Blog Archives

Is Living Like Jesus Second Nature?

Jesus calls disciples to keep entering into this shared life of peace and joy as it transforms our hearts, until it’s the most natural way to live that we can imagine. Until it’s second nature. Until we naturally embody and practice the kind of attitudes and actions that will go on in the age to come. A discussion about how ‘to just get into heaven’ has no place in the life of a disciple of Jesus, because it’s missing the point of it all.

Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
by Rob Bell on page 179

What Guys Think About Modesty (video)

Wow. Prepare to be offended to some degree. This world’s system will balk at the content of this message. It will not understand one bit. Seriously, it won’t. They shut the comments off on this video… I read some of them before they turned them off.

But, if you know God and seek to know him through his son, Jesus, and try to live as a member of God’s unique, redeemed, and renewed humanity in light of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit… this message will challenge and encourage you.

I am not advocating this video as Gospel, rather as wisdom. And as we all should know, wisdom is such that it is uniquely applied in a particular context, in a particular situation. So may the wisdom and application you find be run through the grid of the kingdom (upside-down, holy living in light of Jesus).

These are confessions from men in regards to the way women dress. Edifying for both men and women. Allow the Spirit to convict your heart. Men also need to understand that modesty is something for them to consider.

Sermon is titled, “The Soul of Modesty” by CJ Mahaney. I strongly encourage listening to the entire sermon.

source YouTube

Doing the Opposite of What’s Expected

Quite often it is difficult to pin down the ethic of the kingdom of God in our everyday lives. Giving concrete examples of living out the Gospel that go beyond the obvious (reading your Bible and praying everyday and being nice to everyone) are hard to come by. Every now and then, I come across examples in our culture that touch us in profound ways and model to us what living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ means.

Below is one such story. You can read about the Gainesville State High School football team and/or you can watch it unfold below:

The Kingdom Story


a come-from-behind-story of the King

Once upon a time, there was a King. Everything the King did was good. The people in his kingdom adored him and followed him as their King. The King found time to spend with each person in his kingdom. He loved everybody no matter what they were like. He had but one rule… This rule was put in place so that his people would have life. If they violated this rule, they would suffer the consequences—death. The choice was theirs.

One day, an enemy of the King snuck into the kingdom. He deceived the people of the kingdom by saying that they would not die if they disobeyed the one rule. They believed this cleverly disguised enemy of the King. The people broke the one rule. They chose death, not life.

How do you think the King felt when he found out that the people he loved disobeyed the one rule?

Probably sad.
Maybe angry.
Perhaps bummed.

He loved his people and did not want them to experience death. But the King was true to his word. The people violated the one rule and so they must suffer the consequences of their actions. They were banished from the King’s kingdom and died.

Read the rest of this entry

Doing the Opposite

I saw this video in a post on Elemental Children’s Ministry blog.

I am always inspired when I see various ways the church tries to communicate what Jesus meant when he told us as his followers to “love your enemies.”  I remember thinking about this when I was a kid: “NO WAY was I ever going to turn the other cheek… I would turn the other cheek all right, I would make that other person’s cheek turn RED!”

A constant principle that I see embedded in the Kingdom of God ethic is the idea of doing the opposite.  Doing the opposite of our natural human reaction in a situation, is usually the right “kingdom-kind-of-action”.  I have found that in almost every situation in life, doing the right thing, is almost always doing the opposite of what my natural human reaction is.

This video depicts this counter-cultural principle well…

What spills when you are jolted?

A famous preacher had a friend who was well known for his short temper.  One day, at a party, he asked this friend to help him serve some drinks.  The preacher himself poured the drinks, deliberately filling several of the glasses a bit too full.  He then passed the tray to his friend.  As they walked into the room to distribute the drinks, he accidentally-on-purpose bumped into the friend, causing the tray to jiggle and some of the drinks to slosh over the brim and spill.  ‘There you are, you see,’ said the preacher.  ‘When you’re jolted, what spills out is whatever is filling you.’  When you’re suddenly put to the test and don’t have the time to think about how you’re coming across, your real nature will come out.

After You Believe – N.T. Wright – The Transformation of Character – pg. 28

I’ve been thinking about myself lately.  Particularly when Sari or Macie does something “not good” and anger wells up inside of me… and not the good “parental” kind of anger… just mad anger.  I’m asking myself the question, why am I responding this way?  I wonder what is “filling me.”

And this is not just about short fuses, it is really about how our character comes out in every day life.  It is easy to force yourself to respond correctly in the moment (“just don’t get mad this time with Macie…”).  It’s quite another to TRAIN yourself to respond correctly/wisely/kingdom-of-God-like ALL THE TIME.  The author of the story above goes on to talk about how Christian character is slowly and deliberately formed over a long period of time so that whenever the moment of “crisis” comes, it is second nature to respond the way God wants… or more specifically the kingdom of God is made alive in us (“your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10) as a witness to this world.

Interesting… I wonder if God “jolts” us to help us recognize what is “in” us?  And perhaps to correct or encourage what we are allowing to fill our hearts and minds.

What are Christians to do?

What is a normal, everyday Christian capable of and expected to do in the kingdom of God, the church?  I don’t think we define it concretely enough.  Do they have to ingest one Christian book a month, study the Bible everyday devotionally (and intermittently, theologically), pray, be involved in “ministry” at their local “church building” community as well as outside the “church building” in their particular civic community, show up for church every Sunday, be involved in a small group, journal, etc?

What does it really mean to be a spiritually involved person?  What does it mean to be an active participant in the expanding spiritual kingdom of God in this world?  And particularly for the normal, everyday human being?  How much stuff is too much?  What is reasonable, sustainable, appropriate, etc?  When are we supposed to just live and recognize God is entirely okay with that…actually more than okay than we think?

Perhaps our lives (normal and everyday as they are) are the labratory of God’s kingdom.  Perhaps the daily decisions we make as God’s special people actually bring about his kind of kingdom (or world).  Perhaps we shouldn’t lump a lot of really good, “spiritual” thing on people, but teach and instruct a viable “kingdom-living ethic”, modeled after the pattern of Jesus (who being in very nature God…).  Maybe then we will truly be exercising God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

Pastors, in particular, seem to do a marvelous job living beyond what a normal, everyday person has the time (realistically) to handle.  It’s not necessarily bad, it’s actually fairly good to be able to have the time to devote to the spiritual life in order to lead people through their spiritual lives… but I wonder if pastors are supposed to be modeling a “daily living, everyday/normal, kingdom ethic” as well?  What are people “seeing” modeled in the normal, everyday life of their pastor?

Update:

I came across a video that describes what I’m wrestling with in this post.  This video is actually a promo video for a curriculum, but the content the speaker discusses actually addresses some relevant things.