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How to Make a Churchy Cow Go Mad

On Any Sunday

How should we spur one another on?

It says “consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” Ouch really. Poke someone with a spur. That doesn’t seem Christian does it. Well the Word is the Word.

Three important points are made in this scripture: consider, spur, and love and good deeds. Consider means to think about, or plan. We need to think about and plan and act. Devise a plan to spur others on.

Spurring and goading are little unpleasant. Think of a horse and a cowboy giving him the spur. It doesn’t hurt but it is motivating. Think of a goad, a long pointy stick that is used to move cattle. You jab the animal in the rear to move it in the right direction. Again this is unpleasant but if done right it is futile to kick against.

This is all done to urge others on to love and good deeds. Love and good deeds that’s obvious right? You know make a lot of money to give away or use your summer and Christmas break to help your neighbors. Plan a summer camp for poor kids. Give soccer clinics to children in poor neighborhoods. Forget about retirement and work half-time to make more money for service or sell your big house and move to a poor barrio to serve.

Move together with another family to gain time and money for service. Live in a travel-trailer on your friend’s property. Get educated as a lawyer to help under-represented lawbreakers. Bring home convicts, grab up a homeless person…use your loving imagination to spend your life’s energy on others. It only hurts if you think about it; so don’t. But when you do it you’ll share in Christ’s joy.

Your job is to act out a specific regular plan to reach out to people to do whatever they need. Then you’ll form a scheme to encourage others to do the same.

My specific plan is to engage the poor through various programs that already exist. You know the Salvation Army or feeding programs. Then get to know the people and engage in their struggle on their behalf. I’ll do whatever they need to progress. I’m blogging and developing a network of friends that will obey the command to love and I will encourage them. I’ll give ideas and assistance. I goad the Christians who I interact with along with those in my church. I will spend as little as I can on me and more on others. I must be attentive to the needs of those in my fellowship also.

What will you do? How will you promote love and good works in your own life. What is your scheme to spur this on in the life others?

Note: People do not like to be goaded, so you might not get a pleasant response. I herd cattle and never saw a cow turn around and give me a smile for poking it with a goad. So here comes the ridicule and persecution you thought didn’t exist in the American church. This is another topic for a blog huh?

 

The Gospel of Judas

The Gospel of Judas

How many of us have considered the gospel of Judas? What did he believe and do? We know his story. He was appointed by Jesus to be a disciple, even more was an apostle. He was designated as one of the foundational members to take the gospel to the world. He walked with Jesus for three years and shared in all Jesus did. He touched him and learned from him.

Judas Loved Jesus Too

He learned from our master through daily interaction. Judas Iscariot was sent out to minister various times. He healed the sick and cast out demons. Judas was with Jesus when he was assaulted by the religious establishment and watched the Master’s miraculous works. He knew Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. There was no doubt for him; he abandoned all to follow Jesus. He believed in the Christ, walked with Him and knew Him. Yet he eventually perished under the crushing weight of his guilt without mercy.

Isn’t his gospel much like ours today? He is a lot like you and me isn’t he? We believe like he and we have been called and appointed as ministers of Christ. But unlike Judas, I’ve never healed the sick or cast out demons. He had quite a resume compared to many of ours. So what is the distinction between us and Judas? I hope there is.

Is the difference that he took money and delivered Jesus to the Pharisees? If one believes and sins are they damned? Why wasn’t Judas just forgiven? He believed in Jesus like us. The cross, the blood and the resurrection are powerful; through Jesus there is forgiveness for sin right? If it means a sin after believing in Jesus sends me and you to Hell, I recommend we buy fire retardant suits to be buried in just in case.

We can point to the Old Testament that calls Judas the Son of Perdition. Therefore we know he was destined from the beginning, before he was born, to betray Jesus and die as God’s enemy. Could he have been forgiven though? If he had repented after the fact do you think he had a chance? But, in a way he did repent, he remorsefully gave the money back to the Pharisees and hung himself. Wow that’s amazing contrition. But, I suspect Judas was never a true believer. He had a resume but lacked saving faith. I think that’s a fair conclusion.

