Go and make Disciples...

Matthew 28:18-20

The Day After…

Sundays are the best days.  

Essentially it’s the day where God is glorified while man testifies.

But…the day after can be a completely different story.  

I usually teach and occasionally preach on Sunday and during the times of proclaiming the Word, God moves.  It’s an amazing feeling watching God touch the hearts of those in the congregation and seeing people come to Him.  It’s also a terrible feeling when I fall into sin the next day simply because I’m caught up with myself.  

There is no easy way out.  I’m trying to learn how to best persevere without shedding self-inflicted tears. 

Matter of convenience?

It was interesting going through the Gospels and reading the similarities through them all.  Yet this time, something stood out.  For the Pharisees’ and Sadducees’ it was a matter of convenience when it came to allegiance.  In Luke 20:19-26, they were trying to catch Jesus in a trap but it was not like they wanted to pay taxes anyways.  If they could only find one thing, one small thing against Him, then they could have their evidence to kill Him.  

In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus told Peter to pay the tax for both of them.  This was because Christ did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).  He was not there to cause chaos but to bring His message of truth.  However, in Luke 23:2, the leaders of the Jewish nation presented a false claim because they could not find anything wrong with Christ.  Here they said that He did not pay the tax, but that is clearly false because in Matthew 17:27 Peter pays for himself and for Christ.  

Additionally, in John 19:15, the Jews state that they have no king but Caesar.  This is ironic because they themselves despised tax collectors (tax collectors would usually be listed with other sinners Luke 18:11; 19:6) and thereby also despised the government that taxed them.  

In brief, the Jewish people studied the word but were not filled with intimate knowledge of Christ.  In the end, they killed the very Person who came to save them.  When it was convenient for them they would side with Caesar, and when it was convenient they would grumble and complain about the economic oppression from the Roman government.  

Likewise, do we run to the world when it is convenient and then blame God for the circumstances in our lives?  Do we search for joy in all the wrong places and then think that others have it way better than we do?  Christianity is meant for those who have a strong mind, men and women who do not easily sway from one side to the other.  Don’t make Christ a matter of convenience, follow Him in obedience.  

Washing Machine

Cool thing about illustrations is that they can go many ways.

Example 1:

You can throw any type of garment, any color and cloth into the washing machine and you expect it to be clean.  I’ve even thrown shoes into the washer and they’ve come out clean.  Although we are all different races and come from different cultures, we somehow are made clean through the blood of Christ.  He washes us.  He cleanses us.  

However…

Example 2: 

Sometimes we take God for granted.  We just throw things into the washer expecting everything to change but it doesn’t.  While God does forgive us of our sins, we still have to deal with the problem and the consequences.  People have skewed expectations when it comes to God.  They think He is some genie that just makes everything easy, but He’s not a “Staples” button.  Not that God has limitations, but He expects us to work things out on our own.  He expects us to communicate and work together for the kingdom of God.  

Problems may persist but solutions do exist.  

Collecting A Debt

You’ve heard of creditors running down people to get back what they are owed.  But imagine if you will, having God running us down to get back what He is owed.  He died for us and yet we live for ourselves.  He made a way and yet we decide to not move and stay.  

The urgency of living for Christ is completely lacking in much of Christianity today.  Speak of Christ and only some understand what the gospel is among evangelical churches.  Speak of discipleship and you will get more perspectives then the wheel of fortune.  

Someone has to motivate the masses.  Someone has to get them ready.  I get it, only the Holy Spirit can convict and change people but we as His messengers also have to proclaim a message.  

Although God does not come to collect a debt, we should be in a constant state of thankfulness exactly because He does not come to collect, but instead has come to protect.  

If He is protecting us from everything, then why not serve Him with everything?  He’s paid it all, time for us to stop dropping the ball.  

Alive

It’s not that I dont know that He cares, 

But its hard to feel in this chaotic despair…

As I keep feeding my appetite, 

I slowly lose the will to fight.  

God its harder now than ever before

And each wave tosses me further from shore.  

I’m silently crying “Hope is alive,”

Because I want to live and not just survive.  

Broken Glass: The Pieces That Fall

Went home the other day and found blue glass in front of my mailbox.  At first I thought someone had an accident and busted their tail lights, but on closer inspection someone had thrown a bud light beer bottle against my sidewalk.  So off I go to clean it up.  

At first it was easy collecting the glass because the pieces were relatively large and easy to see, but since there were so many small shards I knew that I was going to miss quite a few pieces. 

The glass got me started on an illustrative quest about how our lives are like glass and we have to choose carefully who we serve.  The world is enticing and no matter what we do we can never quite shake off sin.  Eventually you are going to break and no matter how much you try to get your life back together, you’re always going to be missing a few pieces.  Ironically, it’s the small pieces that cause the biggest problems.  What we don’t realize is that they are small issues and we just have to let them go, don’t be stuck on the details be in awe of His grace.  

You see, God heals us, puts us together, and makes us whole.  No need to go searching for the small pieces to put our lives back together.  No need to keep looking to the past and wishing that we could be where we used to be.  No need to keep thinking what if?  

