A Fictional Re-telling Of A True Story

A little girl named Liz, was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her five-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed. The doctor explained the situation and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, ‘Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.’

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister, and smiled, as they all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, ‘Will I start to die right away?’

The little boy had misunderstood the doctor. He thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her. This boy loved his sister so much that he was willing to die instead of her – as her substitute. This story is simply an illustration of what loving substitution means.

God loves you.

The amazing and wonderful message of the Bible is that God came to this earth in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, and died in your place. Words, images, metaphors, pictures and illustrations (such as that of the five-year-old boy) can help our understanding, but they can never perfectly describe the indescribable love of God. Jesus died to remove all the bad stuff. He died instead of you and me.

That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.
~ Mark 10:45 MSG

*** This fictional retelling of a  true story was in my One Year Bible reading today.

Wash Your Hands & Then Wash The Feet Of Others!

I am pretty sure we are all washing our hands more than any other time in our lives! Our mothers would be so proud of us.

We are supposed to wash our hands for 20 seconds which can seem like an eternity! I saw a pastor suggest … “What if, while we are all washing our hands for 20 seconds (multiple times a day) we used the time we are washing our hands to pray for people.”

What if you prayed for people during those 20 seconds? Then you made a decision to not just wash your hands. But also, to go wash someone else’s feet!

Before you check out … I am not saying go knock on your neighbor’s door and say, “Hey, good to see you … would you be open to me washing your feet this afternoon?”  That would probably freak them out.

But in the Bible in John 13 we see this incredible place where Jesus showed us what it means to serve others … by doing for others … what no one else wanted to do for others.

Jesus washed his disciple’s feet.

He did something that no one else wanted to do.

This week we could decide to do some things that others really don’t want to do?

We could …
– Offer to watch someone’s younger elementary age kids who are no longer in school so their parent(s) can still go to work.
– Help an international college student who nervous and is having trouble getting back to their home.
– Make a grocery run for someone who is older and doesn’t feel safe getting out.
– Bring some of our precious hand sanitizer and disinfectant and help clean someones house so they feel safe and more at peace in their own home.

Let’s love, serve and live like Jesus.

 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. ~ John 13:3-5

Social Distancing & The Sacrifice Of Jesus

You and I have been living with this 6-foot thing called “social distancing” for many weeks now. Or as some introverts are calling it, “Heaven on earth.”

The truth is all this social distancing has caused us all to realize how much we took for granted just being together and being outside.

I feel like this meme captured it well!

In this pandemic, 6 feet evidently makes all the difference.

As we think about how dark this COVID-19 virus has become, there’s also a few sparks of light. 

  • People are getting more intentional and focused with their time, energy and resources.  In this season of separation so many people are reaching out and serving others. It’s inspiring as we really do become the hands and feet of Jesus. 

Another bright spot in this darkness …

  • Churches all around the world, large and small, are embracing technology and actually making more people aware of the love and sacrifice of Jesus by moving so much ministry online.
  • And it could be that you are meeting family members that you forgot lived in your house, because you’ve been so busy for so long!

We are all being reminded of the things that matter most. And it took a pandemic, something dark, to help many of those good things come into the light.

You see when Jesus went to the cross, He also went to battle against a pandemic of sorts. The world was infected with sin. 

Philippians 2 says Jesus “let go of his grip on heaven” (where there was no pandemic / no sin) to come to earth” (where the pandemic of sin was running rampant.)

And Jesus …

  • Walked with us …
  • Talked with us …
  • Ate with us … 
  • JESUS GOT CLOSE TO US!

And then in a move that no one could imagine … he took on our sin and he went to the cross.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Cor. 5:21

He took on the virus, to save us from the virus.

No one fully understood why he needed to travel down that road that Friday. But today we understand. We realize the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was the ONLY vaccine for the pandemic of sin. 

Good Friday isn’t a holiday we really want,
but it is a holiday that we really need. 

