I don’t Care What the Bible Says?

Danger! Sarcastic Pastor on prescription medicines, on a rant, with a keyboard.
Enter at your own risk!

Come, Follow Me

Danger_Enter_At_Your_Own_Risk

God almighty is seated on his throne in Heaven and he has a plan. He invites you to join that plan. Get it? YOU join God’s plan.
As Christians we yield to Jesus’ words, “Come, follow me.” He does not yield to us.

COME

“Come” means you are leaving somewhere. It may be geographical, spiritual, emotional, financial … But something is going to change. I know you probably don’t like change. That very fact is why I see people post over and over that, “people are leaving the church.” I’m not seeing people leaving the church. I’m seeing people leaving institutions run by people that have no apparent desire to move forward and grow spiritually. I’m seeing people leaving institutions that want to tell the exact same story, the exact same way, with the exact same reaction, singing the exact same songs. Like God himself froze time in the 1700’s.

FOLLOW

“Follow” means you aren’t in charge. With the democratization of the church in America it is amazing what people call structure and organization. “If I don’t have a say on what color the hinge bolts are on the toilet seats in the ladies bathroom, well then I’m gonna find a new church.” Or, “If I can’t use my gifts my way and be in charge then I’m clearly not wanted.” Following is a hard thing. Everyone isn’t gifted or called to do the thing they may want to do. It doesn’t mean they don’t have a part. To follow you have to submit, and let’s be honest, we don’t like that do we? Somehow we think that the church is supposed to have or be, a House of Representatives and that isn’t even biblical. It’s sad to see people going from church to church, leaving wreckage in their wake, and yet taking little to no responsibility for what THEY are doing. I’ve always told church planters, “if they come in mad, they will leave mad.” It’s been true 100% of the time so far.

ME

“Me.” One of these days we will capture the idea, the philosophy of ministry, understanding the truth that the Gospel IS ALL ABOUT JESUS. Not you, not me, not what I want, but it is about God’s plan and HE expects us to be faithful to his words. Your life, your money, your “plans,” your children, your relationships, your expectations, everything about you is supposed to be surrendered to Christ when you become a Christian. EVERYTHING. But as Christians I still see the, “God’s about to bless my every waking moment” theology being “meme’d” to death. What part of Jesus’ disciples life and death shows you that being a disciple of Christ is getting the big house, the big car, the new jet, the profitable job, the free education or anything else we can think of? (God could do that, but it comes with great responsibility to invest back into the Kingdom
of God.) That wasn’t the example of the disciples though was it? Boiled in oil, crucified upside down, beheaded, exiled, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, losing homes, lands, spouses, children and whole families being imprisoned.
And we have brought it to the idea that it is all about me. God has a plan for my life because my life is the center of the universe?
Seriously? And you don’t have time to witness to your co-worker, your family? When was the last time to prayed for a stranger, invited someone to church, shared the gospel? When did you last fast or pray for more than a moment? When did you sell everything you have give to the poor and then take a new turn in life. When was the last time you asked God who you could give TO rather than gi’me, gi’me?

Jesus was crystal clear

Jesus was crystal clear. Come, Follow ME.
Look around you today. All these Facebook posts about the toilet apocalypse, the end of “my” politics, the love of most growing cold, it’s all in the Word. But then, we’d have to read the word wouldn’t we? After that Jesus expects us to obey that word doesn’t he.
Crazy how many people say God is dead-serious about homosexuality (and he is) but those same people make all kinds of excuses and reasonings AGAINST Jesus’ specific words to LOVE YOUR ENEMY. Crystal clear. Needs no interpretation.

I don’t care what the Bible says?

Maybe, just maybe, your life and your church hopping, your messed up children, your loss of marriage, your upside down finances are actually a result of you following your made up God. Maybe, just maybe, when Jesus says “Come, follow me” he really expects that and when you meet him face to face, that is exactly what he is going to talk to you about.

