Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Day...

Dear friends,

I will be going on vacation tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday and won't be back until next week. Thank you so much for reading my crazy rants. Please check back after the holiday. Have a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family.

- Just a note.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Life in the Tank

A lot of times life can feel like we're just going through the motions. Living life in a static, unchanging environment, like a fish tank. We seem to swim back and forth, here and there, and always end up in the same place. Funny thing about the fish that live in fish tanks...

Did you know that fish will only grow to a certain size depending on the tank that they live in? Conversely, a fish will continue to grow as long as it has the room to do so.

I think we can react that same way to our life's situations. God intended all things to grow.
We are meant to grow, not just in age, height, weight, etc... but spiritually. God has made us to grow spiritually. So, the question must be asked, if we're not growing, why not?

I think there are some obstacles we can learn to avoid from our friend, the fish in the tank:

1. Not enough FOOD - To grow, every living organism needs food. We need nutrients. Whether it's the fish in the tank, the tree in the forest, or the baby in the crib, we all need to eat. But, we don't all eat the same things. We need to make sure that we are ingesting the true bread of life, the Word of God, and not trying to slim-fast our way around it. The Bible is the "miracle grow" for more than just your soul; It will help feed your character, relationships, family, and more.

2. Not enough ROOM
- Like the fish in the tank, often times in our life and the situations we find ourselves in will limit our growth. We need to keep a conscious eye on what we do, where we go, and who we are with. This will give the best image of what kind of tank you have put yourself in. Does your tank have the room for you to grow? Are there situations, people, or other obstacles in your life that are hindering your faith in Christ? You may simply not be growing because of your environment.

3. Not enough Support - To grow and become stronger, every living thing relies on something outside of itself. Tall trees find their support in the ground that their root structure is tied into. Likewise, we need to tie into some support structure for our growth. THERE ARE NO LONE RANGERS IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD. We are all meant to work together. This also means supporting one another in growing our faith. What kind of support structure do you have in your life? Are you tied in with a church, bible study, or group of friends that are supporting your faith and growth?

Growth, whether it's physical or spiritual, is definitely not magical. It is the by product of health. Healthy things grow. With the right food, environment, and support, growth can be constant and consistent. With the wrong food, environment, or support, growth can be hurt or hindered.

- Just a thought

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Tree, A Genie, & Me

How many of us stop to look at the scenery as we drive to work everyday? We probably did the first day, maybe through the first week, but we gave up after that. I guess you could blame it on ADHD, or just lack of ability to focus on one thing, but I look at the same things every day on the way to work. The same tree... on the same corner... every day. That sounds very boring, right? And I have to admit, perhaps it is.


I noticed something today... maybe noticed isn't the right word. I realized something today that I had missed all along. The same tree, on the same corner, of my same drive to work... doesn't always look the same! As the seasons change, it changes color, the sun is in a different place in the sky, so the highlights and shadows are different... It was amazing. In that moment I realized that vast amount of beauty and detail that the Creator has put into His creation. A seemingly infinite amount of variance, without a single bit of monotony.

All I could do was begin to worship in my car...

Not because of some emotional, "how beautiful is that tree" feeling, but an overwhelming, inescapable understanding that the Almighty God of the Universe, that took the time to hand craft every living thing on this planet, that sculpted the mountains, valleys, lakes, and oceans, that gave the birds their wings, the fish their scales, and the lion it's roar, loves me, leads me, and lives in me.

I know that sounds simple and almost a little bit corny, but really.

I thought of a scene from the Disney movie Aladdin. Genie is talking about his life as a genie to Aladdin and he described it this way, "PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER, itty-bitty living space," and in that moment of seeing that tree that I look at every day, and hearing the voice of Robin Williams in my head, I realized that's exactly what God Almighty has done for me.

God reached down from his throne in heaven, molded me by hand, set me in place, and then by nothing that I had done, chose to limit Himself in the body of a man, to then be executed, rise from the grave, and as a final act of compassionate love, indwelt His Spirit in my mortal, sinful, corruptible body.

How can we not worship Him after all of that?

- Just a thought

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two Sides to Every Coin...

"In John 3:1-20 Jesus tells Nicodemus that "...no one can come into the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the spirit...". This establishes from the moment of salvation we are living as a dually-born creature. Having two births, with two natures, and two different citizenship's. The natural, water born flesh remains sinful and evil, constantly fighting with our faith to hold us back. The supernatural, spirit born faith indwelt within us remains steadfast in it's desire to both celebrate and communicate with God.

