Tag Archive | Jesus

I Believe

Easter LilyWe are beginning the season of Lent and will soon celebrate Easter. Every year about this time television (mostly cable) runs programming about the “truth” of the resurrection, how much of the Bible is verifiable, whether Judas was a betrayer or following the will of the Most High God. Did Jesus really die and then come to life again, or was his body taken by the disciples and everything else a myth? The questions are limitless.

It intrigues me that in the quest for truth in these programs, the messages from Christ are lost along the way. Did he walk on water? Does it matter? Did he feed 5,000 people with a few fish and loaves of bread? In what way do these miracles make Christ more or less believable? Were you there? Did you see?

These programs often miss the message of both the Old and New Testaments: love one another. What does that mean? It means to serve others, and that takes many forms. Not everyone can be a preacher or a teacher, a rabbi or a priest, but everyone can serve where she or he is.

  • Kindness.
  • Friendship.
  • Thoughtfulness.
  • Understanding.
  • Mercy.
  • Nurture.
  • Listening.
  • Faithfulness.
  • Respect.
  • Integrity.
  • Truth.
  • Succor.
  • Comfort.
  • Compassion.

These are one-word descriptions of what service might look like. The Easter story is about transformation. We are transformed and made better every time we reach out to others. We arise each morning to new life and new opportunities. What we do with that is up to us.

 

 

The Manger – 21st Poem of Christmas

Mother and Child

 

There He lay in a trough where animals took food.
His place of rest could hardly be described as the best,
Emptied for use as a crib for this inexplicable little babe.
Merciful and mighty? You would never know it.
And why should you? He is born in a stable
Not in the gilded halls of a queen with midwives in attendance.
God came to earth as human as anyone, a child
Endearing to those who claimed him as their own, and yet
Radiating power, bringing kings and shepherds to their knees.

Happy Easter

Happy EasterBut I will restore you to health and heal your wounds. ~ Jeremiah 30:17

In what ways are you wounded? Is it physical hurt? Mental? Emotional? Rejection? Fear? Neglect? Stubborn disregard for others? Hate? Jealousy? Greed? All of the above? We all have been wounded. We aren’t required to carry those wounds forever. If we’re not careful, our wounds can rule our lives. The scars they leave may be evident or hidden, nettlesome hurts that grind away little by little until we lose faith. Give up hope. Stop caring. That’s what wounds do. There is One who cares deeply about us. His care and love was demonstrated in a most profound way; His son was wounded for each of us. Christ’s death, the death of our sins. The good news is that he overcame the grave as we can overcome our wounds. The healer is waiting to heal. Trust in him. He is risen. World changing news that resonates, not with hate but with forgiveness, compassion, love, mercy, and acceptance. Nowhere does it say that Jesus died for a select few; he died – and lives – for all. Have a blessed Easter day.

Beautiful Outlaw

Was Jesus Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant? Read On

Have you ever wondered what Jesus was like? Not the Jesus nailed to the cross, but the living, breathing, human Jesus, the man who spent 33 years living as we live. In his book “Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus,” author John Eldredge takes what some might consider a radical and unreligious approach to exploring the personality of Jesus. I suspect he’s okay with that kind of criticism. It’s sort of the point of the book. Religion as we know it is nothing like the world in Jesus’ day. “Church” wasn’t practiced in the ways it is in the modern world. Too often we see the “don’ts” of religion, and not the hope central to the teachings of Christ. Being in the temple (church) and being part of the body of Christ aren’t in the same ballpark. Eldredge points out that In his day Jesus was more likely to upset the religious establishment than he was to agree with its leaders. Most of Jesus’ miracles, Eldredge says, were done outside the normal worship experience. Beautiful OutlawAnd Jesus shied away from no one. In fact beautiful outlaw is a good description for a man who often hung out with all the wrong people, at least as defined by the religious leaders. “Beautiful Outlaw” made me smile, laugh outright, and often caused me to nod my head in agreement. Eldredge shows Jesus exactly as he was in this life, fully human in his interactions with others. He points out that despite all the religious art that portrays Jesus as a martyred saint complete with halo, Jesus was a man with an intense interest in people. He didn’t back down from confrontation. Other than driving the moneychangers out of his Father’s house, he showed no tendency toward violence, nor did he seek recognition or power. Jesus never forgot his purpose. He was not condescending, proud, vain, or loud. In fact he asked as many questions as he answered. His ministry had little to do with what has come to be known as organized religion. Eldredge leads his readers to see Jesus in the way you would see your very best friend. Someone you can talk to; someone who will listen. John Eldredge is an author, counselor, and teacher. As president of Ransomed Heart Ministries, he is devoted to helping people widen their understanding of God. He has written a number of books on spirituality and living in relationship with God. John lives in Colorado Spring with his wife and three sons. Click here to read an excerpt from “Beautiful Outlaw.” If you love to read books that bring insight and new ways of thinking about Jesus, religion, and spirituality, I recommend this book. Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus, 233 pages, is available in e-book, paperback, hard cover and audio versions. Published October 2011 by FaithWords, book prices range from $9.99 (e-book) to $17.47 (Hard Cover) __________________________________ Please share this post. Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Thanks for reading.