Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jesus Who?

"... the Jesus of some of our churches, denominations, family, and friends may not be able to deliver us, heal us, and stun us with amazing feats, but the Jesus of Scripture can." (Beth Moore in Beloved Disciple)

I've spent the past several months thinking about Jesus. That makes sense, right? And besides, it's my job. I am one of the "religious professionals." Of course I'm thinking about Jesus. But what do I really think about him? That question has captured my heart. I have been convicted of acting as if, in the words of J. B. Phillips, my God is too small.

Bob Luhn was (and is) the pastor of my home church through high school, and he preached a sermon I'll never perfectly remember, but will also never forget. He talked about "If I Really Believed...," giving example after example after example of how his and other Christians' actions too often reflect belief in a little god, far different than the God we profess. If I really believed in God's goodness, I would allow peace to replace anxiety in my mind. If I really believed in God's power, I would do what I can to improve the situations I face and simply trust God for the rest. If I really believed God's instruction to obey the authorities, I would make a habit of driving the speed limit. If I really believed God's grace, I would forgive people who hurt me. If I really believed God listens when I pray, I would remain in constant, personal communication with God. If I really believed God is faithful, I would know that He'll watch over me in the future as He has in the past. I've been thinking about Pastor Bob's words for about eighteen years now. How often do I allow my human fears and my human self-reliance to pull me away from God's real self, exchanging it instead for a poor imitation?

Is your God too small? Have you settled for a cheap caricature, or are you experiencing the true God -- holy, wise, just, merciful, all-knowing, the definition of love, completely faithful, full of grace -- that we meet in the pages of scripture?

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I was away last Sunday with ten others for a pre-teen girls' retreat. Most of the girls I've known for awhile, and it's been quite a joy to watch them grow. The women on the leadership team have also been friends for a number of years. We had a great weekend together.

Throughout those days, I kept thinking of this passage in Philippians 1:
"[I am] confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.... And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God."

A sense of community developed while we were away. We played together, ate together, talked together, rested together, laughed together. We had fun, and we had some serious conversations, too. We all need relationships like that, and times like that.

If you sense that in your own life, I'd encourage you to take a step toward making it a reality. Invite someone to your home for dinner. If you're a parent, find another parent and take your kids to the park for a picnic, or even the playland at a fast food restaurant. Become involved in a class or other small group. It's worth it!