Monday, February 26, 2007

Mark 10:17-22

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'"

"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
I have read and probably taught Mark 10:17-22 many times, but somehow have over looked one big truth in this passage of scripture. As you have read above, the young man comes to Jesus and addresses him as "Good teacher." This is evidence that he knew that Jesus was the Messiah and that if he was to find eternal life he would need to seek out Jesus. The young man had an understanding of who Jesus was, but did not have a relationship with Christ. We learn that the young man has kept all the tenats of the Jewish faith, the 10 commandments, but he is still lacking something. The young man is chasing after earthly things, not heavenly things. Jesus tells him, "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Jesus does not want the man or you and I to sell everything we own, but he wants us to make him our number one priority (Matthew 22:37; for more). The man sought after riches and wealth and did not have a place for a relationship with Christ. We often chase after many things in our lives instead of God; money, relationships, poplarity, etc. God wants us to chase after Him in such a way that we will not need to seek after these other things, but solely relie on Him. Another truth I grasped from the lesson last night was its not about rules, but the relationship. Jesus asks Him about the commandments, and you can imagine the young man is completing a checklist in his mind, "Thou shall not steal, Check! Thou shall not covet, Check!" Often times, sadly even churches, make it so hard to be a follower of Christ and yet, Jesus simply wants us to wholeheartedly chase after him, first and foremost (again, see Matthew 22:37). It was all about following the rules for this man and not accepting God's grace through His son Jesus. This is something I strive to put into practice, but never had a heard it so clearly in Jesus' explaination to this young man. We can jump through all the rules and reglation hoops, but without Jesus in our lives, ultimately we have gained nothing, but earthly tresure. That is why Jesus last statement to the man is, "follow me." Are you following Christ? Or are you too busy trying to be a good person and work your way to eternal life? Christ calls us to a relationship with His father in heaven. I hope and pray that you will consider these words and apply them in your own lives. God Bless.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Weekend Feb. 23-25

It was an amazing weekend. I will try to briefly re-cap some of the exciting times I had. Friday, I was looking forward to a camping trip that evening with some close friends. Little did I know, because I did not leave my house till noon, that the weather outside was nasty. In my defense, I did get up at eight Friday morning, prepared my computer for repair and added some credits to a film due Thursday. But...I took a nap from 10am till noon. I went to campus to turn in my video and ran into a little trouble with the campus police, but no ticket was involved. I was informed that I MUST HAVE a Texas State sticker to park anywhere on campus (but that is another story). Ultimately, I parked on the west side of campus and had to walk to the east side of campus and turn in my project. I ran a few more errands and than headed to the house to begin helping Will fix my computer. We began the processes of reinstalling Windows XP and than trouble shot the DVD Burner issues I had been having. In the end, we learned my CD-ROM drive was causing all the problems and will be thrown away soon. I saw Kari off to Milano that afternoon, as her and Johanna were going to Milano for bridal pictures and a wedding shower. Nic and I talked frequently and about 5pm I was going to be on my way to meet with him and the rest of the guys. Two hours later, and a pit stop and Warren and Nicole's house, I picked up Mark and met Nic at Garcia's. Yummy, Mexican food! We called off camping and decided to watch a movie and play XBox 360. On a side note, I have always bought Sony PlayStation products, but after three weekends of playing the XBox 360, I may be switching game consoles. We ended the evening watching one of my new favorites Man vs. Wild. Saturday was intended to be a sleep in day, but Tim sent me a text message about 9:15am and the day began. Nic and I ventured out about 10:30am and had breakfast at Mr. Taco. We killed time that afternoon and watched a movie with JMob that contained an R rating, but after the viewing, we believe it should be reconsidered to have more of a warning of the content. What I am trying to say is, JMob, Nic and I do not recommend Babel to any viewer of any age. It may have been nominated for many awards, but the material was unacceptable. At six that evening, I was thrown a Man Shower. The men of my church all gathered at Kreutz Market for food, fellowship and fun. Many words of wisdom were received and we received wonderful gifts from many of the members of FLBC, Kari and I are both thankful for your love, support, and generosity. Nic, JMob and I ended the evening by going to the movie theater. We were plagued by junior high students talking on their cell phones, cussing, and not adhering to any requests to be quite (even by the theater management). By 11:30pm., Nic and I watched a few highlights and went to bed. It had been a long day. Sunday school began at 9am, and the first thing we did was retrieve the Junior High girls couch from down stairs. At DNow Lockhart, we played a Scavenger Hunt entitled Bigger & Better. Each team starts with a paper clip and must go house to house, business to business or whereever, as long as it is not kin and they are aware they are playing for keeps, must get something, Bigger or Better than the paper clip. The Junior High girls won because they traded an old, ratty couch for a brand new $700 couch. They proudly sat on their new couch this morning in Sunday school. Kari and Johanna drove in for church and would have been on time if it weren't for the DPS officer who insisted on chatting with Kari about her speed. Neither Kari nor Johanna attempted to cry their way out of getting the ticket. We went to lunch with good friends and napped the day away at Nic and Johanna's house. Those are just some of the many highlights of the wonderful weekend I had. It was filled with great friends, good food and my lovely fiance. I hope you had a wonderful weekend as well. God Bless.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Weekend in P'ville

