The Three Tombs

If you read your Bibles closely, you might be surprised to know there were 3 tombs that are extremely significant to us.

The first one was the tomb that Joseph owned. In Luke we read that no one was ever laid in this tomb. This tomb was the grave of anticipation. It’s job was to lie in wait completely empty. It’s very purpose is to house the dead, but until Jesus’ mission was complete, it’s aspiration was unfulfilled.

The second tomb is the one Jesus was laid in. This is the tomb of defeat. When Jesus slept here, the world wailed in disappointment. The only thing worse than having a messiah is to get one and then lose Him. Was Jesus simply crazy… or did they kill their only hope? Men’s hearts hurt deeply when this tomb was occupied. Everything was questioned and nothing made sense. How could the man that raised the dead succumb to death himself? This was one of history’s darkest days. Three of them, in fact. Men sobbed, demons cheered, and the great I Am was seemingly buried having not yet fulfilled all of His promises.

The third tomb still exists to this day. It’s the one that the women and the disciples and the soldiers all found open and empty. In it rests neatly folded burial garments. This tomb has many names. Hope! Victory! God lives! This is my favorite tomb, because it’s not just an empty one, but it’s one whose purpose has been fulfilled.

You might be thinking, these are all the same tomb! Please understand, they are each very different from the other. Each could not be without the other and each one gives birth to the next.

We too are three different people. Not at the same time of course, but each one is a possible us. Just like the first tomb, without Jesus, we are empty. We have no purpose other than to hope something somehow happens to us.

Just like the second tomb, if we reject Jesus, or ignore His pleas for too long, He will leave us to lead a life without Him, should we Choose. Of course, we still have Jesus… He doesn’t actually leave. But… rather than keep Him in our hearts, which were prepared for Him, we wrap Him up and seal the door. What makes this tomb the saddest is that, just like the guard at the cross, we don’t realize what we are doing. We think we are ‘living’, but all we are doing is wrapping our Savior in the clothes He is to be buried in… away from our active lives.

The last tomb is by far the most amazing. It sits empty. But not like the first tomb. The first never had anyone lay in it. The third tomb has. It’s purpose is fulfilled. How many bodies don’t need their resting places anymore? How many times can you resell a full burial plot? You can’t. There is no value in an occupied grave. And all the unoccupied graves are waiting on time to fulfill their destinies. But what about this strange anomaly? This one tomb in all of history that both served its purpose and sits open and empty? This is our tomb if we have Jesus. We serve a risen Savior that defeated death. Not just for Himself but for us too.

To reach our full potential we each die to self. Through Jesus we exit the tombs of our past and arise victorious with Him. We leave fear, uncertainty, condemnation and defeat behind and take on hope, peace and love. This third tomb is a crucial part of God’s plan. He planned for His Son to take the tomb so that we could follow and arise. It’s important to remember all three tombs. But of greatest importance is to make sure we fulfill our purpose. To fill that tomb, take on Christ, and exit a new creation.

Three tombs. One who has no Savior at all, one who has a Savior but hides, rejects, or ignores Him, and the last one… the one that lets you enter a sinner and walk out redeemed.

It’s not JUST about remembering Christ. It’s not a story to be told about a man that deserves our respect on Easter. It’s about opening our own tomb doors and leaving dead end lives behind. It’s about emerging with Christ out of the grave and in our hearts where He Has always wanted to be. And it’s about living each day for the one that did this for us.

This day, more than any other, is about where you put your Jesus. have you never met Him? Is he banging on your heart’s door never to be answered? Or have you followed Him to a new life?


Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay

You Don’t Have to Tell Me Thrice!

I have a new favorite verse. So you don’t skip ahead out of shear frantic anticipation, it’s Jonah 3:3

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.

Jonah 3:3

I laugh out loud when I read it now, because it’s so typical of me… and us, as people. Jonah is a very short book of just 4 chapters. The first 2 are laying down the foundation for the scripture quoted above.

God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and speak against the people there. But Jonah doesn’t obey. Instead he tries to run from God. The men on the boat he is fleeing in throw him overboard where he is swallowed by a great fish. For 3 days AND nights (72 hours) he is inside the belly of this fish.

