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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Whenever I stop on Jeopardy long enough to watch a round, I shake my head at the RE-diculous amount of information people know. There are some people out there who have a lot of knowledge stored up somewhere in them.

Knowledge is a valued characteristic in our society. We are attracted to smart people. We appreciate intellect as a virtue.

This has me thinking about what it means to really know something. Someone with great recall can seem knowledgeable, but what about understanding?

Would you rather have knowledge or understanding?

There is a big difference.

I am sure that we can all drum up something to say about most topics. We all have opinions. But there is a such a difference when listening to someone who really has an understanding of a subject. I could listen to someone who really “gets it” all day long.

With understanding comes meaning and value. Sure we can value knowledge, but there is just something that happens when information moves from the head to the heart.

All throughout the gospels it is clear those who knew about Jesus and those who really understood Jesus. The religious people of his day wanted Jesus to fit into a box of being someone they could explain.

Knowledge is rooted in knowing the facts about someone or something. I know a lot about people just by reading their blogs, bios, and “about me” pages, but this does NOT mean that I know them. Knowledge can be false advertising for intimacy. I would even go so far as to say that we can know a lot about a person through conversations, but it takes spending time with that person to really know them.

The ones who really knew Jeus were those who spent time with him. Mary Magdalene knew Jesus just by the sound of her name being spoke. That voice had meaning and value. There was an understanding that accompanied what she knew about Jesus.

I think I have come to the conclusion that I would rather have understanding over knowledge in my life. Understanding is aquired through intimacy. I have a rolodex of things that still need to move from my head to my heart – from knowledge to understanding. This is a life-long process. I want to be a person of passion, filled with knowledge that speaks with the conviction of meaning.

I want to be a person who speaks from the place of intimacy.

So I open the floor to you.

Talk to me about your thoughts on knowledge and understanding.

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I have a passion for traveling. My heart is fully alive when my passport is stamped. There is nothing like it for me. To be honest, traveling is the only time I really embrace “all things new” in my life.

I have traveled overseas 20 different times. I have experienced some crazy cultures from a semester “studying” in Spain, living life with people in the Middle East, practicing my tortilla making skills in Mexico, almost being traded for two rugs in Turkey by my mom (not really), perfected my “oopa!” in the Greek Isles, ate my way through Italy, and rocked the adventures of backpacking and serving around South Africa.

I always try and purse living life the local way when traveling.

You might read that list and think “how fun!” Don’t get me wrong, I have had the time of my life. I honestly can’t imagine the “me” I would be without those experiences.

Traveling has changed the way I see and experience God. My world view and faith have been directly impacted by those experiences.

I am so grateful for the ways all of those places have left their stamps on me.

Through traveling, I have also been exposed to many different levels of darkness and sin. Sin is definitely cross-cultural. My eyes and heart have been exposed to some heavy things. There is nowhere in the world sin has missed.

Every time I leave a country, I am more broken and grateful for the redemption of God.

I have engaged in hundreds of conversations with people who have had overseas experiences. Everyone has different responses to what they saw. One thing I cannot shake is when people see darkness and sin and blame God for not doing something.

We have all heard questions asked like, “why do bad things happen to good people?” or “How could God let this happen?”

One thing that has always puzzled me is how quick we can be to blame God before blaming sin.

Sin is ugly and tragic. We can catch glimpses of its darkness when we are exposed to things like human trafficking, child abuse, rape, murder, slavery, oppression, corruption, hate crimes, holocausts, and genocides.

I do believe that God has those in mind when He sent his son. All people, everywhere, experience sin, as well as the wages of death that come with it. God is standing in the midst of the darkest of sin wanting to extend the invitation of redemption.

It was Jesus who was crucified on the cross, and with arms already extended, invited the worst of the worst sinner next to him to join Him in paradise.

Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t have the answer for all scenarios, but sin is dark, and it is real. Sin affects good people who never ask for it.

Where is God when it comes to darkness and atrocities? He’s in the midst of it, desperate not to lose one, but extending the arms of redemption.

In what ways do you see yourself and others blaming God for what sin is responsible for?

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There are speeches that have revolutionized our culture. Martin Luther King Jr.’s,I Have a Dream” speech did wonders to change the minds of millions. Abraham Lincoln’s monument walls echo with wisdom and leadership that I could spend all day reading.

