Thursday, June 17, 2010

"I was hungry and you gave me no food. . ."

Recently I was challenged by the another quote from Frances Chans' book, Crazy Love. He asked the question, "How would my life change if I actually thought of each person I came into contact with as "Christ." ie the person driving painfully slow person in front of me, the checker at the grocery store who seems more interested in chatting than ringing up my groceries, the member of own family with whom I can’t seem to have a conversation and not get annoyed?" That in essence is the way Jesus wants us to see people, Matthew 25:37-40.

I was actually tested with that this week when I went to see a man in prison. I was waiting in the foyer to see him when they released a man who had been in overnight. They escorted him through the foyer and out the door. Then almost immediately after he left they building, a lady came out with a spray bottle trying to deodorizer every where he had been. He did smell but more than that, he was extremely unkept, unshaven, a bit crippled and elderly. Much to their dismay and a bit to mine he came back in the building and sat down across from me. To be honest I didn't want to talk to him, cause I didn't know what to say. I almost said something about his shoes. They were bright orange slip-on tennis shoes. They reminded me of the soccer shoes some of the World Cup players are wearing so I thought they were sort of cool. I'm glad I didn't say anything though because in the course of the conversation he told me that that they were prison shoes. They had given them to him because he didn't have any of his own. As it turned out he was not only shoeless but homeless too.

I didn't do anything for him, except talk to him. In the end I was convicted as to how I see people who "hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison" Do I see them as a nuisance or as if they were Jesus? Jesus would want me to see them as if they were Him and give them food because they are hungry, water because they are thirsty and something to wear (even if it was orange shoes) because they are naked.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Think You are Getting Old?

Think you are getting old? Well chances are you it’s true. And if you weren’t sure of it here is a list of things that each high school senior have never known or never been without.

1. They have always had Cartoon Network to watch 24 hours a day
2. They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.
3. There have always been flat screen televisions.
4. Phil Jackson has always been coaching championship basketball.
5. Britney Spears has always been heard on classic rock stations
6. They have never been Saved by the Bell
7. Most communities have always had a mega-church.
8. Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”
9. They have never used a card catalog to find a book
10. The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables. Beloit College Mindset List
Now if you didn’t feel old I bet you do know. Compare that with the top ten things you and I never knew. We never knew. . .

1. a choice in tennis shoes
2. self-serve gas stations
3. seat belts
4. cell phones
5. bike helmets
6. personal computers
7. cell phones
8. ipods
9. DVD’s, DVR’s, ATM’s and BFF
10. and blogs!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Have You Ever Had to Repent?

Have you ever had to repent? I did recently when I came across another quote in Frances Chan's book Crazy Love. In wrestling with how to define success he said, "God's definition of success is pretty straightforward. He measures our life by how we love." (Frances Chan, Crazy Love, p. 93)

How do you love? And more importantly who do you love? Do you love only those who will love you in return or do you love your enemies. Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:43-45, ESV)

In our culture, even if a pastor doesn't actually love people, he can still be considered successful as long as he is a gifted speaker, makes his congregation laugh, or prays for "all those poor, suffering people in the world" every Sunday. But Paul writes that even if "I have all faith so, as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing? (1 Cor. 13:2-3 ESV)."

How do you define success? It seems that nothing we do in this life will ever matter, unless it is about loving God and loving he people he has made.