I imagine he had some time to think, don’t you? Guess what Jonah did… he repented! You saw that coming didn’t you? What else was there to do? Well, I’m sure he was anticipating how the fish was digesting him, or how he might drown, or how other scary critters might be eaten alive by this fish… all around him is death. It’s not whether he will die or not, it’s in which horrific way will he die and how many seconds left until that happens?

God, our creator, seems to know this about us. We get easily distracted. So when He wants our attention, he removes EVERYTHING else from our view so we can focus on Him. And what I’m learning is that if we don’t do it for Him, He will do it for us. Jonah’s horrific life altering episode was simply God clearing His throat and saying, ‘pardon me, Jonah, might we speak?’ (essentially).

It’s hard to put ourselves into Jonah’s shoes, isn’t it? The reality of this happening to us is fairly non-existent… unless, that is, God wants our attention. But we can get back to that in a minute… so Jonah repents and the fish spits Jonah out on dry land. Chapter 3 starts off the exact same way chapter 1 starts off…

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying,  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”

Jonah 3: 1- 2

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.

Jonah 1: 1 – 2

I put them both above so you can compare. Notice how God doesn’t embellish? There is no disapproving tone, no ‘I told you so’, and no threat. He simply restates the mission and Jonah has the same options he had before. He could obey or disobey. He already tried disobedience and that did not work out well. Jonah must not have wanted to try the odds of God releasing him again, because the very next words on paper were, “so Jonah arose”… and he did exactly what God asked him to do.

My question is, what is God asking you to do? Do you feel like you are in the belly of a fish? Maybe not a literal one, but how is your job? How is your spouse? How are your relationships? Do you feel like you are about to drown in suffering? Can you not see the healing at the end of the pain?

Consider this. Maybe there is something that needs to be repented. Perhaps God is removing distractions for you? What is keeping both eyes and your heart off of God?

Whatever you are going through, lets be chapter 3 Jonahs and not chapter 1’s. But what about chapter 4? Even better! The people of Nineveh actually listened to the words from Jonah and they repented. God didn’t punish them because they repented. This confused Jonah. He went in as a prophet speaking the words of God and God didn’t destroy Nineveh like He said.

Jonah… the one who JUST repented and was saved… didn’t understand why Ninevah was saved when they repented. Easy… it’s that easy to take your eyes back off God and get distracted again. Whether you are Jonah or Nineveh, or the Israelite’s at almost any point in history… God wants your attention. Give it. Give it always.

Feeling distracted? Let God in, repent, and listen.

Roads Vs. Oceans

I feel like many of us have been living in a certain sort of turmoil. The picture that comes to my mind is trying to turn out of a parking lot onto a busy street. You pull up with your blinker on and wait your turn. But the cars keep coming. Not just one or two, or perfectly spaced apart… but as you look in each direction you see an endless line of headlights slowly dimming over the horizon. And the words exasperatedly enter both your mind and your soul… “I’m never getting out of here”

A terrible feeling for sure, but an easy problem structure to have… at least for most. The problems are many… seemingly infinite, but as you likely have experienced, they still only come one or two at a time. And, if we end up patient enough, they pass us by and we can eventually pull out of our ruts and struggles and make our way to the road of our journey.

Some now have a different kind of pain. The picture that comes to my mind is an ocean. Far out into the massive expanse of water, you are treading over unexplored depths. It’s dark, it’s cold, and you can’t see anything in any direction that you look, save the waves that keep bouncing past your face reminding you that your small world just became a tiny piece of hay hidden in a massive needle-stack.

Sharks don’t attack in single file lines, they swarm and circle. There are jelly fish too, and sting rays, eels, piranha’s, whales, and all sorts of other deadly creatures. There are currents, undertows, and storms. But even if nothing actually and physically attacks you… you are getting tired and as you gasp for breath, each time a little more salt water finds it way into your mouth.

Where before, our problems seemed huge and life altering… we can look back now and sense that those were the good ole days. Single file problems in the highway of life that would mildly detour us, but eventually gave way and let us back in our lane. Now we have been dropped in the ocean.

