Sell Everything?

“There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

Jesus in Mark 10:21

Mark tells the story about a rich young man who ran up to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to have eternal life. Jesus told the young man that he already knew the commandments of God. Yet the man said, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these commandments since I was a young man.”

Jesus looked closely at the man and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”

The question often asked is if Christians need to sell all their possessions in order to follow Jesus? Do Christians really need to sell everything, their houses, cars, clothes… and give all the money to the poor?

Western church folk would say, “Absolutely not!” Jesus never meant for anyone to sell all their possessions and give the money to the poor. Jesus was only speaking to the heart of this one young man and addressing his idolatry. This is not an absolute command for every Christian.

Sometimes I wonder, though, maybe Jesus really is talking to Christians today. Especially Christians in the Western world – this author and the reader.

The Western world is the top 1-percent of the wealthiest people in the world. We Christians are among them. But many of us Christians would be quick to protect our properties and strongly resist the teaching in this passage.

Perhaps Jesus is looking at us closely as we sit in our pews on Sunday morning calling upon God to give us eternal life. Perhaps Jesus is saying to us, “There’s one thing you still need to do…”

Jesus goes on to say later, “It’s hard for rich people to get into God’s kingdom!” Perhaps this is why we have seen a decline of people professing to be Christian in the West. Perhaps this is why many churches are in decline, many church buildings are empty. Long ago the West has turned away from God to follow a new god. We’ve plastered our motto upon the very god we serve, “In God We Trust.”

Jesus may not have commanded every Christian to sell ALL their possessions and give to the poor. But he did say, “Sell what you have and give the money to the poor,” (Luke 12:33). This is a direct command given to his followers. It is a command to you and me.

Notable Links – July 25

Living In The Bodies We Have And Not The Ones We Don’t

Looking at the transsexual phenomena and what it means to worship God with your body.

The education of Steven Spielberg. It didn’t involve ivy.

Kind of makes you wonder if going to college is really worth it these days.

9 Things You Should Know About the Communion Service on the Moon

The 50th anniversary of the moon landing was last week. Did you know the astronaut took communion on the moon? Also, do you know what was first read from Apollo 8 that first orbited the moon?

Notre Dame Fire Revives Demand For Skilled Stone Carvers In France

“Our work involves very specific requirements and we are short of skilled labor in a dozen or so traditional professions,” says Frederic Létoffé, the president of the monument restorers’ professional association. “But the Notre Dame fire woke the country up.”

What is Repentance?

I came across someone’s definition of repentance on social media the other day. It said, “Repentance Defined: ‘Admit it, quit it, and forget it.’” This is basically how I have understood repentance growing up. As a pastor, I’ve even taught that repentance is basically confessing your sins (1 John 1:9) and not sin anymore (John 8:11). So simple a child can understand.

Until that child discovers they can’t stop sinning and falls into despair.

Church folk believes they are teaching the truths of Scripture by quoting verses about God’s hatred for sin and his wrath. The solution they have for sin is “quit it.” When someone who can’t stop sinning hears these words from church folk they feel frustrated, outcast, and condemned. Paul illustrates this frustration and despair in Romans 7, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” The people who would preach “quit it” would do well to see how even Paul was unable to “quit it”.

Repentance is more than just “Admit it, quit it, and forget it.” The Greek word translated as ‘repentance’ is metanoia. It means “to know after, to change one’s mind.” Repentance is a re-orientation of your thoughts and actions. You turn away from how you’ve always thought, how you’ve always done things, and turn towards how Jesus thought, how Jesus did things. So, when Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel,” (Mk 1:15) he was saying, “The kingdom of God is here! Change your mind from doing things your way and doing them the kingdom way.”

Though Jesus doesn’t expect you to do this on your own. He sends his Holy Spirit to help us.

This is why Paul in his despair can say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord, I am delivered.” He said those who are led by the Spirit have a new mind. They think about things of the Spirit and not things of the flesh. Later in chapter 12 of Romans, he says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

How are you transformed? By being in Jesus (Rom. 8:1). By abiding in Jesus (John 15:5). By relying upon the one “who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless…” (Jude 24).

We cannot quit sin on our own power. We need Jesus.

Notable Links – July 18

What Not to Say to Someone With a Drug Addiction

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-not-to-say-to-someone-with-a-drug-addiction-22035

In case you want to know what not to say when talking to someone who has an addiction. One in particular that never needs to be said, “You Just Need to Pull Yourself Together!”

How millennials replaced religion with astrology and crystals

https://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-millennials-religion-zodiac-tarot-crystals-astrology-20190710-story.html

Humans are religious people. When you leave religion it is never for a sexy secular existence. It is for another religion.

Complete Book of Common Prayer

I have really benefited from using the Book of Common Prayer in my prayer time. Here is an updated version free online.

Why this man became a hermit at 20

https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-48968502

An interesting story of Christopher Knight who spent 27 years alone in Maine. Do you sometimes feel the need to get away and be alone? Sometimes, I think I just may flip and leave this world behind to live in the woods.

Sky Daddy Radio – Episode 8: Prayer

Prayer may seem simple. But for me, it is one of the hardest spiritual practices. Here is one of the resources I use in my daily prayer time:
http://bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/index.php/downloads/

Notes:

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/faith-in-life/prayer/prayer-has-its-reasonsMatthew 6:9-13 KJV – – Bible Gateway

Andrew’s Blog: http://www.andrewterry.org/

Jon’s Blog: https://jon-terry.org/

Music:

You Are Joy by Risen: https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/downloads/1037442

Change by (TSA) The Savior’s Army: https://www.reverbnation.com/tsathesaviorsarmy

Least of These

Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, “When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?” The king will answer, “Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”

Matthew 25:37-40

One thing I love about Jesus is he identifies with the poor: the hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned.

