Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Coming... And The Warning...


Jesus' message is getting very strong. Very strong indeed.
o
In the last few days before his first leaving, he talks about his second coming...
o
And he includes some strong warnings...
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30 -31"Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man!
It will fill the skies—no one will miss it.
Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven.
At that same moment, he'll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God's chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole."
o
When Jesus said this, folks didn't even know the earth was round. Then, when they discovered it was round, they didn't know how this could happen. Now, with instant world wide communications, what he said, we understand...
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The point is to be ready.

32 -35"Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer's just around the corner. So it is with you: When you see all these things, you'll know he's at the door. Don't take this lightly. I'm not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out.
36"But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.
37 -39"The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah's. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.
39 -44"The Son of Man's Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up."
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But the point is to be ready...

45 -47"Who here qualifies for the job of overseeing the kitchen? A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day. Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. It won't be long before the Master will put this person in charge of the whole operation.
48 -51"But if that person only looks out for himself, and the minute the Master is away does what he pleases—abusing the help and throwing drunken parties for his friends—the Master is going to show up when he least expects it and make hash of him. He'll end up in the dump with the hypocrites, out in the cold shivering, teeth chattering."
o
So.
He is coming.
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We are to be doing.
And ready...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Damage!


A friend of mine once said,

"I had to recover from the damage
that church did to me -
Before I could be useful to God!"

Wow! I never did delve into what she really meant by that. She was raised in an Evangelical church in the USA.

But today Jesus is pretty forthright...

Matthew 23
1 -3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them.
"The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God's Law.
You won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses."

So far, so good. They have their theology straight. They understand Scripture. They teach it accurately. So where is the rub?

"But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don't live it. They don't take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It's all spit-and-polish veneer."

THERE is the rub! Following God is more than knowledge.

A drill where you compete to see who can get to a verse in the Bible the fastest? - Useless!
A competition to see who can quote all the books of the Old and New Testaments flawlessly and in order? - Useless!
A pin to reward perfect attendance at Sunday School? - Useless!
It's all spit-and-polish veneer!

4 -7 "Instead of giving you God's Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn't think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called 'Doctor' and 'Reverend.'"

If you think this behavior is foreign to the modern Evangelical Church, just attend denominational conferences, or go to any of the modern Christian institutions - Universities, Bible Schools, Hospitals, Mission organizations - even camps. You will see plenty behavior just like Jesus mentioned...

8 -10 "Don't let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don't set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of 'Father'; you have only one Father, and he's in heaven. And don't let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.
11 -12"Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty."

The religious leaders must have reacted a certain way, because Jesus continues...

13 "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God's kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won't let anyone else in either.
15"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.
16 -22"You're hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, 'If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that's nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that's serious.' What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: 'If you shake hands on a promise, that's nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that's serious'? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.
23 -24"You're hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God's Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that's wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?

Over the centuries, those purporting to speak for God have often been the very ones that pushed people away from God.

So, what is the application?

God looks for vibrant inner life. Worship. Humility. Obedience. Holy Spirit joy. He is not so impressed with outer life - piety. Following rules. Appearances of religiosity.

My pastor's blog is called - Killing Churchianity! I think he gets it!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The setup

Those with power over thought always try to color things to make people believe what they believe. I'll give some examples from some recent US presidents. We were beaten over the head with how smart Bill Clinton was, never mind that he did some of the stupidest things as president. George Bush was presented again and again as dumb. Never mind that he graduated from Harvard.

Back in Jesus day the Pharisees were the thought police. Now the gloves were off. It was all out war.

15 -17 "That's when the Pharisees plotted a way to trap him into saying something damaging."

They have tried a number of strategies.
Resurrection didn't work.
Divorce hadn't done it either.
Today the topic was the ever unpopular taxes...

They sent their disciples, with a few of Herod's followers mixed in, to ask, "Teacher, we know you have integrity, teach the way of God accurately, are indifferent to popular opinion, and don't pander to your students."

Wow! Is that a set up or what! If someone is flattering you excessively watch out!!

"So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?"

The "gotcha."

18 -19 "Jesus knew they were up to no good.
He said, "Why are you playing these games with me?
Why are you trying to trap me?
Do you have a coin?
Let me see it."
They handed him a silver piece.
20"This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?"
21They said, "Caesar."
"Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his."

