Friday, March 29, 2013


Most of us don't equate pain as good..
Or torture as good...
Or suffering as good...
Or hatred as good...
Or betrayal as good...
Or beating as good...
Or death as good.

These things are unpleasant. They cause us heartache, tears, sorrow and all for good reason. And as I think of these things that Jesus endured...not to mention my own personal sin that alone set Him to die this horrific death I can't help but think as a Christian, I'm quick to skip right past the death of Christ and right to the resurrection....because to think on that death is uncomfortable.

Passion Week is a time to reflect on the beautiful life, terrible death and glorious resurrection. It's a time to rejoice that we have a God who keeps His promises. But, just for today....for this Friday....could we take a moment to think about our own responsibility in sending HIM to the cross? Could we think about the spear in His side for us? the crown of thorns slammed down into skull? the blood streaming down His body? the agony? pain? betrayal? and torture?

Yes, it's uncomfortable. It should bring us tears and sorrow and heartache. And well, to be honest, that's not the kind of thing most of us (me) like to spend time dwelling on for too long. It's my belief that maybe, if we just took a little more time to think on our part and the actual act of Jesus taking our sin upon Himself in this most self-less act of love, that we might learn to live more abundantly, forgive more freely, bless others more readily, share His story more often, give thanks more regularly, sin less and maybe take hold of what Easter is really all about...

Because we do have hope

Hope that He's coming again..Hope in a new heaven and earth...Hope in the promise of kingdom worship, Hope in His glorious appearing.....

All because....Sunday's comin'.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Ordinary Disciple

Our ladies Bible study is now doing a Kay Arthur study on discipleship. We're only one week into it and it already has my heart churning...sort of like the nervousness of first love mixed with the anticipation of what's to come.

Our first week was spent dissecting Matthew 4 and 10, where Christ calls his disciples into a very well described walk on the adventurous side of life. He's forthcoming in the description of what a disciple life will look like and in fact, if society used Christ's method of a business plan overview, well there would be fewer skydivers, bungee jumpers and other risk takers. He makes the cost clear....

Pretty much this is how Jesus describes the disciple life:

1. You'll be sent out as a sheep, in a wolves world (10:16)
2. You'll be handed over to the courts (10:17)
3. You'll be scourged, whipped, lashed (10:17)
4. You'll be brought before the government (10:18)
5. You'll be hated (10:22)
6. You'll be forsaken and even killed by family (10:35, 36)

And this is how we're to handle the disciple life:

1. Be wise and innocent (10:16)
2. Beware of men (10:17)
3. Don't worry about how or what you are to say (10:19)
4. Walk humbly (10:24)
5. Do not be afraid (10:26)
6. Speak the words Christ gives to say (10:27)
7. Endure (10:22)
8. Take up your cross (10:38)
9. Find your life in Christ (10:39)

And this is why we are to live a disciple life:

1. To bring men to Jesus (this making other disciples) (4:19)
2. To be a testimony of Christ's work in us (10:18)
3. Because He will confess us before the Father in heaven (10:32)
4. To lose ourselves in His identity (10:39-40) (not I but Christ mentality)

I've had a few weeks to think about what these verses are saying and it has brought me to a place of deeper understanding and perhaps even a little disappointment in how I've handled being a disciple of Christ. This selfless, demanding walk with Christ requires much more than I feel I've been, it requires everything. EVERYTHING. This bold lifestyle isn't a fad or trend, it's the norm...and let's be honest, it's rare, even in my own little Christian world, to see someone living their faith out in such way.

Let's be honest, usually the first sign of persecution and we're yelling "Foul!, Not Fair!, I Quit! OUCH!" or we're screaming about our rights and freedom. When truthfully, shouldn't we KNOW that if we are a disciple, such things are GOING to happen (His Word tell us)...pain is going to come, persecution will happen, even death is possible, you will be treated poorly.

So before we go off bragging that we are a sold out disciple of Christ, maybe we need to review the highlights of what we signed up for. Maybe we need to check to be sure we are living this kind of life...because if you're anything like me, I've pity partied myself to death over mistreatment, unfair life events and even family circumstances....when really in all actuality, I should have considered it par for the course.

I'm hoping as we go through this study at church that I gain a deeper understanding in what this looks like in my day to day life.

What about you? Do you find yourself struggling to understand and be a disciple of Christ? Be encouraged God knows our hearts and our desire or lack thereof to follow Him.

I paraphrased this paragraph from Matthew Henry's Commentary:

What if He could say of Me?

She will I confess, though a poor and worthless worm of this earth, she is one of of my friends, who loved me and was beloved by me. I will confess her before my Father. I will speak a good word for her. I will present her. I will REpresent MY Father. When she has most need to me, I will represent her. 

That's my disciple prayer...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What's the Risk?

I hate for it to end.

Missions Conference.

The week starts with our initial awkward dinner where we do our formal introductions and hope our kids behave long enough to make a decent impression and by the end of 8 days we are family. We've laughed, cried, prayed, served, shared and eaten together. We're brothers and sisters who share the same burden. We understand each other's language even if it's Korean or Spanish or Hillbilly.

I remember missions conferences at my church growing up. The Ferus', the Lassiters, the Florida Children's Home, the Arnold's...all mission projects I remember clearly as a child. We hosted our fair share of after church afterglows with missionaries and families from our church joining us for a meal at our home. Maybe that's where it started. I corresponded with missionaries from the time I was 12 or so. And now as time has passed and technology has grown, Facebook and twitter keep me informed and up to date on their activities...and I love feeling like they are right next door even if they are really halfway across the world.

The bittersweet goodbyes of today are just a flash of temporary sadness in light of the eternal life that we will spend with these heroes of faith. They are the current Hudson Taylor, Adonirum Judson, Jim Elliot and Bro. Andrew. They risk something to share the gospel...and it makes me wonder...have I ever risked anything to share Jesus?

I'm thankful for the last 8 days...and while I'm so very tired physically, I'm filled to the brim with an excitement of what's to come...what's on the horizon...what's there to risk for Jesus?