Put down your rock and go home

StoningJohn 8:1-11 tells the story about a woman caught in adultery, taken before Jesus by the religious leaders of the day. They didn’t value His teaching, but instead were looking to trap him by making him either agree to stone her according to the law of Moses (kinda goes against that whole love and forgive message He was preaching) OR have him say don’t stone her (which goes against the law of Moses).

Most of us know the story – Jesus said whoever has no sin should throw the first stone. And since no one was without sin except Jesus – the religious leaders were foiled again and went home, without stoning the woman. Jesus then told her that he didn’t condemn her either but added “Go and sin no more”.

I’ve heard many sermons about this passage and even a Christian Comic do a bit about it. Most of time the point is relayed that we all have sin and none of us have the right to judge someone else’s sins, however occasionally I hear the emphasis on Jesus’ parting commandment – sin no more. Opening the door to the idea that if someone is “sinnin’ more” then maybe we can pick those stones back up.

One person commented to me recently, “I wonder why everyone wants to talk about how Jesus told the crowd with rocks to go home but never wants to talk about how he told her to sin no more.”

My answer to him was simple and I think worth sharing with you – Because we are the crowd, we are not Jesus. Put down your rock and go home.

Just Enjoy the Bath

Early Bath
Enjoy the Bath

Leviticus 13:47-59 is entirely about what to do with garments that have mold – in the King James its translated as not just mold, but leprosy (often referred to in scripture as the disease of the flesh). People tend to gloss over Leviticus because it doesn’t seem relevant to our lives today, but I think this passage reveals something very important about the Character of God.
If we found leprosy on our clothes today, we would toss ’em, burn ’em, get rid of ’em quick. But God instructs us to wash it and inspect it – and if the stain persists, to wash it again – cut out the stain and wash it again, and inspect it again. When I first read this, I thought, all this for a shirt with leprosy???

But I think the point we can draw from this passage is that God isn’t willing to throw away something because of its imperfection. The stain of the flesh, that sin in your life, whatever it may be – God isn’t tossing you aside because of it. He will wash you clean, inspect you, and wash you again. He will tear out the sin but redeem you. Its who He is… and He loves you enough to patiently work on you…

And what does this mean for us? We want to be like Him – made in His image – transformed by his Love… How then can we point to the “stains” we see in others and say “gross” when we ourselves are still being inspected and washed by the Redeemer? Just enjoy the bath…

And I thought God GAVE his Son…

For God so loved the world, he gave sold His only begotten son Nintendo Wii… What??? I’m not a Walmart hater, but their latest commercial sums up the season in a single phrase:

Christmas costs less at Walmart

Only this year it cost one 34 year old man his life (read more about that here).  Every year I rail against the commercialization of Christmas, this year is no different.  Do we really need to “Buy Christmas”???  How much money have you spent on Christmas?  How much of that did you put on a credit card?  How much of your current credit card balances are from last Christmas?  Don’t tell me the economy is bad – Black Friday sales were up over 3% over last year, that’s over 10.5 BILLION in sales! (click here for source)

People say that Christmas is the season of giving, but that’s not what their actions declare – its the season of getting.  We get things for our family, we get things for our friends, we get things for ourselves, but we don’t give.  I’ve said this before and gotten many comments from people who disagree with me, mostly in the defense of their ‘gift giving’ habits – but I still believe we treat Christmas the same way we treat Halloween – no religious purpose, no religious intent, just another vacation day with a theme.

The funny thing is, people who refuse to celebrate Halloween are treated as religious zealots, and people that don’t celebrate Santa as part of their Christmas tradition, as bad parents.  My pastor talked about living in a Kingdom Culture this morning – a culture that fosters the Gospel.  As I look at the American culture, I see that we have so completely bought into the idea of a secular public life and a private religious life – a kind of separation of Church and State, with state being any area of our life outside of the four walls of our church.

I don’t really mind how we celebrate Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Thanksgiving.  I couldn’t care less how you celebrate President’s Day or New Year’s Eve.  But we seem for forget that as Christians, in the mix of historic dates and important celebrations, we have two truly Holy Day’s, Resurrection Sunday and Christmas.  When Easter is about bunnies and chocolate, Christmas about Santa and electronics – we’ve all but abandoned our faith.

A good friend of mine once preached a sermon titled “When Worlds Colloid”.  The point as I remember it was to tear down the walls of seperation keeping our faith from the rest of our life; a message that I think belongs in our pulpits this time of year more than any.  How many of those stampeding Walmart shoppers were Christians?  How many of them were living in the American Culture instead of the Kindom Culture?  Lets just hope they all got the door buster deals they were praying for – we all know that Christmas costs less at Walmart.

Happy Hanukkah!