New years is coming. Resolutions are about to be made. And a number of other things are quickly approaching on our ‘to-do lists’. As a society… we are quickly forgetting Christmas. The Christmas tree has been taken down and like the seasonal conifers, we have placed Christmas out on the curb. Today as we look at our tree that was once full of ornaments, but now lays empty and bare…I wonder if many of us feel that Christmas shouldn’t be over just yet. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Human Condition
* I originally wrote this article for and was published by EverythingPastor.com
With the beginning of a new year just around the corner, we will naturally reflect upon the past 12 months of ministry. All those amazing and horrifying moments flashing through our minds, as we consider what went well and what we wish we could erase from eternity. The good, the bad, the ugly, and of course THE GREAT… will all be mixed into our emotional blender. That’s usually how it works. We are blasted with memories that keep us going, and then shredded with the ones that give us that “throw in the towel feeling”. Like a Jr. High student, we ride the emotional roller coaster and rarely know where the ride will take us.
Today, I’m currently sipping on my 2011 emotional smoothie, and I’m realizing just how bitter and sweet it can taste at the same time. I’m guessing you’ll be drinking yours soon, but before you down your glass, please allow a fellow youth worker to share how he’s trying to make sure he doesn’t choke in the process. Continue reading
Danger. Thrill seekers around the world live to feel it and experience it. They jump out of planes, ride crazy roller coasters, and some just buy a motorcycle during their middle age years. To them life is lived in the dangerous moments. Even more, they would probably say your life is defined by what you do in those moments of danger. As we think about danger and those who live in it and for it, the question that arises for me is what does dangerous living look like for the Christian? Not the spiritual danger or the evil danger we should avoid, but what does the thrill seeking and life experiencing type of danger look like? If I had to place a label on it, I’d call it Dangerous Obedience.
Labels dominate our American culture today. We can be deemed Christians, Atheists, Republicans, Democrats, New Agers, Universalists, White, Black, Hispanic, Punk, Goth, and a number of other stamps placed upon us due to how we believe, how we vote, and how we dress. Labels are prevalent and honestly probably not all bad. Labels hit at the core of our humanity. We desire to have an identity. We move to have a place of belonging. We want to know, where do I fit?
Throughout history we have seen Christianity as being for the weak. Only sought after and accepted by those who “needed” something more to fulfill their lives. As if some magical better life waited at the end of the Christian rainbow. Or on the contrary, used by those who desired hate and destruction in the name of God. Famous atheists in the present and past draw from these absurdities.
Karl Marx once said. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
Blaise Pascal once said, “Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.”
To many, Christianity has been labeled the opium for the down and out, or the license to kill for the soulless leader. But are these really fair labels to be placed upon the Christian faith? Is that REALLY what the apostles and true disciples of the faith have shown us throughout history? It’s one thing to say someone has used Christianity for evil and another to say the message of Christianity IS evil. We’ve all heard the words of Mohandas Gandhi who said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Gandhi is hitting at the idea that the world so rarely sees someone ACTUALLY following Christ. Someone who doesn’t just wear the Christian name tag, but literally lives to follow Him.
Christianity in its truest form could be broken down into two words. Following Christ. These two words have many implications. You follow those you trust. Those you trust you believe in. And those you believe in, don’t lie about who they are. But today we need to finish up our discussion on Dangerous obedience and one thing we need to understand is that following takes obedience. Not blind obedience, but an obedience that is centered around an all out dangerous and inspiring faith. To the world faith is blind. However, Christianity from the very beginning has always been a religion of faith. A religion that says, “I might not know exactly where Christ is going, but I’m following.” Hebrews 11:1 says, ” Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” For those who proclaim to follow Christ, we don’t always assume to know where we are heading. We can’t always see the big picture and most often will have trouble with the next step in front of us. For the follower of Christ… their faith is one of Dangerous Obedience.
But what does it REALLY mean to live a faith that dangerously obeys? A faith that breathes for Christ’s direction and MOVES no matter the obstacles. A faith that earnestly seeks out the voice of God and willfully obeys even if it’s wrapped in confusion. A faith that hears the still small voice of God and doesn’t ignore, but passionately pursues. What does that kind of faith look like?
I’d suggest it looks like this… schedules are out the window, pride is left at the curb, finances are loosely gripped, homes are opened, meals are shared, coats are given, directions are changed, and our lives become dangerous to the forces of darkness. We become fools for Jesus as we walk in worldly absurdity, laying our selfish desires, schedules, and stability aside to passionately pursue a God who doesn’t ever get directions wrong. We dangerously obey…. because we serve a Lord who sees not only our current life’s position, but our placement in His kingdom. Our purpose in it, His plans for it, and His body’s pursuit of it. Dangerous Obedience as a lifestyle might sound trendy, might seem dangerous, but in reality… it’s following Jesus in the most basic form. It’s not a top-level, middle stage, or next step in Christianity. It’s the foundation. It’s at the core. It’s a life that lives, dying to self and living in Christ. Dangerous Obedience to God is dangerous to our comfort, our security, our conceptions of what life is supposed to be like. To John the Baptist Dangerous Obedience cost him his head, Job his family, Paul his religious status , Mary her community, and to many others their very life. Dangerously obeying God doesn’t mean life is going to be a bed of roses. It means you are obeying the God of the universe who sees beyond the scars of this life and into the bricks of eternity. God sees more, and calls us to more, because He is more. Dangerous obedience is really only dangerous to the world, because God knows what He is doing. The real question is will we be a part of it? Will we turn left when the spirit stirs within us to move? Will we go out when God gently whispers? Will we be the kind of people who would rather make a fool out of ourselves in an attempt to obey God, or only move when He yells? There is a Kingdom, we are a part of it, and we will advance it when we dangerously obey. Jump on board.