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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

I wrote and read this for a large group talk on the Gospel that I gave for my students in InterVarsity about two weeks ago. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was intimately face-to-face with God. Everything that has been made was made through Him. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

Immanuel

God with Us.

This God-man, not too big for our dirt, not too holy to stay away, came to earth to be with us, walk with us, talk with us, eat with us, and breathe with us.

He touched the sick and healed the lame, turned the kingdoms of this world on their heads, and came to make way for our shame.

He came to restore that which was lost.

Intimacy with God.

A holy nation. A family.

He came to heal all of creation.

He said, “I am the Bread of Life.”

Feed on me, and you will live forever.

He said, “I am the Light of the World.”

Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

He said, “I am the Good Shepherd.”

I lay down my life for the sheep.

He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet he shall live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”

Jesus came to proclaim

Good news to the poor

Freedom for those captive

Recovering of sight to the blind

Freedom for the oppressed

The Year of the Lord’s favor

And so, in his time with us, he revealed his love, his life, and his healing for us.

But we are selfish.

Even the high priest- the one man who could go into the holiest of holies in the temple to be in the presence of the Lord did not recognize his very God when they spat in Jesus’ face.

What a dark, sad place.

So we took him, and we nailed him to a cross,

And he bled there

And there he held the weight of the world on his shoulders, all of our sin and shame, all of our selfishness and darkness.

He said he would lay down his life for his sheep so that they may not die.

This God of compassion saw us helpless to save ourselves, helpless to heal ourselves, feed ourselves, redeem ourselves, so he came to do it for us.

He preached a life eternal, one that never ends.

He spoke of life and light to replace our death and darkness.

He would no longer live without us, he had to give us a way, longed that we would know of His deep love for us.

A God willing to die so that we may live.

And in his last breath, he spoke the ultimate grace:

“It is finished.”

No more do we need to run to our witch doctors and magicians, to our elixirs and salves. No more do the temporary fixes have to fake any fix at all because,

It is finished.

Our constant striving for the best life for me, Me, ME can end.

Our broken hearts from broken relationships have hope to mend.

The pressure’s off.

We don’t have to save ourselves from death,

Because after it was finished, we had a Risen King.

Our old life dies in Jesus’ death and our new life rises in Jesus’ life.

Three days later he set in motion a reversal of all the mess we had made.

He rose from the grave.

A God who does not stay dead.

That’s a God I want to follow.

That’s a God I want to know.

 

So when I’m asked, “why Jesus?”

I say because I know who I would be.

Without Jesus, I would fatherless.

I would be brotherless and sisterless.

And my mother would be nothing like a mother at all.

We’d all be drowning in our broken family, broken identities.

I know that I would seek the love of men in a way I could never return from.

I know that without Jesus I would hate myself.

I would be ugly, inside and out.

Without Jesus, I would be hopeless for rescue.

Nothing would be good enough to heal my heart.

I would fill myself with ways to satisfy like a smoldering oven, the never-ending need for fuel.

I would be empty and brokenhearted.

 

But I’m not.

God came for me.

He chose me.

He rescued my dad from

13 years of drug addiction

and “snap” like that,

our lives are changed forever.

One year old baby Bridget would never know

Life without a father

Life without Jesus

Life without Rosemary and Luke

I would never know divorced parents, or a dad in prison.

My father visits men in prisons and psyche wards, to share the story

Of a God who loved him enough to come for him and save him

A God who had a plan to restore our lives and relationships.

That’s why Jesus.

Because even in our sin he comes.

Even in our selfishness he makes all things new.

 

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There’s this story in Luke, of two sisters who invite Jesus into their home. Mary and Martha. As the story goes, Martha spends time rushing about, making sure things are perfect for Jesus. Mary, on the other hand, just sat at the Lord’s feet to listen to his teaching. Martha complains about this because she feels like Mary has left her alone to do the work. Jesus responds in a peculiar way.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

My whole life I believed I was a Mary. I mean, I’m Bridget Gee, the one who has loved God since birth! And maybe before the age of seven, I was Mary, but things changed. I’ll adress that in a bit. But recently, in telling my mother about this thought, she immediately responded, “Oh no, I always thought you were a Martha.” Even though I agree with her now, it shocked me that the person who knows me most would consider me Martha my entire upbringing, and not tell me.