But, if Judas’ gospel looks so much like ours where do we derive assurance? The book of 1 John gives this assurance of salvation to those it belongs and only to them. This assurance in meant only for those whom measure up to the distinctive characteristics of those with saving faith. This assurance is for them alone. In 1 John 2:3-4 he states;

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” NIV

This command is to love. I cringe writing this. I wish we had a different word for love. Well, it isn’t the word but its misuse that disturbs me. Everyone in their mind loves; everyone has a good heart by their own declaration. By this they believe they will be saved. By everyone’s personal belief in their proclamation of faith and their self-certain confession of loving sincerity, they feel that they are saved. Is that messed up our what? Merely by believing you truly believe you are saved? I do not think that in assurance but a disastrous presumption, a sweet dream turned nightmare.

You may say “Judas is not me, I’ve been chosen.” Wasn’t Judas personally appointed by Jesus? You may muse, “But I know Christ.” Have you kissed his cheek? If this is the matter Judas may be with us in Heaven. But no: No, not by mere howling conviction are we sons; not by a firm statement of allegiance but in truth only. Only in identity, by pure likeness in conviction can we claim oneness.

How does one know rain but by it’s a sheen on a raincoat or the Sun’s heat but by a warm back reflecting it’s glow. Flowers are not so by their proud announcement of fragrance. They aren’t flowers by their determined desire for beauty, but in their essence. This they proclaim without voice. As we are known by the bloom and fragrance of our love so we are Christians; the saved are love without carnal limits.

Love On It’s Head

If a dog has no owner and is cold outside, you bring him in and give him help. When there is a person cold and wet outside your door you call the cops? Is this really who we are?

I know people can be scary and dangerous. We see the news and the horrible things that happen. If someone comes to your door, I can see you really might not want to let them in. I get that. But when would we help? How bad off does the person need to be?

I know we have been conditioned. We have a refined fear that has been developed over our years of experiences and media. But I tell you, this blade cuts both ways. When we are in need people tend to look at us strangely, yes they do. They wonder what our angle is and if we can be trusted.

When faced with a decision to help, we do a quick in-perceivable calculation in our mid. It is a risk benefit analysis. “What will happen to me?”, “What will I get?”; are very natural questions to ask. No wonder we do not help others. We understand very quickly upon completion of the mental calculation that we will get a kick in the pants and be out some time and money.

However, I believe most of our persona l”prophesies of doom” never are realized. This ought to teach us something. We simply feel security is more valuable, than a minor risk; than the benefits of attempting to help a person. Even if the person we help doesn’t hurt us we are still afraid. But maybe only scared they may annoy us or interrupt our valuable lives. The one we help is truly the only beneficiary. I know you may still wonder “What is in it for me?”

Love On I’ts Head

We can help men and women like him.
If a dog has no owner and is cold outside, you bring him in and give him help. When there is a person cold and wet outside your door you call the cops? Is this really who we are?

I know people can be scary and dangerous. We see the news and the horrible things that happen. If someone comes to your door, I can see you really might not want to let them in. I get that. But when would we help? How bad off does the person need to be?

I know we have been conditioned. We have a refined fear that has been developed over our years of experiences and media. But I tell you, this blade cuts both ways. When we are in need people tend to look at us strangely, yes they do. They wonder what our angle is and if we can be trusted.

When faced with a decision to help, we do a quick in-perceivable calculation in our mid. It is a risk benefit analysis. “What will happen to me?”, “What will I get?”; are very natural questions to ask. No wonder we do not help others. We understand very quickly upon completion of the mental calculation that we will get a kick in the pants and be out some time and money.

However, I believe most of our persona l”prophesies of doom” never are realized. This ought to teach us something. We simply feel security is more valuable, than a minor risk; than the benefits of attempting to help a person. Even if the person we help doesn’t hurt us we are still afraid. But maybe only scared they may annoy us or interrupt our valuable lives. The one we help is truly the only beneficiary. I know you may still wonder “What is in it for me?”