KDs are designed/developed/inspired/mused/auto-suggested/indigested to make folks think; an especially uncommon experience among Democrats, Republicans, and jingoistic mainline denominationalists who continue to discourage dissent with their ever-threatening thought police.
People who really
know and love Jesus have always considered every Sunday to be "a little
Easter Day" compelling people who really know and love Jesus to honor Him
through worship, work, and witness.
People who really
know and love Jesus are more eager to worship Him, work for Him, and witness to
Him as a privileged expression of gratitude for His favor here and hereafter
than as some kinda religious duty that makes fidelity look like a bad case of
People who really
know and love Jesus smile a lot!
Jesus is written
all over the faces of people who really get it/Him!
Jesus is seen in
people who really know and love Him because they serve Him by serving like Him
People who don't,
It all started
over two thousand years ago on that first Easter Day.
excited about religious stuff like the funny church clothes that too many
clergy wear in defiance of Matthew 23 or any of those distracting idolatries
and vanities that obsess pulpiteers and pewsitters that are rarely more than
coincidental to following Him by His example as attested in Holy Scripture.
People didn't run
around on that first Easter Day celebrating fabrics, furniture, architecture,
liturgies, litanies, rubrics, rituals, ceremonies, polity, sects,
denominations, or anything else religious
that are rarely more than coincidental to following Him by His
example as attested in Holy Scripture.
They ran through
the streets of Jerusalem and then throughout the world with the best news ever:
"He is risen!"
witnesses knew His resurrection meant resurrection for anyone who trusts Him as
Lord and Savior along with the wherewithal to live triumphantly in the meantime of worldly
meanness, madness, and misery.
elevated the hope that emboldened the faith to love Him by loving like Him in
the certainty of "paradise" with Him in heaven after the last breath.
Praise Him for
the irrepressible smiles and service since that first Easter Day!
We know Jesus
rose from the dead because:
1. The Church has consistently focused on
and referred to the resurrection of Jesus as
the keystone of its praise and practice since
2. The worship calendar shifted for Christians
from the Jewish Sabbath (7th day of the
week) to Sunday (1st day of the week)
because Jesus rose from the dead on
Sunday (see Mark 16);
3. The New Testament consists of 27
testimonies to our Lord's resurrection;
4. The disciples were transformed from
cowards into bravehearted Gospelers
willing to face the tests of torture and
martyrdom because of Jesus'
5. Jesus is alive in/through all who
believe in Him; or as the old song goes,
"You ask me how I know He lives? He
lives within my heart!"
Because Jesus rose from the dead, people who really know and love
Him worship regularly, work for Him according to the gifts/resources entrusted
to them by Him, and witness to His invitational, welcoming,
including, and eternally unconditional love.
"Do not think of yourself more highly than you
(Yeah, read all of it!)
"You are no more nor no less important to God than
anyone else. Jesus
lived, died, rose, and reigns no more nor no less for you or
the challenge before me.
Though I had
discerned the oppressing demons within her for several years, the apocalyptic
moment had arrived.
A myriad of
motives - vainglorious and vulgar - generated ingratiating herself to me by
esteeming me at everyone else's expense; except, of course, for her.
from the ego-massaging that felt so good, I said, "You always come in to
tell me how great I am and how awful everyone else is compared
with that observation was exacerbated when I continued, "I was thinking
that maybe you tell those people how great they are and how awful I am when
you're with them."
That was many
years ago; but that encounter provided a valuable lesson that has stuck since.
People who esteem
us and themselves at the expense of others will stab you in the back whenever
it suits them.
There's more to
"Contempt for a human being is an affront to God almost
as grave as
idolatry, for while idolatry is disrespect for God Himself,
is disrespect for the being He made in His
own image. Contempt
says of a man, "Raca! This fellow is of no
worth. I attach to his
person no value whatsoever." The man guilty of
a human being is thoroughly bad" (cf. Matthew 5:21-22).
I'm reminded of
what Luther called the gospel in a nutshell.
Just about anyone
who has ever hung around a church has memorized it; and if you watch the guy
with the funny hair and poster of it behind home plate or in the end zone, you
get the feeling that it's really, really, really important.
Go back to the
quote from Adamson.
it/He means everybody is special to Him.
He lived, died,
rose, and reigns for all of the below.
We get it/Him
right from the start of praying what we call The
Lord's Prayer: "Our
Not just my Father.
Not just your Father.
Not just their Father.
Now go back and
click on the video above.