I guess things are better left to be learned independently. Oh, but if only I had had a Mary around- someone who wasn’t concerned about being perfect or put together, but someone who just longed to be in Jesus’ presence all the time. Maybe I would have noticed my ways then.

Or, maybe not. God is good, so he worked out this discovery in His time and not my own. I mean, like Martha, I’m a ‘get ‘er done’ type of gal. I want things fixed as soon as possible. I want things in order right now, and always. So naturally, I would have liked God to take care of this issue inside of me a long time ago.

But I neglected to notice that the way I began to live my life was the opposite of the Gospel. This year was the first year that I began to notice how Martha I have been for most of my life. When I was small, something shifted in my belief system that altered the way I functioned as a child of God until this very year.

I got it in my mind that I wasn’t a good enough Christian. I thought that I would start earning my salvation by praying the right prayers everyday, doing the right things, getting the best grades, listening to only Christian music, being a good daughter. I thought that these things would give me God’s favor and that I would rise in the ranks of my Christianity, that He would accept me more, love me more, give me more. That doesn’t sound like the free grace that the Gospel offers, does it? I won’t get into what shifted my child-like thinking, but I started to walk down this path of bondage at age seven.

Fast forward to age 23. 16 years of that. Imagine. Sixteen years, I tried to be good enough for God, for my parents, for my friends, for my church, for my school.That kind of life will never bring freedom to anyone. I felt trapped, never measuring up, started to cope in sinful ways, and felt even more trapped, bound by a life of slavery, a life of performance, and engaging in death too often.  It took sixteen years for me to get sick of it.

In this story, Jesus shows Martha the difference between her choice and Mary’s: being at Jesus’ feet is the only thing we need. It’s the only thing that will last. Martha chased empty and temporary things in order to please Jesus. But Jesus didn’t come to be served dinner. He didn’t come so that we may please Him. It was already too late for that. Instead, Jesus came so we may sit at His feet and listen and be healed. He takes care of the rest.

You know what’s funny? It’s not like Martha was left to her destructive ways. Jesus made sure to take a moment and teach her the most important thing. Even in her hurry and scurry, in her choice to not sit at Jesus’ feet, he still took care of her. In a couple short sentences, he cuts to the root of the matter,

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Even now, hearing these words to Martha, these words to me, I struggle. Let me translate what Jesus might be saying to me in this “in between” time in my life.

“Bridget, you are worried and upset about many things:
– money, paying your bills, gas for your car, even eating!
– raising enough money to start your work on campus
– feeling at home, being new, not feeling comfortable, being rejected
– failing and what people will think
But Bridget, even if you had all those things, they could be taken away from you at any moment. You only need one thing. To be at my feet. To hear my words. That can never, ever, be taken from you. And if that need is met, you will be more than taken care of.”

I’m gonna be honest with you guys. Even though I have been learning this lesson since about May, I’m still horrible at just sitting at Jesus’ feet. Sixteen years of habitual performance is hard to shake. But how else am I going to be healed of the hurts in my life unless I sit at Jesus’ feet?

How am I ever going to be someone who trusts the Lord in all things unless I practice now? Right now, I have nearly no other choice than to trust him. I can rely on nothing else. No matter how much I try to hurry around and get things in order so that I can feel secure, valued, and loved, it will all fail. Only being in relationship with Jesus and being in His presence will bring me security, worth, and endless love.

In this time in my life, where things are not secure, where I don’t feel the love of thousands of friends, where I’m just not sure what the heck I’m doing here, I feel invited to sit at Jesus’ feet. I feel invited to be Mary, like I always thought I was. I want to know Jesus, I want to hear his words over me, I want his everlasting goodness to wash over my wounds, my sin, and heal me forever. I want to fall in love. I want to have the kind of peace that Mary has- she knows she doesn’t have to do anything to make things right around her house. She knows her place- it’s not in the kitchen, it’s at Jesus’ feet.

