Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup and Worship

Last week marked the beginning of the 2014 World Cup. Soccer teams from all over the world converged on fields to play one another.  By the millions, fans watched their perspective teams compete, cheering on the "home team." Arguably, like no other event, the World Cup invites very different people to put aside very real differences for the sake of a common love. 

Well, there may be one event that invites more people to set aside their differences for a common love. It happens every Sunday…in Aloha, Sydney, Cape Town, Shanghai, L.A. and Sao Paulo. We call it church. Every Sabbath, Christians from all over the world, from different backgrounds, interests and experiences engage in a common event. We worship Jesus Christ as Lord.

Isaiah, Romans and Philippians all celebrate this type of unity in worship. They promise that there will be a day when all people - from all backgrounds - recognize the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Those scriptures promise that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Christian worship on Sunday morning is simply a glimpse of that coming day.

As you worship this week, remember that you are a part of something far bigger than your own culture and experiences and interests. You are part of Jesus’ worshiping church. We worship with saints from many nations and peoples and heritages. That is a wonderful thing because that is what it takes to worship such an awesome Lord.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Father's Day Lesson for Men

Earlier this week, I read an article written by a former soldier.  In the article, the soldier listed “10 Army lessons All Men Can Learn From.”  The soldier had been in combat in two foreign wars and learned a few lessons that he thought were helpful for all men.

One of the lessons surprised me.  Lesson eight said, “There are some things you can’t do on your own.”  That surprised me because I assumed that successful soldiers are the radically independent, self-sufficient types.  Successful soldiers need to be able to handle themselves in extreme conditions and survive on their own.  But, according to this vet, I was wrong.  The soldier insisted that teams and buddy systems and community are vitally important for soldiers.  All men could learn that lesson.

The Bible agrees.  Genesis describes God creating Adam.  God looks at Adam and says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”  In its own way, the Bible teaches us all: “There are some things you can’t do on your own.”

That is a good thing to remember this Father’s Day.  Our world often encourages men to isolate, ignoring their need of others.  Men are taught that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  Being the “last man standing” is celebrated as a virtue.  Father’s Day gives us an opportunity to learn a different lesson.  We can enjoy all the relationships and community that God has given us.

This Father’s day, recognize your need for others.  Enjoy time with kids, spouse, friends, and family.  Celebrate the blessings Jesus has given you in the people around you.  On top of that, have the humility to ask people for help.  Recognize that there are some things you can’t do on your own and rejoice in the community God created you for. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tell Me About My Messiah

Years ago, a Christian professor met a Jewish woman from South Africa while touring the infamous concentration camp, Auschwitz. The woman had been researching how her relatives had perished during the Holocaust and visited the camp to gather information. During their tour, they began to share their stories. The professor mentioned his Christian faith.

Learning about the camp’s history, the two were struck by the cruel and heartbreaking past. During one particularly shocking display, the woman looked at the professor and asked, “And what does your religion make of this?” Fair question.

The Professor thought for a moment. He said he didn’t want to trivialize such heartbreaking history with a simple answer. He went on to explain that he believed Jesus was the Messiah and God. Because God suffered on a cross, God met our heartbreaks. God did not remain distant from our suffering, but became a part of it Himself.

Hearing the professor’s answer, the woman got tears in her eyes. She stopped and asked, “Why has no one ever told me that about my messiah before?" Fair question.

How many in our lives might ask the same question? Surrounded by difficult situations, they wonder where God is. Someone tells them about a God who knows and cares about their difficult situations and they too wonder, “Why has no one ever told me that about my messiah before?"

As you go through the coming weeks, pray for the opportunity to tell someone about the Lord. Ask the Lord to give you a natural opportunity to tell the world of His care and love. Then, go and tell the people in your life, so that they may know this about their Messiah.