120 Over 80

Don’t ya just hate going to the doctor’s office?

I mean, sure, it’s necessary and all…but come on. No matter how good I feel about myself going in I always feel like an unhealthy blob when I leave.

I feel like I should take a moment here at the beginning to be sure to thank all of the incredible men and women who dedicate years of their lives to medical training. I am incredibly thankful for all that they do in order to help ensure the health and safety of others.

With that being said, I still don’t like Dr.’s appointments.

I have tried to nail down my reasoning for being apprehensive. It is the long wait? The florescent-headache inducing lights? The uncomfy bed-table thingy covered in the paper stuff that they make you sit on? The slightly judgmental look when you answer the “how many cups of coffee do you drink a day” question?

No. It’s not that stuff. The reason I don’t like going to the doctor is that every time I go I am reminded that I should be doing better, but I am not.

I am not as physically fit as I should be and that is no one’s fault but my own.

My doctor can tell me to cut back on the donuts, exercise more, and drink less coffee. But ultimately it is up to me, and only me, to make those decisions that will actually impact my health.

My health is my responsibility.

And guess what? The same goes for spiritual health.

Pastors, teachers, and mentors all are of tremendous value in pointing us the right way and helping us to grow in our relationships with God. It is so important that you have a person, who is more spiritually mature than you, to help guide and direct you. We need godly examples in our lives to help motivate, correct, rebuke, and instruct us.

But as the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

Pastors can show you the good news of the Gospel, preach to you the truths of God’s Word, and exemplify Jesus’ love…but eventually, you must make your own choice.

You, not your mom, dad, spouse, pastor, teacher, friend. No, you choose whether or not you will live out a spiritually healthy life or not.

You choose what unhealthy things you will cut out of your life or not.

You choose whether you will exercise your faith or not. Whether you will stretch your discipleship and evangelism muscles or just allow them to atrophy.

But what will you choose to be?

Will you be spiritually obese? -Going to church on Sundays and reading your Bible every day, but yet never sharing with others what you have learned? Maybe you know a lot about Jesus and the faith, but you never actually do anything with that information.

Will you be spiritually malnourished? -Never cracking the Bible open for yourself? Maybe you try to do a lot for others, but you never actually allow your own soul to be nourished by the truth.

Or will you be spiritually fit? -Consuming truth both on Sundays as well as every other day and actually allowing that truth to transform you. Being both a hearer of the Word and a doer of the Word.

It’s time that we get serious about our own spiritual health.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7

Not My Name

This week at my church is the incredible, exciting, draining, and yet fulfilling event known as Vacation Bible School. VBS has always been an extra special time around here, and last night was just the beginning of what I am sure will be a fantastic week.

Last night in the Bible lesson we talked briefly about the Tower of Babel. Do you remember that one? It’s in the 11th chapter of Genesis if you would like to read it for yourself. (You probably should.) One of the neat things that I have experienced at just about every VBS that I have ever been a part of is that the truth shared is just as relevant for adults as it is for the kids.

Anyway, back to the Tower of Babel. Actually, the story is more about the people than the actual tower. You see, God has told mankind twice now in the book of Genesis to “be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen. 1:28, 9:1) It’s important for us to understand that God’s command to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth is about much more than just simply having babies. It is about obedience to God and making His name great.

The problem with the people of Babel? They chose not to obey God. The settled down instead of spreading across and filling the whole earth, and they tried to make themselves famous instead of God.

The ancient people ignored God’s instructions, clustered together, and tried to make themselves great.

Sadly, not much has changed.

People now, just like people then, have a tendency to ignore God’s clear instructions, cluster together in alike tribes, and make themselves great-often at the expense of others.

So, what do we, who have put our trust in Jesus, do about this? Or how should we respond?

We first start by looking in the mirror.

God’s Old Testament command is echoed in the New Testament when Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) God told Adam and Eve to reproduce in order to produce children who would know, obey, and love God. God now tells us to produce disciples who know, obey, and love Jesus.

But the temptation to cluster together and build a name for ourselves is ever-present. Sadly, at times, churches can be so focused on programs and events that they lose sight of what is truly important.

We cannot worry about increasing our church empires, we need to be focused on increasing His Kingdom.

Francis Chan has a pretty matter-of-fact quote “Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly.” Ouch.

The Bible is pretty clear that those who follow Jesus are to be lights in this dark and dying world. We need to shine in the dark and we cannot allow the comfort of our familiar tribe to prevent us from doing so.

Tribalism is a dangerous and unproductive thing and it has no place in the church of Jesus Christ.

Now, let me be clear, I am not advocating that we stop spending time with the people whom we love and are comfortable with. What I am saying though is, let’s be sure to be active in our love and Good News witness to people who don’t fit inside of our cookie cutter vision.

There are a whole lot of people in this world. Many of them do not look, think, act, smell, sound, or see things the way you do. That is O.K. Our objective is not to make people become just like us. Our goal is to show people how to become like Jesus.

I don’t want to make my name great.

I want to make His name great.

Priceless

How much is a single human life worth?

How much is the life of a stranger worth? How much is a life of a “bad guy” worth? How about the life of a celebrity? What about the life of someone from that country or region? How much are their lives worth? How much is your life worth?

They all have the same answer.

Priceless.

I’m sure we all have read many history books that describe the “dark days” of civilization. Back when human life was viewed as cheap, and atrocities were commonplace. Unfortunately, for millions of people worldwide, those dark days are not just history, but a present reality. The human race isn’t as sophisticated as many would like to think.

Today, many of us will be waking up, drinking our coffee, checking social media on our pocket screens, and going about our normal everyday lives.

At the same time…

Today, many others will be waking up in slavery. Today, many others will not be waking up at all. Today, many others will decide that their lives are worthless and will choose to end them. Today, many babies will die and never be allowed to see the light of day.

It is incredibly hard to think of these things. The rush of emotions is a combination of heartbreak, sorrow, bitterness, anger, numbness, despair, and outrage.

But then there is hope.

There is a God who listens when the oppressed cry out and He rescues them when they call upon His name. (Psalm 107:6)

There is a God who created each and every one of us in His image. A priceless work of art. (Gen. 1:26)

There is a God who left heaven in order to save the helpless and hopeless. (Romans 5:6)

There is a God who offers unrestricted hope. (1 Peter 1:3-6)

There is a God who offers life. (John 14:6)

So many people in our world have proclaimed with their words and actions that life is cheap, meaningless, and in many cases just plain worthless.

We must be louder. Our message that life is precious must be uncompromised and unrelenting. Because that is God’s message. Life is so precious to Him that Jesus laid His own life down in order to ensure that others could have it.

So, what do we do? What do we do with the fact that tens of millions of people are being trafficked every day? What do we do with the fact that over 20 million babies have been killed since January? What do we do with the fact that suicide seems to be such a normal thing that there are now T.V. shows that glorify it? What can we do?

We can love our neighbors. (Matthew 19:19, Luke 10:25-37)

We can speak up against injustices. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

We can be a reflection of our Savior. (Romans 12:2, Matthew 5:13-16)

We can pray. (1 John 5:14-15, Matthew 5:44, Philippians 4:6)

We can remind people that God has made them and sees them as priceless.

 

If you need help, or if anyone you know who needs help, please check out these websites below.

https://needhim.org/

http://pricelessmovement.com/

http://anthemofhope.org/