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Is a pastor cheating when they start looking at other churches?
Sea of Galilee
One day, along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus made the disciples get in a boat. He didn’t say, “When you’re ready, get in the boat” or “After you’ve gathered everything and said your goodbyes to everyone you’ve met, get in the boat.” Jesus made the disciples get in the boat. A more accurate translation would read, Jesus forced/compelled/urged/insisted that the disciples get in the boat.
It was this very boat trip that the disciples got caught in the storm. All night the boat was tossed about by the wind and the waves. The disciples remained far from the land because the wind was against them. There’s a sense that the wind has been personified. It is against the disciples. It’s personal. It does not want them to make it back to shore where Jesus is.
What has always amazed me is that Jesus must have known this was going to happen. Yet, he made the disciples get into the boat. Jesus knew the disciples were going to suffer. He wanted them to experience life in the world without him. And the disciples learn that the world is against them.
When Jen and I were in Israel we took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. I could picture the disciples out on the middle of this sea. For us, it was a calm day. But the thought of a storm coming up and swallowing our boat did come to mind. Then our guide shared something I never knew before. The wind for this particular sea comes from all four directions. I thought of the disciples. They truly were being persecuted by the world.
There is good news to this story. In the middle of the night, at the darkest, windiest hour, Jesus came walking on the water toward the disciples. When the disciples see Jesus they are afraid, they think he’s a ghost. I suppose that’s not a stretch considering that this really was an unholy storm. But Jesus calms their fears when he identifies himself by saying, “Take courage. It is I. Do not be afraid.” (Mat 14:27) Once Jesus is in the boat the wind dies and the sea calms down.
This begs the question, has Jesus made you do something that you’re afraid of? What is the boat that Jesus is making you get into? Is it a conversation with someone? Is it facing your addiction? It won’t be easy. You know it, Jesus knows it. But we know that while we may have to face something, we won’t have to face it alone. Before hope is lost, Jesus comes. If we let him into our lives, the storms of life will calm down.
The miracle in this story is not that Jesus walked on water. I’ve seen that done by other magicians. I even saw a guy make a train disappear. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus did something amazing by walking on water. But other people have mimicked that. The miracle of this story is that Jesus brought order out of the chaos of the world. That’s power my friends.
Do you need a little more order in your world? Then get in the boat. Face your storm. It’s not an option. But then again, if you look, you’ll see Jesus coming toward you. Let him in.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and
eat with him, and he with me. ~ Jesus, in Revelation 3:20
The world is full of options. Just try to order food at a restaurant without hearing the words, “Do you want a side with that, we have several options…” Things are the same when it comes to finding purpose in your
personal life. There is no shortage of choices when it comes to finding meaning in life. As the Mad Pastor,
I want you to consider Jesus to be your last option.
Many people look for meaning in their families. I’ve known moms and dads who have found great comfort in raising their children. Kids make mistakes and shame their parents. They grow up and move out. When that happens, those parents struggle with living in an empty home. Purpose is lost.
Couples without kids may find happiness in their relationship with each other. But people fail us.
Relationships end. Husbands grow old and frail. We’ve all known a man or woman who has face great hardships after the loss of a loved one. When we lose another, we lose ourselves.
Money and power are tempting options. We all seem to envy those with big houses, nice cars. We’ve all dreamt of winning the lottery and what we’d do with our newfound riches. And yet, have you ever seen the documentaries on those who have won the lottery and found themselves devoid of any true relationship or even filing for bankruptcy?
Yes, the world provides a lot of options. I’ve touched on just a few. Many options are even good ones… for
a season. But all options run out at some point. There is an option beyond this world.
Often times, people go to Jesus Christ when all other options have run out. They’ve tried everything else, there’s nothing left so they turn to him. It’s then that they find true life, true purpose in living in Christ. Sometimes you’ll hear someone say that they would have saved a lot of time if they had gone to Jesus sooner.
