Sleepwalking on the Mountain

Luke 9:32 – “Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.”

Two young boys were discussing what their teacher said to them,  one said “she said I was filled with apathy toward school. ”

The other one replied,  “apathy what’s apathy? ”

To which the first one said,  “I don’t know and I don’t care. ”

Even though that’s only a joke it illustrates the lives of many people today: lives filled up with apathy.  Apathetic and uncaring toward so many things.  School,  work,  friendships,  family relationships,  church, sometimes we are even apathetic towards God Himself.  We all struggle with being apathetic from time to time.

In Luke’s Gospel Jesus takes some of His disciples up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Him. They are extremely privileged but they don’t even know it.   They are getting to get a glimpse of the glory of God,  yet they don’t know it and because of that in the quiet peacefulness of the mountain they find themselves on the verge of sleep.   Here they are on the verge of seeing something amazing, and they just simply go to sleep.

I can’t help but wonder if we don’t experience the same thing,  we sleep walk through worship on Sundays and in reality sometimes during all of life. We become apathetic and when we do we miss out.  Peter and the other disciples were that way and they almost missed out on seeing the power and the majesty of God.  The Bible says they were heavy with sleep.  In other words they we almost out but then something happened God in His grace showed them a glimpse of His glory.  And guess what happened? It woke them up.

The glory of God exploded their apathy,  it shook them from sleep and they became fully awake.  In fact as they glimpsed the glory of God they became fully alive.  When we see God’s glory it does that to us, it wakes us up, it transforms our apathy, it makes us awake and alive.  However for that to happen,  we have to be looking.  God’s glory is all around us but in our apathy sometimes we go through life with our eyes closed.

Perhaps we should pray, “God open my eyes,” because when He does we will see His glory.  We will see it in the eyes of a child,  we will see it in our relationships,  we will see it when we gather for worship,  we will see it as people offer “drinks of cold water” in His name, we will see it in the snow and the wind.  We will see it in the beauty of the flowers and we will see it in the bright sunshine and then in the changing of the leaves.  As one theologian said,  “every blade of grass declares the glory of God. ”

We can see His glory in all of these places and a million more and if we are followers of Jesus we have at least the next trillion years to celebrate His glory.  The greatest place we see His glory however,  the most glorious place of His glory is on the cross of Calvary. For it was there on that cross, that Jesus the Son of God gave His very life for me.  It was there that He shed every drop of blood to take away my sin.

A song asks the question, “were you there when they crucified my Lord?” I wasn’t there but my sin was and thanks be to God that He nailed that sin to the cross and because of that one day I can see the glory of God face to face.

As I think about this in can’t help but pray, “o God wake us up, shake us out of our apathy,  and let us see your glory.  Let us not only see it but let us reflect it to the world around us, living with the theme to God be the glory. “

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Running, Special Needs , and God’s Amazing Grace

Lamentations 3:23 -“His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. ”

Setting a personal best is an absolutely thrilling feeling for a runner, and I was able to do that with last night’s run. 6. 2 miles (a 10K) in 63: 46 which certainly isn’t fast but was my personal best by far.  As the commercial said from the late 80s, it’s gotta be the shoes.   Seriously I’ve started running in Hokas and they have helped me run faster.   However it wasn’t the personal best that made last night’s run so great, it was the fact that my 5 year old son ran a good portion of the last 1.2 miles with me.

I had ran 5 miles and came into the house for a minute when he looked at me and said “I want to run with daddy,” Continue reading “Running, Special Needs , and God’s Amazing Grace”

What You Were Made For

Ephesians 4:7 -“But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. ”

This morning I decided to give the Coffee from yesterday a second chance, as I opened the bag I was greeted by that same amazing smell. I smiled and thought something good has to come from this.  Yesterday I made espresso with this supposedly amazing coffee that is shade grown high up on a mountain in Cameroon,  Africa.  It was disappointing to say the least.  Today I said let’s do something different,  let’s make just a regular cup of coffee.  So I ground the beans, put them in the French press, poured in the water and waited.  4 minutes later I found out it was definitely worth the wait.  It was terrific. What a change from yesterday.

Most of the time the pressure that is used to make an espresso really brings out the flavor of the bean,  in some cases however a bean actually shows more of its flavor in the  processes of just making a normal cup of coffee.   This is true especially with the French Press method (if you haven’t tried it,  seriously you need to).

These beans were not made for espresso,  they were made for just regular coffee,  even though the taste is anything but regular.  In reality it’s spectacular.   It certainly wasn’t an an espresso but it is as coffee.  It just had to be used for what it was made for.

Reread that last sentence but this time don’t think of it in a coffee context, think of it in relation to your life.   Your life will truly only be good when it finds what it was made for.  And what is it made for? Simply put a relationship with God and the privilege of glorifying Him.   Paul tells the church at Corinth, “whatever you do in word or deed,  do it all for the glory of God.”  You were made for God and for glorifying Him,  anything else might look good but will only lead to disappointment.   Just like yesterday’s espresso.

Beyond that God has uniquely blessed you with very specific gifts,  talents,  and abilities.   Once you discover what these are you will find satisfaction in life.  A satisfaction that is deeper and richer than anything the world can offer. A satisfaction even beyond today’s cup of coffee (as good as it was). You will find satisfaction and joy as you use those gifts,  talents and abilities to glorify God. After all  its what He created you for.  So may we find our satisfaction in knowing Him and serving Him.   In doing what we were created to do, always remembering the truth that “God is most glorified in us as we are most satisfied in Him. ” To God be the glory.

