Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Move on over Mr. Clark

If you haven't noticed yet Ben is not a very consistent blogger. I love the man to pieces but he needs a little help when it comes organizing and getting things accomplished. Since we've been married I've been teaching him a few things, like writing out lists and prioritizing tasks so that things will get done, instead of doing them the night before or the day before an event is to take place. He has gotten a lot better and hopefully by the end of the year will be a pro!

We haven't had a post for a couple of weeks due to the fact of Ben procrastinating and putting off doing his field practicum which he has to do 90hrs. by Feb. 13th. I know, I know baby steps, he is getting better I promise! :) Since Ben will be indisposed for a couple of weeks I decided that I'll try my hand at this blogging thing! Now, I'm not a writer like Ben, I don't like to write down my deep thoughts and I'm definitely not funny but hopefully I can find a few interesting things to post about while Ben is away!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Matthew 13

There are a lot of parables today because my reading plan took me through Matthew 13. Which is 7 parables. Most are pretty short. The amazing thing is I believe they are connected to give us all one glorious picture which I can hopefully bring together at the end.

The First of these parables is Matthew 13:1-23, the Parable of the sower. This is a parable that I have heard many times. I know that the seed on the path was the word of God falling on hard hearts and wasn't received. The seed on the rocky soil was the word of God immediately received with Joy but had no root so it died. The seed that fell among the thorns were people that received the word of God and got beat down with the pressures of this world. The good soil is the word of God that took root and produced a crop, the sign of a person truly restoring their relationship with God.

What really stood out to me today in this parable was when Jesus was explaining to his disciples that some people although they hear they do not listen, and all though they see they do not perceive. I see this a lot as a pastor, and I'm pretty positive that I'm not the only one that does. There are times that I'm talking to students, or even giving a sermon to an entire congregation and there are always some people that have just blank stares on their face. You can tell it's going in one ear and out the other. This can be discouraging and I know this is just how it is sometimes. A parable takes on new meaning when you see it come to life. I don't have the answer for this problem, and I'm not sure there is one until Christ returns. Just persevere and keep doing what God has called me to do. Spread some seed.

Matthew 13:24-30: The Parable of the Weeds is next. I have to admit I have never really looked at this one. I think it is easily looked over following that sower guy. But it's interesting and the explanation says a lot. Pretty much it is saying that the farmer (God) is planting His field (the world) and he is planting wheat (righteous people ). During the night an enemy (Satan) planted some weeds (unrighteous people). Instead of directly taking all the weeds out the farmer says lets wait until harvest so that we don't pull out the wheat with the weeds. So they wait until they can separate the weeds and wheat easily.

The first thing I see is that we are meant to grow in the world among some nasty stuff. The second thing I see is that it is not our job to pull the weeds, that is God's job when it's time to harvest everything (this is seen in another upcoming parable).

The Parable of the mustard seed and the yeast found in Matt. 13:32-35 is a picture of the Kingdom of God growing. It may have started out small but it will grow large and be a safe place. These processes take time, and I think it's still growing.

The parable of the hidden treasure and the merchant in verses 44-46. The Kingdom of Heaven is so important that we should give up everything to gain it.

And the Parable of the fish nets in verses 47-52. Once again only God has the right to separate the righteous and the unrighteous. We just do the catching.

Now I know I didn't do these parables justice (maybe some other time). But what I really want to share is what I saw today. What I saw today was the Kingdom of Heaven coming all together.

First off let me set this part up...I believe the Kingdom of Heaven is here. I picture it like this, Jesus prepared for the Kingdom of Heaven during His 3 year ministry, when He died the Kingdom of Heaven came and when we give our lives back to Christ we are engulfed into the Kingdom of Heaven (which is a Kingdom that will continue to exist after this world has ended).