The life of culture changes direction by the courageous actions of others. Fighting for what is right and truthful takes courage.

I listened to a talk that Andy Stanley gave about Matt 5. He unfolded the way the Sermon on the Mount changed life and culture as we know it.

Jesus took the courageous step to introduce a better way of living then that of the current culture. He spoke and revealed words of truth that pierced the heart. Life was meant to be known and lived differently than that of tyranny and abuse.

Life was to be leveraged in love not power.

Jesus delivered a speech that laid the foundations for life as we know it to be, or at least knew it to be. I feel like we are moving further and further away from those words that Jesus spoke.

Before Jesus ever delivered one of those words from the Sermon on the Mount that day, He lived them out first. Jesus introduced his truth through life lived first and then put words to them.

Once people got a glimpse of His very different life, He sat them down and said…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

This speech changed everything about how life was to be known and lived. These words set the new path for culture and our world views. Life and people have meaning through these words. This speech eventually redefined Rome.

Life is to be lived and leveraged from love not power. It changed everything.

This speech still stands true today. These words can still change culture by the way we live them out.

Let’s change the world.

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Have you ever experienced someone who is the right kind of famous?

Our culture has a category of famous people. These people are recognizable. We hold famous people in high regard. We admire them for different characters played or even music sung.

Why are we attracted to famous people?

Is it that we see the evidence that “dreams” can happen?

Is it just because of the music we like or the movies we see them in?

What is it about the lives of famous people that we are drawn to?

I think I can name one famous person who I admire because of their life not just what they have played on screen.

Makes me wonder what the right kind of famous is.

More often than not people are famous because they are recognizable, but what about the heart? The right kind of famous for me is a person’s heart.

Isaiah described the coming Messiah as one who “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. He was despised and we esteemed him not.”

Jesus came as the Messiah – the most famous and awaited for person of his time – he was dismissed for being the wrong kind of famous. Jesus did not come riding on a grand chariot, or adorned with splendor. He lived his life redefining the right kind of famous.

In the midst of sorrow and suffering, Jesus died for us. In the midst of pain and rejection, he carried our sin and transgression to the cross.

Jesus lived and died the right kind of famous.

Famous for me is the heart. Famous for me is character. Famous for me is choosing to wrestle with the hard of what’s right. This is famous for me because this is what famous should look like.

This is the kind of famous I want to be.

What is the right kind of famous for you?

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Space is an elusive concept for our culture and world. We are inundated with space fillers and preoccupations. We are “busy.” We even pride ourselves on being “busy.”

I listen to conversations about needing more hours in the day. We all seem to need more time to meet with people, reply to emails, return calls, get work down, and make relationships happen.

I gotta be honest, there are times I read or hear about some people’s days, and I want to take a nap for them.

We are busy. Somewhere along the way busy became a value, as well as an association of importance.

Busy says “we are in demand.”

Trying to keep up with busy is just exhausting. Busy comes with an unmeetable bar of success and satisfaction.

Don’t get me wrong, we need to get things done, and relationships take time and effort.

What is the balance?

Reading through the gospels, I wonder what Jesus’ schedule would’ve looked like. Would he have synched up his ministry appointments and travel schedules with his disciples on Google? Would we find him “penciling in” people in different towns and villages? Would Jesus have been considered too “busy?”

He was a busy guy. Jesus was definitely in demand, but he found the perfect balance between busy and space. Jesus knew that he would not have been effective had he not valued space.

Do I?

Do we?

Jesus would often disappear somewhere and just be. He took the space necessary to be able to manage the busy well.

Jesus would send his friends ahead of where they were going next. He would also wake up early in the morning and find his space.

We all need time where no one is asking us questions, no one is needing something, no expectations to fulfill, no interruptions, just silence and exhale.

We need space.

I need times of space to function. I need space to renew my mind and strength. I need space to find my exhale. I need space to find the words and whispers of my own heart.

More often than not I am exhausted when space is absent. More often than not I wrestle with God and life the most when space has been forgotten and edged out.

Space is where He speaks.

Space is where I listen.

How are you giving yourself space to be a more effective you?