The pieces that fall and go missing will hurt us, but let His love embrace you and make you new.  

Lights Out

The “icemageddon” hit Texas and random parts of Plano were without power.  My house was one of those places and yet the street lights outside my neighborhood were working.  Kind of strange because eventually my corner of the neighborhood stood in stark contrast to the rest of the surrounding city, a box of darkness surrounded by light.  

Got me thinking about how I take things for granted.  Things like electricity, heaters, and a place to live.  The process took about 24 hours to fix, which isn’t really even that long, but it did take me out of my regular routine.  

When something takes you out of your routine, you can become depressed/frustrated/agitated/etc. because you are unsure of what to do or you can adjust/tackle the problem/truck through and move on.  I’ve seen some of my friends get sidetracked by work, relationships, and school.  Each time they seem to be in the dark while everyone around them seems to be fine.  While everyone Christian knows that Christ can save or that He is the Light, many will still stay in the dark to figure out the issue themselves instead of seeking help.  

Transparency helps because you let the Light in.  You let people see what is going on in your life.  My life’s not perfect and my struggles are well documented, but I want help. In fact, I need it.  Let the Light in and let Him show you how to change.  It’s better to overcome through His strength than to be overwhelmed by yours.  

Tough Days.

Today I got into a fender bender.  As best as I can recollect, I was sitting in traffic, bumper-to-bumper, and I lost consciousness/fell asleep and next thing I know my knees slam against the counter in my car and I rear-end the car in front.  

I was up this morning to go to an ankle and foot clinic to get my injuries checked out on my feet from basketball related injuries in the past.  I wasn’t overly tired, and was confused as to why I got into the car accident.  No use mulling over the past, just have to be more aware next time. 

I was late for the appointment but it was ok, got some x-rays done, and they told me things I already knew.  Then the medication place called me, because I got a prescription for this custom cream, and it was $200 because my insurance doesn’t cover it; so basically I did not get the cream because it was $200 and immediately I think…”great…didn’t have to go and wouldn’t have been in a car accident.”  

But then that’s life.  Can’t predict what’s going to happen.  Can’t sit there and complain and about what already happened.  Just got to keep praising God and living life.  

Strangely enough, this is the 6th accident I have been a part of.  

First one was major and my fault (Toyota Camry).

- Category: Reckless, took a risk on a yellow light while turning left.

Second one was minor and another rear-end by me (Toyota Rav4).

- Category: Literally, day after I crashed the Camry was going to school and was impatient, not trying to let someone in.

Third was someone else’s fault but I let them go (Honda Element).

- Category: N/A.

Fourth was my fault and another rear-end (Honda Element).

- Category: Eating in the car and dropped something…yea I know.  

Fifth was someone else’s fault but I let them go too (Honda Element).

- Category: N/A.

Sixth was today and another rear-end (Honda Element).

- Category: Lack of awareness, tired.  

Either my Element has a way of getting into accidents, or it’s really sturdy and thus still driveable after ten years.  But praise God the lady was nice and we are both fine.  

Tough days are when we oughT to praise God even more, it’s all about perspective.  

Could it be…

That the ideals of a forgotten Man still ring true to this day?  

Christianity is by no means a majority and with the way that I am living I am definitely not helping the image.  For me, symbolically, Christ is everything I live and die for, but functionally I act like a rebellious and ungrateful child.  

It’s hard wanting to change and to put your foot down, and to invite others into your life when you become transparent.  But change I want.  Accountability I need.  Hold me to what I say.  Call me out when I am inconsistent in my actions.  

I want to advocate and advance the truth of a Man who is not forgotten in my heart.  

Living for God is like…

Driving at night with a bunch of stop signs.  

I know for me sometimes I’m just driving and then all of a sudden a stop sign comes out of nowhere and I screech to a halt.  

At night things are hard to see and in the same way it is hard to know what God wants us to do.  I think stop signs are placed in our lives to tell us to slow down and to consider something important, instead of barreling through life at break-neck speeds.  Maybe there’s something dangerous ahead and we need to stop and change direction.  Maybe we need to just slow down and take a breather.  Whatever the case is, we should remember that although we may not know where we are headed, God is navigating us through life.  We can choose to follow the signs or ignore them.  

So far for the life of David, toward the end of 1 Samuel and in the beginning of 2 Samuel, we see a man who is patiently living out his life.  He is anointed king but he is not immediately instated.  He killed a mighty warrior but remained humble.  He lead men into battle but always considered their well-being.  Also, he did not rush to kill Saul to claim the kingdom and neither is he rushing to claim the kingdom from Ish-bosheth.  This is not to say that he lived a perfect life.  He had his flaws and he his fair share of mistakes, but He followed the signs and waited on the Lord.  

As we live our lives we will not be perfect either.  I’m not a saint, I’m a sinner but that’s why God’s my center.  So wait upon the Lord and follow Him.  

Driving in the dark doesn’t have to be frustrating.  In the same way, living for God doesn’t have to be difficult.  Take your time, trust in Him and make His path your way.