Saturday, February 17, 2018

our job

Colossians 4

5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, 

and make the most of every opportunity.

6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive 

so that you will have the right response for everyone.



We just don't do this.

We spend more time focusing on keeping our "religious freedom".

We spend more time judging rather than loving.

I thought our job was to love God & love others...

LGLO

And I thought judging was God's job...

as well as convicting.

Jesus didn't say "judge your neighbor as yourself."


Jesus DID say “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?
Matthew 7:1-3 (NLT)


Jesus said, "The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged" ?!!!

Uh oh...

Some of us are in BIG trouble...


We've forgotten that our job is to woo & win people to follow Jesus.

If anything the fire & brimstone preachers taught us it's that more people are won with love than by hammered over the head in judgement.

You & I were won by the love shown to us by Jesus' followers.

Why do we forget that?

Is it because we are modeling "prominent" Christians who've gone whoring for political power & position?

Or are we just some garden variety stupid?

Or both?



In any event, Paul makes it clear... 

it is our job to present the personhood of Jesus in a "gracious & attractive" way.


Let's read it & heed it...

Friday, February 16, 2018

living the new life

Sometimes Paul just comes out with a strong statement about life as a Christ follower.

Here is a really strong one in his letter to the followers of Jesus in Colossae...



Colossians 3

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, 

set your sights on the realities of heaven, 

where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand.

2 Think about the things of heaven, 

not the things of earth.

3 For you died to this life, 

and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.


  5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. 


Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, 

impurity, 

lust, 

and evil desires. 

Don't be greedy, 

for a greedy person is an idolater, 

worshiping the things of this world.

6 Because of these sins, 

the anger of God is coming.

7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.

8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, 

rage, 

malicious behavior, 

slander, 

and dirty language.

9 Don't lie to each other, 

for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.

10 Put on your new nature, 

and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

11 In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, 

circumcised or uncircumcised, 

barbaric, 

uncivilized, 

slave, 

or free. 

Christ is all that matters, 

and he lives in all of us.



  12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, 

you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, 

kindness, 

humility, 

gentleness, 

and patience.

13 Make allowance for each other's faults, 

and forgive anyone who offends you. 

Remember, the Lord forgave you, 

so you must forgive others.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, 

which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. 

For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. 

And always be thankful.



  16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. 

Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. 

Sing psalms 

and hymns 

and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

17 And whatever you do or say, 

do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, 

giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

deep roots

Let your roots grow down into (Jesus) & draw up nourishment from Him, 

so you will grow in faith, 

strong & vigorous in the truth you were taught. 

Let our lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done. 

Colossians 2:7



This is Paul writing to the followers of Jesus in Colossae.


And how do we "let our roots grow down into Jesus"?


RTBEDWF


Read the Bible every day without fail.


I know, I know - I'm like a broken record on this.


Tired of hearing it?


Sorry, it's the song I will always sing.


Why wouldn't you read the Bible every day without fail?


It's the word of God!


It's God talking to us!


It's God's "instruction manual" for humankind!!!



RTBEDWF

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtZX7a44fMI

click the link for a song to go along with the psalm


Psalm 121

1 I look up to the mountains—
  does my help come from there?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
  who made heaven and earth!



3 He will not let you stumble;
  the one who watches over you will not slumber.

4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
  never slumbers or sleeps.


5 The LORD himself watches over you!
  The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.

6 The sun will not harm you by day,
  nor the moon at night.



7 The LORD keeps you from all harm
  and watches over your life.

8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,
  both now and forever.



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Paul's last word to the Philippians

Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the followers of Jesus who lived in Philippi.

I doubt if he was being subtle.

These are straightforward words from a man who knew what life held in the near future.

I just wonder what our lives would be like if we REALLY believed what Paul says here...



 Philippians 4

6 Don't worry about anything; 

instead, pray about everything. 

Tell God what you need, 

and thank him for all he has done.

7 Then you will experience God's peace, 

which exceeds anything we can understand. 

His peace will guard your hearts and minds 

as you live in Christ Jesus.



  8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. 

Fix your thoughts on what is true, 

and honorable, 

and right, 

and pure, 

and lovely, 

and admirable. 

Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. 

Then the God of peace will be with you.

Monday, February 12, 2018

me too

I hear ya, Paul... me too...


Philippians 3

7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. 

For his sake I have discarded everything else, 

counting it all as garbage, 

so that I could gain Christ 

9 and become one with him. 

I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; 

rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. 

For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

10 I want to know Christ 

and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

reality check?

Philippians 1:29  For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.


 Philippians 2

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.


7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;


  he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.


When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God

and died a criminal's death on a cross.


9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names,


10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,


11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.




In a day when there is much talk about "religious freedom" & how persecuted we white middle class evangelicals are, maybe we should remember that being identified with Jesus comes with some risks.

That suffering has always been endemic to being a follower of Jesus.

Look through history - when followers of Jesus have told people that He loves them & cares about them & offers a way of connection with God, these same followers have often been killed, or at least severely brutalized. They often are made something far less that top rung movers & shakers of social & political influence.

I get the feeling that much of what we hear about the infringement of our religious freedoms & erstwhile persecutions is really a tawdry attempt to preserve our white religious privilege.