Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are You Really a Disciple?

Just Annoying!Image via WikipediaIn our chaotic lives, we delight in church. We sing and Jesus meets us. Suddenly the cares of the world drift away.
Then we hear a good message. We cry because it convicts us. We rejoice, because we are justified.
Of course, when someone brings in the special homemade treats, we really love church. We grab a sticky bun or a cookie (we avoid the fruit and healthy food) and head for our cars.
Life is good as a Christian.
However, are we truly disciples? For me, the litmus test is John 13:35. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
“Okay,” you say. “I love my pastor— I love my spouse. Of course my kids, too.”
We know we are easy to love. But how about them?
Periodically I get called by someone who annoys me. We never have anything to say, but the person wants to talk.
I can look at my caller ID and avoid the call—quickly turn off the answering machine, and for the ten minutes demanded of my time, avoid the displeasure.
How often have we crossed the street to avoid someone? Talked about the aggravating co-worker? Sneered at someone?
Worse yet, do we shun the members of our church because they irritate us?
Church does exist for us. We must be fed. We must identify God’s Spirit and grow as Christians. But we can’t forget the unlovely. We need to show we are Christ’s
The true measure of discipleship is loving people in the manner that Jesus loved.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Christian Tossed Salad

VegetablesImage by Professor Bop via Flickr  After a late start, my garden’s producing. And what it produces doesn’t totally delight me: radishes, cabbage and yellow squash. But then my husband Neil is stuck with tomatoes, peppers and green beans.
  Two of us share this garden, and the two of us have different tastes. Neil loves the pungent taste of Brassicaceae family (that’s the biological term for the cabbage kind of things). I will eat fresh tomatoes (Solanaceae) until my mouth breaks out in sores from the acid.
  I’m sure those of you who relish your gardens are the same. The kids won’t eat anything except the “trees” (broccoli), and you have to take up too many rows with three types of lettuce in order to make everyone smile at the dinner table.
  Even so, when company comes, how many of us take them out to the garden and show off the wonders? How many hours do we toil to gain our produce? Whether we love every plant we grow, we love our gardens.
  Our church is a fabulous garden as well—unlike our backyard variety—it’s always is season. However, to please all people, we are a varied group.
  Some are outgoing, gregarious-(perhaps we’d call them annoying). Some are artistic (weird). Some aren’t very pretty, some aren’t very fit, some complain, some are just too happy all the time and finally, some are just too active and keen on fitness.
  Just like our veggies, each comes with its unique pests, yet each displays its own flavor. We are unique and that distinctiveness is essential. A tossed salad without tomatoes is boring, and if you don’t like the little red glob plopped on your plate—your dining partner will snatch it up for you.
  In our churches we all have a role to play, and our church could not perform as God intended without each of us.
  “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Rom 12:4-5

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