My Sesame Street Lunchbox and Your Faith

You can restore my childhood by purchasing this (http://ebay.to/17COjrB)
You can restore my childhood by purchasing me this (http://ebay.to/17COjrB)

I would imagine that most of you are familiar with the elementary school practice of “show and tell.”  Each child brings an item from home, they stand in front of the class and they tell their classmates about that item.  The only “show and tell” experience that I remember clearly  happened during kindergarten.

I was five years old and I brought my yellow Sesame Street lunchbox.  I loved my Sesame Street lunchbox.  When I would get home from school, my mom would fix my lunch, put it in my lunchbox, and my little brother and I would have a picnic almost every day.  It was one of my favorite things!  So I brought it to class, stood in front of my classmates, and told them all about my yellow lunchbox.

Later, as everyone was getting ready to leave for the day, two little boys walked over to graciously inform me that Sesame Street was for babies and it was stupid that I had brought my lunchbox for “show and tell.”

Experiences like that make us afraid to share.  They make us afraid to show people how we really feel—what we really think.  It makes us afraid of risk and transparency.  I don’t know if you experienced that in kindergarten or in junior high, but once we’ve reached adulthood many of us become very hesitant to really let our inner thoughts and feelings out into the open, lest we “show and tell” and are subsequently ridiculed for what we have shown and told.

Where am I going with this?  “Show and tell” is really what sharing the Gospel is all about.  We tell other people what we have experienced—what we believe—what we value.  We “show and tell” what Jesus has done for us.

Nobody is going to be fought or argued into the Kingdom of God.  But if we’re afraid to “show and tell”—if we’re afraid of how people are going to respond—then they’re not going to make it into the Kingdom of God then either.  So we can’t argue them in—and we can’t keep silent.  So what do we do?  When your neighbor blasphemes, show and tell what Jesus has done for you!  Yes, they may scoff.  Yes, they may tell you that your views are primitive and silly and damaging.  They may tell you that your favorite thing is stupid and for little kids.  But who cares?

This is life or death business here, one that every one of us should be praying about and considering, to prepare ourselves to show and tell what Jesus has done for us.

Do you find it easier that you don’t have to argue someone into God’s Kingdom?  Or is it harder to be honest and make yourself vulnerable?  Sound off in the comments below!

This is an excerpt from last Sunday’s sermon at Faith Presbyterian Church in Covington, LA.  For more, listen here or subscribe to our podcast here.

Jesus, Celebrity Atheists, and Picking Your Battles

Picture by Joe (http://bit.ly/1vvQDWq)
Picture by Joe (http://bit.ly/1vvQDWq)

People around the world disbelieve in the divinity of Jesus.  But you are not responsible to engage every one of them with the news of the Gospel.  No, you are responsible to engage the ones near you.

Why did Jesus engage the blasphemous people in Matthew chapter 9?  Jesus engaged with those men, (1) because He was near them and (2) because they engaged Him first.

Jesus didn’t write letters to the editor about the blasphemous article last week.  He didn’t decry the latest PBS documentary with Facebook posts.  No, He dealt with the people nearby.
And even then, He didn’t go door-to-door looking for blasphemers under every rock.  He waited until they made themselves known and then He interacted with them.  Here’s my point:

People around the world disbelieve in the divinity of Jesus, but it’s not our job to go hunting them down or to go after the big targets.

  It’s very unlikely that God has called you to convert the heart of Stephen Hawking or Neil deGrasse Tyson or whoever the celebrity atheist is this week.  Jesus didn’t bother with those guys!  He engaged those near Him who engaged Him first.

So if you have people you love who disbelieve in Jesus, you’ll want to engage with them.  That actually makes sense.  You already care for their hearts—you care for their souls and their futures.  So it makes sense you’d engage them.  This means family members, coworkers, next-door neighbors, friends.

If those people don’t believe that Jesus is God—that He came to save the world—and that He proved it with His miraculous power—if those close to you don’t believe, then YES you do engage them!  Basically, we’re talking about those whom the Bible call your “neighbors.  They’re near you physically and/or relationally.

How have you found yourself caught in this cycle of wanting to respond to public unbelief?  How did it work out?  Sound off in the comments below!

This is an excerpt from last Sunday’s sermon at Faith Presbyterian Church in Covington, LA.  For more, listen here or subscribe to our podcast here.

How can I be a Christian in my workplace?

What does it mean to share Jesus’ priorities when you’re at work?  What does it mean to be on mission for Jesus at the workplace?  Working for Jesus doesn’t mean that you hand out tracts at the office.  So what does it mean, then?

By attacking and undoing sin, Jesus was also undoing the effects of sin in the world. He came to undo sickness, poverty, and brokenness.  He came to undo sin and its consequences in the world.

So CPA!  How do you work for the mission of Jesus?  Lots of ways!  Be honest.  Respect the law of the land.  Be a good steward of other people’s money.  Show your clients what honesty, integrity, and excellence look like.  Because Jesus wants to undo dishonesty and greed and replace it with integrity and generosity.

Retiree!  How do you work for the mission of Jesus?  Wow.  There’s so much you can do.  You can pray for the work of the Gospel.  You can use your spare time to mentor the young—to communicate with missionaries—to be a good neighbor to the lonely person that lives next door.  Use your retirement to share the love of God and to fix what is broken.

Stay-at-home mom!  How do you work for the Lordship of Jesus?  You may very well have the most important job of anyone in this room.  Love on those little ones.  Tell them about Jesus and what He’s doing in the world.  Discipline your children—prepare them for the life ahead of them.  Teach them to be a responsible citizen.

Working for Jesus doesn’t mean you hand out tracts at the office.  It means you do your best—you work hard—you love those around you—and when you see brokenness and need, you do what you can to meet the need.  We are to live and to work like no one else does.  We set a new standard.

This is an excerpt from last Sunday’s sermon at Faith Presbyterian Church in Covington, LA.  For more, listen here or subscribe to our podcast here.

Sermon Preview: Hard To Keep Up When Nobody Has Control

We have so many different arenas in our lives that it barely feels possible to keep up with them all.

Work has to be done, so that we can take care of finances and things.  As, a result, we barely have time for our family.

And friendship?  Well, we’ll just try to be friends with people at work, because we don’t have time to make extra phone calls or have dinner parties or write letters.

And who has time for self-care or a spiritual life?  It takes a lot of time, energy, and money to eat healthy and to exercise.  It takes time, energy, and patience to read the Bible and to pray.  So let’s just put all the spiritual stuff on Sunday and we’ll start working on our health next week.

We have a problem with our lives.  Jesus is not in control of them.  And we’re not in control of them.  We’re not living them.  We’re letting our lives control us!

And control is what discipleship is all about.  Who’s in charge?  Who determines how we spend our time?  Who determines what we do and how we do it?  Who sets our priorities?

This is an excerpt from this Sunday’s sermon at Faith Presbyterian Church in Covington, LA.  Please join us at 10:30am for worship!

Your Tabletop RPG Needs Moral Challenges

Today on MadAdventurers.com, I published a column about GMs introducing moral challenges into tabletop roleplaying games.  Check it out here!