One of the saddest moments I have experienced from a Christian was years ago when he demanded that I preach that alcohol consumption was a sin. In the course of our conversation I said I couldn’t preach that because the Bible doesn’t say that. His exact words, that he blurted out in the frustration that I wouldn’t do what he asked were, “I don’t care what the Bible says, …”
(Deep breath, let it out slowly) there in lies the problem.
What about you today?

You waded all the way through this. What is God asking of you today?

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Broken shoelaces

I woke up this morning and let the dogs out. Then they get fed, sooner or later it is off to the the coffee shop to meet the city. I love this city. I have the privilege of being one of many pastors in this town. Thankfully I’m not one on a denominational track of changing churches every once in a while. (last I heard was, less than 4 years was the average stay for a pastor at a given church in America) I have been in this town for the past 13 years and I have fallen in love with it. The rhythm, the people, the university, the coffee shop; all of it.

My Shoelace is broken

As I was sitting at the table talking and visiting, the conversation turned to leaders, and positions, and attitudes, and I was suddenly aware that my left shoelace is broken and tied in a knot. I remember when I got up this morning and put my shoes on I was frustrated IMG_7742that my shoelace needed to be replaced, in the mean time, I needed to get to work so I tied it in a knot.

Pertinent to the conversation? I think so. I looked at the person across from me at the table and said, “My shoelace is tied in a knot because it is broken.” They looked at me funny and said, “What does that have to do with the conversation?” “Everything,” I replied. “Everything!”

I am not better than anybody else.

I am a leader and yet, my shoe lace is broken. There is also dirt on the bottom of my shoe, and I have owned this particular shirt for a couple of years now. While life has taken a wonderful turn for my wife and I over the past year, I am just a guy on a mission that will not be deterred, but I am not better than anybody else. I am not more perfect than anybody else. And while my “holiness” (look up the word) is growing daily, I am not more holy than anyone else that claims the name of Jesus and still lives here on Earth.

I am not so special that God chose me for this line of work, at this moment in time, I am just hungry and available. The shoelace is a reminder that I am no better than anyone else on this planet. My role is not my identity, it is my calling, it is my lifestyle. While I do understand that being a leader means to be held to a higher standard by God, my concern is that people also think this role should be put on a pedestal. Look UP to people that are further down the road than you are, but do not look TO them, they are just humans; look to God.

“Never trust a leader who doesn’t walk with a limp.”

I heard a friend of mine once say, “Never trust a leader who doesn’t walk with a limp.” There is a lot of truth in that statement. We all have weaknesses in our lives. (broken shoelaces) For some reason the church is full of people who think that being given the title, “Pastor,” or even, “elder,” means hiding their imperfections and weakness, having all the answers, living perfect, speaking in monotone, being better than everyone else, or even taking whatever spiritual beating someone wishes to pour out upon them. How many times have I been at the end of a haranguing by a church member and when I said, “No,” to the request, the response was, “And you call yourself a Pastor?”

Their broken shoelace is their need to be loved

Others in leadership think it means celebrating and almost reveling in their brokenness as a means of being compassionate and relating to the sinners. These people can’t define grace, the Gospel, or the call to transformation, because the people they are “ministering to” might not like or love them. Their broken shoelace is their need to be loved, and they are using this position to gain that. Their congregants might reject their invitation to the Cross, the community, or communion, and they can’t live with that.

 

Your pastor, regardless of how well they carry themselves, is just a human being. If they are honest, they struggle with everything you struggle with: feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, addictions, finances, feeling beat up by the church, family management, loneliness, weight issues, health issues, stress possibly beyond your level, and the list goes on.

 

I’m not looking to garner pity. I’m not trying to get you to celebrate or patronize your leadership. I just want to help you to be aware that their shoelace is broke and they need your prayer, your help, and your friendship. They can afford a new shoelace; they just haven’t gotten to it yet due to all the “stuff” going on in regular life. So I guess, maybe I am inviting you to back off a little bit.  Remember or be aware, they limp just like you do. If they don’t limp, don’t trust them.

