Monday, December 20, 2010

Light of the World

Jesus IS the Light of The World.  That's why Christmas is a big deal.

In His first big sermon, Jesus made a bold pronouncement.  It defines how His ministry, His Kingdom, is going to spread like a crazy virus and cover the earth.

Jesus, in a wildly risky move, told a rag-tag bunch of desperate people who had Hope because they had been  with Jesus, these prophetic words:

You Are The Light Of The World.  

I would not have done that.  Turn my world-changing ministry over to a bunch of messed-up people.  But, I'm not God.  I don't have the capacity to put the Life-Changing, Sin-Forgiving, Grace-Giving, World-Redeeming power of a Risen-From-The-Dead Son of God, Jesus Christ, into messed up people like me.  Like you.

But God does have that kind of power.  

Jesus is the light of the world.  And He puts His light in those who follow Him.  That makes His followers like Him...Light of the World.  

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.  Matthew 5:14-16

Being the Light of The World, that is an Identity, and a Job Description.  

When someone puts their trust in Christ, God puts Jesus inside of us.  That makes you Son, Daughter, of God.  That's a game changer, and then some!  Identity.  

And in response to what God has done, is doing, and in anticipation of what He is going to do, we love God back.  God is bringing His Grace to the world, through Jesus-Follower, who make up His Church.  He's using the church to bring His Truth and Grace in Jesus to people.  People matter to God, so He sends out everyone who has encountered Jesus to love people, to re-present Jesus to them.  God lights up a person, in Jesus, and tells him to let that light shine so that the whole city sees it and gets into Jesus.  Job Description.  

Christmas is a great time to see God's gift to the world, Jesus, and respond back by loving people.

God isn't finished.  So, neither are we.  


P.S. City changing stuff in the works, a path to love children and connect the city.  I'm so pumped!  Keep checking back and I'll fill you in very, very soon!  (Just so I'm clear, this movement will be part of the Job Description category for people who follow Jesus!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Treasure (& ToysForTots)

We're going through Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in our Sunday morning worship gathering.  We've gotten to the Treasures in Heaven part, Matthew 6:19-24.

Like so much of what Jesus said (and the whole Bible), this is so intriguing.  And so simple.

A couple questions are easily pulled from this reading:

Today, in our area and culture, what is Treasure on Earth?

And what is Treasure in Heaven, today, December 4, in our city?

Really, what do you think these two look like in our day, our city, our lives?

I don't think Jesus is all that hard to understand, here.  He's Inverting what His hearers (and more pointedly, the religious teachers of the day) were expecting from a Messiah, or Savior.   Seems like they were expecting God to serve them, bless them, and validate them and their goodness.

Jesus is saying that God will come to you and bless you...but He does so out of His love, His Radical Grace, because we're in desperate need, not worthy of any good thing.  And the result of God's rescue is that we will be different, be changed, be a people who, in response to what God has done through Jesus, are longing to look like Jesus.

A people longing to live and love like Jesus did.  Doing that stores up Treasures in Heaven.

Let's take this teaching of Jesus at face value.  It's the stuff that makes a city different.

P.S. Two cool city changing things came into view this week.  One serving children longer-term, and I can't wait to tell you about it in a couple weeks!

Another that's practical and happening this week: we're providing some help to ToysForTots, sorting toys in their warehouse one evening this week.  (Two things I LOVE: Kids smiling @ Christmas and the Marines!)  20 people for 3-4 hours to black out barcodes and sort the toys by age and boy/girl.  We're getting the day and hour selected today, and I'll update it soon.

Store up some treasure - come and serve with us!  Leave a comment or contact and we'll get you there.

P.P.S.  I gave this talk last year about Treasure.  I'm including this story in tomorrow's talk @ theCity.  I re-listened to it today and got so excited, I had to post it here.  Go Jesus!