Archive for February, 2010
There have been a number of For Sale signs in my neighborhood over the past year and I have watched them being put up, seen “sold” or “reduced” additions attached, and watched them taken down when off the market. In talking to people who have recently sold a house, I was struck by the advice given concerning how to do this effectively. The first thing is to spruce up the outside. You know – fresh paint, flowers, and a throw rug or two. This makes an attractive look for a buyer, even though it may not really reflect the condition of the house. When you show a house, sweep up the trash and hide the dirty clothes. Answer direct questions, but do not volunteer any information that may detract from the asking price.
Some people might think that is what you need to do in order to become a Christian. Fix up the outside so it looks nice, even if the rest of you is a mess. Hide all the trash and dirty laundry. After all, you don’t want anyone to know the real you. And do not volunteer any information about yourself that might detract from your image.
Why do people think this way? Jesus didn’t. He reached out to the socially disenfranchised, the addicted, the unpopular, and those whose lives where a mess. He still reaches out for those who don’t have it all together. He wants us just as we are. He came for sinners. He came to find the lost, give life to the dead, and heal the broken. So maybe the real estate signs of our life should be more like these.
For Sale by Owner: Jesus calls us to let go of ourselves, our ego, and our lives so that he might own us. Completely.
Fixer-upper: We all need Jesus to make right the things that we cannot. He is the one who can restore the brokenness of our lives.
As Is: You do not have to have it all together to come to Jesus. In fact, you only have to know that you do not have it together.
Hidden Value: God made you, knows you, and has great plans for you. He values you enough that He sent His only Son to this earth to bring you back to Him.
If you are ready to know the Jesus who loves you just as you are, I can introduce you to him. Look around this site, www.hopeforlife.org or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the end of the first century, the town of Laodicea was a thriving commercial center. It was a wealthy city, one of the few towns to refuse government aid after a devastating earthquake in the region. Clothing manufactured in Laodicea was sold throughout the Roman empire, especially garments made of a beautiful black wool. Situated at the juncture of three trade routes, the city was ideally located for doing business.
In addition, there was a world-famous medical school in Laodicea, famous for the treatment of optical diseases. At the school, a salve for the eyes was prepared and shipped to distant lands in the form of tablets.
Laodiceans had every right to be proud, and apparently they were. That’s why Jesus’ words to Christians in that city had a sharp sting: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:17-18)
Wow! Though Laodicea was famous for its wealth, Jesus tells the Laodiceans they are in direst poverty. He declares these producers of beautiful dark clothing to be naked, needing white clothes he can provide. Despite Laodicea’s fame in treating eye diseases, Jesus says they are blind, needing the treatment only he can give.
What would he say about me? What points of pride would he address, showing the flaws in my perceived strengths? What would he say of my possessions, my accomplishments, my boasting? What would he say of my self-sufficiency?
I know what he would say. The truth. Jesus can see the real me. Not the facade I present to the world, not the image I build up around myself. Jesus sees me. Jesus knows me.
He knows you too. You can fool everyone around you, but Jesus sees the real you. He sees what you really need. I may not know you, but I can tell you that Jesus has what you need. He can eliminate your spiritual poverty, clothe your emotional nakedness and heal your inner blindness.
The Laodiceans needed Jesus. They needed what he had to offer, even though they didn’t realize it. Whether you know it or not, you need him too. As do I. Let’s seek him together.
The question is always blunt, direct, personal, and demanding. Once asked, it must be answered. The challenge, once made, requires a response validating your position. The question is not politically correct and the answer offers no public relations subtleties.
“How do you know?” How do you know God is real? How do you know there is a heaven or hell? And maybe the most important question of all, how do you know you’re going to heaven?
To answer those How do you know? questions, scripture says: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” I Peter 3:15-16
This is one of those interesting human dilemmas that we feel trapped by. When we try to explain how we know, there is a fear that others will interrogate us as to why we made such a dreadfully poor decision. Yet look at the words. It says we are to give a reason for our faith. It’s not a debate to prove whose reasons are best; it’s not a dictate that everyone believes exactly the same on every subject; and it’s not collective wisdom. It’s why you, personally and individually, believe. How did you come to those conclusions?
When we stand before God Almighty at the final judgment, it will only be you and Jesus who have to answer for you. The opinions, beliefs and choices of others will not be admissible.
So, how DO YOU know? Tell me what you know and more importantly, how you know it……..
We walked out of a meeting to find one of our vehicles had a flat tire. All three of us knew how to change a tire. We were good with our hands. This would be done in no time. The only problem was… we could not get the spare tire off. At different times, all three of us tried and failed. A fourth friend walked out and offered to help. You could tell he was amused that we were stymied by a spare tire. You could tell he had no doubt whatsoever that he would do what we could not. Until he couldn’t.
It was then that another friend joined us. “Did you check the owner’s manual?” Three of us ignored him and continued our futile efforts, but one did get out the instruction manual. Problem solved. Ten minutes later the tire was changed. Why did we not look at the manual sooner? It was because we did not realize we needed it. We had all changed many tires in the past. We were confident we were doing the right thing. It took someone else to point out what we needed.
This is the same thing that happens to followers of Jesus. We believe we know exactly how to handle every situation in life. Because we think things are going well, we may not even realize when we are in trouble. We need someone to remind us to check out the owner’s manual, the Bible. God created us and He gave us a blueprint for life. It helps when we are in trouble, and it helps prevent trouble and it helps us live the life God desires for us.
So I have now read my vehicle’s owner manual. I have learned things I did not know about how to maintain my vehicle. And, more importantly, I will read the owner’s manual written for my life. After all, my vehicle will not last forever no matter what I do. But I will.