Monday, July 23, 2012

Eternal Perspective for Following Jesus

Reading Donald Miller is like reading stream of consciousness writers...every now and then though something profound, prophetic or both jumps off the page at you.

Growing up in church, we were taught that Jesus was the answer to all our problems. We were taught that there was a circle-shaped hole in our heart and that we had tried to fill it with the square pegs of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; but only the circle peg of Jesus could fill our hole. I became a Christian based, in part, on this promise, but the hole never really went away. To be sure, I like Jesus, and I still follow him, but the idea that Jesus will make everything better is a lie. It's basically biblical theology translated into the language of infomercials. The truth is, the apostles never really promise Jesus is going to make everything better here on earth. Can you imagine an infomercial with Paul, testifying to the amazing product of Jesus, saying that he once had power and authority, and since he tried Jesus he's been moved from prison to prison, beaten, and routinely bitten by snakes? I don't think many people would be buying that product. Peter couldn't do any better. He was crucified upside down, by some reports. Stephen was stoned outside the city gates. John, supposedly, was boiled in oil. It's hard to imagine how a religion steeped in so much pain and sacrifice turned into a promise for earthly euphoria. I think Jesus can make things better, but I don't think he is going to make things perfect. Not here, and not now. 

Wow! Miller slices open the ethos that permeates so much of American Christianity...simply visit a Christian bookstore. Jesus, counter to what Joel Osteen and others may say, didn't say that life with him would be easy, pain free, tear free and wonderful financial blessings would flow your way. Rather he said the exact opposite...if you want to take up your cross (an instrument of death) and follow me then you must lay down your life. Give up what is most precious to you for the sake of the kingdom... then you will be fit for service to the King of Kings! Jesus told his disciples that they would be run out of their hometowns, faced trials and difficulties, all because of deciding to follow him. I believe that the American church needs to reclaim this true calling of Jesus and stop selling the lie that Jesus fixes everything and is the answer to everything. As Christians we should realize that Jesus isn't the answer to everything but that the God who has all the answers is the one we serve and follow. As difficult as it may be, knowing the one who has the answers should be sufficient for us, rather than having to have all the answers ourselves.




Glad to get to minister to students at such a fine university!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Think Deeply and Follow Christ

"If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole if you, brains and all....One reason why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself."
C.S. Lewis

Cousins Camp

Gone too Soon

I haven't posted much about my dad lately...partly because I have been sorting through the pieces of life after him on my own before tapping anything out on the keyboard. Strange as it seems this has been something more difficult to write about perhaps because every time I think about writing on here my thoughts turn towards him. He seemed to like reading my thoughts here on the blog. The hardest thing lately has been preaching a few weeks ago and not being able to interact with him on some level about the sermon. He always offered great advice, insight, and critiques.

I read this in a Donald Miller book this week..."If you aren't telling a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died."

Dad was telling a good story with his life. Not a perfect story but a story that found it's meaning in the larger story of God and His gospel!