Monday, July 20, 2009

Him More, Me Less...

I know that none of you can relate to this and that I should not admit it, but I can spend a lot of time thinking of ways to make myself look good and wanting to be the center of attention. After all I am pretty good...

I can spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and thinking of ways that I am better than they are. I can spend a lot of time thinking about how much better we do ministry than other churches. I can spend a lot of time and energy thinking about the best way to grow this church and advance the cause of Christ and if I am not careful, my real motive is that i want to make me look good.

So, whenever I read John 3:22-30 and listen to what John the Baptist had to say, I realize that I still have a long way to go in my walk with Christ. John had built up a great reputation and a big following of disciples. Many were coming out to hear him until Jesus came on the scene. All of a sudden John took a back seat to all of this.

Some of John's disciples were concerned that many were leaving John to follow Jesus. Perhaps they thought this would be an issue for their friend. John, on the other hand, was handling all of this quite well. John knew what his role was and was quite happy to fulfill that role and was able to celebrate all that Jesus was doing and he even encouraged people to follow him. John said...

He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)

John's role was to point people to Jesus and trust God with the rest. That is what I want for my life. I want Jesus to become great and for me to become less. Pray for me to let this be the focus of my life. I will pray that it be the focus for you as well. If this is what we do as His church, then we will accomplish His purpose for our lives...
He must become greater; I must become less.

Friday, July 17, 2009

God Knows...

Once more, I am reminded that God knows me inside and out and He still loves me and forgives me. Luke makes all of this clear as he relates what happens with Peter on the night that Jesus was arrested.

Earlier that evening Peter had declared his devotion to Jesus even if it meant that he would have to die.

But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” (Luke 22:33-34).

I love Peter because I can relate to him. He was so certain that he would stand firm and not fall away even though Jesus said that he would do so. You would think this would make Peter more aware of his actions, but he got caught up in what was happening and allowed his fear and insecurities to take over. He did exactly as Jesus had said he would.

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62).

Peter failed and when Jesus looked at him, he lost it. I believe that in that moment Jesus communicated to Peter that He still loved him and forgave him.

As I seek to follow Christ in my life there are still times when I blow it, when i fail and do something I should not do or fail to do something that I should. It is at these time that I need to be reminded that He knows all about me and yet he still loves me.

I am not saying we should excuse our sin and failure. I am saying that we need to remember that we have a Savior who knows we will do so and yet he still loves and forgives. I need to do this and maybe you need to as well...

Friday, July 3, 2009

"What Do YOU want?"

In our reading this morning, I was stuck by the fact that Jesus asked the same question on two different occasions in Mark 10.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

He first asked it of James and John who wanted Him to give them the honored positions of sitting beside Him when He set up His kingdom. They felt that they were important enough to be there, By the way, Jesus said that is not a request that I can grant. That responsibility belongs to someone else. And the other disciples were upset because they all felt they deserved to be in those positions.

The next time he asked it of Bartimaeus who was blind. Bartimaeus quickly responded that he wanted to see and that he believed Jesus could do that. And, Jesus did. He healed his eyes so that he could see.

Why did Jesus grant one request and not the other? Maybe the issue has to do with what we really want. So, maybe Jesus is asking me: What do you want me to do for you? That is a question the I will be thinking about today as I help to lead a funeral service, as I prepare for Sunday and even as I think about our celebrating our country’s independence tomorrow. I think I want Jesus to help us remember a dear saint who loved Him and loved His church. I also want Jesus to be the center of our worship on Sunday and I want to thank God for our freedom and I want to Honor Him with my life today and not focus on me-which i can easily do.

I think Jesus is asking you: “What do you want me to do for you?” What is your response? I would love to hear from you. Have a blessed and safe 4th of July weekend.