Skip to content


Fairness Is Overrated by Tim Stevens

Tim Stevens is an executive with the Vanderbloemen Research Group, and in his new book, Fairness is Overrated, Stevens takes his lifetime of leadership knowledge and pours out what he knows in short, and very concise chapters.

Each of Tim’s chapters fall under one of four essential pillars:

1. Be a leader worth following.

2. Find the right people

3. Build a healthy culture and

4. Lead confidently through a crisis.

Stevens understands that leaders learn by leading; and so he knows that creating a healthy and successful organization requires throwing out what’s “normal” and writing a book that is both practical and spiritual, and that works in the REAL WORLD—all of that – is EXACTLY what you will find in this book.

And while Stevens IS a Christian, you won’t find the book heavily sedated with overly Christian themes. Also it bears noting that this book is targeted more at the person who RUNS the organization and not just “leaders in general.” This is a great book for an office manager, a president or pastor or C.E.O.

Stevens writes in a very easy to digest “sound bite” stile and the book is refreshing and practical. Each chapter is followed by relevant discussion questions.

I received a preview copy from Thomas Nelson in exchange for a fair and honest review.

share this article
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Print

Posted in Reader.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , .


Good Friday: Our lives were ransomed

At first glance, the cross is confusing. It’s true. We both know it. The cross comes at the end of the story like a terrible punch line. Wait? What’s the story of Jesus? A really great guy came to earth, taught about loving your enemies, restoration, world peace. He held children, cared for the forgotten, ate with outcasts. He raised the dead, healed the sick, and fed thousands of people… and right at the end…. the people killed him as a criminal.

It makes no sense. It’s the kind of thing that makes you look at the joke teller and ask, “are you sure you’re telling it right?” The bible even knows that the cross makes no sense:

Paul writes, 1 Corinthians 1:18

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed.

So why was Jesus killed? It’s the question that begs answering today. And so in order to answer that question, we need to do a little history lesson.

Caesar Augustus died on August 19th in the year 14, which is why we call the month August. He was later succeeded by a man named Tiberius. Tiberius was emperor from 14 all the way to 37, so this was the Roman Caesar who reigned during the life of Jesus.

Now, if you were the new Caesar, one of the things you would need to do is get your name out there, you’d have to create a reputation for yourself. You want the masses to learn your name – plus – you probably were not going on a world tour anytime soon so how do you get people to recognize your face? Well, you could commission a couple of statues of yourself to be made and throw those around, but the faster way to spread your fame was to mint coins.

If you want to spread the news about your new position – you would mint a coin with your image; and so coins would begin to be circulated with “the image” of Caesar Tiberius on it.

So here comes the rub. The bible is telling the story of two people groups who are living together. The larger group is the Jews. These are the residents of Jerusalem, these are the common people, the masses. They have a huge historical heritage that is centered around a single deity, and who instructs his followers to not worship other Gods and to not worship the images of other Gods.

The second people group of this time is the Romans – this is the smaller group. Smaller only because the Romans in this region would merely be there as a police nation along with their families. Many of these people would be in this area for an assignment or a tour of duty and then would later return to their home in Rome. The Romans live with the Hebrews, but not as friends or allies, but as their governors.  And the Romans worship an entire armada of Gods including… the ruling Caesar.

While Julius was still alive he commissioned a statue with the inscription, “The unvanquished god,” and he declared himself dictator for life; since that time the Caesar’s have all accepted praise and worship from their constituents.  And so one of the ways that you would honor the Caesar was through the Roman tax.

And so a big debate of that time was do you pay the Roman tax or not? What do you do if you are a Hebrew? Do you pay the tax? Because Caesar says he is a God. But if we don’t pay the tax, we could be incited for rebellion.

Tax and coin were a huge issue. So the religious leaders bring this question to Jesus

Mark 12: 13 They sent some of the Pharisees and supporters of Herod to trap Jesus in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you’re genuine and you don’t worry about what people think. You don’t show favoritism but teach God’s way as it really is. Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay taxes or not?”