Last weekend I was in Pflugerville, TX for a Disciple Now (DNow). I had previous volunteered to help with the sound with Stanley and JMob, but Tom had other plans. The youth minister, Tom, asked me to be the Seniors co-leader. The weekend began with a chicken sandwich from Dariy Queen where I got to know some of the other leaders. The theme of the weekend was Consumed, from Romans 12:1-2. I watched the students on Friday night being led in worship by The Justin Cofield Band, half heartedly singing along with the words on the screen. At that point, they did not seem too "consumed" to me; either that or they were tired. We listened to Pat Cammarata speak and then we were dismissed to our homes. A wonderful family, the Richter's, opened there home at the last minute because the original host family became ill. We began the evening of study and jumped head first into Romans 12:1-2 with other supporting scriptures. We talked about relevant ideas and the effects our lives have on those around us and what it meant to be a living sacrific.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
On Saturday, we did some more studying and then did a scavenger hunt themed after the show Dog the Bounty Hunter. I saw my life flash before my eyes at least eight times during the hunt, due to crazy driving (and not on my part). It was good fun and a quick way to see all of Pfulgerville. We had dinner and went to Starbucks. The Seniors went to worship that night with different hearts and attitudes. I can't speak for any of them, but there was a noticeable difference in each of them after that evening. New friendships were formed, many received God's forgiveness, let go of guilt, and many drew near to God this weekend. It was a wonderful evening of worship. I was blessed by the Seniors from First Baptist Pflugerville this weekend and was glad to service in such a way. God Bless to you.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Family and Love

Kari and I had our first wedding shower. I attended for several reasons, one, it was my family, two, my mother was in town. It was a delightful afternoon filled with great food, fellowship and laughter. We were blessed by some wonderful gifts that we are both grateful for. Upon reflecting about the weekend, it was amazing to see a family can come together. I have never felt abandoned or unloved, but I often feel there is a certain tension in my family. This tension was dissolved this past weekend. A few close family memebers were unable to make it, but I could have called roll and over 90% of my immediate family was present. My brother and his wife, Aaron and Katie hosted the shower at their home and served BBQ. We spent the afternoon just hanging out and catching up with one another. As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary a family is,
"The group of persons consisting of the parents and their children, whether actually living together or not; in wider sense, the unity formed by those who are nearly connected by blood..."
All these qualifications were met. My grandparents, mother, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, and Kari's mother and sister all came to show their love and support. Each of these people took time out of there day, first, to think about us by purschasing something for us and then traveling to another place in order to have the celebration. We were truely surround by love. I consider these qualities and reflect on my own life. Jesus said,
"'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'
First, we come to a relationship with Christ and he showers his love upon us. We make Christ number one and we give Him all the glory and love humanly possible. Then, the Word of God says we love one another. This love that flows from Christ, in us and through us should be reflected among our communities, worldly and even to the next door neighbor. Often times I am guilty of not caring or loving someone that might have needed a simple "hello!" or smile. This event encouraged me to live and love better. Love everyone around you. We are going to fight, disagree, and have tons of opinions, but at the end of the day we are called to love. I encourage you to delight in the Lord Almighty today, give Him praise, and live in such a way that you reflect Christ. God Bless.