Category Archives: STUFF JESUS SAYS

How Wide Is Your Welcome? (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome matIn Part 1 I noted how the twelve, like us, had a hard time accepting people outside their own spiritual circle. “Those other so-called Christians might believe in Jesus but they believe a little different than us. They don’t worship enough, or maybe too much. They don’t evangelize the way we do or pray in a way that is unfamiliar to us. They’re not strict enough in their practice of faith or they’re too strict. They have a different name on their church sign than ours, so they can’t possibly be as right as we are!”

There’s a church in our community whose sign you can see from the freeway called “The True Jesus Church.” It’s a clear message to all who pass by that there is at least one church in town that presents the True Jesus. I guess all the others worship an untrue Jesus?

As we saw last time, we don’t have a very wide welcome if we seek to shut up those who belong to a different expression of the Kingdom. But, as Luke’s adjacent story reveals it becomes obvious that these same disciples had such a narrow welcome that they prayed to burn up people who reject them and their Jesus. Continue reading

How Wide Is Your Welcome? (Part 1 of 2)

Welcome mat

46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

49 “Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

50 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village. Luke 9

All disciples of Jesus are a work in progress. One way to know how far we have to go is the width of our welcome mat. Jesus’ first disciples had at the beginning a mat that wasn’t even wide enough to wipe one foot on! And it didn’t have the words “Everyone Welcome” woven into it. That sort of wide welcome developed over time. Continue reading

TO DANCE OR TO DIRGE? (Wisdom’s Many Children) Part 2

wisdom1In Part 1 we talked about how it takes more than one person, one church, one political party, or one culture to represent true wisdom, and how an over-identification with one over another is not only unwise but immature. Jesus said it reminded him of spoiled children whining about not getting their way.

“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance, we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:31-34

John and Jesus weren’t opposites. The way they conducted themselves was not contradictory but complementary. They both represented wisdom, while, from the outside looking in neither displayed to the naked eye all that wisdom entails. [Note: Of course Jesus was and is all that wisdom is, but to the ascetics of the day, he wasn’t ascetic enough. Although we might point out that he was born in a cave, fasted for forty days, and had no house to live in. Fairly ascetic from my point of view.] Continue reading

TO DANCE OR TO DIRGE? (Wisdom’s Many Children) Part 1

wisdom-sign“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance, we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:31-34

To dance or not to dance, is that the question? Or is it: To sing a dirge or not to sing one? Which one is it? One party believes in perpetual dancing and the other thinks we should live in continuous dirging, and neither camp respects the others, in fact, makes sport of them.

Which side are you on? Right or left? Choose you this day which you will serve, saith the Lord! If you want to be wise––wise like us––you’ll be like us and certainly not like them!

If I want to be wise, how should I live? As much as I want a handy dandy cliché answer to that, reason requires something more. Wisdom is more complex than that what one can sum up with one word, unless the word is Jesus! (See 1 Corinthians 1:24) But let’s come back to that…

The proof of wisdom is in all the kinds of people it produces.” Luke 7:34 (CJB)

If there were a town called “Wisdom” it would have to have a population of more than one! Continue reading

The Weaponized Bible

weaponizedbible

“…the letter kills but the Spirit gives life…” 2 Corinthians 3:6

“Weaponize” is a newly coined verb that means, “to convert for use as a weapon.”

A “Weaponized Bible” is a dangerous book used to justify many destructive and deadly practices.

  • They weaponized the Bible in order to initiate and perpetuate the crusades
  • They weaponized the Bible so they could in good conscience justify slavery
  • They weaponized the Bible to support Jim Crow laws
  • They weaponized the Bible to justify anti-Semitism (to the point of the Holocaust)
  • They weaponized the Bible to villainize Irish Catholics immigrating to the U.S.
  • They weaponize the Bible today to engender hate against gays, Muslims, Mexicans, and all the other “others”

Continue reading

Tour Guides, Matchmakers, and Show-and-Tell

hard-sellSalespeople scare me. I usually avert my eyes when they’re lurking near. I figure if our eyes don’t meet they can’t guilt me into buying something I don’t need. Car salespeople are the scariest. The “I’m just browsing” response doesn’t seem to persuade them to leave me alone.

I’ve noticed people using the same eye-contact-avoidance tactic when the God topic comes up in conversation. They can tell when we’re just trying to make a sale. Having been marketed into a comatose sales stupor they just can’t stand one more pitch. Their brains tune it out.

We know that salvation is free of charge and it’s not like we get a cut from every “sale” we make, but, if we’re honest, we are rewarded for making the pitch. The kids who compete for top magazine sales don’t get paid for their efforts, but the winner wins a prize––a pony in my day, today it’s more like a video game console or an iPhone. OK, so we don’t get a Playstation 4 for witnessing, but at least in the back of our minds we consider the admiration of our peers and an at-a-boy (or girl) from the Father. Aside from what this says about our relative spiritual maturity, our “customers” can detect motives as subtle as these and want no part of what we’re “selling.” While we may not ever be entirely rid of such ulterior motives, lest our witness is rejected off-hand, we should daily submit to the Spirit’s test for pretense. Continue reading

Go tell that fox…

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal. In any case, I must press on today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! Luke 13:31-33

protestorsThese Pharisees were no friends of Jesus. They wanted to run him out town under guise of sounding like they actually cared about his safety. “It’s too dangerous for you here. You should leave before Herod catches up to you.” Phonies! Jesus knew what they were up to and he wasn’t having it!

“Go tell that fox…!” You guys know exactly what foxes do. You’re doing it yourselves right now. You aren’t going to sneak into my head and scare me off from my mission.

“I will keep on driving out demons and healing people…” That’s what I do. I set people free from Satan, sin, and sickness. That’s my mission. Herod can’t keep me from it and your threats will not stop me from fulfilling my purpose here. You guys may have some pull and Herod has his power but you’re not gonna deter me from what God wants.

“Today, tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” I’m gonna do what I do and you can’t coax me off track. I’m gonna heal hurting people all day today, tomorrow and the next day until I have no more days. And I know that I have just enough time here to accomplish my goals. Continue reading