The Big Squeeze

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“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.”  –Luke 13:24

I’m not what you would call a small man.

I’ve lost 30+ pounds and “found them” again, twice.  In the 14 months that I’ve been a vegetarian, I’ve actually gained 5 pounds.  When I shop in the Big & Tall section, no one would mistake me for being there because of my height.

So yeah, I’m a heavy guy.  Which has me wondering about this door Jesus talks about. Just how narrow is it?

You know, I can squeeze into a restaurant booth.  I can squeeze into an airplane seat. I can squeeze into my dress pants without popping a button. But what I really need to know is how tight a squeeze this door really is.  Do I stand a chance? Jesus tells us many will try to enter and not be able.

That makes me nervous.  Because that’s not all I’m carrying.

It’s very hard to enter into the Kingdom if you’re carrying anything sinful: a spare tire around the middle, or an overinflated ego, or bags stuffed with greed, or the giant plank stuck in your eye.

What are you carrying that will make it hard for you to squeeze through the narrow door?

The door is there before us, a challenge for your life and mine, but Jesus didn’t put it there to daunt us or to taunt us.  The truth is, alone, none of us could make it through.  We’re carrying too much!

No, the door serves a purpose for our lives.  Jesus invites us to measure up against that narrow door, to make a wholehearted attempt to mold ourselves into the shape of the Kingdom.  This is the work of discipleship, as we learn to shed what weighs us down and pick up what helps us resemble Christ.

Ultimately, it is God’s Grace that leads us through the door and into the Kingdom.  Every pound we shed is our “Thank You” for bringing us through.

It’s a New Year and a New Start.

So…

What have you got to lose?

Have a great week,

Mitch

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Your next turn.

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New Year, new office.

Sort of.

I wanted to fit a round table in my office for small meetings, and it required me to move some things around.

Most notably, my desk has shifted across the room, and is turned completely perpendicular to its old orientation.

I love it.

Now I can see out the window instead of having it at my back.

It’s giving me a whole new outlook on 2015!

Ever hear someone say: “I made a big change in my life!  I totally did a 360”?

That is, of course, absurd, since that means turning around in a circle, ending up where you started.

I’ve heard many others say, “I’ve done a whole 180 with my life!”

Which is admirable.  Some folks need to stop what they’re doing, do an about face, and head back the way they’ve come.

Not me.  I think I’m more of a 90 degrees kind of guy.

I don’t want to abandon all forward progress.  I don’t want to just retrace my old steps.

But from time to time I do need a shifted perspective, a new outlook.

A different angle on things.

What about you? What’s your next turn?

Remember the Byrds hit, “Turn, Turn, Turn”?

“To everything, Turn, Turn, Turn.
There is a season, Turn, Turn, Turn.
And a time to every purpose under Heaven.”

Those words, adapted from Ecclesiastes, remind me it’s good to take a turn from time to time.

If we could treat the course corrections and rearrangements of our lives as spiritual disciplines, we may find ourselves (literally) in a better position to be disciples.

That’s a notion that warms my heart, these cold early days of 2015.

But it’s something to remember…

even when it’s 90 degrees.

Have a great week,

Mitch

 

In Car Nation

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Did you know that over the Christmas/New Year holiday, long distance traffic jumps up 23% across the U.S.?

Yep.  Lots of people traveling in their cars.

This year, I’ll be one of them.

I’ll be traveling 612 miles due east, from Kansas City to Dayton, Ohio.

I certainly don’t mind the road trip–Christmas music blasting, singing, laughing, relaxing–as long as the roads are clear.

10 hours in a car is such a small price to pay to see my family face to face.

It occurs to me how much traveling was involved in the first Christmas:

Mary and Joseph? About 99 miles, from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
At 5 miles per hour on a Donkey, no less!
I could drive to Ohio and back in the same amount of time.

The Shepherds? Well, just a few miles, probably, down from the hills.
But they had all those sheep to deal with.

The Wise Men? They came from the East.  Persia, maybe?
Nobody knows for sure.  Certainly, it would have been a long journey.

But not the longest.

The distance between Heaven and Earth is quite immeasurable, don’t you think?

But still, Christ made the trip.

To be Emmanuel, God with us.

To become The Incarnation for us.

How about that?

I guess all that distance

was such a small price to pay

to see humanity…

face to face.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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