Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who is in your heart?

A lot of people think following Jesus is about moral transformation, being a better person, or worse, being a “nice” person. Sometimes we even hear phrases like “That is the Christian thing to do” or “That wasn’t very Christian of you”, as if Christianity was founded by Miss Manners.

But being is Christian is less about being a “moral” person, and more about being a “conquered” person.

When a person becomes a Christ-follower, the Lord Jesus plants his flag in the soil of our hearts and begins his conquest. He displaces all rebellion, demonic or otherwise, and slowly, but inevitably, conquers every inch of our lives.

Inviting Jesus “into you heart” is not like inviting your BFF to your own spiritual slumber party where you can snuggle and feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s more like inviting the navy seals to subdue the terrorists of your soul. Even if that “terrorist” is your own domineering ego.

One scholar put it this way:

“The heart of man is a house which must have an occupant, and the only way to ensure that it is not taken over by disreputable squatters is to see that it is inhabited by the God who made it for himself. Exorcism is not enough: the spiritual life, like the natural, abhors a vacuum” C.B. Caird

So, who is in your heart?

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"WE" vs "ME"

“We” vs “me” in prayer

I don’t know about you, but when I pray, MY concerns about ME crowd in and become MY main concern. Thoughts of US and WE are pushed out my the big ME!

But that’s not the way Jesus taught us.

The Lord’s prayer is not a ME prayer but a WE prayer. Look at all the WE, US, and OUR in the prayer Jesus taught us (Luke 11:2-4).

“OUR Father in heaven, Holy be your name” - This expresses the desire of the whole community of faith that God’s name and fame would be desired and revered.

“Give US each day OUR daily bread” - I’m looking to the right and left as I pray for the needs I know my brothers and sisters have for God’s provision, not just my own needs.

“Forgive US our SINS for WE forgive everyone who is indebted to US” - As I live in community with other followers of Christ, toes will be stepped on. I seek God’s forgiveness as I forgive my fellow believers.

“And lead US not into temptation” - I am concerned not merely for my own struggles, but I watch the back of fellow Christ-followers who go through trials and temptations as I do.

So do your prayers reflect more ME or WE? Let US move to the plural as WE seek the Lord TOGETHER!

The well wisher of your OUR soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Chose your portion well...

“Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” Luke 10:42

One of the key motivators for moving from “Martha mode” to “Mary mode” is the portion we choose. Martha's chosen “portion” was submitting to the tyranny of the the urgent, outward pressure, and inward expectations. She was “distracted, anxious, and troubled” by these tyrants. She was joyless in the presence of Jesus and joyless in the service of Jesus.

Yet that was the portion Martha chose.

I’d like a different portion, please! I’d like Mary’s portion. And what would that portion be?

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup” Psalm 16:5

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

“I cry to you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’” Psalm 142:5

The key to siting at the feet of Jesus and listening to his voice is making his presence your portion. Only the voice of Jesus’ is strong and winsome enough to drown out the demands of the tyrants around you. Only the beauty of Jesus is compelling enough to divert our gaze from the joyless duties we take on. Only a taste of his goodness will keep us out galley slavery.

Jesus is our portion, Chose well!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,
Pastor Tom