Month: February 2016
Just a quick memory for now. Back in the 60’s my dad and a group of men from his church (St John Presbyterian, Tampa FL) went to Montreat to hear Martin Luther King give a speech. I have a video one of the men took but you only get to see Marin Luther for a couple of seconds – but still very historic and interesting. That speech dad talked about how great is was for literally the rest of his life.
I have listened to the Oldies music radio stations for many many many years now and have enjoyed them for the most part. BUT I have noticed that they tend to only play the biggest hits and they get recycled over and over it seems. There is a big part of my fondest memories that I spent listening to and singing the songs that never cracked the top 10. These songs go into the makeup of memories from my past.
From the Naked Christian BLOG. . . . . interesting but I have to think about this for a while. . .
7 Surprising Reasons Jesus Was Not A Great Man
Jesus was not a great man. Read the Gospels, read what others wrote about Him. He did not want fanboys or screaming teenage girls chasing after him in a concert. If He walked the earth today I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have found Him on the cover of success magazines or celebrity rags showing off on the red carpet his latest $20,000 outfit.
When He lived with us, Jesus did not try to set himself apart from the rest of humanity and rise above the din of the masses. He didn’t focus on self-promotion, tweeting He was the great musician of all time or being successful in any generation’s definition of the term.
1. Jesus was not a great man; he was fully a man
Jesus was fully a man, and yet He was the best of us. He was fully a man, in everything that it truly meant and means to be human. Fully involved in the complexities of His world, the duties and responsibilities of being a man to His Heavenly Father, his family, his friends, his disciples, his community, the government, his region—the world.
Weeping for the lost and the broken, crying out against injustice, speaking truth, loving and caring, doing something about the hurt in the world, even to the point of death, death upon a cross. None of this was below him or not worthy of His time and attention while He was busing trying to be successful and great. He was fully, without reservation, a man, unabashedly involved in everything that it means.
2. Jesus was not a great man; he never sought greatness
Jesus was not a great man, so He calls us to walk away from greatness and walk in His footsteps instead. Because who doesn’t hear the siren call of success? The beckon of the crowds, the allure of the 3 seconds of fame, the desire to be recognized, honored, known. How many likes can we get, followers, tweets, or reblogs? Why do we take so many selfies?
Greatness calls all of us to set ourselves apart from the crowds, distinguish ourselves, set powerful goals that will lift us up from the humdrum of everyone else. To be anything, anything else than simply a man, a woman, a human with all of the duties and responsibilities to our Heavenly Father, family, friends, church, community, government, region—our world that entails.
3. Jesus was not a great man; he did mundane work
But in doing all that it requires to be great, are we not setting ourselves apart, trying to be something more? Who has time for the poor and the needy or with the tasks no one wants to do, like cleaning the toilets or sweeping the floors? I’m too busy trying to be important or noticed.
Who has time day in and day out to sit with the kids, take them to school, pick them up, have dinner with the family, help with homework, actually listen to your spouse, your friends, your family—I’m too busy for all of that.
Or I won’t be content with what I have or the paycheck I have; not that wanting to provide for our families well is a problem, but it becomes an obsession to be more, earn more, show what I can really do, more and more. Who has time to be kind, tender-hearted and understanding when I’m busy being important, if even in my own eyes.
In this pursuit of greatness, of I am better than, or I know better than, are we not making ourselves higher than others, trying to stand out and in doing that be great? Let us not fool ourselves, the allure of greatness is not only on celebrity magazines but in our little corner of the world, community, a circle of friends and even church.
4. Jesus was not a great man; he was a man of faith
We all want to set ourselves apart and be great even in our small ways.That is loftier than others. Which means greater than Jesus. greater than God.
But has not God taken what is great in this world and shown it to be foolishness?
Because what else does all greatness have in common? A pointless and fruitless end. What else is it? It is dust, that returns to earth where it came from and soon forgotten in a heartbeat or a blink of an eye. To be great does not take faith in God, but faith in ourselves. Confidence in ourselves is merely blowing in the wind.