Think of it this way: We want this whole 6ft social distancing thing to come to an end, we want this stay at home order thing to end. We want to get past it and get on with things.  We want to get back to life, and back to work, being with friends. It’s hard to be cooped up in the house, restricted, and we’re not sure how much longer we can do this. 

BUT …

  • If 6ft really will make a difference.
  • If 6ft really will stop the spread and flatten the curve
  • If 6ft really will save people lives.

We will do it. 

And I would suggest to you on this Good Friday, 
that is also why Jesus did it.

Jesus knew his sacrifice would save our lives.

Researchers say that the average male height is almost 6 feet tall, give or take a few inches. They also say that your wingspan – from fingertip to fingertip is a one to one ratio. 

That means if Jesus fit our height averages today, the distance from Jesus’ fingertip to fingertip is about 6 feet. 

Jesus spread out his arms 6 feet on the cross
in an effort to defeat the pandemic of sin
and show us what love really looks like.
 

Today, there is a literal and metaphorical 6 ft of separation in our lives. There is the literal 6 feet of separation that we must have between ourselves and others during this crisis. And that is a challenge. But even more challenging and perplexing and frustrating oftentimes is the other areas of our lives where we experience separation.

  • The 6 feet we feel between addiction and recovery.

Sometimes that 6ft feels like 6 miles! You are so close to recovery … but yet it feels so far away.

And it’s the same way in our homes …

  • That 6 feet we feel at times between our self and our spouse who lives in the same house.

We are so close to each other in proximity / often less than 6ft / but that 6ft. can feel like 6,000 miles when we are not on the same page relationally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

  • And what about the 6 feet we often feel between our self and God … sometimes God … feels like He’s a million miles away. 

And we wonder, how do I …

  • Overcome this addiction 
  • Repair things with my spouse or kids or neighbor or boss or best-friend
  • Get close to God again?

Here’s the deal … that is what Good Friday is all about.

That’s why we call it “good.”

You see Good Friday presents to us historical evidence that a man shattered the barrier that separates us from so many good people and things in our lives. 

Jesus is THE WAYMAKER when there seems to be no way. And because of Jesus we can come close to God again. You see friends we MUST pause and realize today that …

The dark road that Jesus traveled to the cross on Friday,
is also the road that brought us back to God on Sunday.

It’s true we are living in a “Friday” world right now. Basically every day feels like a Friday. It’s pretty dark, and sad, and scary. There are all kinds of unknowns … 

It’s definitely Friday … but don’t forget friends … Sunday is coming!

God bless you and have a fantastic Easter weekend.

The Online Church Is On Fire!

Yes, we are moving our gatherings and giving online … but we are staying on mission. It doesn’t matter if we are on campus or online. The Church remains on mission ether way!

Here is what I believe …

I believe we are going to be forced to learn things in the coming weeks and months about how to gather online that are going to grow Gods Church and advance His Kingdom rapidly and more comprehensively into the digital age.

And I am certain that God is not surprised by the Coronavirus! God is not looking down saying, “What … whoah … when and how did this happen?
Where did this originate?”

He knows and He has also given us the digital tools to continue meeting and growing even in these uncertain times. I believe that we are going to see God move big time in His Church around our nation and our world. Though we are separated physically, this coronavirus crisis is going to unite Gods Church globally.

I believe this because when we study the early church that grew like wildfire you see they met in “temple courts” and “house to house.”

Acts 5:42 – Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

– Temple courts … is more like our large church buildings and campuses.
– House to house … is well … our houses / our homes / our online campuses.

Gods Church can and will flourish as we gather from house to house to house to house to house to house to house.

I truly believe, even as we sit here today with some uncertainty, if we could see into heaven right now. All heaven is gathered around saying … “Oh man, watch this … watch what God is doing on earth during this uncertain season.”
– People are unleashing compassion like never before.
– People are leaning into His Word all around the world.
– People are praying and uniting their hearts in unprecedented ways.
– People are using their homes as places to gather and broadcast Truth!