"Jesus spent a disproportionate amount of time with
in the gospels as: the poor, the blind, the lame, the
hungry, sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, the
the downtrodden, the captives, those possessed by
unclean spirits, all who labor and are heavy
burdened, the rabble who know nothing of
the law, the crowds, the little ones, the
least, the last, and the lost sheep..."
Why shouldn't I
look down on some people who are...?
Because Jesus didn't!
Why should I
esteem everybody as equal to you, me, and them?
Because Jesus did!
How can I do
each just as much as I have loved you!...As you do it for them, you do it for
What if I can't
It means you're not close to Him!
Paul: "It is
no longer I who live but it is Jesus who lives in/through me!"
"As Lincoln came to see slavery as more and more of an
Except for the
funny clothes confusing Christianity with Halloween, I kinda like the new
Pope; and hope his namesake is really the guy from Assisi rather than Xavier.
Check it out.
I like the fact
that he ain't gonna fudge on Jesus or the sanctity of all human life from womb
to tomb or Biblical ethics or, uh, you know, Christianity.
He doesn't seem
inclined to cave in to the mainliners' sin of accommodating cultural
bastardizations of the faith.
I like his, uh,
lifestyle more in tune with Matthew 23 than most of his peers - Catholic,
Protestant, Mainline, Sideline, Emerging, Texas Toothyish, Bejeweled...
It's nice to have
a clergyperson who doesn't wanna live like the rich and famous because, uh,
Jesus didn't; and last time I checked, He's the Founder and supposed to be the
Focus and Filter for His followers.
Jesus said a lot
about rich people having a hard time "getting in" in the end because they
can rarely serve unless leading, have a hellborn sense of entitlement, and
exhibit just about insatiable control needs. I think He would have a hard
time with our foundations, endowments, and other ways to store up treasures for
ourselves at the expense of giving it all away to help the poor, hungry,
homeless, and other Matthew 25 kinda stuff.
Pope seems to get that/Him; unlike the guy who once heard a sermon about the
rich young ruler (read Matthew 19:16-30) and scoffed to his pastor, "Jesus
could not have meant that!"
Francis I is so
unlike so many of today's clergy who have all of the answers without knowing
Him that well.
He knows he
doesn't know more about God than God when it comes to the kinda stuff mentioned
in the third sentence of this section as
revealed by God in Jesus and Holy Scripture.
He gets the motto
of the Reformation that the heirs have ignored, defied, or forgotten: ecclesia reformata semper reformanda secundum
refreshing in a soteriological kinda way.
Anyway, it's been
interesting to listen to folks wondering what he's gonna be up to until he dies
or retires like his predecessor or gets raptured or...
"We'll know him by his fruits..."
It reminds me of
the first Palm Sunday.
People had all
kinds of expectations for Jesus.
A first century
Gallup Poll may have looked something like this thanks to Robert McAfee Brown (The Bible Speaks to You, 1955):
FIRST MAN (very matter of
factly): Me? I'm looking for
a descendant of David, to come and rule the way King
David did. Those were the days! We had land,
prestige, and a great king. Someday God will send
another David who will rule over us. Then we'll have
peace and justice, and the enemy will be destroyed.
I only hope he comes soon.
SECOND MAN (with
a snarl): I don't know just how
we'll recognize the Messiah, but I can tell you this.
He'll be a great warrior. He'll push those blasted
Romans back into the sea, and we'll have our own
land once again, without a bunch of foreigners
ruling us, taking all our money in taxes and
keeping us poor. I'll join up with his army first
thing, and we'll hatch a revolution that will smash
the Romans to bits.
THIRD MAN (rather
wild-eyed): No, it won't be as
easy as that. We're in too deep for any mere
man to deliver us. Our only hope lies in a
heavenly creature, sent down from the clouds
of heaven, with legions of angels. The sort of
thing the Book of Daniel talks about. He'll
smite the oppressive Romans and deliver us
from them, and then set up his heavenly
kingdom right here in Palestine. That's the
only thing that can save us.
Then there's that
powerful exchange between Simon Zealotes and Jesus in Webber and Rice's rock
opera Jesus Christ Superstar
of 1969 (click on the video below to hear it) which does a pretty
good job capturing the passion and problem of people's
expectations juxtaposed to Messianic realities.
Do you remember
when Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do you say I am?"
replied, "Some say you are..."
and said, in effect, "I don't care what other people are saying about
Me...Who do you say
The right answer,
of course, was/remains, "You are the Christ! The Messiah! The
Son/Substance of God! Lord and Savior!"
