Duck Church

Dare I say, most of us are investing our first and best, our most and our fullest, in two areas: (1) Our careers, and (2) The life that the money our careers bring us. That’s it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to earn a living, but if that’s the goal line, you will never experience the life you long for. No assembly line is going to manufacture a widget that brings purpose into your life. No deal, no contract, no stock option, no corner office, is going to make you feel at the end of your life like you did something of eternal significance.

Let me be frank with you: Many of you believe. Many of you consider yourself a Christian, but you’re not living it. You’re not serious about it. You’re not committed to it. How long is that going to go on? What are you waiting for? This is your one and only life, and you’re spending it fast.

It reminds me of a story by Soren Kierkegaard about a make-believe country where only ducks live. One Sunday morning, he said, all the ducks devotedly waddled into the duck church, waddled down the aisle, waddled into their pews, and squatted. Then the duck minister came in, took his place behind the duck pulpit, and opened the duck Bible and read, “Ducks! You have wings, and with wings, and with wings you can fly like eagles. You can mount up and can soar into the sky! Ducks, you can escape the confinement of pens and fences and know the joy of absolute freedom! You have wings, now go fly!” To which all of the ducks in the duck church stood to their feet and shouted with a hearty “Amen!” … and then waddled home.

As Christians we don’t have to waddle through life. We have been set free. We don’t have to live in the confinements of this world. There’s nothing more useless than someone who is a Christian in name only. Someone who carries the title, but doesn’t live the life takes God’s name in vain without saying a word. Christianity is not simply about a life that is informed with certain truths. It’s about a life that’s been transformed by the Truth.

Christians, your hope is in the Lord. He will renew your strength. You will soar on wings like eagles. You will run and not grow weary. You will walk and not be faint. You don’t have to waddle through life.

(Sources: Soren Kierkegaard, James White)

jesus-our-president

Here we go again. Election year! It’s time for all the good Christians to start arguing over presidential candidates and shrouding Jesus in the American Flag. So many people genuinely believe that somehow their nominee is going to miraculously save the world (that’s already been done; that party was represented by a Lamb, not an elephant or a donkey).

Warning: aggressive political comments incoming. The following words will challenge your loyalties and make you feel uncomfortable. For the sake of clarity, I love my country, but I love the Kingdom of Jesus way more. If you’re easily offended, stop reading now.

No political party will ever legislate the Kingdom of God. Constantine tried; it was a disaster. When Christians take political matters more seriously than they do Jesus, the constitution becomes the gospel and the president becomes the messiah. The Christian icon is a bloody cross, not stars and stripes. Its emblem is not a donkey, an elephant, or even an eagle, but a slaughtered lamb.

If you’re more concerned with Republicans and Democrats than you are the Kingdom, you might be more American than you are Christian. If you spend more time with Bill O’Reilly or Bill Mayer than you do with Jesus, you might be more American than you are Christian. If you spend more time watching Fox News or CNN than you do reading the Bible, you might be more American than you are Christian. If you spend more time posting political images on social media… well, you get the picture.

Let me be clear (see what I did there): If you have more faith in Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton than you do the local church to be an agent of change in your community, then you need to find a new church. The Kingdom has already been inaugurated and doesn’t need new legislation. So, change the channel. Stop letting alarmist fear-peddling talking heads fill your mind with partisan propaganda that blurs the lines between the Kingdom and the White House. Instead, open your Bible, get on your knees, and elect Jesus as president of your life.

Being overly concerned with election outcomes demonstrates a misplaced hope. Politics serve as a distraction to Kingdom priorities. Nothing should undermine the mission of the Kingdom to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” How? By serving the least of these, by fleshing out the Sermon on the Mount, by adopting orphans, by feeding the homeless, by taking care of widows, by visiting prisoners, by welcoming foreigners, by investing in mission, and by telling everyone about the life-changing freedom discovered in a relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words, BE THE CHURCH!

If you wake up after Election Day and find yourself deeply disappointed, then my friend, you have too much hope in American politics and not enough hope in the Kingdom of God that’s breaking in on our world. If you have more faith in government than you do the Kingdom, you have pledged allegiance to the wrong institution. Elect Jesus as President of your life and see what happens. You’ll never wake up disappointed.

(Sources: “Jesus for President” by Shane Claiborne, Greg Mason, Phil Simpson)

rosa_parks_p1

The movie “City Slickers” depicts the mid-life crisis of three men who were in search of themselves and their place in life. There is a line in the movie where the character played by Billy Crystal, Mitch, turns to his boss at work and says, “Have you ever reached a point in your life where you say to yourself, ‘This is the best I’m ever gonna look, this is the best I’m ever gonna feel, this is the best I’m ever gonna do,’ and it ain’t that great?” The guys in the movie felt “stuck” and that thought was killing them.

Growing up, we all had different dreams and ideas of what we wanted our life to be like. But for most of us, there was a common denominator: We wanted our life to matter, to count for something, to make an impact. Has that changed for you?   Because it doesn’t have to. The question is, “How do you live a life of significance? How do you become a person of influence?” Jesus says, “You become the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” That means you learn to live intentionally.

When I think of living intentionally, I think of a forty-two-year-old woman who was on her way home from work on a cold December day. It was a day like any other day. Getting on a public bus, she paid her fare and sat down in the first vacant seat. As the bus filled with passengers, the driver turned around and told her that she would have to get up and move to the back of the bus. You see, it was 1955 and she was black, and those seats were for white people. But for whatever reason, she didn’t move. She wasn’t an activist or a radical, just a quiet church-going woman with a nice family and a job as a seamstress.

Maybe it was the injustice of it all. Maybe it was the years of abuse that she and millions of others had suffered for no other reason than the color of their skin. Maybe she was tired of being treated as a second-class citizen; having to drink from certain fountains, go to certain bathrooms, being forced into certain schools.   Whatever ran through her heart and mind, one thing was clear: this is wrong. So she didn’t move. The driver began yelling at her, and then the other passengers began to yell at her, push at her, and curse her. But she stayed right where she was until the driver stopped the bus, got off, and called the police. When they arrived, they hauled her off to jail. But what they really did was haul her off into history.

That woman was Rosa Parks, and when she took her stand for what was right – or rather when she took “a sit” for what was right – the entire civil rights movement was ignited. She didn’t get on that bus looking for trouble, or with a planned attempt to make some kind of political statement. She just wanted to go home like everybody else. As a Christian she knew she was made in the image of God. She knew she had dignity and worth. For a wonderful, eternity-filled moment, she was the salt of the earth and that salt helped change our world! In an instant, she became the change that our world needed.

Not all of us can be Rosa Parks, but all of us can be the change that the world needs to see as we follow Jesus. But let me be frank with you: Many people believe, many people consider themself a Christian. However, there are many who are Christian in name only. They don’t live it; they’re not serious about it. How long is that going to go on? What are you waiting for? This is your one and only life, and you’re spending it fast. Be the change today!

(Sources: Rosa Parks, City Slickers, James White)