Sunday, May 17, 2009

to throw the stone

1 -2 Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. 3 -6The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, "Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him. 6 -8Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone." Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. 9 -10Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?"11"No one, Master." "Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."

John 8:1-11

This story is important on two points. First, who are we to condemn someone?? All of us have sinned, none of us are perfect and all of us were lost at one point. God showed mercy and love to us when we were lost, shouldn't we glorify Him by doing the same for others? When others are sinning, we show them mercy and love as God showed us His when we clearly didn't deserve it. Not even Jesus condemns us. That's so important. Not even the perfect One condemns us. He loves us and wants us back home. Second, a more practical point. People use the Bible all the time to quote contradictions and take verses out of context to bring us down. One example of this is when people take Old Testament laws where we're instructed to "stone" or kill people because they have done something wrong. Yes, in the context of that time, that's what they would have done. But after Jesus came to flip things around, using the above story as an example, Jesus asked us, who are we to condemn, stone, or kill? None of us have that right. This is the great story of redemption. Where once, when we sinned, we were sentenced to death, literally and metaphorically. But when Jesus came to save us, no longer did our sin lead to death but rather, forgiveness and mercy. Our sins led us to second chances and third chances and fourth chances and so on because of God's love for us. This story tells us so much about how to interpret the Bible. Yes, there are things in the Old Testament that we would not kill people for nor would we want to but they are still sins. Jesus shows us how to act through this story, we forgive and forgive and forgive but we never condone the sin. As he tells the woman that He doesn't judge her, He tells her in the end, "From now on, don't sin." We're still held accountable for our sins and we're held accountable to help others not to sin, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. So the question comes up, "Why should I not sin when Jesus is going to forgive me anyway??" Paul actually writes about this in 1 Corinthians. Yes, Jesus forgives us for all we do, but why would we want to keep on sinning when we know it hurts Jesus? To hurt someone who loves us so much? And even then, we don't sin because it just simply isn't beneficial to us. There's nothing good that comes out of it. That's why we run from sin. We flee. Oh! One another important thing! We always ask where the line is. Where do we draw the line? How far can I go before I actually sin and we tiptoe that line. It shouldn't be like that. We should run as far as we can from that line no matter where it is to keep ourselves from temptation! I'm guilty as any other when it comes to this. But I want to encourage everyone to flee. Flee from anything close to sin and live lives that glorify our awesome savior, Jesus Christ. Let's not judge and condemn, but forgive and love.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the revolution of Jesus

Jesus has been, and always will be, a threat to the established order of things. if we understand his birth as a revolution, then we may glimpse the revolution that his life will bring.

instead of being born into a well established and powerful family, Jesus was born to a couple of teenagers who couldn’t even stay with their family in bethlehem, most likely because of the scandal of her pregnancy before their official marriage.

this is how love invaded our planet. this is how the revolution began. it’s unlikely, even absurd. but the last thing it should be is boring or predictable or explainable. this should incite passionate joy or passionate distain. this is either the greatest thing to ever happen or the most ridiculous idea ever suggested. that God should come among us as one of the "least of these".

not only did Jesus’ birth turn everything upside down; so did his life and what he taught. you must die to live. you must lose to gain. weakness is strength. joy exists in the midst of suffering. power is restraint. love those who persecute you. pray for those who hate you. it is not the strong or the wealthy who will inherit the earth, but the meek. the kingdom of God won’t be given to the religious leaders, but to the spiritual idiots (the poor in spirit). mourners, peacemakers, the merciful, and the persecuted can all find blessing in the kingdom of Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the most subversive man to have ever walked the earth.
this is revolution.

if you follow Jesus, you follow the most radical man who ever existed. He marches into the world with kindness, peace, and love, and offers people a whole new way of looking at the world and living within it. His is the most radical message you can preach or live. He turns everything upside down and calls us to do likewise. Jesus is not vitally committed to our comfort and safety; He is committed to the advancing of his kingdom revolution in the hearts of people everywhere.

in talking about what his kingdom is like, Jesus announced, "from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing. and forceful men take hold of it". in other words, God is doing something so powerful and dangerous that only those who are willing to embrace it with forceful intensity may take hold of the movement of God’s kingdom. the revolution of Jesus isn’t for the faint of heart or the middle-of-the-road. it isn’t safe. it isn’t comfortable. it costs us a great deal to say yes. we take hold of the revolution by abandoning ourselves to Jesus and letting go of everything else.

will we choose to follow a safe Jesus of suburbia – who exists to provide us with health, wealth, comfort, and happiness? or will we press on to find the Jesus of nazareth, the most dangerous and radical man to ever walk the face of the earth? we want the real thing. we don’t want to worship the counterfeits and settle for less than the revolution Jesus brings. we are moving beyond the unbiblical idea that the primary work of Jesus is giving us a ticket to heaven, and now understand that he is asking us for everything, to stand with him against all that is unloving and untrue in our world.

together, we are pursuing this revolution of Jesus.

-taken from ROCKHARBOR =]

Thursday, May 7, 2009


9 I wrote you in my earlier letter that you shouldn’t make yourselves at home among the sexually promiscuous.10 I didn’t mean that you should have nothing at all to do with outsiders of that sort. Or with crooks, whether blue- or white-collar. Or with spiritual phonies, for that matter. You’d have to leave the world entirely to do that!11 But I am saying that you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior.12 I’m not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don’t we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers?13 God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.

1Corinthians 5:9-13

this is really harsh but really crucial! when we see something going wrong in our friends' lives, we should say something. although, i have to say that it is important that it has to be a Christian friend that we should rebuke and try to help. if they're not Christian, they wouldn't understand why they can't do something, but if they say they are Christian and have God in their hearts, they should know or be given the chance to know that their behavior is making God grieve. this is where the problem of idleness comes in. when we see what is going wrong but do nothing. when we see a fellow Christian brother or sister sinning and say nothing because we're afraid that we'll be embarrassed or they'll be angry with us. God will be pleased. and hopefully, they'll thank you in the end. we have to know how to not hold a bitterness or resentment in our hearts when we see our brothers and sisters sinning either. that is just not the right mindset and heart when we go into confronting someone. we confront them because we love them and love God. we have to also learn how to approach them in love and compassion, not just to judge and rebuke someone. gentle but firm. they have to know they're sinning against God and we need to show them that and show them how to improve, not just yell at them. this is really important, too. we're not responsible for what nonbelievers do. that's not our job to judge them. God does the judging. for rebuking, we worry about ourselves and our church as a whole, friends and family who are believers. if we see someone dishonoring God who claims to be a Christian, we say something. if we see someone dishonoring God who isn't a Christian, we show them why we honor him in a loving way. God will take care of the rest!