Thursday, July 28, 2011

Babies Milk

Hebrews 5:12-14 (ESV): "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,  for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Would we find it offensive if a 40 year old man still ate baby food and drank milk from a baby bottle? It would be repulsive; yet in the church we tolerate and in some way “like” spiritual immaturity. I mean, if Joe is a spiritual lout (oaf) and could care less, I’m not challenged either and I find my spiritual “loutiness” quite acceptable.

Why do we tolerate spiritual malaise in ourselves and others? Because we think we’re ok just as we are.

In this part of scripture “for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness (being right with God) since he is a child.” It goes on “but solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

Many of us are spiritual babies and we like it that way. We believe we are just fine as we are. We don’t ever really believe in the eternal battle of good and evil, and if we did, we could not distinguish “good from evil.”

Yes, we tolerate mush, love mush. We love “make us feel good Christianity” and all the while the devil loves it because we are so indifferent or stupid we cannot distinguish good from evil.

Armor up; go to battle; study and know the word of God and practice constantly to discern truth. We are drinking mint julep on the deck of the Titanic while our culture slides into hell.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sheep (us) Among the Wolves (the world)

Matthew 10: 16: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

“There once was a dog who had been left to die in the forest. His only hope was to howl with the wolves – he had to howl if he wanted to survive. Well, he howled so horribly that wolves turned tail and fled. The consequence was, he not only survived but had the forest to himself.” ~ A Prussian Parable
“He who howls with the pack, saves his neck.” ~ A Masurian Proverb
Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among the wolves.”

America is fascinated with wolves. Minnesota is enthralled with them.  They are majestic animals, loyal to the pack. Yet, they are a well organized, efficient killing machine. To watch a wolf pack hunt down a moose and kill it is a work of intelligence and cunning.

Sheep on the other hand are dumb and pretty much defenseless. They need a shepherd, one who leads and cares for the sheep; one who is willing to sacrifice for the sheep. (Sound familiar? Sounds like Jesus to me.) Wolves get all the press. Sheep are hardly even mentioned.

Jesus must be crazy sending (us) defenseless sheep out among wolves. Stop that kind of talk!! Jesus has not left us defenseless. Jesus said, “I will never forsake you or leave you.” Jesus tells us “don’t be afraid.” Well, that’s easier said than done.

In Ephesians 6, the Holy Spirit issues us a complete set of armor. The intended use of armor is protection in battle. God’s word tells us as Christians, to hang together; it’s called the church, and then He tells us to go. Go like sheep among the wolves—not as defenseless sacrifices to become a dining delight for the wolves, but as a witness to them.

As the church, we are “well armored sheep pack” asked by the Lord to go to battle. He will not leave us or forsake us. His plans are never thwarted. (Isaiah 55:11).  Yes, we are to go into the world, howl in the forest until the wolves leave, or better yet, they become a God powered transformed member of the sheep pack. We may lose a chunk of meat out of our hind end once in awhile, but go to battle.

Remember, we win in the end. Rise up you fluffy untested soldiers of mutton.

The world needs a Savior and Jesus has put the keys to the kingdom in our fumbling hands. Even so, bring it on!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

…I want to see Jesus, or stepping on toes

Each funeral is different; they should be. Yet, today we seem to lift up the person more than Christ. We don’t remember the dead, we worship them.

A common theme in the eulogy has been developing over the years. The deceased has stated they want to go to Heaven to see their loved ones that have gone before. No doubt this is a touching thought and honest desire, but what about seeing our Savior, Jesus? Jesus is relegated to an afterthought. Oh, I know I am stepping on toes here, but we have become so self-absorbed that even in death, it is all about us.  We love Christ more for what He has done for us rather than loving Him just for Himself.

Our prayer and desire should be to see Jesus; then our family; not the other way around. If you are offended by this, maybe you need to re-examine your relationship with Jesus…

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pontificating from my self-sovereign perch

We had plans recently to attend the 125th Anniversary of Lake Jennie Covenant Church south of Dassel. We were anxious to hear Peter Lee preach at the first service of the weekend on Friday night, July 1st.

God had other plans. I was driving from the Twin Cities toward Hutchinson to meet Judi there for supper. Judi was coming from the farm.  The sky to the west looked ominous. The radio said that there was a tornado north of Danube. It was true—rather than go to Lake Jennie, we headed home to find some trees down and no power but outside of that, we came out unscathed.

How often do we become irritated when God doesn’t cooperate with our plans and time table? Yes, we sit on our self-sovereign perch and act like He (God) is a sideman in our band. LISTEN – He is not PART of our life—we are a minuscule part of His sovereign plan of love and redemption. God is life.

Who do we think we are? Acting as if we were god then getting in a tiff when things don’t happen on our time table.

God gives us life, breathe, and everything else (Acts 17). It’s high time we acknowledge that He is sovereign—we are not. He is not part of our life; He is life and we are bit players. We are but players saved by grace alone. We need to climb down from our self-sovereign perches and put our puny faces in the dirt and worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Forgive us Lord, for making you part of our life rather than acknowledging your power over us, Your right to our life and time. We praise you and acknowledge You are our very life. By your power, may we never forget that. Thank you Sovereign One. Amen.