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500 posts, some crazy, some serious, about Christ and You!

English: Icon of Jesus Christ

English: Icon of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Devotional Thought of the Day:

 13  If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. 14  Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do. Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone.   2 Corinthians 5:13-14 (MSG)

27  God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. Colossians 1:27 (TEV) 

This is my 500th post.  That’s kind of bizzarre.

Thinking about it is odd, especially when I look at the stats and realize people from all over the world have come here, read a blog or two.  Some have even followed the blog.

I’ve thought about stopping writing a number of times, or just putting sermons up – which is how I started blogging.   The writing, spiritual journaling is something that happens, so why so share it?  I pray that its blessed some of you other there.

Some have been a little crazy, or self revealing, and the thoughts not well put together.  Others are more serious, nearly prophetic in calling us to realize what we do in our lives, and how it relates to God and those Jesus died for along with you and I.

Many have quoted a pretty crazy and serious pastor named Martin Luther, who didn’t like Christians being identified with his name.

Even more have quoted a Catholic priest/evangelist/pastor named St Josemaria Escriva.

Both of these guys had a heart for Christ’s work, for His love and mercy being revealed to others.  A heart I long to develop in myself, in my congregation, in the pastors I long to work alongside.  Not a mindset that is mission, but a heart that sees people who are struggling with life and with great love comes alongside them and helps them know Christ is with you!

For both those who trust in Christ, and those who do not yet understand why He is worthy of investing your life in, need to know that.  That I hope and pray is the outcome of this blog… that this sinner, justified by the love of God, has writtent words to edify and challenge you.  That it has done what those verses up there have said.  That you know Him, and know of the glory you will share Him, because He loves you.

That’s why this blog is here… and I would love to have some feedback, if it’s blessed you, if it’s helped you see Christ’s love. If its helped you know Him, if its made you think about your relationship with Him, that He’s drawn you into.  So if it has been a help in life – please leave me a note below.  It will encourage me to write the next 500..

Thanks and God Bless!


A Call to Teach/Preach about Jesus with our hearts as well as our minds…

Devotional Thought of the Day…

 4  Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” 5  I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other Christians. 6  And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. 7  Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers. 8  In line with all this I have a favor to ask of you. As Christ’s ambassador and now a prisoner for him, I wouldn’t hesitate to command this if I thought it necessary, 9  but I’d rather make it a personal request. 10  While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter—Onesimus!  Philemon 1:4-10 (MSG)

230         The wish to teach and to teach from the heart creates in pupils a gratitude which is a suitable soil for the apostolate.

I am blessed to be able to be at a church where I get to teach a lot. My people love studying the Bible, and so a majority of those in church stay for Bible Study, and come on Wednesday Evenings, or every other Thursday morning.  I also am blessed to teach some guys who want to serve in the church, to assist their pastors, and I get to work with a guy who is in seminary.

But the more I teach, the more I realize what Christian Teaching is, and isn’t about.

It’s not like teaching history, (even when we are teaching Church History)  or like teaching Math or English or even Ancient Greek.  While there are things to commit to memory, you want them more to be committed to the heart.   There are important details to remember – but more, you want people to know not just about Jesus, but to know Him.  To trust Him, to find Him with them, whereever they are, whatever they are going through.

The challenge is that teaching to the heart requires the “instructor” to teach from the heart and mind.  Or to use another concept – we isolate right and left brain and educate only one side at a time. Not just from one – but from both.  In the “West” or among people where the enlightenment and rationalism have become the process of thought, this is difficult – out educational models are based in such things as the scientific process and linear thought. We even think children are not capable of cognitive thought – that happens later.  Those that struggle with this go to the opposite extreme (as I often have) and try to focus on the experiential.  Role play and the experience dominate – even as we realize that people can learn more from failure than from success.

