Legalism

see,speak,hear no evil

Don’t miss the miracle.

Don’t get fixated on the “only one way” to find light and life and healing and power. Don’t let the miraculous wonder pass you by while you wait for things to be done your way, or the way they’ve always been done in the past.

Listen for the call.

Hear the voice of compassion.

Let faith arise and take Him at His word.

Step boldly in the direction of your dreams and His power.

Find glory in a Father who doesn’t abide by your limited expectations. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

Jesus got himself in some pretty interesting predicaments.  Seems strange to me – He could walk on water and command the winds and rain, but He never could satisfy a bunch of legalists about why He performed miracles (miracles!) on the Sabbath.

“This can’t be from God.  He didn’t keep our rules.”

Sigh… I just wish somehow… oh, never mind.

Anyway, on one occasion, Jesus healed a man who hadn’t walked in 38 years.  It took place at the Pool of Bethesda and yes, it was on the Sabbath.

And yes, Jesus had to account for his tawdry behavior.  Here’s what He said: [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

In your Christian practice, do you find yourself drawn more toward law-based living or more to grace-based living?

Students in a class I teach deal with that discussion question.  I always look forward to their answers.  Nearly all of these students are pretty seasoned in their faith, so the overwhelmingly most popular answer is grace-based living.  After all, that’s the “correct” one, right?

Nobody ever gets misty-eyed in church singing, “Amazing Law, how sweet the sound…

There are, of course, some brave souls who cop to law-based living.  Some do it as an aw-shucks-pray-for-me kind of confession.  Some try to reframe the question.  “I prefer to think of it as obedience,” one student said recently.  I like that.

Others crawfish a little more and ask questions like, “Now what do you mean by that?”

See, nobody wants to admit they’re a legalist.  [click to continue…]

{ 7 comments }

Your most trusted employee visits your email inbox with a request for a meeting.  When you find the time to get together, he discloses to you that he has a substance abuse problem that requires in-house treatment.  Upon further review, you discover that his abuse took place on more than one occasion while on the job – a fireable offense.  This is his first sign of trouble.  What do you do?

Your teenage daughter is at a friend’s house for a sleepover; you know the friend and are at least familiar with the friend’s parents.  You’re awakened at 1:20 a.m. by your daughter asking you to bail her out of jail.  The charge:  drunk driving.  This is the second time you have caught her drinking, but the first time you have had any evidence of drinking and driving.  How do you respond?

Your youth pastor has been rumored or accused of inappropriate relationships with girls in his youth groups – one former, one current – which he vehemently denies.  He explains that he was just showing Christian concern for someone who had been abused or hurt in the past, and his kindness was misinterpreted.  Nevertheless, Scripture is clear that there shouldn’t even be a hint of immorality or impurity among God’s people, and particularly leaders.  The youth pastor is very popular among the students, but has his critics among your adults.  Keeping him could leave you liable to a lawsuit or public accusation; firing him could decimate your youth group.  What do you do? [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

(Here’s a parable that didn’t quite make it to the Bible.  It’s a follow-up to the story of the Prodigal Son.  In case you missed that first episode, you can find it by clicking here.)  

When last we heard from the Prodigal Son, his loving father, and his older brother, Dad was appealing to the older sibling to come join the party.

“All that I have is yours,” he was saying – which was technically true, since the younger brat had wasted all of his part of the inheritance.

By and by, life settled down.  The older brother continued to do well, and was admired by all for his performance.  The younger son got with the program – for the most part.  Occasionally his friends and family could see some of those old streaks of self-will-run-riot in him.  But for the most part, he lived in great gratitude for his father’s forgiveness and restoration. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

You Want Me to WHAT?

by Andy Wood on April 14, 2010

in 100 Words

Dear Nurse Ratched

I just thought I should let you know that in the event I’m having symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, I probably won’t be signing in. 

I’ll be more concerned about checking out.

Of course, the whole stroke thingy is a bit dicey anyway, ‘cause I have a 50/50 chance of being unable to use my left (writing) hand.

And if I think I’m having a heart attack, I’ll assure you, you won’t be able to read my writing. 

You’ll just have to open the door and say,

“Mr. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH, the doctor will see you now.”

(Photo by Mike Tekula)

{ 0 comments }

“If only I could build an exit ramp.  Something that would allow me to escape the rules and the never-ending expectations.  Why doesn’t he realize that I’m just not cut out for this kind of life?  That he and I would both be happier if I were on my own?” 

Sound familiar?  It should.  Thoughts like that are repeated daily, as people try to define freedom in their own terms. 

We all long for authentic freedom – the power to make choices yourself, and joyfully live with the consequences.  The good news of our relationship with Christ is that He came to set captives free! Unfortunately, many believers fail to experience that freedom because they pursue a counterfeit form of it in one of two directions

In one of the most often-repeated stories in the Bible, Jesus reveals God’s heart toward His children.  It’s the story of a father with two sons – an older one who served faithfully for many years, and a younger son who longed to be “funky and free.”  Each son pursued and believed in his passion.  Neither understood the life of joy and abundance their father wanted to give them because each pursued passion in his own terms.  One sought it through pleasure, the other through outward performance.  To the younger son, freedom meant license to do what he pleased.  To the older brother, freedom meant legalistic obedience to the rules. 

At any given time, you, too, can be a Prodigal or a Pharisee.  All it takes is a desire to find freedom apart from an intimate love relationship with God.  [click to continue…]

{ 2 comments }

KFCA famous chicken franchise, run by a deceased military officer in a white suit, has a very specific, sequenced way of taking your order.  Go to any store (at least any of the ones I frequent), and it doesn’t matter what you order or how you place it, you will be corralled into the proper procedure.

She:  Welcome to KFC! 

Me:  I’ll have a three piece, original, with mashed potatoes and green beans.

She:  Is that for here or to go?

Me:  For here.

She:  Okay.  What would you like?

Me:  Uh… Three piece, original, with mashed potatoes and green beans.

She:  Okay.  Original or extra crispy?

Me:  (Bottom lip almost bleeding) Original

She:  Aaand, what two sides would you like with that?

Me:  Oh, just surprise me.

At times I’ve thought it must just be somebody’s unique personality quirk.  [click to continue…]

{ 1 comment }