Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Sheep in unexpected places?

I've been wondering from time to time about the mantra heard in many churches regarding those "good people" we all know who will never darken the doorstep of a church for one reason and another, yet they live lives that look more Christlike than that of many professing Christians.

While reading Jesus' explanation of a parable in the book of John, this statement stood out for me:

"But the true sheep did not listen to them..."

It opens up for me the concept that there are still a lot of Christ's followers in the world who have not heard the voice of the True Shepherd in any churchs they may have experienced, yet still they do hear it somehow, at least sometimes, and live accordingly. And when they do eventually encounter The Shepherd more directly and intimately, they will indeed respond more fully yet. Isn't this why Jesus hung out with people outside the overtly religious circles of his day? And might it not explain why he found a better reception there than he did with the Religious Ones?

I'm wondering...

John 10:7-10 (NLT)
... "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. [8] All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. [9] Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. [10] The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"show" ... Not "tell" ...

As part of a committee looking to update and develop the mission for our little cogregation, I am scanning the scripture to clarify what God's desire for his church is as a whole. I notice that here it says "show" ... Not "tell" ...

"... you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, ...". 1 Peter 2:9

Monday, December 13, 2010

Time for a change?

"You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin." - Hebrews 10:6

I'm often surprised by how often we Christians go running into the Old Testament to find rules and principles to live by, while over-looking Christ's specific teachings and examples of love clearly expressed in the New Covenant.

Why do we fail to grasp that much of what is expressed in the OT was intended to be a temporary agreement between Yaweh and one particular nation? True, it was pointing them to the permanent and ultimate truths of God, but it did so by accomodating some of their needs that Yaweh expected them to "grow out of" just as a child grows out of its need for diapers.

Yet, thousands of years later some of us keep running back to the same old s-tuff... ;-). I wonder why?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Like an army for doing good

I like the image this verse evokes - that God is mustering a people dedicated to winning the world for God, through goodness and selflessness rather than violence.  

This is the Way - the Only Way to win the hearts and minds of the world.

Titus 2:14

"He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds."

See it at

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not Our Favorite Verse

This admonition by Paul in his letter to the Romans is not the most popular verse in the Bible:

"Pay your taxes, too... For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do." Rom. 13:6

Thursday, December 2, 2010

For Good

As I read this passage today: 

"For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone." Romans 11:32

I was reminded that everything God does is salvific. He never gives up on us. Everything he does is intended to win our hearts and minds to (eventually) love and follow him. This is so different from our human nature that sometimes I need to be reminded. When I read a passage that says God punishes disobedience, etc., I tend to envision something harsh or angry going on because that's my human experience. But with God this is not so.

Whenever God corrects or disciplines us, it is always for our good and it is applied with love, gentleness and patience. (i.e. ... Love is patient, love is kind...etc.)