Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The $20,000 Trailer House $40,000 Truck Syndrome

The house is worth about $50,000. That truck, though . . . well it listed for $70, but he got it for $65,000. They needed it to tow the fifth wheel camping, but that would keep them from being able to bring the boat along. So, they bought a new truck for his wife (yep, for his wife). He can even roll the Harley up in the truck bed before they hook up the boat. The twin four wheelers (for the kids), have to stay at home, though. So, they are spending $50,000 on the only thing of lasting value, and $200,000 on rapidly depreciating stuff.

This world is designed to proliferate the $20,000 Trailer House $40,000 Truck syndrome. Both retail sales and hell benefit greatly from it. Don't pick on this family. Even if you're a sound financial investor, most of what you are investing in will not last forever. Remember, one day you won't need all the stuff out in the yard, under the shed, and in the retirement account. One day, you won't even need the house, but you'll still want some place to live. And on that day, you won't be thinking about the next 10 or 15 years. You'll be thinking about eternity.

So, follow God's eternal investing advice, and "Don't collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don't break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

That's Not Me, Exactly

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind... (Rom.12:2a)

"Hey, you were here yesterday, right?" asked the pastor.  "Yes," he said, "great message, pastor." "So, did you do it?"  A puzzled look and then, "What?" Pastor, continuing, "Did you do it? Did you share the gospel with people yesterday and today? I mean, that's what I preached about - the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to share the Gospel everywhere we go?" Have you ever seen human skin turn from pink and healthy to cold, clammy and pale in just a moment?

I love asking people to do the things Christ asks them to do. I love asking them to pray, to read the Word, to gather together in corporate and small group settings to study the Bible. I love asking them to give and serve and witness. I love this, because I represent Christ when I ask those questions. Often, however, the response is like the one above. Sometimes I even hear, "Well, that's just not me, pastor."

I want to say, "Exactly. I know it's not you. That is precisely why you need to do it. No man naturally believes. No man naturally bears witness after believing. No man denies himself, takes up his cross, and follows Christ. No man naturally mutually submits himself to a body of believers, lays down the remote and takes up the Bible, lays down the fishing rod and takes up the hammer at work day, lays down his yard work and takes up children's ministry, lays down his free time and spends it on sharing the Gospel. That is exactly why you desperately need to do so, so that you can begin to walk in the abundant life Jesus promised - not the kind of life you've been living, but one infinitely deeper, wider, and more satisfying than any you have yet experienced."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Invictus Running With The Wind

"'Come!" He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wing, he was afraid. And, beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me!'" ~ Matthew 14:29-30

The winds always blow, and most blow with them. They build their lives like tall ships in full sail running with, rather than against the wind. The ride is thrilling. Sins indulged. Philosophies considered and embraced. Worldviews developed. Lifestyles entertained and approved. Religion is even part of the mix. They captain their ships, believing they are in charge of their destinies. They are inspired by others who run with the wind, like William Ernest Henly. This poet faced great trials in life without God. He wrote Invictus (latin for invincible), a poem that has inspired millions to continue running with the wind.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Those who run with the wind may successfully stear their course around the rock all their lives, but in the end they will not avoid Him. They will tragically discover that they were not the masters of their fates, the captains of their souls. There is another Captain, another Master, who is also a rock. No ship avoids Him in the end. "Look! I am putting a stone in Zion to stumble over, and a rock to trip over, yet the one who believes on Him will not be put to shame." (Rom.9:33)

Are you running with the wind?