Friday, November 18, 2016

No Condemnation

In John 8 a woman was caught in adultery and set in the midst of the people to be stoned. Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”.  Everyone left because they were convicted of their own sin. Then Jesus asked, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? . . . Neither do I condemn you.”  

WOW. No condemnation. Forgiveness. Love. Wonderful words from scripture. But wait. We can’t leave it there. While Jesus did not condemn her, He also did NOT condone her actions. He continued with “go, and sin no more.” He loved her and forgave her, but He did not say what she did was okay. He called it sin. He then adds, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

My heart has been broken recently by those that call themselves followers of Christ yet want to openly hail their sin in front of others in the name of love and acceptance. We all sin. I sin. But I’m not proud of it and will not hold it up as a banner to others. 

Make scripture your guide, not what others say, not what I say. The only way to know if your actions line up with God’s Word is to be in God’s Word. Fill your spiritual jewelry box with His words.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

That's Not My Job

I read an article a while back about people who say, “That’s not my job.” We all know someone that lives by the letter of the law in their job description.  They aren’t what we would call a team player. While I will concede there may be a time for someone to clarify what is and isn’t their job, many times in a work environment employees are not willing to do more than what they believe is required. 

Sometimes this spills over into our personal lives as well. What are your roles at home? Who prepares the meals, who takes out the garbage, who does the yard work? Have you ever found yourself saying, “that’s not my job” or maybe thinking it? 

What about our walk with God? We have defined roles for our pastors and church staff and Bible study leaders and volunteers. We each have our own gifts. But whose job is it really? What is our job as followers of Christ? 

If we are filling our spiritual jewelry boxes with God’s Word, then we can just reach in and pull out our job descriptions for the day.  Love others as Christ loves us. Forgive others as God forgives us. Help others, have compassion, extend kindness, be patient, share the gospel, be thankful in every situation, trust God, pray, serve others  . . . 

As Christians, we can’t say, “That’s not my job.” God has called each of us to follow Him. What’s in your spiritual jewelry box? 

“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It's Not Personal. It's Business.

One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. In this movie Tom Hanks owns a large book store chain selling discount books that puts Meg Ryan’s quaint children’s book store out of business. His line throughout the movie is, “It’s not personal. It’s business.” Finally Meg Ryan’s response is, “All that means is it isn’t personal to you. It’s personal to me. It’s personal to a lot of people. And what is so wrong with being personal anyway?  Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin with being personal.”

For some reason I thought about things being personal while driving to meet a friend for coffee after work.  Traffic has been worse than normal for the last few months. It’s as if the number of cars on the road doubled. As I’m anxious to move forward in traffic and wishing these other cars would just get out of my way, I thought about how impersonal that is.

Every car on the road has a driver similar to me probably wishing the same thing. The traffic and lack of forward progress is personal to each of us, yet none of us really cares about the other one. Aggressive driving isn’t personal. It’s just business. But to each of us individually, it’s personal.

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second is to love your neighbor as yourself. That’s personal.

So as I’m driving through a double dose of traffic, I realize I am selfish. It’s all about me and where I want to go. It’s my business. But what happened to being personal? What happened to love? I’m definitely not the only one on the road. These cars are not driving themselves.

Maybe I should think of the person in the car next to me that needs to move into my lane and has had their blinker on for 3 blocks. Maybe the person behind me is driving to an important doctor appointment, to pick their child up from daycare, or to their elderly parent’s home to cook dinner. I’m on my way to coffee with a friend. Does it really matter if I get their 10 minutes late? Oh, that is so hard for me.

So today, I’m going to take Meg Ryan’s advice and remember it ought to begin with being personal. More important than that, I’m going to remember what’s most important is loving God and then others. To love Him is to obey Him, and that will produce a love for others and being personal.

If you see me on the road, wave. I promise to be looking and wave back. It’s not business. It’s personal.