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Archive for January, 2011

6 He is not here; he has risen!

It is amazing how love drives you.  Two women who loved Jesus came to the tomb to take spices to cover a dead body only to see that he has resurrected.  “Why are you looking for the living among the dead…He is not here; He has risen.

I remember when Drew Nutter was real little…as in held him when he was born.  I guess one of the benefits of getting old and hanging around for 22 years is that I get to see a lot happen in their lives.  He was born.  He was Born Again.  Yesterday, I baptized his 10 year old (excuse the southern drawl) “growed up self”.  Yesterday he helped me remember the resurrection and the promise that one event has in my own life.  I shared in Christ’s death at age 11 when I became a believer and I will share in His resurrection on a day of God’s choosing.  Drew and I have that in common now.

God still lives in the living.  As that old hymn “He Lives” says in the chorus “…He lives within my heart…”  I get to live this very moment knowing He knows me and by his indwelling presence empowers me to face every moment of my life.

I grew up in church.  I know all about being a Baptist.  I know the rules and all the legalistic stuff.  However, I was trying to remember this morning when it was that I finally walked around the legalistic graveyard where those religious people with all their own dead bones had done their best to bury Jesus only to discover that HE LIVES.  He died, was buried, and God resurrected Him so that I might LIVE now and forever.  Religion finds it comfortable in a graveyard.  Because of Christ – I can live!

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When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]

Psalm 8

You ask God to show you one verse and this is where it landed for me this morning.  I was captured by the first verse because it is the phrase that a chorus at church has been developed around.  It has been a long time since I have heard the chorus…“Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth…” Michael W. Smith put those words to music.  I remember the first time I heard it and remember with pleasure worshiping the Father through those words.

However, it is 5:43 a.m. and the moon is full and shining through my window in my office at home as I write this morning.  There is no sun to outshine and against the darkness of the early morning is captured by its presence.  It’s backdrop has changed from a dark black to a early morning blue and yet its glory has not changed.  It’s presence dominates the sky.  Created by God, the moon is hanging in space in the right place, going at the right pace, held there by the gravitational pull of the earth doing exactly what the Lord wants it to do…reflecting the glory of the sun.  It is clear outside, cool, and it seems that the chorus of stars that can still be seen is glorious.  No single detail with the stars, moon, heavens is out of gear…were it so, we would be destroyed.  The whole of the heavens is so intricate and synced with perfection.

David said he looked at the heavens, stars, moon and is captured that the One who made all that would find the time to be lovingly captivated with those of us on the earth.  What is Jim Crooks compared to all that God has made.  According to this verse, I am one that God is mindful of…a human being that he is in love with and (just think – He cares for me). Over 20,000 Chinese people are becoming Christians each day – what a thought and He is mindful of me.  14 million Southern Baptist’s and He is mindful of me and cares for me.  He knows my name.  He is intimately involved in my life this very moment.

Consider me blown away again!  He knows me.  He cares.  He is mindful of me…

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31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip.

There was no crowd at that wrestling match.  In this corner, Jacob.  His Opponent, God.  “Ding” Jacob looses.  God wins.  Jacob could walk when he entered the ring.  After the match, his hip tendon caused him to walk in a crippled way, however, he walked straighter than when he started.

It did not say.  In this corner, Jacob.  His Opponent, God.  “Ding”  When it was over he had a new house, was prosperous, all the people in his world were healed, a chicken in every pot and a new car in ever garage.  No!  That’s Ding-a-ling theology.  Sometimes we wrestle with God and come out crippled…however, one can do more crippled than whole.

God was still at work!

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Luke 10 29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

It’s all a matter of who you ask?  Ask the Thug.  Ask the religious ones.  Ask Christ.  Religion asked Christ and he answered in this parable.

Neighbor

The one who is near.

The one right in front of me.

Love the Lord. Love neighbor.  Define “neighbor”!

Poor Jew…beaten by thugs…slighted by those who are “supposed” to be his friends…comforted by one  his own bigoted heart rejected.