This post was inspired by the Luminous Project. Luminous is an event in Nashville for creatives on May 9-11, 2012. To find out more, check outluminousproject.com. You can use the promo code ‘luminousLOVE’ to get 30% off the ticket price.

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The bible is filled with amazing stories of miracles and wonders. Jesus did incredible things. He healed the sick, and raised the dead; gave the blind person sight and the mute a voice.

Jesus was active. His abilities matched no other.

Homes and courts would overflow with people just trying to get a glimpse of him. People traveled from all over bringing their needs to place before him, and hear his words.

Jesus did illogically astonishing things.

I shake my head at the amazing things Jesus did; story after story of miracles and wonders. God’s abilities were seen very clear through Jesus. Nothing was impossible for Jesus.

I read some of these stories and wonder about the person who didn’t get healed by Jesus. Was there a person he did not touch or heal? Were there people he did not “come through for?

There is a harsh reality that I bet there was. There is a harsh reality that even today things happen that make us question God’s abilities.

This world is filled with things that happen and we wish God would do, or would have done, something.

There is a part in the bible that every time I read it I am left with the question of why? Hebrew 11 is a great chapter of incredible faith. However, it is also a sobering chapter of faith that would seem to cause a tension between what happens and God’s abilities.

Hebrews 11 talks about amazing people of faith. It goes on to describe people who had received back their dead raised to life, those who shut the mouths of lions, those who escaped the sword, and weakness turned into conquering power. In the same breath, there is a list of those who seemed to die by the sword, flogged, imprisoned, stoned and killed.

What do we do with the tension of when God seems to use his abilities and when he seems absent?

God is able.

He is also always doing things we do not see or can even grasp.

There are stories like Lazarus, one of Jesus’ closest friends, who was sick and Jesus waited to show up. John the Baptist, a man Jesus described as one of the greatest men who ever lived, stayed in prison while Jesus did not free him. Jesus, God’s own son, hung on a cross. Battered and beaten, Jesus hung on a cross.

Many mocked Jesus’ abilities to be able to save himself. They called out to him to pray and ask God to save him. Jesus never did.

Jesus never questioned the father’s abilities in the midst of his circumstances.

It is so hard to reconcile our circumstances and God’s abilities. It is easy to claim his abilities when they seem to be for us. What about claiming his character and ability when they seem to be absent and far?

Our circumstances do not reflect the way God feels about us.” Andy Stanley

How do your circumstances stir up in you thoughts and questions about God?

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Have you ever experienced a time where you found yourself in a waiting season?

I will admit to being a person who struggles when it comes to waiting.

Our fast paced culture does not enable waiting well. People who are waiting constantly look at their watches and are most likely agitated.

Waiting can be accompanied by fear as well. Waiting can stir up the fear that someone has forgotten us. Fears that arise when in a waiting season can challenge our sense of value.

How do you wait well?

How do you wait well when the season of waiting seems long?

Now waiting for the bus is way different then waiting on a dream or direction. Waiting can cause us to question and doubt. Waiting requires faith and trust. Those two words are very challenging.

Andy Stanley did a great series that tackled the question of, “what do you do when you feel like God is inattentive, uncooperative, and late?

All three of those words come to mind when experiencing a waiting season. I battle with those words a lot, and sometimes on a daily basis, in this waiting period. It is hard not to play the comparison game and even be jealous when it comes to waiting.

Waiting seasons challenge my faith and trust. Waiting is lonely.

Andy talked about a key verse that speaks directly into the heart of waiting. Jesus said, “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.

Such a powerful verse! This verse speaks to waiting. Waiting comes with the expectation that God should do something—that he should do something for me. Honestly, I have expected God to do something and act in my waiting. I used the words that God knows my situation; he is able to change it.

Ever felt like God is silent when you don’t think he should be? Ever felt like he must not care if he is not doing something?

We can start to equate our situations with how God feels about us.

Blessed are those who do not stumble when we feel like God is inattentive, uncooperative, and late. Blessed are those who choose faith even though the waiting continues. Blessed are those who choose to hope when hoping seems in vain. Blessed are those who still know God is able regardless of the waiting time.

I am holding on to the truth of Andy words that, “our situations do NOT reflect the way God feels about us.

I am working on waiting well. For me, that means not letting it affect the perception of my value and self-worth.

What does waiting well look like for you?

 

 

 

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