What a wonderful God who loves me so much that He would rather me spend time with Him than prepare Him dinner. What a God who loves me so much that he would invite me to come to Him when I’m a mess, trying to do everything I can to raise enough money, to do my best at this staff worker thing, when I feel like I can’t do it alone. He still wants me.

So I’m admitting it once and for all, I am Martha! But let’s see if in a year from now I’ll want a name change…

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Let’s get serious. This is my Big Girl Blog, after all.

When I was younger, and even into high school, I had a shameless faith. I remember being in Sunday school, singing simple songs about a Savior that was so big, so grand, and so great. I believed in the deepest parts of my four year old heart that that GIANT God intimately loved me, even more than my parents did, more than anyone did. I believed that He loved everyone and wanted everyone to love Him too. That belief led me to just NOT SHUT UP ABOUT IT for years and years and years. I could not stop talking about my Jesus with friends and teachers and coworkers and everyone I met. I knew that my God was big enough to heal all their hurts, make their lives new and bright like mine, and make sure they knew how much they were loved by the God of the Universe!

This year, I have missed that girl, who does not forget her Maker and what He is capable of.

For a while now, I have been struggling in my faith. Maybe it’s just a part of getting older, being exposed to the darkness of the world, the darkness of my own soul through self-awareness, and laziness. Forget the ‘maybe,’ it’s all three of those things. Life has been a journey (and don’t get me wrong, my life has been a blessed one), but I strongly believe that everyone’s deepest hurt is just as deep as anyone else’s deepest hurt. My hurt is all I know, and I know that it has led me to sin in ways I never thought imaginable. My hurt has made me weak and I have become a person who does not run into that wonderful, big, GIANT, grand, loving God’s arms when I need strength.

Pause. Let me tell you a story.

The book of Daniel in the Bible has a recurring theme: God will always win.
That’s my paraphrase, anyway. This book is crazy. Give it a read sometime. Daniel is about Daniel’s experience as an exile of Judah who is forced to serve the king of Babylon from a young age. Through God’s favor and spirit in Daniel, Daniel gains favor over and over again with each new king by interpreting dreams. Daniel is faithful to his God. Through all obstacles, Daniel prays everyday to Yahweh, he gives all the glory to Yahweh, and he lets his God do work in this foreign land in which he is essentially enslaved. Over and over again, the Babylonian leaders are humbled through seeing Daniel’s God work. Many times, they say this about Daniel’s God:

“his dominion is an everlasting dominion, it will never be destroyed.”

Essentially, God wins.
And this is the God that I believe in: a God who would let some of his sons be exiled and enslaved in another country in order that He could be given glory in that country. A God who shows up when his sons are being thrown into a fiery furnace. They were not burned. A God who gives the prideful king of a foreign country a dream for one of his sons to interpret so that that nation might glorify him.

Over and over: “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, his kingdom will last forever.”

That’s the God that little Bridget believed in. That’s the God that little Bridget wanted her friends, family, and teachers to know. A God in control. A God that shows up. A God that saves. A God that would do anything to win you over. A God who is SO BIG that it’s terrifying, and yet still loves you.

I guess I haven’t stopped to remember my God and all the good he’s done for me already. My mighty God who is in control, and only has an adventure in store for me. Like Daniel, I hope that even if I am taken into a place I don’t want to go, that I could still be faithful to my Big God who is in control.

God is still God, no matter where I am. He still has a plan, even when I have no clue. He still knows what’s up, even when I feel at a total loss.

Did you ever consider that when you make life about you and your situation, that you’re greatly minimizing your world? When you make your life about Jesus, then the possibilities are endless! You can become a person who interprets dreams for the nations. You could become a tamer of lions. You could become someone who turns the world’s most powerful kings to the Lord Most High.

That is what I MUST do. I MUST let God be who He is! If I don’t, then my world shrinks to nothing. The possibilities end where my own capabilities end. Without God, I am nothing. Literally. I wouldn’t exist.

