Posted in Different Scriptures, Spoken Word

Luke 14:12-14

It’s so simple we might have missed
What Jesus said to His host
Of course, He told him to invite those
Who have little reason to boast

Invite the poor, the crippled the lame
Even if you think they won’t come
Invite the ones who walk with a cane
Who can’t pay you back when you’re done

Relate to others outside of economy
Don’t worry what you get in return
We enjoy those around us and love genuinely
When receiving is not a concern.

“What if someone is blind and has money?”
Might be an obvious response.
Invite them because of God’s Love
Not because they can meet any of your wants

We’ve been invited to His feast together
And looking both ways down the table
We are seated with infinite others
None of whom is remotely able

Able to give back even a portion
In response to the banquet He’s spread
Especially when we pause to remember
He’s offered Himself as the bread

An exciting detail, that we might miss
As He gave instructions back then –
When speaking of throwing a party, you see,
He didn’t say “if”, he said “when”.

Posted in Different Scriptures, Uncategorized

as the world gives…

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” – John 14:27

A large part of the world is built and continually dependent on the lack of peace.  Advertisers know that in order to sell a product or service, they often must first convince you of your deficiency without their offer.  News sources know they must convince you of inherent anxiety that you can not shed without hearing the story they’re about to share (after these messages).  Our economy and daily connection to what’s happening in the world threatens to be shaped by these forces on a regular basis.img_1760

Into that kind of existence, we receive the words from Jesus again:

“I’m giving you peace…and I know the world offers you peace also.  The world offers you peace if you buy their product.  The world offers you peace if you utilize their services.  The world offers you an equation by which if you do “A”, they’ll accomplish “B”, and the outcome will be “C” (A + B = C).  But even if you attain “C” in this world, it is a peace that continues to allow disturbance so that you will continue to purchase the product, utilize the service, and listen to their voice of influence.

In fact, I want you to take an entire day off every week.  You don’t have to, but I invite you to gladly because it will shape your soul.  One day out of every 7, step out of the routines and paces of this world to declare and remember your freedom from them.  My peace and freedom are not an equation.  They are not dependent on any conditions of this world.  They are a gift that is continually poured out by the Holy Spirit – your advocate sent by my Father to remind you of all these things.”

May we respond to His invitation to Sabbath this week in ways that free us to be people of peace during the other 6 days as well…

Posted in Uncategorized

both sides.

A few years ago I was able to preach on Luke’s story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). I feel like it went well Sunday morning, with two services of asking ourselves who the Lazarus in our own lives might be? And also asking ourselves what might be the “gates” in our lives…the things that are separating us from those God is calling us to love towards Him. (economic, social, status, schedule, etc…) Some gates we create, and some gates are just “there” by nature of the world we live in.

image(4)As usual, those who preach Sunday morning, are usually called on to preach for our food pantry service on Monday morning. I was excited to have a 3rd opportunity. 🙂 But in prayer Monday morning, I realized that the message I was about to preach needed a shift in focus. Many of those who came to the service that morning were the “Lazarus” on the other side of the worlds’ gates. I spent a few quick moments trying to rework the approach.

We hear from time to time that the Gospel message is best understood by those who are oppressed, disenfranchised, suffering, outcast and downtrodden. That morning, I’m not sure if I understood it in a new light….but preaching it sure was a lot more exciting than it had been on Sunday.

God had me speak about the coming Kingdom…the coming “overturning” of this world’s structures and economy. The redemption of how all things work. The fact that God was with Lazarus in this world AND after….and no matter how sometimes we wish things in our lives would work out like what we see through our “gates”…..God is with us…..and THAT is a pretty exciting thing to be reminded of.

I think most of us have moments/seasons of both identities throughout our lives.

Sometimes we’re Lazarus. We are hurting, suffering, alone, in need….and we look through gates of (finances, social status, employment, titles, popularity, etc.) and we wish we had what was on the other side. But God is with us.

Other times we’re the rich man. We’re doing pretty good. Things with our (finances, social status, employment, titles, popularity, etc.) are going so well that we forget about those on the other side of that “gate”. God calls us to remember those….and that by our solidarity with them…we are with Christ.

In Truth, no matter what side of what “gates” of this world we land on….it’s important to remember that in the economy of Christ…the structure of the Kingdom….the curtain has been ripped down the middle.

How we live in view of that will affect a multitude of eternities…many of them growing up within our walls…