Interesting Quote

One of my favorite artists, Nichole Nordeman, wrote something in a forward to her song “Live” that I found very interesting. She says:

“Most of us can point to a time where God felt particularly close. Summer camp. Weekend retreat. An intense time of praying and fasting with someone. We’re sure, after these moments that we will be able to hold on to the emotional high, only to find ourselves trudging through the ‘Monday’ stuff of life.

That’s one reason not to get attached to the emotional frenzy that a lot of spiritual experiences tend to stir up…sometimes they are genuine, other times they have been outright manipulated.

I don’t think God intends for us to sustain some ’emotional high’ all the time. I don’t see that evidenced in the life of Christ… But the life we have in Christ should show evidence of joy. Not that kind of joy that lands an ear-to-ear grin on your face 24/7, but the kind that draws from a deep well of security and knowledge that things are different now.”


The Fallacy of Fairness – Pt. 2

We as humans have a sense of justice, which is why we want fairness to be maintained. If we share our things with others, we expect them to share their things with us. It’s just what we expect.

The hired laborers in the parable of the workers in the vineyard expected each to be paid according to the amount of work accomplished (Matt. 20). It’s what they considered fair and just. We might tend to agree with their logic – I would if I had been in their shoes. They thought that the worker who labored less than half the day shouldn’t get the same pay as the one who worked all day – after all, they had been working a lot longer and harder, and earned it. It makes sense.

But it also makes sense when the landowner tells them, “I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?” (v. 13-15)

Sometimes, the right thing doesn’t seem fair, when in actuality, it is. I didn’t ask to be the firstborn, I didn’t ask to be an example for my brothers. But it’s according to God’s design, even if it doesn’t seem fair to me.

Why, if something really seems right and fair, would we view it as unfair? Because we are selfish humans, and we think if someone gets something, we deserve it, too. It seems fair and just to us – everyone gets equal opportunities, treatment, etc., so I don’t miss out on anything. want what’s best for me. If we started putting others first, maybe our selfish attitudes would change, and we wouldn’t really care if it was fair to us or not. If we’re to “value others above ourselves,” how is that being demonstrated through our selfishness?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

The Fallacy of Fairness

Sometimes I look at certain situations or circumstances and think that it’s not fair. Sometimes I think what God does isn’t fair. Sometimes it’s not. There are so many things in life that aren’t fair, and never will be.

I’ve had so many things in my life that I’ve always viewed as “not fair”. I am the firstborn of my two brothers. I have never liked being the firstborn. I have siblings looking up to me, looking at me as an example, whether its a conscious thought or not. And I have to be the example, the role model, and I’ve never thought that was fair.

We picture “playing fair” as abiding by the rules so everyone gets equal treatment, opportunities, etc. And sometimes, it seems like God doesn’t “play fair”.

But if we really wanted God to “play fair”, we would all end up dead.

Look at Uzzah, in 2 Sam. 6:6-7. He simply reached out to steady the ark of the covenant, when the oxen pulling it stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against him, and he was struck down dead beside the ark. God technically was fair. The ark wasn’t to be touched, Uzzah touched it, and God punished him accordingly. That was completely fair and just, right?

Nadab and Abihu, in Lev. 10:1. They offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, and fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them (v. 2). Yes, it’s a human tendency to make mistakes, but even mistakes, when breaking God’s law, must be punished. God punished them according to the sin they committed. It’s all fair.

Look at one last illustration: there’s a heaven and a hell, and we’re all going to either one or the other. Our sin keeps us from entering heaven, because no sin is permissible there. And because we broke God’s law, and we have sinned, we’re receiving our punishment by going to hell. That’s fair. What’s not fair is that God sent us Christ, to pay the price for our sins, so we could spend eternity with Him. That’s not fair. It would be fair if we all went to hell; we broke the rules, we receive the punishment, right? That would be playing fair. But God wasn’t fair, so He sent us His Son. Shouldn’t we be grateful when He doesn’t “play fair”?