But to live a life that is not great takes faith, not in ourselves, but in God. Faith that God takes the ordinary, mundane, duties and responsibilities of being a man or woman in this time and place done in His name and love and consecrate them. He makes them holy and precious in His sight, and they become part of what lasts forever.
5. Jesus was not a great man; he was humble
From scheduling a meeting to cleaning a toilet, feeding the needy to having a position of responsibility, doing homework with the kids to teaching Sunday School, letting others take the lead to leading with humility, and all that comes around and in-between, that is part of not a great life but a human life, living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities is throwing ourselves completely into the arms of God. (Bonhoeffer)
A life that takes seriously not what the greatness of the world takes seriously but what God does. A life that stops taking ourselves so seriously and finally actually takes God seriously.
6. Jesus was a Savior and not a great person
In doing this, we find ourselves at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ, not a great man but fully a man being exactly what it means to be a human fully. In such a place, God becomes exactly who he is-God. We’ll take seriously the life, hurt and need of this world as we fully live within it and start doing something about it. Even to the point of death on a cross.
This is not greatness, but it is the very salvation of the world that will remain when all fame has turned to dust. That is faith and what it means to be a man, a woman; indeed to be Christian.
7. Jesus relinquished his greatness by becoming human
As we walk into our everyday lives to imitate Jesus Christ, not in His greatness because He was not, but in His humanity, because He was fully all of what that means.
To imitate those who have and continue in faith to imitate Christ in their everyday lives. To follow their example and learn from them as they learned from Jesus. In that struggle, not the futile struggle to be great but the real struggle to relinquish all of our greatness and in doing be like Jesus. When asked what we want to do with our lives, what our goals are, how will we make our mark in this world? For us to learn to say, I am a man, a woman, a Christian.
There is nothing great about that but there is nothing worth more.
In a series of Facebook posts Pastor Duke post “Ministry Memory” and they are worth reading a couple times.
Ministry memory. One summer night only weeks after we arrived in NY I was knocking doors in a mobile home park. I met a grease monkey sort of guy working on his car. He was a wise guy..my favorite kind. I boldly gave him the Gospel. He said “I ain’t ready for that but when I am you’ll see me again”. A year later he showed up in our bank hall and said he was ready. Soon he and his wife and mother in law all came to Christ and were baptized. He asked prayer for his boss who owned a garbage company. The garbage boss soon showed up and said “I came to find out what happened to Doug Miller. I want what he’s got”. The garbage mogul turned out to be Pastor Larry DiNovo our second church planter. JoEllen and I introduced Larry to Marianne,a girl from my home church in Ohio. Larry married her and today my only son is married to their daughter. Thank you Doug for sharing your faith. God is always up to something but most of the time we are not seeing it till a little later down the road. He is the I AM not the I was.
The Lord has filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability, and expertise in all kinds of crafts. (Exodus 35:31)
Relate: Sometimes I get a little bit jealous. I was raised in a family that is fully loaded with with people in a more “traditional” ministry. My dad was a pastor. So was his brother in law. My sister is a children’s pastor, my cousin who is one of my best friends is a pastor. So are multiple other cousins and uncles around the world. Even more, I have a heart for church planting. I have two cousins who have, or are doing it right now. (Including Rebecca, who wrote here on the River Walk yesterday) The church I am a part of back in the states, although not quite three years old, is already popping out another baby. Part of me wishes I could be back home to be a part of that. Again, my dad planted a church back in Rochester when I was in high school. As much as my heart pushes in that direction, it isn’t even close to what I see God doing through me in the near, or even more distant future. I love to preach and I would like to think I am pretty good at it. But I haven’t found myself behind a pulpit once in the past ten months. Nope. I’m stuck teaching English to Turkish elementary school kids and writing as I can find the time.