Whizzing though our minds are thoughts of loved ones, travel plans, jobs, bills, food, shelter, civil issues, panic, and the uncertainty of how everyone else’s behavior could change. The store shelves are empty, the news won’t stop with scare tactics and dramatics… and we might just think exasperatedly… “I’m never getting out of this”. We might even long for the days when our terrible problems seem so much simpler now.

What strikes me is how differently Paul prayed. “get me out of this!”… nope. Not him. He said “to live is Christ, to die is gain”. He explained that if he was allowed to keep on living that he would just use his life to continue sharing Jesus with others, and if He died, that He would be with Jesus and his mission would be accomplished.

While I think this would be a great, albeit morbid application here, that isn’t the point I want to make. For Paul, it wasn’t about living or dying because he always lived his life in such a way that it didn’t matter what happened next.

When the roads backed up and he couldn’t make progress… he would, effectively, minister in the parking lot he was stuck in. When the ocean swelled around him and the sharks closed in, He prepared his mind for the eternity he had been living for all along.

There was no, “why me?” or “how come”… it was always, “Lord, I serve you”… even in situations much worse than we see today. And at the crux of it all was what He kept His eyes on. He didn’t see the road, or the cars, or the water, or the fear, or the panic… He just saw Jesus. When eyes are locked on the Savior, you get saved. That doesn’t mean yanked out of problems, but it does mean eternal life with a Savior that defines love and peace.

I’ve always been perplexed by the phrase, “meet your maker”. To most that means death. Paul lived his life every day with his maker… and it was wonderful. David sang in caves while in hiding for his life… he sang about his wonderful, magnificent maker. Jesus, when sacrificing himself for us, was in constant communion with His maker.

What I have learned is that if we meet our maker now… we aren’t afraid to meet him in the end. A relationship with God now, means we understand and even appreciate the end. Forfeiting that relationship now, is what gives so much fear and panic to such a phrase and possibility.

That relationship is hope. It is light in the middle of the struggle. It is peace in the storms of life. It brings balance, courage, and sense into the chaos.

This isn’t about having morbid thoughts of despair today, tomorrow, or even the next few months or years… It’s about acknowledging that men and women who faced such situations didn’t know fear when they knew their maker. This is true for pandemics and it’s true for surgeries and marriages and relationships and jobs. When you know Jesus, you live for Him… and that may not pull you out of the water, but it makes you fearless, content, and able to live strong, proud, and for Him in every situation.

Paul knew, he would either look back one day and see how God lead Him through, or He with be with God soon… either way was a victory for him. And that is how he lived out every day. Every wonderful, God created, Spirit-filled day where he communed with His creator no matter what the Devil came up with for that day. Today we can dread the unknown, or we can meet our Maker. He answers to God, Father, Lord, and many other titles. He wants to know you, He wants to fellowship with you. He wants to restore those who used to know Him…

Speak those words… ‘God, I want to know you!’ Perhaps speak them again if you don’t know Him well. And find where the bravery of Paul came from. Learn what hope means and why fear is trivial in the most extreme circumstances.


Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Speaking Challenge: Gossip, Political, Religious, Slander, etc.

If you have not shared a meal with someone, don’t share an opinion about them.

Dear random stranger on the internet. We have not met. I know nothing about you. Therefore you can pass along without judgement.

Hello sports star or celebrity. You haven’t been in my house. I don’t have any inside or personal first hand information from you. To ponder any further beyond my lack of knowledge and experience concerning you would be very silly.

Greetings politician. I’m not on your staff. I wasn’t with you in college. I haven’t see you on dates with your loved one, how you treat your children, or how you drive in traffic. I don’t know what pain goes into your decisions or how much effort you exert to make things right. I may have seen you in a suite… but I’ve never touched your heart. I will not claim to know your motives or feelings.

Teenagers, classmates, and colleagues… You look different than I do. You act different. You eat different foods, listen to different music, dress differently… Instead of pointing out how different YOU look, I’ll agree that I don’t look like you either. We both look different. And isn’t it a good thing that in a world this big we all can work together to cover all the hobbies, careers, and necessities of so many people?