WHAM BAM! Back atcha man!

22 "The Pharisees were speechless. They went off shaking their heads."

Score one for Jesus!

Is this what he meant when he said, "Be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves?"

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A twitter ran through the crowd


Mark 11
1 -3When they were nearing Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany on Mount Olives, he sent off two of the disciples with instructions: "Go to the village across from you. As soon as you enter, you'll find a colt tethered, one that has never yet been ridden. Untie it and bring it. If anyone asks, 'What are you doing?' say, 'The Master needs him, and will return him right away.'"
4 -7They went and found a colt tied to a door at the street corner and untied it. Some of those standing there said, "What are you doing untying that colt?" The disciples replied exactly as Jesus had instructed them, and the people let them alone. They brought the colt to Jesus, spread their coats on it, and he mounted."
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So Jesus comes into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey.
A twitter ran through the crowd.
Is this he? Is he the long awaited Messiah?

8 -10The people gave him a wonderful welcome, some throwing their coats on the street, others spreading out rushes they had cut in the fields. Running ahead and following after, they were calling out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God's name! Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in highest heaven!"
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He didn't contest.
He didn't protest.
He didn't contradict...

11 "He entered Jerusalem, then entered the Temple. He looked around, taking it all in. But by now it was late, so he went back to Bethany with the Twelve."
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He alone knew what was coming.
He alone knew his real purpose for being born.

Babies Barons and Blind men

Luke 18
15 -17People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."

Jesus says "come." Come with simple faith, simple trust, simple obedience...

18One day one of the local officials asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to deserve eternal life?"
19 -20Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God. You know the commandments, don't you? No illicit sex, no killing, no stealing, no lying, honor your father and mother."
21He said, "I've kept them all for as long as I can remember."
22When Jesus heard that, he said, "Then there's only one thing left to do: Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. You will have riches in heaven. Then come, follow me."
23This was the last thing the official expected to hear. He was very rich and became terribly sad. He was holding on tight to a lot of things and not about to let them go.
24 -25Seeing his reaction, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who have it all to enter God's kingdom? I'd say it's easier to thread a camel through a needle's eye than get a rich person into God's kingdom."
26"Then who has any chance at all?" the others asked.
27"No chance at all," Jesus said, "if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it."
28Peter tried to regain some initiative: "We left everything we owned and followed you, didn't we?"
29 -30"Yes," said Jesus, "and you won't regret it. No one who has sacrificed home, spouse, brothers and sisters, parents, children—whatever—will lose out. It will all come back multiplied many times over in your lifetime. And then the bonus of eternal life!"

Jesus says, "come." But put me first over everything...

31 -34Then Jesus took the Twelve off to the side and said, "Listen carefully. We're on our way up to Jerusalem. Everything written in the Prophets about the Son of Man will take place. He will be handed over to the Romans, jeered at, made sport of, and spit on. Then, after giving him the third degree, they will kill him. In three days he will rise, alive." But they didn't get it, could make neither heads nor tails of what he was talking about.
35 -37He came to the outskirts of Jericho. A blind man was sitting beside the road asking for handouts. When he heard the rustle of the crowd, he asked what was going on. They told him, "Jesus the Nazarene is going by."
38He yelled, "Jesus! Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!"
39Those ahead of Jesus told the man to shut up, but he only yelled all the louder, "Son of David! Mercy, have mercy on me!"
40Jesus stopped and ordered him to be brought over. When he had come near, Jesus asked, "What do you want from me?"
41He said, "Master, I want to see again."
42 -43Jesus said, "Go ahead—see again! Your faith has saved and healed you!" The healing was instant: He looked up, seeing—and then followed Jesus, glorifying God. Everyone in the street joined in, shouting praise to God."

Jesus says "come." I will take care of you, heal your hurts and diseases. Give you new life for your old life.

"Come..."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is it fair if Ted Bundy went to heaven?

You are in heaven. Angels and millions are worshipping God. You are prostrate before the throne.

At one point you raise your face and you notice the guy beside you. It is Ted Bundy.

Does the hair raise up on the back of your neck just at the thought? Jesus told a story that got the same reaction.

