01 April 2007

Probing questions

Four questions for you to ponder, then I will elaborate.
Warning: This might be long. And it might offend a few people (I hope).

1. What is your emotional wake? And what does it say about you?
2. Am I willing to celebrate the right things?
3. How deep are my convictions?
4. How accurate are my criticisms?

These questions were from the message at church today they are all from Matthew 21.

A few thoughts...
An 'emotional wake' is what you leave behind when you leave a conversation or a room of people after you come in and give your $.02 into the relationships. Are people better? I love this question... are people better, encouraged, lifted up when I leave? Are people depressed, down, discouraged when I leave? What is your emotional wake?

What are the things we celebrate? And why do we celebrate them? I have, in the past couple of months seen people celebrate the destruction of others. For some reason I don't think this is something to celebrate. Do we celebrate Jesus? Have we become so expectant of Him in our lives that we forget to celebrate the "right stuff"? Matthew 21:8-11 Jesus is with us. May we never become so jaded that only the children know what to celebrate (vs. 15). Ask yourself... is my life about celebration or dread?

Are my convictions deep? Do I stand for what I believe in? Am I easily swayed? Do I make a decision simply because "everyone is for it"? Do I make decisions because "it's just better this way"? I am glad that is not who I am. Even if people won't believe, agree, or validate; my convictions run very deep. I know what I stand for and that won't change. God has a HUGE vision he has been giving to me. Patience young jedi... more will soon come on this it will.

Next was one of the best parts of the message. We went through the passage where Jesus flips the tables of the money changers in the church. Matthew 21: 12-15. First problem with the situation: deception. Jesus was upset about the deception that was taking place in the church. The money changers were deceiving the people that were exchanging money. They were profiting from deceiving people that were coming for genuine worship. Money changers were ripping off the people. The "religious" were "approving" sacrifices. Most sacrifices were not approved and then turned the people away with the "offering" they brought and told to purchase one of their approved offering/sacrifices. It's amazing what "approved religious" items we think we can purchase. You can't buy your sacrifice. You can't buy a message from God. It does not please God when the "religious" turn away a genuine sacrifice because THEY don't approve! Another part of the problem: the "money changers" used a moment of integrity for personal gain. How many times have the leaders in a church used a moment that they were expected to deal in integrity for their personal gain. If you don't ask me... I know one. So, what's the solution: purification. Jesus comes in and flips it all over! The lesson: if you are deceiving for your personal gain... Jesus will flip it all upside down for you. He is not pleased by leaders that deceive for personal gain. What is the result: restoration. Prior to this the lame were not welcomed into the church, after the flipping, they were healed and there was great celebration.

Lastly... criticism. Oh boy, don't get me started on criticism. How critical are you? Do you know critical people? I sure do. Criticism is not funny, no matter how funny you try to make it. I know some incredibly critical people. Matthew 21:15-17. Criticism is a cancer. It will infect and destroy; relationship, churches, lives, etc. Do you believe that it is possible for someone to love Jesus and be a critical person? Just take a look at the pharisees... they were looking so hard for Jesus, but because of their criticism they couldn't see him and he was right in front of their faces. Critical leaders in the church that criticize in the name of "holiness" claim to be godly but can't live out godliness due to their critical hearts. Would you recognize Jesus if he were to walk into your life? Or would you criticize him for not fitting your idea of "religiosity". Ask yourself... am I critical? Why? May we always be so like the children in this story that see Jesus!

You know the amazing part. This was an awesome service, but in reading this post some will be critical and miss Jesus' message right in front of their faces!
The church in which the blind and lame are not healed is not worthy of attendance.
Adam Clarke

I told you it was long... maybe offensive... maybe good... but it will change you.


Earl Thornton said...

Great post. What more need to be said!

Glenda said...

That was a great sermon with great questions. You hit the nail on the head. God is working and I'm excited to see what's ahead. Love you!

dana said...

Good post, Erik. Made me look in the mirror...I need to make some changes.

The Letter J said...

emotional wake. i like this concept. good post.

Terri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.