Friday, April 29, 2016

Meditate On These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

It makes perfect sense to me that our inner life is an ecosystem that is even more sensitive to pollution than the visible world in which we live is sensitive to pollution.  When we pollute our outer world the quality of our biological life decreases and when we pollute our inner life the quality of our spiritual life and our love decreases.

Back in the 1970s Francis Schaeffer wrote a book called  “Pollution and the Death of Man”.  Written before the global warming debates and the rise of environmentalism’s radical fringe, which makes man wholly evil and nature supremely good, Schaeffer correctly called the church and all believers to have no part in polluting anything.

Schaeffer’s point was that man glorifies God by caring for His creation not destroying it or using it for personal gain.  For Schaeffer polluting is sinful because it defaces what the Creator did.  He was right to say to the church and to every believer  “ Don’t pollute the Creation!”

In the inner life polluting is also sinful because it impedes the flow of love..  We glorify God by having a well cared for and clean inner life where love can flow freely.  When we pollute our inner life we deface love and fail to be the loving creation we were meant to be.

To the extent that we pollute our inner life we limit our ability to use our mind, emotions and will to glorify God.  When we pollute our inner life we impede the flow and delivery of love.  We are right to say to the church and to every believer  “Don’t pollute you!”

We would all do well to meditate on these things.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The New and Flexible You

Then they said to Him, “Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink?”
And He said to them, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.”
Then He spoke a parable to them: “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.  But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.   And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ”  Luke 5:33-39 

Jesus was the master of teaching the profound with simplicity.  He helped simple people see clearly by using what they had already clearly seen with their own eyes.  He didn’t invent new illustrations. He used what they had already seen.

The people of Jesus’ day had seen weddings, old and new clothing, old and new  wine and old and new wineskins.  They had certainly seen people drinking wine!  They had already drawn conclusions from what they had seen.  Teaching them something new  meant helping them see Him in the things they had seen.  

Jesus’ questioners needed to see Him as the bridegroom, the new cloth and the new wine. They need to see Him as a cause for celebration. They needed to see that trying to sew Him on the Old Testament would not last.  They needed to see that trying to pour Him into the limits of the Law would not give Him the space He needed to be all He came to be. They also needed to stop comparing His “taste”  to the “taste” of the old.

“Celebrate while you can”  may not seem profound, but it is.

“New must be completely new”  may not sound profound, but it is.

“New needs a flexible environment to succeed”  may not sound profound, but it is.

“People who have acquired a taste for something do not change easily” may not sound profound, but it is.

When you see Jesus with your own eyes you will see the truly new Jesus looking for the new flexible you.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Thursday, April 14, 2016

It Is Not Fair!

Seems like everyone is suddenly very upset because so many things are not fair.  Apparently an entire generation has been intently focused on things that are not fair and they are mad and motivated.  They have come of age and they are upset.

On the one hand this is exciting news.  Some good changes are certainly on the way with all this new energy being unleashed against unfairness.  On the other hand, this is not the first generation to throw itself fully against what is unfair.

As a person who was a teen in the 1960’s in the USA I saw Martin Luther King, Jr. go beyond what was fair.  He dreamed of and fought for something much greater than what is fair.  He called a generation to be fair and to love at the same time.  He died for more than fairness.  He died for love, too.

As noble a goal as fighting what is unfair is, it is far short of what is needed.  Unfair only gives way to genuine, sacrificial love.  I believe that is what Dr. King believed because he believed in Jesus.

I know the passion for fairness is wonderful to feel and to see.  Even so, I pray that among those who are screaming so loudly in other people’s faces there  would be many who remember that fair needs love and true love is always fair and even more than fair.

Jesus never used the word fair.  He used the word just.  Just includes love that is fair.  It is hard to think of Jesus getting up in anyone’s face screaming.  It is easy to see him getting up on the cross bleeding.  Kind of reminds me of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I never saw him scream in anyone’s face and I never saw him back down or stop loving.

Bud McCord
Abide International

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Declaring Who You Are

We are always communicating to others who we are.  We just cannot help ourselves.  We want others to properly understand us.

Never has this been more clear than in today’s world where different cultures are now getting to know each other.  The messages about identity are non-stop among us.

Muslims of all types make it clear who they are by disciplines and clothing.  People who love tatoos leave no doubt what they want you to know about them with their public tatoos.    Company executives dress for success so you will know that they are.  Hipsters always make sure we know they are “hip” by their hair and their clothes.

Should Christians declare clearly who they are?  If so, how should Christians identify themselves in public? 

There are at least two public declarations that allow us to say who we are as Christians.  One is a public baptism and the other is participation the Lord’s supper or Communion.

Both Baptism and the Lord’s supper say Jesus is vitally important for us and in us.  Both of these special moments, if observed authentically and thoughtfully, say we are forever connected to what Jesus did for us and what He is in us.

Even with these two fantastic declarations, the most powerful way that we are to declare publicly who we are as disciples is by the quality of our daily love.  For a Christian continuous love is our very visible “discipline”,“clothing”, “tatoo” and “success”.  And high quality love is always “hip”.

Declare clearly who you are in Christ. Be baptized and join other believers in taking the Lord’s supper.  Above all things, live high quality love rooted in God.  Jesus certainly did.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Bud McCord
Abide International