Stop Arguing. Start Eating.

I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever.  The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.

What a weird thing to say.  What did Jesus mean?  Was He inviting the crowd to start chomping on one of his arms… or maybe a thigh?  I’d like to believe I’m so in love with Jesus that if I were there when He said it I’d have bitten Him.  In the least I would have asked Him for some clarification on the matter.  Lest I go to prison for eating the Son of God.

Just think- Jesus was standing there… in the bread (flesh).  Anyone in the crowd was free to ask Him exactly what He meant by if anyone eats this bread. No commentary could be greater than the Word of God commenting on the Word of God.  Alas, the opportunity to quiz Jesus for insight on His “eat me” statement was blown.  How so?

At that (Jesus’ statement), the Jews argued among themselves,

How sad.  Instead of focusing on Jesus, who was standing there,  the crowd turns it’s guns on one another.  What was meant to unify instead divides- in the physical presence of Jesus.  Jesus is standing in a throng of people virtually ignored.  What a waste.

I’d like to think if we were there we would have tugged on Jesus’ sleeve to ask Him what His position was on His statement.  Wouldn’t that be a cool thing to do?  And I bet we would have learned something.

I wonder how many folks have been distracted by our arguments?  I wonder if there is anyone who can’t hear Jesus today over the sounds of our fighting?  I wonder if Jesus is virtually ignored by those who truly need Him because the crowd surrounding Him today looks as if they are devouring one another in a frenzied pot-luck of my opinion will prevail no matter what?  While Jesus Himself stands ignored.

I prefer eating to arguing.  How about you?

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Calling all bloggers to the Tulsa Workshop

The Tulsa Workshop is an awesome experience.  When thousands of our brothers and sisters gather in one place you can bet something powerful will be experienced.  I hope you plan on being there.

This morning I talked to Terry about reserving a booth for bloggers and about blogging.  We got the green light.  I also reserved the fellowship room at Memorial Drive for lunch time on the Saturday of the Workshop.  Then I asked one of our members if she would be willing to cater a special lunch for bloggers and the friends of bloggers.  She said yes.  That would give us some time together in a quiet environment to share stories, put faces with blogs and exchange ideas.

All that to say I hope we’re not putting the cart before the horse.  I know John Dobbs, Steve Tucker and the guys at Theobloggers are interested in pursuing this opportunity.  How about you?  We’d like some feedback as to the interest level there is for this sort of thing.

Let me know what you think and feel free to also offer your ideas or suggestions.

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The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

I wonder if there’s something more than irony at work behind the record setting cold that is gripping parts of the Nation.  My goodness- they had snow in Malibu, California this Winter.  I wonder if Someone is making a point?

At the rate we’re going it won’t be long before Al Gore is forced to surrender his Nobel Peace Prize and his Oscar too.  Or maybe the Academy will allow him to exchange his trophy for Best Documentary for Best Picture.  That way all of them can save face.

Poor Al Gore!  He’s in the process of being reborn as Chicken Little incarnate.

Spiritual Horsepower.

I wanted a faster car so I bought one with more horsepower.  That was easy.  Turbo charging or adding more horsepower to my spiritual life is far more troublesome.  My intentions are always good.  I want to pray more, reflect more and read my Bible more.  My difficulty is in the follow through.

I might hear an inspirational sermon on prayer and vow to pray more.  I might read a good book on the benefits of keeping a spiritual journal and resolve to do so.  However, my first reaction is normally to feel guilty or envious.  Wow! If I was really spiritual I wouldn’t struggle so with being a daily Bible reader like that author.  Or,  why can’t I pray like that preacher?  He must be really spiritual.  And I’m not.

At some point the guilt will transform into an action plan.  Sort of like- this is the time I will set apart each day to read my Bible, to journal or pray and so forth.  For a time I’ll do great.  And I’ll feel great too.  Like- Good job Craig!  You’ve been faithful in having your quiet time every single day for the last three weeks.  You must be growing. Then comes the fall.  I’ll miss a time or two, get back on the horse, miss a time or three and before you know it the action plan has been transformed yet again into a source of guilt.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve repeated this depressing cycle.  Spiritual people talk about the spiritual disciplines in such a way I conclude I’m neither disciplined nor spiritual.  It seems no matter what I do the engine that powers my inner spirit simply lacks the horsepower to propel me to the place the spiritually disciplined seem to inhabit.  Which gives me another reason to love Jesus.

In Revelation 3 Jesus placed an open door before the church at Philadelphia.  Because they were great?  Because they were powerful?  Because they had the courage and discipline to walk through the door?  No, no and no.  He did so because you have limited strength. One version says you have little power. The church at Philadelphia was a little ol’ four-cylinder church among some which were eight-cylinder horsepower producing dynamos.  And that was perfectly alright with Jesus.  In fact the passage leaves me with the impression Jesus stepped in and personally provided whatever power they lacked.  That’s awesome.

I’ve had enough experience being me to know I will always be a four-cylinder man when it comes to the spiritual disciplines.  And that’s okay.  It leaves no room for guilt.  It removes the curse of constantly comparing myself to others.  It leaves me more dependent on grace.  It leaves me more humble.  It leaves me more sympathetic.  It leaves me more reliant on Jesus.  Not a bad place to be.

Limited strength.  A statement of fact not judgment.  Knowing Jesus is at peace with my reality is empowering.  And vastly comforting.  Now I am free to rejoice with and learn from my brothers and sister whose internal engines roar with heart-stopping, ear-splitting,  adrenaline-producing raw horsepower.  I will eventually arrive at the same destination.  However, from time to time, while I’m taking a nap, Jesus is gonna have to do the driving.  And He’s okay with that.

Okay- I confess this IS a mid-life crisis.

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The kids at church call it the fire car.  I call it fasssssst.  Amy calls it “oh, brother.”  I can’t begin to tell you how much pleasure it brings me to turn the key and feel the engine roar to life.  It’s loud and proud.

By the way- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  I’ve missed my blog friends and hope to soon be posting some more stuff.  In the meantime… I just had to show you my new ride.