You might call this discussion “One Daddy’s Lament.” Or to put an even finer point on it, “This Daddy’s Lament.” The “This Daddy” in this title referring to your humble servant, me.
All if which I will explain in mere moments as you listen to this PODCAST.
But for now, consider this: I don’t have to tell you that Jesus was a radical in every sense of that word.
Jesus did things things that were totally unexpected, unpredictable, unconventional. More to the point of this discussion, Jesus said things that were totally unexpected, unpredictable, unconventional.
I have no doubt that if we had been alive and well back then, privileged to watch Jesus in action, honored to hang on His every word, there would have been situations weekly if not daily where we would have done a total double-take. We would have cocked our heads, blinked our eyes, pulled on our ears, and said to ourselves,
Jesus did what?
Jesus said what?
You talk about a guy marching to His own drumbeat, that was Jesus. And that is certainly true here.
As Jesus came to the conclusion of His training session, as He prepared His men for their very first missions trip, Jesus — Are you ready? — basically put the whole of the Christian life into its proper perspective. Read that sentence one more time:
Jesus basically put the whole of the Christian life into its proper perspective.
What does it mean to be a committed Christ-follower? Jesus answers that question here.
What does it cost to follow Jesus? Jesus answers that question here.
All of this in what is arguably the single most radical statement that Jesus ever made.
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My beloved little Safe Haven family is really going through it right now. In a word, we are being broken.
To focus that just a bit, let me say that I am amazed at the significant struggles and overwhelming challenges that some of our precious people are experiencing — painful loses; seemingly senseless disappointments; literally excruciating physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges that defy explanation. Storm clouds are billowing. I cannot help but to imagine the reasons why.
In talking to each of these individuals on multiple occasions, they are understandably wrestling with it all, yet all the while demonstrating a firm-if-sometimes-faltering faith in God’s good plans that leaves me in awe.
I know, I know, I know that God never breaks His people without some amazing purposes behind His breaking. Some of our dear Safe Haven family members are being broken — No doubt about that! — but to what good purposes only time will tell. (Emphasis upon that hope-filled word, “will.”) The stories are just now unfolding. Stories that will be told. Stories of God’s abiding grace and peace. Stories of God’s sustaining strength and power. Stories of how God will profoundly touch the world through the profound pain of my friends. Stories that will illustrate the unbreakable law of nature: We can’t enjoy a shimmering rainbow without some falling rain.
I also know that as God breaks my friends individually, He is also breaking Safe Haven collectively. He is breaking us as we share in these burdens together. A safe haven indeed — an unpretentious cadre of committed Christ-followers who desperately love Him and relentlessly love each other despite the unexpected trials and tribulations that life throws our way. It will be amazing, in the days and weeks ahead, to see not only what purposes lie behind God breaking certain individuals, but what purposes lie behind His breaking our family as a whole.
In the mean time, I have the unspeakable privilege of walking through these storms with some pretty special people whom I love with all my heart. It’s times like these that I am so incredibly thankful that God gave me the priceless privilege of being their pastor. But more than that, to be their friend.
Reading the remarkable responses on the faces of the precious people at Safe Haven on Saturday night, I can fairly predict with pinpoint accuracy that in this PODCAST, you are about to hear a message about money like you’ve NEVER heard one before.
And that’s a good thing. A very good thing.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus invoked one word — abundantly familiar to His listeners; utterly foreign to us — which has profound implications for our lives today.
I’ll be right upfront with you. I believe that as a whole, our contemporary Christian culture in America has a woefully underdeveloped and (if I may say so) faulty theology of money, especially as it relates to the local church.
In my never-ending effort to approach Jesus’ teachings with absolutely no preconceived conclusions about what He taught, I must tell you that what Jesus said in His day is for us in our day revolutionary.
We cannot change our contemporary Christian culture — the way we “do” ministry in America; the way we pay for ministry in America — but we can surely change our personal practices when it comes to how we, and to whom we, give our money.
Let the conversation begin.
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