Tirzah International: investing in women who are changing their world.I wanted to take a minute to reach out about an organization that has my heart: Tirzah International.We got connected with Tirzah when we were living in Valencia, CA. My wife had the…
I’m 99.9% sure I’m the reason for my son’s arachnophobia and that this incident will be discussed with a therapist in his future.photo cred: WIRDOU.COMI can’t pinpoint the moment I knew that spiders would always send a cold shiver down to the depths of…
Do not resent getting old for too many are denied that privilege.37.I turn 37. It’s such a weird number.Although, as of writing this, I’m 36 and about 361 days.I’m at one of my favorite coffeeshops in Houston (Throughgood Coffee), taking in some caffei…
Jesus said, “Go!” not “Stay and wait for people to come to you”…Pokemon GOThis post originally appeared on MinistryMatters.ComWhen Jesus ascends to heaven, he gives clear instructions: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, a…
How you answer that question reflects on how you view your faith.Photo Cred: I have no idea…This post was originally written for MinistryMatters.com some time ago.I was once asked, Who is Jesus Christ to you?On one hand, it’s a simple question. On the …
Happy birthday!he’s the most lovable when he’s sleeping.On February 27, 2014, you forever changed the trajectory of my journey.To this day, I’m amazed at the resilience you displayed that day. 3 weeks in a group home. You sauntered in clothes that obvi…
“My sin is having words that are far more beautiful than my life.”This post originally appeared on MinistryMatters.comI love words.I love reading words. I love writing words. I love writing words even more after earning a little income from the words I…
Does having a better theology really make that big of a difference?This post originally appeared on ministrymatters.comThere’s a phrase — a mantra — a complaint, if you will, that is often expressed by my more progressive United Methodist colleagues (m…
We need to be more than just welcoming in our churches.This post originally appeared on ministrymatters.comI was listening to a sports radio show on my way to church one morning. The two DJs were doing their usual bit of asking each other trivia questi…
We don’t need more heroes. We need more disciples.
Note: This was a sermon that was given two Sundays after Harvey.
Who doesn’t want to be a hero?
Who doesn’t want the accolades and the admiration that comes from being a hero?
A hero saves the day.
… but what about the days that follow? The weeks? The months..?
Heroism is situational.
The desires of being a hero seeps into the life of church.
Most — if not all — churches engage and often excel in compassion ministries
We go to different countries or cities for a week or so to help that community;
We come once a month or once a quarter to feed the homeless;
We once a month or so get together and assemble blessings bags;
We show up once a year to be “the church” to our community.
Don’t get me wrong — compassion ministries are important and necessary and good work…
However, churches rarely get involved in justice ministry. We have a plethora amount of churches involved in compassion ministries but not nearly enough involved in justice ministries.
Compassion ministry gives a hungry person a blessing bag and we say, good luck, God bless, have a good day — and we go on. Maybe even give ourselves some props for doing a good thing.
Justice ministry asks, why is that person hungry to begin with and how can we end that?
Compassion fills a temporary need
Justice works to solve the issue.
So — why am I bringing this up…
Because heroes have moved on from Harvey and are preparing for Irma.
There are other disasters that will need the call of a hero.
But the work of rebuilding Houston still remains.
This is the hard work. This is the long-road ahead. This is the work that’s not sexy and won’t give you the glory of swooping in and saving the day.
This is the dirty; the nitty gritty; the smelly; that needs to be done. The often hard and unnoticed work.
This is the work that needs to be done while we want to move on from these catastrophic events because we’re okay; we’re dry; we weren’t affected.
The desire to help now has fierce competition with the need for life to resume to normal. So someone else will help those who are in need because my kids school has started; I’ve got deadlines from work that were pushed back…
This is why we don’t need heroes in this part of our lives.. someone who can come and save just the day. Heroism is a one-act; one-event; one-time thing. Situational at best.