Matthew 20
A Story About Workers
1 -2 "God's kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work. 3 -5"Later, about nine o'clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.
5 -6"He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o'clock. At five o'clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, 'Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?'
7"They said, 'Because no one hired us.'
"He told them to go to work in his vineyard.
8"When the day's work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, 'Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.'
9 -12"Those hired at five o'clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, 'These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.'
13 -15"He replied to the one speaking for the rest, 'Friend, I haven't been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn't we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can't I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?'
16"Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first."

Luckily God is the judge. It gives hope for your aging relative, who has loudly rejected God all their lives. Even at the last breath, God's mercy is still extended to them.

And is Ted Bundy in heaven?

God only knows. He was a master manipulator right to the end. Quite honestly we would feel better if we knew he was burning in hell right this minute...

But if he did humbly repent and seek God....

Yes, God's grace can even cover him.

Gotcha!


Journalists love to do this. They look for a weakness, or a controversial topic, then twist it in the most unfavorable way. Hopfully the subject of their twisted torture will cooperate by saying the thing they are being baited to say. Then its -


GOTCHA!


They did this with Sarah Pallin all the time. More recently it was done to Carrie Prejean on the subject of gay marriage.
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The Pharisees did it to Jesus on the subject of divorce.
Matthew 19
1 -2 When Jesus had completed these teachings, he left Galilee and crossed the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. Great crowds followed him there, and he healed them. 3One day the Pharisees were badgering him: "Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?"
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Now, this was not a casual question, even though they carefully tried to make it appear like it was.
Both the topic, and how the question was phrased, was designed to make half of the audience break out in revolt, which ever answer he gave.

4 -6 "He answered, "Haven't you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart."
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They were ready. Scripture was on the tips of their tongues.

7 "They shot back in rebuttal, "If that's so, why did Moses give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?"
8 -9Jesus said, "Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God's original plan. I'm holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery."
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The Pharisees were shut up. But not the disciples. It seemed too hard for them.

10 "Jesus' disciples objected, "If those are the terms of marriage, we're stuck. Why get married?"
11 -12But Jesus said, "Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn't for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you're capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it."
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And thus ends this particular "gotcha".
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But there are many more to come...

The Cancer Ward

The Healing Testimony of Peter Masonis
Following the death of my father from cancer, I discovered the growth of cancer on my scalp just above my hairline. It was diagnosed as a fast growing, virulent skin cancer and surgery was scheduled to have it removed.
I didn’t want it to advance to other parts of my body. I was very concerned about it. It had turned black and because of its location, I was no longer able to comb my hair or go to the barber.
I was prayed for at my church and I felt the Lord’s presence and peace while the congregation prayed.
Later on while visiting my home cell group I listened to their guest speaker Tim Greenwood present his testimony of healing from terminal heart disease. After the presentation Tim asked for those that needed prayer to come forward. Since I had surgery planned, I came forward to have him pray that it would all go well during the surgery. However, Tim was led of the Holy Spirit to pray, “Cancer I bind you in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!” I curse you at the very root!” “ I command all blood supply and fluids to be cut off from you!” “And that you dry up, wither and fall off.”

Tim instructed me not to keep looking at or feeling the tumor. But rather, just to keep praising God for my healing—this is using your shield of faith.
I didn’t ‘feel’ anything happen at the time. His wife gave me a tape and Tim’s book “Walking In Faith.” I went home and read the book and began listening to the tape—"Receive Your Healing Now!"—it was full of scriptures pertaining to healing.
About three days later while washing my hair in the shower I felt something in my hand. It was a hunk of the tumor. I looked in the mirror and about 2/3 of the tumor was gone!
I still had surgery planned but thought “OK, it may take some cutting but now it would not take as much of my hair.” I was concerned about scarring and permanent loss of hair, since it was right in the front of my head!

I was getting ready to go to see my specialist on the day of my surgery. While washing my hair I again felt something again in my hand. It was the rest of the tumor! It looked as if it had heated up and melted right in my hand! It fell on the floor of the shower and went down the drain.

I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror, and now the tumor was totally gone, and I was ecstatic! Then I got back in and took another shower.
Have you ever been head over heels in love and did something silly. This is how I felt. I am head over heels in love with my savior and HEALER—The Lord Jesus Christ.
I went in to see my doctor and was told that indeed the cancer was completely gone. Praise God! For By His Stripes I was healed!
Peter Masonis

Jesus did so many healings while he was here on earth that it starts to seem routine. Here is a little story with a big impact.