Is this why Jesus later tells the woman at the well, that God seeks those who will worship Him in both "Spirit and Truth"?

God desires all of us, not just the spiritual half. The father seeks those who will worship Him with both halves of themselves. The spirit crying out, hands raised to the Almighty King and the flesh bowing down, will submitted to the Everlasting Father. We must worship God both actively and passively simultaneously."


I wrote that a few weeks ago as I was sitting listening to my audio bible at lunch. I had never tied the two ideas together before that time, but since then, I don't know how you could not see the two as related. First off, obviously, Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about salvation, but born in our salvation should be an insatiable, limitless desire to worship. But true worship, as Jesus tells the Samaritan woman in the very next chapter, is both as well.

Don't be so quick to see only the 'active' aspects of worship, like singing, praying, or giving, and miss out completely on the more 'passive' side. After all, worship should be placing Jesus Christ as the center of our lives with nothing else in contention. He is the sole focus of our lives. When we clutter our life with too many extra things, we either loose focus... or we loose fervor. I think this is why throughout the Word we see mighty men of God needing to be alone, separated from everything else, to truly get their mind, will, and emotions out of the way, and connect with The Creator.

What can you change in your life to be more worshipful. Not just listening to a CD or reading your Bible for five extra minutes, but a conscious choice to be both active and passive in worship.

Choose one active and one passive thing and try to do it every day for a week.

- Just a thought

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Hidden Agenda

David and Goliath. For most of us, these two simple names conjure up memories of children's church, coloring boards, and felt cut out figures. The names are still used today to refer to an unfairly matched opponent or team. Why does this story resonate with so many people? Simple. People love the underdog. We love to see the little guy win. The upset. The turnover. The drama.

But... as wonderful as this story is, if you only look at the battle in 1st Samuel 17, you only get part of the story. Yes, it might be the climax and most 'guy-action-movie-ish' part, but it's only one event in the story of the life of David. To see the grand design of God's handiwork in David's life you have to view it with a much wider lens.

In 1st Samuel 16, David is anointed King, but is not taken right to the throne. He is sent back into the fields to tend his father's sheep... (that's another post for another day). How must he have felt, the prophet of God comes to his house, passes over all of his brothers, and anoints him the next king. And then right back out to the field. This must have been a disappointment, now being king, and not seeing an ounce of chance in your day to day life... let's move forward.

Then David is sent by his father Jesse to deliver some food to his older brothers that are at war with the philistines. David wasn't even sent to the war as a solider, he was a messenger, and errand boy (again, for another day). David's anger with Goliath was not because he insulted himself, his king, his country, or his family, but because Goliath insulted the name of the Lord. David said that when he watched his father's sheep, he defended them from lion and bear with his hands. Bare hands! I"m sure when he was fighting the lion or bear he was not singing songs to God and worshiping him for honoring him with the privilege of fighting this hungry animal.

But, it was that fight that gave him the faith to stand against Goliath. There is a hidden agenda behind the whole story of the life of David. God is at work, behind the scenes, beautifully weaving the events together to carry David to his destiny... and the Father is doing the same for us as well.

It usually takes a wider lens and a lot of patience, but if you truly look at the events of your life, where God has brought you to and from, I believe that you will see the hidden agenda in the back story of your life as well.

"God is never caught off-guard, unaware, or by surprise. Just because He didn't tell us, doesn't mean that He is any less powerful or not in control."

- Just a thought

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Bubbles...! (Part 2)

Unfortunately, as modern day Followers of Christ, we're not only insulated by our "bubbles" but many times we are actually standing on them. Many of us have our spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical well-being tied to our 'bubble' of what we think that world is or should be. This is a major mistake and very dangerous. Anytime we place our "faith" or at least "belief" in something we allow that thing to let us down.

If your faith and hope has been in the stock market or housing market, well, I'm sure you're not as 'faithful' or 'hopeful' as you were a few years ago. But what about something less obvious, like your job, or even something you think will never falter, like your marriage, family, or friends. These are good things to have, but not to base your life on.

No matter what your 'bubble' is... friends, family, work, money, self... all bubbles have three things in common:

1. Bubbles are fragile

This is an obvious one if you have ever seen a child play with a bottle of bubbles. They are fun, you get enjoyment out of them, some science teachers even use them to teach with. But at the end of the day, bubbles are fragile. Just give it time and the bubble will burst and you will be left in disappointment, regret, and possibly pain.