Sorry coach. I may have made a different decision than you… maybe. With that pressure, those circumstances, those players, your bosses, your home life, and all the unknown things that happened on the sideline and in the locker room and shared from other scouts and coaching staff that the world wasn’t privy to… I might have made a different choice then… but I would have blown it somewhere else. Because I’m not claiming to be perfect and I don’t expect you to be either.

Lets set the bar low. I’m not asking you to stop gossiping, complaining, or even armchair quarterbacking… I’m asking you to attempt one simple rule over your speech. If you haven’t shared a meal with someone… don’t share your opinion about them. Teach your brain to remember what it already knows… We make exceptions for ourselves everyday for one simple reason: We know all the details and surrounding circumstances and internal factors that made our reasoning acceptable.

If we are going to put the spotlight on others and demand perfection from them… they should at least get the chance to share with us, personally, what their exception was based in. This information does not come from biased media, slanted hearsay, or third party reports… it only comes from getting to know an individual as the human they are.

You can still vote with your wallet, check your conscience on the ballet, and boo from the stands… but do not “let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29.

The Blueprint Doesn’t Match Because it isn’t Built

Our son wished us to be gone. While the words felt devastating coming from a 6 year old, it was comforting to learn from other parents that it is much more common than we first thought.

I asked him what he would do with us out of the picture and he sniffled through the tears to tell me that he would take care of himself. Oh, it was because we turned off the TV and he wanted to watch more. No beatings, no yelling, no grounding, we just turned off the TV because it was time to do other things besides watch TV. I know, we are monsters.

I asked how he would take care of himself and he shrugged his shoulders. (fun fact, he can’t use the remotes yet… he doesn’t know how. So you can see how well he thought this out. With us gone, he will have zero TV).

I asked how he would get food and he told me he would just go downstairs and get it from the cupboard. This is where we keep his chips, fruit snacks and crackers. And that was the extent of his plan. Which makes perfect sense… because he is JUST NOW 6 years old.

His master plan of living the good life is watching TV all day and night by getting rid of the only people that know how to operate said TV and he will sustain himself for the rest of his life on gummies and potato chips… enough to last maybe a few days. And because he is 6, we can’t even explain why this is such a bad idea.

His emotions take over and he knows more than anyone else. At first our feelings were hurt. We’ve done nothing but show patience and kindness and love to this child. We went through frustration, concern, a little laughter over the absurdity, and then it hit us.

God has a sense of humor, I think. Because even though we may not use the words, we speak this out in our life actions. We brush God away and claim, “I’ll handle this myself”. Either through distrust or lack of wisdom or lack of patience, or ego… we start trying to call the shots.

When the miracle doesn’t happen fast enough, it can feel like someone just turned off the TV. When the pain persists. When the hunger remains. When the relationship collapses… I’ll fix it. I’ll make my own way. I’ll do my own thing. I’ll make a move now. And how quickly forget that the God we push back, is the one that filled the cupboard for us to begin with. We think we don’t need God because we have all the gifts He has given us at our disposal.

Be still and know that I am God.

Psalm 46:10 ESV

Another translation reads:

Cease striving and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10 NASB

Cease striving. Trust. Patience. Let God take control. Allow life to fall outside of the tiny box you crafted for it. Get bruises, accept scrapes, shed tears, and be mocked… In other words, line up behind Jesus and walk in his footsteps. But also, and this is key, allow the Father to lead through ANY valley, just as Jesus did. And accept and walk through those lows with eyes fixed on greater things.

Growth doesn’t fashion out of comfort. The things worth our moments aren’t conceived from our 6 year old minds. Our Master has put in us a blueprint full of pain, sorrow, and misunderstanding. But on the other end of that sketch is the love, protection, sustenance and all the saving we will ever need.

Until our fulfillment, we trust and we grow. Growth comes through effort, challenge, and acceptance of God’s gifts. There is a reason the blueprint doesn’t look like the finished product… we have to build it first. Until we finish building, all we have are parts and instructions. Once we finish, we have a God-inspired masterpiece.

