Thursday, February 21, 2013

We need some spiritual giants...

Who is your spiritual mentor?  Do you have someone in your life who guides you on your spiritual journey?  Do you have a spiritual parent?

I went to Rev. C.E. Stairs and Uta Chase’ funerals.  Two spiritual giants in the Wesleyan church.  And as sermons, tributes and eulogies were given, it was repeatedly said about what an impact they had on the next generation of Christians and Pastors- how they had been part of seeing people come to Christ, grow in that relationship, and even their call into ministry.

I wondered as I sat in both services- “who will be the spiritual giants in the next generation?”  We are in such a busy, fast paced, individualistic society that I fear people aren’t putting in the time in their own spiritual life, let alone the next generation. 
If you are in the “senior generation” and you are reading this- can you name 1 or 2 people that you are intentionally pouring your life into?  If you are in the “younger generation” and you are reading this- can you name 1 or 2 people that you are intentionally seeking to learn from and submit yourself to? 
As I get older I desire to have those spiritual giants in my life.  But I also know that I need to be that for someone else.
Start praying to God would bring this person into your life- I guarantee you will be richer and deeper spiritually because of it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Weight of Christmas

Christmas is not about a baby in a manger.  I feel like I'm seeing things differently lately.  For so many years I saw Christmas in terms of the Nativity scene, shepherds, wisemen, Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus lying in a manger.  And really I'm ashamed to say but I really didn't care too much about the whole Christmas thing.  It was fine, but I just didn't see anything as I looked at the Nativity scene.

Easter I got.  Easter made me excited.  I could see the magnitude of Easter.  I could read text after text, book after book about the theology of Easter.  I like theology and Easter has plenty of it.

But Christmas just didn't grip me- a baby born to common folks- it happens all the time.  It happened to me with Adele. 

Where am I going with all of this?

I have been preaching my Christmas series this year from the angle of the "story behind the story".  And it is gripping me big time- not my sermons per se, but my study time in scripture. 

See if we just look at baby Jesus in a manger as the beginning of his story then we miss the significance.  We can be led to think of His story as a poor peasant boy who grows up poor and then comes to greatness as an adult, almost a Braveheart scenario.

Jesus story does not start on a Christmas morning.  And the weight of Christmas is not a baby being born.

I would contend to you that the weight of Christmas is that a King stepped off His throne (Isaiah 6), gave up His rights and priviledges, embraced humanity in its fullness (Philippians 2:5-8) for a realationship with people who did not deserve it and could not earn it.  And yes to do that He had to come as a baby.  But when I think of Jesus in all His greatness, glory, majesty, and splendor, and then see Him letting it go so that I (and you) could have a relationship with our Creator is a sobbering picture.

I said on Sunday- Jesus leaving the glory of heaven to come and embrace the fullness of humanity- being born as one of us, live with us, and die for us, was the single greatest act of humility this world has ever, and will ever see.  What kind of God does that?  What kind of King serves the lowly?  What kind of love motivates that kind of action?

So am I splitting hairs about a baby being born?  Maybe.  But I want to be crystal clear about what happened on Christmas morning.  I am not worshipping a baby, I'm worshipping a King who came in humility and who will one day come again, but this time in His full glory and power!

Babies are born all the time, Savior's come once!  May you see the full weight of that baby lying in a manger. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Am I Dead or Alive?

Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

We usually only quote half of that verse- the first half.  It's a great verse, it's memorable, it's portable. (And maybe it's just me) But it also may be one of the hardest verses for me to live out.  I think it was L.E. Maxwell who said, "self dies hard".  And I agree.

As a kid I "asked Jesus into my heart" many times.  As an adult I have asked that my "self" be crucified many more times.  Sometimes it feels like real momentum is picking up, growth, maturity...holiness.  And then self rears it's ugly head!

Where did you come from?

I thought you were crucified? 

How did you crawl out of the crave and get control again?

I wish it was just me, but I doubt it.

I desire to live a holy life, I desire for self to stay crucified, but the battle is real.  Maybe that's the point, to actually wage war against the flesh and sin.  Maybe I need I don't wage war enough, maybe I play games more often then not.  Maybe I won't let self be crucified to actual death...I like self...I'm used to self.  It's easy, convenient, and natural.

Just when I think I won't "win" I'm reminded of what Jesus said, "If anyone would come afer me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."


The sanctifying work of God is a process.  It's intentional.  It's a choice.  It's going to hurt.  It's not going to be easy.

But I so desire it! 

Do you?  I pray that if you're reading this God does a deep work in your heart, I pray that you will pick up the cross daily, and I pray that you will die to self and live to Christ Jesus....for God's glory....and your joy!