Honor

I recognize everyone is different, but I would say most people find being honored or holding a position of honor does bring some sort of fulfillment in their lives. Isn’t that why the majority of people run for office? Pretty sure it really is not to serve, but I digress. To be honored is to be respected and there really is not anything wrong with that. The question then becomes how important is being honored to us and why? Because if we are not careful this can soon drive us to a pride issue. Jesus spoke about such things when he told people that when they are invited to a meal to sit at the place of low position. The reason is that if the host wants you to sit at a place of honor you will be moved, but if you sit at the place of honor and he didn’t want you there you’re going to be moved with everyone watching and how embarrassing will that be?

Being a follower of Jesus is a strange dichotomy, we are told to be humble and serve in order to receive honor and glory. Let me help with this thought. Jesus said in John 12:26, If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there will My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” There is no greater position to hold in this world than a servant of Jesus Christ, you can have the presidency. The truth is that the President of the United States is a step down compared to serving the King of all kings. How so? Read the text again. When we are servants of Jesus we are honored by the Father. Every other position we will ever hold in this world we will be scrutinized, second guessed, and probably even judged harshly because we did not do something right or the way others thought we should.  This is not so with our God; when we serve, He honors us. The God of all creation honors us, He does not bust us up for not doing it exactly right or perfect. He loves and honors us because we serve the Son.

Please understand that there is nothing greater than finding a place to serve Jesus. The question then becomes, are you? Have you decided that King Jesus is worth serving? I ask you to consider how the Lord would want you to serve Him today.



Sidetracked

I am not sure if you have noticed but the world seems like it has lost its mind. I am still relatively young, and I know I am seeing things happen that I never imagined I would ever see. If I am not careful, I can allow the craziness that is raging around me suck the life right out of me. Even as a pastor I can get frustrated, disappointed, and depressed with all that is going on in our nation and our world.

I have to refocus and get my nose out of the news and get it back into the Book. I remember back when I took drivers ed. There was a word of wisdom that was given to me by my instructor. “Pay attention to where you look and what your eyes focus on because the steering wheel will go where your eyes go.”

Isn’t that the truth? As a follower of Jesus, we need to really be careful about what we let grab the attention of our eyes. If we stare upon the ridiculousness of this world, we will find ourselves in the same ditch the world is in.  How do we avoid driving into the proverbial ditch? Colossians 3:2 gives us an answer, Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.

What that reminds me is that I really need to keep my eyes on where my real home is, and it is not this place. Now that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned and brokenhearted about all the lostness and the hurt that people are in. When it comes to the politics of this world our allegiance is to a King, not a president. Presidents will come and go, but Jesus Christ is King forever and ever. Keeping that in mind, where should I keep my focus?

Pray for our president, pray for our leaders, pray for our nation. Please do not allow yourself to get so worried, afraid, or even mad about all of this because it is all coming to an end pretty soon anyway. The things of heaven will last eternally, so let’s take as many with us as we possibly can so they too can know the only hope that is in King Jesus.

 



Chip off the Old Block

It seems like just yesterday that my boys were young and going to school. There was almost a ritual every morning that we would go through as they would head out the door to get on the bus. They would tell me and my wife bye and I would call their names with these instructions; “Remember who you are and whose you are.” One of my hopes is that these words would resonate in their hearts and minds as their day went on and would help them in their decision-making processes. I’m not sure what it meant to them, they were probably shaking their heads thinking “yeah, yeah, yeah, dad.” For me I wanted them to know first and foremost that since they had both given their lives to Jesus they were and are children of the King. This should make a difference in how they live. Second, they are my boys and that also should make a difference in how they approach life.

Sadly, many people have a misconception on what being a follower of Jesus is like. For many they think they must try and be a “Christian.” When in fact when you give yourself to Jesus the bible is very clear that we are a new creation. You do not have to try and be a new creation, you are a new creation. In the same way my boys didn’t have to try and be my sons, they are and always will be my sons. Then because they have my DNA, they will naturally take on some of my physical traits (poor kids). Because they grew up around me, they will take on some of my personality traits, my likes, my thoughts, and even my beliefs.

If you have given yourself to Jesus you do not have to try to be a child of God, you are a child of God. The goal is to be more like our daddy. The more we talk to Him, spend time in His word, and hang around the siblings the more we will begin to take on the traits of our Heavenly Father. We will be “chips off the old block”.

Stop trying to be a born-again follower of Jesus, just be.

Isaiah 51:1, Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and the quarry from which you were dug.

We are chipped off the Rock, remember who we are and whose we are.



Run

If you are like me, just the thought of running makes my legs begin to ache and my lungs start to deflate. Then there are those who really enjoy this torturous act. Something is just not right with those people, but we must love them anyway. When it comes to being healthy though, I have not found any other exercise that can give the same benefits as running. I don’t have to like it; I just need to do it.

The Bible speaks to our journey as followers of Jesus as a race; Paul speaks of it in his writings as well as the writer of Hebrews. The bottom line to running and running well is endurance. It is the will to keep going when you just want to quit. I totally get this. When I am on a treadmill, I have a goal, I want to run 3 miles within thirty minutes. Lately I have been able to accomplish that goal several times, but there are more times that I do not quite make it. The reason? I quit. I let the fact that breathing becomes difficult and the ache in my legs, hips, and every other part of my body convince me that I just need to stop.

There are so many similarities in the Christian walk. When we first get started walking with Jesus it is exciting and we enjoy the adventure, but then life sets in. The job stinks and begins to suck the joy we once had right out of us. Then there are family issues. Whether it is a relationship with parents, children, or even our spouse it takes its toll. Let’s face it, following Jesus is not easy, in fact it is downright difficult at best. So how do we endure? How do we keep going when we really just want to throw in the towel?

The writer in Hebrews chapter 12 gives us some encouragement. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Heb 12:1-3) First, remember that we are being cheered on by not only those around us (see previous blog), but also those who have gone on before us. I don’t know if people in heaven know what is going on in our lives, but I know if they did, they would be cheering at the top of their lungs “keep going, it is all worth it.” Second, know that if you are serious about running this race that there are some things in our lives that need to be cut loose. We all have our little pet sins we keep around just because we enjoy them. We also know those little sins will keep us from being all we can be for Jesus. They hinder us from running well. Third, look to Jesus. He has already run this race perfectly. He wants us to run the race the best we can, and He is the only One that can help us accomplish the task. Pray to Him; ask Him to give strength and endurance.

Lastly, I am running right beside you, keep your eyes up and never give up.