Sold As Is

Don’t you just love a good bargain? Most of us do. Whether it is a garage sale, second-hand store, or the clearance rack at the mall, we all like a good deal. What we don’t often like is getting home and realizing that our good deal wasn’t that good after all. It was an especially bad deal if we didn’t notice the “as is” tag. Most of us are leery of “as is” items.

Some stores call them slightly irregular, sometimes they are called seconds, but whatever you call them, it is simply another way of saying, “These are damaged goods.” And most stores give you fair warning: This item is sold ‘as is.

All you need to do is interact with another human being, and you will notice that earth is the “as is” section of the universe. Everyone we come in contact with is slightly irregular. All of us have flaws, imperfections, and damage. We all want to be normal, but the writers of the Scriptures insist that no one is normal. “There is none righteous, not even one!” (Romans 3:10) Jesus was quite aware that earth was the “as is” section of the universe. Yet, he came looking for us, knowing how flawed we are.

Jesus understood what it was to see people with their “as is” tag. He also understood that it was his mission to serve the flawed, no matter how big the imperfection.

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Saints/Sinners

Years ago, my wife and I stayed in a Howard Johnson Inn while vacationing in Florida. As I was walking down the hallway, I past their lounge. I wasn’t particularly surprised that they had a lounge but what did surprise me was the lounge’s name: Saints/Sinners. Being a Christ-follower, I was taken back that “Saints” would be used in reference to a bar. I have pondered that name often but as I was reading the Gospels, that name came back to me.

I guess the name first caught my attention because of the vast contrast between the two names; they are total opposites of each other. Nowhere is that seen more clearly than the attitude of the “saints” and the sinners” of Jesus’ day.  No “saint” would ever associate with “sinners” and that was one of the reasons that Jesus was hated by the religious establishment. Jesus not only associated with THEM but He went into THEIR homes and even shared a meal with THEM.

Before we start throwing stones, have you ever been at  a party and felt uncomfortable around certain people? We tend to associate with people like US, don’t we? You can almost see the separation in the room between THEM and US.  I can visit a church and almost point out to you one of THEM. THEM will often sit by THEM-selves and you can often see they are  uncomfortable being in the presence of so many of US.

What are we to do? The “US” must take the first step in tearing down the walls that separate US and THEM. Ask if they would mind if you sat with them during the worship service. Purposely start  a conversation with that person that is being overlooked at the party. Invite one of THEM to go with you to a ballgame with you. (You paying for their ticket of course!)

Let’s US do everything possible to make THEM one of US!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We hear a lot about the media’s bias on choosing which news to withhold and which to share with the public. Assuredly, their decision is often based on their political leaning. Even conservative journalists may choice not to reveal the “whole” truth.

The Bible is truly “fair and balanced” in telling the truth. It shares “the good, the bad, and the ugly” truth about people’s lives. David’s sexual ‘indiscretion’ was not excluded. 2 Samuel 11. Even the Apostle Paul’s fallout with co-worker Barnabus is recorded in Acts 15:36-41 And then there is Peter’s denial of Christ. John 18:15-27

So why share the “ugly” side of people’s lives? The Bible wanted everyone to know that failure doesn’t have to be final. Proverbs 24:16 says, “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,…” Even the best of us have failed; “Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory. Romans 3:23

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” C.S. Lewis

Seek God

Reposted from Craig & Amy Groeschel’s From This Day Forward

Modern culture tells us we should look for that perfect person: “the one.” If we just find and marry “the one,” everything afterwards is wedded bliss, right? That’s a pretty unreasonable expectation to place on someone. Just think: would you want to be “the one” to bear that responsibility? Then why force those expectations on someone else?

God is the One who completes you. He created you to love Him with your whole heart and to put Him above all else. God is your One. Your spouse is your two. And when the two of you commit to seek God together, you can build a marriage—together—on a firm foundation that will stand the test of time.

What’s something you could ask God to do in you that would make you a better partner to your spouse? Become the kind of person you would want to be married to. Seek the One with your two. Begin by committing to pray together every day, even if it’s through a text message, over the phone, or silently.

Success or Failure?

There is no question that our culture worships at the altar of success. We love rags-to-riches stories. We swallow the world’s lie that the person with the biggest bank account, largest mansion, most expensive car and who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company is a success. 

In the “religious” world, the church with the largest congregation and the most elegant campus is considered a success. Churches compete with each other for recognition. TV evangelists [some, not all] pride themselves with their ratings. Pastors from the small, country churches feel inferior to the “big-city” pastor. 

While I don’t believe that churches should compete against one another, I do believe we should do and be our best. We are told to be faithful not successful. Matthew 25:20  Sometimes faithfulness and “success” run on the same track but not always. Missionaries and pastors sometimes labor years without seeing the fruit of their labor. 

As Christ-followers, we must remember we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Each of us have our place of service in the Kingdom and it all works together. “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” I Cor. 3:5-9