Monday, December 31, 2012


"No one is perfect."

At first glance this appears to be a very reasonable and true statement.  Starting from our knowledge of ourselves and our contact with other human beings like us, we can easily be convinced that perfection is a non-existent or very rare thing.  Is it really?

Among humans perfection is certainly missing. Perfection in the universe, however, is not rare.  Perfection is actually the norm because God is perfect and we live and move and have our being in God's perfection.  Perfection has imperfection surrounded.

If we observe the beauty of creation around us it is easy to see that many things are living as they should.  When something lives as it was created to live it is accurate to say that thing is perfect.

Perfection is fully being what we were created to be.  When we observe the flowers and the birds in our world we can still glimpse creatures being what they were meant to be. That is why Jesus told us to observe the birds and flowers to calm our minds and hearts. 

When we do observe them, they seem to be able to be what they were meant to be without great effort.  They seem completely at peace being what they are.  When we observe ourselves and other humans trying to be who we should be, we certainly do not see peace or perfection.

When we see Jesus we do see relaxed human perfection.  Being fully what He was created to be was not hard work for Jesus.  He was perfectly natural and at peace being Himself.  Perhaps that is the main reason some people loved Him and others hated Him. To some He was perfection and they wanted that.  To others He was something they were not and they hated that.

Jesus was human and perfect so we should not say "No one is perfect." What we should say is "Jesus was perfect. Can I hope to be perfect like Jesus?"

The answer is yes!  Jesus' perfection is contagious to all who believe in Him and receive Him.     Perfection is not something we can do, but it is someone we can receive into our spirit.  As Jesus abides in us by His Spirit, He begins to work His perfection into every corner of our life until we are returned to what a human was meant to be.

C.S. Lewis called this new life in Jesus the 'good infection'.  Acording to Lewis,  once you get this 'good infection' you are headed for nothing less than perfection.  You are on your way to being a human who is able to easily do what humans were meant to do which is love God and love neighbors.

Not everyone who gets this 'good infection' shows the symptoms of perfection at the same speed.  In some disciples Jesus' perfection is barely noticeable.  Even so, make no mistake, if you have received the perfect life of Jesus in your spirit you are on you way to perfection.  You might as well relax and cooperate.  You will be perfect eventually in Jesus.

"Be perfect as you Heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

Bud McCord
Abide International

Monday, December 24, 2012

Truly Pregnant With Jesus

Christmas is about believing.

Elizabeth, the mother of the prophet, John the Baptist, said of her cousin Mary…

“Blessed is she who believed, for this will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.

From the beginning, Christmas has been about believing and pregnancy, and it remains so today.  Mary was believably pregnant.  To Mary, Joseph, Zacharias, and Elizabeth, it was not about believing in a myth or philosophy.  It was about very believable angels, aches, and changing bodies.  It was as real as any pregnancy is real as bodies stretch and birth pangs begin.  It was as real as labor and delivery in a shed borrowed for the night.  It was real life – not theory.  Heaven had invaded earth by way of a virgin cradled in the womb of BELIEF from conception to delivery.

To experience the real meaning of Christmas we must be willing to become “pregnant” with the belief that God has in fact come to earth in the person of His Son Jesus.  If we, too, believe, our lives will be stretched and changed as surely as Mary's, Joseph's, Elizabeth's and Zacharias' lives were stretched and changed.  No one carries a life inside them and does not change – especially the life of God!

Paul, the great Christian missionary, wrote to a confused, young church in Galatia and said,   “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.”  (Galatians 4:19).  He was worried that the belief he knew had begun in them might not mature into a full understanding and complete Christian life.  His concern for Christians would be greater today if he visited our churches at Christmas.  I am not sure he would see many “pregnant” with a living Jesus.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for people to believe as Mary did.  The idea that God really does invade human history in order to save was taught to her from her birth as a Jew.  It is harder to believe today because we do not think we need saving anymore and we say little to our children about it.

Thank God Mary was ready for a pregnancy from God!  If she had said to the angel, “Thanks, but I just cannot believe that,” where would we be today?  Probably at the mall, but certainly not at church.

For Christians who truly believe as Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zacharias did, Christmas is as life changing as a real pregnancy.  It means the world to us to know He came and we are forever changed by His life in us.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Necessary Confrontation

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?  Galatians 2:11-14

Personally I do not like confrontations.  Over the years I have tried my best to avoid them but I have found some confrontations are necessary for love to continue.

The Apostle Paul confronts the Apostle Peter face to face because it was necessary. Paul could not ignore the love stopping behavior of the man who preached the sermon on the day of Pentecost.  Wow!  This certainly lets us know that none of us is free from needing a confrontation from time to time!

Paul loved Peter and the church Peter represented too much to simply ignore what he had seen. This was a necessary confrontation.  Love demanded it.

Paul had seen a change in Peter's behavior in his dealing with the Gentile disciples in the church at Galatia.  Peter had treated them as equals until a group of Jewish disciples came to visit.  While the Jewish disciples were in town Peter no longer ate with the Gentiles.  Paul called Peter out face to face because the equality of all believers was at stake.  Peter was too important a voice and symbol to miss this necessary confrontation.  Peter needed to be reminded that a church where equality is lost is no longer the church of Jesus Christ.

There is a valuable lesson in this story for all of us.  When we see someone doing something that is destructive to them and to love, then someone who loves them and loves to see Christ's love flow must confront them.   No matter how powerful they are and how much they have done in the past they need to be confronted.

If a person is doing something to stop love and they see clearly what they are doing then a confrontation will do little or no good.  The person will simply marginalize the person confronting and hide behind their own false superior spirituality.

If, however, the person actually is not seeing clearly the evil they are doing, they will listen if the right person confronts them in love. Not everyone is called to confront every evil they see.  God raises up a Paul to confront Peter.  Who else could have gotten his attention?  Who had paid the price as a Jew to love the Gentiles?

I have been confronted several times over the years by people who love me and love the flow of Christ's  love.  I am so thankful these people were a part of the churches I was leading!  They respectfully followed my leadership but they knew me well enough to know I could go in the wrong direction  but I did not want to stop Christ's love.

I have confronted other leaders over the years when I could clearly see that their errors were not errors of the heart.  Those leaders listened and made the necessary changes.

If you see someone of influence stopping love then pray that God will raise up the right person for the necessary confrontation.  Perhaps you are that person.  Perhaps it is someone else.  Pray until the right person receives the difficult task of the necessary confrontation.  Christ's love and its flow are too important for us to fear a necessary confrontation.


Bud McCord
Abide International