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Friday, January 29, 2010

It's About Me


I hate it when God does that. I know it probably never happens to you though.

A couple of days ago I wrote about what I would say to the young man who was making unkind remarks about others if I got another chance. I would gently challenge him to greatness. Great people make the people around them better, they don't tear them down.

I'm not sure I should have written that because since then, I'm becoming painfully aware of how often I think of unkind things about others and then how tempted I am to say them! And here I thought God had something for this young man to learn but it was really me that he was trying to speak to!

Unfortunately, I'm seeing a theme here. If my wife irritates me (hardly ever happens), if my kids irritate me (yep, it's true - it happens), if people in general get on my nerves, I'm having to face the fact that it is usually much more about me and my "issues" instead of them and what I perceive to be wrong with them.

So, greatness slips from my grasp once again. But I'm still going to pursue it. A friend of mine's personal life mission is "More greater than me." I like that. Not there yet. In the meantime I will lean into Jesus to make my heart more like his heart.

Note To Self: one finger pointing out, 3 pointing in.

Matthew 5:27-28

dc

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pursuing Greatness

I was waiting for the chance and I got it.

A couple of months ago I was at an event where I was working alongside a young man of high school age. To be honest, he was a little rude, regularly commenting on the people around us in unflattering ways. I listened, but didn't say much. I asked about his life and learned some interesting things about him. He didn't ask about me and I didn't volunteer much. For people who don't know I am a Pastor, I'm fine with that because it almost always changes the conversation - like ends it! But there were some things I wanted to say to this young man. And I got the chance.

I was at another event and had the chance to work alongside him again and he began to engage in comments that were unkind. Finally I asked him, "Why are you saying that? It isn't of any value?" He responded that, as long as the person he was talking about didn't hear it, what did it matter? "Because it is unkind.", I said. Then I asked, "What do you think Jesus would think about what you are saying?" (I knew he had a connection with a local church so I thought he had some level of belief.) His response? "Jesus can think whatever he wants." I pushed back a little more and eventually there settled upon us a silence.

As I have thought more about that interaction, I thought of something I wish I had said. I wish I had said this: "You know, I am striving for greatness in my life. And one of the qualities of greatness is they make the people around them better. When you make rude or inappropriate comments about other people, you are not making them better and you are making yourself small. What do you strive for in your life?" Don't you find that you think of the most insightful things to say after the conversation is over?!

Oh well, maybe I'll get another chance. Maybe he will be thinking about that question I asked, "What does Jesus think?" I'm going to pray for that chance. 1 Peter 3:14-17

dc

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jesus Makes Me Uncomfortable

Sometimes Jesus makes me uncomfortable. There are some things Jesus says that I really like. Take, for instance, what Jesus says that is recorded in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”"

I like that. That is really attractive to me and I can get behind that (even though I have a hard time actually living it out!). But some of the other things he says, they just aren’t as easy to swallow and even more difficult to live out.

Beginning Wednesday, January 20th CSCC is going to be opening up the Worship Café to give the homeless in our community a dry, safe and warm place to sleep for the night. Each Wednesday night we will do this and, the hope is, other churches will fill in the other nights of the week. A number of groups in our community have been wrestling with the issue of homelessness and what our response should be. There have been a number of efforts to create a permanent shelter in the county that have failed to be executed. But, the bottom line is, there are still people who are cold, hungry and exposed to the elements in our community.

While we clearly understand that one night of warmth is not a long-term solution, we are compelled by our belief and obedience to Jesus to seek, as best we can, to love those in need around us.

The mission of CSCC is: “We exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ from our community.” As I have thought about sheltering the homeless, I started out thinking that we were doing a great service to them. And, in fulfilling our mission, we long to see the men and women who come to spend the night be introduced to Jesus and be transformed by his love. But as I have thought more about this and looked at the words of Jesus in the Bible, I’m coming to realize that this really could be more about us than about the people we are trying to serve.

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus talks about the final judgment and what will happen. He says some will be sheep (righteous people) and some will be goats (cursed people). The criterion Jesus uses to separate the people into the two groups contains some of those words Jesus says that make me uncomfortable. The criterion used is how the people treated “the least of these.” And he is very clear about what he means by this: people who are hungry, thirsty, naked, strangers, sick and in prison. The righteous were commended for their righteousness because they took care of these people. Even more, Jesus says whenever care was given to these people, they were really doing it to Jesus.

The thing that pleases God the most is when we are living like he intended, living as disciples of Jesus. The opening of our facilities for a night is not the opportunity to serve needy people, it is our chance to be disciples of Jesus. The funny thing is, as we serve others, we are really benefiting ourselves – we are being who God wants us to be.

A disciple is a transformed life who is abiding in Jesus such that they love God and love people. Loving those in need is loving Jesus, thus we become disciples of Jesus.

Frank Gates is the one who is really making this all come together. You should thank him for helping us be the people God wants us to be. Even better, you can help him help us be disciples by being involved. There are a number of ways you can help. Let us know if you are interested by emailing the church (csccoffice@pacbell.net) or give us a call. (530-622-2171) If you would like to see the guidelines and structure of what we are doing, let us know. We will email or send you a copy.

As well, pray for CSCC – that we could be disciples of Jesus. And as we do that, some other people would become disciples too.

Peace and grace,
David

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Terrorist Cell Warning

Got this from my good friend Marlo. Serious stuff.

"Terrorist groups operating in churches. Latest new reports are that five terrorist cel grops have been operating in many of our churches. they have benn identified as: Bin Sleepin', Bin Arguin', Bin Fightin', Bin Complainin' and Min Missin'. Their leader, Osama bin Lucifer, trained these groups to destroy the body of Christ. The plan is to come into the church disguised as Christians and to work within the church to discourage, disrupt, and destroy. However, there have also been reports of a sixth group. A tiny cell known by the name Bin Prayin' is actually the only effective counter terrorism force in the church. This group appears to be very weak. Unlike other terrorist cells, the Bin Prayin team does not blend in with whomever or whatever comes along. Bin Prayin' does whatever is neede to uplift and encourage the Body of Christ. We have noticed that the Bin Prayin' cel group has differnt characteristics than the others. They have Bin Watchin', Bin wiatin', Bin Fastin', and Bin Longin' for their Master, Jesus Christ to return. Which cell group do you belong to?"

"The face of the enemy frightens me only when I see how much it resembles me"