Wednesday, April 30, 2008

good evening, counselor

I said "pretty much" never lied. I didn't say I never, ever lied. You have to lie sometimes... in an emergency. Daniel Miller, Defending Your Life

In the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that I am not a Meryl Streep fan. And Albert Brooks kinda grates my nerves a bit. But back in 1991 they worked together on a movie that presents a somewhat appealing concept. The idea that when you die, you have an opportunity to defend your life.

The alternative, I suppose, is the Veruca Salt model. You may remember her from Willie Wonka fame. She just steps on a scale and it instantly decides -- good egg or bad. No discussion, just a clever song from the oomph-loompas. Now that’s frightening.

If you’ve seen Defending Your Life, though, you’ll remember that the Albert Brooks character is represented by a glad-handing attorney who doesn’t make a strong case. His defense doesn’t go too well. That’s a bit frightening, too.

So who will be your attorney when you step before God on judgment day?


Imagine that day, in the presence of the Almighty. Your head starts to spin.. Does the good outweigh the bad? What about that candy bar I stole in the 3rd grade. The test answer I copied in college? The relationships I let sour. The thousands upon thousands of people in need I let go by day after day. The back. The back I showed to my Lord on too many occasions to even count.

Then Jesus steps forward. Puts his hand on your shoulder and whispers, do not be afraid. Then he does something amazing.

He presents you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. Jude 24

Without fault. And with great joy. You are innocent. Come and enter that father’s kingdom, where you can stay for all eternity. Wow. Thank you Jesus!

Clarence Darrow couldn’t have gotten me off on that one, but somehow Jesus is able to present me without fault. And with great joy. His word becomes truth. And I am innocent.

And how can I repay Christ for his counsel?

To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, before all ages, now and forevermore! Jude 25

Glory to God.
Majesty to God.
Power to God.
Authority to God.

Guess I’ve got my homework assignment for tonight.

PS - If you found this interesting, see the latest rambling’s over at Steve’s blog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

church geometry

Vertical Love

You shall love the Lord your God

with all your heart, with all your soul,

with all your mind, and with all your strength.



Horizontal Love

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Total Love

(ht TK)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

what you need to know

Forget kindergarten, everything I ever really needed to know I learned from American Idol.

Show up.
Take risks.
Find out who you are.
Then be true to yourself.
Be excellent.
Give back.

And, as of tonight:
Shout to the Lord.

Friday, April 4, 2008

moving beyond #2

When I worked at Citibank in the early 90s, we followed a template whenever we presented a big project to senior management:

* where we are
* where we want to be
* how we are going to get there

God has an uncanny way of directing me to scripture that is relevant to the situation at hand, and this week I found myself in 2 Peter 1: 3-10.
His divine power has given us everything we need…

When you start the day knowing you are equipped, it makes a world of difference. It encourages you to get past the whining, the excuses and the wallowing-in-self-pity that is so easy (and comfortable). It encourages action.

Then Peter continues with a roadmap, if you will:

1. It starts with faith.
2. Add to your faith, goodness.
3. And to goodness, knowledge.
4. And to knowledge, self-control.
5. And to self-control, perseverance.
6. And to perseverance, godliness.
7. And to godliness, brotherly kindness.
8. And to brotherly kindness, love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive…

If you’ve been following this blog over the past few weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been finding myself increasingly ineffective and unproductive. And I think, like a lot of Christians, I’ve been wallowing in #2 -- and feeling good about it.

But perhaps in making an extra effort to spend time with Jesus during Lent, time sitting before God, he has opened my eyes a bit. I admit that the knowledge (#3) that settling on #2 (goodness) was, well, not good enough, left me in an uncomfortable place. And I withdrew.

But yes, I am back. Armed with a roadmap: where I am, where I want to be, how I am going to get there. (After all he has given me everything I need)

Self-control (#4) is definitely not my strong suit (I kinda got in over my head this week) but with perseverance (#5), I know that time is on my side.
Therefore my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure.