Undercover Boss

Blogs about Heather, jesus

One of my teens said the most BRILLIANT thing the other day, that I feel like I MUST share.

Jesus was an “Undercover Boss.”

You’ve seen that show, right?  The CEO of a company goes “undercover” and starts from the bottom of their company, learning about their company’s strengths and weaknesses.  Then the CEO redeems the company by gifting its hard-working members and bettering the company as a whole.

Jesus did that!  Jesus sunk down as the lowest of the low: “Hey ya’ll, I’m just a carpenter!”

Jesus learned about how the leaders were corrupt, how those who His Kingdom was to serve weren’t being served properly.  When He redeemed everything in the end, He didn’t just give a few raises; but He gave eternal life to whomever. That’s pretty legit.

Then in the end, He’s all like, “By the way, I’m the CEO of the WORLD.”

So, I maybe translated it a little differently. But this HAS to bring a smile to your face :)

God is Able

christ, faith, faithfulness, god, identity, jesus, prayer, theology

Saturday I had the blessing of spending a few hours with my teenager sister while she copped my WiFi.  We watched a Mythbusters episode together, where they proved it is scientifically impossible to be buried alive and escape.

This was comforting.

Why? Because that means no Zombie apocalypse. Unless it’s Walking Dead style.

Why else? Because it exemplifies what Christ did.

Now, I know that his grave is way different from our graves…I get that.  But for a while (and don’t cry “heretic” out to me) I forgot how magnificent it is that Christ rose from the dead.

Not only that he rose from the dead, but that he rose others from the dead.  He healed the sick, the  handicapped, and the diseased. He gave hope to the hopeless and changed ridiculously lost people into the examples by which we lead our Christian walks by.

Wow.

For a while…and I hate to admit it…I forgot two central truths:

God can do anything.

God can save anyone.

For a while, I wasn’t sure of this; at least, I wouldn’t have admitted it out loud. In fact, I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t sure of this.  It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized that I wasn’t operating my life based off of these truths.  And when you’re not walking, you stop talking.

You see, these truths radically change the way that you live.  It means that nobody is too far of a reach to pray for.  It means that you don’t just complain about people, but pray for a change of heart in them.  And speaking of prayer, it radically changes your prayer life.  Prayer isn’t just a time of asking, but a time of believing that it can actually be done.

 

At one time, these truths provided me hope and comfort…..and I want to cling to them again.  Because, if God can move mountains, then God can save my family from drug addiction.  And if Christ can raise from the grave (which I watched on Mythbusters yesterday is scientifically impossible) then Christ can raise up my teenagers from their sin. If God can lead adulterers and bigots and prostitutes and cheaters and hypocrites to him and use them as leaders, why could God not lead certain people in my life to salvation?

God can do it.

I know he can.

And as soon as I realized this in the least bit, I saw it happen in a huge way. I really did.  God is working in the lives of the people I didn’t think he can save, and he is slowly moving them away from their addictions to sin.  Can I get a stinking Hallelujah?

God is able.

I never again want to get in that dark place of not believing that.

Entitled…to what?

christianity, jesus, media, social activism

As Americans, we have rights: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  But we have other rights too, correct?  Right to a lawyer, right to vote, right to fair pay, right to etc.  All of our rights were fought for, and we still fight for them today.

We believe we have other rights, and although they may or may not be in the constitution, we still believe we are entitled to them.  We believe we are entitled to equality, a high-paying job, to be debt-free, successful relationships, success in general, etc.

As Christians (and also as ministers), we still believe we are entitled to things (not necessarily because of our Christianity, I’m saying in general).  We are entitled to that seat in church that “is ours,” entitled to eat first at the potluck, entitled to the best parking spot, etc.

Did Jesus have something to say about this?  Why else would I be writing this blog post?

And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 14: 7-11

Yesterday our guest-preacher at church talked about a “Mop Bucket Attitude.”  Even when you are the highest position at your company, you should still be humble enough to mop the floors of the bathroom. He gave to illustrations–When he himself was the school principal, he was the one who, for some reason, was called every time a toilet was clogged.  Perhaps it was because he was accustomed to having his hand in deep crap all day as a principal (cue laugh).  He also told the story of a young man who was beaten in Africa.  When he came over to school in America, the principal told him he could have any dorm room on campus.  The young man says, “Give me the room that no one else wants.”  The principal wept, as did I when I heard this.

I have been feeling extremely entitled when it comes to…everything.  “I’ve been here longer, so I should get more benefits.” “I am an expert in X, therefore you are lucky you are even being graced with my presence.” “I know more than you about X, therefore I should be the leader of this organization.” Etc. We all feel this way sometimes.  But what we need to be is humbled.

