Location, Location, Location

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Location, location, location.

When it comes to real estate or business, location is everything.

I once consulted with a congregation that was located in a 90% Hispanic neighborhood. Nothing wrong with that. Except this was a Korean congregation. There were virtually no Koreans living within a five mile radius. In order for Koreans to come to this particular Korean church, they would drive past dozens of other Korean churches.

Location matters. I suggested that the congregation has two realistic options for its future: sell the property and move to where Koreans are, or start ministering to Hispanics.

Location matters.

But I think location matters also in the arena of sin.

When I think about the times I’ve gotten myself into trouble, location absolutely mattered. You see, if I were where I was supposed to be I wouldn’t even had the opportunity to be tempted by sin and commit sin. Only if I were where I should have been, I would have avoided much heartache.

Location matters.

So, where are you?

Christianity is a Lot Like Golf

Screenshot 2018-08-25 at 7.12.09 PMGolf is an interesting game. No matter how good a golfer you are, there is always room for improvement.

Golf has very little to do with how much a person wants to play better.

  • Everyone wants to play better.
  • Everyone wants to lower their score.
  • Everyone want to hit the ball straighter, farther.
  • Everyone wants to sink the putts.

But there is only one proven way to get better at the game of golf.

Practice.

You have to get out on the range and repeat the same swing over and over until it becomes a part of you. And then you have to keep going to the range so that you can keep swinging the same way over and over.

Same thing with the putting. The only way to get better at putting is by going out and practicing.

Here’s why I tell you all this and it has nothing to do with golf.

Being a Christian has very little to do with how much a person wants to be a better Christian.

  • Every Christian wants to be more loving
  • Every Christian wants to be a better servant leader
  • Every Christian wants to be more kind
  • Every Christian wants to be more like Jesus in our thoughts and deeds

But there’s only one proven way to get better at becoming more like Jesus.

Practice.

The only way Christians get better at being more like Jesus is by practice. We have to practice loving people when they are unlovable, serving people who are undeserving, and being kind to people when we don’t feel like it.

When someone is rude to us, when someone has wronged us, our natural reaction is to respond in anger. We revolt against the call to treat those who hurt us with kindness.

And the reason why we, and the rest of the world who doesn’t know Jesus, respond this way?

It’s not because we’re human. It’s because we’re all sinners. And we have been practicing sin for all our lives.

And the great travesty with modern day Christianity is that we continue to practice sin even after we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior!!!

But now that we know Jesus, we need to break out of our old habits and start training and practicing new habits. That’s what it means to be Christian.

So what are those habits? Where is the “driving range” for Christians? The church.

I promise. You will get to practice being loving toward unlovable people, practice being a servant leader, and practice kindness to rude people in church. Guaranteed!

And it won’t come easy. As soon as we think we’ve got it, we got to keep on practicing because there will always be room to get better at being like our Savior. We will never be perfect at it. But we will get better over time as we continue practicing the habits of Christ-likeness.

If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we have no other choice.

This is who we are.

Now it’s time that we start living out our faith.

Someone Has to Break the Cycle of Retaliation – Reflection on MLK Jr

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 2.42.50 PM.pngSomeone has to break the cycle of retaliation…

Let that sink in. Read it again.

Someone has to break the cycle of retaliation.

A week doesn’t go by without stories of hatred, bigotry, violence, rape, atrocities committed against humanity. Stories bombard us from abroad and from our own communities.

One way to respond is to build bigger and better walls. Let’s protect what we can. Better alarm systems. Better lighting. More surveillance. Bigger walls. More guns. Keep the evil out.

That’s one way to respond.

And violence and atrocities continue to march on. Nothing changes.

Someone has to break the cycle of retaliation.

The cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate breaking of the cycle of vengeance and retaliation. The cross is God saying, “I’ll take it all. Bring it! Bring the hatred. Bring the violence. Bring the evil. Bring the violence. Bring the frustration. Bring the pain. Bring it! I’ll take it all!”

On Good Friday, Jesus bore the brunt of sin and evil. Jesus bore it all.

And by rising from the grave on resurrection Sunday, Jesus crushed hatred, violence, frustration, pain, and evil.

What our world needs is not better ways to keep people out and apart. What we need, and what our world needs is a people called and a people who will answer the call the break the cycle of evil and retaliation with the hope and love of God in Jesus Christ.

May we be such people. May this be the generation that turns the cycle of violence and retaliation.