Luke 17
11 -13It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
14 -16Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests."
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan."

Note what Peter Masonis said - how you are head over heels in love?

17 -19 "Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?" Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."

So the reason the story is included is because an outsider - a Samaritan - was greatful and came and gave thanks to Jesus.

But the impact on that town, was as though Jesus visited the local hospital and healed everyone in the cancer ward!

Friends


Did you know Jesus had friends?

John 11
1 -3 "A man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. This was the same Mary who massaged the Lord's feet with aromatic oils and then wiped them with her hair. It was her brother Lazarus who was sick. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Master, the one you love so very much is sick."
4When Jesus got the message, he said, "This sickness is not fatal. It will become an occasion to show God's glory by glorifying God's Son."
5 -7Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but oddly, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed on where he was for two more days. After the two days, he said to his disciples, "Let's go back to Judea."
8They said, "Rabbi, you can't do that. The Jews are out to kill you, and you're going back?"
9 -10Jesus replied, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in daylight doesn't stumble because there's plenty of light from the sun. Walking at night, he might very well stumble because he can't see where he's going."
11He said these things, and then announced, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. I'm going to wake him up."
12 -13The disciples said, "Master, if he's gone to sleep, he'll get a good rest and wake up feeling fine." Jesus was talking about death, while his disciples thought he was talking about taking a nap.
14 -15Then Jesus became explicit: "Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn't there. You're about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let's go to him."
There is a great sub plot. Jesus friend has died. He is going to go to be there. But the Jews are out to kill him. Thomas is like Eeyore the pessimistic donkey.

16That's when Thomas, the one called the Twin, said to his companions, "Come along. We might as well die with him."
We're all going to die! Gonna happen sooner or later. Might as well be now...

17 -20When Jesus finally got there, he found Lazarus already four days dead. Bethany was near Jerusalem, only a couple of miles away, and many of the Jews were visiting Martha and Mary, sympathizing with them over their brother. Martha heard Jesus was coming and went out to meet him. Mary remained in the house.
Another subplot is the faith this family has in Jesus - their friend. They know he is more than just a man...

21 -22Martha said, "Master, if you'd been here, my brother wouldn't have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you."
23Jesus said, "Your brother will be raised up."
24Martha replied, "I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time."
25 -26"You don't have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?"
27"Yes, Master. All along I have believed that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who comes into the world."
28After saying this, she went to her sister Mary and whispered in her ear, "The Teacher is here and is asking for you."
29 -32The moment she heard that, she jumped up and ran out to him. Jesus had not yet entered the town but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When her sympathizing Jewish friends saw Mary run off, they followed her, thinking she was on her way to the tomb to weep there. Mary came to where Jesus was waiting and fell at his feet, saying, "Master, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died."
33 -34When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, "Where did you put him?"
34 -35"Master, come and see," they said. Now Jesus wept.
36The Jews said, "Look how deeply he loved him."
37Others among them said, "Well, if he loved him so much, why didn't he do something to keep him from dying? After all, he opened the eyes of a blind man."
Of course, the great subplot was that Jesus was about to raise someone from the dead.

38 -39 "Then Jesus, the anger again welling up within him, arrived at the tomb. It was a simple cave in the hillside with a slab of stone laid against it. Jesus said, "Remove the stone."
The sister of the dead man, Martha, said, "Master, by this time there's a stench. He's been dead four days!"
40Jesus looked her in the eye. "Didn't I tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
41 -42Then, to the others, "Go ahead, take away the stone."
They removed the stone."
Jesus is about to do the greatest miracle he has ever done on earth up to this time. Yet notice how simple his prayer.
"Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and prayed, "Father, I'm grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I've spoken so that they might believe that you sent me."
43 -44Then he shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.
Jesus told them, "Unwrap him and let him loose."
How's that for an amazing story?

Pompass and the Pauper


Jesus tells the story of pompass and the pauper...

19 -21"There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man's table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.
22 -24"Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, 'Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I'm in agony in this fire.'
25 -26"But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It's not like that here. Here he's consoled and you're tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.'
27 -28"The rich man said, 'Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won't end up here in this place of torment.'
29"Abraham answered, 'They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.'
30"'I know, Father Abraham,' he said, 'but they're not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.'
31"Abraham replied, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the Prophets, they're not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.'"

