Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jesus Wants to Ruin Your Life

I heard this sermon once that was titled “Jesus wants to Ruin Your Life.” Not exactly the most inspiring sermon title!

But stop and really think about that.

It doesn’t mean that Jesus wants to make us miserable, but I do think Jesus wants to challenge a lot of the attitudes and habits that we pick up along the way.

I was reading in John chapter 5 today. Verses 1-15 tell the story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath. In verse 8 Jesus tells the man –

“Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk.”

Verse 9 tells us –

“Instantly the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat, and began walking!”

So just imagine this newly healed man, strutting down the local avenue.  In verse 5 we learn that he had been sick for 38 years! I’m sure he had a little extra pep in his step. But he didn’t make it far before his celebration was halted by the local religious leaders. Since the miracle had taken place on the Sabbath, they were not happy -

…so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” (John 5:10)

As I read these verses, I was just astounded. How could they consider themselves “religious leaders”, and yet be so blind to the divine!

They were so wrapped up in following the exact letter of the law (and making sure that everyone else did to!) that they couldn’t even see what was right there in front of them.


God with us!

It’s really quite amazing and sad when you think about it… I think the core reason that the religious leaders struggled with Jesus, is because he messes things up! He challenges all of the religious systems that they’ve put into place. They’ve decided what following God means, and what it should look like, and Jesus comes along and ruins their standard.

In reality he’s still doing that. All of us have these notions of what we think it means to be a “Christian”. What we should look like. What we should sound like. Jesus is still here, challenging us, by messing with our normal. How we react says a lot about where our hearts really are…

Let us never get to the place that we are so wrapped up in our religion that we can’t see the compassionate and healing nature of God. I need that in my own life, and my desire is to be an agent of that compassion and healing to a broken world.

Let our eyes and hearts always be open to see the divine at work in and around us…

Friday, February 17, 2012

Shaped by the Word

I'm reading this book:

Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.

...I'm only 4 chapters in, but I can already tell that this book is going to change my spiritual life forever! Here's a taste of what's been blowing my little christian mind!

"...One of our problems in approaching the scriptures is that we approach them in the cognitive, rational critical mode. We stand off from them, look at them, evaluate them, and judge them in the light of who we are and our own agenda at that moment. We respond to the scriptures, but often our response is simply that of reading ourselves into the scriptures at some level rather than allowing God to speak to us our of them. We manipulate the scripture to authenticate our "false self", our pervasive structures of self-referenced being, and to resist God's call to our true self, that self that is actualized through radical abandonment to God." (page 22)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Because You're With Me...

I took this picture at a conference I was at on Sunday night...

God has really been encouraging me a lot through the Bible (imagine that!). Earlier that day I was studying Mark 4:35-41. It's the story of Jesus calming the storm...Basically Jesus and the disciples are traveling by boat when a storm comes. The disciples are freaking out, and Jesus is asleep. In verse 38 they wake him up, and say -

"Teacher, don't you care that we're going to drown?!"

So Jesus gets up, and tells the storm to "Be Still", and it listens (Awesome). Then he turns back to the disciples and says to them -

“Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

As I was reading that, I was thinking about my own situation, as I sit here in Las Vegas waiting for my Spanish Visa. In my head I could hear myself having a similar exchange with Jesus ...

"Jesus, don't you care that my visa is going to get denied, and I'm not going to be able to go do what you've called me to do?!"

And Jesus turned to me and said -

"Poppy, why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

As I wait to hear the final outcome about my visa, I feel more and more like God is giving me the opportunity to exhibit great faith and trust in him. On Sunday night in the middle of worship at the conference I was attending, we sang a song that says:

Because you're with me
Because you're with me
Because you're with me
I will not fear

As I sang, I stretched my hands high, and surrendered myself, and any fear and anxiousness I have about the situation over to God. As I sang, I felt God reminding me of what I'd read earlier. I felt him reminding me to not be afraid, to trust...