Monday, June 28, 2010

on my mind

I know, there are no pictures in this post...
Please read on.
I know, I know, if you're anything like me
you tend to skip the posts without the good photos...
but this one is better than photos, trust me!!!

Sundays lesson in Bible Class was REALLY good.
Outstanding if I may say so myself.
Usually I find myself following along and nodding in agreement,
but not writing anything down and not contributing.
Today I could not get my pencil to move fast enough
and I said more out loud than people knew I was capable of.

God is definitely stirring inside me.
Something has been asleep too long.
Complacency, taking things for name it.
It starts with the dumb smelly sheep post
and just keeps on working and working.
Thoughts, ponderings, wondering, musing...

I wanted to share here what I was writing down during Bible class this morning. In Bible Class for these few weeks we're going through the readings of the church year. You see, in the Lutheran Church there are three cycles and we read through the whole Bible (minus a few verses) every three years. So my hubby has been teaching on the readings for the day, in order to get more out of them and make connections between the Old Testament Readings and the New Testament Readings...there are reasons for the verses that are chosen for each specific Sunday. It's not done just willy nilly.

Let me give you the scripture verses we were working from and go from there.
Luke 9:51-62 from the English Standard Version (ESV)

A Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus

51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” [1] 55 But he turned and rebuked them. [2] 56 And they went on to another village.

The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus [3] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Some of that sounds kinda harsh right? Well, let's dig a little deeper.

Okay, check out verse 54. The disciples ask Jesus if He wants them to call down fire on the Samaritans who didn't receive Jesus. But Jesus rebukes them. Why? Well, it's simple really (but not really simple) The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of GRACE not a kingdom of power! Jesus didn't want the disciples to call curses and fire down on people, He wants them (and us) to show people LOVE, GRACE, COMPASSION...not fire and brimstone.

Moving on...

So the first guy (vs. 57) says he'll follow Jesus wherever He goes. But what is Jesus trying to tell him by saying, "the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head"? It won't be easy to follow Jesus. Following Jesus doesn't involve creature comforts. Following Jesus is a life of sacrifice. For example there may be some things that we'd love to do but really shouldn't as followers of Christ (disciples). It's about self-denial.
You've heard the saying before "being in church doesn't make you a Christian any more than being in a garage makes you a car" Well, that's what I think Jesus is saying here. It's not going to be easy. It's not going to make you popular, or rich. But you will have a fulfilled life. A life full of GRACE, TRUTH, LOVE and FORGIVENESS!! What more could one ask for.

Jesus says to the second guy (vs 59) "follow me" and he states that he will but after he burys his father. We don't know if this means "the funeral is going on I need to attend it" or "when my dad dies someday, then I'll bury him and come follow you"...but really it doesn't matter. Jesus tells him to let the dead bury the dead. Seems harsh right? Well what is Jesus trying to tell us? Don't make excuses. Don't put other things before HIM! Even things that are good and pleasing shouldn't keep us from Christ.
Sometimes our schedules can even be a problem, even when we fill them with good things. Sometimes those good things can keep us from a TRUE, PURE relationship with Christ.

The third guy says (vs 61) i will follow you but first let me go say goodbye to my family. That seems like an honest request right? Well, what does Jesus tell the man? “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Wow! How do you answer that one? Think about your family for a minute. Hopefully you have a loving and supportive family who wants you to succeed and do your best, wants the best for you. Imagine for a minute that you don't have that. You go back and tell them you're going to follow Jesus at all costs, think they may talk you out of it if they aren't believers? Think they may tell you no? They will probably want you to stay back with them in their lives of sin and not follow Christ. Now, what if we do have a supportive family then why couldn't we say goodbye? Again, I think it's about following Christ FIRST and foremost. It's like the acronym my mom teaches to her second graders JOY - Jesus, Others, You! Makes sense right?

Okay, here are a few other tidbits that I picked up...
*no one is suitable for the kingdom of God except Jesus. THANK GOD for GRACE!
*The sinful flesh is VERY patient and will wait. It's just waiting till we let our guard down. until we get complacent and then it sneaks in and gets us all messed up again...when we least expect it
*Do you have flesh? Is the devil around, alive and well in the world? Then you will be tempted, you will fall short...then you NEED JESUS! CRAVE CHRIST!
*We are ALWAYS relying on the GRACE of God! Whether we realize it or not!!!!

Awesome, awesome stuff. Just what I needed to hear. Along with some blog posts by amazing people and I'm ready to try again. Start each day by drowning my sinful flesh (which is a VERY good swimmer I might add) and picking up my cross to follow Christ. It won't be easy. I will drop my cross many times each day. But you know what they say about people who just gotta get up and start again.

That is my plan.
Just keep living for Christ.
Be a light in the dark world.
Show kindness.
Be GRACE-filled.

You with me?

(Oh and my hubby preached a GREAT sermon on the Gospel reading too. Check it out, you won't be disappointed. Just go to Mt. Calvary's website then click on video archives and scroll down till you see June 27th. It may not be there right away but please check back and listen to the sermon. You can fast forward to the sermon if you just want to hear that. Don't mind the lady in the front row...Naomi insisted on sitting in front. Not my choice but we did it! That's a whole other post!)

1 comment:

AJ said...

I love these verses! I seem to forget these teachings are there... and a BIG reminder to put Christ first above all! :) Good post lady!