Posts Tagged ‘changed lives’

Take The First Step In Faith

December 18, 2015

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
— Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I’ve been thinking about taking that first step in faith.

There is a sense that God has taken many “first steps” trying to build a relationship with humans. Think of reaching out to Abram (Abraham). First there was a relationship. Then a son. Then asking for sacrifice of the son. Then the promise.

But people kept straying. They wrote laws to build a way to God from the bottom up instead of accepting God coming down.

Then God took a giant step–coming to Earth in the person of Jesus.

Think of the first step in faith of John and Andrew after John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to them. Think of Peter’s first step of faith. Except he kept needing to take another step until he got it right.

Sometimes we get complacent. We’re settling. We stopped reaching out to mentor and teach. We stopped serving.

When we realize we’ve reached that state, it’s time to take a step in faith.

Maybe this is the time of the year for that “annual review” of our relationship. It’s Advent. We remember God’s step of faith reaching out to us. It’s time to take that step of faith to respond.

Where will our faith lead us next year? Only by being open to God’s whisper in faith will we know what God has in store for us.

My faith journey took several weird turns during the past three years. Looks like I’m poised for some interesting new directions. I’ll take that step.

Three Days That Make Us Different

April 3, 2015

Today is what we’ve come to call Good Friday. I have to admit that as a kid I wondered about that phrase. What’s good about that day? As an adult with thinking skills, I could come up with a lot of reasons to justify calling it good. But still…good?

Good Friday–a remembrance of the day Jesus was killed. Leaders of the day just couldn’t get over their fixation on the way history was supposed to play out. Especially the part that they were to play–that is, they were to lose their jobs. So, they killed the threat.

But, Good Friday leads inevitably to Easter.

Ah, Easter. More than a remembrance. A celebration. Our culture places so much celebration on Christmas. But Easter. Without Easter, we have no faith.

No person of Jewish faith has ever commented on this blog or emailed me directly. But I have had a conversation with a teacher within the Islamic faith.

Within Islam, Jesus is acknowledged as a prophet. Maybe so. I think at that level he was more of a Wisdom teacher than a classical prophet. But then, I’m not a learned scholar. Just a disciple. And he certainly acted as a prophet in several examples.

Within Judaism, Jesus is not recognized. During a recent Bible study, one of the men blurted out (since it’s so obvious to us), “Why don’t Jews believe?”

I found this very consise, rational, scholarly statement from a Jewish rabbi detailing the Scriptures that prove Jesus was not the Messiah. Like I say, thinking people can come up with lots of reasons.

I just finished 1,500 pages of scholarly work showing how Paul (the ex-Pharisee, Jew above Jew) re-interpreted his Scriptures in light of his meeting with the risen Jesus. Jesus, himself, in fact re-interpreted his scriptures.  And he taught his followers to do so. I understand the reluctance to abandon a faith based on what you see as faulty interpretation.

Easter, though, has nothing to do with interpretation of scripture.

Jesus lived. Jesus died. Jesus lives again.

That’s all. Everything else is mental exercise.

Faith in the resurrection is what makes us different. More than that. It’s how lives are changed by the power of God’s spirit when we accept that reality. 

We are different from other religions. But we are also different people. Changed people. That power has been proven over 2,100 years. And it continues to be proven with each new Jesus-follower today.

I cannot help it that so many people claiming the title “Christian” behave so poorly–even to the extent of killing great numbers of people. The power of the resurrection lives in too many of us to deny the fact.

Therefore, I guess we call it “Good” Friday. But it’s all about Easter. Enjoy.

PS. Since my feeble attempts at writing are read around the world, even in places where calling yourself Christian could be life-threatening–my prayers go out to you that you can celebrate the day without fear. And that peace will come to you soon.