There is the question, “Should we pay tribute to Caesar?” The bible says that they wanted to trap him in his words, how? Well if Jesus says pay the tax, then he is a traitor to his own people, he is condoning emperor worship and consequently his followers would leave him. However, if they could catch him speaking out against the tax, they could incite him as a rebel and an insurrectionist as a threat to the throne.

v15 Since Jesus recognized their deceit, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a coin. Show it to me.” 16And they brought one.

So when Jesus is asked “Hey, Jesus – What do you think?” Jesus says “show me a coin” Which means what? Jesus doesn’t even have one. Jesus doesn’t have one and yet THEY do! They try to trap Jesus – but Jesus has already turned it against them.

Jesus said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” His reply left them overcome with wonder.

You see aside from the collision of the Jews and the Romans who are living together, there are two other circles colliding. Amidst the Hebrews, there is another division. There are the masses, the laity, the everyday people. And then there are the religious ruling class, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Rabbi’s, the teachers of the law.  Much like the relationship with the Romans, the average Jew takes their instruction and teaching from this smaller circle. 80-90% of the people are poor, simple good people living off of the land.

So in effect, if you are neither a Roman or a Religious teacher, you actually have two authorities in your life both biding for your devotion. The state wants your loyalty and your tax, and the temple wants your devotion and your tithe…

What do you do?

A good question that we could ask is; why was this nice Jewish Rabbi being tested like this? Well, the most wealthy and powerful lived in the upper city of Jerusalem – this is the 1% (ha ha) The reason why this North is so significant is because right next to it, is the Roman Pratoreum. This where the Roman Governor lived.

Remember, most people are barely making it in the world, but in the upper city is a group of Jews who are living off the extra from the tithes given to God; and they are living in absolute luxury. Sometime back archeologists unearthed a bottle of wine from this region that would have had an estimated value of five thousand dollars. What kind of wealth would you have to be living in – in order to afford a bottle like that?

And so with great wealth, there comes this need to retain that lifestyle. Once you taste the lap of luxury, you are not so inclined to let it go. Well what kinds of things might you see as a threat if you were a religious ruler?

Perhaps a rival? Someone who was gaining popularity? Someone whom all the masses loved? You see the smaller circles need the larger circles to maintain their way of life. And if something (or someone) comes along that appears to be tipping that scale – well, then…. they have to go. Look at this story….

Mark 3: 1 Jesus returned to the synagogue. A man with a withered hand was there. 2 Wanting to bring charges against Jesus, they were watching Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Step up where people can see you.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they said nothing. 5 Looking around at them with anger, deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did, and his hand was made healthy. 6 At that, the Pharisees got together with the supporters of Herod to plan how to destroy Jesus.

Already we begin to see the story unfold. You have the one plot line of this great guy named Jesus who loved and heals people, he is merciful and gracious… but… not everyone sees him that way.  At the same time that Jesus is a Savior… he is also becoming a threat.

Jesus continues his ministry and he continues to gain popularity and followers; and all of this comes to a head the week that his good friend Lazarus dies. The bible says that Jesus waited for the opportune moment to go and visit Lazarus at his tomb and with everyone standing around mourning the passing, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead. The bible says in John 11:45-53

45 Therefore, many of the Jews who came with Mary and saw what Jesus did believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

47 Then the chief priests and Pharisees called together the council and said, “What are we going to do? This man is doing many miraculous signs! 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our people.”

So the religious leaders are afraid of what? Losing control.

49 One of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, told them, “You don’t know anything! 50 You don’t see that it is better for you that one man die for the people rather than the whole nation be destroyed.” 51 He didn’t say this on his own. As high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would soon die for the nation— 52 and not only for the nation. Jesus would also die so that God’s children scattered everywhere would be gathered together as one. (and the bible says that) 53 From that day on they plotted to kill him.

This is the plot beginning to thicken, this is the train pulling out of the station, there are whisperings, shady deals taking place, money exchanging hands, secret meetings, someone says, “I know a guy…”

One chapter later Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and he makes an entrance! It’s a spectacle! Throngs of people are waving palm branches and shouting “Hosanna, Save us!”  At one point one of the religious leaders turns to Jesus and says, “Tell these people to quiet down…” John writes…

John 12:17-19

17 The crowd who had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead were testifying about him. 18 That’s why the crowd came to meet him, because they had heard about this miraculous sign that he had done. 19 Therefore, the Pharisees said to each other, “See! You’ve accomplished nothing! Look! The whole world is following him!”