2. Bubbles are constantly moving

Have you even looked at the side of a bubble in the sunlight? You notice the 'swirl' effect that it has going on? This is the outside of the bubble moving as well as the light refracting off it. If your bubble is in constant motion, so will be your life. You will constantly be 'moving' just to keep the status quo. You may feel at the end of the day that you did nothing and are completely exhausted, or that you have to change so much just to stay afloat.

3. Bubbles are weightless

When it comes down to it, you can not trust a bubble. (there's a sentence I thought I'd never say) Bubbles carry no weight on their own. They are tossed to and fro by the prevailing wind at that moment. If you life is based on a bubble, than you are at the mercy of the 'winds of change' or what's the 'in' thing to do or say at that time. There is no real foundation or feeling of self-worth, because your bubble is only good if its in the now.

The only true foundation that we have for our life, love, faith, hope, family, work, friends... anything... is the Word of God. It is timeless, matchless, and faultless. It is sharper than a two edged sword, and soft enough to heal your heart. The Word then became flesh and dwelt among us and gave us a whole new understanding. Jesus was loving, compassionate, just, merciful and kind. All of His attributes and character are found in the Word because HE IS THE WORD.

"But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." Matt 7:26-27 (msg)

The choice is simple... Bubble or Bible?

- Just a thought

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Bubbles...!

We have a lot of talk today in social circles and the workplace about 'personal space'. People say, "This is my bubble." while waving their hands in a circle around themselves, declaring that they own the space two feet in every direction from their body. I understand and respect this. I don't like people I don't know getting into my personal space. I think this is a good idea, but it should have it's limitations.

This should not be the attitude that we have when it comes to our faith. Many Christians today insulate themselves inside of a stained glass bubble. We want to keep all things holy and righteous inside, and keep every thing else out. Let me illustrate this way...

Take a piece of paper and write down the top 5 things you think represents someone living a Christ-like life. What are the signs that someone is a Christian?

Go ahead...

No, I really mean write it down...

Not just three... all five reasons...

Got it...?



, now how many of the answers that you wrote consist of NOT doing things?
Do not lie.
Do not steal.
Do not _______. (fill in the blank)

This is exactly what I'm trying to get at. We have trivialized our faith down to limiting our actions and call that holy!!!

The absence of sin is not the same as the presence of God! Just because we limit our actions (or someone else's) doesn't mean that we have taken away the desire to sin, we have just taken away the opportunity. When the chance comes up, and it will eventually, the desire to sin is still there. We really haven't dealt with the issue.

"Living a lifestyle of faith is not about what you DON"T DO,
but the attitude of what you WILL DO."

- Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

But... There's A Catch...

As believers we talk a lot about forgiveness and that price that Jesus paid for us to have... whatever it is we're wanting at that moment. But don't forget that God is both merciful and just. In fact, He is justly merciful and mercifully just. He stands ready and willing to forgive us of any sin or transgression that we have.


There's a catch...

Well, not really a catch, but I just wanted to say it to see if you're paying attention. There's no catch, we are forgiven. However, forgiveness of sin DOES NOT equal absolution of consequences. This is something I'm afraid to say I don't think people grasp or practice in their lives today.

When someone wrongs us or someone else, and then asks to be forgiven, we must forgive them. But, that doesn't mean that if that act they did had consequences, that they too are automatically tossed aside. If we can, we should. However, if someone breaks the law... yes, we can forgive them, but they will still need to answer for their actions.

Forgiveness of sin does not automatically erase your past actions. It merely erases the sin associated with those actions. Let me give a much more obvious and extreme answer. You are in charge of the nursery or children's group at your church. You have a new church member come to you and say that they would like to volunteer and help you in whatever way you need. In their background check, you find that they have been convicted of a crime involving a child.

You would not be able to allow that person to serve with you in the children's dept. Even if they had served their time, moved to a new city and started over. Yes, they are forgiven, but the consequences of their choice still remain. You would then have to talk to that person and gently guide them into another ministry where they could serve. I realize this was an extreme case, but it happens. The lines blur a little as the action or transgression is less severe. But the rule hold true. God sees it this way as well.

In Num 20:6-12 God instructs Moses to speak to the rock to give the Israelites water in the desert. He strikes it. God then tells him and Aaron, that hey will not be allowed to enter the promise land. God did not take them out of leadership. Did not kill them or cast them into hell. God merely gave them a consequence to their sin and did not revoke it.

In your life, don't be quick to judge every negative thing that comes your way as God's judgement or punishment. Some of it could just be consequences of your previous actions. And, the best way to avoid consequences from occurring is to obey the Lord in the first place...

