Posts Tagged ‘christian love

27
Aug
09

Acts of Micro-Good Samaritanism

Yesterday just as I pulled up to a stoplight I noticed an SUV pulling a trailer and from this trailer was about 8 feet of chain dragging behind it. Right about that time a Harley pulled up next to me, the guy parked his bike, jumped off, fixed the chain, got back on his bike and we all pulled away. The guy on the bike didn’t say anything to the driver of the SUV. I considered that maybe they were a pair driving on the road together, but then within a few hundred feet he turned off the highway not to be seen again. Miles later the SUV made his turnoff as well, apparently having reached his destination, unaware that someone had done something kind for him, and that his life was improved as a result. He would never know it was even done, or the name or face of the guy who did it. The road was made much safer by this biker’s act of what I call micro-Good Samaritanism.

I wondered how long that chain had been dragging, and how many people had seen it, but done nothing. Nothing to warn the driver or even, as this good citizen of the road did, actually make the effort to resolve a potentially dangerous situation. He took no credit, did not even want it. He just performed a good deed for his fellow man.

We read the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible, in the book of Luke, chapter 10. This is one of the stories recorded that Jesus himself told. The setting is a lawyer who is asking Jesus some questions regarding going to Heaven. The lawyer knows he is to love his “neighbor,” but he asks, “who is my neighbor?” At its core the story is about human kindness and mercy. Jesus defines the concept of loving-your-neighbor-as-yourself in a parable about a guy who was mugged and is lying beat up on the side of the road. Some people walked by the man who was in dire need of medical help (including a priest!), but only the Samaritan stopped, and went out of his way to help him. Later in the story we see that he cannot stay to continue to help the man so he pays for the services and departs. It is obvious the Samaritan was busy and like many of us, was on his way somewhere that was important to him. Yet he stopped and helped, sacrificing time and money for someone who was a cultural enemy.

I am not a big fan of the term “random acts of kindness.” The word “random” is popular today, it’s one of those trendy in-fashion terms that come and go. The challenge I have is that “random” implies lack of intentionality. I suggest we make it a lifestyle to take time out of our lives, the small investment of getting outside of yourself and your world, to perform intentional acts of kindness to our fellow man.

We were on a road trip once driving through a canyon highway, and I saw a car parked on the side of the highway near the road edge where a river ran deep in the canyon. I saw a little girl sitting on the ground behind the car and some adults standing some distance away. The Holy Spirit spoke to me saying one word: “stop.” I passed the car and slowly rolled to a halt some distance ahead (I had Dina and my two very young children in the car and wanted to survey the lay of the land first). What I discovered was that a woman had thrown herself from a moving car, in distress and despair, trying to commit suicide. She was now about half way down the cliff face perched on a rock. Her family members and friends were milling about, shouting, etc. not sure what to do. The little 5-year old girl was her daughter. The 911 call required a drive up the canyon in order to get service. In the end, many calls of encouragement and hope to the woman on the cliff (she wanted to finish the job by jumping again), a valiant State Trooper, a length of rope, and loving on the little girl, ended the situation with mom being reunited with her daughter in tears and many thanks from the family. We left and continued our trip.

As we drove away, I wondered how many people had driven past on the highway and did not stop? Consider this as you go about your day today, will you be intentional about spreading the love of Christ in small ways where you may not even be known, but would bring glory to God in Heaven? What act of micro-Good Samaritanism can you do for someone else, just by opening up your eyes a little bit more to the world around you?

21
Jul
08

The Dark (K)night

Today my wife and I are in lovely Estes Park Colorado taking a few days break and enjoying each other’s company.  After 21 years of marriage she is still far and away my favorite person in the whole world.  A newspaper was outside our hotel door this morning so we perused it over breakfast.  USA Today reported that the new Batman movie will likely smash all box office records and only stop short of Titanic for overall gross revenue.  This breaks my heart.  Only a few weeks ago I spoke in church about making good media choices and to evaluate humbly before the Almighty God (who calls us to holiness) what we are consuming.  I wonder how many Mountain Springs members who said “amen” in church to good choices stood in line for hours to see this movie?  

My son (17) was offered a free ticket by some friends at church on Friday night and he turned it down.  He had seen a trailer for the movie and sensed a warning in his spirit about the film.  He wanted to see it, but opted out.  I am proud of his choice.  You may wonder if I think that seeing this film will corrupt you.  No, one film (or song, or video game, etc) will not cause you to turn your back on God and sin habitually for the rest of your life.  Now if you live in that place and feed yourself on that garbage, yes of course it will.  But I want to focus on another point, the fact that God may just well be allowing darkness to cover this land of ours. 

