August 26, 2005
I recall a trip to Nazareth that Jesus made in which the scripture records, "And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief." This is an account in the life of Jesus that puzzles me. How is it that Jesus' powers were restricted because the hometown folk did not believe in him? He was Jesus, certainly he did not need the approval of others to work miracles or did he? The scripture puzzles me because I cannot picture Jesus being restricted. I like Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of this, "He didn't do many miracles there because of their hostile indifference." Maybe Jesus was restricted because the people just ignored him even though he had much to offer.
Have you ever wanted to desperately help someone and they were either indifferent toward you or refused your counsel and best efforts to help them in a constructive way? There you stand helpless and feeling at a loss for a proper response. Parents often experience this with their children. We all experience this with a sibling or a close friend. Pastors experience this with members and members experience this with pastors.
It is interesting that neither Jesus nor Matthew gives us any advice as to how to handle this. The only message I receive from this is that Jesus left Nazareth and maybe that is what we are to do. We may need to simply offer and when our offer is refused we need to accept the person's response to our answer and walk a way. The only other option is for us to begin to pray that God intervenes. The Holy Spirit can often do what we can never do. There may also be times when the timing is just not right and we may need to wait for the appropriate time.
The real challenge here is dealing with our own feelings of helplessness. This is when we must find a way through communion with God in prayer, fasting, speaking with others and scripture reading to accept that this is "Holy Spirit Time" and not our time.
Think about it. I would love to hear your thoughts.
August 02, 2005
To repair or get a new one? That is the question.
The New York Times recently published an article entitled “Corrupted PCs find new home: Trash Bins” The article stated that many today rather than repair broken or slow computers will throw them away and purchase a new PC. In the face of spy ware, viruses, and other Internet-borne infections many will trash their computers. The number of viruses has more than doubled in the last six months and spy ware has more than quadrupled. However, it appears that the anti-virus industry is having a hard time trying to keep up with the destructive worms and viruses being let loose on our computers. So, rather than have their computers repaired especially with the cost of computers going down more and more, people are opting to buy new computers.
It is amazing to me that an instrument that is so needed in today's world is becoming so cheap that when they are broken we ditch them. In only a few years a commodity that was so costly and so complex has become financially feasible and simple to operate. And this is so typical of the world you and I live in. We are experiencing such rapid change that many of us and especially our churches and our leadership in the church are finding it difficult to keep up.
It is my opinion that it is not in purchasing new equipment or better technology that is our challenge. It is changing our mindset in such a way that we become open to the new possibilities, shapes and forms of offering Christ to an ever-changing world. And maybe it is more cost effective and less stressful to create new churches than it is to repair the infected ones we already have.