Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Milkbones and the Bread of Life

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger....  (John 6:35 ESV)

My dog loves treats.  I'm guessing she's not unique.

My wife plays a game with her, usually several times a day. where she takes treats and hides them around our bedroom.  Brandy then explores all over the room, sniffing out each place where she knows a treat has been left before.  It's funny how a dog who can remember where a treat was hidden once can't remember anything else, but I digress.

Eventually, accepting the fact that all of the treats have been eaten, she goes into the"roll around, rub against all the furniture (and mommy) phase of the game" until, you guessed it:

She wants another treat!

All this while her bowl of dog food remains uneaten and untouched, as still as when it was last filled.

And I watch her play, and realize that we are no better when it comes to God.

We'd prefer to hunt out tiny fractions of treats than fill ourselves with the more nutritious "bowl" of divine kibble.

Before you think I've lost it (or even if it's too late), hear me out.  How many of us spend more of our energy reading little devotionals, "liking" verses on Facebook, or relying on promise boxes rather than sitting and deeply drawing from the well of God's word?

Jesus said He was the bread of life, and He would fill us forever.  Why don't we stuff ourselves with Him rather than settle for the crumbs that fall from human hands?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Christian Intoxication Part II

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."  Jesus to His disciples, John 15:5

If you read last week's post, you know that I have been hit squarely in the face by a video sermon we watched at our church two weeks ago by a man named Pete Briscoe.  Pete quoted a commentary writer as referring to the Apostle Paul as a "Christ-intoxicated man."  That phrase continues to haunt and challenge me, and as I ruminate on it, I am finding more and more ways in which devotion to Christ parallels alcohol or drug intoxication.  However, let's all agree first that just as parallel lines never meet, Christ-intoxication and alcohol-intoxication never meet, i.e. they are unrelated and independent of one another. 

As a quick review, last week I made three comparisons.

One, Christ-intoxication is a choice.  It does not happen by accident.

Two, Christ-intoxication begins with something small, just as alcohol-intoxication begins with that first drink.

And three, Christ-intoxication requires replenishment.  One does not stay drunk on anything forever unless they continue to "drink" of it.

Now, moving on to more comparisons, I note number four: Christ-intoxication makes us do things we would not normally do if not Christ-intoxicated.  Story after story could be told about someone who did or said something totally out of character during a wild night of boozing.  In the light of day, when sober, that person or his friends excuse it under the umbrella of alcoholic impairment.  Similarly, the Christ-intoxicated man or woman does and says things that they would never do apart from Christ.  As the verse above teaches, apart from Jesus Christ we can do nothing ministry related.  It takes Him, ingested and filling us, to accomplish anything fruitful.  And the "drunker" we are, the more out of character we will be, until just like Otis from the old "Andy Griffith Show", our Christ-intoxication indeed becomes our character.  It becomes who we are!

Five, the Christ-intoxicated man or woman craves only more Christ.  Those who have been inebriated know that at some point during the evening, the drink becomes the major focus.  We believe that we feel better and better with each drink until, as alcohol will do, our bodies are shut down and we can drink no more.  The Christ-intoxicated person craves more Christ and more Christ, until HE shuts our bodies down in death, and welcomes us to our eternal home with the words "well done good and faithful servant."

Six, and last (for today anyway), Christ-intoxication is much more fun with other "drunks."  People have noted forever that it is unhealthy to drink alone.  Indeed, some see that as the first sign of a problem.  In much the same way, the Lone Ranger Christian who never wants to be around other Christians has a problem.  And it's just as dangerous if not more dangerous than the alcoholic's issue.  True Christ-intoxication feeds off of others' Christ-intoxication, and the Christ-intoxicated person not only wants to be around others, she LONGS for it.

Those are today's thoughts.  There may or may not be more coming.  In the meantime, do you have any thoughts about this??

Friday, September 14, 2012

Christian Intoxication

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit" ~Ephesians 5:18

This past Sunday evening, our church began a video-based series encouraging us to "Lead Beyond Our Walls."  As we prepared to begin this series, I admittedly watched this week's (and the others) video several times.  But one phrase from Sunday night continues to ring in my ears.

The preacher in the video, Pete Briscoe (Sr Pastor of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas) quoted a commentary writer in his summary of the Apostle Paul.

The writer characterized Paul as a "Christ-intoxicated" man.

Wow.  Would that be said of me.

And as I go through my week musing over this phrase- what it means, how to become one, how to apply the thought to my own life- several ideas come to mind.

One- just as with alcohol, intoxication is a choice.  People seldom get drunk on accident.  Oh we might start innocently, "limiting" ourselves to one or two drinks, but eventually and often, the drinker allows one drink to become two and two to become four until they are drunk.  Similarly, being intoxicated in Christ

Two- drunkenness begins with one drink.  This seems obvious, until the whole "it's not a sin to drink" argument starts.  But skipping that argument and getting back to the one at-hand, just as drunkenness starts with one drink, Christ intoxication starts small.  Those who would seek this type of life need to start somewhere- a quiet time, a bible study, something that will head you down the path to more.

And this leads to three, or my big realization yesterday.  Just as alcohol intoxication requires more and more alcohol to stay drunk, Christ intoxication needs a constant renewal of Christ in us.  We cannot expect to remain Christ intoxicated by "drinking" of Him once a week anymore than a drunk can expect to remain drunk only drinking once a week.

In conclusion, might we now paraphrase Christ's words of the last being first by toasting "bottoms up!"?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Remember....

OK, I admit it.  One of my favorite movies is "The Lion King."  So I'm a sucker for good animated movies.  Can you blame me?

Bluraymufasa.jpgSo as I'm trying to decide what to write on today, thoughts of last night's small group meeting come to mind. 

We started a study on 1 Peter, and without adding all twelve verses that we read, Peter writes to remind his readers (who are exiled and homeless by the way) that regardless of their circumstances, regardless of their losses and suffering and need, they have so much in Christ to be joyful over that their trials are really nothing.

In short, remember.

And the bulk of our discussion was on this very point. 

How do we remember what we have in Christ when our co-worker is fighting against us or our child is crying or our spouse is being difficult or we get cut off in traffic or we fret over the future of our nation or the kids are sick or I hurt my arm or..or...or...

Peter's answer is simply to remember.

Remember His great mercy (1 Peter 1:3).

Remember we have an inheritance waiting for us (verse 4).

Remember that our salvation is being guarded and awaits us (verse 5).

Remember that our trials will only last "for a little while" (verse 6).

Remember that our trials will result in "praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (verse 7).

Remember.

God, help us to remember and not forget the awesome blessings we have in Christ.








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