Monday, August 20, 2007

I Long for a World

I long for a world in which babies are born into homes where they have resources and love for a good life; where peace is in great supply; where justice prevails; where mercy is bountiful; where God’s creation is respected; where violence is abhorred; where war is unnecessary; where the marriage bed is honored; where others come first; where marriages last a lifetime; where virtue abounds; where people are hungry for God’s word; where forgiveness is quick; where hypocrisy is missing; where joy is in every heart; where Jesus reigns in every life; where God is glorified.

It begins with my community.
It begins with my church.
It begins with my family.
It begins with me…and you!

That’s Life at Work.

What would you add to my list?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to NOT Follow Jesus from Matthew

10. He is too demanding (19:16-30).
9. He embarrasses the self-righteous when they are wrong (15:1-12).
8. He’s small town and too familiar (13:53-58).
7. He’s on the demon’s team (12:22-37).
6. He heals people on Saturday (12:1-14).
5. He hangs around all those sick people (9:9-13).
4. He kills pigs and threatens our livelihood (8:28-34).
3. I’ve got other important things to do (8:21-22).
2. I like my comfort (8:18-20).
1. I think he wants my throne (2:1-12).

They followed him across the lake, but would they continue in discomfort and would they make following him their first priority. I don’t necessarily think about a choice regarding following Jesus in Matthew until the challenge to count the cost and prioritize the responsibilities of Matthew 8:18-22. Earlier in the Matthew account, Matthew himself and the magi seem really eager and Herod is completely resistant. No drama in their choices, at least as Matthew tells it. The teacher/disciple and the other disciple in this discipleship story of Matthew are willing to consider the plunge, but they only have one foot in the water. Now there is drama. Jesus sees the reservation in one; the other admits his reservation without recognizing that it is a problem.

We know his teachings. The source of happiness isn’t what we thought. Real followers have a real impact. Jesus interprets and lives the law perfectly. Murder, adultery, divorce, and promises have more to do with the heart than we thought. Turn the other cheek and love your enemies. Act in a way to gratify God, not impress people. Treasures in heaven are better. Worrying is for pagans. Don’t give pearls to pigs; save your best judgments for those who will appreciate you. God is a great giver and we should be great givers, too.

We know his miracles. He cleansed lepers, healed servants from a distance, and touched the feverish so that they could immediately serve.

We also face the same choice as these people in Matthew 8. The choice isn’t simply, “Will you follow Jesus?” The question is “Will you make following him your first priority and will you keep following regardless of the cost?”

Kenneth Grider said that many Christians follow close enough and long enough to make them decent, but not enough to make them dynamic. Will you follow Jesus first and forever? Will you let him impact you for the dynamic – the abundant – life? That’s Life at Work!