The Dinner Party

The dinner party.
The host is important.
The house is large.
And Jesus is the special invited guest.

Luke 14
1 -3 "One time when Jesus went for a Sabbath meal with one of the top leaders of the Pharisees, all the guests had their eyes on him, watching his every move. Right before him there was a man hugely swollen in his joints. So Jesus asked the religion scholars and Pharisees present, "Is it permitted to heal on the Sabbath? Yes or no?"
4 -6 "They were silent. So he took the man, healed him, and sent him on his way. Then he said, "Is there anyone here who, if a child or animal fell down a well, wouldn't rush to pull him out immediately, not asking whether or not it was the Sabbath?" They were stumped. There was nothing they could say to that.
7 -9He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, "When someone invites you to dinner, don't take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he'll come and call out in front of everybody, 'You're in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.' Red-faced, you'll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left."
10 -11"When you're invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, 'Friend, come up to the front.' That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I'm saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face. But if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."
12 -14Then he turned to the host. "The next time you put on a dinner, don't just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You'll be—and experience—a blessing. They won't be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God's people."

15That triggered a response from one of the guests: "How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God's kingdom!"
16 -17Jesus followed up. "Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many. When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, 'Come on in; the food's on the table.'
18"Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, 'I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.'
19"Another said, 'I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.'
20"And yet another said, 'I just got married and need to get home to my wife.'
21"The servant went back and told the master what had happened. He was outraged and told the servant, 'Quickly, get out into the city streets and alleys. Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here.'
22"The servant reported back, 'Master, I did what you commanded— and there's still room.'
23 -24"The master said, 'Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! Let me tell you, not one of those originally invited is going to get so much as a bite at my dinner party.'"

Monday, November 2, 2009

You're my dearest friends!

Jesus is doing a lot of teaching. Today he is talking about fussing over food, or clothes, or appearance or money.

22 -24He continued this subject with his disciples. "Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
25 -28"Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all?
Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers.
They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it?
The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.
If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
29 -32"What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out."

Jesus assures us that the heavenly Father wants to care for every detail of our lives.

"You're my dearest friends!
The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself."

So instead of fussing about provision, revel in God's goodness. Give to the needy. Invest in the heavenly kingdom.

33 -34 "Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on."

Why would we do this?

"It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."

Do you want to revel in Wall Street?
Or the heavenly streets?

Don't fuss. You're my dearest friends...

Sheep rustler vs. the shepherd...

Jesus uses an analogy to help us understand his relationship to the people he created and loves...

John 10
1 -5 "Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he's up to no good—a sheep rustler!

The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't used to the sound of it."
6 -10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
11 -13"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him.


14 -18"I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too. They'll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father."
19 -21This kind of talk caused another split in the Jewish ranks. A lot of them were saying, "He's crazy, a maniac—out of his head completely. Why bother listening to him?" But others weren't so sure: "These aren't the words of a crazy man. Can a 'maniac' open blind eyes?"

The seeing are blind: The blind sees clearly!


One of the funniest stories in the entire New Testament!

John 9
1 -2 Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?" 3 -5Jesus said, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world's Light."
6 -7He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man's eyes, and said, "Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam" (Siloam means "Sent"). The man went and washed—and saw.
8Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, "Why, isn't this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?"
9Others said, "It's him all right!"
But others objected, "It's not the same man at all. It just looks like him."
He said, "It's me, the very one."
10They said, "How did your eyes get opened?"
11"A man named Jesus made a paste and rubbed it on my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' I did what he said. When I washed, I saw."
12"So where is he?"
"I don't know."
13 -15They marched the man to the Pharisees. This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath. The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, "He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see."
o
The blind man sees plainly and fully...

16Some of the Pharisees said, "Obviously, this man can't be from God. He doesn't keep the Sabbath."
Others countered, "How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this?" There was a split in their ranks.
17They came back at the blind man, "You're the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?"
He said, "He is a prophet."
o
The blind man sees plainly...

