Courage is Needed

“Courage is what it takes to speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

There is a great lesson in the following story.

“Mendel, a barber, was hard-pressed for money. His faith was finally stretched to its limit when he gave in and cut hair well into the Sabbath, as was his conviction not to work. He felt bad, but he didn’t know what else to do.

“His friend, Moshe, who worked across the street, who held the same conviction, saw Mendel cutting hair as he was closing up his tailor shop. He went and reported it to their rabbi, who then asked to talk with Mendel after the service.

“Mendel, I am fining you one case of candles for the synagogue for working on the Sabbath,” the rabbi said. He then turned to Moshe and said, “I’m fining you two cases of candles. And I’m fining myself, five cases.”

“But…why?” Moshe asked. “If you really cared about what Mendel was doing, you would have asked him why he was working and helped him in any way you could. And for myself, how did I not know he was in such dire straits?” At this, the rabbi broke down crying.”

It takes guts to tell the truth and even more guts to help someone live it. Scripture tells us that as we walk in community, we are not to be hit and run artists.

Instead, we are to tell each other the truth and then help each other live it out. This is what it means to be church – a group of people walking toward Jesus together.

It’s easy to post your opinions on social media. It is much harder to share them in person to the person who really needs to hear it and knows that you love them enough to carry their burden with them as you both progress in your love for and faith in Jesus.

This takes courage. It’s time for courageous people to know when to stand up and when to sit down.

When Faith is Faith

“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.” Paul Tillich

Faith is not the same as religion. Faith is about being uncomfortable. Religion is about staying cozy. Faith is about giving up control. Religion is about keeping it.

Faith by its mere definition means taking an action hoping the outcome you’re wanting will actually happen. Jesus lived this way. Think about it. Jesus repeatedly said that He was going to be arrested, beaten, killed and then risen from the dead as that is what the Father asked Him to do.

The easy part of His faith journey would be to get arrest and beaten. The hard part was dying. Talk about being uncomfortable and out of control!

The only way for Jesus to show that He actually believed was to let Himself be killed. Faith is not faith until you actually put it into practice. Jesus did.

Action while doubting is being real, as faith is the assurance that what He is asking you to do will turn out for your good and His glory. Jesus trusted His Father so much that He knew life after death was a done deal.

Was it still a risk? You bet! But Jesus moved beyond religion to faith and rose again. Are you not glad He did?

My friends, the world needs a little hope today. Choose to take the faith step Jesus is asking of you. We all will be better off because of that step.

Enjoy the Journey

“Christ-likeness is the eventual destination, but the journey takes a lifetime.” Rick Warren

A friend of mine made a passing comment that has changed my thinking about life.

He was taking a trip from Northern California to a momentous occasion in his granddaughter’s life in Southern California. The trip would take eight hours, without stops, all by himself.  

He said, “I got in my car. Turned on my worship music. After, I entered the freeway, I got in a lane, put the car on cruise control and stayed in it. I didn’t worry about going faster to get ahead of others. I didn’t care if others passed me. I just enjoyed the drive with Jesus. And you know what? It was the most relaxing drive I’ve ever had.”

We know our destination, being with and like Jesus. We just don’t the when or how at this point.

But this is what I picked up. I will eventually be home with and like Jesus. So why sweat the details until I get there?

Paul writes that Jesus began my faith and will perfect it. John wrote that when I see Jesus, I will be like Him. So, why not live each day enjoying the music and conversation with Jesus until then? The rest will take care of itself.

Seriously. Enjoy the journey with Jesus. And what you learn, pass onto others. It only makes the journey more enjoyable!

Applied Faith is Tough

“When faced with tough decisions, are we going to abandon or apply our faith?” Fearless

Adam Brown was in the top 1% of all Navy Seals. He overcame extreme challenges to achieve and stay at this level.

He battled drugs after high school and into his military career. He learned to hear it call his name and run to Jesus for strength to stay clean. Faith applied.

He lost an eye in a training accident. He learned to shoot his rifle using his non-dominant eye. Faith applied.

Four fingers on his right hand were severed and sewn back. He learned to shoot with his other hand. Faith applied.

Why would Brown keep going through such struggles? He knew Jesus wanted him in the Seals saving and protecting lives. And to Brown, “To fail at something was acceptable. To fail to try was not.”

A friend said this about him, “To truly live one’s faith, in word and deed, is a mighty, and a daily struggle; and Adam embraced that struggle and devoted himself to it.”

Faith is all about trying, even when Jesus is asking you to do something that goes against your current way of thinking, understanding, feeling and/or ability to do it.

Keep it small. Take a small faith step now. Repeat. Repeat again.

As you do, you’ll end up down the path of a changed life today and into eternity!

Faith, not Age is Relevant

No one is too old or too young to experience the life Jesus has for them.

Your eyes are not deceiving you. It’s the same picture from last week. But it’s here for a different reason.

I recently read that “a team from the Natural Medicine Research Center in Jerusalem sprouted six new trees from 2,000-year-old seeds of Judean date palms, discovered at various archaeological sites” throughout Israel.

The age of the seeds is absolutely irrelevant to the one eating the sweet delicious dates produced by those seeds once planted into the ground.

And just like those seeds, age is completely irrelevant to the Jesus believer. It’s what you do with those seeds that counts.

So don’t worry about your age. Grow your faith!

Keep planting the seeds of truth the Spirit gives you into the soil of your life in order to experience the sweetness Jesus has for you.