I wonder is Bezalel ever felt a bit jealous? Look at who he gets to compare himself to. First there’s Moses. He went up a mountain and came down with the ten commandments. He is leading a group of two million out from slavery and into the promised land. Then there’s Aaron. Yes he has to try and live in his little brother’s shadow. But then again, Aaron is the first and founding high priest creating a dynasty of mediators between God and Israel for the next thousand years. Of course, there’s also Joshua. He is Moses’ handpicked successor. He gets to train and lead the army and will be the one leading the people into the promised land. Bezalel? He gets to make a tent… fun.
React: Moses and Aaron and Joshua are the ones from that generation that we remember. They are the ones who join the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph as greats of the Hebrew faith and the subject of Sunday School lessons world over. Bezalel… who is that? Bezalel was an artist. Oh, yah, one of those types. before we dismiss him, however, let’s not forget one very big but often overlooked fact. Bezalel was the first one in the Bible and the only one on this list said to be filled with the Spirit of God.
Maybe what we are doing isn’t as “big” or as “braggable” in the world’s eyes as that which others around us might be doing. Maybe we might feel that we need to squint a little harder or look a little closer to see how God is using us to change the world. Maybe we are just as obscure as Bezalel standing in the shadows of all the Moses and Aaron and Joshuas all around us. If that is so, let’s throw our very being into making those tents. I will strive to be the best English teacher this world has ever seen so that the world can see the Spirit of God shining brightly through me? You… what’s your tent?
Help me to compare myself to nothing else except the best “me” You have called me to be. Until the Goliaths come my way, help me to be faithful in fighting the lions and bears. Help me to strive to do the best and be the most diligent I can possibly be with whatever tasks are set before me. You have filled me with Your Spirit. Help me to make a tent that houses Your presence for all the world to see.
From a Ken Davis blog post.
How Old Are You?
It’s Not a Number
he day I celebrated my 69th birthday, I began making this statement in my road shows, “Next year I will be 70.” My wife Diane challenged me, “Why would you say that? 70 is still 365 days away. Why in the world would you use that number now?” Here is why I did it.
I did it because every time I told people I was going to be 70 someone would respond, “Oh my! You don’t look that old!” That was always a boost for my ego.
Recently a little girl stood at my merchandise table after a show staring at me with eyes filled with wonder.
“Do you want an autograph?” I asked.
She shyly shook her head no.
“Did you want to tell me something?” I inquired.
I got down on one knee confident – knowing that this would be an opportunity to inspire a child and impart wisdom she would never forget.
She leaned forward and with a sweet smile whispered.“Up close, you’re really old!” So much for the ego boost!
The following routine has appeared on the internet in various forms. Originally it was attributed to George Carlin but he denied being the author. Regardless of where it started, I found it to be very true and very funny.
When you’re very young you nudge the number of your age.
‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m four and a half!’ or ‘I’m gonna be five.’
As a teenager you jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m gonna be 16!’ Even if you are 13 you want people to know that you’re ‘gonna be 16.’
You become 21. It’s a celebration. I HAVE ARRIVED. I have become 21!
But then you TURN 30. Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. No more fun. It’s to late for fun. You’ve turned.
Then you’re PUSHING 40. What happened to looking forward to a special birthday milestone. Pushforty away. Keep it at arms length as long as possible BECAUSE it leads toreaching 50!
You MAKE it to 60. I should be gone by now, but I’m not. I made it.
So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50 and MAKE it to 60.
By that time you’ve built up so much speed that you HIT 70! After that it’s a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday!
You get into your 80’s and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch; you TURN 4:30 ; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn’t end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; ‘I Was JUST 92.’
Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. ‘I’m 100 and a half!’
Evidently at 69 I’m already a little kid again. Or at least I have reverted to a teenager. I’m jumping a full year ahead. At 69 I’m already telling people I am 70. I am grateful for the crazy little boy running around inside me. I embrace him because he keeps me young.
If you are among the “exceptionally experienced” in our culture, I encourage you to
1. Stay positive.
2. Stay curious. Learn something new at least once a month.
3. Keep your sense of humor. Laugh hard. Laugh a lot.
4. Hold tight to the people you love.
5. Take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.
6. Hold tight to your Creator, the One who loves you most.
7. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
You’re not old! You’re ripe! There’s a difference.