Monday, September 26, 2016

"Are You A Criminal?"

Pastor Kevin said something the other Sunday that really got me thinking. Too often we hear stories from the Bible and it kind of passes in one ear and out the other because we've heard it so many times. Yet when that story is told in just a slightly different way it can have a whole new sense of meaning.

Like the story from that Sunday. Abram pulling up his tent poles and leaving for a new land. No biggie, it's a story they tell in Sunday School to five year olds. Nothing new. But there was something in the way I heard it that morning. The idea of just packing up and leaving without an explanation in a hurry.

All I could think about was the one time I really experienced this. It was the middle of the night and the people down the hall from me were moving out. It was the last day of the month and I just thought they were waiting until the last second to get out since they paid their rent. But no, they were skipping out on rent. They were trying to get out of their contract and disappear, as I found out talking to our building manager the next day.

So when Abram decided to leave last second with no warning and in a hurry, what do you think his neighbors thought? He couldn't even have said anything about God speaking to him, this was before Judaism or any formal religion. Even with the thousands of years of "church" if you say Jesus told you to do something today you still get weird looks, how do you think they would have looked at him then?

There's only one reason I can think of someone moving in a real hurry and not wanting to explain it.

Are you willing to let people look at you like that if God asks you to do something...?


Monday, September 19, 2016

Relationship Fatigue

We talked a little about this with our high schoolers last night. It's when you get so tired you just can't care anymore. Spiritually tired, emotionally tired, even just physically tired. The relationships around you aren't as important and you can't put into it what you should.

I realized this on Facebook the other day. I just couldn't care. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I hate people or anything. But I saw post after post from people I haven't talked to in a long time, some I hadn't even met but were shared by friends or in groups I'm involved. And some of them were people sharing stories of hurt or requests for help and I honestly just couldn't read any more. Or do anything. So I just quit.

There was a moment of self-reflection after it. Am I a bad person? Why don't I care more? Why am I not a compassionate person?

In that moment I was reminded of something Pastor Jared said a few weeks ago.

Jesus traveled around through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the Jewish synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever He went He healed people of every sort of illness. And what pity He felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. ~ Matt. 9:35-36 (TLB)

There are a couple of verses where if mentions Jesus having compassion on the crowds. Someone who could have been doing so many other things that we would see as significant or more important and instead He took time to be with people in their pain and heal them.

What if we all had a little more compassion? Maybe we wouldn't be reaching out to people we hadn't talked to in a decade on Facebook, we wouldn't need to...


Monday, September 12, 2016

Slow The Story Down

This is something I've been thinking about the last few weeks. Last night we talked about a story with our students that many people have heard before (John 13, Jesus washing the disciples feet), but it seems like we go by it so quick we don't take the time for the little details and nuances that make these stories amazing.

A perfect example is in our new way of telling stories, movies. There are so many tiny little details that people will watch them over and over, find "Easter Eggs" and connections and post them on social media. We pour over something trivial like fuzzy dice in the Millennium Falcon (yes, people noticed the dice were in the original movies and the new one) because those details make the story more amazing, more alive, more real.

When was the last time you read a story in your Bible and instead of skimming it because you've heard it before you slowed down and thought about all the details and all the weight they carry like fuzzy dice?

Try it, you may be surprised what you find.