Last night, I saw the movie "Crash" with a group.
It basically told several inter-weaving stories of people dealing poorly with people. The themes included rage, impatience, vengance, racism, power-trips and more. We weren't left with a very hopeful solution for humanity, but I could appreciate the realism with which the topics were addressed. Kinda nice to know that we are nothing like the people in this movie, huh?
Not really. Truth is, those same emotions are in all of us. Yeah, you. We're all guilty of some serious over-reaction to various annoying things.
The sub-heading for the movie was something like this: "When you're moving at the speed of life, you're bound to collide."
That is actually quite profound. Why does this happen?
Perhaps we really ARE shockingly disconnected from one another.
Perhaps we really ARE disqustingly comfortable.
Perhaps we really ARE lethargic to do anything to change this.
Perhaps we really ARE terribly self-centered.
As long as we insist that the problem is with someone ELSE, we are going to continue to be frustrated.
As long as we insist on placing high expectations on others, they will continue NOT to meet them.
As long as we insist on finding fault with others, we will continue to NOT see (or rationalise or lessen) our own faults.
Slow down, think, be honest with yourself. Why are you so frustrated with him/her? Why are you allowing their opinion of you to control you? Etc., etc.
"Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret - it only causes harm." - Psalm 37:8
29 August 2005
Last night, I saw the movie "Crash" with a group.
15 August 2005
We need to ask ourselves this question again.
Is it really love we are seeking? Have we forgotten again what real love is? Just about anyone will admit to the universal desire to love and be loved in return, but we are seriously going to hurt and be hurt if we fail to not only realise what true love is, but act accordingly.
Our picture of love is very incomplete. We have images of companionship, smiles, hugs, kisses and a host of other wonderful things. What we love to forget is that alongside those nice images, there need to be a few more. Sometimes love is stern, grim and menacing. Sometimes silence, rebuke and conflict is a more than necessary part of love.
The difference between love and true love is that true love is rooted in Truth. It must be. It has to be.
We are all guilty of what I like to call ‘keeping people at arms length.’ We like companionship, smiles and hugs, but when someone gets close enough to us to see faults, we take a few steps back. Often times, the people that care the most are the ones that care enough to say a few things we don’t want to hear. THAT is why seeking comfort is so harmful to growth! We stay a safe distance from those that will ‘sharpen’ us, and spend oodles of less meaningful time with others who we simply ‘get on’ with.
“Mockers don’t love those who rebuke them, so they stay away from the wise.” – Proverbs 15:12
So let me ask you one more time…
Are you SURE you want love?
9 August 2005
In the Christian life, one mistake we can make would be to think that we have no further need to grow. How ridiculous is that? Thankfully, I don't know many people who think that. However, a much easier mistake to make is to fail to recognise how growth happens or fail to allow growth to happen in my life.
If we don't understand how growth happens, we are likely to either falsely percieve growth that isn't really there, or falsely believe that it can't or won't happen. Still yet, even if we do understand how growth happens, we are likely to resist the process.
We want growth to happen, sure enough, but we can't get past the biggest obstacle: o ur desire for comfort.
Growth requires discomfort. That fact is unavoidable. It's as true as the reality that water flows downhill.
If we are ever going to grow as Christians, it means that we are going to have to give up level upon level of comfort in our lives. Read this next sentence carefully.
If you want to be more loving, you will HAVE to learn to put up with un-lovable people.
(Might wanna read that one again.)
Truth triumphs over feelings. We can't rely on feelings. Frankly, I don't FEEL like loving people that aren't like I want them to be. But when my mind is renewed with the TRUTH that I am no better than they are, I am enabled to love them, whether I FEEL like it or not.
May we recklessly love one another in a true, self-less, Christlike way.
Grace and Love,
1 August 2005
Evangelism, evangelism and more evangelism.
This is the desperate cry of many churches around the world (or at least in the wealthy, comfortable, 'established' parts of the world). We are losing members fast, and we want to get them back. So, we launch ourselves into much activity to bring about the desired result. Books are written, strategies are implemented. Seminars are given. At least two groups arise out of the activity.
1. Individuals who are oblivious to the lack of 'evangelism health' and are not moved to action.
2. Individuals who are obsessed with need for evangelism, and feel the need to force the others to action.
Evangelism is a commandment of Jesus, but to emphasize the Great Commission while forgetting the 1st and 2nd Commandments is a grave error. The purpose of the Church is not merely to evangelise, but firstly to bring honour and glory to God. It's not the first Good Idea, it's the first and Greatest Commandment! That means it cannot be excluded! If we are just trying to do all right things without doing them out of devotion to Him, then we are just contestants in a rather large morality contest.
An over emphasis on Evangelism often reveals a mis-placed priority on the number of people in our churches. Do we want to reach people because we love our Master or because we love the idea of being "spiritually successful?" Let's consider this analogy:
If we're building a house, the order of progression goes something like: foundation, floor, walls, roof, wall-board, many other things, and finally... paint. If we use this analogy to represent evangelism, let me say that I think we are standing around during the entire project holding a brush and a paint can. We're not really interested in the 'foundations' and 'floors' and 'walls' of the Gospel, love and self-lessness. This is lazy evangelism. The fact is, you might have to actually CARE about the person you are trying to reach. If you do care about them, you might start doing some radical things like... oh, I don't know... making time for them, investing in their lives, meeting their needs and the like.
"I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me, you can do nothing." - Jesus