"We drink the water from the wells that we have dug. The thorns that we get pricked with are on the bushes we have sown. Forgiveness of sin IS NOT absolution from consequences. when god allows us to eat the fruit that we have sown, we blame Him saying he is being unjust, when actually, that is the epitome of his justice. "

- Just a thought.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Buddy System

It seems like it was only yesterday that my 1st grade class was taking a field trip to the zoo and I walked in the doors hand in hand with my buddy. That was my job, all day long was to keep a hold of my buddy. Ya know, that's not only a great way to both watch and manage kids, but it's also an excellent idea for growing in Christ. But it's not the whole picture.

Paul in Philippians said it this way:

"...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil 3:13b-14

Living as a follower of Jesus is like a long distance race. It's not a sprint. You can't make it to the finish line with a short burst of speed. You've got to have a long term strategy to keep up the pace. Unfortunately, unlike a single race, life is much more complicated. We are surrounded by pressures and influences constantly. If we are going to live a lifestyle of faith and not shrink back from whatever God has called us, we need to put the race into perspective. There are three types of relationship that each of us need to keep us on the right track.

1. Someone BEFORE us... We all should have someone in our lives that is a little farther ahead of us, that can look back and say, "Watch out!" when we're coming up on a proverbial pothole. Having a mentor can help you not only avoid some catastrophes along the way, but quite possibly make the road a little easier, or reveal a shortcut we did not see. I am not talking about your pastor that you hear on Sunday mornings at church. I mean a person of faith that you have a relationship with, that you trust and respect enough to tell you when you are wrong. This person helps you by giving you guidance.

2. Someone BESIDE us... We all also need someone who is running right along side us. We all need a teammate. This is a friend that is at about the same place you are in your journey of faith. They have been saved about as long as you and/or are just as mature as you. This is the person that you should be talking with the most. Sharing the trials and triumphs with. Without this person you are most likely to slow down or quit all together. This person helps by giving you endurance.

3. Someone BEHIND us... The final relationship, and usually the least practiced, is the runner coming in behind you. This person is looking up to you like you look up to your mentor. They're relying on you to give them a 'look out' signal if they're about to hit the pothole you missed. You will always look at your actions and choices differently when you know someone is counting on you to lead them. This gives you a very real and felt need for excellence.

If we truly want to grow in Christ, we need these three types of relationships, but we also need to keep them in balance. How do your relationships and friendships measure up to this idea? Do you have relationships that you want to chance or add?

- Just a thought

Friday, November 7, 2008

You get what you pay for...

I was working on my homework for school this weekend, going through the book of Acts, and this just jumped at me. So, here it is... fresh out of the oven...

In Acts 8:14-24, we find the story of Simon the sorcerer. Peter and John have been dispatched to Samaria from Jerusalem to help disciple the new converts there. When they get there they discover that had not been taught or baptized with the Holy Spirit, so they lay their hands on them. When Simon saw this, he offered Peter and John money to give him the power to pray for people and have them be filled with the Spirit.

Now, I realize that this is a small obscure story that we mostly pass over, but I think there is a lot of nuggety goodness here. I will also try to be short in my explanation of it.

We can see from the disciples reaction that Simon obviously didn't have the the right heart in his request. He was selfish, greedy, and ignorant, and was quickly corrected by Peter. The good thing is that this story has a happy ending, Simon repented and asked for the disciples prayers. But, I do think that this illustrates a still prevalent attitude towards God.

1. Selfish - There are plenty of Christians today that treat Jesus this way. Their are in it for themselves. What am I going to get out of it? Make me feel good God. I want. I need. You hear it in their prayers, you see it in their actions, and you feel it in their worship. Their relationship with The Almighty is based on what they get out of it.

2. Greedy - Unfortunately, this is still very much a reality today. There are Christians who aren't really in it for what God is going to give them, but how they can use Jesus, or the Church as a tool to gain something. Money, power, influence all exist in the church, and in their right place they are well used tools. But, all to often we get distracted or disjointed and the ministry can become a means to and end.

3. Ignorant - I think this is the least harmful, and yet most prolific of the three. There are many believers that simply don't understand why Jesus died and what they are supposed to do with the freedom and power they have been given. This sometimes is out of selfishness or greed, but isn't precluded to. There are some people that just haven't come to the realization that they are meant to be a missionary in their job, neighborhood, and yes even their church.

However, just as for Simon, there is a happy ending around the corner for us. We too have the opportunity to repent and turn around. It may not be face to face with one of the original disciples, but repentance is still available for everyone who wants it.

