Monday, February 9, 2015

Guilt or Grace?

Jesus points to guilt as a weight the religious leaders forced people to carry by making a relationship with God all about the rules.

Matthew 23:4 “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders.”

Fans who follow the rules instead of following Jesus find that they are weighed down with guilt.

Every time they come to church they find that the preacher has another weight to add to the bar.

The keyword for fear and guilt is ‘do.

We try to do enough to make up for our mistakes and earn God’s favor.

Instead of following Christ we are determined to make our own way.

They keyword for grace is ‘done.’

Our punishment was taken by Christ. He has made a way where there was no way so we live with freedom and an appreciation for what has been done.

Fans are all about the ‘do’ but followers are all about the ‘done.’

Fans of Jesus sooner or later find themselves exhausted.

Fans grow tired of trying to maintain an outer appearance that doesn't match an inner passion.

They find themselves weary of trying to keep all the rules in hopes of somehow earning God’s favor.

It’s not about guilt, it’s about grace. It’s not about doing, it’s about done. 

Despite the mistakes that you have made, you can find redemption in reconciliation in the cross of Jesus Christ!

Church is a hospital for the broken, but we make it seem like a museum for the perfect. 

This certainly does not give an excuse to trample over Grace, once we experience grace it always leads to a life of obedience!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Follower? Really...

Are you a follower of Jesus?
Chances are pretty good that you blow that off as an insignificant question.
But the question is more in depth then if you have a “Jesus Fish” on the back of your car.
I’m not asking if you shop in the “Christian Section” at your local bookstore.
Here’s the point : many of us are quick to say, “yes I am a follower of Jesus,” but I’m not sure in our culture we really understand what we are saying.

When we use cultural comparisons, and we look at the commitment level of others around us we can feel like our relationship with Jesus is solid.
It’s easy for us to grade our relationship with Jesus on a curve, as long as we are more spiritual then the next guy we believe everything is fine. The Curve has been brought LOW!
Have you noticed that when we compare ourselves to others, we always tend to find someone a little worse than we are?
·         I’m a better husband then…
·         I’m a better father then…
We also think that it’s beneficial to use the religious ruler.
We point to all the religious rules and rituals as indicators that we must be a follower of Jesus.
·         After all, If I wasn’t a follower of Jesus why would I go to church every weekend?
·         If I wasn’t a follower of Jesus why would I faithfully give money to support the church?
·         Why would I volunteer in the nursery if I wasn’t a follower of Jesus?
·         Why would I listen to KLOVE, or KVNE if I wasn’t a follower of Jesus?
There’s a lot of ways we try to justify ourselves- Denominational measurements, family heritage, Biblical knowledge


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fan or Follower

Maybe you watch football year long waiting for this big game, others like me will watch one game of the year and and it will be the Super-Bowl.

Some of you even refer to the team as ‘your’ team. I have always found it interesting when someone is talking about a team like the “Cowboys” and they say ‘we made it,’ or ‘we were robbed of that catch.’ As if you were on the field playing.

The reality is while we may like to imagine that we are a part of it, the truth is that we are just fans on the sidelines.

You don’t catch a pass, you don’t run the ball… you will never make a single point, or a single tackleyou are just a fan watching the game at a distance.

Many of us have taken the same mentality and allowed it to come into our Christian life.

Just as fans of football teams sit on the sidelines and watch a few carry out the plays, churches are full of fans that sit on a pew and watch a few carry out the mission.

Fans will by tickets, Fans will get excited when the team does will, and Fans will get discouraged when things head south… But a fan makes no impact in the game.

Fans of churches are the same, they might ‘buy’ a ticket by placing some money in the offering plate, and they might get excited when things go well or bummed when things head south… but many are making no impact in the Kingdom of God.

It’s an interesting analogy if you really begin to ponder it.

Jesus never wanted fans.
Jesus never wanted a group of people that cheer from the sidelines.

Jesus never called people to be fans, but he did call individuals to be followers.

Pharisee, Sadducee, or Surrendered?

Within the Sanhedrin there were two different groups called the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

If you were a Sadducee, it meant you were born into that position. There were, of course, other requirements, but it had to be part of your heritage.

But to be part of the Pharisees it didn't depend on the family you were born into; it was your hard work.

Becoming a Pharisee required an incredible amount of textual study and theological training.

Some fans are like the Sadducees. Their faith was something they were born into. It was never really something they chose.

Maybe when you were born your parents handed you a mask, and you grew up acting like Christians act, talking how Christians talked, listening to the music Christians listened to; but you never fell in love with Jesus.

Your faith has always been more about honoring your heritage than surrendering your heart.

On the other hand, some fans are like the Pharisees. They would measure their faith by their hard work at learning and following the law. Their intellectual knowledge and behavioral compliance was the target they were aiming at. 

Both of these paths are dangerous, Jesus doesn't want us to depend upon our 'heritage' or depend upon our 'effort.' Jesus wants us to depend upon Him! Jesus desire's that we surrender everything that we are directly to Him.