If you’re looking for purpose in your life, if you want to find meaning you’ll find that there are an almost unlimited number of options waiting for you. Why don’t you respond to the option that is not just waiting for you but looking for you… even knocking on your door? Save yourself a lot of time and disappointment, open the door to Jesus and make him your last option. Once you found him, you won’t need anything
The other day I noticed my laptop was running out of power, but the power cord was inserted. Great, my laptop is dying. I can’t live without this thing. How am I supposed to write all these great articles for you to read without my computer right?
I double checked the cord. It was pushed into the laptop. I checked my settings. Everything seemed fine. Maybe my battery was going dead. But that doesn’t make sense, it’s plugged in. So why was the unit about to die? Well it turns out the other end of the cord wasn’t plugged into the wall. Hey, at least I figured it out before the pc died.
How many times do you find yourself running out of power? When your battery runs down, what do you plug into? Better yet, is what you plug into enough?
The world offers a lot of power sources. Some good, some not so good. We have self help books, therapy, prescriptions meds and friends. These are great power boosters. But they can’t be our only source. When we treat them as the sole source of our power we can become addicted to them or wear them out. When we abuse them, they will fail us.
We need a power source that never goes out. Not when there’s a storm, high winds, or too much demand. We need a perfect source; a clean, steady stream of energy that gives us the power we need.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) Right after he said this, he raised someone from the dead. The world has a lot of power, but I’ve never seen one that raised someone who was dead a few days.
Plug into Jesus. His power never runs out. The only thing left to say is the question Jesus asks, “Do you believe this?”
I bought a new snow blower this year. I was tired of having to take a shovel to the ice and snow at the end of the driveway that my smaller blower couldn’t handle. I made the plunge and bought a big metal, 208 cc, rust resistant snow blower with 11 in. steel serrated augers, electric start, and alloy steel gears….(caveman sounds) AAAUUUggggg Aarrrggh, Ahhh ah Ahhhh ahhh!!!
Boy did that baby blow! (Insert your own joke here.) I could practically hit the neighbor’s house across the street! Yes! No more shoveling for me!
I pulled my new snow blower out this weekend for the second snow of the season. Four inches. No problem. My baby can handle it. I was half done with the driveway when I noticed something…. the whole machine was wobbly. It was bending sideways back and forth. It looked more like a slinky than a snow blower. The bolts holding it together were literally breaking apart and falling off. My precious snow blower was about to be in pieces!
Turns out the bolts that held the machine together were not properly heat treated when they were made. They were brittle and couldn’t take the stress of a moving machine. Because they were falling apart my favorite new winter machine was falling apart. It didn’t matter if the engine was strong and the transmission worked, the machine as a whole is only as good as the bolts that hold it together.
What are the bolts that are holding your life together? Can they handle the stress of life? Or are you risking falling apart because the bolts of your life are overburdened, overstressed, or just not properly made?
We all have something to keep our lives together. Sometimes its family, work, church, friends, even alcohol and drugs. We use any manner of things to keep it together. But everything, eventually will fail us. Nothing can compete with the stress of life. Except the One who made life.
In speaking of Jesus, the apostle Paul said, “all things were created by him and for him. He is before all thins, and in him all things hold together.” (1 Corinthians 1:16b-17)
If you are looking for something to hold your life together look to the one who created life. He understands you. He made you! And if he can hold the universe and all creation together, think how much he can do for you!
By the way, I took my failing snow blower back to the store and they traded it for an upgrade at a deep discount for my inconvenience. I almost can’t wait for it to snow again. And just to be sure, I swapped out some key bolts with new stainless steel ones.
Ever have one of those conversations when you ask someone how they are doing and they look back at you, shrug their shoulders and say, “I’m surviving.”
We’ve all had seasons in our lives when things are tough. We’re glad just to make it through the day. We know things will get better, but for the time being we’ll get by with just surviving.