When we don’t feel like building, when we think the effort is unfair or the destination looks off… we tend to turn towards ourselves. We grab the remote and pout against all the monsters that stand in our way. What if, instead of blaming the blueprint maker, we ask for His help instead? What if, instead of fleeing from Him, we wander to Him and spend more time with the architect and less time trying to figure it out through our own shallow and short-lived plans?

What if we could slow down and even come to a full stop… and know that TV and crackers aren’t the essence of life. Nor our jobs or accomplishments or hobbies. You know what is the most fun? When the desires of our hearts matches the blueprints within us. And don’t run after that frustration… the one that says the blueprint is wrong! That is what the 6 year old does.

The infant wants a new blueprint. The adult wants to complete the work. Lets grow in Christ. Be Still and know…


Image by Justin Martin from Pixabay

Is Church Taking the Scenic Route?

The church often fails to meet the needs of the people based on a simple misunderstanding. The goal of the church is not meant to be a destination. Instead, it’s intention is that of transportation.

The church is not an endgame. It’s a car pool. We are supposed to, as fellow travelers, help people to find the Christ. The true goal is God. And all of us, the church included, is on a path to Him.

Both parties can get this wrong. The people expect the church to fulfill the needs only God can accommodate and the church gets so caught up in filling the van, it forgets that there is a more eternal purpose for gathering.

The church can do a lot of amazing things, as long as those things are done on the journey to an eternal Savior. God’s people in the church are a crucial place along that journey. But often disappointment comes when people find just that in the church… more people. Other people. Sinners.

We find failure when we come to the church seeking God’s perfection. We won’t find it there. In other words, Jesus hasn’t returned to the church yet either. Those buildings still rest on fallen soil.

We find success when we come to the church seeking other seekers and unify in a journey that will end with the return of the Messiah.

Frustration comes when the eternal sight is lost. Have you ever set out for Disney Land and stopped at a rundown motel along the way? It’s a bed and some safety… but it’s not the purpose of the trip. If you have children with you who use the pool and watch some HBO, they might decide this is all they ever wanted. They might even argue to stay and forego the final destination.

Those children got distracted by something that looked good temporarily but was not the life-changing event they signed up for. Is the church a rundown motel? Not really. Perhaps compared to what we are aiming for… the case could be made. The church is a perfectly intended tool created by God. I’m not knocking it… but it’s just a tool. And that is what we often forget.

The message of the church has often been, “Come join us.”, when it should be, “Come with us”. While there may not be ill-intent in the verbiage, it’s a significantly different recruitment for a massively different purpose.

Likewise, the church seeker should consider, not what programs or styles, or in many cases, which issues are sided with… but instead, who is trying to get to Jesus? Whose path is the straightest with the fewest stops along the way? Whose goal, is simply and solely to get home?


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

True Love’s Kiss. What Will Break the Curse?

The TV show Once Upon a Time goes into great details about how the amazing power of true love’s kiss can break any curse. There are 2 rules the show expounds on that I think are worth covering briefly before we examine who our true love is.

First, the love must be reciprocated. If only one party has love for the other, then true love is not established and the kiss is powerless against any magic.

Second, The biggest curse is broken by the love between a mother and son. When Emma kisses Henry on his forehead, the entire kingdom is freed because of their true bond and maternal love for each other.

The sad moments generated from this knowledge showed failed couples, who had fallen out of love in one way or another, unable to wield the magic breaking power of true love. Either one party or both no longer cherished the other and the kiss would simply fall flat.

Nothing spoke stronger about the deepest, truest feelings one could have for another than seeing the results of a kiss when needing powerful spells broken.

So I’d like to pose a challenging question for each of us to ponder for a while. What is our true love? Before you answer, consider that many people think they have a true love, only to find that circumstances can prove surprising and upsetting results.

We don’t need fairy-tales to see the wreckage of failed marriages, broken homes, friendless individuals and desperate souls. How many people find their true love only to wake up to an empty bed and a broken heart? Easily more than half. We all know the lies told of “love”. Few of us know the truth of real love.

