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Everything’s Political

Last week my wife and I loaded up the family cruiser to hit the holiday road. Like Clark W. Griswald we packed up the kids and headed to Washington D.C. Four kids between the ages of ten and two for 25 hours in a mini-van could certainly have been like National Lampoon’s Vacation, but it turns out we didn’t encounter Cousin Eddy, get robbed in the shady part of town or drag our dog down the highway by the leash attached to our bumper.

We did, however, have an unforgettable time.

I’ve been to Washington before. I was a kid. But this trip wasn’t quite like those. As we planned our vacation we were amazed at the number of people we know who live in D.C. now. We have a friend who serves at Arlington National Cemetery. He is responsible for so much more than this, but one of his responsibilities is to play bugle in the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. We have another friend who is currently stationed at the Pentagon. He works for the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Another friend currently serves in the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress. There are other friends we didn’t get to see because time didn’t allow.

It was great to catch up with friends. But these friendships also afforded us other opportunities. We saw the same amazing sites most tourist see when they go to Washington. We saw the monuments and memorials, toured the White House, the National Cathedral and the Library of Congress. But when it came time to see the Capital, the Pentagon & Arlington our tours were something different. We entered through the same doors as all the other tourists, but the tour itself was completely different.

  • At Arlington, we didn’t just see the changing of the guard. Our friend at Arlington took us into the barracks of the men who serve in the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
  • We didn’t just see the 9/11 Memorial on the outside of the Pentagon. We toured the inside of the Pentagon. We walked past the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We were invited into the office of the Air Force Chief of Staff. We ate lunch at the Subways in the food court at the Pentagon!
  • Our tour of the U.S Capital happened at night, after most tourists had left. It was led by a U.S Congressman who, earlier that evening had taken our children onto the floor of the House of Representatives during an active session of Congress!

It was an unforgettable trip filled with unbelievable experiences. I’m grateful for these friends and the kindness they showed us. But there’s more to the story.

January of this year marked our 10th Anniversary serving at First Baptist Owasso. The people of the church have been gracious. They gave us an extra week vacation and covered the expenses of this trip. That’s simply incredible!

As I think about our experiences last week – the gift from the church, the trip, the things we saw, the friends we got to spend time with – I’m reminded of something.

Everything is political, even Heaven. It’s who you know that gets you in. We were able to take this trip because of the generosity of the people of our church. It wouldn’t have happened otherwise. We could have gone to Washington and seen the same sights as everyone else, but our experience was supercharged because of the friendships we have.

Life is the same way. You and I will have many similar experiences. But will your life be supercharged by a relationship with Jesus? How will the quality of your life, or even the quality of your death, be affected by Him?

Knowing Jesus gives you the ultimate backstage pass and unrestricted access to all the resources of Heaven. He wants to use His authority on your behalf. He wants to walk with you as you experience the sights of this life. Will you walk with Him? I guarantee, as you do, life will be unforgettable.

“Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6

 

Right Is Not Enough

Being right is not enough.

I have a friend who says, “I thought I was conceited till I found out I was perfect.” He usually goes on to say, “I thought I was wrong once, but found out I was mistaken.” And then tops it off with, “I’m not conceited. I’m convinced.”

There’s a difference between self-confidence and self-centeredness.

It’s one reason I’ve always been amazed at the story of Jesus. He is described as the perfect Son of God. The Bible calls Him blameless. He knows things no else knows. He’s able to do things no one else can do. Yet, we never see him strut. He works miracles and teaches with authority. He has confidence, but not conceit. He has the wisdom to win every argument and the ability to put everyone in their place with just a few words. But He doesn’t. Instead, He deals compassionately with people. Even when he argues with the self-righteous religious leaders of the day, while He always wins the argument, it’s with an amazing lack of swagger.

If I had that kind of knowledge and power it would be tough to resist the urge to make my point, work my miracle and then get up in someone’s face, “BOOM – stick that in your pipe and smoke it!” I’d want to spike a scroll and strut around the room doing a little miracle dance. But that’s not how Jesus did it.

It causes me to notice a few things.

Jesus didn’t come to prove points. He didn’t come to win arguments. He didn’t show up to show off. Jesus came to make a way. He came to speak the truth. He came to give us life. He came to save. No one ever came to faith in Christ after losing an argument. I’ve never met anyone who said, “Yup, I used to be a die-hard atheist, but after you put in me in my place with all those brilliant and undeniable facts about a Creator I just had to give in and believe.”

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have our arguments. We should speak the truth in love. As we do, we should remember that our purpose is so much more beautiful than proving points. The purpose is to prove love. That’s what Jesus did. He didn’t come to prove points. He came to prove love.

He was right. But He was more than right. He did the right thing, the right way, for the right reason. This is true righteousness. It comes with confidence. It’s convincing. It causes people to stop and take notice. I may not yet understand or agree with everything you just told me, but the way you told me speaks volumes. It means we’ll have this conversation again.

Being right is not enough. Be righteous. Show compassion to people. Speak the truth in love.

John 14:6

Finding Your Way

It’s entirely possible GPS was invented for me. I’m quick to confess, I’m geographically challenged. I’m not one of those masculine wonders who can tell you which direction is north while standing in the bottom of a cave. I’m lucky to get it right if I’m next to I-35 & I-40 in Oklahoma City – they follow the compass rose.

While geolocation may not come naturally for me I’m not prone to get lost either. When driving I’ve made it my habit to follow a car that looks like it knows where it’s going. I may not always end up where I intend to be, but I almost always end up where I need to be. Finding my way is always an adventure.

Finding direction is one of three big frustrations people manage every day. Should I take/leave that job, date/dump that person, join/leave that group, Buy/sell that thing? People are lost and almost every decision they make reflects a desperate struggle to find their way.

We all make the best decisions we can based on the information we have available at the time. Good information usually leads to good decisions. Bad information usually leads to bad decisions. The way is easier to find when you know the truth. That’s why GPS is helpful. That random car I follow may not be so clever after all. The GPS knows precisely where the next turn is and guides me to it straight away.

John 14:6 says Jesus is, “…the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him.”

According to this verse, look at what Jesus is NOT:

  • He’s not a guide with good direction – He is the way.
  • He’s not a teller of truth – He is the truth.
  • He’s not a way of living – He is the life.

Jesus didn’t come to set up a new system of belief or to organize a new religion. He came to build a relationship with you. The reason His wisdom is sound, His counsel is good and His direction always right isn’t simply because He knows – it’s because He is. When you interact with Jesus you experience direction, truth and life.

“What would Jesus do,” is an inadequate cliche. When faced with another decision, don’t settle for trying to puzzle out what He would do. Instead, interact with who Jesus is.

  • When you lack direction. Jesus is the way.
  • When you’re surrounded by lies. Jesus is the truth.
  • When your way of living seems to be crashing down all around you. Jesus is the life.

Know the truth, follow the way, find life – This is Jesus.