Monday, May 21, 2018

"You Have Flies Because You Want Them"

This is a quote I heard the other day from Bill Marriott (of Marriott hotels). He was visiting a hotel that had flies in the dining room and he asked for answers. The staff explained how the dumpster outside had flies and they would creep in when they took the trash out or went out back. There were a number of reasons why the flies were in the hotel. Bill simply answered, "You have flies because you want them."

What he meant is, if you didn't really want flies you would do something about it. And the staff took it to heart. They added fly strips in the back room, they improved the doors so flies couldn't get it, they added fans near the back door so the flies couldn't make it past the rushing air.

And guess what? No flies.

Sometimes if you really want something you have to take the steps to get there. Too often I see this when people talk about Jesus. They want to know God more and live more as a reflection of Christ, but there's all these reasons why it can't be done. But if they would take the steps necessary, like the staff at the Marriott hotel did to get rid of the flies, suddenly Jesus won't be so far away.

You could change the expression.
"You see Jesus more because you're looking for Him."
"Jesus is more real because you take the steps to live like He's real."
"I am more service minded and compassionate because I chose to serve."
"I hear Jesus because I do what I can to listen for Him."

Get rid of spiritual flies. Do what you need to do to make it happen.


Monday, May 14, 2018

How Busy Are We? - Mother's Day Edition

Just an interesting observation of the world around me. I've asked a few moms how their mother's day was and you know what seems to be the most popular answer of what made a good mother's day?

We did nothing.

Not "we didn't do anything for mother's day", no, we chose to do nothing for mother's day.

If doing nothing is what we want as a reward or recognition, maybe we need to be doing nothing a little more...


Monday, May 07, 2018

How Awesome It Must Have Felt To Reverse Direction

The other day I was reading about Matthew, the guy who wrote the Gospel of Matthew, disciples of Jesus, all-around nice guy.

At least that's what we think. We don't know a ton about him but we know two things. He was a tax collector. His job was to get taxes for the Roman government from his fellow Jews. We also know that Jesus chose him to be a disciple, so it's likely he wasn't a corrupt tax collector. It's likely he was a really good guy, but still doing a job no one really wanted him to do.

But here's where I got stuck. Matthew is a tax collector. His job is to get money from his friends for a government they all hate. And there's no wiggle room. If his neighbor owes money Matthew has to get it. How do you think he felt having to do that to his friends?

Then Jesus walks up. Leave it all and be My disciple. Help Me free people from the bondage of sin and be forgiven.

Here's what hit me: How do you think Matthew felt going from the person who was forced to collect debts to being able to forgive them? How much did it weigh on Matthew to have to get money from people even when they couldn't afford it, hurting them in the process? Then how did it feel to completely reverse direction, to now talk about spiritual debts but instead of forcing people to pay, instead telling them how Jesus can forgive them?

Imagine the weight that was lifted. How awesome that must have been.

And we can still do that for people today...


Monday, April 30, 2018

Are You Famous?

I read a great quote the other day:

If you have to tell people you're famous, then you’re technically not that famous. - David Spade

First off, that made me laugh. Especially since I heard it in my head with David Spade's voice. But then I really got to think about it. It's like when someone has to explain to you that they are cool or they are nice. My initial reaction is always, "Are you sure?" Usually if you are a nice person I can figure it out on my own, I don't need to you to tell me.

Is this true of out faith too? It hurts to read, but put your relationship with Jesus into that statement. "If you have to tell people you're a follower of Christ, then you're not technically that much of a follower of Christ." That sounds painful and wrong, but is it? I'm not saying anyone who sees you from a distance should know what you believe by what you wear or something crazy like that, but if you are so dedicated to Jesus it emanates from you do you need to explain it?

One of my favorite verses: But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him. ~ II Corinthians 3:18 (TLB)

Generally if people see a reflection in a mirror, no one needs to explain it...


Monday, April 23, 2018

"Can Anything Good Come From Nazareth?"

I've heard this quote before. It's from a man named Nathanael talking about Jesus. A friend had told Nathan they had found the Messiah, but when Nathan heard He was from Nazareth he didn't believe it.

For so long I've heard this told from a hoity-toity point of view. From a "better than you" type mindset" but something I read the other day challenged that. Nathan was from Galilee, an area also considered by the rich and religious to be the armpit of Israel.

The question is, when Nathan said this was he thinking he was better than Jesus? Or was it more of a, "we're all from the slums, how can anything good come from us?"

How often has the second idea stopped us? I'm not good enough, smart enough, people don't like me, whatever it may be, we wear that badge and see God through our circumstances. We don't see God working in our lives because we see ourselves as in the slums and God can't work here.

Maybe this is also why Jesus praised Nathanael the first time He met him. Jesus gave Nathan a huge compliment and built him up. Called him a man of complete integrity (wouldn't you like Jesus to say that about you?).

Now, after knowing the whole story we who are thousands of miles and thousands of years have no problem saying God can do something amazing in Nazareth. But are we able to say God can do that where you live too?


Monday, April 16, 2018

When Was the Last Time You Were Excited About Something?

Did you talk about it a lot?

So how do we get ourselves to feel that way about Jesus?

Monday, April 09, 2018

We're Being Taught Not To Wait

I'm learning this more and more with my daughter. Not because she's an impatient toddler or anything, but more because of how we live today.

She has no idea what it means to wait for a television show to be on. Or a specific episode. Everything is instant. Need food? We have so much of it. It only takes a few seconds to warm up, if you need it hot.

So now she has this mindset that we are constantly trying to help her with. Everything is the way I want it now. Again, not in a bad way, it's just the world she is being brought up in. As she has told us many times now, "It's hard to wait."

But Jesus is different.

There are hundreds of verses that follow the themes of patience, waiting, God's timing, etc. God is not about the microwave, He is all about slow roasting. Even now I'm reading a book about how Jesus shared the Gospel and although we may be fooled into thinking it was quickly to crowds Jesus more commonly shared His Gospel message slowly to individuals.

So now in our smartphone society we are trying to teach our daughter about waiting. Not just because she will need it later in life, but my bigger fear is her missing what God has for her because He doesn't move as fast as she thinks He should. As is often found in the Gospels: Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” (John 2:4b)

We need to learn to wait. It's that simple.