So bringing it all together....Imagine a man walking around in this world and one day he hears someone telling him about a city that will out live any other city and this world. That there is unending pure joy in this city and he was initially created to inhabit this city. There are no annoying neighbors, no piles of trash, and no traffic. There is a mayor (if you will) of this city who is the best mayor EVER!! People actually just sit around all day thanking and praising this mayor for all the good things He has done.

This man believes this mayor is real and decides he wants to live in this city with this mayor. He goes and sells his house, his car, everything he owns so that he can put all of his effort into this great city. He understands that he still has to live in the city he currently lives in and go to work with people that push him around and don't really care about him, but he shows them love, because he knows that is what the mayor of this great city would do.

He talks to the people in his current city, never judging (he knows he cannot do that, he was once like these people). A few of these people even believe him and they will live together in this great city. And one day his current city will crumble and decay; people will be left behind in this old city and die with it and be separated from anything good. This man will finally move to this great city that will endure eternity, and he will walk up to the mayor of this city. The mayor will say, "well done my faithful citizen, come and rest in my city"!

This is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Salt and Light

So I have decided to start a new project with this blog for at least two weeks. Melissa and I had a great Christmas. We got to spend time with family and friends back in OK. It was great to be home. Presents are not everything at Christmas but we got some cool stuff. One of things that I got is this bible software (that I love! Thanks Allen) and I am able to highlight certain things and instantly create a bible reading plan. I decided that I wanted to read through the parables of Jesus so I created a plan that leads me through the parables for the next two weeks. I decided that I want to share my thoughts on these parables on my blog. After all these are everyday happenings of my wife and I, and my bible reading should be an everyday happening (which it is not). So if I miss a day please message me and tell me to read my bible (you can even call me a heathen to get the point across).

By no means am I a theologian, so feel free to comment and correct me if I have made a theological error. I imagine most of the thoughts will be raw and just flow, and I don't always know how my mind will flow. I do hope that these thoughts are inspirational, challenging, and not boring. These thoughts might only be two sentences or two pages, I understand if you give up and quit reading in the middle of a particularly long thought (you might have already given up reading this intro). So with no further explanation his is my first parable that I have read today.

Salt and Light - Matthew 5:13-16

Salt was known for flavoring and preserving food. It's used for the same thing today. When I think of salt I always pair it with food. Whether it be boiling a pot of water and I throw a little salt in to give the water a little extra flavor, or it could even be sprinkling salt on some eggs and hash browns to bring out the flavor of morning on a plate.

As I sit here and think about salt and light I think about how crucial these two things are to our world. We need a certain amount of salt in our body to survive (I'm pretty sure), and we definitely need light so that we can see. There are some creatures that survive without light, like those blind fish that live in caves. They look creepy. It makes me think even if we did survive without any salt and light the world would be a pretty boring place. Food would be bland and not as enjoyable even if you only like a little bit of salt. It would also be dark and I imagine cold since our light source is from the sun. But lets say hypothetically even if the physical earth remained warm without the sun and it was just dark. We would never be able to see beauty. Nature, loved ones, art! We would be missing one of our senses. Sight! Jesus gave sight to the blind...I think it might be worth something.

Not even thinking of the physical world. Lets go metaphorical with this. Jesus tells us that we are the salt and light of the world. Not world as in the planet Earth (rock, grass, magma, etc.) but the world as in people (heart, soul, mind, and body). As Christians we are called to lead people to refuge. A city on a hill cannot be hidden so we are not meant to hide. We are called to a purpose. To give some flavor to the world, to preserve the world, and to guide the world.

Now I know that in the past Christians have tended to make a bad name for themselves at time. They haven't necessarily always given the world some flavor. And we know what has happened to this salt that has lost it's flavor....it got thrown out and trampled upon by men. It is important that we receive our flavor from God. Salt and light are created things...neither of these things have existed infinitely. They were created to fulfill certain needs....to make my eggs taste better, and to make sure that I can actually see that I am eating eggs. We are also created things that are meant to live life through our creator. When we are connected to our God, then we are flavoring, preserving, and guiding the world.