There have been many prophetic words of late from people I trust and who hear clearly from God, that God might well be allowing this to happen.  Due to habitual sin and turning our backs on Him and His ways, He is now lifting the hedge of protection on us.  Precedent is set for this all throughout the Bible, and having just come off of a study of the wilderness experience of the Israelites, I can see how the God of judgment in the Old Testament many times dealt with those who turned their backs on Him very harshly.  The first book written in the Bible reports an interesting exchange between God and Satan on this point.  Job 1:9-10a reads “So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?”  Then in verse 12a God says “behold all that he has is in your power…”  It appears that God places hedges of protection and blessing and then also makes the decision to lift them. 

Kay Arthur recently said that “calamity” is coming to America because we have not done the things we should as a church.  John MacArthur believes we are seeing the “debased mind” spoken of in Romans 1 right in our midst and God will do as he says in verse 28 “God gave them over to a debased mind.”  Our very own Senior Pastor Steve Holt speaks of the “restrainer” lifting off of America.  Another prophetic word from a member of our body came on Tuesday last week and said in part “It is a time similar to when the angel of death passed over the homes. It is now night time America, and you will now go to sleep in the bed you have made.” 

Which brings me back to The Dark Night…I mean Knight.  The new Batman movie is nothing short of a horror flick that pluggedinonline.com says “The Joker forces us to imagine every cut and tear. He makes Jigsaw from the torture-porn Saw flicks look positively ethical.”  Fellow Jesus followers, I say this to you – we are called to be “salt and light” and a “city on a hill” by Jesus (read Matthew 5:13-14).  We were rescued out of darkness into His marvelous light, to proclaim His praises (1 Peter 2:9).  We are called to preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone (Acts 1:8 and Mark 16:15).  We are called to holiness and yet we fill our hearts and minds with putrid garbage. 

A woman in our church wrote me an email today regarding the message I brought about redemptive and non-redemptive qualities of media we intake.  She said “Your chart has helped me nail down why I take part in certain things and not others, why we allow Cinderella but not Aladdin.  I could never explain it before.  I have always just said that God has different rules for different families about some things, and for our family, we feel He has us do one thing or the other.  Now I have a tangible way to explain it to the girls.”  So if it’s so obvious to this mom, why did so many of us “Christians” go see a flick this weekend that glorifies heinousness?  

USA Today reports that it should have been rated R – I understand most people and reviewers are saying this.  Interesting that in this same newspaper there was an article about people abandoning Christianity because they couldn’t believe that a “good” God would allow so much hurt and pain the world.  The Dark Knight’s villain “The Joker is as horrific a villain as I’ve ever seen onscreen—an embodiment of nihilism, a manifestation of pure, unapologetic evil.” And we spent over $150 million just this weekend to glorify this monstrosity.  Yet we immediately blame God for all the “bad” stuff in the world?  Does anyone see the double standard here besides me?

12
May
08

The Complainer

So I was thinking about the general nature of the complainer this week.  We had a guest speaker at church since our Sr. Pastor is in Israel (“lucky!”) and he asked the congregation in each of our 3 services “be honest, how many of you have not prayed for your pastors, any of them, even one time in the last 2 weeks?”  Most people raised their hands.  I’ll give them this, they are an honest congregation (I absolutely love this church).  He said, “so you never pray for your pastors, but when something gets said from the pulpit you don’t like or the music is not quite right you are so quick to send off an email to them and complain.”  Wow.  Being a pastor I was one part edified and another part squirming a bit.  If you are in public ministry you’ve heard it.  The complaints: too loud, I couldn’t worship, where are the hymns?, it’s obvious this is about you and not about God.  Yes I’ve heard a lot of it.  In fact, I myself am a complainer.  I complain about all sorts of things that make my life difficult, or anything that pulls me out of my comfort zone.  Just this morning my wife said, “you ought to squeeze in a bike ride, the weather is nice.”  I got up put on bike shorts and jersey, socks and shoes, and then asked “what’s the temperature?”  It was a little cold for the clothes I was wearing.  I complained because I had to change my clothes.  I did end up on a bike ride and am very happy I went.  She was right, the weather was beautiful this morning.  And I did find myself praising God for His creation which I often do when I go biking.  But I just HAD to complain at some point didn’t I?  But it seems that when people uncork on a pastor in the church, it’s quite vile.  Why do these complainers feel the need to spread so much venom (yes, venom) when they complain (actually said to me in church: “how dare you assume to know what I need to worship God”)?  Congregational church is about giving back to God (see 1 Peter 2:9); declaring His praises.  That’s the primary purpose of the church.  But some people arrive with a consumer mentality and are just flat out furious when it doesn’t conform to whatever standard they have imposed on “church.”  With the American church body rife with complainers are we really acting as His disciples and “lov[ing] one another” as Christ commanded (John 13:34)?  What do you think?   




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