 

Uncle Larry's CorvetteI limp. My name is Joe, plain old Joe. I’m the guy that works beside you, the one you pass every day on the streets. I am a broken individual that Jesus rescued from a dark pit. He lifted me out of that slimy pit, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to my God, that many would see and fear and put their trust in HIM (not ME). I will never forget that.

 

I am not better than you or deeper than you. I don’t have more Jesus than you, and I am certainly not more “Elite” than you. I am saved by God, like you, or like you can be. Not because we are good, but because we need a savior. We all need to be clean from our sin. Jesus is that cleaner. He suffered the beating and wrath that we are due, so we would NEVER have to go through it.

 

Pray for my broken shoelace, please don’t ever think I will judge you for your broken shoelace, but I know where we can get our shoelaces fixed. For that reason, I was called, commissioned and empowered.

CUT IT, BURN IT, POUR IT OUT

DO IT

I had the opportunity today to be out and about in some of my favorite spots. I over heard a man say that there was something he would like but he was still negotiating with his wife about the purchase. Let’s admit it, some of us have to spend much time gently convincing our spouse that what we WANT is actually a NEED. It doesn’t always work. Not motorcycles however, those are prescribed for men by God. In any case, I heard the Lord very quickly let me know that I had the ability in the moment to meet this person’s want; so I did. Why?

Jesus doesn’t want my latte’

We are doing kind of an “anti-Lent” on the way to Easter here at our church. We aren’t Lent-haters, I promise. With a little bit of study, you can see that Lent is really an extra biblical church activity. I struggle with Lent a lot because I really don’t see how letting go of my coffee habit is going to somehow connect me to the sufferings of Jesus leading up to his crucifixion. I already cannot fathom his depth of pain and suffering, I don’t think he wants my latte’.

What we are doing instead is looking at four things that Jesus DID do all along his way to the cross. He invited people to follow him, he invited people to give, he invited people to serve, and he invited people to celebrate.

Lamb of GodSacrifice

This week is all about Giving, specifically, sacrifice. Do we ever sacrifice? In biblical days they knew what that meant. You grab a sheep, a goat, a jar of grain, some herbs or spices, maybe even a child or some other livestock and you bring it to the temple and leave it there in the hands of the priest. You gave it to God. It was cut up, burnt, poured out, cast outside, gone. That means you went without it. It cost something, and it hurt a little bit to do that.

Going without

The truth is, I used to think of sacrifice as giving, but not the other part, the going-without-because-you-gave-it-away part. Sacrifice means I don’t have something any more. So if I sacrifice money, then I cannot spend it. I don’t have it. A guy once said, “You can only spend money once.” What a genius. I say that because not everyone I know (certainly not me a while ago) believed that. Sacrifice means that you are going to do without something. In this case so that you can give it to God, or someone in need, or want.

Not just money

Sacrifice is not always just about money. You can sacrifice your pride, your time, your energy, your love, your dreams, your desires, your attitude, there are a lot of things you can sacrifice. When you do sacrifice them, you don’t get to use them again. Think about time. If I were to sacrifice my money, I could earn a little more to make up for it. But, if I sacrifice my time, I can never get it back. When I stop what I am doing and love on someone by spending time or working for them, I can never get that time back again. I let it go, I gave it away as an act of worship.

“PRODIGAL”

Sacrifice isn’t always only for desperate people. We are not called to only help or give to people who are destitute. Sometimes we need to be like God and remember that he described himself as lavish. The story of the “Prodigal” in the Bible is actually a story of a “Prodigal” father, not a prodigal son. The lavish, wanton, ridiculous love of the father that took the boy back was the focus of the message. I don’t know why people always focus on the boy, he isn’t the context of the metaphor. The sacrificial LOVE of the Father is the message, the point of why “who-so-ever-will” may come.

The life that Jesus came to give you and I, according to John 10:10 is described in the Greek word, “Perssisos”. Look it up.

 

What sacrifice do you bring to God this year at Easter? Who do you sacrifice for intentionally to love God?

 

Think about it.