Aspire Christ

For a long time, I’ve had goals, standards, aspirations. I wanted to be the ideal Christian person who spends hours in the Word and in prayer and is just the perfect picture of Godliness and holiness. And I was unbelievably frustrated when all I could see was my failures and my mistakes. It irritated me that I couldn’t match up to my friends, who were what I pictured to be model Christians. I wanted to be like them in so many ways, and I admire their character qualities.

But my motives and standards were wrong. I wanted people to see me as I saw my friends, instead of me striving to walk in His footsteps. My standard wasn’t Christ. He is to be our ultimate example, standard, goal. There’s nothing wrong with admiring traits in others or respecting who they are. Just don’t forget our first love, Christ. Set Him and His example as your goal. Aspire Christ.

Investing in Others

As Christians, we are “disciples”, meaning: “Follower of a teacher or teaching”. That should be self-explanatory. If we are Christ’s disciples, we are followers of Christ.

Jesus has given his disciples a command. In Matthew 25:19-20, Jesus says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

So then, not only do we have to teach them the Gospel, but also teach them to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, baptize them, and teach them His words? Isn’t that out of our comfort zone, and time-consuming? Yes, it’s beyond “time-consuming” – it’s investing in someone’s life for the purpose of encouraging them in their walk in the Lord. It requires lots of patience, energy, self-sacrifice, and genuine love to invest in someone else.  So why should we invest in someone else?

The reason why we should want to invest in someone else has to come from a love of Christ. John 14:15 says “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.” God commands us to “love one another” (Jn. 13:34-35, Jn. 15:12, 17); if we love Christ, will we not therefore truly love others? Not only will investing in another show love, but it will also strengthen you, as you seek ways to encourage another brother or sister. So we invest not only because Christ commands it, but because we love someone else enough to care if they’re struggling in their relationship with Him.

How do we invest in someone else?  Show the other person they mean more to you than yourself. Show them a Christ-like love. Share with them the reason for your joy, and how they can share your joy.

Recently, I’ve been wondering how I can disciple my e-mail friends who really would rather talk about the newest movie they’ve seen, or the latest book they’ve read, than what they read in the Bible that morning. I know of only a couple friends who I would feel comfortable with sharing my troubles and asking for prayer, and who have done the same to me. So I, with my limited knowledge, came up with a few ideas:

  • Encourage them to get in the Word. (“This stood out to me in my reading this morning; what stood out to you?”)
  • Talk about what God’s doing in your life, and/or ask what He’s doing in theirs. (“I’ve really seen God step in and take over in this area” or “I’ve seen God working here, and it’s been a lot better than I could have imagined… what about you?”)
  • Tie Him/His Word/His hand/intervention/provision into the conversation. (“That happened to me, too, a few years ago, but God stepped in and did this…isn’t it amazing how He never leaves us or forsakes us?…”)
  • Talk about Sunday’s sermon. (“How was church? Our pastor preached on this topic. I really struggle in that area, it’s hard for me to do this…”)
  • Check in with their problems. (“How’s your dad?” “How’s this situation?”)
  • Send them an encouraging email with scripture and saying you are praying for them.

(Just as a note, you don’t want to sound like a theologian, or at all convey it as pride. Simply care. Also, some of my friends don’t like to have those kinds of conversations. Don’t act like a preacher; again, just care.)

Who do we invest in?  Our brother. Our sister. The lonely girl who doesn’t fit in. The new kids at church. Your email buddies, blogger acquaintances, Facebook or Twitter pals, your neighbor, etc.
Investing in them doesn’t exactly mean knowing their favorite ice cream flavor or knowing their favorite color. Invest for the purpose of discipleship. Invest to know where they struggle so you can build them up and encourage them and help them to choose right over wrong.

Don’t just invest your time in fellow believers – invest in the non-believers. They need your love even more than the believers, because they don’t know of Christ’s love for them. Share the truth with them. With fellow Christians, you can rejoice together over His love. But don’t stop there. Teach His commands to all the nations, teach them to obey. Love them. Disciple them.


Mk. 10:27