18 -19The Jews didn't believe it, didn't believe the man was blind to begin with. So they called the parents of the man now bright-eyed with sight. They asked them, "Is this your son, the one you say was born blind? So how is it that he now sees?"
20 -23His parents said, "We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But we don't know how he came to see—haven't a clue about who opened his eyes. Why don't you ask him? He's a grown man and can speak for himself." (His parents were talking like this because they were intimidated by the Jewish leaders, who had already decided that anyone who took a stand that this was the Messiah would be kicked out of the meeting place. That's why his parents said, "Ask him. He's a grown man.")
24They called the man back a second time—the man who had been blind— and told him, "Give credit to God. We know this man is an impostor."
25He replied, "I know nothing about that one way or the other. But I know one thing for sure: I was blind . . . I now see."
26They said, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"
27"I've told you over and over and you haven't listened. Why do you want to hear it again? Are you so eager to become his disciples?"
o
The blind man sees plainly...

28 -29With that they jumped all over him. "You might be a disciple of that man, but we're disciples of Moses. We know for sure that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this man even comes from."
30 -33The man replied, "This is amazing! You claim to know nothing about him, but the fact is, he opened my eyes! It's well known that God isn't at the beck and call of sinners, but listens carefully to anyone who lives in reverence and does his will. That someone opened the eyes of a man born blind has never been heard of—ever. If this man didn't come from God, he wouldn't be able to do anything."
o
The blind man sees plainly...

34They said, "You're nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us!" Then they threw him out in the street.
35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
36The man said, "Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him."
37Jesus said, "You're looking right at him. Don't you recognize my voice?"
38"Master, I believe," the man said, and worshiped him."
o
The blind man sees plainly...

39Jesus then said, "I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind."
40Some Pharisees overheard him and said, "Does that mean you're calling us blind?"
41Jesus said, "If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you're accountable for every fault and failure."
o
The religious guys were blind as a bat!!!

Religion vs God. 3 to 2. Ninth inning. Religion is winning...


Religion is usually against God.

Think of Buddha making up his own version of heaven. And teaching a convoluted way to get there.
Or Mohammed inventing a new god. And killing millions of those who knew the true God.
Or even in Christianity. Think of Catholics torturing Christians for 200 years in Spain in the 1500's. Or King Henry VIII declaring himself the head of the Church, so he could divorce his wife!

Religion has been against God more than for Him.

God came to earth as a man. And religion was against him...

But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, "Where is that man?"
12 -13There was a lot of contentious talk about him circulating through the crowds. Some were saying, "He's a good man." But others said, "Not so. He's selling snake oil." This kind of talk went on in guarded whispers because of the intimidating Jewish leaders.
Could It Be the Messiah?

14 -15With the Feast already half over, Jesus showed up in the Temple, teaching. The Jews were impressed, but puzzled: "How does he know so much without being schooled?"
16 -19Jesus said, "I didn't make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it's from God or whether I'm making it up. A person making things up tries to make himself look good. But someone trying to honor the one who sent him sticks to the facts and doesn't tamper with reality. It was Moses, wasn't it, who gave you God's Law? But none of you are living it. So why are you trying to kill me?"
20The crowd said, "You're crazy! Who's trying to kill you? You're demon-possessed."
21 -24Jesus said, "I did one miraculous thing a few months ago, and you're still standing around getting all upset, wondering what I'm up to. Moses prescribed circumcision—originally it came not from Moses but from his ancestors—and so you circumcise a man, dealing with one part of his body, even if it's the Sabbath. You do this in order to preserve one item in the Law of Moses. So why are you upset with me because I made a man's whole body well on the Sabbath? Don't be nitpickers; use your head—and heart!—to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right."
25 -27That's when some of the people of Jerusalem said, "Isn't this the one they were out to kill? And here he is out in the open, saying whatever he pleases, and no one is stopping him. Could it be that the rulers know that he is, in fact, the Messiah? And yet we know where this man came from. The Messiah is going to come out of nowhere. Nobody is going to know where he comes from."
28 -29That provoked Jesus, who was teaching in the Temple, to cry out, "Yes, you think you know me and where I'm from, but that's not where I'm from. I didn't set myself up in business. My true origin is in the One who sent me, and you don't know him at all. I come from him—that's how I know him. He sent me here."
30 -31They were looking for a way to arrest him, but not a hand was laid on him because it wasn't yet God's time. Many from the crowd committed themselves in faith to him, saying, "Will the Messiah, when he comes, provide better or more convincing evidence than this?"
32 -34The Pharisees, alarmed at this seditious undertow going through the crowd, teamed up with the high priests and sent their police to arrest him. Jesus rebuffed them: "I am with you only a short time. Then I go on to the One who sent me. You will look for me, but you won't find me. Where I am, you can't come."
35 -36The Jews put their heads together. "Where do you think he is going that we won't be able to find him? Do you think he is about to travel to the Greek world to teach the Jews? What is he talking about, anyway: 'You will look for me, but you won't find me,' and 'Where I am, you can't come'?"
37 -39On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says." (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)
40 -44Those in the crowd who heard these words were saying, "This has to be the Prophet." Others said, "He is the Messiah!" But others were saying, "The Messiah doesn't come from Galilee, does he? Don't the Scriptures tell us that the Messiah comes from David's line and from Bethlehem, David's village?" So there was a split in the crowd over him. Some went so far as wanting to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
45That's when the Temple police reported back to the high priests and Pharisees, who demanded, "Why didn't you bring him with you?"
46The police answered, "Have you heard the way he talks? We've never heard anyone speak like this man."
47 -49The Pharisees said, "Are you carried away like the rest of the rabble? You don't see any of the leaders believing in him, do you? Or any from the Pharisees? It's only this crowd, ignorant of God's Law, that is taken in by him—and damned."
50 -51Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. "Does our Law decide about a man's guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?"
52 -53But they cut him off. "Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee."
Then they all went home.

