Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kingdom, Self Centeredness & Missional Living

Luke 17:33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.  (ESV)

Jesus answers the Pharisees question about the coming of the kingdom (they are thinking eschatologically) that it is already present in the person of Jesus and reign of God (ESV Study Bible, p. 1993 on v. 21). Then he goes on to describe the not yet of the consummation of the kingdom (v. 25f.) as a time of judgment (v. 29) and separation of the redeemed from the unregenerate (v. 34-35). Escape from the coming judgment is found in living a life that is (not self-centered) but outward focused/other-centered. Thus the missional nature of kingdom living.

I think maybe I'm beginning to get it. Self-centeredness and rebellion against God go hand in hand (ESV Study Bible, p. 1911 on Mark 8:35). And losing my self-centeredness means eternal communion with God (ibid.), both then and now.

God help me to find it. To finally get it. Holy Spirit come. Presence of Jesus come. Your kingdom come in the midst of me. Lord God, prepare my heart for missional other-centered, outward focused living - "Change My Heart O' God." Let my sufficeincy be found in You (Col. 1:15-23).

In Jesus' name - Amen,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Let's Get to Work!

Luke 15:20b  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.  (ESV)

Three parables all focused on the rejoicing that occurs when a lost sinner repents (v. 3-22). And it all begins with the Pharisee's grumbling accusation that "This man receives sinners and eats with them" (v. 2). The father sees the silhouette of his son far off - probably recognizing his gate. The rejoicing, the compassion, the party: "let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (v. 23-24).

Let's not be like the older brother here: 'Him, you're letting him back in the house!?!' (v. 30f.). Brad, don't disdain the heart of an evangelist. You want others to affirm your gift? You can't be critical  of the gifting of another. The heart of the evangelist and the heart of a teacher work together to accomplish the great commission. "You bring 'em in, I'll disciple them." Repentance is at the heart of the gospel. When one sinner repents, it's time to throw a party! (v. 7, 9-10).

God bless my friends and brothers (& sisters) in Christ: the Pastor-Evangelists. Though it is not my gifting it is Your gifting for them and to the body, for Your glory. I repent for my judgmental attitude. 'Bring 'em in fellas* - and let's get to work!' Holy Spirit, put a check in my soul when the spirit of the older brother (the Pharisee) tries to rise up in me. Jesus I present myself as a living sacrifice - for Your kingdom, for Your glory.

In Jesus' name - Amen,

*with apologies, Ladies, for the non- gender neutral language here (That would have gotten me in all kinds of trouble in grad school!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Light Inside*

Luke 11:41  But give as alms those things that are within and behold, everything is clean for you. (ESV)

Jesus was just speaking in the previous paragraph about your whole body being full of light (v. 34). Here in the Pharisees house, He is similarly addressing "greed and wickedness" (v. 39) within. If the condition of our heart (inner self, real self) is good then we can freely give of that goodness within in the site God with no shame. This is completely freeing. But if there is darkness within us, all we can give is external appearance of obedience to a moral code or some (perhaps arbitrary) religious rule(s). But what about "justice and the love of God" (v. 42)?

Lord Jesus, search my heart. Know me, Holy Spirit for You now me. Fill me with light from the Father of light - for all good gifts come down from above (James 1:17). I am not deserving of this. But You have called me - "Come." You have loved me - Me! You have saved me - King Jesus. And now you bid me to "Follow."

In Jesus' name - Amen,


*taken from the title of the Album The Light Inside by Gary Chapman