Just talking about this, reading the story of Daniel, and thinking back on who God is has already built up my faith some more. Lord, pour it down on me. I can’t get enough of you.

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Yesterday, I saw Disney’s Tangled in theaters with my little brother Luke. Throughout the movie, I attempted to hide my tears. For some reason, and I don’t know at what point I became such a softie, the movie broke my heart. So, it’s a retelling of the story of Rapunzel and her hair. She is a kidnapped princess and every year, her King and Queen parents have a festival on her birthday hoping she will see the lanterns everyone releases into the night sky and come home to them. I just downright bawled throughout the scene where Rapunzel makes it back to her  kingdom and sits in a boat watching all the lanterns in the sky that are there for her. And she doesn’t even know it. They are there for her! All those lights, every year, are released into the sky with the hope that they will bring her home. It’s a romantic setting, so Rapunzel and her man friend Flinn sing a song with lyrics something along the line of, “I’ve finally seen the light.” Now, I know they were eventually referring to each other, where they both realize that they want to be with each other forever blahblahblah. But, I couldn’t help but think of the story of the Prodigal Son that Jesus tells in the book of Luke. Tears streamed down my face when the King and Queen are finally reunited with their lost princess.

I think a lot of people are familiar with the Prodigal Son story, but I will summarize it again. So there’s this rich father, and one of his sons is tired of living at home, so he asks his dad for his share of the inheritance now. And the father obliges, even though his son as good as considered his own father dead by requesting the money. The father lets his son go, and he waits everyday, looking out toward the road, to see if his son will come home. Meanwhile, the selfish son squanders his inheritance and is reduced to eat with the pigs. So eventually, he conjures a plan to go home and ask his dad to work for him, as a servant. But, when his father sees him from far off, he goes running, throws his robes and ring on his finger, and throws a huge party with lots of food.

We are the Son, and God is the Father. Go figure.

In Tangled, Rapunzel’s parents had a festival EVERY YEAR on her birthday in hopes she would return. There’s a heartbreaking scene right before they release the first lantern where the King and Queen look into each others’ eyes in hope and despair. It was the 18th year. When Rapunzel finally realizes she’s the lost princess, she goes home, and before that, she even claims that she will fight for the rest of her life to get there if she has to. After she arrives, there’s a HUGE party. And the entire kingdom was waiting expectantly.

I had plans to write this blog before I saw Tangled. However, I thought it was worth noting because it was such a good representation of God’s character. Before I dive into this, let me explain where I’m coming from.

This summer and this past semester, I grew to know a part of God I never knew before. I like to call it the “Charlie Brown” factor. There’s this great quote that I joke is the “story of my life.” Charlie Brown says, “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.” And boy, have I experienced that! I mean, most of my life I have experienced unrequited love. In fact, I’m not so sure it’s over. I tend to love a lot more than most people. It’s just my thing.

There was a moment this summer that I was heartbroken over some friendship issues. It was painful and I didn’t know what to do. What occurred to me was how heartbroken I was from problems with one friend, how much more God must hurt over the billions that reject him on a daily basis. Realizing this deepened my heartbreak, but also deepened my need to love well. For God’s sake, I want to love people who reject me, who don’t love me back.

It’s EXHAUSTING.

Then, as I have mentioned, my boyfriend broke up with me in November. I was in love. He wasn’t. Major heartbreak. More than ever though, I believe that my heart got closer to God’s. Just think about it. He is the biggest most rejected being EVER. He is so madly in love with us, because he KNOWS US. He knows every little thing about us, because he made us, and he just couldn’t be crazier about us. That’s why he wants us to love him back so badly. He carries the Universe’s biggest torch (maybe that’s what the sun is…). As a Sovereign God, he has the compassion, grace, and love to respect our decision to accept or reject him. What a gentleman. So, what could I do but respect the people I love’s decisions to reject me and not love me back? It hurts so bad. It is probably the most painful thing, not being loved.

But the fact that God deals with that on such a grander scale just totally blows my mind. And I apologize to Him for it, and I tell Him I will love Him hard everyday for the rest of my life to make up for it. Luckily, he doesn’t need us, so it’s not like he’s starving for love and becoming emaciated for lack of love. He’s God. He doesn’t need us, he wants us. More than anything.

