Aldersgate Men

Monday, October 16, 2006

Upgrade Your Hybrid-Powered Vehicle

“Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
- Beaver, Narnia

Hybrid vehicles are the rage while gas prices dance between $2 and $3 dollars. The ability to switch from gas-powered to electric-powered can save money and even the environment.

Our Christian walk is too often a ‘hybrid vehicle’, switching back and forth between ‘powered by Jesus’ and ‘powered by Me’. Our faith walk looks like a drive through the mountains: uphill, switch to ‘JESUS’; downhill, switch back to ‘ME’. Need to pass somebody: ME; idling at a stop-light: JESUS.

The imperfection of these human bodies means that we will always be tempted with ME power – Only Jesus perfected driving this human body on JESUS power. We strive to continually reduce the amount of ME power used.

The great irony is that we struggle to hold onto our ME power while the journeys we take on JESUS power are more satisfying, not only from an eternity perspective, but often from a here-and-now perspective as well.

And many have learned that running on JESUS power is like racing a jet against a scooter. We think we know the limitations of this world – Jesus’ time on earth showed us that we have no clue. We can continue to ride our safe scooter, slow and close to the ground. Or, we can choose His jet with Him as pilot. As the Beaver in Narnia tells us, “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Choose this day to switch your power to JESUS, and strap in. You will learn to hate those scooter rides.

"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
- Luke 16:13

Sunday, October 15, 2006

An Alternative Lifestyle

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. […] A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.
—Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects

Why do so many men fail to grab the prize of a life of ABUNDANCE that is promised us if we take-up our cross and follow Christ? I suspect the reason is that most of the men who sit dutifully in the pews on most Sundays - adhere to Mr. Russells thoughts but go to church out of habit or worse - just in case God is keeping score.

This is a great tragedy

Why should I ? What's in it for me? These are the questions they (we) ask. If men - who by the grace of God have found a Christ centered life to be an ABUNDANT one - fail to share how He has transformed their life of quiet desperation into a life of ABUNDANCE then they condemn the others to live outside of the blessing they have found.

What is this ABUNDANCE you speak of? One may ask. If I become a "Jesus Freak" wont my life become miserable in exchange for some mythical reward in the afterlife - if one does exist?

In what aspects of life (family, finances, work, leisure time, health etc) does the Christ centered life provide more ABUNDANCE than one centered somewhere else?

........They are waiting to hear from YOU !

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Caves & Rainbows

I jumped on my bike today thinking about my friend Rob who hasn't been able to ride much lately due to cancer and getting hit by a truck. My Sunday School verse accompanied me:
Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who
promised is faithful."

As I made the turn at my halfway point, it started to downpour. While parts of me thought "How can I get home fastest", the rest of me was amazed that I was not only feeling the chill of the rain, but also the warmth of the sun, with bright rays shining on my side. Rather than dread a soggy ride home, I took it all in.

My 3rd-grader will tell you that when you have sun and rain, you have the ingredients for one of our earthly wonders: a rainbow. When I glanced left, sure enough there was a huge rainbow.

For the rest of my ride my mind processed everything that was going on: Rob, my verse, the rainbow.

While occasionally people think about the cleansing nature of rain, it is most often compared to bad things that happen. Few people want to 'be in the rain' (my U8 soccer team is an exception). The struggles that we encounter - like cancer, trucks, and many other things - are the downpours in our life.

As earthly men, we are taught by books like "Mars is for Men" that when men have problems, they head into their cave to solve their problems. This may get men out of the rain, but it is more often running away from the issues.

As Christian men, we know there will be struggles. Instead of heading into our caves, spurning our friends and family to solve our world's problems, we need to learn to 'hold unswervingly to the hope'. Is our faith just a hedge bet in case Heaven is real, or are we embracing the abundance He promises, regardless of the floods we might endure?

For me and my house, we will follow the example that my friend Rob has recently lived out: stand tall in the rain, with Christ's love and strength supporting us, shining bright through the rain. When we do that we become for others one of God's wonders on earth.

When we see someone wet and cold from the rain, yet smiling because of their hope in Christ's promises, they become a rainbow: a reminder of the promise, a reminder that with Christ we can stand in any downpour.

Thanks Rob for showing us the rainbow!