UK or U of L?

One day I was in a barbershop getting a haircut.  As you try avoiding the thoughts of a hair joke next time you see me, let me share my “spiritual” experience.

While my bushy flocks were being trimmed and thinned a gentleman walked in the shop wearing telling apparel.  He was wearing a UK hat, a UK coat, a UK sweatshirt, and possibly some unseen UK clothing as well.  I looked up and said, “Looks like we have another one of those Cardinal fans coming for a haircut.”  Everyone laughed because it was obvious that this man was on the side of the University of Kentucky!

Moses once asked the question, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”  I believe it should be obvious whose side we are on!  Our words, our dress, our drink, and most importantly, our life should scream that we are on God’s team.  Everywhere the barbershop UK fan went throughout the day folks would clearly know that he was for UK.  It’s likely that UK basketball would sometimes be part of his conversation, but even when it wasn’t he was sharing his allegiance.

“Lord, help us to be obvious Christians.  Show us ways to provide both a silent and verbal witness of our allegiance to you!  Lead us to be far more excited about the eternal things of God than the temporary things of this world.”

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Can Non-Christians Have Joy?

In 1971, the group Three Dog Night released a song that was the #1 song on the charts for 6 weeks in a row.  Here are some of the words to the song:

Jeremiah was a bull frog; was a good friend of mine.  I never understood a single word he said, but I helped him drink his wine.   And he always had some mighty fine wine.  Joy to the world; all the boys and girls, now.  Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea; joy to you and me.

It seems to me that this song contains a very misguided view of true joy and where it originates.  In the New Testament, the word “joy” is the word χαρά [khar•ah].  Throughout the Bible, joy is almost always associated with salvation. 

In Luke 2:10, the angel told the shepherds, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy….”  What was that great joy?  “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”  (Luke 2:11, NASB).  David linked joy and salvation when he prayed, “Restore to me the joy of my salvation” (Psalm 51:12, NASB).

I contend that only Christians can experience Biblical joy because only Christians have experienced salvation.  Non-Christians can certainly experience happiness in life, but happiness can come and go.  Joy is constant — it does not depend on circumstances.  I like to say it this way:

Happiness depends on happenings; Joy depends on Jesus!

If we’re going to choose a song about joy, I think the Isaac Watts version of “Joy to the World” is much better than the Three Dog Night version.  Here are the words:

 Joy to the world,  the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King.  Let every heart prepare Him room.  And heav’n and nature sing.  And heav’n and nature sing.  And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing. 

What do you think?  Can non-Christians have joy in their lives?

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Denying Jesus

denyThis morning I read Luke 22 as a part of my daily devotion. In the chapter, the Apostle Peter bragged that he was ready to die with Jesus if need be. Jesus told Peter that he would deny even knowing him before the next morning.

This whole scene made me start thinking about ways we deny Jesus in our daily lives. Can you think of ways we deny Jesus?

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Christmas to Calvary

WARNING! This video is graphic, but it will remind you why Jesus is worthy!

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The Barbarian Way

barabarian3This afternoon I listened again to Erwin McManus, senior pastor of Mosaic in Los Angeles, preaching his sermon, The Barbarian Way. Wow, what a needed reminder that I should be living on the edge for Jesus. McManus also wrote a great book by the same title.

Read this quote from his book, The Barbarian Way:

Perhaps, the tragedy of our time is that such an overwhelming number of us who declare Jesus as Lord have become domesticated–or, if you will, civilized. We have lost the simplicity of our early faith. Beyond that, we have lost the passion and power of that raw, untamed, and primal faith.

Jesus did not suffer and die so that we could build for ourselves havens, but so that we might expand the kingdom of His love….Christianity has become docile, domesticated, civilized.

God’s will for us is less about our comfort than it is about our contribution. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance. God created you so that your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life.

What about you? Can you remember how passionate you were about Jesus during those early days? Do you remember how burdened you were for your family members and friends who were not followers of Christ?

May God help us to return to that simple, unhampered, all-out, barbarian approach to following Christ!

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