Peace be with you

feet of JesusThe “Butt-inski”

As two of Jesus’ disciples walked along on that very first easter day, they were met by a traveler. A guy. A man headed in the same direction they were going. He walked along with them for  a while as they were headed to a town named Emmaus. This man walked up into a conversation they were having about Jesus himself. They were disturbed by some things that the ladies had said to them, and honestly, based upon this description of the conversation, I would say they appeared to have serious doubts.

He hears their doubts and challenges them

As the stranger interacts with them, they end up kind of incredulous that he appeared to be uninformed about the weekend events. In true hospitable fashion they take it upon themselves to inform him. So they tell him all about Jesus, what he did, the miracles, how he was arrested and killed, then buried. I’m sure they told him what Jesus meant to them personally. This guy, this stranger that walked with them, listened, interacted, asked questions and heard them. The stranger hears their doubts. He then challenges their doubts and unfolds the scriptures for them. When it is all said and done, He ends up at their supper, breaking bread with them, and it is only then that they realize Jesus has been walking with them all along. Immediately Jesus disappears.

Out of their element …

They were walking and lamenting the loss of their leader, their lord, their friend, and there was no way that they were going to believe he was right there. I have often asked myself why Mary at the tomb, and these guys here on the road, didn’t recognize Jesus? Then I remember all the times that I have been somewhere and someone comes up to me, or I go up to someone, and realize who they are.  Out of their normal element or relationship, I do not recognize them. Then it hits me, this is “Bill!”

I think that is exactly what is going on here. They saw Jesus buried, he cannot be here, so that doesn’t even enter their minds. I don’t know what a post burial, resurrected, but pre-ascension body looks like, but they certainly saw him when he broke the bread, when he was “In his element.” Handing out communion he was Jesus again, and Jesus alive!!

What about you?

I wonder how many times we miss God in our lives, miss Jesus doing a work, miss the Holy spirit because he belongs in Church on Sunday morning. Here we are going through our week, maybe we have a spouse and we are doing our daily thing, chasing kids, a quick kiss before we leave for work, maybe a fight and we are immediately in a tension. A flat tire and the day feels wrecked, or work is just piling up and we don’t feel appreciated, no one cares so we melt into the old pit of wallowing; no one likes me, no one notices, I’ll never get ahead. God where are you?

“… and I know that there are angels all around …”

It is at times like these that we miss seeing God in our lives. We end up so focused on our want, our need or our loss, or our problems, that we don’t lift our eyes up and look at who is walking around us. Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

Look!

The Kingdom of God is here. Jesus said it is near, it is coming and it is in you. Jesus is in the Kingdom, so Jesus IS here. The Holy Spirit is in the Kingdom, so the Holy Spirit IS here. Angels are in the kingdom, so angels ARE here. I want to encourage you to lift your chin and look around. God is here in your midst. In the middle of your daily struggle, in the middle of your need to make a decision, in the middle of your fight with your spouse. He is here at work. He is here in your doubt and despair.  He will never leave you alone, but we may be choosing not to believe he could be here.
Cry for nigeriaAs you travel on this road to your Emmaus, that stranger, that song, that group pf people, that church, that co-worker, God is using them to speak to you, to support you, to love you, but you have to open your eyes and believe. Stop what you are doing right now and ask God to open your eyes.

 

TRASH, they say your children are TRASH?

We live in a time where babies are not considered living beings until they actually come out of the womb and breath air. Even then some have been reported as having been “dispatched” after being born alive. Then the same government that allows for human children to be cut to pieces to be removed from their mothers womb, or, to be removed and reported as dead so that they can be harvested and sold for profit like a bad Frankenstein movie. Trash. The government wants you to believe they are nothing but yesterday’s trash to be taken to the curb so that Planned Parenthood can collect them and use them for profit. Truly we live in a disposable society when our babies can be seen as refuse. Then again, most of our lives are “instant” and going 100 miles an hour.

We Have Drive-Thru’s For That!!

We have a Drive-thru for food because we do not have time to cook meals and to some degree, we are losing the skills necessary to cook meals.Drive Thru
We have a drive through for coffee and donuts because we don’t have time for breakfast; we want to sleep more.

