Don’t forget the trash

Here’s a progression of leadership that I find interesting, not that you have to be recognized “leader” in this sense to make the lessons noteworthy.  This is, however, a true countercultural mindset that I personally find very informative and challenging.

And David realized that the LORD had confirmed him as king over Israel and had greatly blessed his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.

In other words, one of the main reasons God blesses me is for the sake of His people.  (Wait…you mean it’s not about me??) Continue reading “Don’t forget the trash”

Advertisements

Pick up your mat and walk…where?

wood 2I don’t mean to be a cynic. In fact, most people who know me probably wouldn’t think of me that way, if they thought about me at all, which they probably rarely do anyway.

How’s that for cynical?

But no, that’s just realistic. 

C’mon, we all do it, see the world through our own eyes, at least to begin with.  What’s their angle and what’s in it for me.  Everything from Wall Street to Main Street to the garage sales on my street, we want the best bargain with the lowest possible personal sacrifice. 

Perhaps, such was the case of the man lying crippled for thirty-eight years by the Pool of Bethesda.  The treatment modality of the day had to do with waiting until an angel stirred the waters, and whoever got in first was healed.  (Not sure about the veracity of this method, no double blind studies back then, but hey…)

Jesus shows up and we listen in on the conversation:

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well?’”

I love how Jesus (a) doesn’t assume what the person wants, and (b) requires the person to verbally identify what it is they desire of Him. 

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

So, in reference to (b) above, notice that the man merely makes an excuse for why he must stay infirmed, not what he actually desires.  Hmmmm….

Undeterred, his Creator makes the decision for him:

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’”

“Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected.”

(So what else is new?)

“They said to the man who was cured, ‘You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!’”

“But he replied, ‘The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

“Who said such a thing as that?” they demanded.

“The man didn’t know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, ‘Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you.’” 

Initially, one would think this man, being in the Temple, was worshipping God for his healing. That’s a possibility, maybe.  However, we have lots of folks going into church buildings for reasons other than God in our century also.  I’ll leave it at that, because after Jesus’ injunction about changing his lifestyle, this guy seems to have second thoughts, as in, “Wait, you mean there are some moral ramifications???”  

“Then the man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.”

This man was no dummy.  Don’t think for a minute that there wasn’t plenty of time sitting around that pool to hear loads of town gossip about Jesus and the Jewish leaders.  I don’t mean to impugn someone’s motives who isn’t here to defend himself, but…

“So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.”

Blessings without change, salvation without sanctification, affected holiness without hardship. It is the church’s undoing.  Subsequently, we become mere subculture instead of counterculture. Where’s the modern-day Job who says, “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him”, rather than merely showing up for the church picnics?

Seems like many want a piece of the pie, but few can stand the heat of the kitchen.

That’s not cynical; it’s just realistic.

John 5:6-16 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved

Mediocrity

quill

Meet my newest bloggin’ buddy, Julie, at  https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com  Her piece on our current times and circumstances makes total sense, not just globally, but personally, in my every day-to-day encounters.  As a Christian, I’m supposed to be part of a counter-culture, not merely a sub-culture.  But sometimes it’s just so much easier (can you hear my whining?) to wallow in….

 

Mediocrity 

Do not hide yourself behind mediocrity,
while basking in the average of mundane.
Do not opt for the middle of the road while choosing
neither high nor low, fast nor slow.
Do not settle on simply blending in
nor being like all the rest…
For climbing the ladder, rung by rung, will lead you neither up nor down.

Dare rather to choose your side refusing to straddle the fence
Roll up your sleeves and sweat if you must, as the outcome is now dire
Be not afraid to make a stand for Darkness has chosen his
Time is no longer on your side with the stage having long been set
It’s life or death for you my friend yet ignore it if you so chose
For mediocrity loves a crowd for indifference is no stranger…

Used by permission from: https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com