Sunday, December 20, 2015
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Look at the Difference Between Like/Is)
Albert Einstein was a familiar face at Princeton Theological Seminary. While teaching at the university, he was a frequent guest lecturer at the seminary.
Although one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, he was very forgetful.
It wasn’t unusual to spot him strolling across the seminary campus without one of his socks or both of his shoes!
There is one story of how the university switchboard received a call asking for Dr. Einstein’s address. The operator said, “I’m sorry, but Dr. Einstein has made it clear to us that we are not to give out his address to anyone.” “But,” the voice whispered after a short pause, “This is Dr. Einstein.”
It is important to know who you are.
Buuuuuuut it is even more important to know who Jesus is.
That’s why Constantine called the bishops to Nicaea in the first quarter of the 4th century.
Arius had confused people with his Biblically illiterate nonsense about Jesus being kinda like God but not really true God.
There is a difference between like and is.
That’s what the Council of Nicaea was all about. It was called to declare definitively if Jesus was like God or is God.
Relying on Biblical revelation (e.g., John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1), the answer was unmistakable: “We believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.”
Simply, Jesus is not like God. Jesus is God.
Jesus is Emmanuel or God-with-us – the incarnation/enfleshment of God.
Or as one child exclaimed upon finally figuring Him out, “Jesus is God with skin on.”
That’s why the earliest confession of the church was so clear, concise, and conclusive: “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Jesus is God.
The message of Christmas is God’s incarnation/enfleshment in Jesus with the intent of enabling our confident living and eternal life through faith in Him as Lord and Savior.
Here’s a letter for parents about the real meaning of Christmas:
Dear Mom and Dad,
It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner. Tree lots are springing up and McDonald’s is selling movies again; though I’m not sure what their selections have to do with the season. But in some strange way, all of it gets me pretty excited.
I know you’re wondering what to give the kids this year. It seems nobody remembers what you gave them last year. There aren’t many things that don’t wear out, get thrown out, or become played out. That’s why I’m writing. I’ve got an idea that can change all of that.
Do you remember when your babies were born? Do you remember how you were lost in wonder, love, and praise? Do you remember when they were baptized? You promised to tell them about Jesus. Do you remember those first Christmas Eve services when their faces seemed to glow even more than the candles in their little hands? Do you remember listening to them sing about that “Silent Night, Holy Night” for the first time? I know you remember when they saw the manger scene and exclaimed with such innocent joy, “There’s baby Jesus!”
I know you know what to give them for Christmas.
I’m not one of those Scrooge-like posing “Christians” who make holidays look like a bad case of hemorrhoids. I like popcorn balls, candy canes, cookies with sprinkles, eggnog, mistletoe, and even the funny man in the red suit. They help to make the season bright.
I just want you to remember why we’re always excited; and not just around this time of the year.
It’s all about a baby. Jesus. Emmanuel.
So give Jesus to the kids! He is the only gift that last forever!
Blessings and Love!
Blessings and Love!
Friday, December 11, 2015
PC OCD cuts both ways (AC/DC).
With Bible-believing-Jesus-loving believers an increasingly decreasing remnant in public education, government, courts, entertainment, media, mainline denominations, BSA, AARP, ESPN, ACLU, NAACP, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, GOP, DNC, TNT, HBO, Fox, local fitness centers, Starbucks, most places, and even - uh, sigh, gasp, gulp, ugh - the Y that's dropped the rest of its name in deference to PC OCD, we need to be more sensitive to offensive comments directed at 'em.
Ergo, from now on, whenever/wherever/whyever and with whomever, when I see/hear/feel/imagine/invent insensitively offensive language/looks directed at Bible-believing-Jesus-loving believers as if their lives don't matter, I will say or write, "I want to go on record as saying ___ is being very offensive and insensitive to the feelings as well as faith of Bible-believing-Jesus-loving believers. They deserve an apology for such rudeness and crudeness. I recommend censorship and sensitivity training."
Blessings and Love!
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I have thought, said, and done some very stupid things in my life.
This was among the worst.
"So, Eugene," I asked, "what translation of the Bible do you use for personal devotions?"
Parenthetically, uh, he's the author/translator/paraphraser of The Message along with 40+ best-selling books.
He answered, "I use my Greek text."
"Oh," I muttered.
My life changed again in October 2011.
A week in Montana with Eugene and three covenant brothers.
It wasn't his wife's observation of church life: "Some people are like farts in the elevator. It takes just one. Everyone suffers. Nobody escapes."
It wasn't even the wisdom more than knowledge that he shared; though I will never forget these nuggets: "Devotional reading of the Bible is more like sucking a lozenge than gulping down a meal...As we do less, God does more...Simple is profound...I never tried to get people to do anything when I was pastor. You don't have to persuade Christians to follow Jesus...It's not what you are doing; but who you are in doing it...Motivational speaking is often a sly way of manipulating. You don't have to motivate Christians...Get out of the way!"
It's when God let me see the truth in Matthew 15 and 23.
It's when God taught me that remnant and John 17 and...are not about running from the fire...but running to it to save...salt, shine, and leavenate.
Undershepherding is not monastic. It is going out into the world to salt, shine, leavanate, and...save.
Undershepherding is not just bandaging the wounded; but picking up the rod/staff/armor/weaponry to protect/prevent people from being wounded.
Undershepherding is not about finding comfort zones for ourselves; but moving out of our comfort zones like Paul, Luther, Calvin, Bonhoeffer, King, and...who got it from...Jesus.
It's when God started to transform my intellectual and spiritual passion for agape loving to include emotional liking.
I did not want it.
I did not ask for it.
I did not...
It wasn't natural for me.
It was supernatural for Him.
It started back in October 2011.
It is ruining my relationships with...
It/He won't stop.
That's why this is not for publication; unless, of course,...
Not for Publication
Before I knew Jesus as Lord and Savior, I was a total jerk.
Jesus became a part of my life when I started hanging out with Him.
Now that Jesus is a part of my life, I am still a jerk but not totally.
If I could leave you with one thing, Jesus is the answer to every question!
Born Again Again
October 12-14, 2011
Please don’t tell anybody; ‘cause I’d lose “cred” with people who actually like me.
Don’t bother: “Bob, you can count the people who really like you on…”
I’m running behind Joel about a trillion to one in sales.
Anyway, I’m falling in love and like with…everybody.
I stopped getting stoned after New Year’s Eve of my freshman year in college.
I wasn’t getting any work done and spending too much $ at Burger King.
Maybe I’m mellowing.
Maybe I’ve picked up Grandpa Jacob’s cancer genes.
Don’t think so.
Maybe I’m not a Psalm 62 kinda guy.
Nope, I am.
Maybe I’ve been spending more time with Jesus and there’s no room in that relationship for…
It’s/He’s the only thing that makes sense to me.
All I know about this are two things.
First, I haven’t gotten a prescription for medical weed.
Second, anger, hate, dislike, and the unlike are not listed by the apostle as gifts of the Holy Spirit or proof/evidence of being tight with…
All I know is I saw some really nasty things written about me and people I really love last night…and felt only sadness…and then prayerfulness.
All I know is I was the only guy moderator at the church meeting today with chairwomen who were all to the left of me…and all that I could feel in my gut was…love…like…and strange warmth.
I didn’t even ride to the meeting on my pony.
O.K., my daddy often said, “Son, with a mind like yours, you don’t need acid. You hallucinate naturally.”
It accelerated in October 2011 with Eugene and three covenant brothers.
It keeps accelerating.
I keep feeling better and better and better…falling more and more and more in love and like with…
I’m only scratching the surface of my relationship with God; but I think that’s what He…
Blessings and Love!