So when life’s curse falls on you, what truth would be revealed? Would your spouse be able to break the spell? Would your love for them, and their love for you unite in an explosion of salvation and healing? Or would it fizzle into despair as you realize that at least one of you only lives for another?

Would it be your children? Would their love for you be pure? Is it your career? Would cold hard cash release the spell as the thing you love most in this world? Popularity? Health? Status? Possessions?

What about Jesus? Would His kiss on your forehead have the reciprocating power of true, eternal love?

Remember, this is a magical fairy-tale and the deepest thoughts of the heart are revealed against all will and logic. It’s not a question of, would you want it to… It’s a question of, would it work? Is the love already there, deep deep down in your heart. If Jesus planted one on your cheek, would the world find out that you truly love Him back above all others, or would He walk away broken hearted?

Who do you really love? For some of us… the question may be, what do we really love? While this might be a revealing and depressing process for those of us being really honest with ourselves… remember this. The cross proved Jesus’ love for us once and for all.

Instead of true love in the form of a kiss, He showed His love by taking on our mistakes and nailing them to a torture device while He still held them. Should we choose to love Jesus the way He first loved us… we never have to wonder if He might return the sentiment or not.

We never have to question that we are His greatest desire. The price He paid proved that far beyond what any make believe story could attempt to describe.


Image by JacLou DL from Pixabay

Remember that Movie about the Things and the Stuff?

What is your favorite movie? When you share it with friends in conversation how do you describe it? What if you had to sum it up in only 1 short sentence? No commas. No run on. No compounding. Just a short, simple sentence.

I’ll describe some of my favorite movies this way and lets see if you can guess any of them:

  1. A love story about a billionaire and his secretary.
  2. A young man finally stands up to his father.
  3. The world obsesses over jewelry.
  4. He took back what was his!
  5. A shy girl takes a risk on a loser.
  6. A small door is more versatile than expected.
  7. They danced in Chicago.
  8. Roasting marshmallows in New York
  9. Everyone just watched.
  10. One of the best Christmas movies.

You can scroll down a bit to see the answers if you want them now. They are in bold.

Did you get them all? Did you guess any correctly? Let’s be honest, you can’t accurately depict a movie in this way. Two hours doesn’t condense into a single simple sentence. The math doesn’t work that way, and even when you try, the logic doesn’t follow.

Most movies are so good for the very deep things that would require lots of explanation. What we tend to enjoy are masterfully wrapped surprises that are slowly unveiled throughout the course of the story. While every synopsis above was accurate in one way or another, none of them get to the heart of what makes each movie so good.

Before we go any further, here are the movies I was attempting to summarize:

  1. Iron Man.
  2. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
  3. Lord of the Rings
  4. Lion King
  5. Rocky
  6. Titanic
  7. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  8. Ghostbusters
  9. Truman Show
  10. Die Hard

Isn’t it silly to think that we could convince somebody to give up 2 hours of their day to watch something we recommend in under 1 sentence?

Even the most basic life fundamentals require discussion and dissection. Have you ever seen someone about to get hit by a ball or some other projectile? Someone yells “duck!” or “Look out!” and what happens? Does the person duck or dive out of the way without any followup? Not usually. The first thing they tend to do is to look right towards the person yelling. The fastest way to get someone to put their face directly in the path of the object about to hit them is to yell, “look out!”.

We are conditioned to see for ourselves. We just can’t take someone else’s word for it… even when its to our own peril. The lesson is also true of hot stoves. You can tell a child not to touch it, but the lesson is only temporary at best until they actually touch it and experience the pain for themselves. THEN, we could say the lesson is burned into their thinking.

If we can’t accurately depict a feature film in one sentence, what would it take to share the life of Jesus to a world conditioned in receiving information 140 characters at a time?

What story are we telling when we only give snippets of the Bible? What message is our audience receiving when we dwell on the rules of the scripture? Do non-believers go rushing to the Bible book stores when we dive into politics? What if we just try to live by example, and so people only ever see a nice person living out their days? Maybe we only talk about God on Sundays?

