From Majesty to Messy

I don’t believe it properly represents Christ to burn books as a protest, or as a means of “venting”, as Dr. Terry Jones explained his reasons for desiring to burn copies of the Q’uran on the 9/11 anniversary. I honestly believe it is not only a poor example of Christianity, it is pretty much the antithesis of what Christ represents.  Anti-Christ, you could say.  I’m not saying that to stir up more anger and controversy about the proposed book burning…I’m saying it because Dr. Jones reminds me that we as the church don’t always do a very good job of representing who Jesus is, or what He’s all about.  A quick glance at church history tells us that.  It’s pretty much been that way from the beginning.

We’re looking at Luke 9:37-45 this Sunday.

The disciples of Jesus didn’t do a very good job representing His power to the people back then either.  It’s sort of endemic to our faith.  Jesus prays, we go to sleep.  Jesus reveals the glory of heaven, we want to build tents.  Jesus gives us power and authority to advance His kingdom, and we just can’t seem to get it to work like He does.  It’s been 2,000 years of this same show.

Yet…what is the result of this story.  What happens, and what do we learn about Jesus and ourselves?  What is His final statement to them in this section…and why does he bring THAT up again?  Those are some interesting thoughts to ponder as we prepare to explore this together.  Let me hear your thoughts!

7 comments

  1. I am glad to hear your thoughts on Terry Jones. My first thoughts were “I do not understand how burning Koran’s advances the kingdom of God”.

    I try to think about your posts before I write anything. But sometimes a train of thought just comes as I read yours and sometimes I think of other things Jesus said and go back and reread those. This time something just came to me. It may be a stretch, but here we go.

    1st we find a man with a demon possessed child. The disciples could not remove it. I am wondering what they tried. Were they trying their own methods (without fasting and praying). I am wondering if Jesus is saying that the man’s belief was in the works of man (disciples) and not in Jesus. (Just wondering here).

    “…The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men? Judas and the jewish leaders of the day (religious elite) are the betrayers. Judas for money, and the others to protect their structure of God. I am thinking, is Terry Jones any different. Could an arguement be made that Dr. Jones is betraying the Son of Man into the hands of men? Have I when I condemmed another who behaviors don’t match up to my religious code? When we don’t turn the other cheek, when we judge others, and on and on, don’t we betray the Son of Man into the hands of man (or those who stand outside of Christ and wait for his followers to fall).

  2. We dont, or I should say I don’t, represent Christ very well in all ways at all times. The bar is set very high; He asks for our absolute dedication to follow Him and leave our old life behind – completly and with out reservation. This absolute surrender of self is, for this man, an ideal; something I strive for and see more ways every day that my Self conflicts with Christ’s ideal.

    The bar keeps rising as I persue Christ’s ways. When I first made a decision to accept Jesus as my savior, I thought THAT was good to go and once saved I would act better. However as I read and grow in His word, the self, or my own selfish ways become more and more glaring and the absolute values of His way shines like a beacon that I reach for every day. I must leave my old ways behind each and every day and keep my eyes focused on His ideal.

    I don’t question following Christ, but at times I certainly act and speak as if I didn’t know Him at all. This humbles me and when I read “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” I want to question my faith – ie. I am not a very good christian. But I don’t think that is what we are talking about here but rather the steadfastness of our faith and sticking to Christ’s work for us – no matter how good or poorly I do that work.

    Anyway, I just rambled on here. As for tomorrow; I will remember, with love, all those afftected by the 9-11 tragedy. And yes, that includes having love and tollerance for all; Christian and Muslim – we all act stupid sometimes…

    Ken

  3. Spud- great thoughts, as usual. Your last point is really something to ponder…I hadn’t looked at “betraying into the hands of men” from that perspective….but it is a reasonable connection to make. It makes me so thankful for God’s grace to me.

    Ken – I hear you! That’s why I keep saying we wont wake up one day and have it all together…because the closer we draw to Him, the more we find this is a journey. And you’re so right…it’s not about how well we do this in the end…it’s staying on that path and maintaining that commitment to Him. Things WILL change in us…but until we reach home, we will always find one more area to wrestle with.

  4. Awesome, powerful service. I was left speechless. I relate to everything that was said. Being selfish, expecting someone to extend their hand but yet I hadn’t done all I could to reach out to others myself. It has taken many years and I am sure it will take many more to grasp the real true power of our Saviour Jesus Christ. God Bless

  5. Today I so identified with those guys trying to heal this boy and do what they were suppose to do and failing miserably. Hello, they probably thought “oh we have already done this and done that sure what is one more evil spirit”. I think there is a lesson in that for all of us who fail so miserably trying to represent Christ in all our actions. Every time I think that I have it together God helps through trials to let me know that I only have it together through him. He is constantly working with me making me into the person he wants me to be not the person I want to be. He takes away my bragging rights….. Only through his grace and mercy and love am I saved. I certainly screw up way too much to earn it on my own.

  6. Stories of the disciples and their failures help me. Sometimes I feel forgiven but not worthy of the sentiment. Though inexplicable, it’s just a good thing for Grace.

  7. My prayer life for the majority of my life was dominated by specific requests concerning me, and every now and then specific requests concerning someone else. Spud needs a new bike, and Rob needs a new surfboard. Those types of things.

    When my life was turned upside down my prayer life changed as well. For some reason all I could pray for was His will. Eventually my prayer life changed to praying that His will is revealed to all I pray for including myself.

    I had dinner several months ago with someone from our church and he told me that the current times have been particularly hard on him and he was thinking about making what would be a difficult change in his life. Now on sunday service I was talking to this man. He told me he made the change in a much more dramatic way than I thought he would. Although things were not great they were good and he was both encouraged and hopeful. During worship I bowed my head and simply began thanking the Lord for answering my prayer for this man. I believe the Lord placed an inventory of the individuals I pray for and reminded me of what He was doing for all of them. An example of this would be a very old friend who is recovering from alcoholism for the past several years. He should be dead now, but isn’t. When he first became involved with AA he didn’t like calling his higher power God or Jesus, so he named him Claude. Last week he emailed me and told me in the past year he has actively begun worshipping and I believe a relationship with Jesus Christ. Each individual I prayed for I believed was in need of prayer. As the Lord led me though the inventory, I began to see His will’s impact in their lifes. In every instance, the impact was signficant, but in today’s culture probably not newsworthy if you get what I am trying to say. A dramatic example is Patrick and Barb. The devastation of that earthquake to them physically and to that nation will not stop them from spreading His kingdom, they are determined to do the will of God that is placed in their hearts. The examples are too numerous to mention. I began to be filled with such emotion and joy that I was almost in tears. (Don’t worry Spud is not a “girlie man” so I composed myself). Finally, the Lord reminded me that if He would do this for the others I pray for, just look at what He has done for me, and what would be a reason for worry. The teaching from you just seemed to pile on, just like your teammates pile on in celebration in the end zone after a game winning touchdown.

    During my darkest times, I had asked a friend to pray for me. She wrote back and said she would but ended by telling this.

    “You may not be ready for God’s will, until you don’t care what it is”

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