Pulling rank

We love position and power.
Across all cultures, and across all time.
In business, in government, in institutions, in politics, and yes, in religion...

The disciples were quite taken up with posturing.

1 "At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, "Who gets the highest rank in God's kingdom?"

The question could be asked this way. After you are gone, and we are in charge, which of us in going to be the pope?

2 -5"For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me."


6 -7"But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you'll soon wish you hadn't. You'd be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don't have to make it worse—and it's doomsday to you if you do.

Become like a child. Simple faith. Simple life.

In and Out of the Presence of God

Jesus lived in the presence of God.

Thus the easy attraction of praying.
It wasn't duty for Him. It wasn't show. It wasn't even to model. Prayer for him was simply being in the presence of God.

He is transformed on the mountain, but that is not startling to him. That is just moving closer into the presence of God.

He tells demons they have no right to be in a person and torment them any more. The demons leave. They have no choice. They have encountered the presence of God and there is no room for wickedness. They flee.

So what is it with us? Well, we live knee deep in muck. When we call on the power of God, it is an "other" that we are calling to.

Prayer is a chore. A duty. A responsibility. We are SUPPOSED to pray. Or maybe we pray for show.

The disciples were the same...

14 -16 "At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people. As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, "Master, have mercy on my son. He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly, falling into seizures. Frequently he is pitched into the fire, other times into the river."

This boy is in a bad way. Jesus was up the mountain. Dad brings his son to the ones who he thinks might know something about God and His power.

"I brought him to your disciples.."

Dad is full of hope. He has heard that the power of God is again in evidence in Israel.

" but they could do nothing for him."

He ends up dissappointed. Doubly dissappointed. He was unable to find the power of God directly. His religious leaders knew nothing of the power of God. Only rules and empty regulations.

So he comes to the disciples.
And they don't have the power of God either...

17 -18 "Jesus said, "What a generation! No sense of God!
No focus to your lives!
How many times do I have to go over these things?
How much longer do I have to put up with this?
Bring the boy here."
He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone.
From that moment on the boy was well."

Dad leaves - ecstatic! The boy is well. The folks around are amazed.

Guess who is embarrased!

19 "When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, "Why couldn't we throw it out?"
20"Because you're not yet taking God seriously," said Jesus. "The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, 'Move!' and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn't be able to tackle."

Let those words burn and bubble in your soul for a while!!!

Glory!


Sometimes life is mundane.
o
Then all of a sudden, there is a glimpse of glory.
I don't mean fame.
God's glory.
o
The disciples had been with Jesus for a while now.
They were beginning to catch on to who he was.
But today they get a full on experience of his glory...
o
Matthew 17
1 -3 Six days later, three of them saw that glory.
Jesus took Peter and the brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain.
His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes.
Sunlight poured from his face.
His clothes were filled with light.
Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him."
o
They were transfixed with the splendor of the moment!
Well - not all of them.