And not only is Jesus a gentleman, he’s a hero too. He would send out lanterns and sit and wait, and look towards the road everyday, he would post signs and have press conferences and knock down mountains for your love, for you to come home. He hopes and waits everyday. He gives you chance after chance to turn around and see him. But, he won’t force you. And you may be kidnapped and have NO IDEA he’s not that far, waiting for your return. Or you may have blatantly got up and left, and you are trying to find love elsewhere. But he’s doing things, he’s whispering in your ear, he’s trying to grab your attention. He’s so relentless. He’s madly in love.

I’ll leave on this note. There’s this song by my favorite artist JJ Heller called, “You Would Love Me Too.” The chorus goes,
La la la la la
I love you
Ooh, I really do
If you ever paid attention
I think you would love me too.

Think about all the times you’ve been rejected whether by a friend or more than that. When I’m heartbroken, I hardly eat. God gets that. He totally understands. Give God a chance. He’s the best thing you could ever invest your heart in.

THE BEST THING EVER, I promise. He’ll throw you a major party. And he’s waiting expectantly. He always hopes. So, give him a chance. He’s given you endless.

I dare you.

P.S. Most of the Old Testament is documented history of God’s unending love and grace and the constant rejection he faces.

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all of your sins were broadcast on the 5 o’clock news?

When I was nannying, I asked Angie if she knew what a sin was. She had never heard the term before. I think, in most cases, people see the word sin in a hellfire context. But here’s how I see sin: anything not glorifying God. So, every single little thing and every huge thing counts. Every tiny little lie you said to avoid hurting someone’s feelings, every time you’ve hurt someone’s feelings, if you’ve ever hurt yourself, if you ever took anything without asking, gossip, terrible words, murder, adultery, unforgiveness,  and that      whole      world    of      thoughts.

Just imagine being exposed.

A great person turns into a fraud. A hypocrite. A liar. A cheater. Heartless. A pervert.

Imagine! I thought about the implications of this. I can’t even count all my sins, or even pin point them. But I have a LOT. Endless amounts atoned for and maybe just forgotten. It’s shameful. If everyone I knew watched that news story, no matter how long it is, I may have every person turn their back on me. No one would trust me anymore. Would they? People may be repulsed by me. I would be alone.

Seriously. Think about it. What if that happened to you? Would the people in your life have much reason to want to stick around? Despite all of your sins? No. We humans walk away from bad people. We lock ’em up. We shake our heads in shame. We cut those ones off.

The guy on the radio who I heard ask this “what if?” followed it closely by, “then, we’d have no choice but to cling to Jesus.” At that moment, what has been taught to me over and over in my life was reaffirmed: Jesus is the only one who will always be there for me. He will never leave me.

Jesus was blameless, yet he took the pain and guilt of my sin (past, present, future) upon him, and died with it. He was burdened beyond belief with our problems, our faults, our screw-ups. Jesus sweat blood, he was so stressed. Jesus’ back was torn up on my account. On your account. He was spit at, ridiculed, hurled insults and lies. And he died for them too.

Imagine.

My Savior, put on the cross for a fake offense, and he is

torn

apart.

If all of my true offenses were laid bare, how would justice be sought?

Luckily, justice was sought for all my offenses (and yours). Jesus got up three days after his death, and left the sins behind. I no longer have to account for those. I don’t have to live in shame. I cling to Jesus, because he knows me, and loves me despite my repulsiveness. (And if you’re reading this, and you’re thinking, BG, you’re not repulsive you’re wrong. I am, and so are you. Anything that is unholy has no value. Again, Jesus is the way we get through this. In Him, we have value, forever.)

Thank God the atonement for all of my wrongdoings wasn’t left to the world! I would be eaten alive! I would be burned at the stake! I would be charred to a crisp! There would be no hope. There would be no second chance. There would be no grace. And I need all of that to survive.

So thank you Jesus, that you love me still. Because I am not good.

