Mutterers Welcome

I started the Life Journal Reading Plan through YouVersion on my iPod Touch this year. It’s one of those “read the Bible in a year” type of things. What I like about it is that you get a mixture of Old and New Testaments every day.

While reading through Luke the other day I noticed something in Luke 15:1-2.

Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus was being muttered about because of the company that He kept. They weren’t the “right” kind of people. They were “sinners”. All I can say to that is thank God that Jesus keeps the company of sinners. I definitely fit into that category. We can all be thankful that what the religious leaders said was true. That Jesus “welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Here’s the thing though. Ephesians 5:1-2 reads,

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

I’m supposed to imitate God’s love through Jesus. That implies that I should also welcome sinners and eat with them. Plainly put, I should have friends who don’t believe in Jesus. That makes me (and I’m guessing most Christians) uncomfortable. We like to get in our “holy huddle” with other Christians and stay there. We would rather risk someone going to hell than risk someone muttering about us.

Two questions came to mind when I read Luke 15:1-2:

Are people muttering about me?

Am I keeping the company I should be keeping if they aren’t?

What do you think?


Rhythm

There’s definitely a rhythm to life. I’ve seen that in the few days since starting this blog. I haven’t quite reached my rhythm of writing yet. This is a new addition to my life but a welcome one. I guess it’s one way of shaking things up a bit.

What better time to shake things up than the start of a new year? While I was thinking about the new year I inevitably thought of this past year. Then the year before. Then the year…well, you get the idea. After a few minutes of that I thought…

“Geez, my life is nothing like I thought it would be years ago!”

That thought was a little distressing at first. But as I pondered it a little more I realized it was actually comforting. That thought was the confirmation of something I’ve known but is so easily forgotten in everyday life.

My life is not my own.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20.

For you those of you who follow Jesus, if you think about it, that’s extremely comforting. You no longer have to live your life. You no longer have to “try” to live the Christian life. All you have to do is let Jesus, the One Who lived the Christian life so good that they named it after Him, live through you.

Let Jesus be your Rhythm.

That’s what I’m going for in 2010.

A Father for Christmas

Christmas is here.

I love Christmas, but Christmas hurts. Christmas has always been one of those times I looked forward to all year long. I know why it’s always been that way. Dad made it that way. You see, for daddy, Christmas wasn’t just a day of the year. A lot of people talk about living Christmas every day of the year. My dad got closer to that than anyone I’ve ever known. He LOVED to give gifts. It didn’t matter to Dad how long it was until Christmas Day, he was buying gifts to get ready for it. I think my sister described it best in a short thing she wrote and gave us all a copy of this Christmas. I didn’t ask her if I could use this but I don’t think she’ll mind…

“I got to thinking about how excited daddy got when he picked out the perfect gift for someone. I remember thinking many times that I thought he was going to wear that gift out before Christmas by showing it to everyone. He would take us all to the closet and show us what he had gotten everyone else.”

That was daddy. He’s so much of the reason I love Christmas. He’s also so much of the reason Christmas hurts so much. I miss him. I’d give every present I’ve ever gotten just to hug him one more time. Every present except One.

That one Present is the only thing that makes the hurt that comes with Christmas now bearable. That one Present is also the only reason we have Christmas in the first place. He is Jesus. He is more than Enough. He is God With Us. And at Christmas, He’s exactly what i need…

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” -Psalm 68:5

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

Matt

Blank Canvas

Wow…

This is a bit overwhelming…

I’ve been staring at this page for a while with a couple of valid questions running through my mind:

“What in the world am I going to write about?”

“Who wants to read what I have to say anyway?”

To be honest, I still don’t have very specific answers to either of those questions.

So why do it, you ask? Well, I can tell you one reason why I’m NOT doing it. I don’t have any aspirations of being Blog Star (not really sure but I might have coined a title there which would be awesome). Having thousands of readers isn’t my goal. Well, that’s not necessarily my goal. Don’t get me wrong, that would be great. But if that never happens, I won’t be devastated. At least, I hope not… Hmmm… Moving on…

I miss writing. That’s one reason I started this blog. Writing was something I did for fun at one time. After a Rhetorical Grammar class, writing and fun just didn’t go together anymore. I’d like to get to the point again where writing is actually fun (FYI, I’m not quite there yet).

I love to tell the story of God. Even bits and pieces of His story sometimes don’t fit in Facebook or Twitter updates so this will be an extension of sorts for those updates. In a way, this blog will be the overflow from my relationship with Jesus. My relationship with Him is almost too private if I’m not careful so this is a small way of balancing that out.

Also, as I grow as a leader I’ll be posting and plugging stuff from guys that are shaping me on that front. There will be more to come later on that point.

I guess that’s quite enough for my first post. Thanks for reading.
Matt