Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Live Sent

“And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” Luke 9:1-2

Being a follower of Christ means that you are a “go-er”. Christianity is all about “go and tell”. Jesus never waited for people to come to him, he went to them. And his followers are called to do the same.

We are sent with the words of Jesus (the message of the kingdom = the good-news), but we also go with the works of the kingdom. Jesus came to heal, to release, to set free. And so, his followers are sent with healing and freedom.

I may not be able to miraculously “heal-on-demand”, as Jesus did. But I can go to people with a caring heart, a listening ear, and practical demonstrations of love. Like helping out. Like praying for people. Like being a friend.

There is more pain, suffering, and bondage in middle-class suburbia than we can ever know. You don’t have to scratch very deep. And we are called to go in that direction.

So ask Jesus to open your eyes to see who he is sending you to. Ask him for more “villages” to go to. Ask him to make you a pipeline of life-changing truth and heart-healing love. Live sent!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,

Pastor Tom

Missionary Steve Saint's Flying Car!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jesus Makes Us Kosher*

If you were living in a Jewish culture in the first century, one of the major social faux pas to avoid would be becoming “unclean”. No, we are not talking about laundry or personal hygiene. We are talking about ritual purity that made one fit (or unfit) to join the community in worship.

Lots of things could make you “unclean”: skin diseases, touching a dead body, eating pulled pork or bacon, stepping on a grave, having your period, or going into a gentiles home (to name a few). If you were “unclean” you were barred from worship. And in a synagogue centered society, you might as well be wearing a scarlet letter.

So what does Jesus do in Luke chapter 8? He delivers a demon possessed man among the tombs and pigs. He has contact with a woman with a discharge of blood. And he touches a dead girl to heal her. Each of these acts would technically make him “unclean”.

But instead the opposite happens: The man is delivered, the woman is healed, and the girl is raised from the dead! They all become clean through contact with Jesus.

You see, Jesus is stronger than “unclean”. He makes unclean things clean again. “Cleanness” flows from Jesus!

So why are you trying to “clean up your act” so you can approach Jesus? With all your sin, and guilt, and shame, you can’t make yourself clean enough to approach him anyway! But here’s the miracle: just go to him and you become clean. Just touch him and his cleanness flows to you! When you draw near to Jesus through faith, you become clean!

Go ahead, give it a try!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,

Pastor Tom

*(“Kosher” is the Jewish word for “clean”!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jesus' One Sentence Evangelism Course...

Say the word “evangelism” and Christians get a little uptight. It sounds intimidating and we feel unprepared. “I don’t know what to say”, “What if I am rejected?”, “What is I mess up?”. These questions reflect our uneasiness with sharing our faith.

So we read another book, take another evangelism course, memorize another “canned” presentation and then fall back into to inertia.

But maybe it’s not that hard.

In Luke 8:26-39, Jesus heals a man who was tormented by demons for years. Unsurprisingly, the man then wanted to go with Jesus to be with him. But Jesus had another mission for him. In the most succinct statement of what evangelism is, Jesus said to the man:

“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.”

That about sums it up. Evangelism is nothing more than declaring how much God has done for you. Keep it personal. Keep it real. What has Jesus done for you? What does the cross mean to you? What difference does Jesus make in your life? Not somebody else – you.

So, go experience Jesus, and then declare how much God has done for you!

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,

Pastor Tom

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Doing the Dishes...

“You prepare a table before me” – Psalm 23:5

“Dishes Night”, “KP”, “Scullery”, whatever you call it, no one seems to like it. It’s that night when it is your turn to set the table or do the dishes. It’s tedious and messy. Yet it is a necessary nuisance, so we do because it’s “our turn”. Nobody sets the table because they enjoy it, do they?

To “prepare the table” is to serve. That’s how ancient religions served their gods. They would get the sacrifices ready, get the proper utensils, and literally arrange the table for their god. In religion we serve God.

But in Christianity God serves us. That’s right, God serves us! (read all about it!)

In our view to serve is to be “beneath” someone else. In God’s view to serve is an exalted position.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Mark 10:45

In religion, we prepare a table for God, in Christianity God prepares a table for us! And he delights in “setting the table” before us.

So stop “serving” God as if you were going to impress him, earn brownie points, or persuade him to look favorable upon you. It won’t work. You are not all that impressive!

But Jesus is! And when we are united with Christ through faith, God is delighted in us!

So, come and feast at the table God has prepared for you! (check it out)

The well wisher of your soul’s happiness,

Pastor Tom