Posts Tagged ‘ acceptance ’

The answer is in the ice cream truck

Have you ever needed God like you needed your next breath of air? As if you were suffocating in your own self image. Have you ever felt crucified to a way of life? You’re nailed to this place and you long to come down, to run away, to be given a second chance. You’re nailed to this place and you long for the email, the letter, the opportunity from God to step away and become the man you know you were destined to be.

I sometimes feel like that man. I found my self crying out to God this morning. “Remember me, Lord don’t forget me. Take me with you on your next adventure.” I long to see danger, confront my fear, and really know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have what it takes to ride shotgun for Jesus. To know I have been tested and molded by the hands of God himself.

Jesus was crucified next to a man that prayed the same prayer I prayed this morning. “Remember me, Lord don’t forget me. Take me with you on your next adventure.”
Why did he say remember me? The first five books of the bible were memorized by Jewish boys by the time they were 12. Scattered like stars throughout the first 5 books is the word remember. 156 times, God was either making a promise to remember us, or men and women crying out for God to remember them. 156 times of us being broken, scared and longing to be rescued from a life we know we weren’t meant to live.

We see time as something moving. God sees time as a still picture, past present and future. 156 times leading up to the cross, 156 times the pray prayed after the cross…It doesn’t matter. He heard them all. He heard me this morning.

“Lord remember me.”
Looking into the thieves eyes Jesus saw mine, he saw yours.

“Remember me, remember me.” It was the codeword, the hot button, the send in the troops because I’m dying catch phrase.
Remember me = God I’m nailed to a place I don’t want to be. I’m suffocating in my self image and I need you more than I need my next breath of air.

Jesus’ answer, “I tell you the truth , today you will be with me in paradise.”

What does that mean? Jesus was a Rabbi. A Rabbi was a very adventurous, respected teacher of the Jewish Bible. They would travel from village to village teaching people how to live what the bible said. These rabbis only taught what they were taught. They never offered any ideas of there own. Among these rabbis was a VERY small group, who had what ancient jews called “s’mikah”.

S’mikah was the God given authority, to explain new ideas of what Gods word means. Rabbi’s with Smikah would say, “you’ve looked at what God said through these lenses all of your life, try looking through these lenses. You’ve been taught the bible means this all of your life, but I tell you it really means that.”

Jesus rolled with this Smikah, and whenever he was going to teach something new , whenever he was ready to blow peoples minds, whenever he was ready to hand them this new lens, he would say “I tell you the truth”.

“I tell you the truth.” It was like the ice cream trucks theme song. Da di nit a lint a dint ta dint, Da dint da dint da dint ta! Kids would spring up with dreams of ice pops, chocolate Sunday lovers would start salivating, and a whole community would gather to offer their hard earned dollars for the soft serve on a hot summer day.

So here we have the thief on the cross asking Jesus to remember him and all he hears coming out of Jesus’ mouth is, “Da di nit a lint a dint ta dint, Da dint da dint da dint ta!” Jesus was about to literally hand him a vanilla ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles.

“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Paradise? What does that mean? The original Hebrew word for Paradise is Gen Eden. It refers it The Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was a place where adam and eve walked in harmony with God. Jewish people call it “olam haba.” It was a place where God made us in his image, a place where we reflected the beauty, creativity and wonder of God. In this Garden we were pure, whole, and complete. We lived a life of love and adventure and we definitely rode shotgun for Jesus.

Today you will be with me in paradise = The adventure starts today kiddo.

It was the answered email, the letter he was waiting for all of his life, the opportunity to step away and become the man he knew he was destined to be. Maybe our destiny and adventure begins at a cross. Maybe it begins when we realize we need God more than our next breath of air. Maybe it begins when we ask God to remember us.

Mother Theresa’s Simple Path

I just finished reading, “A simple path”, by Mother Theresa. One word,…Amazing.  I to0k notes on some of the things I learned from the book.

“Let Jesus use you without consulting you.” Mother Theresa

“God give me the strength to accept what is in your plan for me.” A dentist that volunteers with the order

“God is so busy with us, you just can’t resist him.” Sister Delores

“One volunteer had a tough time in Calcutta, he felt he didn’t do much besides sit with people, feed them, and stroke them while they died. When asked by a sister how he got on he said, ‘I was there.’ She said, ‘What were St. John and our blessed mother doing at the foot of the cross.'” Sister Theresa

“People often ask me, what I think about homosexuals, I always answer that I do not judge people.” Sister Theresa

These are just a few that really inspired me. Throughout the book I was challenged to live my faith and grow closer to God. One thing she mentioned over and over again was the fact that she didn’t preach to people, she loved them. She showed up, shut up and went to work and expected her volunteers to do the same. I agree with much of the way she lived her life and hope to one day have the courage to live as bold as her.

I was out celebrating mother’s day with my own mom yesterday and we got to talking about Mother Theresa. My dad said, “You know it’s a shame that Princess Diana died the same time as Mother Theresa, she took all of the Media and Attention.”

I thought about that a little. You know. I think Mother Theresa would have preferred it exactly the way it happened. She didn’t life a life of glamour and recognition. She lived a life of shadows and secretly loving people with no one watching. Even though in my soul I would have liked to demand her more honor, I know her humble soul wouldn’t allow it.

May God help me not to walk a path that is complicated, media driven, recognition craving and very lonely. May he help me learn to walk a simple path.

Cain and a pile of horse crap

Matthew 5:21-24

21″You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother[b]will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[c]’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23″Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

I have been doing a considerable amount of thinking about this. I know I have been angry with my brother. I know my brother may have something against me. I guess that means I am subject to judgment and the things I long to offer God need to be put on pause. I wonder if God puts our relationship on pause until things are squared away between me and my brother. Weather or not that is true, I do indeed feel like I am in a life “pause”. And it sucks. I am fighting with everything in me to move forward but I can’t.

Genesis 4:1-7

1 Adam [a] lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. [b] She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth [c] a man.” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel.
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Way back, way-way back ever since the days I learned the  “Jesus loves me this I know” song, I was taught this passage was  a  right offering to God.  The sunday school teacher would say, “God wants your first, God wants your best and He won’t accept anything less.” I would think as a little kid,  “That is horse crap.”  As I got older and more mature in the  faith, the pastor would say, “God didn’t accept Cains sacrifice because God demanded a blood sacrifice and Cains agriculture just wouldn’t  do.” I would sit back and think, “Thats horse crap.”

The truth is sometimes my first isn’t my best, and  isn’t  God more pleased with the heart of the giver, not the  gift the giver gives? What if the Garden wasn’t about Able outperforming his brother and winning Gods attention. What if this whole dramatic scene wasn’t about a blood sacrifice? What if it was simply Gods way of trying to reunite two fighting brothers?

If we were to put the story of Cain and Able in Matthew 5, it would sound like this…

Matthew 5:22-24/Genesis 4

But I tell you Cain, you are angry with your brother Able and that subjects you to judgement. Sin is crouching at your door and it desires to have you, but you must master it.
“Therefore, I see the gift you are offering, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. If you do the right thing wont you be accepted?

What if God didn’t accept Cains offering, not because it wasn’t the first, or because it wasn’t a blood sacrifice, but because Cain wasn’t right with his brother Able. It would kind of put a brand  new spin on the whole thing. I ask God for ideas, ways, things to do to be reconciled to my brother. Because until I do my life is on pause,  I guess my acceptance is on pause, my relationship with God is on pause. The only way out of this pause is Murder, or Reconciliation. I choose reconciliation. How about you? Who knows, this too could just be a bunch of horse crap.