Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Paul was a fool

Paul said it about himself several times in 2nd Corinthians (especially chapters 11 and 12):

11:1 "I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that."

11:17 "In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool."

11:21b "What anyone else dares to boast about - I am speaking as a fool - I also dare to boast about."

12:11 "I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it."

The people of the Corinthian church drove Paul to use sarcasm because they questioned his authority as an apostle. Paul boasted about himself (as a fool would) to show them that he had the authority as an apostle so that they would take him seriously. There were false teachers speaking negatively of Paul and apparently there were a group of Corinthian Jesus followers who started questioning his legitimacy as an apostle.

Paul stooped to sarcasm to legitimize his ministry. Paul loved the church so much that he had to defend himself in a way that would get them to take notice. Sometimes we have to stand up to the forces that oppose God's calling on our life, even if that means using sarcasm as a weapon.

More times than not, sarcasm is a detriment to the faith and to the goodness of God, however, it is a relief to find that there is a place for it in the church when used correctly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Discipline and Choices

Colin Cowherd said this morning that its not the most intelligent, or most gifted, or most talented people that are the most successful, its those who are most disciplined. He went on to say that with so many choices before us in our culture, discipline is even more important. I couldn't agree more.

Colin is not one of the most spiritually mature individuals in the world, in fact, some of you might be offended by some of the things he says. But I immediately connected with this. It convicted me.

I think it is harder to be disciplined when there are more choices we are faced with. Its not easy to be disciplined, its often easier to eat fast food then it is to make and bring your own lunch. Its easier to sit down and watch TV then it is to get up and exercise or read. Its easier to get extra sleep in the morning then it is to get up and read scripture and pray.

Discipline always involves a choice. God help me to make better choices.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I don't have to be here...

I recently attended a required event for continuing in ordination as a United Methodist Pastor. They brought in presenters to talk about various aspects of being a pastor. The pastor that presented on preaching said at the beginning: "I know you are required to be here, I know you have to be here, but I don't, I am not required to be here, I'm here because I want to be here. And I want to be here because I believe preaching is the single most important thing a pastor does. I'm here to help you be better at it."

She had my attention. I loved how she acknowledged our predicament and at the same the same time communicated her own passion for what she was about to teach us. I don't like anything "required" of me. It just seems forced and I naturally rebel against it. But anytime someone can acknowledge where you are and let you know with sincerity that they aren't going to waste your time, it gets your attention.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Halloween Shaft

When I was a kid, I always wondered why Halloween wasn't considered a holiday (to be honest, I still wonder that sometimes). Forget the lack of a legitimate historical event to perpetuate the day. Lets face it, people get dressed up, put out decorations, have parties and give and get candy on Halloween, these sound like perfectly legitimate reasons for it to be considered a holiday. On an official calendar level, Halloween gets shafted. However, on a practical level it is treasured (just look at all the pictures your friends post on Facebook after Halloween).

While growing up I was always more excited about Halloween than I was Thanksgiving. On Halloween you get to dress up, stay up late and watch scary movies, all while getting and eating too much candy. Honestly, it was the candy that set Halloween as a more revered time than Thanksgiving.

Don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving...in fact, I try to practice it everyday. On the other hand, practicing Halloween everyday might be a little too much (except for the eating candy part). Actually, if you think about it, we do practice Halloween everyday...the pretentiousness, facades and lies we display are just a different kind of mask.

Some people think Halloween is evil. I can see that side of the argument. For me though, the everyday practice of it will always be more poisonous than October 31st.