Monday, March 29, 2010

The King comes to Cleanse

When Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem and heralded as King He wasted no time in doing what Kings must do. Kings must establish their authority and enact the vision they have been given for how things should be.
The next day Jesus entered the temple area, the Court of the Gentiles to be specific, with whip in hand and chased out those who had no right to be there. This produced predictable results as the Jewish leaders stepped up their scheme to eliminate His influence.

Mark 11:15-18 (NKJV) So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.
Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.' "
And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.

Why was Jesus so angry? It was because those entrusted with opening the way to God had closed the door in the face of those with the least access. The Court of the Gentiles was the one place where non-Jews could get close to God. But they had made it into a marketplace full of thieves, noisy animals, and foot traffic. Who could pray in such a place?
What kind of king would allow such a deplorable status quo to continue unchallenged? When the crowds cheered and welcomed Him as King they were giving Him authority to rule over them.
When each of us make Jesus Lord in our own lives we are giving Him authority to "cleanse our temples". We may be surprised at what He chooses to remove, but we must accept and bow to His vision of who we are to become. He sometimes finds something very precious to us and says NO! it must go!
Jesus comes to make things right, and also to bless and to heal. Until we allow Him to establish His authority His blessings cannot flow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Discipleship Dare Day 18- Peacemaking or Peacefaking?

"You will never know who God will call to be His child as a result of rubbing shoulders with you." Jess Bousa

False peace is no peace at all. How often do we pretend we have forgiven or made amends with another when we have really just repressed our feelings? Real openness sometimes hurts, but it is what families thrive on. Unspoken hurt and resentment cannot produce long term loving relationships.

Timing and attitude are critical when we approach someone to confront. Finding a time convenient for them rather than us will produce the best result. An arrogant attitude will bring resistance, but a soft answer turns away wrath.

Fake peace just pushes our problems down the road. We will have to face them later anyway and it will probably be worse. Wipe that phony smile off your face and say what's on your mind in a loving and humble way. That's what family does!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Conflict is the only way to Shalom Discipleship Dare Day 17

"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Matthew 5:8

The Hebrew word Shalom is commonly used to express the idea of peace, but it means much more than that. Shalom implies wholeness or completeness and involves both inner and outer harmony. It means more than having a good life and great circumstances.

Nancy Ortberg has said that "conflict is the only way to intimacy." I agree with that, but Jess Bousa takes it one step further in today's dare. He implies that conflict is the only way to Shalom.

Counterintuitively, the peacemakers must have a warrior spirit and be willing to lovingly confront no matter the cost. It takes no courage or great love to gloss things over, and it lacks authenticity. Truly mature and deep relationships require taking the risks involved in caring conflict.

Jesus cared enough to confront and brought Shalom to His disciples. He did not back away from telling the truth to the Pharisees and called them on their empty and duplicitous religion. If we call ourselves His disciples we will do the same and make truth and love the standards again.

What do you think?