Thursday, January 17, 2013


           We have been talking about transformation lately, not at just a church level, but at an individual level as well. When I think about transformation, I think of a caterpillar creeping along a life. When the time comes that caterpillar goes and makes a cocoon. During the time in the cocoon the caterpillar is transformed into a shape that is hardly recognizable.
            Many times we may see ourselves as caterpillars just creeping along the leaves of life. We may know or have some sense that we were made for something more or something greater. But, for now, we are happy being caterpillars. We resist the change we feel called to make. We don’t want to go into a cocoon. We like things just the way they are.
            During these times we get so caught up in our own little needs and desires that we forget about the big picture. We forget that the transformation of the caterpillar produces the beauty of the butterfly. It produces a shape that has wings and can soar through the air. It produces a shape that is very beautiful and is chased after by kids and grown ups alike.
            The next time you are crawling along a leaf in life, remember the caterpillar. In God’s eyes we are all beautiful and we were made for more. We were made to transform into the image of His Son. We were made to soar like butterflies and gracefully land on the petals of beautiful flowers. We were made for His pleasure and His glory.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tradition for Tradition's Sake

Tradition For Tradition’s Sake

            These days many people have asked me to define myself religiously – i.e., put myself in a category. I usually tell them I am a Christian. More often than not, they will push the issue and say, “Okay, but what denomination?” If they do press those buttons, I usually respond, “I am really more non-denominational than anything. I am simply a Jesus nut.”
            They usually give me a quizzical look because they are not really sure what to do with “Jesus nut.” But, I have found this actually piques people’s interest for a moment, and they will listen to what you have to say for at least a minute or two.
            When I was growing up I only did the things that were traditionally seen in the ‘old school’ Church of Christ. I did not associate with other denominations because they were doing it wrong (or so I was taught). The is unfortunate because it really stunts a person’s spiritually growth and usually finds the resulting behavior running contrary to the things Jesus taught, like love your neighbor (ALL of your neighbors!).
I do love some of the traditions that I grew up with but I cannot hold to those that really conflict the idea of grace. We cannot accept things just because ‘that is the way we have always done it.’ Tradition for tradition’s sake may actually be harming our growth as an individual and as a church. Yes, there are certain ‘battlefield that we would die on’ like the deity of Christ, the exclusivity of Christ, and others, but these are rooted firmly in Scripture. Remember that we are to be fishers of men. If we are fishing for trout, we do not use the same methods or tackle that we use for catfish. But the idea (and the Message) is still the same no matter what tools we use or change.

The Black Dot

THE BLACK DOT: There was a woman’s Bible teacher named Verlin that was known for the use of the following illustration in her ladies’ Bible class. She would take a white cardboard and place a small black dot in the middle of the board.
            “What do you see?” she would ask.
            “A black spot,” was the general answer without hesitation.
            She would then ask, “What else do you see?” And many strain but could not find anything else to see.
            “You see only the spot,” she replied, which some folks thought might represent the troubles of life. Then she would point out that they had overlooked the massive white space that made up the rest of the board. She would remind them that many of us overlook the obvious or forget the many blessings we have by focusing on the minor.
            The same thing can happen in our lives when we get so engrossed in our problems, even the small ones, and forget to count our blessings – one by one. We are not able to see the forest for the trees.

Psalm 100

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.