We don’t need heroes;
We need disciples. Because discipleship is a lifelong commitment. It’s a lifelong decision to be the best we can be; to do no harm, to keep doing good, to staying in love with God. It’s a daily decision to pick up the cross; a daily decision to follow Jesus.
To go wherever and whenever and to do whatever Jesus is calling us to do.
I’m reminded of the call of Peter from Luke’s account.
Peter spent a whole night fishing with no luck.
They pulled up to the shore and were cleaning their nets.
Peter probably was exhausted and frustrated. They weren’t fishing for sport. It was their livelihood. He lost a day’s worth of wages and is probably itching to go back fishing in the evening to make up for the lost wages. (I learned that if you fish with nets, you need to go after the sun goes down so that the fish can’t see the nets.)
As they were cleaning their nets, Jesus was preaching nearby.
Jesus sees Peter and his boat; Jesus sees the crowds growing — so he just steps into Peter’s boat and asks him to row out a bit so he can speak to the crowd.
Jesus and Peter already had a relationship. Jesus had stayed at Peter’s house and also healed his mother-in-law from a fever.
So Jesus probably figured, I know this dude. I need a boat and simply invited himself onto Peter’s boat. I find it fascinating how many times Jesus simply invites himself to places.
Peter’s probably groaning in his heart. He wants to go home and get some rest. Now he has to listen to Jesus’ sermon. On top of that — he has to look engaged because his in the eye line of all those who came to hear Jesus speak.
When Jesus was finished, he didn’t let Peter go home. He told Peter to row further into the water then he said, “let down the nets for a catch.”
Peter is probably thinking, “Bruh. You’re a carpenter. I’m the fisherman. My dad’s a fisherman. His dad was a fisherman. His dad was a fisherman. I know more about fishing than you. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m getting grouchy. I need coffee. Besides, the suns out and about. The fish will see the net. This is useless. This is pointless. You have no idea what you’re talking about Jesus. Please leave me alone. Let me go on with my day.”
Wouldn’t similar thoughts run through your mind?
Haven’t you had similar thoughts when you felt Jesus was inviting you to do something?
But instead of vocalizing any of those thoughts; even though he was tired — Peter responded:
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
Because you say so…
What is Jesus inviting you to do? How is Jesus inviting you to engage?
Faith is a contact sport; an active commitment. It’s about being out there and getting our hands dirty. It’s about working for the greater good whether we receive the props or not for it.
Faith is not about sitting at church and waiting for people to come to us. The book after the Gospels is called THE ACTS of the APOSTLES
Not the Sitting of the Apostles; the Waiting of the Apostles
ACTS. ACTING. ACTION.
Also consider this — do you know what the official name for a group of vultures are called? committee.
Let that sink in next time you’re in a committee meeting.
Hear me out — I’m not saying that committees are bad; organization is good and a powerful tool.
But if we’re not careful, we can make the church be limited to committees and meetings. We can make the church into nothing more than meetings that one must attend.
What is Jesus inviting you to do? How is Jesus inviting you to engage?
Don’t think that you have nothing to offer; don’t think that what you can help is too small; don’t think any work is beneath you.
Great opportunities often disguise themselves in small tasks.
I am convinced that Jesus’ ministry was filled with small moments that are easy to miss and skip over.
The miracles that Jesus performed? Yea, they were amazing. But miracles faded.
The 5000+ folks Jesus fed? They got hungry again.
The people he healed? Probably got sick again from other infirmities.
The ones that he raised from the dead? They eventually died again.
But more important than the miracles, it was how Jesus made people feel.
He touched the lepers when no one could/would.
He engaged the lepers when they were forced out of their communities.
He ate with the sinners and made them feel human while people went out of their way to let them know they’re worthless.
As Maya Angelou once said:
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It’s easier to be a hero.
Because a disciple is a lifelong commitment; it’s about waking up everyday and praying: into your hands I commit my spirit.
What is Jesus inviting you to do?
How is Jesus asking you to engage?
And may our response be like Peter’s:
But because you say so…