Matthew 7:13-14

Enter in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and straight is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. ~ Matthew 7:13-14

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fellowship of the Cross

By Dennis Stephan Cole

I just saw the film,  “Do You Believe.”  It touched my heart.  

The film starts with a voice-over from the lead character - a pastor explaining what the Cross is.  My first take was, “Are they telling us the story before showing us?”   

We go to films and read books to be drawn into the story of people. We do not want to be told all up front. We want to be shown and then drawn in. So I waited, watched, and then suddenly, I was surprised!  

I was drawn into their lives. The cross - the symbol of Christianity - is so much more than a symbol.  The filmmakers were making a point. Do You Believe is a great question!  

They take 12 desperate people from all walks of life and place their lives together through circumstance and providence. We are brought into the subtlety of each character’s struggle. That's when I gained another insight into the cross. The Cross is where and how Jesus died.  

Yes, but the cross is my story.  

It is where I can come to the end of me, my strength and die there too. He's there for the lonely, the angry, the frustrated, forlorn and more. In weakness, and not cover up of weakness, He is there. All we need to do is climb up and join. There is fellowship at the end, and when the end is the cross ... the end is The Beginning.  

No one can brag about his or her accomplishments or dwell on failure here, but here we just live, love, and are thankful the cross is home. I do not have to perform here, I can just be. 

I walked out and said to my daughter Stephanie, “Wouldn't it be wonderful if you, me and Mom had an enlarged family?  A bigger family with surrogate grandmas and grandpas, cousins brothers and sisters?”  

Martin Luther King had this dream. It was his cross and his invitation for all of humanity to bring the cross we bear to that same lonely place where people find real fellowship.  His Cross and our crossroad.  

Let’s climb up and encourage one another. Climb "forward and upward."  The cross is not an ideal. No, not at all. It’s not a standard we come up to but a fellowship we come down to.  A place to be "lifted up."  The cross is real because He is for real.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Look Up!

I just now finished pulling up weeds from their roots. Its tiring, but it does have some immediate satisfaction. Wendy and I want a good garden this spring and summer. Hope you have one too. Hope you have a garden. Even some plants in a pot.

I'm sitting here listening to John Tesh Radio on my Pandora cell phone application. He plays the piano and it’s always beautiful music. Nice after-effect in the southwest comfort of our high wall of something very personal.

Yep, should be a good garden this year. I have cleaned up the weeds, or I can say the tares? It’s what I can do. There is so much I have no power or control over, but I can pull out the ugly stuff.

Jesus says in the very last moments of time (as we know time), He will separate the wheat from the tares. There is a very justified rumbling these days that we are in that last hour or very close to it. I for one am in that camp that sees the end as soooo very close.  Things can only come together if they fall apart.... or are intentionally torn apart?

Here's a thought.  Why not you and I pull up all the weeds and tares out of our lives. Let’s start today, tonite, this week. We often see ourselves as the good guys and those... over there ... as bad.  My thought is this! 

Let’s clean up the junk thoughts and ugly words we think and say. Let’s consider what we allow our eyes to see, too. Let’s look like my garden looks like now, empty … but in its emptiness ... because of its emptiness … it is being made ready to be filled up.

Ready to be lifted up into the face of God.

 "A tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray."  Look up!

Jesus words to mankind, the words in His final hours on this planet, were to simply watch for Him. Nothing fancy, no esoteric theology, and not words exclusively for any particular group of people. A kind of - if you are interested in My return - keep a light on. And… "Look up your redemption draws near."

If you want Him, it’s a good indicator He is reaching you.  Look up.   Watch. Be a child again. Stephanie as a young girl cried if I left the house to buy a carton of milk without saying goodbye.  She looked out the window for my return. He gives this joy to children.

How do I become a child? Pull out those tares and weeds and when you take a break, look up.  Look Up!  Look Up!

Pulling out those weeds in "me" makes me … to hurt.  Those weeds do hurt and just facing that I have weeds is unpleasant too.... yes. But with each grain of weed torn away I have more hope, more delight and new joy. 

A new garden for a new season. The fall of my life.  The thornbirds final sound and its highest note.  "He does not disdain nor does He despise the cries of his afflicted one. He does not turn His Face from him, but listens to his cry for help."