RICH SMELLING COFFEE

John 7:38 – “Whoever believes in me as the Scripture says ‘out of his heart will flow streams of living water’.”

A few days ago I treated myself with some whole bean coffee from the African mountains. It was shade grown at an elevation between 5000-7500 feet. l hurried home and opened the bag. The smell was absolutely amazing. In fact it smelled better than any coffee I had ever smelled,  It was an olfactory paradise. My wife who doesn’t drink Coffee smelled it and almost decided to have a cup.  It smelled that good.

l threw some in the bean grinder, turned on my espresso machine and readied myself for the greatest Cup I had ever had.   Unfortunately that not what happened.  It came out rich and robust and it even had a nice crema (white, frothy substance at the top of a well made Cup of espresso)on top.  I couldn’t wait,  I was at the Apex of the coffee mountain.  I quickly drank it and found pure disappointment.   It was good,  it was flavorful,  it was robust,  but it wasn’t that good.  Looked good,  smelled good but once I dived in it wasn’t that good.  

I tried a second Cup only to experience the exact same thing but by the time I hit the bottom of the second Cup I had a realization: Sometimes our lives are a whole lot like that Cup of espresso, they look good on the outside and they might even put off a pleasant aroma.  In fact we may dress them up and make people think our lives are amazing, yet they really aren’t what they seem.   In fact inside they are empty,  disappointing and missing something.

Sin has entered in,  idolatry had a foothold and we may look OK but I reality we are a mess.  We may not even realize it.  We may have most people fooled, we may even fool ourselves but in reality we aren’t all we are cracked up to be.   Is there a solution? Thankfully yes and the solution is Jesus.  It is admitting that we have a problem, it is repenting.   It is trusting Him.  When we do that He begins the process of transformation and change.  He remakes us, transforming us into what we were created to be.  We won’t get there in this life, but  He will continually move us forward and we have His promise,  “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. ”

John Owens said “our sins are like an iceberg, we only see about 10% of them.   The rest are below the surface. ”  They are what holds us back,  they are what leads to disappointment.   They are why we don’t measure up.  Yet the good news is this they are not beyond the grace of God.  His grace covers all our sins (even the hidden ones we don’t know about).  Our lives may disappoint,  or sins may be great and hidden and vast, yet His grace is greater than our sins.   And His grace redeems and restores when we repent and put our faith in Him.  To God be the glory!

Love, Truth, and a Dishwasher

Matthew 5:14 – “You are the light of the world.   A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Recently my wife and I purchased a new dishwasher, and after a few days it was delivered to my house .  I met the delivery men at the door and immediately was struck by their unprofessional, uncaring attitudes.  I shook it off, after all they were just delivering a product and perhaps for them it had been a long day.  Earlier that day I had placed a call to the Company that provides an television services. I spoke with 2 different people who contradicted each other , and who basically both agreed that if I didn’t like their service (or the price l paid for it ) that I could basically take my business elsewhere. I was shocked by the rudeness of their conversation.  That day I reflected that many people simply don’t care for others.

I finally was able to get the dishwasher installed last Friday night, thanks to the help of a good friend from church, it ran one cycle and promptly stopped working it should be pointed at that this had nothing to do with installation ). Earlier in the week we had bought some yogurt for our one year old and we had fed it to him on a couple of different occasions,  then we noticed that the date ran out 6 months earlier.  I am also an avid drinker of Dr. Enuff, but sadly the last 2 were flat and tasteless as soon as they were opened.  I can’t help but reflect that many people don’t care a lot about their products any longer.

We live in the midst of a rapidly  changing world, not only in terms of customer service and product quality,  but in the issues of morality.  The moral landscape of our culture is changing,  most people in our country today have little or no religious affiliation and it seems to be a culture of anything goes.  Dr. R Albert Mohler, the President of The Southrrn Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville,  Kentucky,  says that “a culture has never went through so much change in such a short period of time and survived.”  So the question we as the church must ask is how can we be a faithful gospel witness in the midst of these  changing times?  How can we share Jesus in this world?

Perhaps the answer (or at least the start of it) lies in my dishwasher and my chikdren’s yogurt.  What do I mean by that?  I mean first off if we are going to effectively engage culture we have to present quality.  If we are going to tell people that Jesus makes all the difference in the world, we’ve got to live like we believe that He really does.  That means we’ve got to love Him above the things of the world, and if we love Him more than the things of the world we can’t become entangled in the sins or the attitudes of the world.  We’ve got to be different,  but make sure that we are living with humility because the only way that we can live differently is through the grace of God.  We have to live in such a way that people see that Jesus really does make a difference.

And we also have to care about people.  I know by the time I got off the phone with the tv representatives and had dealt with the delivery people I didn’t want to talk to another customer service representative.  If we are going to represent Jesus (and if we are His followers we do), we have got to show love to people, ALL people, whether we agree with their lifestyles or not.  That certainly doesn’t mean that we agree with their lifestyles or that we compromise truth, but we still love them and care about them.  Which means we point them towards Jesus.

Our world is changing and if we truly are going to be salt and light,  if we are going to have a gospel witness then we must live differently being true to the historic Christian faith,  and fully and radically trusting in Jesus.  We must live as truth, but the Bible says we are to “speak the truth in love”, which means we must live and show love as well.  Truth and love, that was the life of Jesus and that must be the life of the Christ follower as well.  Speak truth and love, live truth and give  love by doing so you are salt and light.   You are a faithful Gospel witness in the midst of a godless culture.  May our lives, our families, and our churches be marked by such excellence.   To God be the glory!