Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Have you ever gone barefoot for a long time? How about days, months, years??
I have strict instructions from my wife to never go barefoot; apparently there is a certain odor that comes off of my feet in the heat of the day. In Jesus' time, feet were dirty. Real dirty. People would walk on roads that were half dirt, half animal waste, and that was normal! And so it was a much needed ritual  for people to have their feet washed at homes to prevent a stinky smell. It was a duty saved for the lowest servant of the household.
So in John chapter 13, as Jesus is grabbing a basin of water and a towel to wash his disciple's feet, there is an obvious push back. There could have been other outspoken disciples, but Peter is highlighted saying, 'No, you shall never wash my feet.' Peter thought he was teaching Jesus something about foot washing-as in, you're not supposed to do it! But Jesus is going to teach something to Peter that will change his life. There was also someone else's feet in that room that night-the feet of Judas.
We view foot washing very differently today. If a pastor has the guts to do it, he will facilitate a foot washing service where there are a bunch of buckets of water with towels everywhere. I've done it before with a group of teenagers. It was awesome, and I'll never forget it. But for the church today, we need to realize that Jesus washed the feet of someone that would help lead to his murder the next day.
Sometimes we get extremely comfortable in our Christian lives (shocker). But especially when it comes to who we evangelize to and to whom we serve.
I truly believe for the church to be genuine and authentic, we need to start serving the people in our lives that annoy us, that make us uncomfortable, that we totally avoid in the hallway at work, that we would rather not talk to. All of those people are far less evil to us than Judas was to Jesus.
And yet what do we do when a pastor challenges us to invite others to church...more importantly who do we talk to about Jesus.
Reading this story for the 1,965th time, I've realized that my evangelism is practically empty unless I start to realize that I have neighbors that need Jesus. And let me define neighbor for you. If you can stand in your driveway and hit their house with a rock-they're your neighbor.
Mark 12:31, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' We need to stop commentating this verse to death, and just do what Jesus is telling us to do.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Following Jesus

“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13
Now that’s a welcome. As Jesus is entering Jerusalem on a donkey this is what he’s hearing. People are waving palm branches; it’s a wonderful scene. If I walk into a room and get a hello I’m happy. I’m not sure how I’d feel if this happened to me. Probably speechless, maybe tears of happiness?
But Jesus knew what they were cheering, and knew their agenda. It sounded optimistic, but we find then, and still today, that people’s hearts can become fickle. The same crowd that is cheering this, will in just a few days, be shouting, ‘Crucify Him! We had an agenda, we told him what we wanted out of a king. He didn’t do it-so put him to death!’
That’s how it is when we come to Christ with our agenda. We find that he has his own, and so then we have to decide, do we worship our agenda or his? If we worship our own agenda, then we end up hating him.
“Whoa-hold up. I don’t hate Jesus just because I don’t follow him. I just don’t want to be religious, and I don’t like church. I think he was a good guy that talked about a lot of good things, but hate him?”
Jesus claimed to be much more than a good man with a good word. He also claimed to be more than an earthly king who could overthrow the Roman government (which was what these people from this passage wanted). He claimed to be the resurrection and the life. He claimed to be the light of the world. He claimed to be the only way to heaven and he claimed that he was God.
I believe everyone in this world makes a decision about who Jesus is.  So yes, even if you just say that Jesus was a good man-you’re still calling him a liar. If you truly believe in Jesus and who he said he was, you realize that there must be a following on our part. It involves words, but it requires our actions.
So as Jesus is riding in on a donkey, he is looking at people in the eye with peace and love knowing that in a few days the same people will make a choice to deny who he is and want nothing more than to drive spikes through his feet and hands.
So what is your decision? Saying you believe in Jesus is one thing, and actually following Him is another. I’d love to talk with you about it – whether you have questions, or really just need someone to listen. Thanks for your time.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sweet Aroma

We have seen and heard many stories of devotion, but we talked about one in particular this last Sunday at The Rescue Church. 
In the book of John chapter 12, it speaks of an amazing story of devotion by a woman named Mary to Jesus. Jesus says that this perfume that Mary gives him “was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” (verse 7) This perfume was intensely pure and very, very strong. Imagine taking a full bottle of perfume and pouring it over your head into your hair – if you’re a man, into your beard – down through your skin, and you allowed that to sit and to steep into your flesh. It was a culture unlike ours where you didn’t bathe every day but you bathed less frequently, a few days later as you were breathing, what do you smell? The scent of that fragrance, because it lingered about you. 
My guess is that Mary finds herself, for the last time, at the feet of Jesus. This time as he is hanging above her, nailed to a cross and crucified, she finds herself beneath his feet. 

And this issue of the feet is very interesting because in the Roman crucifixion the feet were used for mockery and for pain and for suffering. In a Roman crucifixion they would nail your hands to a crossbeam. They would nail your feet to the cross. The reason they would nail your feet is because, in your crucifixion, the way you would die is usually by suffocation. Your lungs would collapse as you hung, and wouldn't be able to fill up with air, and so very slowly you would asphyxiate. You would suffocate to death. You would cease breathing in a very slow, tedious, and painful way.
And Mary (my guess) is there watching among other followers. The act of crucifixion was not new for them, but who they were crucifying was. The one who called himself God, performed miracles, and forgave sin. 
As Jesus is hanging there and he is pushing himself up through the stakes driven through his feet, the place where Mary had anointed him, as Jesus breathes, what do you suppose that he breathed in his nostrils? Quite possibly he smelled the gift of Mary. As Jesus hangs on the cross, likely in his hair and in his beard and in his skin the lingering gift of Mary is his encouragement. I believe Jesus knew fully what was going on in this moment as he hung on the cross, but I would suspect that as he breathes this sign of devotion gave him comfort,  and maybe even peace. He is dying because he has loved Mary, and she has loved him back.
We hear so many stories of devotion to God-what's yours?


Monday, October 7, 2013

Dealing with Time

Lazarus was dead. His sisters were mourning. Jesus was late.
It was a very sad story, because everyone believed that Jesus had messed up. Jesus was too busy, or that he didn't care enough.
I read this story for the first time through the eyes of the sisters and realized that there was something new and fresh for my life that God needed to work on. I summed up my feelings in my sermon yesterday, 'God comes at his appointed time, not according to our time, and it always appears to us that God is very late. So just because you find yourself in a position of need and just because you've requested that God would intervene does not mean that he necessarily will move at your appointed time. It also does not necessarily mean that his absence is any indication of the absence of his affection. He still loves you. He still cares for you.'
I am encouraged by the conversation Jesus has with Martha in this story. She explains her frustration, 'if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' Pretty bold statement to Jesus, but Jesus loved Martha and explains to her who he is. 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?'
Jesus knows Martha is hurting, he knows the pain she is feeling and knows the situation. And so he reminds her of who he is and then asks a question. Do you believe?
Maybe you're reading this and you're experiencing a time of waiting in your life. Jesus is reminding you about who He is. Jesus has power over life and death as well as power to forgive sins. Whoever believes in Christ has a spiritual life that death cannot conquer or diminish in any way.
For followers of Jesus this should be the most important thing in our lives.
Be honest, don't try to hide anything from your Savior. He cares for you. He will do something amazing on the other side of your trial. Believe that he will.