Theme song:  Thugs – NO HEART I don’t care about you.  What’s yours is mine and I’m gonna take it.  Supposed Friends: HARD HEART I care about myself.  Religion says – What’s mine is mine and I am going to keep it.  Samaritan:  SENSITIVE HEART I care about you…I am filled with compassion and moved by your dilemma – What’s I have is given to me by God and I am going to use it to help my neighbor.

Satan Crushes – he walks over you “The thief comes but for to steal kill and destroy”- Religion is useless – It walks by on the other side – Christ Comes to us – “I have come that you might have life abundantly” – He finds us and becomes part of our life…finds us wounded…stops to help…pours out his blood…promises us new life now and forever…

We call ourselves “CHRISTians”  Act like it!  One would expect a thug to Steal, Kill and Destroy…but you would expect one who has Met the Master, become a Believer in that Master to have the same traits as the Master…The Master said he did not come to be served but to serve and give His life…

 

Love your neighbor?  It’s the least we could do…

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45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

“Produces.”  “Manifests.”  It can be seen.  there is no such thing as a closet believer.  If you are a believer you can tell it.  Just look!  You love those that hate you.  You love.  You don’t judge.  Love your enemies.  Give.  Bless.  Turn the cheek.  Ask for a coat…give them your shirt as well.  Lend.

It’s all a matter of the condition of the heart.  The “…treasury of a good heart…the treasury of an evil heart…”  I am assuming that God would want me to go the Great Physician and have a heavenly cardiologist check the condition of my heart.  I am looking forward to the day when the “fleshly” human side of me puts on the eternal and I won’t struggle again with the flesh.  The promise of that is already secure.  It is living here that causes me stress.

Put off the old man.  Put on the new man.  There is a difference that can be seen in people who are believers in the living Christ.  He lives in us.  You can tell…or at least you should be able to tell.  Folk should be able to see my life and detect the presence of the Lord IN ME. They can see the difference in the way I handle issues and situations…handle people…love others.

The taking off of self…and the putting on of Christ.  Selfish to Selfless.  It can only be achieved by being submitted to the One who life within.

It all flows from a change within.  Look at the evidence and one will be able to see the truth.  Don’t make judgments…just take notes.  Let what I see indicate my real identity.  What do I see?  What do others see about me?

I am thankful I have friends.  Father, I am so glad that You chose to live in me!  I depend on You to help me deal with the flesh so I make no provisions for the flesh, but live in the Spirit’s guidance every moment of this day!  I trust you!  I praise God for your work in my life.

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3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon,[b] its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.  Luke 5

There was Peter the businessman…a man with leprosy and one paralyzed…and a tax collector for goodness sake.  I am amazed at how comfortable people were around Jesus.  He did not wait for Peter to come to church.  He did not demand that the man with leprosy and the paralyzed man make it to the “healing meeting” before he touched their lives.  I wished I could have seen Levi’s face when Jesus stopped by and started a conversation that ended up with Matthew following Him.  I am teaching through the book of Matthew now on Wednesday nights.  Jesus loved people.  He saw the potential in them.  Their predicaments and circumstances did not blow Him away.  He got in the mix with them where they were and wow, what a difference it made.

I did notice that the “religious church folk” were really upset that he would spend time with “those people”.  I think he enjoyed people.  It was the “religious” that made Him sick to His stomach.  You would think that the “Bible Belt Big Shots” would have gotten it.  You get stuck on yourself and it is a tough thing to get unstuck…and religion is a sticky subject.

I am aware that some of the toughest places to reach people are in the pews of my church.  Those pews are filled with people who are religious enough to have their minds filled shut…they are “used to the old wine of religion” and are not open to the filling of the new wine of the Spirit of God’s moving them into a living daily relationship with the Lord Jesus.

I guess I will get myself ready and enjoy meeting people.  May I be open to the one right in front of my face today.  I don’t want to miss a single opportunity.

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Gordon Mote

When Anthony Burger died I wondered who in the world would be the pianist for the Gaither stuff…however, when I heard Gordon Mote play the  first time and saw what a miracle and gift was exhibited in what he played I was blown away.  Then I heard him sing his wife a song, and wow!

Never let it be said that what we might call a handicap never handicapped this man!  I put it here because I was spell bound by it…

 

 

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