Tag Archives: jesus

Don’t Worship the Faucet!

03faucet-running-water-lgnShortly after World War I, Lawrence of Arabia took several of his greatest men to visit Paris.    When they were about to leave the grand hotel at which they were staying, Lawrence found his men attempting to pull the faucets out of the wall!  Lawrence was confused and asked what the men were doing.  The men responded: “If we could bring these faucets back to our desert land, we could have all the water we desire!”  These men clearly had an appreciation for water, but they had an unhealthy and illogical appreciation for the means by which it was transferred – the conduit if you will.

Many Christians know they have access to the “water” Christ offers (see John 4), but many of us seem to make a much bigger deal about the conduit(s) through which the water comes.  In other words, we tend to worship the faucet!  We rave about our church; we gush about our pastor; we are quick to tell what a talented, wonderful worship leader we have.  But Jesus – the one who gives the church significance, the one who the pastor and worship leader are there to serve, the cornerstone on which “Christianity” is built – we don’t make nearly as big of a deal about him!

To The Church

Most Christians love and appreciate the local assembly of believers in which God has placed them.  Scripturally, they should.  In fact, Christ loved the church so much that He died for it! (Ephesians 5:25)  But I believe far too many believers have an unhealthy, illogical, and unscriptural appreciation for the church.  How?  By worshipping it and loving it more than they love Christ.  Christians must realize that Jesus is Christ is the water, and the church is only the faucet.  The faucet is important, but, without the water, is meaningless.

When you last walked through the front doors of your church, what was your primary purpose?  Connecting with friends?  Christian fellowship?  These can be by-products of church attendance, but neither should be our purpose.

When you were talking to a friend, co-worker, or first-time visitor and explaining how great your church was, did you emphasize the groups, clubs, and activities offered to children?  Or did you emphasize Christ?  Youth groups are great avenues to reach the next generation; children’s clubs can be used to effectively teach boys and girls about the things of God.  But in the list you rattle off when touting what makes your church different or noteworthy, where do spirit-filled worship and Christ-exalting preaching rank?  Are you worshipping the faucet?

To Church Leadership

The culture in which we live encourages idolization of athletes, movie stars, singers – well, everyone really.  Unintentionally, some church members idolize their pastor and put him in a place that should be reserved only for Jesus Christ.  Unfortunately (and I hope unintentionally!), some leaders encourage this unscriptural practice by their words and actions.  The Jehovah God of the Bible is a jealous God – one who does not share the glory only he deserves. (Exodus 20:5)

A pastor or staff member placing himself in Christ’s rightful place or a congregant doing so of their own volition is a practice that can only end in disappointment and defeat for all involved.  And no matter the cause, we must remember that our ultimate affection should be reserved only for Christ himself.  To use the words of John the Baptist in John 3, the pastor and staff should strive to be a “friend of the bridegroom.”  Jesus alone is the bridegroom.  He is the water; they are but a faucet.

Christian: before you next enter the sanctuary, consciously acknowledge to God why you are there.  Spend a few moments in prayer asking the Lord to use the singing, giving, and preaching to reveal himself to you.

Pastor, staff, and Sunday School teacher: before you mount the pulpit or begin that next lesson, make sure you understand who the listeners should be talking about when you finish.  Better yet, as you prepare, ask the Lord to reveal exactly how you can emphasize Christ in your lesson or sermon.  Get out of the way, and give people the water!

 

Article by Bryan Likins

@bmlesq

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The Real Meaning of Christmas

In 2000, Universal Pictures released the live-action film How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey based on the 1957 book by Dr. Seuss. But in this version, before the Whos down in Whoville are robbed by the Grinch on Christmas Eve night, little Cindy Lou Who realizes that the true meaning of Christmas has been lost already and becomes overwhelmed by the materialism that it has been replaced with. But when the Whos awake on Christmas morning to find that everything associated with Christmas has been stolen from them, it only takes little Cindy’s love and compassion to show, according to her dad, Lou, that Christmas isn’t about gifts, lights or things from a store, but that Christmas is more about things such as getting together with family and loving and caring for the good of others.

Many have searched to find the real meaning of Christmas only to come up short at the end of their journey.

Christmas, a joyful and cheerful time of year for many people, is unpleasant and sad for many others who struggle with loneliness or depression during the holidays. For them Christmas is just another day of pain or guilt and oftentimes bitterness accompanies their attitude toward those who go about jolly and glad during this time of year.

Take Ebenezer Scrooge, for example. In Charles Dickens’ story A Christmas Carol, seven years after the death of Scrooge’s business partner, Jacob Marley, the heartless old Scrooge is visited by Marley’s ghost who appears to warn him that his soul is in danger for eternity if he does not change his greedy ways. In that same night he is haunted by three ghosts that take him on a journey through his own life to show him what he could not see. But before his final hour has come he is given a second chance for redemption and turns from his self-centered ways. He awakes on Christmas morning to find joy and cheer filled in his heart, and in contrast to his old life, gives generously of himself to others for the remainder of his life on earth.

But is Christmas really about generosity and good cheer? Is it only about being with family and friends, being near to the ones you love and sharing joy with those we pass by? While the two stories that have been mentioned above are timeless classics that offer some truth in respect to kindness and generosity, they both lack the real and true meaning of Christmas.

