You Can’t Fly a Watermelon

Watermelon Rocket

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon. Its rind is not resistant to exiting and entering the atmosphere. It has no fuselage. No fuel. No propulsion. It was not designed to fly to the moon. That’s not even rocket science!

Nothing works right unless it conforms to the realities of its intended trajectory, or path. This is shaped by both external circumstances and intended purpose. In simpler terms that means something won’t be very good at doing a thing it wasn’t meant to do. A rocket flies because engineers account for aerodynamics and gravity. It was designed to meet the specifications needed to navigate external circumstances in order to reach an intended purpose along a planned trajectory. That is rocket science!

God designed you with a purpose in mind. You were built to fulfill his mission in this present reality. Until your life begins to match that purpose—until your desires, thoughts, and actions pursue His purpose—you will be out of sync with his path for you. Until you begin to do the thing you were meant to do everything else will seem underwhelming, unfulfilling, and incomplete.

What’s your trajectory? What’s your course? That is the path he has laid before you. That’s the destiny he wants to rocket you toward.

Have you known all along and been to afraid to engage? Don’t be afraid. Stop. Turn around. Run toward that burning fire in your bones. God put it there. It’s rocket fuel. His Spirit is alive in you pushing you past the point of your fears into the providential place of his purpose and plan.

Have you been inadvertently bouncing around like a pinball? Tilt the table. Lean into God. Ask for his help. Seek him. Say it out loud. Get a little mad about it and tell him how you feel. He knows already. Reject the apathy and confusion that you may have had. Go to the God who has the unmatched perspective. If you’re stuck let God get you out. He will send you right back on track.

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon, but you can enjoy the sweet refreshing fruit inside. You can enjoy it’s intended purpose, but only by asserting an external force to reach the delicious fruit inside.

God is the architect of physics. He is the engineer of the principles that actually go into real rocket science. He is also the designator of your design. He planned you. He purposed you. He willed you.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was freaking out over the calamity and depravity the Jewish people were going through. Stuff they had brought on themselves through generations of neglecting their purpose. Here is what Jeremiah heard from God…

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD ’s Decree. ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:10-13 ‭MSG‬‬

You get that? God decreed it. His plan for you comes from the same vocabulary as “let there be light” and “it is finished”.

God said it. God did it. His plan. His purpose. Your path.

Hate the Sinner – Love the Sin

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If you are a professing Christian chances are pretty high that you have uttered the phrase “hate the sin, love the sinner” at one point or another. At the least you have probably heard it tossed around here and there.

The sentiment is fairly straightforward. It conveys the idea that you can entirely disagree with, and be at odds with someone’s behavior, while still caring deeply about them. The idea itself is fine. We really are at odds with a lot of dangerous behavioral stuff in this life. Hopefully we’re more at odds with the junk in our own closet rather than someone else’s. The problem with this idea isn’t that it’s untrue. It’s that we don’t actually mean it.

Generally whatever particular sin issue is driving the conversation usually dominates said conversation. This leaves little room for lovingly engaging people who might be neck deep in the issue at hand. God is amazingly loving, and forgiving, but how can you demonstrate that to someone if you are too busy telling them how much God hates what they’re doing. It’s like trying to give someone a brand new car by running them over with it. Or giving someone dying of thirst a drink by tossing them in a lake.

Christian, you are the face of God to this world. You are Jesus with skin on. Often people will respond to God in accordance to how you respond to them. Not always, but many times.

Also, you need God too. We all do. “Hate the sin, love the sinner” is a fine description of how God feels about the situation, but it’s a pretty crappy summation of Christian human reaction to sin.

God does hate sin. He hates all sin. He is completely good like that. God does love sinners. He loves all sinners. ALL OF US. He is completely good like that. But I have yet to meet the Christian who hates all sin equally and loves all sinners equally, and that certainly includes myself.

No, we pick sins that are obvious and we hammer them, leaving those trapped in that sin beaten and broken like some old rusty nail. Never mind that Jesus allowed himself to be beaten, battered, and nailed for them. All the while we ignore our pet sins and keep them in our most secret places. Even the villainous religious leaders from John chapter 8 had the good sense not to throw stones because of their failures. Would we? I have met a lot of people who went looking for God at some point in their life and wound up battered and bruised by the stones thrown their way.

I’ve spent over a decade reaching out to college students. I’ve had hundreds of conversations with non Christians. It is amazing how many people are turned away from Christianity, not by Jesus, but by the people who represent him. In their eyes we hate the sinner, but we love to talk about their sin.

