In the World, Not of It?

You’ve heard the phrase “not of this world?”

It’s a clever concept. The idea is simple, that we wouldn’t just float about, being swept up in the whims of culture and friendly persuasion, but would stand immoveable upon the bedrock of Christ.

I entirely agree that Christ should always serve as our compass, but I also would argue that that compass has changed shape over time, depending on our surrounding environs. Deuteronomy was written in the style of a Semitic covenant renewal. John borrows heavily from the gnostic tradition. Zoroastrianism helped open the gates to our understanding of Jesus and Satan as the champions of light and darkness, respectively. The revelations and manifestations of the most Holy God change and mutate depending on the setting in which the authors find themselves in, yet all of these experiences are ultimately submissive to Christ, who is the author and editor of our individual and collective faith journeys.

Lemme put it this way: if God were to come up to Adam and Eve and tell them about Tweeting, they would be utterly clueless, but instead He revealed Himself to them in a way they understood and that understanding continues to change over time as we as a corporate human race continues to change.

God is the God of past, present, and future. He is not confined to one cultural understanding of Him. He offers Himself to all people at all times through all ages and shall continue to do so until the return of His blessed Son, Jesus. He desires to be known and for none to be lost, going to any and every extent to fulfill those means, even coming in body, suffering and dying, and rising again so that He would experience everything we would experience and also rising above it into His blessed Kingdom.

Let us look with open hearts and minds and ears to how God wants to reveal to Himself to us today.

Nicodemus: a Tale of the Reluctant Believer

John 3:1-21, 7:40-52, 19:38-42

Nicodemus is a fascinating dude. We see him first in John 3, sneaking in to see Jesus at night. He’s a respected religious leader of high social standing. He wants to know more about this itinerant preacher, but Jesus is a controversial figure, so Nicodemus comes at night. They talk. Nicodemus asks questions and Jesus answers. When Nicodemus can’t make sense of Jesus’ response, the LORD calls him to the ropes. ‘If you, the righteous elite don’t get it, how could anybody else?’ asserts Jesus. Nicodemus undoubtedly leaves befuddled, but Jesus doesn’t push him, nor does He call him out, exposing their meeting to the general public.

Instead, Nicodemus goes home and stews on it. A debate occurs some time later amongst the Jews. People are saying there is no way Jesus could be the Messiah. Nicodemus isn’t sold. He wants to hear more. We can only imagine that Nicodemus is asking around, maybe staying at the back of the crowd while Jesus is making his rounds about Israel. We don’t know if they ever talked again. We don’t see any other reference to Nicodemus until after Jesus is dead.

When Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross, Nicodemus is there, helping anoint him with oil. He gets it. Some would say, ‘too late,’ but it is never too late with God. Three days later, Jesus resurrected and Nicodemus undoubtedly is ready.

You see, for some, coming to acknowledge Jesus is LORD is a quick thing. You’re at a big event or stumble into church or listening to the radio, the preacher makes an altar call, and bam! you’re a believer. For others, it’s a long process. Sometimes, it takes the entirety of their earthly lives; but there is no time for God, only opportunity. The door is open. The invitation is waiting. Will you say, ‘yes,’ to Him?

Picnic

The sun shines upon our windshield as we drive down the Blue Ridge, blaring 106.9 as we drive ’round bikers and sight seers toward the top of Grandfather Mountain.

Finally, we get there and we pull over and park. We pull the picnic stuff out of the back, the basket and the food and the sparkling water and the blankets. We take the short hike up through the trees, waving to other hikers, families and couples and elderly people with dogs.

We reach the top. We go out to the edge and look out. People are taking selfies. We stretch out our blanket and set up shop. We talk about the day, of work and worries, of small celebrations. We eat every last morsel and drink every drop, then we pack up and go home.

The view is just as lovely going down. It’s not about the journey or even the destination, but the time together. You gotta redeem the time while you can, cuz it’s fleeting. That’s for sure.

In the meantime, we’re happy just being us.

Compost

So here’s the thing:

compost is essential to good gardening.

It’s like natural Miracle Grow

What’s in compost?

Trash, basically.

Food scraps, leaves. Things you tend to discard.

But you put it all together and give it some time,

it does some really cool stuff.

I think this is an important life lesson:

the soil doesn’t start good.

First we’ve got to get all our garbage out there.

It does it no good just sitting about in a corner of our kitchen,

but put it in the ground and give it time,

and good things happen.

So air out your garbage and see what good fruit comes from it.

Time is Game of Jenga

Time is a game of Jenga

Even if you could take out a bit of the past,

how do you know it is not a supporting structure

upon which many other blocks rest?

How terrible would it be to take out one unsavory element

only to see everything else come toppling down

in its absence?

We are who we are: finite creatures caught up

in the gears of time,

yet we relish in the knowledge that one day

Time itself will dissolve and its whole game will be packed up

and taken away,

by the One who began it all.

So, God teach me to play the game well, to move onward,

to lean on your for peace and guidance

when the game really seems to hard to win.