Every year America watches Charlie Brown take the advice of Lucy to direct the school Christmas play as he searches for the true meaning of Christmas. Depressed and aggravated, Charlie Brown goes out and finds the lowliest Christmas tree for the play. Despite Linus’s reluctance regarding his choice, Charlie Brown returns to become the laughing stock of all his pals and his very own dog, Snoopy. Finally in a moment of frustration and despair Charlie Brown asks,

“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

How about you, have you ever felt like Charlie Brown? Do you feel like you’re the only one trying to find your way through your busy holiday schedule, the shopping malls, wrapping paper and Christmas cards in hopes to find the true meaning of Christmas?

In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Linus reminds us every year what the true meaning of Christmas really is when he tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about. Quoting from Luke 2:8-14, Linus recites, “’For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…’ That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” John the Baptist introduced Jesus in this way, “Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

This Christmas season may you and your family be blessed as you take the time to celebrate the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and go out and share with the world the Savior who has come to take away our sin.

Merry Christmas

I am always happy to hear from my readers. Please write me at michael@michaelwaits.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/michaelwaits

Article by Michael Waits

@michaelwaits

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Regrets

Regrets. Failure accumulates as the years roll by and what grows with it? Regrets. You know, those things no one knows. Or even worse, those things that someone well knows. Those things for which we grab the eraser only to find you didn’t write it with pencil but the strongest ink.  How are you and I to deal with regrets?

Paul had regrets. You can sense at various places in the Epistles that they had the potential to haunt him were it not for the fact that he had learned some things about dealing with them. Take for example, Philippians 3. He begins the chapter rejoicing and speaks with passion about a life of serving Jesus Christ. By verse 10 he reduces the focus of his life to the simple idea of intimately knowing Jesus Christ. As he continued it was mingled with reflection. As said before, things that he didn’t really like to think about rushed again into his mind like a wave races across the sand on the seashore.

In verse 12, though a great man, he let us in on the cold hard facts of his existence. He had not “already attained”, which is like saying he hadn’t fully arrived. Nor was he “already perfect”, which is not so much perfection as it is to be complete in his maturity. He was saying, “I’m not finished yet. I’m still a work in progress.”

Then he said “But I follow after”. Compare that to “press forward” in verse 14 since it is the same idea.  In verse 13 he confesses he doesn’t understand everything, but he has one thing down pat. It turns out to be the secret to getting beyond regret.

It’s rather simple:

1. Forget. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin including the very guilt of it that so fuels our regrets.

2. Press on. The meaning is not stroll on down the road, but a vigorous and speedy travel. Reach forth for those things that are higher, higher than the living you did in forming your regrets. It’s the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

As you press on and reach up remember that the One Who called you to this higher call is the One Who best knows, even in vivid color and detail, the things you did that made for regrets. If He knows and calls you still to live for Him, why can’t you go on past regrets today? Let’s take Paul’s secret and use the transforming power of Jesus Christ!

Article by Jimmy Reagan

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The Broken Ones

Never ask how they got there … Only ask how you can help …

Growing up as kid, one of the tragedies we had to face in life was when are favorite toy BROKE! It was at this moment when every child runs to their dad asking him to fix it. His response would ultimately dictate the future of that toy. Sometimes the dad doesn’t want to be bothered and simply exclaims, “I’ll buy you a new one…” While that was certainly an acceptable answer, it does not compare to him saying, “Let’s FIX it…” As juvenile and silly as it sound, I’m certainly glad that God is in the “Let’s Fix It” business! The issue with that wonderful exclamation is that often He wants His people to do the work.

How well do we really help those that are broken when God’s Spirit nudges you to? When was the last time we really stopped to help those in need? Far to often we get focused on the story of WHY someone is broken and hurting rather than addressing the real matter at hand: THEIR NEED. One of the most famous accounts in the Bible of helping someone is that of the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”. People that NEVER go to church are familiar with this story. As you know, Jesus tells this parable of a man that went down to Jericho. He was jumped, beaten, and left for dead. Two people walked right over this beaten, broken man. It would take a Samaritan man passing through the way to finally stop and help. Look what the book of Luke teaches:

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. – Luke 10:33-34

Did you notice that not ONE TIME did the Samaritan question him or try to get a good reason for helping? He was not concerned with how this broken man arrived like that, he was concerned ONLY about how he could help. It just goes to show that Jeremiah was right:

Mine eye affecteth mine heart… – Jeremiah 3:51

Jesus throughout Scripture was always MOVED when He visibly saw the needs of people. In all seriousness, everyone knows that no one has to look far to find a “Broken One” . Broken people are in abundance in this world that we live in; Samaritans are the ones few and far between. There are mighty servants of the Lord that currently are down … waiting for you to help get them restored. God doesn’t want to go “buy” someone new; He is the Heavenly Father that likes fixing His people.

Below are the lyrics and a link to a powerful song about helping broken people. Take a look and think about the words … There is someone RIGHT NOW in need of repairs. Let’s go get them!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORD1kCCOe_E&feature=fvwrel

Love the broken ones, the ones that need a little patchin’ up
See the diamond in the rough and make it shine like new
It really doesn’t take that much, a willing heart and a tender touch
If everybody loved like He does, there’s be allot less broke ones.

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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