February 8, 2012
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So I heard this true story about this guy who was homeless. He was always completely naked, running around and terrorizing people. All day and all night, he ran around the cemetery, cutting himself and howling like a dog. Sometimes, people would catch him and try to chain him down, but he broke the chains every time. Crazy. For real.
And then he met Jesus. Jesus cast a legion of demons from the man and he was immediately sane. Then he went to the neighboring ten towns to tell everyone what Jesus had done for him. Of course, everyone who heard was amazed. (Read the entire story here.)
These are my thoughts:
1. If Jesus can change this guy’s life, don’t you think he can change yours?
2. When Jesus changes you, he expects you to tell your story.
3. Jesus sees who we can be in him, not who we are by ourselves.
4. I am quick to judge about whether Jesus can change someone. I believe it, but I don’t always act like it.
5. Churches and Christians should stop expecting people to change before they know Jesus. It’s not going to happen.
6. If you’re messed up, Jesus can change you. If you know someone who is messed up, keep praying. Jesus can change them, too.
January 9, 2012
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I didn’t sleep much last night, but I felt good this morning. I was spiritually charged and ready to go. After spending a lot of time in the Word last week, I felt ready to conquer anything. My bronchitis is starting to subside as well, so things were looking up.
I will say I was even feeling super-spiritual. I didn’t turn my radio on, because, I thought, why would I listen to sports talk when I can talk to God? Hey, I can tweet that later and get some retweets! So I was praying for prayer warriors for the church. I was praying for my family. And all along, I could feel myself growing stronger in the sense that I could take on anything today.
God used a bad driver to quickly put me in my place. I slowed down so the bigger-than-life blue hoopty-mobile could merge. The driver continued in the merge lane. I flashed my lights. The driver put his blinker on. I flashed my lights again. The driver continued in the merge lane. It was at this point that I yelled a few choice things to my newest enemy of the road.
Immediately, all my super spirituality flew out the window faster than the words came out of my mouth.
Let’s just say that I’m thankful for God’s grace. This holiness thing is not easy.
January 17, 2011
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Before I dig into some lessons we can learn from Ted Haggard, I must mention a couple of things. First, this post assumes you know about Ted Haggard, his fall, and his starting another church. Second, this post will not address “the scandal” or whether or not he should be pastoring a church. The latter should be discussed because it is important. However, that is not the focus of this post.
The Ted Haggard story serves as a warning to all pastors and leaders in the church. Everyone is only one choice–one sin–away from being in a similar situation to Haggard. I would contend that every Christian struggles with some sin; maybe not on such a large scale as Haggard, but a sin nonetheless. So I withhold my judgement, understanding my own heart and the capabilities I have to be evil. All pastors and church leaders should be as cautious.
The Ted Haggard story focuses on grace and redemption. So many, including myself, can be quick to judge a pastor who has fallen. We tend to only want to offer grace and redemption to those who haven’t accepted Christ yet. It’s not your choice! God has offered grace and redemption to all, including Christians who have sinned. Should we sin more so that we will have more grace? No chance! But that grace is still available when we do sin.
The Ted Haggard story serves as a warning to churchgoers. I was watching the TLC special on Haggard and his new church. One woman who came to the new church said, “I’ve always followed Pastor Ted, and I always will.” Red flag! We’re not supposed to be following the pastor. We’re supposed to be following Jesus! While it’s commendable to put your trust in a person, it’s not that smart. People, including pastors, can and will fail you at some point. Putting your trust in Jesus is the only way to salvation and the only way to ensure that you won’t be let down.
Have any more lessons we can learn from this tragic story?