Posts Tagged ‘truth’

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Murphy, the non-disciple, and his wife, Harpreet, have just settled in for the night–kids are in bed and sleeping. Ten feet away.

Harpreet (whispering): You’ve been talking a lot of Jesus who was executed recently.

Murhpy (whispering): Yeah, he’s back. Amazing. I think he’s God… (pause) I talked with him in Jerusalem last week. ‘Said, his way was THE WAY to live and know God.

Harpreet (louder, Murph puts a finger to her lips): God! (quieter) Sounds like India. We have gods by the bundle at home in Cambay. Which god do you think Jesus is?

Murph: Not a god–the god. How many of your family’s gods have risen from the dead and talked with you lately? Have you seen Buddha at the well this week? Jesus is the real deal.

Harpreet:  Hmm. Don’t all religions have the same end–nirvana, heaven, hope and peace with major helpings of health and prosperity? In India, we have–Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Krishna, Rama, Hanuman, and goddesses like Lakshmi, Durga, Kali and Saraswati–and that’s just getting started. We also have Buddha, who teaches noble truths and an eightfold path.

Murph: Yeah, Buddha had some good things to say about self-denial, but apart from a work-around on suffering, he left you with a wheel-of-life or oblivion. While some of his followers say he passed on nirvana to get people off the wheel–he didn’t do a Pentecost with wind and languages, right?  The other gods haven’t much to offer either.

Harpreet: Well, Jesus was different.

Murph: Jesus was, or is, different because he lived/lives as you’d imagine God would live if he were a human. He was awesomely god 24/7. You met him. I’ve been with his disciples for years.

Harpreet: Yes, such a caring man! He was the nicest person you ever brought into this house. The kids loved him.

Murph: See, you get it–you know him. For those who don’t, he not only lived truth and grace perfectly–he rose from the dead! He was too much for a grave to hold. He couldn’t not live–the Jews and the Romans couldn’t put him down. They got rid of him and he came back! Everybody in Jerusalem and Judea know this story. And it’s spreading. How embarrassing for the Temple dudes.

Harpreet: Well, that does put him in a class above all the other gods and religious leaders I’ve ever heard of. So, he can’t not live?

Murph: Yep. He can’t be stopped. Not only that, he told me that if I abided in him, I’d also be unstoppable. I believe him! No grave for me–I’ve hitched my cart to him and trust his word. Ultimately, I’ll be with him, wherever he is.

Harpreet: What about me? I, too, have met him. And after what you’ve said, I believe he’s God, too.

Murph: You repent and–his words, not mine–“Love God with all you have and love your neighbors as yourself.” Most of his group were baptized, some maybe twice, when they repented and put faith in God for forgiveness. John the Baptist baptized me before he was taken to prison and executed.

Harpreet: Well, I certainly repent of my sins and I know God’s forgiven me. Who’ll baptize me?

Murph: We’ll ask the disciples who should do it, but they’ll have trouble with you, not being a Jew and all. Barnabas might help us out. Right now it’s kind of a Jewish thing. Even so, they’ve heard all the different languages when the Holy Spirit descended. That ought to be a clue. They also saw how Jesus loved me even though I’m not a Jew or a disciple. Jesus told me to wait ’cause Peter was going to have a dream and us non-disicples were going to be allowed to join The Way.

Harpreet: I guess there are lots of gods and religions, but they all have different ends. Only Jesus gives me a personal relationship with God, his Father. My faith reveals truth and grace for application in my life. I never got that through faith in Hindu gods, Buddha or the sacred rocks and trees at home.

Murph (giving Harpreet a hug; she reciprocates): Our mutual faith increases our mutual love. Love you, honey. Have a good night’s sleep.

Tr8: Pick Jesus (see the Gospels).  Jesus offers unconditional love, unmerited forgiveness and comprehensive peace.

Homework: What do other religions offer? With whom do you wish to walk at the end of your journey? Moses, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Buddha, Maitreya, Caesar, Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Yoda?

