Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Great Chew Part 3 - Broken

Now What?

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this they asked his disciples 'why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?' On hearing this Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.

Cool thing to not miss - when Matthew decided to COME and FOLLOW, he grabbed his peeps and brought them to the Master. Awesome! This is a great indication that Matthew had stepped out of obliviousness. Matthew knew that this friends needed Jesus, and he brought them straight to the source...with food of course!!! Matthew recognized the brokenness of his friends, because he had been there. Matthew also knew something very important: Jesus didn't come for the people that have all together, or think they have it all together. Jesus came for the people that are falling apart. He came for the broken. Jesus came to mend. So what are the things that can leave me - or anyone broken?

  • Sin. Seems obvious. Almost goes without saying right? Sin. All those things that separate me from God. In my sin category I must include a few things beyond the Big 10 (see Exodus 20).  Pride - you know, my over inflated view of myself. I should also include worry - when I invest emotional, mental and spiritual effort in ways that do not effect change. Bitterness, Anger and Rage - longstanding resentment, or the habitual loss of control. An unforgiving spirit - holding on to hurt, and refusing to let God heal me.
  • People - Sometimes people damage one another. The damage we do can be intentional or accidental. We can leave physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds that run deep and cannot be denied.
  • Life. Life can leave us feeling like we have been chewed up and spit out. Life can get hard as a result of the poor choices I make. Yet sometimes it's poor choices someone else has made that splash up on me; it's not my fault but I still get wet and it stinks. Then there are the hard things that just happen. People get sick, businesses close, houses burn or flood or blow down. Hard things happen and I don't know why.
  • Church and Christians - Ouch. That one hurts doesn't it? God wants us to be a light not a blow torch (shout out to Matt Wilson). I've encountered Christians that are judgmental, hateful, vindictive, manipulative and cruel. I've been burned. Maybe you have to?  If so, let me just say I am so sorry. I may not have been the one that wronged you, but I will be the one to seek forgiveness. Christians are just people, and people screw up sometimes. Don't let that stand between you and Jesus. People will fail you, but God never will.
The Good News...God's big enough for all of that and more! 
God is in the mending business. I am being put back together by the hands of the Master ~ and it's not just a gift for me. To follow Jesus is to step out of the oblivious and step into the unknown. It's faith. It's not always seeing the big picture. It's doing what God asks, when God asks, for God's glory. It's nothing I can do on my own. Yeah, it can be scary. It can be hard, and it wont be comfortable. But I was created to be something more than oblivious, and so were you.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Great Chew - Part 2

Part 2 of the great chew . . . Thanks Pastor B, for speaking hard truth that I needed to hear. As I continue to ponder Matthew chapter 9 this is where I humbly sit and sip my coffee. So...Jesus says "Hey Trisha, Come follow Me." It's an offer. I can accept or I can refuse. Always the gentleman, God gave me the gift of choice and He meant it. God wants me and He wants you too, but relationship comes at a cost.

Lots of people believe in Jesus ~ not as many are willing to follow Him and fewer still will become a student. To be a follower (or a student) of Jesus there are some things that I must do, and they aren't negotiable.
  1. To follow Jesus I have to first accept His call. Jesus did not say "Sit, Stay where you are and follow me" NOPE! He said COME.  I am gonna have to leave some stuff behind. It will require action on my part. I make the choice every day. Do I sit or do I come?
  2. My sin has to be dealt with. Yes, we are all victims of the original sin of Adam and Eve but what I have to confess, repent from and leave behind is much more personal than that. There are ways that I fall short of Gods glory; behaviors that step outside of His standard, attitudes that do not reflect His character, words that flow like bitter honey from my mouth - and surely break His heart. It's ugly. It separates me from God. It's SIN.  
  3. I have to commit to the relationship. It's gonna take time. I need to actually MAKE time and stop just hoping that I will be able to FIND time to spend with my Lord.  Sometimes I wish God would text - but then I remember that he took the time to write me a beautiful love letter. Bible reading, meditation, study, prayer, worship . . . these are the things that grow the relationship.
  4. I have to be a sponge and a mirror. To follow Jesus is to become more and more like Him. I need to be a sponge that soaks Him in, and a mirror that reflects Him back. If I don't the time to soak in God and if I don't let Him adjust my characters to His, then my reflection of Him will become distorted. I am the student, the disciple if you will, and Jesus is the perfect teacher.
Do I believe? Ya. Do I follow? Yep. Am I a student? Yes, for the rest of my life. So whats the take away. Well here are the 4 questions that I wrote down:
  • Looking back over the last 12 months, can I see growth in my Jesus journey?
  • Am I a better sponge and a clearer reflection than I was 12 months ago?
  • If I am not growing and maturing, If I am not soaking up God and being changed by it, or If I am not a more authentic reflection of God to the people I do life with every day ~ who's fault is that? 
  • What's Next?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Great Chew - Part 1

A good message leaves you with something to think about on Sunday evening. A great message still has you digging deep on Tuesday morning. This week I heard a great message. Thanks Pastor B. Right out of the gate I heard some things that still have me chewing...or at least how I am processing it still has me chewing.

The message was on Matthew Chapter 9 - the calling of Matthew to be specific."As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. 'Follow me' He told him and Matthew got up and followed Him."  I must admit that I approach this passage of scripture with a few preconceived ideas. First, Matthew had probably met or at least heard of Jesus in the past; this was not their first interaction. Second, as a tax collector Matthew had a good stable (tho not necessarily honest) income. There were those who probably disliked him, but he was sure to have had his own circle of friends. Third, when Matthew got up for work that day, he probably had NO IDEA what God had in mind. This was potentially the first day of the rest of his life ~ he just didn't know it yet. Matthew was living just fine in the middle of his self gratifying, self satisfying, broken, messed up life. But did he know it? Before Jesus spoke his name, and beckoned him to come, was Matthew aware of the hollowness of his reality. Or was he OBLIVIOUS? Lacking active, conscious knowledge; unmindful; unaware.

Jesus does not call me to to a life of oblivious comfort.
Jesus came to deliver me from a life of oblivious contentment.

Jesus speaks my name too. He says "Trisha, follow Me".
The real question is, what do I do with it?
I know Jesus from the past; we even have a relationship. So I can relate with Matthew there.
And my life is pretty comfortable ~ predictable ~ dare I say it's even a little safe.
But is today the first day of the rest of my life? Is today the day that I set aside oblivious contentment and exchange it for deliberate, unrestrained obedience?

Hmm...what would that kind of life look like?
Tomorrow we'll recap the cost.