Yeeeeeeet, Jesus was very clear/conclusive that being His leaves no room/compromise for being theirs.
Read the red letters.
It's The Great Divorce: "It is still 'either-or.' If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth), we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell" (C.S. Lewis).
How odd that so many pewsitters and pulpiteers want to fit into aka accommodate cultures when following Jesus by the book is all about looking up, standing up, speaking up, and acting up for Him above all creatures here below.
How odd that so many pewsitters and pulpiteers want to be liked by cultures when following Jesus by the book includes being disliked even hated for Christ's sake.
How odd that so many pewsitters and pulpiteers have forgotten the warning: "Whoever knows Me here on earth, I will know him in heaven...Whoever disowns Me here, I will disown before My Father in heaven."
Lewis was right.
It's a choice.
For Jesus above and over and often against the culture...or not.
Of course, Lewis figured that out by reading the red letters.
You've heard it before: "If Christianity were a crime, would there be enough evidence to convict you/me/us?"
How about this?
If Christianity were a crime, would there be enough evidence to convince Jesus about you/me/us?
Read the red letters.
I've been trying to work out or figure out or assess the authenticity of my own salvation akin to Philippians 2:12-13 for a while (see KD's last edition); so I'm not about to tell you how to do it.
Each of us must/will meet Him face to face sooner or later and definitely in the end; which, of course, is why we try to heed the Pauline counsel sooner than later and definitely before the end.
Anyway, while I don't think martyrdom is among my charismata and kinda hope it's not because it's a gift expressed only once, I want to be with Jesus in the end and hope/pray that I am willing to...uh...well...uh...you know what I mean.
I want to be on His side forever; which means I better be on His side now.
From everything that I've been reading in those red letters, He expects/demands more than, uh, lip service.
While it's kinda trivial compared to what others have had to do and I'm even kinda embarrassed to bring it up - recalling how I once mocked a doctoral class that I was teaching for suffering so much for Jesus when they whined about their churches being so hard on them for picking hymns that they didn't like - the continuing attacks on me by local hospital whomevers come to mind.
Summarily, two of the three big hospitals in our area have complained indirectly to me through other staff members at First, area clergy, and even a chaplain about me leaving Christian literature/tracts/bulletins/newsletters and the like for people to pick up from their literature racks and tables and waiting areas and...
Parenthetically, the one of the three that has not complained is an unashamedly faith-based hospital.
A chaplain for one of the two that are not faith-based that hires chaplains as window-dressing confronted me about it; and I said I would stop leaving Christian literature in "his" hospital if he would make sure that all of the literature that's "approved" for consumption that is antagonistic to Jesus and the Bible were removed.
So, uh, no deal.
Just recently, my administrative assistant got a call from the other non-faith-based hospital that said bluntly, "Tell him that we just throw away what he leaves for people to read."
The parable of the sower comes to mind.
Anyway, I'm kinda hoping they get together and arrest me; though that could end my career as a police chaplain for Belvidere and Boone County.
Really, while I'm not into the martyrdom thing, I'd like to be arrested for liking Jesus too much for the culture to, uh, uh, uh, whatever.
I don't take it personally.
Jesus told me/us not to take it personally.
He said if we love Him, we'll get hated for it/Him because they hate Him; and before anybody tries one of those rationalizations about separation of this from that, go back to those red letters and The Great Divorce.
1 Samuel 8:7 kinda rings in my ear; even if it's a little out of context for folks who don't understand the parallel idolatry at play.
That's really what it's all about.
Who's Lord...to you/me/us/them?
Reading those red letters with lots to say about The Great Divorce, I'd rather catch some hell now than...
Blessings and Love!
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Visiting the Sick)
Jesus said, “As you do it for others, you do it for Me…I was sick and you visited Me.”
While everyone is called to Matthew 25 ministries, some family of faith members are especially gifted for hospital, nursing home, and shut-in visitation ministry.
This is a brief, incomplete, and indicative not exhaustive guide to visiting the sick.
While hospitals and nursing homes are conduits of God’s miracles of modern medicine and despite the noble intentions of caring administrators, doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, aides, and volunteers, being in a hospital or nursing home is always inconvenient, discomforting, and disconcerting; and it’s often disappointing, depressing, and filled with anxieties about life never being the same again.
Waiting for test results, bed pans, sitz baths, snoring roommates, commotion in the halls at all hours, unfamiliar food, needles, tubes, strangers coming and going and invading personal space, and more than hints of mortality add to the stress.
Often necessary yet usually unpleasant, nobody looks forward to being shut-in or confined to a hospital or nursing home.
