All flesh is like grass

Here’s a quick thought to prep our hearts for this weekend. It’s awfully easy to be an expert in the trivial and stay shallow in the significant. That’s why there are men who know every team and every player and every statistic of their favorite sport but can’t ever seem to remember their wedding anniversary.  This is why we know people devoted to People magazine and gossip columns yet never have time for the classics. This is why we can quote the lines to silly songs and bad movies yet freeze up with the holy scriptures. We have been discipled to go deep in the temporary and superficial in the eternal. So what’s a disciple to do? Here’s a hint: “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25 The word of the Lord. Chew on that contrast. It’s uncanny how the words of God are like an antidote for the curse of superficiality. They are loaded with eternity like nothing else in the universe. To the extent that you are invested in the word of God you are invested in eternity. Every ounce of energy digging in to the word of God is an investment in the eternal. Are you stuck in the mud of futility? Are you spinning your wheels and wasting your life? You’re never […]

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Anonymous resurrection email

(The following is an email I just received from someone being recently resurrected by Jesus. Great advice to fresh “resurrectionaries”: develop a love affair with the Bible.) First of all, I am neither a pastor nor a professional writer. I am just like you, and am coming back from the dead. But I want to give you some advice to help you on your faith journey. Grasp God’s love for you and hang on to it like it is the lifeline that it is. Romans 8:38, 39 sums it up. Paul writes “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height not depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” A love that cannot be separated from us? Can you even grasp that? Throughout the Bible, it is said that God’s love is steadfast. That means dutifully firm and unwavering. Grasp it. You see, I have abandonment issues. I have love issues. Hey, I just have issues. But this Word, this “nothing can separate us” is my lifeline. But you know what gets me in trouble? It isn’t just the “S” word (sin). It’s the “L” word. Anytime I look to anyone or anything else to try to get love, I fail.  My heart begins to die. It’s like the story […]

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Discipleship Vocab: Propitiation

If you want to understand a culture, you’ll probably have to know the language. I discovered this very quickly while pursuing my Puerto Rican wife. For months I would walk into rooms where I would hear clusters of incomprehensible syllables – often including my name – and then bursts of laughter. They’re talking about me. As you might imagine, learning Spanish was an exercise in rational self-interest. And it paid off. It was a happy day when I started to understand what they meant. I have a lot of new friends who have just begun their faith journey with Jesus, and I’ve asked our tribe to read through 1 John this week. Today we hit chapter 2 and there is one verse in particular I want us thinking about. The Bible uses a word here to describe what Jesus has done, and I know it sounds like a foreign language, but it’s too important to miss. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:2 Propitiation. It’s a great word. Because the word is so difficult to understand some translations of the Bible use another phrase to clarify (e.g. atoning sacrifice). But it’s too wonderful to skip, because if you want to understand the culture of heaven, you’ll want to add this to your vocabulary. What does it mean? A dictionary will tell you that to […]

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The presidential debate and the open mind

There’s nothing like a presidential debate to bring out the crazy in people. But it wasn’t the predictable political bias from all the networks that stood out to me after Wednesday’s debate.  It was a lesson I keep having to relearn about us homo sapiens: many people have no intention of changing their mind. I forget. People watch debates and read the news and engage in conversations – not looking for insight, not to better understand, not to think more deeply – but with their minds already made up, hunting to confirm their positions, looking to compile extra fuel for Facebook posts they’ve already written. The talking heads weren’t watching our presidential candidates with an open mind to better form their opinions; they were collecting evidence to justify their pre-conceived ideas. They extract sound bites to fire up the support base (and sell Toyotas during the commercial break). It’s a dangerous flaw: many people will not change their mind.  No matter how good the idea or compelling the argument. We love to be heard, not to listen, and it’s unfortunate. It’s the tragedy of the closed mind. But marriage never works like that. Friendship never works like that. Leadership never works like that. Why won’t we change our minds? Because it feels beneath us. Because humility is a virtual miracle, and it takes humility to change one’s mind. We have to get this. Disciples are humble. Disciples listen. Disciples are learners. Disciples keep […]

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This man eats with sinners

“This man eats with sinners.” That was the accusation against Jesus. Because meals have a way of communicating. There’s something about a dinner that puts a person in their place. How fascinating that one of the tools the Pharisees used to put people in their place was to refuse table fellowship. Sharing a meal meant an open hand and a heart of acceptance. To refuse a meal meant censure and a heart of rejection. The Pharisees knew what they were doing. And so did Jesus. He ate with outcasts. He sat with sinners. No strings attached. No wonder they saw the light. What if we recaptured the lost art of a good meal and great conversation? Cell phones on silent and hearts open wide. I bet you know someone that could use a real meal this week. The Bible calls it hospitality. You are welcome. For previous thoughts on hospitality click here

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