Phillippians 2 talks about how Jesus Christ, although God, humbled himself to be just as a man.  This is the “Mop Bucket Attitude” that we need. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”  Not even that, but he died for men.

We have the show “Undercover Boss”, a show where the CEO of companies start at the lowest job in their company and see how things run, as well as attempt to do the “Mop Bucket” jobs.


The difference between this guy and Christ is plain: Christ was willing to do these jobs, and never complained.  Also, Christ is not a Cubs fan.

As Christians, we are called to abandon our rights.  Our life is supposed to be about glorifying God.  To hold onto what we believe we are entitled to is futile.  We are not entitled to anything, but death.  Yet God gave us grace, something that we SURE don’t have the right to have, and he sanctified us and made us righteous.

A Radical Christianity

christianity, jesus

I read Radical by David Platt a few weeks ago, and I have been processing it.  This book has seriously changed my life and my way of thinking.  I encourage you to read it.


The book is about how we, as “followers of Christ”, haven’t been following the real Christ.  We have been following our own, Americanized Jesus that we have crammed into our quest for the American Dream.  We have molded Jesus into our own image and rationalize his words in order to fit ours.



When Jesus called his disciples, he called for them to drop everything and follow him.  People would come up to him and ask, “What does it take to follow you?”  And Jesus would tell them to sell all of their things, leave their careers, not even go back and tell their families goodbye, and completely leave their whole life behind.  We read these stories and go, “Yeah, Jesus, I could do that for you!”  However we know that Jesus would never ask us to sell everything to follow him.  Jesus doesn’t want us to be poor and starve to death!  And Jesus would never ask us to leave our families behind.  Who else is going to take care of them?  Jesus would never ask us to be uncomfortable.


Lies.


Jesus constantly told them that they were going to endure hardships in order to follow him.  They had to suffer if they were going to follow him properly.  But do we?  I wrote a post a year ago (exactly) entitled, “Finally Understanding What it Means to Die to Self,” and although my insight was good, and I was learning a lot at that time in my life, I did not indeed fully understand what it meant.


What are you going to have to do in order to follow Jesus?  What is it going to take?  Is Jesus really asking all of his followers to become hobos and forget their families in order to follow him?  Surely not, at least that’s what we hope.  So then no one steps up and lives radically so that another person might live eternally.  We have grown up being told that we must attain the highest status of money, status, and material things possible.  But that’s the complete OPPOSITE of Jesus’ message!

So what are we to do?  What are you to do?  I can’t tell you what you specifically are supposed to do.  I encourage you to read the book and read the Gospels and have a serious talk with the Lord about what it is going to look like for you to live radically.  I am going to share some of the things that I am going to do:



Sacrifice my money.  First and foremost, I’m going to make sure that I tithe, no matter what.  Secondly, I am going to refrain from buying things that I do not need.  I have never had very much money; by America’s standards I am classified as low-class and always have been.  If you know much about how I grew up, you would know that my dad has not had heating in his house for the last 3 years (including when that foot of snow hit there last week).  But even though I am considered dirt-poor by our American standards, I am still richer than 75% of the world just because I have a roof over my head and clothes on my back.  What am I going to do in order to sacrifice my money–sacrifice it, meaning giving it in a manner that hurts me in order to glorify the kingdom?  I sponsored a child last year through Compassion, but had to give it up because I couldn’t afford it anymore.  But I cut down on my phone bill and now have an itty bitty plan, and I am going to go deeper.  I’m not sure what that looks like completely.  I’m thinking a few things–donating my money to people’s mission trips, starting random acts of kindness for people, keeping money for when someone I know needs money and just giving it to them (paying it forward; I can’t tell you how many times I have been blessed by anonymous donations when I was strapped).  I’m also going to put a lot of money into my next point:


Go overseas.  I have made up excuses for a long time on this one, and I am honestly still terrified (and this is coming from someone who loves learning about other cultures!).  I am going to go on a mission trip overseas. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he said, “Go and make disciples of all nations…”  I have always read this and added at the end, “if you’re called!” and I know many who do the same.  But I am convicted that it is my responsibility to go overseas and preach the Good News.  Does this mean that I am abandoning my calling to innercity ministry?  No.  It means that I am going to other nations and not just sticking in my comfortable bubble.  In order for me to leave my comforts and follow Christ in a radical way, I need to go overseas.


