So Be Bad For Goodness Sake?

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Alright, Christmas Travelers,

are you ready for a pop quiz?

To get ready for this quiz, take a quick gander at the two quotes below:

He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake –“Santa Claus is Coming To Town”

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. -Luke 5:32

And now, here’s your quiz:

Which would be more worth the risk:  Saying you’ve been good all year in the hopes that Santa will come to you, or admitting you’ve sinned your way through much of 2016 in the hopes that Jesus will come to you?

See the distinction?

  • Santa claims to only come to good girls and boys, offering toys.
  • Jesus claims to come only for the sinners, offering repentance.

So what’s your move?  Do you go for the rewards that come if you can pass as “good”, or the reward that comes from admitting that, well, you’ve had some pretty bad moments too.

Wait.  You know what?  Don’t answer.

It’s not a fair question.

I mean, I suppose our culture brings out some version of the Jesus vs. Santa thing most every holiday season, but that’s not the way I mean the question is unfair.

It’s unfair because it’s asking you to choose between two things you should never have to chose between.

You should never have to choose between trying to be good and admitting you’re a sinner.

In fact, you should do both, a lot!  And not just at Christmas.  (And not just for the promise of toys).

You and I should live humble lives, aware of our fallenness, our mistakes, our holes.  Yes, we are the very ones Jesus came to redeem.

But at the same time, we should strive to live good lives.  In spite of our mistakes.  We should be proud of our goodness, but never proud, if you know what I mean.  We can humbly celebrate the ways we’ve lived a life of thanks to the God who has saved us.

Life is not a quiz laid out in black and white, or good and bad. We can only try to stay faithful, and humble, and honest as we travel the winding road of Advent, and beyond.

Funny.  People are always saying Christmas brings out the best and worst in them.

Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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I plead the 5th


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It’s been quite a week.  Everyone’s talking, but as for me…

I plead the 5th.

The 5th commandment, I mean.

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. –Exodus 20:12

Honor your father and your mother.  Make them proud.

Live a life worthy of the love they have passed down to you.

Not just your birth parents.  Also, your teachers.  And your preachers.

Your elders.

And your whole family, really.

“Give weight to the family” is another way to define this commandment.

Brothers, sisters.  Aunts, uncles.  Yes, be sure to give weight to these special people.

When you do that, you honor God, and you affirm your covenant with God!

And while you’re at it, why not honor some other people, too?

I mean, since you’re in the mood…

Church members.  Doctors.  Veterans. Sanitation workers.

How about strangers on the street?  Different colors, backgrounds, lifestyles…

Why not honor them too?

In fact, would it be taking this commandment too far if we were to honor everyone to the very best of our ability?

Maybe.

The commandment doesn’t get that broad, I suppose.

But it still seems the honorable thing to do.

So here’s my advice:

Go forth, and LOUDLY plead the 5th.

Incriminate yourself as a child of God.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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H(illary)(tr)UMP DAY

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It was the worst of times, it was the even worster of times.

Nice grammar, huh?  But that’s kind of how I feel about the 2016 Presidential Election.

It was a time that seemed to bring out the worst in everybody.  Finger-pointing, nit-picking, lies, and immorality.

And that was just Facebook.

Debates that seemed to unfold like boxing matches.  Media feeding Americans’ insatiable desire for more dirt, more drama.

Everyone was drawn in the fray.  This election became personal for women and men, well-educated and less-educated, Latinos, African Americans, veterans, the working class, and so on.

Over the past month I’ll admit I became obsessed.  Every hour on the hour I found myself checking various news sites to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

But I did miss, quite a lot.

I missed civility.  I missed unity.  I missed a constructive exchange of ideas.

I missed out on several good night’s sleep.

I missed verifiable truth.  I missed the America I love.

I wonder…will it ever be the same, here?  Have we burned ourselves too badly with all the nastiness?

I hope not. I hope…for something more.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   –Jeremiah 29:11-13

This is how we get over the HUMP of H(illary) + (tr)UMP

By focusing our attention where it should never stray.  On The Lord, the one true source of our Hope.

I’ll keep that in mind as I watch election results tonight.  This is an important moment in our country, but there is never a day — not even Election Day — when God is not at work in us and through us, and even through people who don’t vote like us.

So rejoice, friends!

Today is election Tuesday.

Thank God tomorrow is over-the-HUMP day.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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