Friday, April 29, 2016

Yeah, I thought so

         “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last." Job 19:25
         What will you stand up for no matter what? What is ultimately what you will stand on? What will you never give up, never give in about?
         Yeah, thought so.
         I'm not here this morning to debate anything, except, except I would love to know what is the rock-solid belief you will not give up on no matter the circumstances.
         Yeah, thought so.
         In my home state, they're arguing over flags and bathrooms. Let me repeat, flags and bathrooms. In other words, while their children are starving and leaving school at a laughingly sad rate, they're ready to fall on a metaphorical (I think) sword over flags and bathrooms and/or wedding cakes.
         Yeah, thought so.
         Look, it is easy to make fun of some things that the "other side" believes. But eventually, as time crawls past, there will come a point where the ultimate rock-solid belief will be hit and that's when the stuff hits the fan.
         I'm not sure we're not zeroing in on it right now.
         If you're a Christian, I suspect you're wondering what that point might be. 
         Let's do some searching.
         Tell me what you can throw away as unnecessary.
         Do you believe in God?
         I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
         Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?
         I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
         Notice very carefully that we’ve been saying this stuff for hundreds upon hundreds of years.
         Now, some would say there is another way to read scripture, and in doing so negate some of the arguments we’re undergoing in the present. They say you can’t pick and choose in scripture, taking and trying to apply what we feel is necessary and, well, leaving the remainder alone.
         No slavery.
         No human sexuality.
         No quiet women.
         Absolutely no stoning.
         I went a couple of decades not believing much of this, till I ran headlong into God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
         What I’ve decided, after much prayer and pondering, is I’m not smart enough to eliminate things Jesus said from the red-lettering in one of my old Bibles.
         I’m just going to have to continue to pray and ponder.
         Yeah, thought so.

  • Thursday, April 28, 2016

    Heaven's band

             I'm not sure you have heard, but the singer/songwriter/musician Prince died just a bit of time ago.
             I was sitting and meditating on what all this means in the grand scope of things.
             I couldn’t help but remember all those who have gone before. Who’s up there singing hymns of all kind right now.
             Let’s start with that guy from Tupelo, Miss. Name of Elvis. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. And Jim Croce. And maybe Michael, and maybe George and maybe… You get the picture.
             Remember this:
             If you believe in forever
             Then life is just a one-night stand
             If there's a rock n' roll heaven
             Well you know they've got a hell of a band, band, band
             I tell you this to say that I've listened to more Prince music this week than I've ever listened to. I even have a channel now designated for Prince music on satellite radio.
             In the end, I was struck by many things, all mostly unknown before now. The most surprising element of his story was the part that loved Christ. 
             Read this song, The Cross by Prince, and Love Ran Red by Chris Tomlin (the leading contemporary Christian music songwriter) and you decide.

    Black day, stormy night
    No love, no hope in sight
    Don't cry, he is coming
    Don't die without knowing the cross
    Ghettos 2 the left of us
    Flowers 2 the right
    There'll be bread 4 all of us
    If we can just bear the cross
    Sweet song of salvation
    A pregnant mother sings
    She lives in starvation
    Her children need all that she brings
    We all have our problems
    Some BIG, some are small
    Soon all of our problems
    Will be taken by the cross
    Black day, stormy night
    No love, no hope in sight
    Don't cry 4 he is coming
    Don't die without knowing the cross
    Ghettos 2 the left of us
    Flowers 2 the right
    There'll be bread 4 all, y'all
    If we can just, just bear the cross, yeah

    There's a place where mercy reigns and never dies
    There's a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
    Where all the love I've ever found
    Comes like a flood
    Comes flowing down

    At the cross
    At the cross
    I surrender my life
    I'm in awe of You
    I'm in awe of You
    Where Your love ran red
    And my sin washed white
    I owe all to You
    I owe all to You Jesus

             I don’t know Prince’s faith journey at all. But I know the cross puts us as equals in humility and in burden.
             I would love to hear the conversation going on between Prince and Rich Mullins right now. And who knows who else might be joining in.