Friday, February 12, 2010

Do You Have Passion?

I preached for the first time in my life 32 years ago tonight, February 12th. Thirty-two years. I remember where I preached and what I preached. I still have the outline on a yellow and faded sheet of legal paper. It was at least a 12-point outline. Those poor folks!

It's been a great ride. I discovered quickly that preaching was my passion. It's more than a calling. It's a gifting for me. And because it is a gift, there is a level of passion that cannot be easily explained.

The passion a believer has to use his or her spiritual gifts has an underlying secret source of unfailing strength.

First, there is the understanding of just how much Christ paid to save you. Your sins placed Jesus on the cross. Your SIN (singular) placed him there, too. The difference is that your sins are what you did and sometimes do. Your SIN is your nature before knowing Christ. Sadly, too many believers do not understand how sinful sin (forgive the redundancy, please) really is. The one who understands just how much they have really been forgiven tends to have more passion about being with the Lord and serving him.

Then there is the fellowship and worship factor. To the measure a believer seeks the face of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to that measure will his passion grow. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:14, "The Love of Christ compells me..." As you seek the Lord's face, you get lost in his love. As you get lost in his love, your passion increases.

Do you have passion for the Lord and those things that interest him? If so, unleash it! Life is good! Enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Who's Fault Is It?

In Haiti, some authorities are reporting the death toll at 230,000. They expect this to continue to rise as authorities uncover more bodies and continue to investigate the many private burials that have also occurred. It's nothing short of an inexpressible tragedy.

Meanwhile, strong rains pound the mountains of Peru. Thousands have been left homeless from the northernmost mountain villages, all the way through southern Peru.

It wasn't too long ago that one famous evangelical figure tried to make some kind of correlation between Haiti and their love affair with Voodoo, and this earthquake. Perhaps one could even make a correlation between Peru and the prevalence of shamans and witch doctors here. Perhaps.

But then I read the words of Jesus, who asked the, in Luke 13:1 - 5:

Some present with Jesus reported to him about how Pilate mixed the blood of some Galileans with their sacrifices. Jesus asked them, "Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all other Galileans because they suffered like this? I tell you, no. Unless you repent you will also perish. Or do you think the eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam collapsed were more sinful than all others in Jerusalem? I tell you, no. Unless you repent, you will also perish. [somewhat paraphrased by this writer]

Do not miss this. Jesus is saying we are all in the same boat. All of us. Several years ago a prominent man in my home church lost his home to a fire. The preacher who happened to be there that Sunday actually insinuated that this prominent man lost his home to the fire because he had failed to tithe (give a tenth of his possessions). So God took his home. That very week, the preacher's home caught fire and burned. Someone went to him and asked, "What happened? You forget to tithe this month?"

Do not think that we are better than those poor, Haitians. Do not think we are better than those thousands of Peruvians wading through knee-deep (and deeper) mud, whose rivers have swept away their houses.

Do not think you are better than those snow-bound folks on the East Coast of the US, or those in California, fighting their own natural disasters.

You live today because God allowed it. You were blessed with the wonderful mercy of God. So weep with those who weep and rejoice with those whose rejoice.