- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
2010, Christianity Lite & Heart Questions
A new year; 2010 as the calendar is reckoned. Seasons come and seasons go, but the stark reality is that nothing really changes; there is nothing new under the sun. The intrigues and motivations of the human heart are timeless.
Some folks treat every minute of every day as a precious gift, while others muddle through their hours with a self-absorbed urgency that is sad and pathetic, because they are robbing themselves of the sheer joy and adventure of living life on planet earth.
We should feel sorry for those who have an inflated view of their own importance; we ought to grieve for those whose shallow lives expose their me-centric obsessions.
Looking back, the excesses involved in the build-up to Christmas are just a memory now. Well, if truth be told, for many people those memories come with some unpleasant reminders in the form of extra pounds and bills stamped with payment due notices.
We, that is believers in Jesus Christ, do have an enormous capacity to capitulate to cultural norms when it comes to shopping and feasting; we participate in over-indulgence with a mere wink and nod. We load up our plates and pile on debt to celebrate the birth of Christ, the One who presented a radical, self-less view of life and called his followers to the same level of selflessness.
Jesus unquestionably said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
"Why me, Lord
What have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I've known
Tell me, Lord
What did I ever do
That was worth loving you or
The kindness you've shown."
Does the marvel of God's grace compel us to be faithful stewards of our time, talents & treasures?
Time, Talents & Treasures
What difference has the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ made in our lives? Do we daily deny ourselves, meaning do we put aside our agenda or do we cling to our rights and privileges?
Are our retirement plans or vacation schemes given a higher priority than God's mission of redemption? Are we too busy saving and preserving our lives to even consider what it might mean to lose our life for the sake of Christ?
Is our allotment of time offered up in servant-hood or is it wrenched away while we kick and scream in protest? And what of our talents and earthly treasures?
What about our money? Do we still think of it as our money? If we do, we are tragically mistaken. It does not belong to us; it belongs to God. Every dime of it. We have simply been given responsibility for it.
How are we doing with that responsibility? Does our bank account and check book bear testimony to the authority of Christ in our lives?
That's the big question about our time, talents and treasures, isn't it? Are they put in submission to the Lordship of Christ? If not, we are merely playing religious games and living in denial of why Jesus was born, for he was Lord at his birth.
Get angry with the messenger if that placates or soothes, but of course, that will not address the root spiritual issue, which is this: If one professes faith in Jesus Christ then their life is no longer their own to do with it whatsoever they please.
That's a bit too weird an idea for dedicated pew-sitters because they have bought into all the perks of Christianity Lite, which appeals to the self-involved inclinations within each one of us.
Christianity Lite; all the trappings of faith without any commitment or sacrifice; no talk about self-denial or taking up any cross because it's all about me-church. Me-church is here to cater to every whim and provide a platform for every dysfunction.
The me-church mentality is the grand fallacy of western Christianity; it has been cultivated and nurtured in an atmosphere of independence and affluence, which is in extreme contrast to any talk about denying self and losing one's life. Sadly me-church is the reality of our times.
For me-church adherents, church is a family tradition or hobby at best, and at worse, a barely tolerated hour a week. The concept of pouring out one's life or taking risks for the kingdom of God are just words the preacher says; they have no real meaning or connection to attitudes and actions; no measurable impact on how time, talents and treasures are spent.
The me-church mindset is manifested in a multitude of ways, ranging from bickering and backbiting over petty jealousy to stirring up dissensions to a flat-out refusal to get out of comfortable pews to actually do kingdom work.
The years come and the years go, but the contradictions and inconsistencies of the human heart remain exactly the same all through the ages. And, like it or not, life is a shifting shadow that can be over in an instant.
How about some serious self-examination: What are we doing with our lives? Are we charter members of me-church or are we mobilized to action by discipline and obedience? What difference does Jesus Christ make in our lives? Do our choices reflect the fact that our lives are no longer our own because we have been purchased at a great price?
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
- This Is My Life!
Watching out for Number One is an all-time favorite national past time. We do it with an addictive ease. Billy Joel captured the essence of this compulsion with a song appropriately entitled My Life...
- Can You Handle The Truth?
In a dramatic courtroom scene from the movie A Few Good Men, Jack Nicholsons character barks: "You can't handle the truth!" Delivered with a confrontational snarl, those handful of words capture...
- What's Up With Grace?
Many years ago, Kris Kristofferson asked: "Why me, Lord? What have I ever done to deserve even one of the pleasures I've known?" Have you ever pondered those questions?