Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are we going to pay it forward?

In Matthew 8, we encounter Peter's sick mother.  8:14-15 "When Jesus went to Peter’s house, he saw that Peter’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a fever.  Jesus touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she stood up and began to serve Jesus."

Immediately, Peter's mother began to serve Jesus and everyone in the house because she was so thankful to be well.  She understood what it meant to pay it forward.  

This week how can we pay it forward?

10. Ways you can pay it forward this week that won’t cost you a penny.
1.    Donate a pint of blood.  One pint can save up to 3 lives.
2.    Clean out your closet and donate your old clothes or sell them on eBay and donate the money to a charity.  Remember your old are someone else’s new.
3.    Offer to babysit for a couple or a single mother with young children.
4.    Help someone get healthy by offering to go for a walk, a hike, or an adventure.
5.    If you see someone stopped on the side of the road, stop to see if you can help.
6.    Instead of asking for gifts for your birthday, ask people to donate a gift through World Vision.
7.    Hug a friend and tell them something you love/ admire about them.
8.    Pick up pieces of trash as you walk down the street.
9.    Leave encouraging post it notes around the office, home, library, or grocery store.  Maybe even write a sweet note on your waiter’s credit card receipt.
10.  If you see a couple taking a selfie, offer to take the photo for them.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Telluride Comedy Festival

Last night I was asked to perform at the Telluride Comedy Festival.  Thanks to all of the comedians who helped make this show possible. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Princess of Compassion


She was awkward in every way, a tomboy at heart who despised the idea of wearing a dress.  She wanted to climb trees, play rough games, and jump in muddy puddles.  After years of trying to correct her behavior, her father the King lost hope that his oldest daughter would ever become queen. 

At night she would sneak out from the palace using the old underground passage and ask God to guide her to find the homes that were desperate and in need.  She would leave the Kingdom with her pockets filled with gold coins and bag filled with food and water.  Her mission was to find the needy people in her Kingdom and give them hope. 
Her sister knew of her little runaways but didn’t care. She was thankful her sister rejected the title of princess. She had become the family favorite and in a few years her father would leave his mighty Kingdom in her hands. 

One night the older sister was walking down the road outside of the Kingdom when she noticed an unconscious man lying among the weeds.  She guessed he had been attacked and left for dead. She poured water in his mouth and began to clean his wounds.  She made a makeshift stretcher and dragged the man back to the doctor in her Kingdom.  Fearing the doctor would notice her she knocked on his door and left the injured man on the doorstep.  She hid behind a trash heap until the doctor carried the man into his house.

The daughter knew God had delivered her to this man in need and took it as a sign of her good works.  Despite he father’s objections she continued to push aside her duties as a princess so she could focus on the people her in the Kingdom.  

For years, her father’s Kingdom lived in peace until the King’s advisor’s encouraged him to go to war with the Northern Kingdom.  The King asked, “Why would we go to war with our neighbors?  We have been at peace for over one hundred years.”  The advisor’s told the King to think about his legacy.  If he were able to re-unite the two Kingdoms, he would be seen as a hero in the people’s eyes.  The advisor’s assured the King, there would be very little bloodshed and their enemies would be crippled by the surprise attack. 

After thinking long and hard about this decision, the King assembled his troops and faithfully led them into battle.  They valiantly charged the castle in the Northern Kingdom.  The advisors had assured the King victory was in reach.  The men stormed the castle.  They burned the houses. Kicked down dorms.  Raided the palace, but it was empty.  There was not a person in sight.  The King and his men were dumbstruck.  Where were the people?

When the King began to lead his troops home he saw a great fire burning in the Southern Kingdom.  The men charged home, but found the gates locked.  Their neighbors from the Northern Kingdom had overtaken the unprotected Kingdom.  The Northern King sent word, that he would trade the lives of the women and children for the King’s life.  The Northern King was not a cruel man, but he could not allow the Southern King’s actions to go unpunished.

Reluctantly, the Southern King offered to trade his life.  He knew his youngest daughter was well prepared to rule the mighty Kingdom.  The King somberly walked towards the gallows inside of his Kingdom.  The great and mighty King was about to be executed in the gallows he built.  As the Northern King watched, the executioner slipped the noose around the Southern King’s neck.

The moment before the executioner began to lift the King towards his imminent death.  The oldest daughter ran to the gallows and pleaded for her father’s life.  In that moment, the Northern King recognized the young woman who befriended him late one night so many years ago.

The Northern King would sneak out of his Kingdom on occasion to see how the people lived.  He cared about their needs.  On this day, he was attacked on the roadside and left for dead by his attackers.  He laid on that road for days, until the older princess came to his rescue.  He never forgot this woman’s kindness or her face.

The Northern King looked down upon the Southern King and said, “Many years ago your eldest daughter saved my life and today I return the favor.  From this day forward, I want to ensure peace between our two Kingdoms.  We have more than enough.  However, I have one demand.

The Northern King said, “I will meet your demands as long as you do not harm my family.” 

The Southern King demanded the eldest daughter would rule because she had great compassion for the people. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving


Imagine this scenario:  You are at dinner with a couple friends sharing about your relationship with Christ.  You are telling them how Jesus has changed your life.  Really changed your life.  Before becoming a Christian you despised this world and hated everything about it.

The next table over hears your conversation and becomes upset.  They tell you to be quiet, but you are so filled with joy you can’t keep your feelings to yourself. For the first time in your life you wake up with hope.  Your life now has purpose.  You want to tell everyone how your life has changed.

After a few minutes, these people leave.  You think everything is fine, until a mob enters the restaurant.  They begin taunting and threatening you.  There is no Jesus.  There is no hope.  There is no reason to be thankful.

