One Body

With Fall fast approaching (or at least we hope), comes the promise of flannel, fire and College Football!  And, with such a "blessing" just around the corner, I couldn't help but anticipate the upcoming season.  I look forward to it every year. 

I love that no matter where I travel, no matter what time of the year, that when I see my team's colors flying in a crowd, I can simply greet those colors with a simple fraternity-like greeting, and it'll be reciprocated, as if to say, "you belong!"  It's so comforting.  It's that much better when I can attend a home game and 90,000+ "of my closest friends," are all cheering in one accord! It's awesome!
I know all the songs, all the history and get goose bumps everytime my team emerges to charge the field!  I'm pretty pumped now, just thinking about it; glad to be a part of it!

And, as quickly as I get pumped about this soon coming reality, I fall under remorseful conviction as I read the following verse from Colossians...

"15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."

In church, I also know all the songs, I also know all the history, and yet I hasten to think that I get just as excited to attend it as I do a game. What's wrong with this picture... whats wrong with me? 

I can gather with complete strangers and scream till I'm horse for a team in which I don't have one personal relationship, and yet in church, where I have been called family by God Himself, I am not as easily moved! There was a day when greeting one another in the name of Jesus brought this same "fan-like" exhilaration.  It long preceded football, and the excitement came while in the midst of immense persecution, you could find another that was being hunted, just like you were. People found true solace in the presence of another person that had left all else to trust Jesus', because that time could've been there last.  They enjoyed every minute encouraging and charging one another to keep going. They weren't watching a game, they were in the game! The barbaric reality of a Christian. 

What if we cheered for restoration like we do touchdowns? What if we welcomed correction like we do settling for field goals?  And, what if the church anticipated gathering together like football fans anticipate the next home game?! 

There is a bond larger than school colors, mascots or national titles.  It is the bond of 'true love,' the love that Paul addresses in his letter to Colossae.  It was paid for by blood and even more intensely barbaric.  It is the bond of perfection; the bond of Jesus! Could we, the church, ponder our excitement to gather as One Body, and allow it to rival, and surpass even, the excitement I expressed when addressing a game?!

Like those before us, we're not simply watching a game as Christians, we're in one!  It's the only game that actually matters. And, guess what... we're the "visiting team". Love each other and long to be together! Our success demands it.

Colossians 3:13-15
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.

The End Of The World As We Know It

written by: Justin Lett

It is July 29, 2016, and as I currently sit in a local cafe enjoying a warm cinnamon roll and rich black coffee our world is just 3 hours from ending.  Or so say "doomsayers," that have predicted "this" apocalypse due to a polar shift that occurs once every 200,000 years... and, today, ... well, we're due.

But, as I peruse this cafe and all its patrons, no one seems to care. Either they are unaware of the day's catastrophic unfolding or they simply dismiss the notion.  And, I choose to join them in the probable belief of the latter.  It is not that the world going to "hell in a hand basket" wouldn't cause mass hysteria, if it were true, but this isn't our first prediction of this sort, nor is it likely our last.  Truth is, you are likely to read this days after this post is written and thus we will have survived yet another apocalyptic event.  

To be clear, I'm not making light of this world's eventual end. It has been foretold and promised, by our God, that the world as we know it will end in the glorious second coming of Christ.  And, as His church we should anticipate it and need be preparing for it.  For in that day, "every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus as Lord," (Rom.14:11) 
and on that day it will be too late for so many beloved lives that will enter eternity exactly as they lived in this world,... apart from Christ. 

My heart breaks for those.  My heart hurts for those unaware and for those simply choosing to ignore this reality.  My heart hurts for those who have been told about His return, yet, don't anticipate it.  Thus, my heart simply hurts.  

And so I sit, enjoying this cinnamon roll, because the hurt is just sometimes too much to bear.  I happen to anticipate His return, because I also happen to agree with Paul and believe that "to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21) To die is to be with Him, ultimate goal anyways.  But, to live is to prepare myself and to prepare others.  Not in the sense of those doomsday prepping, but in the reality of Jesus' words, "You cannot otherwise be my disciple unless you DAILY take up your cross and follow Me." (Luke 14:27)

You see, my flesh needs to be denied in order that I live "according to the Spirit," (Rom. 8:5) and part of that denial is not running around in fear causing hysteria, but rather being a person of peace in a world of chaos.  Being for those in a dishonest world, a place of honesty and stability.  A place of hope. Because, that's what I have...hope!  A hope in the victorious work of Jesus, and Him completing that work on the cross and ultimately solidifying it in His return.  

The world is crazy, and has come to a place of deep desensitization to climate, and to terror, and to even the democratic process. I am of the belief that either in my lifetime, or my children's or their children's, our Lord will return and this world, as we know it, will end.   But, instead of that driving fanaticism, it drives in me a need to prepare the world to meet Jesus.  Not simply in introduction but to train them to recognize His voice and presence.  
It awakens in me a need to become what this world is not, ...peaceful. 

Jesus Christ was so counter to this world, and so should be His people.  This is what's awakened in me. It's not aloofness or lack of concern, it is in fact the opposite, but it is intentionally practiced peace.  That I might look as counter as He did to this world, in order that it may have hope.  Today, realize the world will end, but each day prior is a gift to be utilized to prepare the world to meet the Prince of Peace, be peace,... Church, not for yourselves, but for them, the world.  

Isaiah 9:6-7
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.