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In 1954, the Swanson Food Company made a good entrepreneurial move by creating the TV Dinner. Television was becoming a booming form of entertainment, and apparently freezers were becoming more common as well. In my opinion, this changed everything in American society forever. After TV dinners, the time that was taken to make a quality dinner was cut in half for a mediocre meal that you could eat in front of the Boob Tube.

While I’m glad for wonderful inventions that make the world go faster, like high-speed wifi, I hate the attitude this generation has about instant gratification. I was expressing this to a close friend over a year ago now and his was response was, “It’s all because of TV dinners.” After talking to my mother about it, I came to the conclusion that he’s right. In the last century, so many inventions have shaped society to want satisfaction and want it now. The microwave made TV dinners even faster. We can get information without so much as flipping a page in a book. We get impatient if is takes 15 seconds for a webpage to upload. We want love, but we want it easy, and we want it now.

Honestly, it’s unfair for me to say this about society today and America alone. We- humankind- have always been like this. We cannot wait for the good things to come. I mean, why should we?! Good things are exciting and wonderful! We shouldn’t be able to wait! But, we should wait.

Take, for example, the Israelites who just escaped Egyptian slavery with Moses. They are out in the desert and have been traveling. Moses goes up on Mount Sinai to talk with God for 40 days. (This is when he gets the 10 commandments.) When he comes back down, the Israelites are worshiping this golden calf that Aaron, Moses’ brother, made for them. See, those 40 days that Moses was gone for, the Israelites were growing restless. They wanted something to worship, something to live for. Apparently, the God who took them from slavery and parted a sea for them was not enough. So when Moses found them in this state of craze, partying, drinking and dancing around a golden statue, he was really upset. So upset that he breaks the tablets with the 10 commandments on them. Another time, the Israelites (and take into account that these are God’s chosen people) get sick of the manna, God’s dietary provision for them while in the desert. They wanted real food, and were so desperate for it that they say they wish they were slaves again to be eating fish and fruit.  Would you ever think of going back to slavery?

We’re a lot like the Israelites today. We are so unsatisfied and long for satisfaction. We want to be a part of something good, big, important and exciting! However, we just can’t wait. We take that deep longing for quality, for the best thing, and we try to fulfill it with much shallower things!  My favorite analogy to make is that it takes sweat, time, and hard work to build a muscular body so why wouldn’t it take time to get other things of quality? Like a home-cooked meal. That should take at least an hour, from preparation to finish. Lasagna always takes 45 minutes to bake, cheesecake has to solidify over night.

Even as someone who has written a blog entry all about Jesus, proclaiming that he is the core of all my desires, he can only fulfill my deepest longings, I still have a long way to go to be in that place I long to be. And I want to be at a place where I speak tenderly to God as if he were my lover. I want to have such a deep relationship with him, that I have peace and joy in every situation. I want to be so obsessed with Him, that it changes my life, and makes me never stop telling people about Him. Everyone wants to be in love. Deeply in love, a place where they can give their all, and be given everything in return. We as humans, were made to glorify and worship. Everyone has a god. But none of those gods, unless it’s Jesus, will make them feel whole.

In Acts 17, Paul says:

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

29“Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

32When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, “We want to hear you again on this subject.”

The way Paul talks about God makes God soveriegn. Everything is because of God. He made it all for us so that maybe we’d reach out to him. He wants us so bad. He wants our worship and praise adoration because he wants to be loved back. He doesn’t need it. He wants it. And Paul makes a great point- God is different than all those other gods- he actually responds. He actually exists. He actually knows who you are and wants a relationship with you. Some people think this is bologna. But unless you know God, and have tried to know him, I wouldn’t shake my head.

Jesus is so awesome. Sometimes, his gratification is instant, but more than that, it’s lasting. And that’s my major point. It’s not a magic trick to be in love, a love like no other, with Jesus. It’s a relationship that we have to work at. And I know for some of you, that’s just not going to cut it right now.