It's the same
Q&A for Palm Sunday 2013...or any Sunday...or any day.
It doesn't matter
who Pope Francis I is or who you are or who I am as long as we're His.
It doesn't matter
who other people think He is.
Who do we think He is?
Getting back to
the guy in funny clothes who will surely shed 'em if he really identifies with
the guy from Assisi who identified with the Guy from...heaven, so far so good!
And if we're
still into Him - the real not reimagined Jesus of Holy Scripture - so far so
With Francis I,
we will be known by our fruits; or as He said, "Whoever does the will of
my Father in heaven is a member of My family."
When the parade
is really about Someone, it means something more than...what we've gotten for
too long from counterfeits posing as Christianity.
Let me put it
Some folks are
very religious about the wrong stuff like
attire and architecture and furniture and...their PS parades don't
amount to a heaven thing with
that 1st Palm Sunday parade being exhibit #1.
Some folks are
increasingly related to Jesus and their parades really...honor Him while
pointing people in the His direction.
I got speeding
tickets on the first days of beginning pastorates in Pennsylvania and Missouri.
When I was
stopped in Pennsylvania, I was a 25 year green rookie and begged for a pardon
because I was afraid of what the church might say. The cop said the local
papers didn't report that kinda stuff and gave the ticket to me.
When I was
stopped in Missouri, I was an ecclesiastical boy wonder in my early 30s who was
being heralded as one of the youngest "senior" pastors in the
franchise. More full of myself back then than I am now, I told the
cop that I was a Presbyterian pastor - senior
pastor of... - and he handed the ticket to me while muttering,
"I'm a Roman Catholic."
There are two
reasons why I haven't had a speeding ticket in almost 20 years.
First, I figured
out the connection between speeding tickets and insurance premiums.
Second, I'm a
I thought about
that when a rookie asked me if she/he should call a special church board
meeting because she/he just got a speeding ticket and...[see the second
sentence/paragraph in the preceding section]...
If you want to
know what it's like to be a rookie pastor, put on a deerskin and go walking
through the woods on the first day of hunting season.
Really, I don't
churchgoers who really don't know that much about loving Jesus by loving like
Jesus really think rookies are paid to be abused.
They comment on
everything about 'em - attire, vehicles, where they shop/eat, PKs, facial hair
(guys), hair color (gals), hair length (never really been an issue pour moi),
professional baseball/basketball/football team allegiances, vacationing habits,
pets, hobbies, perfume, cologne, deodorant, boogers, flatulences, and...just about everything else that would
evoke horror in them if anyone dared to probe their...
Really, I don't
I haven't cared
about any of that kinda stuff since I got closer to Jesus and...
Well, again, like
bikers say, if I have to explain that to you, you wouldn't understand anyway.
Anyway, I really don't get
I've been told
it's because they have
so little control over their lives that they try to control the lives of
rookies, the church is one of the few places that suffers fools gladly, they're mad about
something or even God and transfer their sick pathologies to anyone who will
take it, they're demonically
oppressed or possessed, or...
I don't know.
It's like trying
to define what is is.
And it's just too
damned - please take that word literally in this context - familiar...true.
It is what it is
though it should not be in churches where people are supposed to be notoriously
grace-filled as expressed by inclusion mirroring the pattern of the Founder.
So I was asked if
I had any thoughts about what the rookie should do about the speeding ticket.
Can you imagine me being asked if I
have any thoughts about...?
"Yeah, admit it quickly...It's better to dump your garbage before someone
digs it up...If ya confess, it deflates 'em...On the other hand, if any fool -
Jesus used a Greek word that we transliterate as moron - wants to make an issue out of it,
I'll come and..."
Then I said,
"I think this is a great opportunity to have some fun!"
get up on Sunday during the announcements and say something like this, 'You've
probably heard about this from someone...'cause I hear police scanners are big
around here...Dang, I got a speeding ticket on my way to church...Can you
believe it?...I was going 46 in a 30 mph zone...It just reminds me that I'm a
sinner and need Jesus to save me from myself and people just like...But if
someone asks, yep, it's true!...I know the Kingdom will rise or fall on this,
so, uh, if anybody is bugged, I'm sorry...God knows I'm gonna watch that little
dial a lot closer and maybe consider taking another road to...'"
Help us, Jesus!
The preceding is
metaphor for why mainliners have moved to the sidelines of spiritual activity
related to Jesus in America.
