Posts Tagged 'christian'

I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping the past few weeks and I’ve gotten in the bad habit of staying up late (this comes naturally to me anyway).  The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson comes on during the 11th hour and one of his guests tonight was author/singer/musician/producer Tom Sullivan.  Tom was on the show promoting a new book and as usual much of the interview ends up being more about the person than the product (which I think is good attribute of the late show genre). 

Immediately we find out that Tom is blind and soon discover that he was born that way.  During the course of the interview, Craig asked Tom if he thinks about what it would be like to see, or about the possibility of him to have his sight restored.  Tom paused for a moment and then he told a story about his morning run on the beach.  Tom gave one of the most extensive, concise, and beautiful descriptions of one of the more mundane routines of life that I have ever heard.  The way he was talking I thought he might be a Christian.  His appreciation for creation, life, and others expressed in words is befitting of a Psalmist.

You see, Tom is not defined by his lack of eyesight.  That is not who he is and that is not how he lives his life.  He has a vision for life that pervades every aspect of his life, from recreation (golf & skiing) to work (see above) to his personality.  When we Christians allow ourselves to be defined or to define others by anything other than who we are in Christ, we wind up treating eachother in an unChristian manner.  We lose the vision for life that God has given us in Christ.  Our world becomes negative, full of complaining, grumbling, anger, pride, and even malice.  We revert back to the kind of people we were before the Spirit of God took up residence in our lives.  There is much to say about this, but I want to share with you this passage from 2 Corinthians which really resonated with me:

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.  He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was,  will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?  If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!  For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.  And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.  But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.  Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.  But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:4-4:6

I once was lost in the decrepidness of my evil desires, but I was found by Christ and given a new heart, a new identity, a new vision.  I am being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Who am I?  I am Christian.

*Added material in this post is italicized.

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There have been a number of comments lately that show the uncompassionate, unloving, unkind, harsh, hard hearts of those writing them.  I suppose we all have our moments, but as new creations in Christ, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Not only that, but we are to love each other as Christ loved us.  Those recent comments, my current situation, and Rambo have all come together to open up my heart.

Being in the middle of a high impact natural disaster (I live in a small town on the Mississippi river that will flood most of the buildins on Main St. by next week), I’ve been thinking a lot about questions like the above.  After the second day of sandbagging, I finally had to quit early and so I got some time to finally watch Rambo (the new one) which we’ve had from Netflix for days.  I was surprised at how intensely the film dealt with similar issues and questions I have been thinking on. 

I was surprised to very quickly learn that this Rambo wasn’t really about John Rambo, is about the suffering of the people of Burma.  Stalone often likes to say something meaningful in his films, and for this one he found out about the awful situation (pre-natural disaster, so you can imagine how much worse it is now) of the Burmese under the rule of the military.  Of course, there’s lots of gory action, but I’d still recommend any adult to see it, partly because the gore is not out of place.  In fact, you’ll find some tame pictures on the sites listed below that provide the evidence for the brutatlity visualized for you in Rambo. 

The most convicting part of the film was the dedication to action of the Christians in the film.  One thing that gets me, both locally for our flood, and globally for situations like Burma, is how churches and christians can sit around and do nothing yet people who do not know the grace of God through Jesus Christ do everything from helping to fill sandbags to save a few homes to struggling for the lives of people half a world away.

If we don’t do what we are taught in scripture, does it have any value for our lives?  What does it take for us to love our neighbors?

Father, forgive us for walking on the other side of the street pretending not to see the need of our neighbor.  Create in us a heart of compassion.  Use us in your work to transform us into little Christs.

Watch the movie if you haven’t seen it yet.  In the mean time, check out these websites:

www.uscampaignforburma.org

www.freeburmarangers.org

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