But hear this. I was driving down the road listening to the radio tonight, and these song lyrics came on:
“Oh Tonight could last forever
We are one choice from together
You and me
Ya, you and me”
The song challenges the listener to take the chance now, to make the choice now to be a part of real love. I teared up because I know so many people that are living in selfishness, because it is so much easier to live a life of instant gratification. Whether it’s drinking or drugs or sex- things that can feel so good, they end up being really empty and pointless. I get to live this life everyday of such purpose and joy. I know real Truth. I know life and love. I don’t know a whole lot of people who don’t know Jesus and can say the same.

In John 4, Jesus meets the town slut. She’s outside the city wall, drawing water from a well at noonish, when no one else is going to be there. Jesus asks her to draw him some water, because he just walked a long way, and was tired. They are alone, he’s a man and she’s a Samaritan woman (and a sleazebag nonetheless), he doesn’t have a jug, but he still asks for water. She’s a little shocked, but the conversation quickly changes into Jesus telling her that he can give her water that will never make her thirsty again. He basically tells her, “I will quench your thirst, FOREVER.” WTF?!?!
I’m going to be honest here. This story is so important to me. For a few years now, I had such an aching heart because I wanted a man to quench my thirst for love. I wanted an intimate companion who wanted me passionately. And I had him all along! Jesus knows me. And he wants me. And he gives me love that will never go away, and never die.

So it kills me to see my peers and everyone around me copping out. Taking the easy route. The easy route does not lead you to the prize. Ever.

Perhaps I just succeeded in making you really hungry for a Michelina’s Wheels in Cheese. Truthfully, I want you to be hungry for the best meal. I really hope that your heart is aching for deep satisfaction. And I really hope that you reach out to God to get it.

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If Jesus is God, and he knew that becoming man and dying for our sins would lead him only back to Heaven, then was it really a sacrifice?

Here’s how I see it. No one else was going to do it. No one else was capable of fixing the world we screwed up. No one can fix our screwed up hearts. Until Jesus. Imagine being given an ultimatum. Either everyone dies, or you humiliate yourself to the point of death, and then everyone lives. Imagine that humiliation to be the lowest form of degradation. Is your pride too big to save the world? I know it’s a stretch, but I have a hard time believing that being God as a man was easy. I’ve said this before, but that must be so confining. In the Gospel, Jesus is tempted in every way that man is tempted. And he doesn’t fall into sin. He is given every opportunity to indulge in himself and be selfish, but he doesn’t. He’s God! Why wouldn’t he?!?!

I think that is a sacrifice. To say, I have laid out freedom for you people. I have given you the opportunity to know me and love me and be in a perfect relationship with me. It’s either me, or not. There’s no in between. I am the Right Choice. I am the Best Choice. And Jesus knew that about his Father. That he had all these choices at the tips of his fingers. He could’ve proven his divinity in a much more grandiose way, but he chose humility. He chose to be a mere man. A perfect man. He gave up his immortality in some respect. Would you do that? Would you try to win the heart of the world and save the world by giving up your super powers and being normal?

If you were superhuman, would you just let them crucify you? They told him, get down off that cross, Oh Son of God! But he wouldn’t. He sacrificed all pride. Jesus doesn’t even know pride. Sure, he knows he’ll be back in a couple days. But think about being God in that moment. Man, who has always tested you, always rebelled and ran from you, always spit in your face and cursed at you, is challenging you to be a better God. Man is the reason Jesus was up on the cross, man will not be the reason he gets down.

Maybe a Just God is also a jerky God because free-will seems to be split in two: Choose Me or Yourself. And if you choose yourself, you can’t be with me. Which is to say, eternal gnashing of teeth. But you should always know you have that choice. To chose God or yourself. And he respects it perfectly. He didn’t deserve the death on the cross. We do. Because we suck as humans. What a sacrifice my Savior made for humans who don’t deserve grace!

I am so lucky that before I was created, God wanted me. Even though he knew I wouldn’t always want him back. Why should God want such a wretch like me? I am so selfish. But he loves me. He aches for me. He is jealous for my love. And even if I rebel and turn my back, he still got up on that cross just in case I would recieve his grace.

You are my hero Jesus. Else, I’d be dying. There would be no justice.

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