Monday, November 24, 2014

Does Jesus Value Animals as Much as People?

How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭12‬:‭12‬ NIV)

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭26‬ NIV)

Jesus clearly valued animals--he  values all that he created.

His work on the cross will not only redeem humanity--it will redeem all of creation. He'll create a new heaven and a new EARTH (Rev 21-22). So Jesus values all of his creation including animals.

However, I think it is also clear that Jesus values humanity over all the rest of his creation.

Of course, the irony is that we are least deserving of his value and love. But then isn't that his point?

Grace is getting what you don't deserve.
Mercy is not getting what you do deserve.

He's given us his incredible grace and mercy. That's the point of the cross. That's what God's love looks like.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Using the Lord's Prayer Practically

“This, then, is how you should pray: “ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’ (‭Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭9-13‬ NIV)

Here's a basic way to apply this passage practically.

        L-Learn/Listen to the prayer
        O-Obey/pray/live the prayer
        L-Lead others to do the same thing

This is the essence of disciple-making. It's what we should be doing with every passage of scripture with grace and truth. Lord, find us faithful and fruitful. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Help Your Heavenly Chef

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭13‬ MSG)

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭13‬ NIV)

I love the way Eugene Peterson translates this verse in the Message paraphrase. I want to camp on one phrase he uses that I think amplifies this passage well.

"You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth."

You've probably heard that salt doesn't flavor food. What salt actually does is accentuate the flavor already in the food. It brings it out and makes it much bigger--tastier.

In the same way, we (Christ-followers) are to be the salt of the earth. We don't make anything on earth God-flavored. But we can bring out God's already-present flavor by letting him work in and through us. Basically, we let him shake us out of his heavenly salt shaker (The Church?) all over this world.

So our role isn't to be God. It's to make his already awesome God-flavors in our world more...tasty. We get to salt the earth for our heavenly chef.

What is God saying to you right now?

What are you going to do about it?

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to live fully in the moment with eternity in mind

Live in the present. Be all here. Don't worry about tomorrow. Today has enough trouble all by itself.

Live in light of eternity. Keeping the future in mind gives us what we need to live with healthy perspective. 

Well, which is it?

It's both.

We obsess about tomorrow. And often it leads to worry. We worry about Friday's test or Wednesday morning's high-level meeting. We worry about becoming a parent for the first time or about that second job interview. We often let things in the near future rob us of fully living in the moment. As a result, we often miss those moments consumed with anxiety and stress.

Jesus told his disciples, 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34 NIV)

We also forget that life is short. Sure, 80+ years sounds like a long time. Long, that is, until you think about how long eternity is. Billions of billions of years...plus. Then life starts to feel insignificant. 

But, if we consider this idea long enough, we start to see the wisdom in considering how our life will impact eternity. And we adjust how we live accordingly. Wisdom is powerful.

The half brother of Jesus writes,

You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14 NIV)

The interesting thing is that it's in light of both of these perspectives that we should live. In fact, we really can't live in the moment very well until we live in light of eternity.  

Jesus gave us the remedy for how to live in the hear-and-now, as well as, in light of eternity. He said, "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well." (Matthew 6:33 NIV) In other words, keep Jesus and his agenda your agenda and you'll live fully in the moment with eternity firmly in mind.

Francis Chan does a great job with this idea visually in a message he shares when he speaks about this. I encourage you to listen to it.

Francis Chan - Living in light of Eternity - YouTube


Jul 11, 2011 - Uploaded by joshuatrinity
Francis Chan uses a Rope to get the message of how important it is to live in light of Eternity.

What is God saying to you right now?

What are you going to do about it this week?

Friday, November 14, 2014

18 Words for 18 Years

I recently wrote these for my young friend, Noah. I'm hoping they might encourage someone else too.


Here are 18 words (of wisdom is debatable but here goes) for your 18th birthday:

In on particular order...

1. Be thankful in all things.
2. Smile. You have a great one!
3. Keep asking great questions.
4. "Keep your eyes on the clouds and the crowds." -Greg Stier
5. Be refreshing.
6. Eat well. (Physically and spiritually)
7. Exercise regularly. (Physically and spiritually)
8. Be creative.
9. Play often.
10. Read, read, read.
11. Take walks and pray aloud.
12. Run, Forest, Run!
13. Be fully alive.
14. Word.
15. We're better together.
16. Family matters.
17. Don't be afraid. God is with you.
18. Jesus is Lord.

Happy Birthday, Noah!