We can be really good at summing up the Bible in all the wrong ways, just like I did with the movies a moment ago. And if you thought that exercise was futile… so it is with preaching only a tiny fraction of God’s word. If you thought it ludicrous that anyone would guess the movie after such a short and poor description… imagine what the world thinks of God when we can do the same thing with a much larger, more complicated work about the life of Jesus.

We aren’t a short Psalm. God didn’t craft us to be a parable. None of us can be summed up by a list of rules. We are children of God and have good news to share. Let’s share the whole story!

The common excuse is that we are waiting on something. We need money, power, status, followers, time and strength. We need spiritual gifts and a platform to perform them.

The followers that Jesus accepted decided to follow Him before He made Himself truly known (i.e. before any of the excuses listed above). They dropped what they were doing and walked away from their lives over a simple request, “Follow me”.

The people that wanted to follow Jesus after He made Himself known were turned away (Luke 9). So how do we change the world? How do we get the attention of the lost and share this amazing story with a people that get bored before we get the first sentence out of our mouths?

We act like Jesus. We talk like Him. We pray like Him. We love like Him. We lead to the Father in our every breath, step, and motion. We don’t seek numbers of followers or reports of grand conversions or even baptisms. We simply go about the Father’s business and He will take care of the rest.

This was the faith of Jesus. We must have faith like Jesus. That even on the cross, when things look the bleakest, we can know that Dad will take care of everything. When we trust in God, the story is heard. When we pray faithfully and love unconditionally, the truth is told. When people can see Jesus everyday rather than hearing poorly worded, second hand summaries…The good news is told and spread.

When we know the whole story, we know the great commission isn’t just to retell the story. We are to pick up our crosses and follow Jesus. The life saving gospel is only fully told when we are fully engaged in Christ. Otherwise, we are just spitting out one-liners and hoping people will go and watch for themselves.

If we want people to know Jesus… we have to introduce them. They have to see Him for themselves. We can’t introduce them to someone we barely know.


Image by creative_designer from Pixabay

Capital I and Understood You Make Jesus Sad

We do something subtle in the English language that I think speaks volumes to how we think of ourselves and treat others in respect.

The pronoun ‘I’ is the only pronoun capitalized. But this wasn’t the original intention. After very brief research, it seems the only reason it was changed was because i (lowercase) didn’t stand out enough when written. We have the word ‘a’ that remains lowercase, but i became I so it could be more easily noticed.

I might not have thought much more of that if we didn’t also do something peculiar with the word ‘you’. We completely take it away. Its called the understood you. So, I can say, ‘go to the market’ and the ‘you’ remains absent from print because everyone simply understands what I meant, so I shouldn’t have to say it.

Did you catch that? ‘I’ needs to stand out and be noticed, while ‘you’ needs to remain hidden. ‘I’ is the exception to the rule. And we know how to do that so very well.

I’m reminded of the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18, who after being forgiven his massive debt rounded up those who owed him smaller debts and refused to forgive them. He was a capital I. He sought mercy when he couldn’t pay. It was all about him. And once the mercy was received he sent the lowercase ‘you’s’ to jail because it was still all about the important capital ‘I’. They owed him money.

He simply couldn’t understand how they could be in the same boat he was in. They had families and needs and sicknesses and circumstances and they cried for mercy just as he had. This is exactly what happens when I am capital and you are lowercase… or even worse, you aren’t even on the page with me.

It’s in how we write and talk, It’s in how we drive, how we treat each other online, it’s even seen in the churches… we just can’t stop admiring that tall, slender, capital ‘I’. There are so many scriptures to quote about how God intended for us to treat each other that I feel like just handing over the Bible should cover it. It’s everywhere. It’s in every book, in every timeline, in every parable. Both Old and New Testament, both before and after Jesus..

Even as Jesus hung from the cross he found a moment of compassion and made sure someone would take care of his mother after he finished dying.

We have spent so much time learning how unique and special we are, we forget that everyone else is too. And while there are some good lessons to be learned about how God created us as individuals and why… it kind of lets the air out of the balloon when we consider that if every single one of us is special, then the very thing we all have in common is our special-ness.