Even all this analysis loses the point – we must teach them with all our heart and with all our mind when we teach them about Christ.  That means opening up our heart – letting those we mentor/teach/guide see how Christ has ministered to us, we have to let them see the passion of knowing Christ’s love, the excitement and joy of exploring the depth and breadth and height and width of his love.  You see this in Paul’s pastoral letters – especially to Philemon, as he wants Philemon to experience the joy of seeing Onesimus as a blessing – and the challenge of restoring him and forgiving all debt.. being the blessing of seeing ministry done by Onesimus – because God has called him to it.  Such forgiveness?  You can’t teach that in just a sterile classroom.

Nor should a sermon follow the norm of an educational presentation, or a technical, missional briefing.  Nor should worship and liturgy be that kind of concept – dry, encoding of those who are completely passive.

It has to go beyond that – if we are teachers and preacher of the gospel want people to know Christ – we have to show them how much it means to us to know Him, to know His love. It requires us to be honest like Paul is in 2 Corinthians,

 7  We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8  We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11  Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12  So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. 13  But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14  We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15  All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.  2 Corinthians 4:7-15 (NLT)

This revelation, of how much pressure that Paul and crew and going through isn’t complaining, it isn’t whining…but it’s there to help the Corinthians realize God’s power and presence atwork in the life of every believer. It is teaching from the heart and the mind – allowing people to see his utter dependance on God and His love.   A bit hard for us guys to do, yet, for their sake, it needs to be done… and perhaps for ours – for we have to realzie our need for Christ.  This isn’t about him… it’s about Christ, and the hope and power Jesus brings and generates in us, for He abides in us.

Such teaching is powerful – not because it is emotional, but because it is real.  It cannot be programmed into a lesson, or a service, and it goes beyond manipulation.

It simply is our heart – resonating with the heart of Christ… bringing others to resonate with it as well.  For they will – far more than they will resonate to logic and dictated presentations….for in our healing in Christ – they find the hope of healing as well…..


Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1159-1160). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind! In Sight? Christ!

Out of Sight, Out of Mind!  In Sight?  Christ

Phil 3:4-14




May you see the incredible love and mercy of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ so clearly, that it robs you of any desire to focus your life on anything else!


Out of Sight, Out of Mind
The thing parents miss the most…

It is the one tactic that works in raising children for a while, that works so spectacularly that when it no longer works, parents and preschool teachers cry.

Described by six little words, oh the problems solved by it.

If I give you the first three words, I bet you will get it.  Heck, I bet some of you will get it with only one word.

Out ….. of ….. sight

Yeah – that great opportunity to simply remove something from the picture, and in a moment, most young children forget it was ever there.  You are driving past a golden arches, and they so want to go there… until of course you are 30 seconds past it…. Then it is forgotten.  

It is true for adults as well, especially spiritually.  Not so much for things like coffee and doughnuts and… bacon.

But spiritually, we are very much children – we have to deal with those things that are in front of us, and the challenge is.. what is in front of us!

What should Be out of Sight and out of Mind

In the epistle reading today, we see a great example of this very thing.  Paul talks of those things that we in front of him spiritually, consciously.  The things that gave him the confidence he needed when he was a young up and coming rabbi.  He had all the right boxes checked off, all the advantages that anyone could want.

Genetically – he was perfect, family – perfect (those are the root words in Greek Genea and phylum) the right schooling – the roughest and most demanding program which he excelled at, He even proved how loyal he was to his nation, to his religion, by squishing like a cockroach those who opposed it.

Imagine being the next American hero – a cross between Tom Brady and Bill Gates  – and being the captain of Stanford’s football team and making a 4.0 in a dual major of computer science and a MBA and while there – you invent a computer that costs $5 dollars to make –can be sold for $500 and blows away everything else on the market?

These are the things that Paul counts on, they are on the forefront of his mind – so much so… that they become a detriment. They actually are so incredible – so depended upon, so much in sight, that what was not in sight, was was not forefront in his mind… was that which every Jewish person for hundreds of years said they were looking for, the Messiah.