Their plans to trick him, stump him, get him into a corner had all failed. Day by day this new Rabbi gained more notoriety and the religious leaders were losing their influence. They were jealous. Jesus was taking their audience, and taking their audience, meant taking away the life that they had been used to.

So if you’re a Pharisee… do you just throw in the towel and say, “well, I guess Jesus wins?”  No, you do whatever it takes to shut him up. But they didn’t have to wait long, Jesus did one more thing that pushed them over the edge.

After Jesus came into Jerusalem, the bible says that Jesus and his disciples went up to the temple.

Mark 11:15  After entering the temple, Jesus threw out those who were selling and buying there. He pushed over the tables used for currency exchange and the chairs of those who sold doves. 16 He didn’t allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.

There are a couple of things going on here. First, thousands of people are in town for Passover, so the tables and the money exchangers this isn’t a common thing. These people are here because everyone who is coming for the festival needs salt, wine and oil. They might also need smaller animal sacrifices like birds.. so these vendors set up shop. And you can imagine it’s just like buying food or souvenirs at the rodeo, because you didn’t bring your own, they hike up the price for out of towners – so they are ripping the people off.

Second, this story becomes tied to the test the Pharisees gave Jesus about the Roman coins. In order to pay the temple tax, the temple isn’t going to allow you to pay it with a Roman coin. You can’t have the graven image of a Roman ruler used inside God’s house. No way. So what do you do? Well, you have to have your everyday money converted to a Jewish shekel. Well, the only problem there is, nobody mints these coins anymore, and so nobody carries them. So if you want to pay the temple tax, you have to have your money converted.

And if I have Jewish shekles and you want them…. I’m going to rob you on the exchange rate.

Jesus steps in and he says, Mark 11:17 He taught them, “Hasn’t it been written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you’ve turned it into a hideout for crooks.

So obviously Jesus is mad that people are using the temple for gain and for profit, but he also says, My house will be called a house of prayer. Do you know why he says that?

Well because these racketeerers were not allowed INSIDE the temple, so they are forced to set up shop right at the entrance as people were walking in. But these shop owners were setting up their tables right where some people would worship and pray.

In fact if you read this story in Matthew it says, Matthew 21:14

People who were blind and lame came to Jesus in the temple, and he healed them.

You see, this entrance courtyard was as close as the blind and the lame could get to the temple. They were not allowed inside because of their infirmity. And so Jesus walks up and this is what he sees: the blind and the lame standing off to the side confused and with no place to worship.

And in the place where prayer was usually taking place, retailer and small business owners had set up shop and were taking advantage of people who had come to worship.

Oh yea, and earlier did you see that our text said that He didn’t allow anyone to carry anything through the temple? What’s going on there? Well, because the temple was such a large structure, most people were to lazy to walk around it, so many people, Roman or otherwise, they used the temple as a short cut. They would just walk through it, carrying anything they liked, disrupting worship….

So this is why Jesus gets so angry. It’s not because he was prone to anger or violence, but because of the disrespect that was being shown to the worshipers and to the house of God.

And here is something to think about. Jesus does this… because nobody else was doing it. And if nobody else was doing it, that meant that the temple “authority” didn’t care, in fact, they liked it this way. But seeing Jesus come in and begin to change the way things were done in the temple, well that’s like spanking someone else’s kid, and the bible says,

Mark 11:18

The chief priests and legal experts heard this and tried to find a way to destroy him. They regarded him as dangerous because the whole crowd was enthralled at his teaching.

And this is just days before Jesus’ arrest. That was the last straw, he’s been messing with their congregation and now he has the audacity to come in and mess with their temple? Their bread and butter? Oh no.

Albert Schweitzer was a German theologian and missionary and he had a rather confused opinion of Jesus and the cross. In one of his writings he said this about Jesus.

