Love vs. trust
Who doesn’t love Jesus, right? He’s kind, he’s powerful, he stands up to injustice, and would do anything for you. But do you trust him?
I recently listened to another preacher who pointed out that it’s easy to say we love Jesus. But there’s a difference between that and trust. If you trust your doctor you’ll follow his advice. If you trust your mechanic you’ll maintain your car according their instructions. Do we actually trust Jesus?
- Do we trust him when he gives instructions on how to forgive?
- Do we trust him when he gives guidelines on how to serve?
- Do we trust him when he flat out tells us to love our enemies?
- Do we trust him when he says that real life can’t be found without taking up our cross daily (i.e. dying to the self-directed life)
- Do we trust him when he upholds a counter-cultural, sexual ethic?
- Do we trust him when he calls us to live with radical generosity?
- Do we trust him when he challenges our beliefs about people who are different than us?
- Do we trust him when he says things like “turn the other cheek” and “go the extra mile”?
- Do we trust him when he demands that we surrender our entire life to him?
Do we trust that his teaching is really, truly the best way to live? Or do we trust our own intuition, or our own appetites, or our own traditions, or our own tribe. To trust him means to trust that he is speaking the truth, and that he desires what is best for us. Do we really trust him, or do we just content ourselves with “loving him”? Because if that’s the case, we may not be loving the real Jesus. The real Jesus is after all the one who said,
If you love me, keep my commands.
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.
Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.
It appears that Jesus equated loving him with trusting him. Do you trust him? Or do you merely “love” the parts of him that fit your lifestyle. In which case, it might be time to ask, “who’s really the god in my life?”
The 60 Minutes episode starring YOU
*drum roll* Ta-da! You’re the star of a 60 Minutes episode. You have 60 minutes to let the world hear your story. What will you do?
I’m talking about the 60 minutes that you’re going to receive as a gift this weekend. This is the weekend we change our clocks back, and get an extra 60 minutes on Sunday morning.
I know what you’re thinking. “The pastor is going to tell me to show up at church for 60 minutes.” Nope. I mean, that’s not a bad idea, but I’ve got a better idea. How about using some or all of those 60 minutes to live out your faith IRL (in real life, for my generation).
In particular, as we’ve been journeying thru this pesky little book of James in the New Testament, one of the phrases that jumped out is this:
Religion that God our Father accepts is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress… James 1:27
BTW, did you know that scholars now believe that in the ancient world, if you lost one parent, you were considered to be an “orphan”?
So what if you took those extra 60 minutes and used them to help out a single mom, a widow, or someone who was clearly in need. You won’t have to look far. And then if you want to come celebrate the God who has called you to this amazing revolution, by all means join us at 8:30, 10:00, or 11:30. But if the most you do this weekend is to actually live out your faith for 60 minutes in your community, that’s a win. And it’s a great way to embrace another phrase from James’ letter:
Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22
I can’t think of a better way to invest those 60 minutes. And even though I said it was about 60 minutes starring YOU, it’s really about 60 minutes starring your Heavenly Father, who, as James says, “gives generously to all without finding fault.”
Oh, and if you’re willing to share your story here, that would be awesome. We’d love to “binge watch” the 60 Minutes episodes God is writing in our community.
P.S. If you want to hear some of the stories of how God has been recently working, join us at 4:00 pm this Sunday, November 4th, for our next Baptism Celebration. Light refreshments provided afterwards.
Power that doesn’t corrupt
The saying is all too true: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The headlines confirm that every day. But what if there was a power that DIDN’T corrupt? What if that power was already in your grasp?
I came across just such a power recently in a book I was reading. It was written in the form of a prayer, you know, along the lines of things like, “Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts…” Here’s the quote:
“May [God] give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.”
Here is power to accomplish good things. And we’re talking about good things that are prompted by faith, or allegiance to God and his kingdom. This saying forces us to consider, “What good things is my faith prompting me to do?” Take a minute right now to ponder that question. How would you answer it? Grab a pen and paper and jot down the top three things that come to mind.
This kind of power is almost the exact opposite of power that corrupts. It’s power that restores, power that heals, power that gives life. What if you could wield that kind of power? What if you could dispense that kind of power? What impact would that have in your life? In your relationships? In your career?
That power is available to you in the same way it was available to the person who wrote it. His name was Paul, and he was praying that kind of power for people he knew; for people who would need that power. You can find our more details about Paul and the people he was writing to in the book in the New Testament called 2 Thessalonians. It’s found in chapter one of that book.
So maybe today, or the next time you’re facing power that has corrupted, you can just pause for a moment and call on the God of all power to dispense the life-giving power that Paul mentions. You might even want to memorize this simple prayer:
So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
Pray it for yourself. Pray it for your family. Pray it for your boss, or your teacher, or your co-worker. Pray it to unleash the kind of power that doesn’t corrupt but that instead brings H.O.P.E. I know that’s how I’m praying for you today.