1. Prepare for your visit with prayer; trusting the Lord for the right words at the right times along with a comforting countenance.
2. Try to learn something about what’s going on before visiting; but do not ask questions about the diagnosis or prognosis during the visit!
3. Beware of “diarrhea of the mouth” or talking too much and listening too little! When in doubt, listen! When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything! A listening ministry is often more helpful than a verbal testimony. The length and agenda of the visit is not for you to determine.
4. Do not force your way into the person’s personal space! If the door is closed or there’s a “No Visitors” sign on the door, you can leave a note.
5. Do not visit anyone unless the joy of Jesus is in you and it/He shows!
6. Stay away from inappropriate clichés like, “I know how you feel.” You don’t; unless you have had the same challenge. Regardless, let the person tell you how she/he feels and don’t tell them how you feel unless asked. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about the person who is being visited.
7. Don’t encourage false hopes/expectations! Don’t declare what only God knows!
8. Don’t overstay your visit or exhaust the person.
9. If she/he already has visitors, introduce yourself and, exercising some common sense, excuse yourself as appropriate.
10. Share your faith if asked. Again, the length and agenda of the visit is not for you to decide.
11. Stand or sit where the person can see you effortlessly; and never sit or lean on the person’s bed.
12. Do not whisper to family, friends, hospital staff, or anyone within sight of the person.
13. Never question the person about the details of their sickness; and never question or criticize the treatment, institution, staff, or anything related to the hospital or nursing home. If you have concerns, bring them up to appropriate staff out of the presence and hearing of the person.
14. Before leaving, suggest prayer; but do not pray too long or loudly.
I’ll never forget hearing about the child who said, “I like Jesus because He is God with skin on.” You are the enfleshment of His love in the hospital, nursing home, or with a shut-in; or as the apostle aspired, “It is no longer I who live but it is Jesus who lives in/through me.”
Mother Teresa got it/Him: “Let us remember that Jesus has said: ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to Me.’ Just think – that little smile that you give to a lonely person, that hand you give to a blind person to cross the road, that little bit of food you sacrifice from someone who is hungry, you do it for Him.”
Are you still looking for a different way to do church?
Are you tired of the SOSO religion?
Are you put off by posers in pews, politics, and pulpits?
Are you searching for something/Someone real,
honest, timely, and true to…?
Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
Sundays at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m.
And so much…
I find it very sad that a hospital chaplain objects to pamphlets that proclaim the love of the One who has the power to heal.
I guess his ordination certificate is just window dressing too.
Thank you this was very timely for me and what I needed to be reminded. Thanks be to Christ.
Keep leaving the lit -- let them keep throwing it away. Let them keep calling your church and complaining. They will get over it. And it will stand in witness against them when the time comes.
Leave the literature in many different places -- so they have to invest lots of time looking for it to dispose of it. Small amounts in lots of places. Not just literature racks. Tee hee.
When I was in High School (back in late 60's early 70's) I was a Jesus Person (or Freak). Published an "underground" Jesus newspaper. I'd distribute it all over the high school in lots of different places. And tracks, too. In the bathrooms. In the library (inside magazines and books -- and on the shelves in the stacks and on the study desks). In the cafeteria. Stuff into the vent holes of lockers. On the bleachers in the gym. It was fun. No one ever knew it was me -- or if they did they didn't say anything. (Oh. Oh. I just had a great idea. Put some INSIDE the pages of the acceptable literature.)
A few years later I was at a coffeehouse and while chatting with some people this girl said she went to the same high school as me (it came up in the conversation). I told the story of how I used to distribute literature. She said, "That was YOU!!!! I always wondered. I'm here tonight (at the coffeehouse) because I got excited about Jesus from that stuff you left."
Ah.... those were the days.
You never know who you will meet -- on earth or in heaven -- because you left some literature somewhere.
I think it's those words in red that say "if the world hates me, it will hate you" that many "Christians" find hard to digest. Thank you for standing for Christ, even when it isn't popular!
Amen.........and AMEN!! regarding your leaving literature in the hospitals. Sandy and I will visit you in jail when time comes.
While I won't pray that you get busted/martyred, I will pray that you continue to strive to follow Jesus faithfully enough to deserve getting hauled off to the joint. Will appreciate you returning the favor/prayer. One of my biggest fears is that come crunch time I will, as the kids I used to teach in East Orange used to say, "Punk out."
BTW, excellent advice to the would-be hospital, nursing home, prison visitor. I always advised people who avoided it by saying they wouldn't know what to say that simply being there was 99% of the ministry-a ministry of presence means a lot. I think that's why the Father sent the Son...
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