“Jesus lays hold of the wheel of the world to set it moving on that last revolution which is to bring all ordinary history to a close. It refuses to turn, and he throws himself on it. Then it does turn; and crushes him”

Schweitzer felt that things did not go the way Jesus had planned. That Jesus had tried to be a good teacher, tried to make a difference in the world, and in the end, the world ended up crushing him totally by surprise.

What do you think, do you think this plot by the religious order, did it catch Jesus off guard? Was he unaware?

During this Passover week, Jesus had a few moments to teach in Jerusalem and one chapter after Palm Sunday we have this parable.

Mark 12:1-12

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place.

Jesus is telling a parable right now as a response to the table flipping incident. Remember, it just happened. In the story, God is the man who “plants a garden” and the watchtower becomes the temple the place that is to be a light for all nations and the “farmers” are the priests.

v2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

Before Christ there had been several prophets who had come preaching a word against the kings, the temple or the religious rulers and those voices were rarely listened to. Even at the time of this story, John the Baptist had been the most recent voice that had been silenced.

v 6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

9 “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 11 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them.

That is some parable, but it is very telling…. in the story, there is no mistaking that God is the vineyard owner, a man who sends his only son to the vineyard to hold the local authorities responsible for the way the garden has been running and these hired servants kill the son.

But more telling than that- the chief priests now look for a way to arrest Jesus because the text says, what? – They knew – they knew – the parable was about them.

What does that mean? Jesus is on to them. He knows their plans.

The wheel did not crush Jesus unexpectedly. He knew it was coming. In fact, Jesus says that the entire reason he came was for that fact. Jesus said,

Matthew 20:28

The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

One the night he was arrested, Jesus broke bread in an upper room with those closest to him. He took the elements of bread and wine and he gave them new meaning, He knew that in just hours he would be betrayed, and in another twenty-four hours he would be dead.

But even though the religious leaders arrested Jesus and the Romans had him killed, they are not responsible or to blame for his death. Jesus says quite plainly that all of this was the design from the very beginning.

John 10:17-18

I give up my life so that I can take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again.

What would compel someone to deliberately choose this course of action? God could have made it so that in his great mercy, forgiveness just rolled out like a blanket. Or, God could have made salvation a series of obstacles and hurdles for each follower to achieve. He could have placed all the work on himself, or he could have placed all the work on us… so why did he place all the work on his son?

Because he loved us.  Jesus tells us in John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

You know, I sometimes wonder if the religious leaders were not so naive.

When Jesus tells the story of the vineyard, the hired servants say, This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ In other words, the farmers knew who it was that they were killing and they didn’t care. And the bible says the Pharisees knew that the parable was about them. I sometimes wonder if the religious leaders knew who it was that they were killing. I mean after all, he healed a man’s withered hand, brought a dead man back to life and stormed through the temple as if it were his own house.

So while Jesus hung there, bleeding out and breathing his last, the hired hands made fun of God’s son, “He saved others; (they said) let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

But see Jesus didn’t come to save himself… so he hung there and died because he came to save you.

Jesus says, Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

A ransom is an exchange, it’s the price to redeem slaves. Jesus gave his life, so that you and I could be free.

At first glance, the cross is confusing. It’s true. We both know it.

The cross comes at the end of the story like a terrible punch line. Wait? What’s the story of Jesus?

The world had gotten lost in darkness so the vineyard owner sent his only son. God in the form of a man, came to earth to set things right. He loved the world like a shepherd, taught his disciples like a rabbi, he healed sick flesh and restored broken lives. He called God the Father and he called us his friends…. and right at the end….. he committed the ultimate act of love.

Jesus wasn’t killed… Jesus was not tricked, trapped, coerced, or surprised. His plans weren’t foiled, he wasn’t cut down in his prime and he didn’t fail.

Jesus’ last word were “it is finished.” and his last thoughts were of you

Our lives were ransomed, because Jesus calls us friend.

Prayer,

Lord, may we dare not call the cross foolishness, for it is our salvation. We can not comprehend the love that drove you to those boards and nails, all we can do is thank you – thank you – thank you. As we head towards the empty tomb this Sunday, let us bear the weight of your sacrifice. Jesus, we love you Amen

 

share this article
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • email
  • Print

Posted in Teacher.