We have a Drive-thru to pick up our prescriptions because getting out of the car Drive thru pandemic screeningand walking into the store takes too much time. This is a “Drive-thru for Pandemic screening” because we can’t be bothered to get out of our cars to save our own lives.

Abortion and Planned Parenthood has become our “Drive-thru” for taking care of a bad decision to have a fun night. And before you jump mad and tell me they provide other services beside abortion, killing innocent children is not acceptable just because they provide services that are provided through other more reputable avenues. Get a grip if that is your argument.

TRASH

Trash is what is left over when we buy something that needs to be in an overly decorated package. A package that we might not buy without all the frilly, artsy, Fast foo dtrashpackage that makes us believe we “Need” it.

You open up your Big Mac and have to do something with the wrapper. The fries are great, they have a 15-minute lifespan, but then you have to throw way the little Fry-cup. Then you down your supersized drink that you didn’t need and you are left with trash: a waxed cup with a plastic lid. Now I’m not just picking on one restaurant, go to the grocery and you end up with groceries in plastic bags. Then everything you bought at the grocery is wrapped in a container that was designed to hold food for long periods of time.

It’s Still Here

So, when we eat, play, buy, sell, we create more and more trash that we just throw away without regard for it. We are creating so much trash that we just throw away, or put it to the curb without any thought about it at all. It goes somewhere. It goes to thedumps dump. The dump is a property that is set aside and managed by a company, but it soon is a mountain, very quickly it becomes a mountain. When I go to Columbus from Central Kentucky I see a dump like I am describing on the side of the highway. You can actually smell it before you ever get to it depending on the day. It is where the trash goes. Monitoring wells, trucks, bulldozers, earthmovers, EPA, all of this plays into us tossing our trash into the wastebasket: we have created a culture that has a disposable, throw away, mindset. If it is leftover or unwanted, it is trash.

Freedom from consequences, not choice

That very mindset is what allows our culture to apply this to children. We don’t want the responsibility. Let’s admit it, the Planned Parenthood’s admissions on the videos posted on Social Media, is the proof that they truly believe that our unborn children are trash: Disposable refuse, left over from a high-speed lifestyle lived because we have to do more faster. It is also because we do not want the consequences of our actions.

We want to discard our bad, unhealthy choices,Trash at the curb like fast-food trash. We do not want to “See” the consequences; we want to believe it isn’t ours to deal with. We want to believe that we are not accountable for the leftovers of our decisions. Just like the trash we put out on Thursday night, we want someone else to haul our bad choices away and dispose of them so we do not have to deal with them. Pretty soon we will be driving by the piles of consequences and it will stink and it will break our hearts and ruin the landscape of our lives.

Cash for Trash

We have an opportunity. We are raising support for the “Pregnancy Help Center of Richmond Kentucky” to purchase and set up an Ultrasound Clinic. When we started pushing this, they needed $13,000 more dollars; they are down to $8,000. So, we are signing up to clean the byways around Richmond: Barnesmill, Tatescreek and Ultrasoundothers. We will pick up the trash and turn it into cash for the Pregnancy Help Center. We will gather at the Vineyard at 9am on October 17th and go out for 3-4 hours depending upon the number of people. We can raise $2000 in that amount of time if we all work together. That will take the PHC need down to $6,000. We can have this paid for before Christmas of this year, I know we can. We can show the world that our children, unborn children, are not trash. God is in the business of turning broken lives that the world has marginalized into Children of the King. Through giving your time on October 17th, you can show the world that they can call these children trash, but we see them as viable, living, loving human beings: PEOPLE that deserve a chance to be something other than parts for the body mill called Planned Parenthood. People that deserve the same chance the parents aborting them had.

Do You Have an Hour or Two For Our Children?

If you can give an hour or two or three or even four on October 17th, join us and help us help our children and their parents. Let us know you will be there by calling 859 779 5615 and leaving your contact information. Then, when you have signed up, show up. Let’s not talk about it; let’s do something about it.

You can donate your self

You can also donate to this cause by following the link below:
http://www.phccares.org/#!operation-ultrasound/csop

Do You Suck?

