Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sons, Saints and Servants

Identity is critical.  We live out who we think we are.  How we see ourselves drives how we function in society and how we interact with others.  Identity defines us.

If our identity isn't clear we look for a group we like and adopt their identity even if it isn't who we really are, what we are really like.  We all have to be somebody, anybody, so we can fit into the world around us.

Often,  when we meet someone new, we ask, "what do you do?"  It's a way of establishing identity.  And with their answer we have them tagged, marked, we think we know who they are and how they will act.  Identity, for each of us, is vital for a healthy emotional life.

The greatest problem I see in the Christian church in America is we don't know who we are.  We don't have a clear and focused identity that defines and drives us as we live in the world and so we live badly, represent Christ poorly and tell the world being a "Christian" isn't really all that great.  (And, honestly, that's the current view of Christians in our culture.)

As I thought about this three words came to mind.  There is so much more I could write on identity in Christ it would fill volumes (and many have written books on this topic) but let me just focus on three small words.  If you will weave these into your identity as a Christian believer it will dramatically change the way you live in the world and in your relationship with God.

1. Sons.  We are identified by God as sons.  Adopted, beloved children of God.  You and I are sons of God!  Heirs, his children dearly loved, members of his house. Sons and daughters who will never lose our family relationship with Father.  It defines first of all our relationship with God.  With God we are sons.  His children. Part of his family.  If a son of God how should I act?  Pragmatically and simply-  I should live like the son of God himself, Jesus, who came to show us what sons do in a fallen world.

2. Saints.  Second, we are called saints, holy ones.  This is both an "already, but not yet reality."  I am holy and yet I'm called to live a holy life.  I'm a saint!  A holy one of God.  Hebrews 10:14 says, "he has made perfect forever those who are becoming holy."  I am a saint, but still becoming one.  I'm called into a new kind of life as I live in a fallen world.  I'm called, you are called to be holy.  That defines how my mouth works, how I live with others, how I treat those who cheat me.  It's an identity that describes how I live until he comes.

and, 3. Servants.  We are called, like our Savior, to be servants, to serve God and serve others.  Being sons doesn't change the reality that we are to live out the life of a servant.  It means I take the lowest place, I don't seek honor or fame, it means I serve others whenever possible.  It means, like Christ, I pick up the towel and bowl and wash the feet of others.  Servants and Sons. The lowest and highest identities blended in the lives we live.  It means this- knowing I'm a son of God I can freely serve others, not expecting anything, knowing I already have everything.

Identity is critical.  If we, as believers in Christ, would simply live out these three aspects of our identity in Christ it would be world changing.  For sure it would change how the world around you sees Christ.

And so, I invite you to the quest to imbed these three key aspects of your identity in Christ into your life.  I think you will find it changes every encounter, every relationship and every opportunity to sin into a new way to relate to the world around you.  I can't wait to see what happens in the lives of those who take this identity seriously.  You are a Son, a Saint and called to be a Servant.  How does that change the way you live?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The fingerprints of God

God has his fingerprints on everything around us  

He is working in us
through us
and for us
to accomplish
an amazing outcome

Often his work is unseen
but just dust the area for fingerprints
and you will see 
that God was here

He works
and we are clueless
to his amazing plan

The fingerprints of God are everywhere

And that's a good thing!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Talking to God

 "It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God." Luke 6:12

Last night I woke at 3 after only a few hours of sleep and was unable to get back to sleep.  As I sat in my recliner waiting for the night to pass I began to pray, to talk to God.  As I did my mind went to this passage ofJesus' night of prayer.  And I wondered....how do you pray through the night like that?

My mind wandered from prayer to worries of life to things I needed to do tomorrow and then back to prayer.  Focus in the dark hours is difficult.  But I thought, as I sat in the dark alone, what it must have been like for Jesus to spend the entire night talking to his Father.

How little I know about this God I love!  I talk to him, but my mind wanders.  I try not to ask for things, but I can't help it.  As best I can I worship, but it all feels so small.  

And yet Jesus spent the entire night in prayer.  I wonder what he and the Father talked about.  What did he say? What did he ask?  How did he worship?  Did he get sleepy like I did?  Was he weary the next morning as I am?

I know this- I have an amazing God and I value my time with him far too little.  To spend an entire night with God rather than sleep?  My normal response would be, "God, can we talk in the morning?"  And yet Jesus knew something I miss, valued something I don't, loved someone I only claim to love and that made all the difference.

After 4 or 5 hours of sitting in the dark, talking to God, wishing for daylight or sleep, I know this....I don't really know this God I claim or time in the night hours would have been much different.  And yet I long to spend a night like Jesus did, giving up sleep because time with the Father is so much better.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Can anyone see it?

"This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”

So, how's that going for you?

Can anyone see it?

The one sign Jesus gave us that we are his disciples is love for one another.  That's it.  Not our great theology, wonderful preachers and beautiful buildings....just this one thing....love.

But we have lost sight of the most important thing. We have become judgmental, arrogant, self-righteous and critical.  We have repelled the world around us from their only cure- Jesus Christ.

The only task we had to do well was love one another and we failed, at least in this time, in this place...and now the world wants nothing to do with their only solution for sin, death and eternity away from God.

How do we recapture the one thing we were told to do? 

We have to do that one person at a time. We, I must commit myself to a focus on this one thing- loving others as Christ has told me to do.

What if they are "wrong?"

Right now, that's not my problem. My job is simple. Love.

If I do that maybe one day we can talk about truth and lies, but for now loving others well is my job.

I pray for a few who have a passion for the main thing, the one thing that will change lives. I pray for my own heart to be willing to love those I have avoided in the past.

What about truth? What about Jesus? What about all the important stuff?  

We will get to that....but first let's love well.  The time for the rest will come.

Love one another as Christ has loved you.

That's your only job right now.

Monday, January 01, 2018

A new year

This morning the sun rises on a frigid morning in Texas.  It's cold!  The dogs have to go out shortly for their morning "walk" but I know it will take 30 seconds before they are ready to retreat to the warmth of the house again.  I watched the morning change from black to a hazy gray.  Now, shortly, the sun will rise for the first time after many days of gray gloom.  It's frigid all over the country as people try to stay warm.  But on this first day of a new year I'm thinking about a year ahead and how I can live it out for the glory of God.  Each encounter, each task I have I pray, "Lord, glorify your name in this."  and then I do the next thing.  It seems simple, maybe too simple, but God wants to work through the little things, the encounters, the relationships of our lives and show himself to those around us.  Now, as the spiritual lights of the world dim, as it grows ever darker,  it seems the light of Christ has a chance to shine brighter than it ever has.  Lord, in this new year, shine through me.