In other words…. none of us are special because we all have something special. Special is common among God’s creation. Instead of finding our servant and demanding what is ours, we are meant to forgive as we have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32, Luke 6:31, John 15:12, Matthew 7:12, Romans 12:10… and so, so many more)

What an amazing verse, that Romans 12:10… ” Outdo one another in showing honor ” Its a contest to come in last place. By our standards, we need to concede. We should yield. Words that don’t sound positive at all… lose, forfeit, surrender, sacrifice.

Ah, sacrifice. So many verses in the Bible talk about forgiving as we have been forgiven. Just like the unforgiving servant. A sacrifice has been made for us as well. Should we accept the sacrificial lamb and then refuse to sacrifice for others? I don’t believe that was the spirit of the gift.

I believe we are meant to deflate the I. It’s time to put you back on the page. The most significant man to walk the earth made himself insignificant with us in mind. He did it completely so we could have some significance. Our response is not to demean or belittle others.

There is an age old lie being whispered to your inner conscience. It was told to Jesus when he fasted for 40 days. I will make you a king. I will give it all to you. Others will serve you. You will never want again. Look at how big and shiny that ‘I’ is. Nothing can compare. You deserve this. Those insignificants can’t take that from you…

We are supposed to be fighting. It is a war. But the battle is to lift each other up. To outdo one another in showing honor. To lover greater, sacrifice more, and forgive first.


Photo by Anto Fredric on Unsplash

God Can Be Such a Chore

Is there something in your life that you just keep putting off? Hour after hour, maybe even day after day you find other distractions to pass the time until eventually, inevitably, you just have to break down and do it? We call them chores. A necessary task that we would rather not do, or at least, its no where near the top of our priority list.

Sadly, this sums up our placement of God in situations. I know there have been times when I only read because I skipped the last few times. I’ve only prayed because I felt guilty. I’ve only asked because I needed something.

Have you ever been in a relationship like this? Has anyone ever told you, “you weren’t my first choice” or “you are the best of what’s left”? I sure hope not. But, if we aren’t excited to great God each day and spend time with Him, I’m afraid we might be on the giving end of this type of neglect.

The phrase sounds harsh, and maybe even a little sacrilegious. But if I’m honest with myself, I have made God a chore at times. He has been a burden to me. Something I only did because I had to, not because I wanted to. But I think that honesty will let me rebuild the relationship. I can confess and bask in the new day God has given me.

We live in a world filled with evil when temptation successfully convinces us to shrug off the only hope we’ve ever had. It doesn’t even feel like an attack at all when it happens. Just a passing thought… I’d rather watch TV, or go to the movies, and hang out with friends, or catch a nap, or maybe even do real chores. I’ll spend time with my creator later… when I’m not so busy.

A simple thought. A passing notion. And maybe even a little productivity in life as we run errands or build relationships with others. But demons cheer. They know something we often forget. We are at war and they just separated us from our defense. They drove a wedge between us and our community of faith. They delayed a mighty prayer.

We grabbed a hotdog and played some Sudoku, but they exchanged high fives and danced a fiery jig. Anytime they can make God into this mystical, distant, abstract thought, they win a massive stronghold in our lives. They like to take the humanity away from God.

God became flesh. He walked this earth. We are already made in His image. When we don’t see the face of God, we tend to think more of Him as an ideal. Maybe even a cause. Sometimes I don’t recycle because the recycling bin is too full, or its too far away. Sometimes I don’t give an extra dollar to cure cancer at the checkout line because I’ve given enough already.

But Jesus isn’t a faceless organization. He is our brother. God sent His Son to embrace us as family. When we reject time with him, we aren’t just telling a stranger that we gave at the office, we are telling a loved one that we found someone else. Something better. Something more meaningful to us.

We need to understand the implications of our priorities. This isn’t a plea to go to church. God doesn’t want people to sigh and exclaim, “fine, I’ll go to church!”. He wants His family to join Him in the victory. He wants what we all want. He wants to be chosen back. We all know what it feels like to be left out, forgotten, and ignored. Can we comprehend that we can do this to the one who gave it all for us?


Photo by Catt Liu on Unsplash