4Peter broke in, "Master, this is a great moment!
What would you think if I built three memorials here on the mountain—one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah?"
o
5While he was going on like this, babbling, a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and sounding from deep in the cloud a voice:
"This is my Son, marked by my love, focus of my delight. Listen to him."
o
Whoooooooaaaaa!

6 -8 "When the disciples heard it, they fell flat on their faces, scared to death.
But Jesus came over and touched them.
"Don't be afraid."
When they opened their eyes and looked around all they saw was Jesus, only Jesus."
o
They couldn't wait to tell the other guys!
They couldn't wait to tell everyone they knew!!
Jesus pops their happy bubble of astonished wonder...

9 "Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. "Don't breathe a word of what you've seen. After the Son of Man is raised from the dead, you are free to talk."
o
The other guys didn't have a clue!

10The disciples, meanwhile, were asking questions. "Why do the religion scholars say that Elijah has to come first?"
11 -13Jesus answered, "Elijah does come and get everything ready. I'm telling you, Elijah has already come but they didn't know him when they saw him. They treated him like dirt, the same way they are about to treat the Son of Man." That's when the disciples realized that all along he had been talking about John the Baptizer."
o
But the ones who had experienced the glory of God close up were to be changed forever...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

You're not in the driver's seat; I am

Around the World With One Question
Who’s the Boss in Your Family?

See the percentage of people in the 16 countries we surveyed who said Dad’s the boss.
Australia 43%
Brazil 67%
Canada 43%
China 57%
France 64%
Germany 42%
India 69%
Italy 48%
Malaysia 67%
Netherlands 41%
Philippines 55%
Russia 48%
Singapore 61%
Spain 55%
United Kingdom 38%
United States 42%

Jesus makes that question irrelevant...

13When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?"
14They replied, "Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets."
15He pressed them, "And how about you? Who do you say I am?"
16Simon Peter said, "You're the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

You are the boss. Our leader. The Messiah. The one the entire nation of Israel has been waiting for. AND the Son of the living God!

17 -18 "Jesus came back, "God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn't get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I'm going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
19"And that's not all. You will have complete and free access to God's kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven."
20He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah.

You're Not in the Driver's Seat

21 -22Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive. Peter took him in hand, protesting, "Impossible, Master! That can never be!"
23But Jesus didn't swerve. "Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works."
24 -26Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
27 -28"Don't be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendor of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You'll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn't pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory."

Pollution

Pollution is a big deal today. And it should be.

In our area, Lake Washington was getting horribly polluted. The municipality did something about it. On October 1, 1958, Metro Council, formed to clean up Lake Washington and reduce water pollution in King County, holds its first meeting. At the time, 14 towns and cities in King County discharge 20 million gallons of inadequately treated sewage into Lake Washington every day

Metro engineers eventually designed four wastewater-treatment plants, more than 100 miles of large tunnels and interceptor sewers, and dozens of pumping stations. This took nine years and $140 million. Metro also took over the publicly owned treatment works that were discharging into Lake Washington and connected them with treatment plants on Puget Sound.
In 1950, an eight-inch disk was visible from the surface of Lake Washington at a depth of 12 feet. By 1966, the lake had become so polluted that the disk could not be seen more than two feet below the surface. Two years later, after Metro closed the last plant discharging into the lake, the disk was visible at a depth of nine feet, and by 1993 it could often be seen at nearly 25 feet.

Pollution is real. And it needs to be dealt with.

Jesus addressed this...


14 -15Jesus called the crowd together again and said, "Listen now, all of you— take this to heart. It's not what you swallow that pollutes your life; it's what you vomit—that's the real pollution."
17When he was back home after being with the crowd, his disciples said, "We don't get it. Put it in plain language."
18 -19Jesus said, "Are you being willfully stupid? Don't you see that what you swallow can't contaminate you? It doesn't enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed." (That took care of dietary quibbling; Jesus was saying that all foods are fit to eat.)
20 -23He went on: "It's what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution."


Pollution is real. Jesus came to clean it up...