January 27, 2017
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As far back as I can remember, being told the truth was the most important thing to me in any relationship. I have my suspicions as to why I developed into the guy who likes you to “just give it to me straight,” but I don’t want to digress, I want to hit it hard about telling the truth. “The truth shall set you free” basically because you can get it out there and move on. The truth has a way to come to the surface eventually so we might as well get the truth out in the open to begin with….
Jesus used the idea when (referring to the Pharisees and Religious Leaders of his day) when he said, “Only let your righteousness (honesty or truth telling) be greater than these Religious Leaders” or you may never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”
I have often told men who would come forward with problems to “drop it all on me, don’t hold anything back because the more truth you will tell me the better and quicker we can solve the problem.” How could/can I be so bold? Because the truth sets us free!
During the 8th Grade, I had quite a run in Art Class. I had been chosen to have my paper machete Halloween mask selected for the front page of the local newspaper and next up was the clay sculpture. I am sure it was because I was on some kind of ego high at the time but I had back to back “artful” moments. Out of me came a bust of sorts with the guy sticking out his tongue, corn row hair, complete with a hat. I followed all of the art instruction and even the teacher was impressed my the artistic expression. (I also think she had a conversation with the school counselor to make sure I was in balance). I did everything I was supposed to do to prep the sculpture for the kiln. It was going to be in there over the weekend so I followed the exact steps so my masterpiece could have the preservation and shine. I was so excited to see the finished product. Getting to school early to get to the Art Class, I think I had one of the biggest disappointments of Middle School (and most children have plenty of them). My masterpiece came out dark, milky and ugly. My teacher’s reaction stunned me, because she didn’t really have any reaction. She said, “That’s just the way it came out of the kiln.” I was quite confused because I followed all the steps to prepare it. When I pressed in as to “why,” she got touchy and terse with me. Fortunately for a guy like me who wants to know the truth, regardless of where it takes me, I confided in a beloved Social Studies Teacher who looked into the situation very subtly. It turns out the Art Teacher was having personal problems and messed up the settings on the kiln and my sculpture just didn’t get the proper attention while under her care. I will always appreciate the Social Studies Teacher who looked into it, told me the truth, and trusted me not to over react. As I told him, as long as I know the truth–the truth has a way to set us free. However, and here is the tricky part, you may know the truth, but the culprit may NEVER EVER admit to the truth. YOU HAVE TO BE ALRIGHT WITH THE FACT THAT SOME PEOPLE MAY NOT TELL YOU THE TRUTH, YOU WILL HAVE TO LEARN THE TRUTH BY/THROUGH OTHER MEANS. What about the Art Teacher? She messed up and didn’t come clean. So what? Personal problems have a way to sweep a person away. Be sure never to judge people, because, sure enough, you will experience PERSONALLY the thing you judge others about. Most importantly–ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH. If you are going to “judge”–“judge” my artwork!
January 18, 2017
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I hate to be the spoiler, “Debbie Downer,” or rain on the parade, but it has to be said–does our “Westernized Christianity” really come to terms with what it means to be “more like Jesus” as in the songs, the sermons, the challenges of: Are we being more and more like Jesus? Specifically, that song that goes….” I wanna be more like you, Jeeesuuussss, I wanna be more like you….” It seems to me we have made Jesus into our modern version of a celebrity who we want to be like. What we miss in our “I wanna be more like you, Jesus” culture is Jesus already told us what he expects–He said, if you want to follow me then: “Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” Deny…take up…(A CROSS)…and follow. It sounds hard, because it IS HARD. Following Jesus isn’t supposed to be easy, attractive, or harmonic. Following Jesus IS ESSENTIAL for one very important purpose and is fundamentally the evidence of actually being more “like Jesus”–that is: Wait. For. It. OBEDIENCE. I hate to be “that guy” who rains on everyone’s party, but from time to time we need a reality check. Following Jesus–being more like Jesus–requires us first to be obedient to Jesus’ teaching. (Starting with: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Him).