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Jesus and his disciples are sitting at picnic tables at Sonic Drive-in. They’re drinking slushies and eating tator-tots. It’s hot.

Jude: Why do they call this place a ‘drive-in’ — makes no sense.

Jacob (their waiter on roller skates): It’s a new thing in Rome. People drive up in their chariots or carts and we serve them in their vehicle.

James: What about on horseback?

Jacob: Yeah, we do horsebackers, too, but it’s easier if they get down.

John (popping a tot in his mouth): Yer tots are awesome.

Jacob: Thanks.

Jesus: We had a good session this morning about the Law.

Nathaniel: You said the Law is perfect and therefore it can’t work. So, the Scriptures are wrong?

Jesus (after a long sip of his slushie): No. The Law describes an IDEAL life. REAL life is ALWAYS a day late and a dollar short. We shoot for the ideal, but we live in reality. That’s why we keep having to talk about the tension between grace and truth. The truth is ideal and reality needs grace. I’m grace.

John: I guess that explains it. Everyone in the Bible is a screw-up — Adam and Eve raise homicidal sons, Abraham’s a liar, Jacob’s a cheat, Joseph is sold by his brothers, Moses drops the ball, King David, a ‘man after God’s heart’ — raises spiritual idiots! Absalom and Solomon didn’t learn from their father. Hosea marries a prostitute, Jonah wants fire to rain from heaven…well, I get that, sorta. Remember Samaria? (Sons of Thunder burn a chicken coop) You call that good religion? The Law screws everything up.

Peter: Yeah, we trust you with ourselves, but what about out kids? We teach them the Law. Mine are grown and married, but I’d do anything to secure their future. David felt the same way about his boys, even though you couldn’t tell it by them.

Jesus (holding up his hands): You can trust your children to God. He’ll honor you and them. Teach them that grace is better than the Law.

Peter: You can do what you want with me as long as my kids are okay.

Jesus: Ah, a father’s love! Peter, can you love better than God? You trust me? Trust also in him who sent me. The love you have for your kids, that Adam and Eve had for Cain, that David had for his kids, well, God has more love than that, for you.

Peter nods and everyone is thoughtful.

Jesus: Here’s the deal, guys. WE are going to reveal how a real family works. Everyone sees the Law and gets a glimpse of the ideal life, but few see how love and grace make the ideal, real.

Bartholomew (scratching his chin): Hmmm. The ideal, real? I thought that was impossible. The mountain sermon made it sound like thinking was a sin.

Andrew (taking his tator-tots to Judas): No, I get it. See, I know Judas loves the tots. So, because I love him, it makes me happy for him to have my tots. Ta-da! Tot up, dude!

Jesus (taken aback): Andrew! Shut. Up.

Silence.

Jesus (breaking into a smile): Bravo! The law is everyone who pays gets his own tots, but in love there’s enough tots for everyone!

Peter (throws an arm around his brother and hands him tots): Guys, we’re gonna live for others. Jesus will show us how.

Jesus: It’s hard. It will cost us everything to out love the failure of the Law. The people who love the Law will see us as heretics. While we know the ideal of the Law, we live graciously in the reality of its complete and utter failure to deliver anyone to God. God is love!

All the tater tots go to the middle of the table.

Jesus:  Who believes I can bless these into a million tots?

Peter: I do, but you won’t.

Jesus (raised eyebrows): Why won’t I?

Peter: Cause nobody needs anymore tots.

Thomas: Would you multiply tots for me, Jesus?

Jesus: Why, Thomas? Do you need more?

Thomas: Well, no, but I bet Jacob and his dad would love a bottomless tot frier.

Jesus: It’s good that Jacob and his dad supply tots for others, like us. You guys ready to stroll?

Disciples: Whoo-yah!

Jesus (aside to Judas): You’ll get the tip?

Tr8: Make the ideal, real. Give it all to those you love. Love everyone. THAT is good religion.

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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.