The fact that
anyone would even care about...
On the other
hand, this is a great opportunity for that rookie to make a confession that
comes to mind.
He's been a joke
since lying about...so many things.
For example, he
would have elevated trust as well as credibility if he said, "Yeah,
you're right, I did inhale...liked it...but I was spending too much $ at Burger
King and had to stop...Boy, I just got sooooooo
hot around Monica and...she even liked cigars and..."
While I'm more
excited with more energy for undershepherding
than I've ever been since October 2011 (go back in the archives if you
missed commentary on that), I'm really, really, really glad that I'm not a
to mess with war veterans whose only Commander-in-Chief is Jesus.
often feel like exiles in foreign lands.
That's because so
much of what it means to follow God as personified in Jesus and prescribed in
Holy Scripture runs counter-culture; or as Paul wrote, "Do not allow this
world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the
inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to
discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and
Again, being Godly often runs
counter-culture as the Word and world don't always see things similarly.
For example, it's
worldly to be all about me, myself, and mine. It's Wordy to be for others as
being for Him with service above self; remembering His revelation about
confirming belief by behavior: "As you do it for them, you do it for
Ezekiel knew all
He was exiled
from the "holy land" and living among the unGodly in Babylonian
He often makes
the big prophetic point that sin - rejecting God's will - leads to emotional,
intellectual, spiritual, and physical captivity; so his message is consistent
with all Biblical prophecy: get
back to God or else.
Get back to God and experience His favor in time and
Now before going
on, I've gotta admit Ezekiel - like Daniel and Revelation - isn't the easiest
book to read and understand with so many symbols and visions that are really
out of this world.
Still, scratching the surface of Ezekiel provides some powerful insights about relating to
Him directly and
relating to Him as we relate to others.
God expects us to
give His Word or witness to others whether they want it/Him or not:
"Whether this nation of rebels listens or refuses to listen to My message,
at least they will know a prophet has visited them...It is vital you feed them
My words, whether they choose to digest them or not...It doesn't matter whether
they listen to you."
The parable of
the sower comes to mind. We scatter the seeds of salvation all over the
place. Whether those seeds hit pay dirt depends on Him and them in a
predestination and volitional kinda way beyond our responsibility. We're
supposed to report His Word without regard to the response. We spread the
Word. The response is up to Him and them.
you may want to go back to the opening paragraphs about Esther for more on the
Just like the
parable of the sower shows, the Word is often rejected: "The people
of Israel will refuse to listen to you because they refuse to listen to
If we take it
personally, can you imagine how He takes it?
We're just the
I can't imagine
how He feels as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
Sure, there must
be sadness and anger and so much more; but the big point is rejecting Him
includes forfeiting His favor: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, stoning the
prophets and killing those sent to you. How often I would have gathered
you together as a hen gathers her baby chicks; but you rejected Me and My best
Rejecting God, of
course, goes back to the garden.
Only being born
again and from above can change the DNA inherited from Adam and Eve.
Only when we
become more intimate with Jesus than our first parents can we become more like
Christians than Adamsons.
But make no
mistake about it!
emotional, intellectual, and spiritual genes are deeply embedded within us;
which is why "We all like sheep have gone our own ways."
Or as God told
Ezekiel, "You are living among a rebellious lot. They have eyes, but
they do not see. They have ears, but they do not hear. They are a
It's like that
old hymn: "Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide...for
the good or evil side..."
Again, God to
Ezekiel: "It's each person's choice whether they listen. Some will
listen; others will refuse because they are a rebellious lot."
It's like that
big line in Monsignor: "God
gives us our choices; but we, ourselves, must choose."
Choosing God taps
into His favor.
forfeits His favor.
judgment scene comes to mind; along with His revelation to Ezekiel: "I
will deal with them according to the way they dealt with others..."
you do it for them, you do it for Me."
provides the path back to Him.
He asks Ezekiel,
"Do you think these dry bones can live?"
Obviously, He's referring
to people who have rejected Him previously.
Let's put it/Him
Can people be
The good news
from God through Ezekiel: "Prophesy to these dry bones. Tell them to
listen to what I say to them...I will breathe breath into you, you will
prophets talk so much about God!
people can be rebirthed by getting back to God!
Again, we've got
to stop reading books about the book and just read the book to get closer to
We've got to move
from secondary sources to the
Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior!
We've got to be
primarily related to God to turn trickles into rivers of living water!
Then the dry
bones can be resurrected.
Then we will be
rebirthed - born again from