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Sunday, October 23, 2011

How long could you watch.....

     It was brought to my attention at church this morning, it has been on my mind, for me therapy is letting it go in writing, so here it goes....

     We who believe know the story of Jesus, we have seen movies, read the Bible, and do Bible studies in helping us to learn more about our Saviour.  But here is something that we all missed, despite how much we think we have learned.  What about Mary Mother of Jesus?

     We know that a Virgin was consumed by the Holy Spirit and conceived a child out of wedlock, we know when was visited in a dream by Gabriel who told her whom she was carrying.  We know that her fiancee was going to let her go without disgrace until he was visited in a dream and told that she was carrying Emmanuel - God saves.  We know that Joseph stepfather to the Lord our God died several years prior to Jesus' ministry, and finally we know all too well the ministry itself, it is the basis of our faith and understanding of God as Christians.

     Here is what we don't know, what was it like for Mary the Mother of God to walk among the crowd of people, spitting on her son, as he carried the cross.  What was it like for the Mother of God to watch them hang her son, nailing him to the cross, and watching him die?  What was it like for her to have her son departed of this Earth placed into her arms when he was removed from the cross?  What is it like to watch your child die?

     For most of us, we may never know the answer to that question, because we will go through this life never having to experience the emotion of watching our children suffer and pass on.  It is easy for the masses to look up and sing in a church about death having no sting, when we have no experience in such matters, can we sing with such gusto in the company of death? 

     When Mary was told that she would give birth to the Son of Man, did she ever envision what that really meant?  When we decide to have children of our own, do we ever consider what we would do if we lose that child?  We all look upon the baby as it is born and think, yep, there is the next president of the United States, we never imagine that our children will be born to suffer to strengthen our faith. 

    Think of what the Saviour means to you.  The love and humility you feel towards Jesus for what he did for you so that you could have a chance at eternity.  Now look upon Jesus as Mary did, feeling the same humility, and at the same time confusion, because this is your child that you have known from birth that is suffering.  In that time I imagine that it is difficult to feel pride in His actions, when everytime he whences in pain, you feel it too. 

     Unfortunately, I have asked alot of questions, and the answers, I cannot provide.  I simply don't know.  You see, I know some people who have no idea what it is like to have imagine any of these things, they are living it.  From my point of view, they are living it well.  The example Mary set for us are some large shoes to fill.  It is Mary's example that we must find our Faith.  Her Faith was strong when she saw her Son in all of his Glory, but it was strongest when she watched Him die, from what I have read, she never looked away.

This is not for you, it isn't even for me, this is for Jasmine, never have I seen except in the days of Jesus a child who has brought together a community and a Family with its Church than I have in the short life of Jasmine Uhl, never in my life will I ever forget the time I held her and looked upon her looking back up at me.  I will be forever haunted by her gaze until such time when I can reach eternity and tell her what her life has meant to me.  A child that has never spoken a word has uttered volumes of Faith in her silence.  In my entire existence on this Earth will I ever have the impact on others this child has had.

'When Jesus saw his Mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his Mother, "Dear woman, here is your Son," and to the disciple, "Here is your Mother."  From that time on, this disciple took her into his Home. (Jn 19:26-27)

Thank you to the Uhl's for allowing us to travel this journey with you, I hope we have shown you what community really is, I hope we have shown you a Home.  My prayer is that when you become to weak to take another step in this journey, you will realize that we are still there to carry you, and our door will always be open to you.

Much love, JT

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Check your newsfeed and let me know when Jesus gets on Facebook

     I think I will have  a series of bloggables on here that all tie into the same theme.  Last week I wrote about telling the truth, and I think this week will be on being truthful to yourself, here goes....
     This has a lot to do with Facebook, lets face it, we are all on it, most of us anyway.  I see almost everyday a profession of faith, a verse, or a statement to God Himself as a status update.  But let me ask you this, is that what you TRULY believe, or is it what you want everyone to believe in you.  The internet is full of liars, myself included, that is the ultimate sin in us all, we all lie on the internet.  Now before you say, nay nay, not me JT.  Let me ask you, that picture you posted of yourself, is that what you really look like, or is that a five to ten year old picture of when you weren't quite so big.  Some people cannot even find a decent picture from five years ago, so they post their dog, cat, or children.  The point is, we portray ourselves on social media as what we want people to see us as, and on the internet, that is very easy.  The majority of our 'friends' don't live anywhere near us and can never disprove anything we say or show on the media.  So we spend a great deal of time and effort trying to deliver an image of ourselves that we want everyone to see, how we want to be seen, and isn't this a form of deception, i.e. a lie. 

     For the people who post prayers to God as a status update, have you not read your bible.  Now before you throw your bible at me, yes you can pray publicly if someone has asked for prayer, or you are in church.  But a random its just you and God type prayer, is that something to make a spectacle of, or is it something you want everyone to see you doing, the deception is, are you really praying to the Lord, or just want everyone to think you are praying to Him. 'But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.' Matthew 6:6.  Read about what Jesus did when he prayed, so few are there times in the bible where you see Jesus Christ praying publicly, most of the time, it says, Jesus went off to pray.  So I say, why the heck are you logging on to pray?  Be honest with yourself on that one.