Tagged with , , , , .


Feeling relevant

I used to love writing for Relevant Magazine, it helped me feel… you know… relevant. But now with my family and my ministry, I just haven’t had time. I stopped by their website the other day and stumbled across all of my old articles and just thought I’d post them here for posterity. So here ya go!

  • Offering To God More Requests

    I’m trying to find the verse in the Bible where Noah prays that his ark passes smog. Or what about the time when Timothy prays that God helps him with his next mid-semester test? Is it in 2 nd Hesitations where Ezekiel prays that his dog gets over a cold? …

  • Leaving the Church?

    Recently some friends my age left the church that I go to, and I have to say; I felt kind of slighted by the whole thing. Now they are going to a different church, and I am sure they have their reasons. But it just feels like it wasn’t just the church the …

  • When Is It OK to Leave a Church?

    After my first article about leaving a church, I got a lot of responses from people (including my own family) asking when it was OK to leave a church. Because obviously people do leave churches from time to time, and there should be a “good reason” to lea …

  • A Case Of The Sundays

    I love the movie Office Space … well, who doesn’t? It’s been a cult classic since 1999. The struggle of the blue-collar office employee who adopts an “I don’t care” attitude toward work and infects his corporation with a Macintosh virus. (Is that even pos …

  • I Missed Earth Day

    Did you miss Earth day? It was April 22. Actually the whole idea of Earth “Day” as one specific day a year is a little bit ridiculous. It’s the same as saying, “On one day of the year we are going to appreciate our mothers or our administrative assistants …

  • More than a Piece of Paper

    David Kenney talks on what marriage should mean and that it is more than just a paper contract to be broken and breached at will. …

  • August Night

    August night so tight and frozen Whispers are but silent cries Curious people tucked away Listening for the stir of day As august night slowly dies I alone within my walls Feeling bound and cold I write Taken from the day’s slow toil Weary bones dragged h …

  • God’s Punk

    I remember my Grandmother being one of the television congregants of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s (who now goes by the surname Bakker Messner) TV ministry when it was in its prime. It was one of my first memories of televangelism, and it was right at the h …

  • Ministry Spotlight: SHIFT

    is the young adult ministry of Christ First Baptist of Covina Calif. Led by college intern, David … Kenney, SHIFT gets its name from John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” “It’s a mind set,” …

  • When The Nametag Becomes A Label

    Hello, my name is David Kenney, and I am sexually immoral. And as each member rose and stood, their sin …

  •  

     

    share this article
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • email
    • Print

    Posted in Teacher.


    The Legacy of St. Patrick

    Around this time of the year, we typically celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, many people only observe this holiday, by drinking themselves silly, which is totally contrary to the spirit of the man who Christianized Ireland.

    St. Patrick’s day is the date of his death and is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is a holy day of obligation; and it is also a celebration of Ireland itself.

    St. Patrick was known as the “Apostle of Ireland.”  And I would like to read a prayer of St. Patrick titled “I Rise Today,”

    “I bind unto myself today the strong name of the trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three. I bind this day to me forever by power of faith in Christ’s incarnation, His baptism in the Jordan river, His death on the cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spiced tomb, His riding up the heavenly way… I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to harken to my need, the wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward, the Word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard. Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me; Christ to comfort and restore me…”

    When Patrick was about 16, he was captured from his home in Great Britain, and taken as a slave to Ireland. Patrick says in his Confession that he discovered God during this time of captivity, and took to praying a 100x a day. And after 6 years, Patrick managed to escape from captivity, he walked 200 miles to the east coast and managed to negotiate passage aboard a trading ship to France. There, in France he trained to be Priest.

    And it was then that he began to hear a word in his heart that he should go back to Ireland and to minister to those people and to teach them about God.

    Patrick asked, “Am I willing and able to forgive those who have caused pain in my life? Am I willing to follow the call of God and even give my life to those who enslaved me?”

    In faith, Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as a part-time preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through Irish lands and preach the gospel. He then travelled back to Ireland as a missionary around the year 460, and tradition says that he never left.

    Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him and he died at the age of 77. He had seen untold thousands of people converted. Of the 150 tribes, 30-40 of them became significantly Christian. He had trained 1,000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was one of the first noted people in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.”