Could it be … could it be … that one of the ways that GODS CHURCH is going to explode and begin to reach all nations is through hundreds of thousands of online gatherings like we are experiencing this weekend?

Could it be that the message of Jesus will spread like wildfire across the world as many thousands of churches move their message online more than any other time in the history of the world?

More people are going to have access to Gods Word, Worship and Prayer this weekend than any other weekend in human history!

As ministries move online, Gods church is going to be on fire.

“We should on God” – SHOULD HAPPENS – WEEK 4

The last should of them all …

This is why …
– The person you work with or your neighbor makes jokes, or is cynical about God.
– The person you go to school with says they are an atheist.
– Your husband, wife, brother or sister, aunt or uncle said “I’m out” and quit going to church.

It’s because at some point in life God did not act like we think He should.

Shoulding on God is not a religious thing.
It’s not a church thing.
It’s not a Christian thing.
It’s a human thing.

Everyone single person on this planet thinks they know how God “should” act.
If I do this … God will do this. It’s like He is required to do this if I do this and then He doesn’t.

And we “should” all over Him.

This message talks about how we can continue to trust God, even when we don’t understand or agree with God.

What should I be considering during communion?

Jesus made it very clear to his overwhelmed disciples that communion is time of remembrance.

I Cor. 11:23-26 – The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

The very need for the word “remember” signifies that we tend to forget things. And I believe a big part of our stress, anxiety and sense of feeling overwhelmed is because we have forgotten some things about ourselves and our God that we should remember!

So, what are we supposed to be “remembering” during a time of communion?

What should our minds be considering as we take the bread and juice that represents the body and blood of Jesus?

What should we be thinking about …

  • As the trays are passing by
  • The lights are low
  • The room is quiet
  • And most of our heads are bowed

 

WorkJoy & Pancakes – The Personal Side

In part one of this article we realized there’s really no right or wrong way to eat a pancake.
There is not one side that tastes better.

Neither side of a pancake is more important.
Both sides matter.

Likewise, if one side gets burned it affects the taste of the other side.

It’s the same way when it comes to your work.

To experience joy at work there are two equally important sides.

You should make your work a better place,
and your workplace should make you a better person.

In part one of this article we considered how to evaluate if a person is making their workplace better. We looked at this subject from the perspective of the organization.

Today, we are taking a look at the personal side. We are going to discover several ways you can become a better person as you make your work a better place.

Here are three ways you can find value from the personal side of the work relationship:

  • Work in teams. This will make your product better.

It doesn’t matter what you are creating, a team will enable you and others to accomplish more with less stress (eventually) and in less time.

  • Work in strengths. This will make your potential better.

It doesn’t matter what you are creating or leading, if you create and lead from your strengths (delegating your weaknesses) you will produce better things, in less time and with less stress.

  • Work ahead. This will make your process better.

Good things happen in the margin. When you “work ahead” you make your career, calling, family, friendships and personal life taste better.

WorkJoy occurs when you add value to a place and that place adds value to you as a person.

Who you become is more important than what you do.

Decide today to strive for double-sided WorkJoy!

 

The multiple priority myth

I recently heard Greg McKeown, the author of a book called “Essentialism,” speak at a conference.

In his book he points out the word “priority” has been around for many hundreds of years. But we only pluralized this word within recent decades. Fascinating!

Today, because of our pace of life, we have lost track of the principle of priority as we focus on multiple objectives and initiatives. And to be honest … I love this fast paced, multi-hyphenate type of life and schedule. Each week I have many lanes that I am working in which means multiple priorities in any given hour, day or week.

And if I am not careful, I can trick myself into believing and living as though there is more than one “most important thing.”

But the fact is, in my life there can only be ONE priority.

Then everything else I do can flow from the blessings
of keeping the word “priority” singular.

This past weekend in our “BACK IN THE BLACK” teaching series at Parkview I touched on this topic.

Here is one minute of the message.