Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

He’s Back!

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Ten years ago, shortly after we had moved into our church offices at 1311 16th Avenue, South, someone gave me a bobble head Jesus. Despite the fact that He was a bit tacky, I fell in love with Him because, for me, He symbolized the truth that Jesus is not the unapproachable and distant Savior of my youth, but the accessible Lord of us all. Wherever we happen to be, He is more than willing to come to us on our turf.   I immediately displayed Him in a prominent location in our office reception area.  Soon folks who visited began to comment. On several occasions the comments led us into deeper discussions of the things of God.

A few years later Jesus was kidnapped. I have a prime suspect and made an inquiry through a third party, but Jesus did not come home. The more I thought about the kind of person it would take to steal Jesus, the more upset I became. I came to the conclusion that is was done for spite and frankly I had some thoughts that certainly were not in line with Jesus’ teachings about love and forgiveness. The years passed and the bobble head Jesus, for the most part, faded from my consciousness. That changed Christmas when I opened my favorite Christmas present. Jesus has come home! Oh, not the same bobble head, but a new and improved one. Actually, He is looking over my shoulder as I type and His message to me is the same as it has been for thousands of years, Don’t seek vengeance. Don’t bear a grudge; but love your neighbor as yourself, for I am Jehovah (Leviticus 19:18).

The homecoming of Jesus reminded me of the payoff for making a conscious decision several years ago, as best as I could, to live my life that way.  So I did not fall back to my self-defeating loathing of the kidnapper. On the contrary, the abduction and return of Jesus proved to me that the commandment is not only doable but the very foundation of a Christ-centered life. Love always trumps hate! It is not nearly as difficult as you may think. Don’t do it for them; do it for you and Jesus.

Something to think about



Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Last week, when the country’s most hated man, Ariel Castro, committed suicide those of us who claim Jesus of Nazareth as our Savior and Lord were faced with a choice. How would we react?  Would there be even a tiny sliver of difference in our reactions than those who say there is no God? From what I personally heard and saw on social media the sad answer was “no”.  The responses to Castro’s death from several of my Christian friends, some of whom tend to wear their “Christianity” like those oversized “We’re number one foam fingers” can pretty much be summed up with these samplings:

 “Good, now he is in hell.”

 “Best news in long time.”

 “Burn baby burn.”

 “Too bad; I wanted him to learn first-hand what rape is like.”

 “Hope his death was slow and painful.”

 “Rather someone beat him to death.”

Given the gravity of his crimes and his spiteful ramblings at the closing of his trial, those kinds of comments are completely understandable, unless you claim to be a follower of Jesus.  Ariel Castro, with all his wickedness, was much loved by the Man who willingly died on a cross for him, at the same time that he died for the rest of us. Perhaps Jesus was more saddened by these responses of those claiming Him as Lord and Savior than he was Ariel’s suicide. Why would I say such a thing? Because He made it so clear.

Matthew 22:36-40(NIV) Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

We may be able to quote the entire Bible chapter and verse. Perhaps we pepper our conversations with a litany of “Praise the Lords, Give Him Glories and Hallelujahs!”   But our true selves are always exposed for the world to see by how we choose to handle the second one. How did you do and do you give a rip?

Something to think about

My Bad Back Flip

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Yesterday, totally out of the blue, I received some news from a person that I have known, respected and trusted for twenty years. This information was about a man that once cussed me out in a crowded restaurant with the vilest  and sickest  conglomeration of obscene words that I have ever heard strung together and who has stalked me via email for years.  A while back, he sent me another of his odious dispatches, informing me that he was “retiring” from his position and was going to enjoy life and even suggested that we should fight each other.  I am at a loss as to what has prompted his years of harassment and hate.  But knowing him and how much he delighted in his “dream job” I was a bit surprised why he would suddenly choose to retire. I suspected that there might be more to his “retirement” than he was telling.

Well, the information that I received was that he was actually fired from his job for a major issue. When I heard that I could have done a back flip. As a matter of fact it made my day. Who would blame me?  I expect that, given what this man has put me through most anybody would react about like me; wouldn’t they? Perhaps, but the problem is that was the wrong reaction. That is not the way a man who claims to be a Christian should ever react.  My Savior forgave the men would were in the process of driving nails into his hands and feet. He died for me and he died for this guy too.  We are both in the same boat. I would be very surprised if Jesus did a back flip when the guy was canned. I find that for me living a Christian life is a constant challenge. I fail at it a lot. Today, I am praying for the man and his wife, which is what I should have done yesterday.

Matthew 5:44-45 (NLT) But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. 

Something to think about