that we might have peace…and have it abundantly. Let these upcoming days pierce your heart with the truth of His insane love…

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Become His grace

Read Hebrews 4:1-16
Have you ever tried to wash away society? That is, have you ever thought of fasting from the world? To attempt to remove all the malice, envy, darkness, evil from your midst… Is this even possible?

Yes and no. Yes, it is possible, no it is not possible by our own means. When we take up the posture of prayer we enter into the power of presence. That is, in prayer we enter into the presence of the Holy Spirit so as to be taken up and consumed by the power of Jesus Christ. So yes, we can fast from the world, but no, we cannot do it on our own.

In prayer the Holy Spirit beckons us to go deep the word of God. To seek to incarnate the word of God by engulfing ourselves in its meaning so as to taste and see the goodness of the Word of God.

The Author of Hebrews writes:
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (v. 12)
When we, through the Holy Spirit, enter into the drama of God’s word we encounter the Word of God so as to become engulfed in the active truth of His amazing presence. This is an active presence of God that seeks to change the core of who we are by reaching deep into our hearts so as to fill them with His grace. And in His grace we find the strength, the resolve, the desire to fast from the chaos and confusion of this world so that might taste and see His greatness. And there in His greatness, we encounter our greatness such that we are captivated by His powerful presence in us so that we might be propelled to live out the truth of His life by standing strong in our faith.

Only when we cover ourselves in His truth can we put aside deceit, envy, hypocrisy. And when we put aside the darkness of sin we make way for the beautiful truth of peace, joy, hope, selflessness. When our hearts are consumed in prayer our lives erupt in the grace of God so as to become His grace. Yes, when we become prayer we draw near to the throne of Jesus so as to be pierced with the craziness of His love.

In the Spirit of His truth we are invited to become His ministers of reconciliation. We are called to fast from the world and feast on Christ. What are you hungry for this day? Let us fall to our knees and become pierced by Christ’s love so that our hearts bleed for the sake of the other by covering them in grace...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Believe in love

Read John 13:1-35
Millions watched the Super bowl halftime show and millions were asked to believe. We were asked to “Believe in love.”

What a wonderful call for the world…However, this call to believe will only become life changing if our belief is in the One who is love. That is, the only way for the world to unite in believing in love is if it comes to believe in the One who is love…Jesus Christ.

As the church, we are called to give the world the truth of life. We are called to give the world the reality of what it means to be alive. When the world asks us to believe in love it is asking us to give it love. And as followers of Christ we must know that there is only One who is love-Jesus Christ.

And when we say we believe in Christ we are saying that we believe in His truth of life. As the first century church father, Tertullian, said:
“It is our practice of loving-kindness that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. ‘Look,’ they say, ‘How they love one another! Look how they are prepared to die for one another!’” 

This type of love is anything but superficial or vain…I wonder how often non-followers of Christ would describe modern Christians like this?

How many people today could look at the church and say “yes, there in the church of Jesus Christ I see love.”

Today, we who follow Jesus need a wake up call. We need to come to grips as to what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. The world is looking in on our lives and our lives need to be a witness of the crazy insane love of Jesus—a love that elevates the other over self…

Yes, as followers of Christ we are called to go beyond ourselves so as to care for the other. We are called to “wash one another’s feet,” so as to step into life with each other and stretch ourselves to go beyond living simply for self. We, who follow Christ, are called to imitate His life:

“For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (v 15).
As servants of Christ, we are called to be servants of one another. The only way for the idea of “believing in love” to become the truth of this world is if the church begins to live out the truth of Jesus. That is, the world will only come to understand the belief in love when the church becomes infected to its core with the love of Jesus such that who we are becomes the truth of living for the other. Yes, when people begin to understand the church as those who sacrificially live for the sake of the other.

As Jesus was quite prone to remind us that “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (v. 35).

Today do we believe in love? That is, do our lives live out His love by our love of the other?