I’ve had those times. But the thing is, I don’t want to live my life “just surviving.” I don’t want to look back on my years and see a life of no substance. Because a life of survival is a life without significance. I don’t need to be a rock star, but I want my life to mean something. In order for my life to be more than it is, I have to be more than I am. And the best way to be more than I am, is to let Christ live in me. Because if I have Christ in me, I am more than the sum of my genes. I am a new creation filled with the Spirit of God himself.
Jesus wants you to be more than the flesh and blood you are. Surviving is not what God has called you to do. He has created you to live. He has created you to experience the life he has laid out for you. And just to make sure you got the message, he sent his Son to give you His very life. So that you can be more. So that you can have more.
Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
Jesus doesn’t want you to survive. He wants you to have an abundant life. Are you ready to live it?
I’ve started noticing a new trend with Halloween. Last year, I went to a costume store to pick up some props for an event and I found myself in a very awkward moment. In the front of the store were little items like make up cases, vampire teeth, and I guess what you would call mummy accessories; fingers, fake, blood, etc. In the back of the store were the large, expensive items to place in your front yard; self opening caskets, screaming signs, and skulls that light up. But it was the middle of the store that scared me the most.
Aisles and aisles of costumes for women took up the center. There were witches, nurses, pirates, cops, and princesses. At first glance everything seemed normal. (Well, normal for a costume shop.) But as I took a closer look, I noticed something more… or less. There was something missing in these outfits… material. These costumes were provocative. I saw more material on the little kids' princess costume than I did on the adults'. When did this happen?
I felt like the women’s costume section needed to be separated from the rest of the store like those old video stores. Remember the old days of video rentals? There was always one section set apart from the rest of the store. Sometimes there was a curtain of beads in the doorway between the “family” section and the “adult” section. Anyone seen going into the adult section was considered to be kind of sleazy. And yet, here I was standing in the middle of what seemed like the adult section of the video store and it was smack dab in the middle of the room with kids running all around.
When did witches become sluts? I thought they were ugly hags. Why does Little Red Riding Hood have a tiny skirt that barely covers the buns she taking over to Grandma? Doesn’t it get cold in the woods?
Am I overreacting here? Let me know what you think.
Last night my church hosted its third annual Trunk or Treat. At the event we brought in a giant blow up slide. Before the gentleman who set it up could walk away, kids were lined up waiting for the exhilarating experience of sliding down. The Trunk or Treat was scheduled for two hours and every second saw a child going up or coming down.
Over and over, young ninjas, Spidermen, Batmen, princesses, and Disney characters formed an assembly line of sorts, running up the steps on one side and tumbling down the other. As soon as a kid hit the bottom, they ran right back to where they started and got in line to start the whole process over.
Makes you think about life doesn’t it?
As adults we spent a lot of time climbing the “ladder” only to come sliding back down don’t we? And when we hit bottom, we head right back to get in line. Are we like Sisyphus, the figure of Greek mythology, who was eternally punished by having to move a boulder up a mountainside only to have it forever slide back down again?
For many of us, the answer is yes.
We get caught in a rut of doing the same thing over and over. Not just in our jobs, but in life. We excel in making the same mistakes. And once we’ve hit bottom and swear never to do it again, we get right back in line only to repeat our same behavior. And that truly is tragic.
For others, we’re trapped. We work hard and yet, can’t seem to get out of this rut we’re in. We get behind in our bills, our sleep, our relationships. The more we try, the more we find ourselves in a vicious cycle of unfulfilled work and little to no reward. And that too, is heartbreaking.
For all of us, the escape is the same.
We need to find meaning beyond the immediate. We need to know that there is something beyond this existence of ours. Something that is bigger than our problems, bigger than life.
Bigger than the slide.
When we can see beyond the things of our life, see beyond the borders of this world, we will begin to comprehend that there is more than what this existence has to offer. When that happens hope grows within us. And when we have hope, we are no longer held captive by the boundaries of our lives. The world grows to unimaginable proportions, without limits or understanding, full of possibilities beyond our mere comprehension. And then something truly magical happens.
We become children of creation and the slide becomes fun.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! ~ Luke 12:22-24
Come get in line with me.