Archives For Jesus

… by Kevin McHugh

It made me smile to hear about young Jack Lee’s moments of fascination with the dolphin in Florida and at the recent Hawks game. I suppose it’s true that our experiences of fascination go down after we grow up. Now there’s an analogy to learn from – we should not let our fascination with God diminish over time.

When Jesus was making disciples on Earth, He was constantly fascinating people. Greg went to the Gospel of Luke to teach us about this.

 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him. – Luke 5:27-28. Fascinating…

The Pharisees were less fascinated; they were more ticked off and probably felt threatened or exposed, so they complained to the disciples about Jesus hanging out with sinners and tax collectors. Jesus’ reply to this is one of my favorite verses – Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” – Luke 5:31

 Then there was Zacchaeus; chief tax collector, worst of the worst. Yet he was so fascinated with Jesus that he climbed a tree just to get a glimpse of Him as He passed by. How did Jesus react to this? “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today”  -from Luke 19:5. Fascinating…

 So how are we fascinated with our Lord? Is our fascination appropriately big or is it diminishing?

 For me, there are different aspects to this. but I have to confess my fascination is more random than it should be. For example, I will notice something beautiful and complex in nature and marvel in fascination on God’s creative powers. Another way is the times I notice events and people coming together in special ways where I can see God’s hand organizing it all – coincidence? I think not. Fascinating!

 Another area is when I think about prayer – the Lord of everything in the entire Universe cares about me and hears me when I pray. Now that’s fascinating. 

 There is at least one way where I am not random about it, but quite intentional instead. That time is when I take communion and ponder what Jesus did for me. I guess it is the most amazing thing of all that despite everything we’ve done Christ went to the cross to bear our sins so we can go to heaven.  That’s beyond fascinating, isn’t it?

…by Doug Gamble

I got to preach on my favorite subject Sunday:  Jesus.  I believe firmly He is our hope and want nothing more than to lift him up.

We kicked off the series with a fun question for the audience about meeting a famous person.  Several responded with meeting…

  • Brittany Spears
  • Tim Hawkins
  • Michael Jordan
  • Michael Jackson

Meeting someone famous is an interesting study in human behavior.  Most are fascinated with famous people.  Some, including myself, wouldn’t extend much effort to meet a famous person.  I’m not into collecting autographs or stories of meeting famous people.  Fine if you like that sort of thing.  It’s just not my cup of tea.
There is one story though I do relish.  It is the time I met Johnny Cash.  I barely remember it because I was only 4 or 5 years old.  I actually don’t remember much about it and really think that what I think I remember are actually transferred memories from my mom.  I do know though that at one time I had a photo of me sitting on Cash’s knee.  It hung for most of my childhood in my Grandpa’s shop.  Growing up I never thought much about it.  Later as an adult I grew in love with the music of Johnny Cash and remembered that photo.  When I asked my mom about it I was devastated to learn that it had been lost.

What?  Lost?  How could that be?  There are underwear from my childhood still lying around, but the photo of me and Johnny Cash is lost.

At least I’m not bitter.  🙂

There are no photos of my encounter with Jesus either, yet they have shaped me in radical ways.  That’s the amazing thing about encountering Jesus.  He doesn’t leave you the same.

You may never be able to fill a wall with memorablia of encounters with Jesus but you don’t need to.  Those encounters fill our life and are more real than any distant memory.

How have you encountered Jesus?  How has it shaped you?

…by Michael Switzer

Sometimes I feel like a pinball randomly bouncing around in a machine. It’s a horrible feeling. It’s like being at the mercy of everyone else’s whim and the environment around me. Bouncing from one task to the next, usually resulting in a continual beating and draining of the soul. Although Sunday’s sermon was a call to action to be more intentional with our spiritual lives (as it relates to the 4 Cs), the tone of intention really resonated with how I’ve been (or not been) living my life. It’s so easy to coast. It’s so easy to live a reactive life or one that just meets the expectations of others. It’s too easy to put on a façade for others and pretend to be intentional while under the façade, a life lacking intent and urgency just flounders. I see intent as an engine, a driving force to get from A to B. Intentions can’t run alone, though, and they require a form of fuel or energy. So what’s the source of fuel? I think it’s meaning and purpose. Intentions without meaning or purpose are just empty actions.

 

The challenge for me, and maybe for others, is understanding what the purpose and meaning of my life is (professionally and personally). Is it to simply follow Christ? Then why am I not a pastor? How can we marry components of our life such as work and relationships with the overlying purpose and meaning of following Christ? Lately, I’ve haven’t felt like what I do actually matters. It’s most likely because the fuel behind my intentions is missing. I’ve managed to divorce the core meaning of my life (living life for and serving Christ) from my actions leaving the intentions hallow.

I wonder how most people scored on the 4 Cs scope. How did you score? I ended up somewhere around a 1.5/ 4. The biggest holes were in the area of caring for people far from God. The stronger area of my scope was in the contribution area, although still very weak. It’s no wonder I’ve been a pinball. Without a satisfying explanation of my purpose in life, there’s little drive to be intentional. Or do I have that backwards? Do intentional actions sort of lead to a realized meaning?

My focus as it relates to the 4 Cs is to connect in relationships where truth meets life. “People need encouragement, honesty, and insight. Make sure you have friends who have Christ as the center of their life and they’re speaking into your life.” I’ve been trying to find meaning and understand life by myself. Through truthful relationships rooted in ‘what really matters’, some of the questions and understandings I and others have can be sorted through and better gripped.

On a side note, I don’t believe life has a sort of innate randomness. Opportunity, although seems to occur in a sort of random manner, really isn’t so random. We position our selves in different ‘modes’ to receive and realize opportunities. Success (Achievement) occurs when preparation meets opportunity. Preparation isn’t an accident or a random occurrence. It requires intended actions (and persistence). Great things happen through intention.