Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pilate's Problem

I know Pilate’s problem intimately. If Pilate had given in to the wonder and amazement he experienced in the presence of the power and character of Jesus he would have fallen to his knees, and surely ended up on a cross himself.
I often find myself, after reading John 19, agonizing over Pilate. I can’t escape the feeling that he knew Jesus was special, unlike anyone he ever met, maybe even the Messiah some said he was. I think Jesus’ bloody, swollen eyes burned a hole in Pilate’s soul. I don’t think it an accident he got the sign right, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Pilate knew the pleas of the bloodthirsty mob were a farce. But he just couldn’t bring himself to choose to join Jesus in the suffering, so he handed him over.
Pilate’s problem was that he couldn’t bring himself to respond to Jesus exclusively because of who Jesus is. Pilate couldn’t factor out of the decision his marriage to his position, his wealth and power, his image or his fear of losing it all.
Pilate’s problem is my problem. Before I decide how I will respond to Jesus I have to decide on which criteria I’ll base my decision.
There are a million things that enter our minds when it comes to following Jesus (by following I mean worshipping, glorifying, obeying, enjoying, serving him, loving him.) What are my parents going to think? What is going to happen to me at work? Do I have to get rid of my Jeep? Do I have to actually start giving a real sacrificial offering to the church? Do I have to stop drinking beer or watching movies? The implications are far too great to quantify. But the implications aren’t the question. The question is who is Jesus? If he is the Christ, the Son of the Living God nothing else matters.
Sometimes I get wadded up over my wife, my job, my Jeep, my suburban lifestyle and the next thing you know all those things become a factor in my response to God’s call. And his glory, bloody and humble and holy, gets lost on me because my response to him is filtered by these idols of self preservation and comfort, and not by the singular will and person of the sovereign God of the universe.
I am so grateful for grace. I am desperately in need of it. I believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. May the Lord grow me up in how I choose and how I choose to live.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Acts 29 at CCCC

They are committing to financial struggle and emotional turmoil. They are committing to being betrayed, unappreciated, scoffed at and argued with. They are committing to a life of pouring themselves out only to be accused of being unloving and uncaring and downright evil. They are committing to an unending series of gut wrenching decisions and ambiguity. They are launching themselves, or seeking to launch themselves into a life that no one, with the exception of their few peers, can appreciate. They are gospel centered church planters.
Some of them came to Clear Creek Community Church this week for the Acts 29 Boot Camp and I got to meet them.
I would lie if I said I understand what they are or will go through, I don’t. You can only possibly understand by sharing the experience and I didn’t. I am where I am because one of them made the commitment to endure the misery that only the people of the church can inflict on each other. I shake my head at the stories - but I didn’t live the days when there was no money but plenty of competition for power and no one to share leadership but everyone to criticize the direction. I just marvel that some are desperate to answer the call of God and so endure the furnace of selfish, consuming, idolatrous “Christians” God uses to refine their characters into capable leaders of his church. These church planters are the blood, sweat and tears that transform grace from concept to experience.
I learned a lot in two days, you couldn’t avoid it. But the essential learning is this: the Kingdom of God is alive and growing. The wisdom and faith of seasoned saints is being shared with and rekindled by the faith and passion of a new generation of Christ followers. There is no doubt - the Spirit is moving and the gospel is transforming and the church will prevail until the coming of the Bridegroom. Amen.