What can make one uneasy is Jesus equates how you treat the poor with how you treat him personally. In other words, when you are good to the poor you are being good to Jesus. When you are being bad to the poor, you are being bad to Jesus, the king of the universe, the Lord of all.

My forthcoming book will discuss Jesus’ scathing woes he pronounces over the religious leaders of his day. He calls them show-offs and blind fools. He says the religious leaders are greedy and selfish withholding food and drink from those who need it most. I believe much of the Church today has turned into these religious leaders.

We’ve lost sight of exactly who we are to be seeking after. Jesus identified himself with the poor time and again in the gospels. He was born poor, lived poor, and died a poor man. The apostle said, “He became poor so that we could become rich…”

Jesus now asks the Church to live like he lived – helping the ministering to the poor. He calls upon us to feed the hungry and thirsty, give shelter to the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned. He promises here that when we do these things we are doing it for him.

Really, if you want to see Jesus, experience Jesus in a way you’ve never have before, seek out the poor. You’ll find him already there ministering in ways you do not know. Imagine what the Church could do to this world if only we’d be his hands and feet.

Notable Links – July 11

Nine Traits of a Community-Focused Church

Great ideas just in the show notes on how you can impact your community.

John Stott’s Daily Prayer

Adding this prayer to my morning liturgy.

God’s Gracious Gift of the New Birth

https://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/god-s-gracious-gift-of-the-new-birth

Reminder that the new birth is more than a change of mind or actions but a super natural recreation in your life.

iWorld: Understanding the Transgender Philosophy

https://www.thegoodbook.com/blog/interestingthoughts/2019/07/03/iworld-understanding-the-transgender-philosoph/

Good insight into the philosophy of our post-modern culture.

Christian Daily Reporter

https://www.christiandailyreporter.com/

New aggregate whose manifesto states, “The Christian Daily Reporter is a source for the most important news and content from a Christian perspective — and it lives outside the tech-giant information choke hold.”

Searching the Lost

“The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost.”

Jesus; Luke 19:10

Jesus had a mission when he came to us 2000 years ago. Most emphasize his death. Others emphasize his resurrection. But, how many emphasize Jesus seeking out the lost?

This will be the focus of my book coming out towards the end of this year. It will be a short book talking about how the Church today has forgotten that we are to seek out the lost in this world and help them towards having a healthy relationship with our heavenly Father.

I will begin in Luke 15 and zoom into the story of the Lost Son. It is my conviction many who find themselves lost are powerless to get themselves found. It takes the searching of the shepherd, the urgency of a woman, and the love of a Father to bring people into a renewed relationship with our Father.

Jesus’ mission on earth was “look for and to save people who are lost.” Jesus then extends that same mission to us, the Church.

We have the concept of preaching and proclaiming the gospel down-pat. The problem is we proclaim this gospel in the safe environment of our church buildings. Jesus says, “go to the people” (Matt. 28:19 CEV). We want to “save people” but we are falling short on the “look for” part of Jesus’ mission.

British missionary Charles Studd said, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop, within a yard of hell.” We cannot storm the gates of hell by staying home.

Who Would Bow?


Jaffa Serpent Guard from Stargate SG-1

I don’t normally dream. At least I don’t usually remember my dreams. But this dream was so weird I couldn’t help but remember.

I was standing in an elaborate church building similar to ones I’ve seen in movies – large and very ornamental. In the front laid a large creature with a head like a cobra (I blame my recent viewing of Stargate SG-1 for the creature’s looks) and a large body. Some priest was putting the creature together in some fashion and brought it to life. When the creature stood it was twice the size of a man in height. The cobra’s hood spanned 6 feet wide, golden, and was encrusted with jewels.

Once the creature stood the priest led him through the crowds of people announcing his arrival, his awesome power, and the need for everyone to bow before the creature. In my dream I was thinking, “There’s no way any Christian here will bow before this creature.”

My dream ended before my thought could be proved.

This dream reminds me of the golden calves Jeroboam created and placed in Bethel and Dan (1 Kings 12:25-33) The kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms after the death of Solomon. Rehoboam ruled Judah to the south and Jeroboam ruled to the north called Israel. The center of Jewish worship was Jerusalem. So the problem for Jeroboam is Jerusalem resided in Judah to the south. He thought the people going there to worship would be persuaded by Rahoboam and turn away from his rule. So he brought worship into Israel. He himself set up idols, golden calves, set up feasts and places of worship. Of the calves he said to Israel, “Behold your gods who brought you out of Egypt.” And Israel fell into idolatry and worshiped the golden calves.

How can a people be so deceived? If Israel can turn away from God so quickly would Christians today be so easily persuaded?

In my dream I was sure no one would bow before this new god created by the priest. However, after thinking about it I am not so sure anymore.

Many go to churches seeking out a god of their own making. If we are convicted in one church we are sure to find a church that will be less convicting. If we are too challenged I am sure we can find one that does not challenge us. If we aren’t “fed” enough or challenged enough in the areas we feel we should be challenged we can find a church to accommodate our itch.

I, along with many others in the Church today, have lost what it means to deny one’s self and bare our crosses.

What about you? Would you bow before a creature that is seemingly all powerful? Able to destroy you?