A World of Geldings

“You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more ‘drive,’ or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or ‘creativity.’ [But] In a sort of ghastly simplicity, we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S. Lewis

We all want a better world—in fact we really need a new one. Someday. Until then, the world isn’t the problem, rather it’s the people shaping it, who crave a perfect world while rejecting any perfect, benevolent, loving standard. That’s where Jesus’ followers come in. We aren’t Him, but God is making us to be as much like Him as anyone can in this messy world. He’s often hated—and that means we will be, too—He said so. But in a world of “men without chests” we bring a beating heart of purpose, love and salvation to an increasingly turbulent generation. Until He comes, we are what the world needs—because we bring Him, all of Him, plus nothing.

The world is starving itself. Bring the fruit.

—j

The Most Dangerous Thing in the World

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.” —C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

People need God’s love and He chose us to lavish it on them. But it isn’t safe—it breaks hearts and leaves scars—such love got Jesus killed. It’s not bottled up among safe friends and it can’t coexist with self-protection. “Love one another as I have loved you.” Now that’s risky.

Go make someone’s day—perhaps even that of your enemy.

—j

Sometimes There Are No Roads

Had supper yet? Feast on this…

“I have learned…to let God be the mystery that He is and, with eyes wide open, to pursue Him, not with the precision of a crossword puzzle fanatic but with the reckless passion of a pilot flying into the Bermuda Triangle. Following Christ is a wild adventure full of risk, frustration, excitement and setbacks. It is not an evening stroll in a planned community along a well-manicured path…” —Larry Crabb

Let the adventure begin.

Have a great weekend…!

—j

A Prayer for the Living

The world doesn’t need more Christianity. Really. It needs Holy men and Holy women who shine in the darkness because they are with Jesus and He is in them and it shows. They are alive and of another world ruled by an invincible King; they practice a heavenly culture and speak the language of eternity and salvation; and they are thankful—always thankful. They are often hated when life is good and sought out when it goes all wrong.

St. Patrick understood this, and wrote it down in a marvelous prayer…

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me
Christ in the eye of everyone that sees me
Christ in the ear or everyone that hears me

I want that—O, I want that.
Let’s pray…

Blessings from Ireland,
—j

The Chief End of Man

A college professor once told a pompous student, “Young man, I suggest you plunge your finger into a bowl of water and remove it—the hole that remains will show you how significant you really are.” Our world is driven by the fleeting and superficial—people, ideas and things that pave the way to human insignificance, but it was never meant to be that way. Francis Schaeffer put it like this…

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”* It would be scripturally false to leave out the second phrase, “and to enjoy Him forever.” The men who formulated this showed great wisdom and insight is saying, “and to enjoy Him forever.” Nevertheless, the first phrase is the first phrase: “The chief end of man is to glorify God.” And in Christianity we have a non-determined God who did not need to create because there was love and communication within the Trinity, and yet having been created, we as men can glorify God. If we fail to emphasize that we can glorify God, we raise the question of whether men are significant at all. We begin to lose our humanity as soon as we begin to lose the emphasis that what we do makes a difference. We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous.”

Yes, it is.
Have a significant day.

—j

*Quoted from The Westminster Shorter Catechism

A Slight Interruption of Faith

Sometimes we need a little shaking—something that interrupts a sleepy faith marinading in the idea that the church exists to feed, coddle and satisfy our appetite for wonder, when in fact it does’t exist for us at all. The church is Jesus living through His followers (herein is the wonder) and His followers living for Him and for each other. In fact the church is the only entity on earth that lives solely for the benefit of others…

“It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; [yet] it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbor. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner—no mere tolerance or indulgence that parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to [the elements of communion] itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified—Glory Himself, is truly hidden.” —C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

Blessings,
—j

The Clout of Christian Nobodies

The success of the Gospel isn’t measured by the popularity of its people or it’s appeal to the world, but by the obedience of simple folks to the Holy Spirit. The cost is often high, but the results are beyond measure. Think you need a big name to shake the world? Think again. The Holy Spirit and a bunch of nobodies—nameless people who were frequently abused—were a staggering combination…

“The early church didn’t have a Graham, a Finney, or a Moody. It didn’t have Promise Keepers, a Great Awakening, or User Friendly Churches. Furthermore it had no concise spiritual laws to share, no explosive method for talking to the unconverted. What it had seems quite paltry: it had unspectacular people with a hodgepodge of methods—so hodgepodge that they can hardly be called methods, and rarely a gathering of more than a handful of people. The paltry seems to have been enough, however, to make an emperor or two stop and take notice…nameless Christians [who brought] the Name of Jesus Christ to the attention of pagans—not a phenomenon that filled stadiums; just enough to begin converting the whole known world…” —Mark Galli

Blessings,
—j