How do you view your relationship with the Creator? Do you fall into any of these categories? Many not all of the time, but some of the time?

- Just a thought

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lasik by Jesus

This entry is very dear to my heart. If I had to make a list of the personal soapboxes that I have, this would be at the top, if not the first...

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd,
he had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
So he began teaching them many things." Mark 6:34

This, to me, more than any verse in the Bible illustrates the true heart and mission of Jesus. To truly love the lost, fallen, sinful world that we live in is neither easy or comfortable. We have to look at sin head on, see it for the vile, disgusting filth that it is, without judging or affecting our view of the person is tough. As new creations in Christ, we are cleansed from sin and don't want to have to "go back there". Or, we look back at the sins that we know we committed and compare them to the sins of the unsaved that we see now, and think that we are better than them. As followers of Christ, we must get over ourselves and set outside of our own views to see the world as Jesus did. We must stop looking through your own stained glass bifocals, that see our world and "their" world as separate and unequal; and start seeing through the clear and cleansing sight of the Savior. We need to allow Jesus to perform LASIK surgery our our view of the world.

To truly see people as Jesus did is to see them as "...sheep without a shepherd". This first starts with realizing at one point or another, we were all in this category and it is only by the Grace of God that we are now able to see the reality of our unrighteousness. There are three distinct attributes that we need to see in this analogy:

1. Sheep are Helpless. Sheep can feed themselves. That's why we have shepherds. The shepherd's job is to lead the sheep to the fertile grass lands where they can find nourishment. Without the shepherd to guide the flock to the right place for food, the flock would starve.

2. Sheep are Defenseless. Sheep can not defend themselves. Herds of sheep have to defensive attributes. No sharp teeth or claws to defend themselves with. A friend once asked me about rams, since they are in the sheep family. I would say that true, rams have horns, but the only way to use them is to keep butting heads until someone is too tired and gives up. Still not the best defense. The shepherd is the guardian of the flock. He oversees them and keeps them in safe areas to both feed and rest. It's when the sheep try to wander off that they put themselves into harms way. (But that's another entry for another day...)

3. Sheep are Leaderless. Sheep will simply follow the group. And if we are truly honest with ourselves, people are the same way. We all want to follow the group we are in. People are just as dumb leaderless animals are sheep. The shepherd is the true leader of the flock, and a good shepherd will always have the best interests of the flock at heart. He will never lead them somewhere that would compromise their safety or well being.

The analogy here is obvious, but the application might not be so. We have to train ourselves to see each and every person the way that Jesus did. Every person we meet. Every conversation we have. No matter if we like them or not. No matter if we like their life choices, life style, or life partner, our responsibility is to see through all of that and see what Jesus saw. The helpless, defenseless, leaderless soul within.

- Just a thought

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Re-Pro Man...

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen."
Heb 11:1

This verse has always stood out to me as one that was particularly difficult to wrap my brain around. That fact that my faith is more than just a feeling or idea, but an actual 'substance'. I think that we today can easily fall victim to castrating our faith on the alter of normalcy. Each day we get up, get dressed, go to work, go home, have dinner, go to bed. Day after day, the same routine begins to wear away at the underbelly of our faith. We don't really need our faith day to day, because we've grown comfortable being rocked back and forth by the seemingly endless ebb and flow of our daily lives.

I think above all else this verse illustrates that 'Faith' is founded in the future. However, we today, find ourselves measuring our faith by our actions as they happen. This is a reactive response. The danger with this is, that our faith is only turned on, or exercised when something goes wrong. If life is seemingly easy, we get complacent, and think that we're good on our own. Then when the enemy comes in and rocks the boat, we're left flailing around in the ocean of self doubt and pity wondering why our faith wasn't strong enough.

Another drawback to REactive faith is that what if you don't always react with your faith? Most of us don't. Road rage is a great example. It only takes a split second for an event to occur and you to react to it. You don't have time to reach for the 'Faith' button, you just react. To steal a line from my wife, "When you squish a bug, what's on the inside always comes out." A very vivid and not so feminine analogy, but true none the less. If we wait until we are in a time of crisis, inevitably what will come out is fleshly selfishness, not faith. This is not to say that in that time we didn't have faith, but it wasn't the first thing we reached for.

