Friday, September 2, 2011

Duality


Matthew 6:24 says this: "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

How many of you like Seinfeld?  In Seinfeld, George becomes engaged to a woman he doesn’t want to be engaged to.   Jerry’s place is this place of refuge where George can be George.  There is this one episode where that all changes.  Elaine, who is in this group becomes friends with George’s fiancĂ© Susan.  Elaine invites Susan to come hang out with the gang.  This freaks George out, makes him “very upset.”  George goes on this rant about friend George and relationship George and how the two cannot occupy the same space at the same time otherwise both worlds would collide and there would be no more.


Now let me ask you this:  How many times do we sing to God, read His Word, even pray to Him and yet not be totally devoted to Him?  How often do we neglect our devotion to God…we try to justify our choices sometimes, but in all honesty whether we wanna admit it or not we do the very thing that Christ is telling us not to do—live a dualistic lifestyle.   The fictional George illustrates a good point.  Duality does not work.  We cannot act one way with God and a different way with others.  We try to play that game.   We act the part here, but go home and are very different.  This only leads to destruction. 

You see, Christ was not talking about just money.  If he had his earthly ministry today he would say something totally different or he would talk about popularity, or materialism in addition to money.  Christ was using the word money to connect with the people about the fact that you can’t live for God and live for your own self.  It just does not work.  It leads to a faith that is not growing.

There was a time in my life when I chose to live a dualistic lifestyle. I acted one way around my Christian friends, and totally different around others.  I acted this way for years.  This is where it got me: a box full of regrets.  I cannot begin to tell you the regrets that I have.  I have been forgiven of my sin, but that doesn’t mean that the regrets are gone.  That’s a consequence of living a double lifestyle-of living in the sin of duality.  My biggest regret would be the times I did not show my faith when I was given the opportunity.

Yet God has shown me grace.  I still struggle, but I don’t live for it anymore.  To you, God has shown grace.  The amazing thing about God is that He refuses to give up.  He just won’t do it.  No matter how many times we fail.  No matter how hard we try to give up on Him.  He never gives up on us.

So what is it that is keeping you from fully being devoted to God?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More Than Meets The Eye


When my brother and I were younger, we were major fans of Transformers.  I mean we had it all.  My brother got all the cool toys, like Optimus and Megatron.  I got all of the ummm other ones…that….were…not…so…cool…

The thing that I love about the transformers is that they were more than meets the eye.  That it didn’t matter what they looked like on the outside, because it is the inside that matters with them.  They could look like an old battered car on the outside, and be this hi-tech robotic.

Now I’m not saying that any of you are like old rusted cars…So many times we base how we are upon what other people look like.  How they walk, talk, act.  We play roles. What other people see who we are.  Why do anything different?  This is what people expect, and so that is all that we are….right?

Listen to this.

(2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NIV)  For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. {7} But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

I think we fail to see how God sees us.  We look at ourselves and see how “imperfect” we think we are.  We try to fix it with other things:  relationships, addictions without hope.  We end up losing who we are, “lost inside the walls we’ve built.”

Yet God sees us as the amazing creature that is perfect.  And his word reminds us of this.  And this is the truth that God wants you to grab hold of.  The one thing that should be how we view ourself:

More
Than
Meets
The
Eye

We are more than what others see us.  So many of us just fill positions because that is what people expect us to be.  Yet we can be so much more if we just choose to show this treasure.  How God has changed us.

All it takes is for us to be willing to allow God to work in us.  With God, we can be more than meets the eye.

Yeah, I know this post is late, forgive me....

We have entered into this season of Christmas.  Everywhere we turn, there is talk about Christmas. From commercialization to spending time with family.  We look forward to it with an amazing enthusiasm.  Why?  Why do we do what we do?  It is

Because

Of

Jesus

It was what happened 2000+ years ago that enables us to have this holiday.  Nothing else.  And no matter how the world tries to de-emphasize Christ, listen to what Brennan Manning says:

“In the month of December, he strikes both the sacred and secular spheres of life with sledgehammer force.  Suddenly, Jesus is everywhere, his presence inescapable.  We may accept him or reject him, affirm him or deny him, but we cannot ignore him.  Of course he is proclaimed in speech, song, and symbol in all Christian churches.  But he rides every red-nosed reindeer, lurks behind every Barbie doll, and resonates in the desacralized ‘Season’s Greetings.’  Remotely or proximately, he is toasted in every cup of Christmas cheer.  Each sprig of holly is a hint of his holiness.  Each cluster of mistletoe is a sign he is here.”[1]

Christmas is not the only day we should look forward to in regards to Christ and salvation.  There is another day coming that no one knows about, and whether or not they will acknowledge, they will acknowledge who God is.  Jesus talks about it like this:

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.   But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.   So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”[2]

Isn’t that exciting?  You can’t wait for that to happen can you?  I think if we are honest, I think that you will agree with me in that it is unfortunate that we look at Christ’s Return in a totally different light.  We look at Christ’s coming with hesitation.  We want him to come but at the same time we want to live our lives.  We act weary and asleep.  I’m not saying we should spend our lives consumed with the end of it all, which is defined theologically as the Eschatology.  Listen to what Paul says,

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”[3]

He says to not be weary of it.  He even more so does not say to be consumed with your it.  He is telling the Believers of Rome, and us, that this time is coming to end.  That the coming of Christ is close and that we ought to be excited.  He equates with the ending time of day.  Here on one side we have the night.  The night is suffering, hardship, living a life plagued by sin.  But the coming of day is the return of Christ.  The restoration of the way things are suppose to be.

Paul says to, “So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”  He says that we ought to be going about doing what God wants us to do and to not live lives that call into question who we are as believers or violates what we know to be wrong: things like addiction, sexual immorality, dissension, and hatred.  How do we do it?  Through clothing ourselves “…with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”   By taking Jesus Christ’s teachings and living them.   To shun what is evil.  Greed, consumerism, racism, betrayal, lying, stealing, killing, anything that is not from God.

So let us be excited for the coming Joy that is Jesus’ return.  Let us run with hope to the masses. 


[1] Brennan Manning Above All
[2] Matthew 24:36-44
[3] Romans 13:11-14