Today's Devotions

Showcase: Assorted Treats

  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire +

    It is doubtful if, in 1972, those attending one of Jim Cymbala's worship services in a run-down Brooklyn church imagined Read More
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Bill and I spent a week of mornings herding cats at 
our church's Vacation Bible School.
I promised myself – and the wide world of Facebook – that once summer came, I would write some blog posts… because I have been seriously lame in that department. Who am I trying to kid with all these reposts, right? And promising myself is one thing – the only person who cares if I break that promise is me! But the Facebook people? I really feel like I need to do right by them! I mean, they provide me with so much joy and entertainment! 
Foremost in my mind, these days… and probably in a lot of people’s minds… is that it seems like there’s a terror attack or shooting nearly every day now – somewhere in the world! It’s awful, isn’t it? I guess I don’t need to really say that, though. Who would think otherwise?
Children at a concert… goofy middle-aged dudes playing baseball… people just hanging around London Bridge… They’re all just minding their own business and some crazy-ass person shows up and goes to town with a gun or a van or a bomb or something. Seriously, what is WRONG with people? 
I guess this is where I share the gospel and you (may or may not) think to yourself, “Christians think they’ve cornered the market on truth”… and I do believe that Jesus was and still is the living embodiment of TRUTH… but if I have this knowledge, it’s through no goodness or smartness of my own. It was given to me and I didn’t reject it… because at that time in my life, I was nearly dead and needed a remedy… I was DESPERATE.
And that’s what I am seeing and feeling right now … a lot of DESPERATION!! So shouldn't I share with people what helped me?
That said, it’s a tricky time. Christians are on a lot of people’s sh*t list… I don’t think we’re being persecuted or anything – that’s silly… I’m just saying a lot of people are wary of us or mad at us… because… you know… of the whole voting into office a guy who is corrupt, ill-equipped, not very smart… and is just really mean!
And I know that we ALL didn’t vote him into office – I didn’t, for one… But he sure did have a lot of prominent Christian leaders’ votes – for a guy who brags about just grabbing women willy nilly… Did those guys even CARE how every single woman in their respective flocks might feel about that? I guess not.
Anyhoo, I feel sorta helpless in the face of all this, but God is still good and Jesus still saves. So how do I communicate this to the world?
Bill makes himself a human 
barrier to keep two of our kittens
from escaping.
This brings to mind something that happened while I was helping with Vacation Bible School at church. Bill and I worked in a class of three-year-olds, and I gotta say… it was a challenge! These kids were so cute and mostly sweet, but it was, as they say, like herding cats. They all wanted to just go and do whatever they wanted to do… if we were supposed to be coloring something, some kids dutifully scribbled away, but some wandered off to check out the toys or disappear into the little playhouse… if we were on the playground, one or two would always try to get back in the classroom… occasionally a frustrated kid might hit or shove another kid… Of course I’ve had a toddler, so I know the drill, but we had 13 of them! It was completely fun, but also completely exhausting! 
One morning later in the week, I found myself praying that the kids would be good and follow the rules… but then I literally sat up in bed and thought, “No! That’s not right!” I realized that I should pray instead that the children would learn that I love them and that God loves them. 
And I think that’s the whole problem! We Christians tend to place more emphasis on molding people into following God’s rules, when our primary concern should be to communicate the actual gospel to them – you know, the love and grace of God. The John 3:16* of it all. Yes, we stand up for what we believe in, but do we believe in keeping transgender people out of the "wrong" bathrooms**? Or do we believe in Jesus as the way, the truth and the life? Does the song say “They’ll know we are Christians by our LOVE?” or does it say “They’ll know we are Christians because of our moral outrage?” 
I don’t think it’s my job to shape the morals of people who don’t even know Jesus, outside of what’s legal, anyway. At VBS, we had rules – 2 to be exact: “Be quiet when the teacher is talking,” and “Keep your hands and feet to yourself.” And these rules were not do or die — they were just helpful to keep things on track, more or less. You know, kind of how laws keep us from killing each other. 
I’m not saying that God doesn’t have do’s and don’ts… or that they’re not important… I’m just saying that in this rough and hurting and desperate world, sharing His love should be our main objective. If the hearers develop a relationship with Him, they can work out the moral stuff between them. 
And so on, and so on...
And honestly, I have no idea how to communicate God’s love and my love to the hurting people of the world… I guess using words is a good place to start – words of the love and grace of God… And I really don’t know how my words can solve the problems of the world (see above)… I guess maybe each new person who trusts in God is one less person who feels desperate enough to perform a desperate act? 
I mean, the church started with just 12 ornery guys… telling people about Jesus and loving and serving each other… So maybe it still works that way? I imagine it like that old Faberge shampoo commercial… I told two friends about Faberge Shampoo and they told two friends and they told two friends… and so on and so on… 

*For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
**um... no

Reflections to Consider

  • Corporate Spirituality

    Encouragement, Accountability, and Worship Solitude, community and ministry are three areas requiring balance and integration in the Christian walk. The Read More
  • Companion of the Souls

    When the two disciples recognised Jesus as he broke the bread for them in their house in Emmaus, he "vanished Read More
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Audio & Video

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  • Transforming this World: The Hope of Glory by NT Wright +

    Wright confronts the perspective that this world doesn’t matter, and that we live only to be in heaven. He shows Read More
  • What is Good in a World that Defies Hope: a talk by NT Wright +

    This is the second part of three talks by NT Wright at Harvard University in November, 2008 on the topic Read More
  • The Stream, the Lake and the River: NT Wright +

      Acts 2.1-21; John 7.37-39; a sermon at the Eucharist on the Feast of Pentecost, 11 May 2008, by the Read More
  • Jesus in the Perfect Storm by NT Wright +

    Zechariah 9.9-17; Luke 19.28-48; A sermon for Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, In the University Chapel of St Salvator, St Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • Warfare Spirituality +

    The Trinity function as farmers of our souls, actively caring for God’s creation: an ongoing, radical reclamation of His creation. Read More
  • You are free +

    The Jesus who calmed a sea of deadly, stormy waves, whose arrival sent thousands of demons cringing and cowering to Read More
  • Deliver us from Evil +

    Spiritual warfare is something that few Christians, regardless of their denomination, are accustomed to thinking about, let alone engaging in. Read More
  • Baby, you're a rich man! +

    The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is Read More
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