You plead with them about the goodness of God and the miracles of Christ.  However, your words only anger them.  Before you know what’s happening, they drag you out of the restaurant.  They begin to beat you.  They walk over to a near by construction site and begin to pick up large stones that being used to build a giant wall.  They pick up the largest stones they can carry.  They throw these large stones at you.  Once the people think they have killed you, they literally drag you outside the city and leave you for dead.  They are so disgusted with Christians they don’t even want a dead body inside their city.


This is what happened to the Apostle Paul.  Even after he was beaten and left for dead, he still risked his life to encourage the early churches.  In Philippians 4:6 he tells the church in Philippi, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for everything you have.”  Giving thanks is not a command, but an opportunity we have through Christ.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hope

When the word hope was first written in the Bible thousands of years ago it held a completely different meaning than it does today.  We use the word hope to signify a wish, dream, or expectation.  How many times have we driven by a police officer and said, "I hope they didn't see how fast I was going."  When we were children we hoped for gifts from Santa and our parents.  As adults we have said, "I hope he/she likes me."

The early writers of scripture did not place wishes upon God.  When they used the word hope, it meant strength or confidence.

Look at this passage from 1 Peter 3:15.  Peter who witnessed the death and resurrection of Christ is writing a letter to early Christians in Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey) who are being persecuted for their faith.  Many of these early believers are being brought before Roman officials with the threat of death if they do not renounce their faith.

Peter says, "Keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts.  Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain the hope (confidence, strength, assurance) you have."

Imagine replacing the word hope with wish.  Look at the difference it makes in the meaning of this passage of scripture.  Jesus is more than a wish.  Jesus is the risen Christ.  Through his life, death, and resurrection we find strength.   

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas gifts

For the last several weeks, I have tried to remember the best gift I have ever received.  For material gifts, it was a watch from my mother on my 21st birthday.  I still have this watch, but I have not worn it in several years.  Most memorable gift, my wife lined up a firetruck to lead us away on our wedding night.  I thought we would be doing burnouts in a 69 Camaro, but I loved the flashing lights.  The birth of our children, might be the greatest gift I have ever witnessed.  However, this is a gift that would be impossible to duplicate.

Now I am stuck, what gift can I give this year for Christmas?  Can I give someone a gift not made in China?  Is there a gift that can change someone's life?

Yes, this gift exists!!! It's called the Snuggie...oh wait its been outsourced to China.  I have nothing against China or the people that live there.  I just want to support our local economies.

What other gift can I give this year?  Patience.  That's right patience.  The world has been patience with us.  We are not perfect, but sometimes we think we are.  It's easy to patient with the ones you love, but what about the ones you loathe? 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 the Apostle Paul tells the People in Thessaloniki, "12 Now brothers and sisters, we ask you to recognize the value of those who work hard among you—those who, as followers of the Lord, care for you and tell you how to live. 13 Show them the highest respect and love because of the work they do.  Live in peace with each other. 14 We ask you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who will not work. Encourage those who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 Be sure that no one pays back wrong for wrong. But always try to do what is good for each other and for all people."

Remember the world has been patient with you.  Now it's your turn to be patient to the world.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Are you comfortble?


What do you find comforting?



When we're hurting, sick, scared, or sad, we turn to our comfort things.  I find comfort in my mother's words of wisdom.  For you, it might be a song, a place, or an article of clothing. Sometimes it means going for a run or saying a prayer.  Comfort can be as simple as a big bowl of ice cream.



What color(s) do you find most comforting?



I gravitate towards blue. Research shows colors can strongly affect mood.  If you chose green (known for being restful and restorative) or blue (believed to bring on feelings of peace and tranquility), your color sensitivities tend toward the calm end of the spectrum. Some of you might be drawn to red, orange, and yellow--if so, you find comfort in action, energy, and movement.  You are not a person who is easily restored by rest and relaxation.



What clothes make you feel the most comfortable? 



I love putting on a comfortable pair of workout shorts and a t-shirt. Smell, feel, or appearance of clothing can offer a calming effect. It's emotionally symbolic because we wrap our bodies in it. Most days, it's the closest thing we carry to our skin. 



What is your comfort food?



Nutrition is often a low priority when it comes to "comfort foods."  We are drawn to the basic, simple flavors that make us feel safe and satisfied.  These might be salty or sweet, crunchy or creamy, warm or icy--but they are always soul-nourishing.



Where do you feel most comfortable?  This can be a specific place or situation.  I feel most comfortable and energized when I am alone.



Comfort, like home, is where the heart is.  Your heart might hear the call of the ocean, or the rustle of leaves in a quiet forest.  Or your heart might not care where it is, but with whom--the special people who are the ultimate comforters of our lives.



What music do you find most comforting?



Research has shown music can have a powerful effect on our moods, including bringing forth a sense of comfort and well-being.  So whether you are a hipster listening to underground Indie Folk Rock or good ole boy listening to country, take comfort that music will always be there for you.



What activity brings you the most comfort?

I love being outside riding my bike, hiking, or snowboarding.  However, this is not for everyone.  For some people it's getting your hands dirty in the garden.  Working out at the gym might get the feel-good endorphins flowing.  Or you might find the best activity is to hear words of comfort from a trusted friend, or in the form of a private prayer or meditation.

What type of movies comforts you?

Comfort movies don't have to be comedies, but they should be upbeat enough to make us feel safe, content, and alive.  So whether you find comfort in outer space, in the arms of a handsome stranger, or in a fighter jet, pass the popcorn and be comforted. 

What can we learn from Christ?

Jesus was disliked, even hated, because he made people uncomfortable.  He did not come to pat everyone on the back.  He came to free people from legalism.  However, this legalism provided comfort for many people.  We must find comfort in the freedom and love of Christ and not judge the actions of others.