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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Stop It!

This weekend, I mentioned a classic Bob Newheart sketch from MadTV where Newheart plays the role of a psychologist. His advice is pretty hilarious! Take a look here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYLMTvxOaeE

(You'll have to copy and paste the link into your browser. For some reason, the blogger "create a link" feature isn't working today. Thanks Blogger!)

Enjoy the journey-

Nick

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Lost Cause?

I've been having a great e-mail discussion with a friend. Lately, we've been bantering back and forth about what it means to "be holy." The word 'holiness' sounds very religious and isn't something we readily warm up to in faith. But holiness is called for throughout Scripture. In a meager attempt to help redeem this concept, I share my thoughts with you here.

Now for holiness. I agree that there's a lot of gray area out there and difference of belief will occur- we even see this in the NT with eating food sacrificed to idols (not a real hot topic anymore). But what I would describe as black and white are those principles that can be traced throughout Scripture and give a clear and consistent picture of what God calls holy. In the gray areas, we come with humility and seek harmony with God and others. In black and white, we have to lay down our feelings (because that's part of surrender) and be willing to say, "I will do this because you are God and you know better than I do. I will trust you."


Holiness seems to call us to a form of law-keeping. But, some might inject, aren't we free from the law if we follow Christ? When Scripture teaches that we are free from the law, the meaning is that we are free from law-keeping as a way of being made right with God. That is now the sole role of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. We still have a law to keep, however- the law of love, or the law of Christ, which is mentioned several times in the New Testament. I would describe that law as "doing what please God". Augustine once said, " If you love God, you may do as you incline” True- because a person who truly loves God will be inclined to please God, which is why Jesus and Paul both summed up the entire law in the simple command, “Love God”.


Like I said this weekend- whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything for the glory of God. But how do I know what pleases God? By looking at Scripture to see what things God consistently calls good and what God consistently calls evil, and then having the humility to wrap my life around that viewpoint. Not in a legalistic, judgmental, I'm-better-than-you-because-I-keep-so-many-rules, kind of way, but with a heart of love for God that has been changed by Jesus. What has changed? That I am not on the throne of my own life deciding what is good or holy. In other words, I've come to realize that I am not God, and that is a good thing.


And I think that when the law of love is obeyed with an attitude of grace and joy, this is VERY attractive to others. When others feel accepted for who they are, when people see a life well lived, when people observe love, joy, peace, patience, etc, not only in your life but also directed towards them, this is an attractive holiness. I think why people flocked to Jesus wasn't because he was just like them in every way (participating in their sin), but because he was a holy man, a prophet, that wasn't afraid to look them in the eye and call them friend. He wasn't afraid to touch them as the Pharisees were. He had a joy-filled relationship with God and he invited others to know that same relationship.


On our journey, may we have this same kind of attractive holiness.


Peace.


Nick

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Destinations...

This weekend, I read this prayer at the end of the message. Perhaps you'd like to hear it. I love that it's written by a well known explorer. This is the prayer of Sir Francis Drake...Disturb Us Oh Lord...

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life:
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope and love.

And also a little fun- the destination really does matter! Just ask Jack Handy:
"One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh no,' I said, 'Disneyland burned down!' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late."

May the conduct of your life take you closer to the ultimate destination on this journey-

Nick