DREAMS MEAN SOMETHING

DREAMSSo I had a dream the other night. I really believe that people should pay more attention to their dreams. Dreams mean something. I for one believe the God speaks to people through their dreams. We write them off too much. Now I will say that you need to learn the difference between what is God speaking and what is last night’s pizza speaking. Maybe if you would choose to write down your dreams when you wake up and then after a week, read through them and begin to hear God speak to you.

THE DREAM

So I had a dream the other night and it didn’t make any sense to me at all. It was a bit funny and weird and I wrote it off until God sparked it the next day. So here it is. I was some place, who knows where it was a theatre though; I do know that. I do know that it was an important production of something. I’m aware that a young man was the star. He was the guy that was the center of all the attention. I was there with some people. Don’t know why, don’t know who. Somewhere during this production, I was asked to jump up and play a part. I apparently was good with it because I did. I jumped up delivered my lines and then came back to my seat with my friends and it was cool. When the show was over the waiter (where’d that come from) came over to my table, (what happened to the seats we were sitting in?) and brought me a large, beautiful piece of Coconut Cream Pie. (I knew this was a dream about heaven.) I can still see the Coconut Cream Pie, the rest of the dream is fading, but not that pie, What does that say about me? When I asked why I was getting a pie I was told that I did a good job and that all the cast gets pie. They said that, though my part was small, it was important. The pie was great. I woke up and the dream was over, the day began. I remember thinking, “What a weird little dream.” It meant nothing.

EASTER SATURDAY NIGHT

Fast forward to the next day. It was the Saturday before Easter: the very day before the biggest celebration in the Christian calendar. We were busy and things were hopping at the Church. This was going to be our first Saturday night service. The church has grown to the place of needing this service just to make room. Everything was set. The anticipation was palpable! Who would come? And they came in masses. It was overwhelming.

WORSHIP TEAMAs Jessie (worship leader) led us in worship I was so aware of God in my personal relationship. That isn’t always the case; sometimes it is hard to get out of the “job” aspect and into the spiritual aspect of a worship service when you are playing a part in it. Just being honest there. Not this time. I was crying. The music sounded like a resonance from heaven. The voices blended then harmonized and it was loud. People were lifting up their anticipation, expectations, dreams and hurts to God in heaven.

I GET PIE

Whaaaaaaam just like that and I was aware of the dream from last night. God was letting me know that, I jump up in the scheme of time to play a small part, but that he has coconut pie for me to tell me, “well done good and faithful servant.” I cried more. It was just God letting me know that this was the right thing to do. Just a small affirmation that Saturday night IS his will for us. He was simply reminding me that it’s not about me, I just play a little part, but that we share in the whole. Thank you God.

DO YOU SUCK?

Are you a sucker or are you a server? I mean, do you play a part in the kingdom of God or are you just here to perpetuate a self-gratifying experience? Is your life about Jesus or is it about you?

I think a lot of people go to church but never understand the concept of BEING the church. Instead they come to the church and get what they can: ministry, duty, guilt, endurance, singing, you know, check attendance off the list of weekend activities.

LAPREYThey come in, suck in what they can, and then head out. They enjoy the production, but don’t play a part. Kind of like a Lamprey that attaches to the side of a fish and then just sucks the life out of it. They take what they can, but don’t seriously contribute anything.

YOU GET PIE!

God has more for you than being a sucker. He wants to employ you in this production called life. He has a mission that is unfolding daily and his plan is not for you to sit on the sidelines. He wants you involved, plugged in; he has an important part for you to play. You get PIE!cocnut cream pie

When you think about being a part of a church, do you think of an institution or a gathering? Do you think of attending or investing in this gathering? The church moves forward through the giving, not the sucking, of the gathered believers. We come to GIVE worship to God: through financial offerings, service to the community, energy and time to the body of believers and not yet believers.

So, do you suck or do you serve?

IS IT DARK WHERE YOU ARE?

“Why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?”

unworthy tearSome times when we are sad, depressed and can’t seem to gather our courage, we just stop moving. We don’t look for God.

