Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

Lazarus is eating breakfast (Captain Crunch) with Mary and Martha (Special K) a couple of days after Jesus raised him from the dead.

Mary: Take another bath.

Martha: Yeah, You’re still coming on a bit strong. Next time you die, put on your deodorant. You never know…

Lazarus: Okay. I’ll go down to the bathhouse again and try out that new, organic free-range soap.

Martha: Laz, what do you remember about being dead?

Lazarus: I told you, not much. Seem’s I was only there for an hour or two. Sat by the fireplace with Jonathan and David and a lady named, Lois. God made us some chocolate chip cookies with milk. We talked a while.  Moses joined us at a quarter til eternity and booted up a NetFlix movie — The Ten Commandments — Charlton Heston was just about to whack an Egyptian in a short skirt when Jesus beamed me back.

Mary: Did it hurt?

Lazarus: Not a bit. I was dying when I left, but came back feeling like a champ.

Martha: So, did God tell you how you made it? How you got over the hump?

Lazarus: There were folks all over the place, I think. I didn’t see anyone standing around in hell, but I saw a sign that said it was down the street. Tuesdays are free, but I don’t think alot of folks visit unless someone is getting out. Then there’s a party and a pounding.

Martha: I wish I knew what God wanted out of us. I don’t want to screw things up or disappoint him.

Mary: Makes me sad. At least you get two tries.

Lazarus: Don’t worry, Martha. Mary, don’t you weep. Here’s what I know for a fact. It’s not so much what you believe in, it’s what you be leavin’ when your’re gone. Our lives should leave a trail of all the stuff in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Martha: Say, what?

Lazarus: If love, joy and peace aren’t what’s found when you leave a room, you’re barkin’ up the wrong tree. It’s not about ‘gettin saved,’ rules, laws, sacraments or being moral, it’s about loving others. The moral stuff goes on automatic when we love as Christ does. The Law leaves you with Romans 7. Grace leaves you with Romans 8.

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Tr8: Leave a wake of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control wherever you go. That’s what paves the way for all of us to get back to Eden.

Dave: Hey! What’s up? My name’s Dave.

Jon: I’m Jon. New in town?

Dave: Yeah, I’m the one who killed the giant. With a slingshot.

Jon: Right, right. Then you’ve met my dad.

Dave: Dad?

Jon: Yeah, King Saul. The Big Guy. I’m his oldest son.

Dave: Hmmm. You know Sam the Prophet says I’m going to be king?

Jon: Yep. Sam and I are tight. I’m on board.

Dave: You don’t mind?

Jon: Can’t say it will be easy, but Sam said I should honor God and do for you as I’d want done for me. So, I’m promising right now you’ll be king and have no problems with me.

Dave: But you’re the Prince of the Realm and the people love you.

Jon: Dave, let’s get this straight: For you to be king, I’m going to have to die.

Dave (pause): …there’s gotta be another way…

Jon: We’re living in ancient times. If you become king and I’m around, the first crisis that comes along, the people are gonna call for your head and they’ll want me as king. That’s how things work. For Pete’s sake, it’s 1000 BC!

Dave: Why does it have to be this way?

Jon: We blew it when we demanded a king. We were THE People of God and our “king” was the Law of Moses. We had judges anointed by God. Now, we’re like everybody else — Dad’s a monarch with autocratic power. Autonomous power puts the monarch above the law. I’m not protected by the Law any more.

Dave: So, if we’d kept the Law you’d have been okay?

Jon: Right. But the people kept whining, ‘We want a king! Look at the Philistines, Moabites, and Babylonians — they have kings!’ Sam was the only one who understood how stupid a king would be.

Dave: This stinks. So, for me to be God’s king, you, the Prince of the Realm, must die.

Jon: Listen, Dave. This all works out in the end. I’m more than thankful to play my part. I’m what you call a “type” or “analogy” of Christ, who’ll come along in the New Testament. How many people get to be Christ-like in the Old Testament?

Dave: You’re saying another prince will die?