December 31 – Faithful & True

Revelations 19:11-16; 21:1-6

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. (Revelation 19:11 ESV)

I don’t know what this was like for you, but for our family this past year was kind of crazy. There were many significant changes and challenges that came along. There were lots of prayers and lots of prayers answered. It has been quite the ride.

One thing stands out from among everything else this year. Jesus is Faithful and True! I am not always either of the two, but he is incredible.

All year long, just at the right time, encouragement came my way. When we needed it most provision was there. Jesus is Faithful!

At every turn I have grown ever more convinced that Jesus is True! I started off writing A Year With Jesus to challenge my readership to walk closer with him. I pulled from a lot of my notes I have compiled over the years, and going through it all everyday has pushed me to consider Christ in the fondest of light. I am by nature a consistent doubter, but none of those doubts surround the person and work of Jesus. That he is True, I have never been more convinced!

So, whether this is your first time to check out the blog, or you’ve been reading along all year long, I hope you have had an awesome year with Jesus. Here’s to many many more!

December 30 – The Hand of God

Read: Hebrews 1:1-14

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” (Psalm 110:1 ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. (Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV)

I like working with my hands. In a career where my primary responsibilities usually revolve around study, communication, and spending time with people (all of which also love) using my hands to make, repair, or lift something can sometimes come as a nice change of pace. Even in the hobbies I enjoy like guitar, video games, and art—my hands are vital to the process. Hands are important.

Jesus sits at the right hand of God. It’s a place of honor for the God-man and King. It’s not a subservient place. It is equal footing. As Jesus is the Hand of God.

When I want to work to fix something I use my hands to do the job. I have to pick up the pieces, I have to make the repairs, and I have to hold the tools. God did something similar, but eternally and infinitely more wonderful than my weak analogy could ever capture.

God reached into human history, as Jesus. Jesus is the handprint of God that marks all of human experience. Jesus is the touch of kindness and measure of mercy. Jesus is the grip of compassion and strong arm of justice that guides the course of eternity. Jesus holds the rod that will rule the future of all futures forever. Jesus is the Hand of God.

December 29 – Jesus Far Above

Read: Ephesians 4:7-10

You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there. (Psalm 68:18 ESV)

He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians 4:10 ESV)

In about 1000 B.C. King David prophesied that Jesus would ascend into heaven. It was written that Jesus would take the the souls of departed Christians with Him. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians mentions the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Jesus did come down out of Heaven. He was murdered for our sin. He descended into the depths of the grave. He took back themes to life. And he ascended again into Heaven—first stopping by to encourage and pastor his disciples for 40 days.

Today, Jesus is far above. In metaphysical terms I believe that he is omnipresent. He is able to be everywhere always. In speaking of his exalted status as King of all—he is far above. We serve a King who sits in authority over, and even far above, all things.

How does that play out in your life? If you’re struggling with some terrible need, whatever it may be, Jesus sits in authority above the powerful captivity you might be facing in light of your need. He holds in his hand the power and authority to release a good work on your behalf. And perhaps the best thing about this King of ours who sits far a above is that he will often do just that. He is far above all, but he is not far from.

December 28 – Life Giving Glory

2 Corinthians 3:1-18

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6 ESV)

The Spirit of God changes people. He changed me. He keeps changing me. He keeps reminding me of errors, pointing out needed improvements, and guiding toward necessary refinement in attitude, doctrine, and discipline. The Spirit changes me.

The biggest and most impactful change the Spirit of God has worked in my life is salvation. I have crossed over from the destiny of death into one of life. Jesus made that possible. God made it sufficient. The Spirit has made it life.

Everywhere that I go. Everyone that I contact and connect with. I hope that I am able to give and share life everywhere! Just as the Spirit has called, empowered, and encouraged me; I hope that I will give life—the life of Christ—always and anywhere.

December 23 – The Free Gift

Romans 6:15-23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ESV)

Either by willful commission or apathetic omission each of us sin. We do the wrong things, or we choose not to do the right thing. But our sin is not the central message of the Bible.

If sin were the main theme of the Bible it would be a book primarily focused on morality. And while I do believe that the answers to all moral dilemmas are found within its pages, I don’t believe it is because morality/sin are its chief issue. Jesus is the central focus of the Bible.

Every book points ahead to Christ. Every book of the Old Testament is a Spirit-inspired wrapping—just as every book of the New Testament is a joyful declaration of the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus is the Good News. Jesus is the hope of the world. Jesus is the central figure of human history, the main idea of the Bible, and the Free Gift of God.