Leave my family.  I read this book while I was visiting my family for Christmas, and it convicted me and caused a week straight of crying while I was home.  My family has been a stumbling block for me for a long time now.  My parents do not have relationships with Christ, as far as I can tell by their fruits and lifestyles.  I am constantly being weighed down by them.  I have noticed for the past few years that when I am around them, I get the most selfish and most “un-Christlike”.  This is due to their lifestyles’ impact, as well as the pressure of being Christ-like, as well as many other factors I’m sure.  I have realized that it is almost impossible for me to be a “good Christian” around them.  I try so hard, but I can’t do it.  In order for me to follow Christ, I need to leave my family.  This doesn’t mean I’m never going to talk to them ever again, that’s not what I’m saying.  I need to become completely dependent on God and quit being dependent on them.  Luke 14:26 says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. ”  As much as I love my family, my love for them needs to look like hatred compared to my love for Christ.  Am I willing to take a bullet or a beating for my little sister?  What more am I prepared to endure for Christ?  That bullet needs to look like I’m getting a daisy compared to what I’m willing to go through for my Lord.  So I’m going to detach myself.  I’m going to focus on trying to figure out what it looks like to follow Christ.  I’m not going to base my identity on how often my mom doesn’t call me, or trying to win over my grandma’s love, or being my sister’s parent.  This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but it is necessary for me to follow Christ.


This message of “Give up absolutely everything that is comfortable in order to follow me” is completely different from “Admit, Believe, Confess!” that we hear in our churches.  We read the gospels and say to ourselves, “Jesus didn’t really mean that we have to give up everything.  Just that we should be willing to.  It’s figurative.”  Oh, is it?  Are you willing to bet on it?  Is that a risk you are willing to take?

Lord

god, jesus
I feel like everyone here at SBU talks about God using the same phrase: “The Lord”. Which I think is an amazing phrase for God. “Lord” means

a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler”.

My question is, can you really call God your Lord? That would mean that you have surrendered complete control and power over to him, that he is the ruler of your life. For me, I can call God my Father because I go to Him for things and He disciplines me the way a Father should. I call Him my Friend because I chill with Him and have an ongoing relationship with Him. I call Him my Savior because He saved me from myself and my sin. I call Him Provider, Counselor, Healer, etc. But man, would I like to call Him my absolute Lord. I hope one day to get to that place where I can honestly call Him the LORD of my life.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Matthew 7:21

I guess my challenge to you is to think, is God really the Lord of your life?


*I’m not bashing the usage of “Lord”, only examining how powerful it truly is :)

As a fun aside, I asked facebook what their favorite names for God were!

Sacrifice

christianity, jesus
Around 75% of America claims to be a Christian, which seems to be pretty good news (considering only 33% of the world says the same). But I wonder if we were really to examine each person’s life, how many of those lives would really exhibit their Christianity. What do I mean by that?
If you ask the majority of these 75% about what they believe, they will tell you that they believe Jesus died for them and now they won’t go to hell, but to heaven by simply believing this fact.
Thank you John 3:16, for being the only verse they know.
It takes more than believing to get you to heaven. I hope this doesn’t shock you. Jesus Christ constantly talked about the price in following Him, which is what “Christian” means—follower of Christ. Jesus told His disciples to drop everything and follow him-their jobs, families, everything. He told His followers to take up their cross daily and follow Him. He told them of the trials and persecutions they would go through when following Him. Simply believing doesn’t cut it. As James, the half-brother of Jesus, talks about in his contribution to the Bible, even the demons believe in Jesus and shudder. Satan knows Jesus as a FACT, and he definitely isn’t going to heaven.
Being a Christian means making a sacrifice for Him who made the ultimate sacrifice for you. But in our culture, we don’t want to sacrifice anything. We are self-centered and don’t understand the importance in putting others before our own self, so no wonder it doesn’t carry over to our faith. I know so many people who genuinely love Christ and believe that He made the ultimate sacrifice for them, but don’t want to do anything about it. They don’t want to change their life, or even make changes to their life. But guess what? Being a follower of Christ means that you are going to have to make changes. This means that you might have to change your group of friends, or even your boy/girlfriend. You might not be able to go to the same places, either physically or even on the internet.
But we don’t want to do that, do we? That’s just too hard. Well how hard is it to live a completely pure life? Be completely and purely sinless. Preach God’s commandments to thousands upon thousands, then get accused of heresy. You are put on a bogus trial for these heresies, and get sentenced to death. Ha, but you know this was your purpose, your destiny, and you take it. You die for the whole world, but it doesn’t stop there. You raise from the dead and reiterate your love and intimate desire for a relationship with the same people who killed you before descending into heaven. The ultimate sacrifice, huh? Maybe sacrificing a few things doesn’t seem so bad now.