    And you know, there had been others who had tried to bring Christianity to Ireland, but the Irish people could not grasp the concept of the Trinity—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who are all said to be God.

    To them it sounded like nonsense. While other missionaries had struggled to explain the concept of the Trinity, Patrick relied on a simple illustration—he used the shamrock,  which is the symbol of national pride in Ireland. Each leaf on a clover is separate and distinct, yet it is part of a whole. It’s just one clover, yet with three individual leaves.

    And it was by making that simple comparison, that countless Irish men and women were able to accept the basic concept of God. Thus, Saint Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of the life of Saint Patrick himself, who died on March 17, as well as a celebration of the birth of Christianity in Ireland.

    In the movie “Fiddler on the Roof”, Tevye and his neighbors have been informed that the Tsar has evicted all the Jews from their village and confiscated all their land. There is a great upheaval and anger in the community, and there is talk of an uprising. One of the villagers says to Tevye, “We should defend ourselves. An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth!”

    “Very good,” mutters Tevye. “That way the whole world will be blind and toothless.”

    Tevye’s insight is the same as Jesus’ reinterpretation of the Old Testament law. They knew the law was good, as far as it went, but it was inadequate because it perpetuated a cycle of violence and revenge.

    Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-44

    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

    So what do we learn from St. Patrick today?

    First, Patrick practiced forgiveness. Instead of training to be a minister he could have trained to be a solider. He could have built an army and gone back to Ireland to seek revenge – an eye for an eye - for what was done to him. But he didn’t. Patrick chose to retaliate with love and kindness and to minister to the people of Ireland.

    Second we learn that Patrick modeled God’s character.

    Jesus finished his statement about loving your enemies this way….

    But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…. 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,  what more are you doing than others?

    Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    Being a person of grace, mercy and forgiveness is to take on the loving nature of God. As Jesus said, God does not just bless those who are good, he blesses even those who are not. And we are to model that same character of God, if God indeed lives in us.

    In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor …. act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”

    We pray for our enemies and we love our enemies because that’s what God does.  We take on His character when we seek to be people of grace and forgiveness.  And you know I am sure that St Patrick using the shamrock to teach the Irish will always be his fame, but I think it was his willingness to return to the place of his captivity and to love his enemies that will always be his legacy.

    I leave you with an Irish blessing,

    May God be with you and bless you.

    May you see your children’s children.
    May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in blessings.
    (and) May you know nothing but happiness
    from this day forward.

     

    share this article
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • email
    • Print

    Posted in Teacher.

    Tagged with , , , , , , .


    Wresting for my Life

    You might remember Shawn Michaels, as an American professional wrestling personality “the heartbreak kid” with the WWE, or his times as a television presenter. Currently Shawn is retired from wrestling and has recently teamed up with Zondervan publishers to release his new book “Wrestling for My Life.”

    Shawn’s book is a look behind the scenes of both his wrestling career and his personal life. His book is full of testosterone driven stories that involve his love for hunting and his wrestling career. The book also take a more personal side by examining stories of his family.

    In addition, like many tales of celebrity and fame, early on, Shawn discovered that there was still something missing in his life and overtime he discovered that the missing element  was a relationship with Jesus Christ.

    Shawn has an earlier book; Heartbreak and Triumph and from what I understand, it is a book that appeals more to Shawn’s wrestling fan base. Whereas this book is targeted more at Main stream Christians who want a “glimpse” of the Wrestling world.

    Wrestling for My Life is primarily focused on Shawn’s testimony as a Christian. The book has a full color insert in the middle that takes a look at Shawn’s life and career. The book is on the smaller-side at 160 pages and is a quick and easy read.

    This is not a “deep” book, nor is it an exhaustive memoir. I don’t think this book goes too far beneath the surface in any direction. My only complaint was this being a book that fans of Michaels might pick up, it would have been nice to have a portion of the book dedicated to presenting the gospel message and a print out of the sinner’s prayer.

    Thank you to Zondervan for this review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

    share this article
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • email
    • Print

    Posted in Reader.

    Tagged with , , , , .