Just a Thought…

“I can’t profess to understand God’s plan, Christ promised the resurrection of the dead. I just thought he had something a little different in mind.” -Hershel Greene, The Walking Dead

“For God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  -2 Corinthians 5:21

 

One of my favorite shows is The Walking Dead. I know, I know.  It’s not the most “family friendly” of shows. Some might even question why a pastor would watch such a graphic, and sometimes gory, show.

But what I love about The Walking Dead is how it captures the spirit of the human condition- how broken people seek to survive in a broken world.  How some are able to overcome their own foibles  and rise to become heroes, while others with upstanding character fall from grace.  Oh, and I enjoy the zombies, too!

That’s the way of life, actually, isn’t it? One reason I am Lutheran is because  of our understanding of sin, and how it permeates everything. We too, like the folks of The Walking Dead, are a broken people living in a broken world.  Although sometimes we may rise heroically, there will always be times when we fail miserably.

It’s like the Zombie virus. As Rick Grimes would say, “We are the Walking Dead!” There’s no escaping it, it will always catch up with the survivors in the show.  And that’s the same for us when it comes to sin.

It’s as Saint Paul says, “So I find that, as a rule, when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me… I’m a miserable human being. Who will deliver me from this dead corpse? Thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:21-25).

Yes, thanks be to God for Jesus, who overcame death and the grave to bring life to the world. And in Christ, there is a kind of forgiveness that allows us to start over and begin again… and again… and again.

No, forgiveness doesn’t wipe away the evil we do, the brokenness of our lives. There will always be consequences that come with sin and evil.

However, Christ is able to take our brokenness and transform it, redeem it. Christ keeps sin and death from having the last word. And that is hope that can even overcome zombies!

Just a thought on this All Hallow’s Eve.

+pax et bonum

pc

Just a Thought…

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” -Colossian 2:6-7

I was recently reading some writings of a financial “guru” about being better at financial stewardship.  One of the things he said gets in the way of moving forward with debt reduction is that some people don’t even check their accounts regularly nor do they balance their checkbooks.  How can someone move towards financial health if she doesn’t even know her current financial situation or where she spends her money?

It’s the same with health.  If someone wants to become healthier, but has no clue how much he weighs, how many calories he eats, or how much he exercises, it makes it much more difficult for him to make a plan to move toward physical health.

So, what’s the hardest thing you struggle with in faith these days?  Do you struggle with just getting to worship on a regular basis?  Participating in small group life with other believers?  Entering intentional prayer or scripture reading on a daily basis? Practicing the biblical tithe (giving 10% of your income to the work of God)?

What’s the biggest obstacle you face these days in your spiritual growth and development?

The reason why this is an important question is because we can’t grow if we don’t know in which ways we need to grow.  So maybe take some time to reflect on where you’d like to grow spiritually, and then begin working to grow in that particular part of your spiritual life.  You’ll be glad you did.

It’s just a thought!

+ pax et bonum

Just a Thought…

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:1-3

I’ve never ran a marathon, but I know it takes a lot of work (just ask Mary Lee!). Marathoners take months, even years, to train their bodies. That’s A LOT OF PRACTICE!  If you’ve never run long distances, if you’ve never walked, or biked, or jogged or swam athletically, if you’re overweight, sedentary, and can’t even walk up a flight a stairs without becoming breathless, then you aren’t ready to run a marathon.

But even the most out-of-shape people can move towards health. You might not be able to run out of your door and immediately complete the 26+ miles of a marathon, but you can start somewhere.  It takes getting up and doing something instead of sitting there and doing nothing.

That’s kind of like life, isn’t it? Sometimes when life is filled with difficulties, it’s easier to do nothing than to do something.  But this isn’t the healthiest of ways to respond. If I know I have poor eating habits, or that I come home after work and crash on the couch and yet do nothing to change the situation, then I will not move towards health.  And I definitely won’t run a marathon!  And if I’m spending beyond my financial means, or if my relationship with my spouse has been rocky, and yet do nothing to change the situation, then I will not move towards the abundant life Jesus desires for each of us.

Faith is the same.  Ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. We as baptized followers of Jesus are being trained for the long-haul.  It won’t always be easy.  In fact, if following Jesus comes easy to you, you’re probably not doing it right! It should sometimes feel like a marathoner experiencing the muscle pain as she pushes her body to be ready for the race.  Following Jesus should be like spiritual sweating… and sacrificing… and pushing yourself… and refocusing, so that you’re prepared to cross that finish line.

So how is your faith life?  What is getting in the way of your “running the race?”

Just a thought!

+pax et bonum

pc