     This one is for the verse posters.  I do not particularly think there is anything wrong with posting a verse from the Bible that moves you.  But my statement on that is this, why are you posting a Biblical verse on a social media site to the select few 'friends' you have chosen to be able to read your posts.  In other words, you are preaching to the choir are you not?  Would you take that same verse that 'moved' you, stand on a street corner, stop a stranger and quote the same verse to him or her?  How strong is your Faith now?  It is easy to preach to people that want to hear it, no one walks into the church for the donuts, they are there for the lesson, they want to hear it.  The friends you have chosen are mostly people who agree with you, because we all delete the ones that don't.  Can you honestly tell me that you could be so moved by a verse that you would quote it to a stranger?  Or, do you just want to seem righteous on Facebook?  Be honest with yourself on that one.

     Finally, for the ones who profess their faith as a post.  Here recently I read a post about how someone wanted to be more consumed with the things of God and less consumed by worldly things.  Yet, the first thing they had to do in this Sunday transformation, was check their newsfeed.  So often are we moved on a Sunday, but how seldom does that translate into a changed person on a Monday.  Most commonly, we all act like good Christians when we are around other good Christians.  So if we are truly moved by a sermon, and the Lord tells us to spend more time in the Bible, why is the first thing we do before we do that, or limit our time reading, to check in on what people are saying in social media.  So often people will turn away from the media realizing that they are consumed with it, only to return a month or so later because they realize they can't live without it.  Shouldn't it be your Faith in Jesus Christ that you can't live without, and if the spirit has moved you to leave a network, why do we barter with the Lord and talk Him into letting us return a month or so later.  If you are so moved by a Sunday service, why are you not out in the actual world trying to make a difference in someones life, if even it is your own, why are you sitting and looking at social media.  Your heart lies where your habits form, do you reach for the Bible, or the laptop most often?  Be honest with yourself on that one.

Facebook?  It is time to stop with all the deception, it is time to stop all the lies, if someone asks you how you are doing whether it be literally or on social media and you don't feel good, then tell them you feel like crap, put your real picture up on your page, and don't tell me how you are changed and be offended when I hold you accountable for acting the same, AND I DEMAND YOU DO THE SAME TO ME.  I fully appreciate the hypocrisy of this post, and I include myself in everything I have written, remember, when you point a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.  Lets keep it real folks, will you do it, repost this if you agree.

Could your faith be as strong as an Egyptian Christian?  When an armored vehicle comes barrelling down on you, would you jump out of the way, or die for your Faith?  Be honest with yourself on that one. 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

You can run kid, but you cannot hide

    That's a line from one of my favorite 80's movies, Top Gun.  After that movie came out everyone wanted to join the Navy, I didn't, what I wondered was why after they all took a shower with towels wrapped around their waists were they still wet? 

     But that is not the purpose of this bloggable.  It is just something that I can't help but think of when I think about who we are, and more directly, who we are in the church.  No matter what size church you go to whether it be big or small, there are a number of people you know intimately at that church if you have been going for any extended period of time.  The question I always ask everyone when I see them within my own church is, 'How are you?'.  Let me tell you, I am not sure about your church, but in mine, everyone all the time is perfectly fine, and everything is going their way, you couldn't find a healthier happier group.  Which of course, is a steaming load of crap.  I catch myself caught up in the same old lie, from time to time.  What bothers me about that, is we are doing that in church, as if we are looking up to the Lord God Himself and trying to convince Him that we are ok, as if he doesn't know the truth.  What is more spell bounding to me is the fact that we put on that church face, you know that face.  Its the face where we are grinning from ear to ear with squinty eyes, head slightly atilt telling everyone how greeeeeeaaaaaaaattt we are and how good it is to see them.  When the reality is, we are screaming inside of ourselves, we are broken and abused, in essence, we walk in there hurting but desperately trying to hide the limp.  Why do we do this?  Isn't our church the place we go for spiritual and mental healing, why do we deny ourselves a rekindling of our spirit when we always assure each other that is what God wants us to have.  Why do we think of healing in terms of someone else.  I told a guy today at church, that there were well over half of the church in a state of brokenness and disrepair, as if we were car windows that were still intact, but completely shattered.  The proof that I had was that I tend to be the hugger guy, sorry, that's who I am, and in my efforts to try to hug everyone I came in contact with, I noticed that my ribs started to hurt.  I was being embraced so hard that it was hurting my sides, yet everyone I asked, told me they were fine and doing well, and I would look at them very tenderly and tell them I love it when I am lied to, why not just kick me in the crotch and call me ugly?  Whom are we trying to convince of our perfection?  There is nowhere in the world you can go, the world that God created, that you can hide your sin or your flaws away from Him, so why do we?  Maybe we should let go of some of that foolish pride and ego, and let go of ourselves.  Maybe the next time you walk through the doors of your church and someone asks you how you are doing, you will be honest, for once, and tell them you need prayer, or an ear to listen, or maybe you just want to go somewhere and cry your eyes out.  I am willing to bet that there are some people you will meet at some of the church's that you go, who will have no idea what to do with your honesty.  For that, we should be ashamed.  Ashamed that we can walk through the doors of a church and be willing to tell a lie, and it become so comfortable, that we have no idea what to do with the truth.  Lets work on that together, what do you say?  Ask me how I am doing, and challenge me to tell you, give someone your heart's truth and see what they do, pray with someone you don't even know that well, and see how your life can change.  Be yourself, for once in your life, and I will try to do the same.

"I promise to pray for you every day, ask your forgiveness, grant you the same, and be your friend always." The Grace Card