Jon: THIS prince, Christ, is going to be from YOUR hometown and bloodline and will be the King of Kings. He’ll die for everyone, but God will resurrect him. He’ll fulfill the Law, conquer death, and reveal the Kingdom of God. We’ll all be joined together in him.

Dave: Jon, you’re the best friend a guy could have.

Jon: Christ’s gonna say,’There’s no greater love than this.’

Tr8: A friend loves at all times. We should sacrificially imitate Christ for others.

Make a wish.

Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount to make sure we saw how hopelessly inadeq8 we are. First he said something along the lines of “blessed are the hopeless who know it’s hopeless”. Next, he said, “If you think you are doing pretty good with The 10, think again. The Law sounds unforgiving and it is. Whatever you have in your wallet, it’s not enough. But! I’ll grant you a wish, if it’s the right one.”

Hopeless situation for flawed people, but Jesus hints on how to wish.

Then Jesus says, “Frankly guys, when it comes to rules there are only two. Love God with everything you are and love your neighbor. When it comes to acceptability, be a child.”

Jesus broke it down to two loving, sacrificial relationships: 1) God, 2) Others.

Finally, on the cross he gave a real life example of what one has to bring to the table to add to his grace to be acceptable to God.

The criminal on the cross. No baptism, no communion, no confession, no Bible, no church, no Sunday School, no VBS, no charity work, broken laws, broken trust, rebellion, and on and on.

A guy with absolutely ZERO in his account wishes out loud,”Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus says, “Done.”

HERE’S THE BIG IDEA: Entrance into Christ’s kingdom begins with a repentant wish. The wish sets grace and truth into action and God handles the rest.

Tr8: Simplicity. Don’t make it more difficult than it is. Especially for others. Worried about truth and legal fine print? Let the Holy Spirit handle that. Keep it simple.

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July 29, 2011, I nearly killed myself.

I was cleaning our gutters against my dear wife’s passionate warning. She had seen me do this 8 times. Involved an extension ladder and gutters at about 2.5 stories. Each time she said, “PLEASE! Don’t do that!”

The “PLEASE!” and warning went unheeded. See, I’ve been working like this since my dad, brothers, and I did roofs and other construction stuff in Missouri 40 years ago. My body has scars that have grandkids. I’ve worked on every house in which I’ve ever lived.

Why ask someone else to do what (you THINK) you can do yourself? Made imminent sense to me.

Not to her. She knew the job was dangerous.

When I fell, working alone while she was at work, I would have been toast if I hadn’t heeded her warning at all. I heeded about .01%. I stuck my cell phone in my pocket. “Just in case.”

Skip to me waking up some days later in a hospital bed crushed and confused. Life went from good to unbearable in about a second. I remember not flying. I remember being crushed, I remember making the 911 call. I remember being put in the ambulance, and…that’s it.

When I awoke in the hospital, my wife screamed, “I told you so! What an idiot! I was right!”

No.

She’s Wonder Woman without the outfit. She knew “I told you so” is pointless to a person who has already fallen, one who ignored truthful and right warnings and pleas. One with regrets. I don’t even think she had to reflect on this for a single moment. She knew.

It’s so like insiders and outsiders in faith. Warnings don’t work. Wisdom doesn’t stick. Arguments don’t persuade.

After the fall, reprimands, recriminations and perceived “rightness” don’t help a crushed person. Even with regrets, the damage is done.

The only thing that matters is the embrace.

The only thing a fallen world understands is Christ’s embrace. The truth will dawn upon them in due time and they won’t be happy or proud about having ignored it.

I am so blessed. My family and friends rallied around me with their embraces and help. I can’t describe how their gracious actions healed my heart, mind and body during suffering.

4 a fallen world an embrace works — “I told you so” doesn’t. Not now. Not later. Not ever. I’m still more or less crushed — I’m a crushed person. My friends and family reminded me of the Source of Peace in the midst of physical and emotional brokenness and suffering.

Tr8: Embrace the fallen.