The very things that should have helped him to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, got in the way, as Jesus was standing before him all the time.  It is

These things – to put it simply, like the things we depend upon for our being considered “right” need to be put aside – for they distract us from what truly makes us righteous.  It’s not that we’ve been coming to church all our lives, or that we’ve been Lutheran for 10 years, or that we are Irish, or that we’ve done this or that, or we’ve worked hard, or whatever it is… for if you don’t see Jesus, these things are nothing more than…distractions.  It isn’t even that we belong to the very special church family,

Or As Paul says,

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.

What should be in sight, and in Mind

Even before Paul leaving behind all his stuff, there were two sets of brothers, who left their dad, and their family business, to follow a young homeless teacher, who a preacher said was the Agnus Dei – the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Another man, a very tax collector, left his tables on April 15th, to walk with this teacher.  Paul leaves behind everything else – it cannot capture his mind, or his heart anymore. Indeed, he counts them as refuse – not just the trash but the stuff that fills sewers and raises a stink.  St Patrick will, because of this very thing – return to the land where he was a enslaved and escaped – knowing that he could face death…because of what he gained in leaving it all behind.   Everything they were, they left behind…


Because of the infinite value of knowing Jesus.  Please hear this – it is the most important thing I can tell you.  It isn’t that we know about Jesus,  As the Epistle of James tells us, even demons know about Jesus – they recognize Him faster than anyone else in scripture.  It is not knowing about Jesus, it is about knowing him.

Luther explained it this way.

For all outside of Christianity, whether heathen, Turks, Jews, or false Christians and hypocrites, although they believe in, and worship, only one true God, yet know not what His mind towards them is, and cannot expect any love or blessing from Him; therefore they abide in eternal wrath and damnation.  The Large Catechism of Martin Luther.

They can know of him – but unless they understand God’s mind and will – that His desire is that we all come to repentance – the transformation that occurs when He comes to our lives, unless we understand His love and blessing, the motions we go through are worthless…

It is as we gain Christ, and become one with Him – as we are pulled into that intimate relationship with a God who loves us beyond anything we can imagine. That is when we begin to grasp what Paul says when he says..

I become righteous through trusting in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on trust. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

The incredible blessing that comes from knowing what happened to us here – as we were baptized, isn’t easy to comprehend.  How do you explain the “coming to life” that happens when we realize that we’ve been cleansed from sin, when the cross becomes more than just a historical event, but the place where our life completely transforms because we are untied to Christ there, at the cross, in our baptism?  Where we are united with Christ, and His death and the hope of His resurrection? 

Where we are united to Him!

A few days ago, the new pope said it this way, in his first sermon

“This Gospel continues with a special situation. The same Peter who confessed Jesus Christ, says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. This has nothing to do with it.” He says, “I’ll follow you on other ways, that do not include the Cross.” When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord.

Without the cross – all we have is the garbage – the worthless stuff, the things this world might recognize as important – but have no meaning in the face of life or death, that isn’t what will sustain a marriage, or as Pope Francis said, will sustain a church.  He went on, to recognize, very much like St. Paul, what would.  He said,

I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage – the courage – to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward. “

Though the challenge would be worded slightly different for us – it is when we are joined to the cross of Christ, that everything is transformed. As we partake of the Body and Blood of Chris. That we begin to realize what Paul says… how this can occur.

How it can be…

I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

You see – that is our key – to strive to “get” that we’ve already been gotten.  That in Christ, it is not the attaining of perfection or holiness that is what we are challenged with, it is not being good enough.

The battle, the fight is to realize that we are already there, that God is calling us to realize He is there… He is our vision – and then we don’t need to toss aside all these other things – all these other “good” things… for they will have fallen aside, and become out of mind…

For we will dwell in incredible peace – the peace that comes from living in the presence of God, protected there, our hearts and minds  kept there, for we are Christ’s possession. AMEN?

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