I had five hospital visits earlier today: three members, one who should be a member, and one who was a member but left because she/he was offended by someone other than me but still calls me for counseling, care, and prayer almost weekly.
Four are in the hospital that is faith-based and one is in the hospital that always yells at me for leaving "Christian" literature in their, uh, literature racks because it takes space from all of the new age and anti-Christian crap that their chaplains and administrators prefer.
I told the latter to arrest me.
I haven't had a whole day off since seeing my parents, sister, and other relatives in Pennsylvania back in PAM; and I could use some, uh, sabbat.
A greeter/receptionist at the hospital that still likes Jesus said, "Thanks for always being cheerful. You need to offer some courses to some of your colleagues about that."
After confessing I'm not always cheerful, like when I have to go to mainline clergy meetings that do very little for God's sake or open a Visa bill or listen to socialists complain about the Yankees buying the World Series, I asked, "What's up, dude?"
He said, "Well, they don't ride in on a motorcycle! I'll tell you that! Truthfully, they're cranky and always look like they came from a funeral and they're impatient and say things to us like, 'I don't have all day. Can you please get somebody who can tell me where ___ is?' They don't smile and they treat us like ___."
"Sorry," I said, "but, remember, don't blame Jesus for Christians!"
"It's like I tell my preaching students and anyone else who will listen," I said in parting, "I don't read anything in the Bible about being a crank for Jesus!"
I've struggled with that.
Years ago, a mentor said, "Bob, you are one of...[some nice things]...but you lack joy and personal warmth."
Then he said, "You can't be close to Jesus and act like such a pouting jackass when you don't get your own way or some kind of astute theologian who can write, lecture, and preach about intimacy with Jesus while acting like someone with none."
I realized I knew a lot about Jesus but didn't know Jesus personally.
I'm not saying I've arrived like some pastors and churchgoers who haven't because you haven't come close if you think you have; but I've been filling up on Jesus ever since through worship, confession, repentance, increasing dedication to John 3:19-21, and a desire to be wholly His.
So here's a tip for pastors and other churchgoers.
Cranks don't know Jesus because you can't know Jesus and be consistently or predominantly cranky.
If you're not "more joyful" than cranky most of the time, it's a clue that you're as close to Jesus as Paris Hilton to celibacy.
LuAnn always makes me read books that move me closer to Jesus - books that challenge my wineskin, ask tough questions about my discipleship, and so on.
She dropped off Coleman and Jacobson's So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore on Tuesday.
It's about an apostle who salts/salves as appropriate: "You really have no idea what Jesus was like, do you?...When people are living in the life of Jesus, they will treasure every opportunity to connect with other brothers and sisters who are also on this journey. It will not be something they have to do, but something they wouldn't ever want to live without."
The book afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.
Kinda like Jesus...and, uh, disciples who love Him by loving like Him.
It's been a long day already
It's getting longer by the minute.
This "Junior Whopper" will have to suffice for lunch - time and cost.
According to my Visa bill, the price is right; and according to my watch without the stem...
I've got to intercede for somebody coming out of prison, then go mediate a war between two ethnic groups before somebody gets killed, and then juggle some plastic bills in a way that would make Bernie proud, and then...
I love it!
Seriously, I live for opportunities to grow and serve.
My wife is right.
I love living on the edge and going out on the limb for Jesus.
And as I get ready to hop on the mule for our/His next adventure, I think about that conversation earlier in the day at the hospital, one of my mentors, and the diagnosis of an old hillbilly preacher: "If you one with Jesus, you one with all kinds of folks and you love all kinds of folks and you ain't no navel-gazin' wolf in sheep's clothing who gots to have his way and you hangs aroun' with 'em all even if you don't always wanna. If you is, you is. If you ain't, you ain't."
That's about right for what's so wrong but could be so right in converting what's so wrong in today's world and church.
Blessings and Love!
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