Mary had no reason in her mind to look for Jesus. She saw the stone rolled away. She saw the empty tomb. She saw the morning come. And she saw the gardener; that guy standing over there behind her, or beside her. She maybe saw him out of the corner of her eye. When he came to comfort her she was willing to interact, she was willing to allow him to touch her pain. She let him in, just a little bit. “Why are you crying, who is it that you are looking for?”

People 

I get to interact with people everyday. Some people are having a great day. Some people are facing very scary circumstances. Shoot, sometimes I‘m facing giants in my own life. I’m going to shoot straight with you, this “life of the pastor thing” sometimes, is way too much fun and then sometimes it is not all sunshine and lollipops. No sirrreeee, sometimes it is down right scary!!

Do you know what to do?
Do you know what to say?
and do you know where to go?
God are you listening?
God they are mean.
God they are stingy.
and God they are scaring me to death.

And then there is the occasional, “Man this has got to be a great gig, I’m feeling called to the ministry” or “So what, you work an hour a week on Sunday, two if you have multiple services? I need me some of this.” “What do you do all day?” Pastors are not immune to depression, self loathing, and struggling with life. Hahahahahahahaha, Sometimes it’s even crazy here at the church and if you came in you would see that the crazies are running the show. Heeeelllllppppp!

Really though, what do you do when life is just on hold?
What do you do when the darkness seems a little too dark for you to step out into the light?

 MARY M and Mary MOJ

Mary was having that kind of day. This is Mary Magdalene, not Mary the Mother of Jesus. Can you imagine Mary the Mother of Jesus’ weekend? Her very first Easter and what a downer it was. Seriously now, I cannot comprehend the tragedy of losing a child, even an adult child. And then for it to be the Son of God you lost to murder. Here you are, 33 years after you tried to convince people that this pregnancy was an act of God, just when things were looking like the community was believing that he was the Son of God, or at least that he was someone special to God, this happens.

What an Easter this is turning into. 

Those stinking Romans! Big mean nasty warriors and fighters that think they can do what ever they like! THEY HAD NO CAUSE. What about those religious leaders? Hauling her son into the Romans; couldn’t even do their own dirty work, and it WAS DIRTY WORK!!!! Yeah, who did they think they were? What an Easter this was turning into.

Oh it WAS a special week. People may not have recognized that it was the first Easter, but it was still special. It was a couple days after the Passover. BIG holiday for the Jewish people: BIG. Now it was the week of the Feast of Unleavened bread. It was time to remember how faithful God had been to Moses and the gang. God didn’t appear to be faithful to the followers of Jesus. People were celebrating, not this small group of Jesus followers. Small may be an inappropriate term, they were a group bigger than 80% of the churches in America if my understanding is right about 80% of the churches in America.

 Mary M again

Back to Mary Magdalene, It was dark. It was dark for everyone that weekend. At this moment in time Mary is standing, in the morning, at the tomb, with a gardener. At Mary’s darkest hour at the time, she didn’t see Jesus standing there.

God is standing next to Mary. The apple of her eye, the reason for her concern, the answer to her pain, is standing right next to her. Sometimes we are so hurt, the pain is so much, we are so dejected, that we miss that God is right there. Could we but lift our eyes and ask a question, we would hear Jesus call our name. The pain may not go away, the hurting may not stop, but we would realize in that moment that we are not alone.

 GOD

You are not alone.
God said he would never leave you,
nor would he forsake you.
In your darkest moment he is right there with you.
You will grieve, you will ache, you will be in pain,
but God wants to walk with you.
He wants to meet you at the point of your deepest grief,
at the place of your biggest fear,
at the depth of your loneliest moment
and the height of greatest trial.

God is standing right there. Lift your chin and look a round. He may look like someone you don’t know. He may be a song whispering in your ear. He maybe a Word that you read in the Scripture. He could be anywhere but he is there with you. You don’t see him because you don’t expect him. Let him surprise you, lift your chin.

Look around, He is RISEN indeed.

The sun is coming up, it is Easter in your life, He is risen, look for the Lord.