I think that rather than a REactive faith, we should practice and live out and PROactive one. One that is constantly in tune to God's will and Word. This is the faith that is substance and evidence. A PROactive faith is constantly on alert and attentive to God's direction as well as the state of things around us. The moment things start to go bad, our faith kicks in and carries us over the crest of the wave and brings us down safely. This also is not by accident. When we live in each and every moment attune to not only our surroundings, but ourselves, we are keeping ourselves prepared and alert to respond to any situation in faith.

And more often than not, it is the response of Faith in a time of crisis that makes the love of Christ undeniably tangible, and ultimately leads people to Him.

- Just a thought

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Decision by Design

This is a follow up to yesterday's post about the idea of Christian Karma and the Biblical teaching of sowing and reaping.

None of us can deny that the principle of sowing and reaping is both a biblical truth and a practical one. I do not think you're going to find a farmer who plants lettuce to grow tomatoes. So, let us establish up front the the relationship between sowing and reaping is a truth. You will sow and you will reap. The real meat of this principle comes in the time and events that occur in between.

The concept of Karma can be divided into two categories, it is either completely by chance, a roll of the dice, or it is a default. Either I have a 50/50 chance of getting back whatever I put into the universe, or I have a 100% chance of getting back EXACTLY what I put out into the universe. The idea that my life's actions somehow float out into the air and cosmically I affect my future either positively or negatively, in my opinion, is both arrogant and asinine.

I don't think that this correctly represents the concept of sowing and reaping. It is not decision by dice, or by default, it is decision by design. A design for our betterment and future. God is the ultimate sovereign authority, omnipresent and omniscient, and it is His will and power that guide the law of the seed. It is also his character that both effect and enforce His laws.

In a world devoid of the love and intervention of God, it would be up to the dice or the default to decide what our future would hold. BUT we do not live in that world. We live in a world created, sustained, and affected by a loving Creator. And it is His character that enforces and effects this law in three distinct ways:

1. His Justice... God's justice allows us to reap exactly what we sow. Good or bad. Sinful or Holy. His justice insures that the outcome of any situation is exactly proportionate to the origin.

2. His Mercy... God's mercy allows us to NOT reap everything that we sow. Christ's death on the cross of Calvary insured for all of us that the wages of sin, that we have rightfully earned, will not be attributed to us. But His mercy extends further into our daily lives and relationships, protecting us from some of the wild oats or weeds that we can sown.

3. His Grace... God's grace allows us to reap that which we HAVE NOT sown. We have been granted access to the Heavenly Kingdom, Holy Spirit, and the Heart of God. None of this we deserve or could have earned. It is only by His grace that we have this harvest in our lives, and His grace extends in our daily lives just as His mercy does.

Yes, we both sow and reap in our lives, but the final outcome of what we reap from what we have sown is not by our own power or strength, but the Decision by Design of God's hands at work.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Christian Karma... meat or myth?

I would like to go a slightly different route today. I will do my best to address a teaching that is floating around Christendom today that I think is very dangerous.

This is the idea of Christian Karma.

I'm sure most of us have heard the saying "Be careful... you will reap what you sow..." (For me, it was mostly when I was doing something I shouldn't have done.) Either way, we're at least familiar with the idea of planting and harvesting. If you plant oranges, you're not going to grow tomatoes. Likewise, don't plant corn when you really want to grow lettuce. Seems simple right? Let's look at this verse in context:

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." - Gal 6:7-8

This seems to be pretty straight forward. You will get back what ever it is that you put into life. but wait a minute, that sounds just like the principle of Karma. If I "sow" good things into the cosmic soup of life I will "reap" good things. Sounds like karma to me...

Well, it's not...

"Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor." - John 4:36-38

Jesus is very clear here that He sent the disciples into a field that they had not sown in order to reap a harvest. Others did the labor ahead of them. The key "buzz" word in both of these verses is "Eternal Life". We, as followers of Christ, are not living for the presents and pleasures of this world. We are living for a future Kingdom that will be ruled by the Righteous King. Our King is also the Lord of the Harvest. It is HIS crops that we are sowing and reaping, not our own. The concept of Karma is self-focused. The biblical teaching of sowing and reaping is Kingdom focused.

Yes, we can not escape the natural law of the seed. BUT we must not forget who placed that law into affect! Our crops should not be focused on ourselves and what we get out of it, but what the Master Land Owner is gaining in His kingdom and how many new souls are being added to it.

"Do not be deceived" the idea of Christian karma is NOT a biblical teaching. Christ should be the focus and centerpiece of our lives. Anything that exalts itself (or ourselves) to the focus of our life is challenging Jesus for his place, and thus becomes an idol. We should live our lives to reap a harvest in the Kingdom of God and Eternal Life.