From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 26, 2021
Subject: It's January 26; Good Morning Union



Well now—wasn’t THAT quite a snow storm yesterday (and even into today!) I haven't heard officially yet but depending on how much we got last night before midnight, that was either the third or the second snowiest day in the history of keeping records in Lincoln!! And YOU got to experience it!! I know, not all of you "loved it" but for me, I’ve never met a snowflake I didn’t like!! 😊 Enjoy one more day off.

And a special thanks to Plant Services and Food Services for their extra efforts to help keep our campus safe and well fed, even in a challenging time like this. We all may have seen this as a break; they however had to see this as a LOT of extra work. The least we can do is thank a Plant Service person or a Food Service person for their extra efforts. Thanks Paul and Pete. You guys ROCK!!

 

 

Luke 12

 

“Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”    Vs 32

 

I must admit, this morning and even yesterday morning included some amazing promises and blessings, AND some challenging concepts that caused me to stop and ponder as I tried to understand. I’m actually happy to say that I have not come up with completely satisfactory conclusions to the contents of this chapter at this point. Happy for several reasons:

  1. I don’t understand everything in God’s word but I understand enough to not shake my faith when I come to a temporary roadblock.
  2. I’m in good company. Jesus even told His disciples that there were “many things I want to tell you but you’re not ready for them yet.” So I’ll be patient and not panic with what I don’t understand yet.
  3. I’m reminded of my often-repeated axiom for my life in His word—“If it’s important to God it’s clear in His word.” I’ll stick with that through the hard things and focus on what I can understand right now. That often sets the stage for new insights as He knows I can handle it.
  4. My lack of clarity confirms that I have not arrived and that keeps be from getting arrogant, proud, or judgmental of everyone else as they also wrestle with the journey of moving from sinful human being into a clearer understanding of what my chapter for today actually means in real life.

 

So, among all the challenges of this chapter I see a focus on staying focused!! Don’t get distracted by the “yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” says Jesus in Vs 1. My understanding of hypocrisy is NOT the journey of struggling with life and making mistakes. I’m afraid we all do that. Hypocrisy is, for me, the intentional conscious decision to choose to live differently that I profess. It’s not “being human,” or making mistakes along the way, or in ignorance thinking I’m doing right when I’m actually missing God’s ideal, maybe even by a long way. That’s NOT hypocrisy, that’s life! Hypocrisy is saying I love you with my words while I actually hate you in my heart. When I am choosing to be deceptive in what I say and what I actually do, then I’m messing with hypocrisy.

 

Jesus also contrasts possessions with priorities in this chapter as He tries to illustrate His ideal. His concluding statements after each illustration say things like:

  1. “Be on guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”   Vs15
  2. “You’re a fool if you store up things for yourself but are not rich toward God.”      Vs21
  3. “Don’t worry about your life… seek His kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well.”            Vs31 “All these things,” by the way, is not the “prosperity gospel” (“Follow Me and I’ll give you everything you want!”). It’s the promise that if I “seek God” He will take care of my basic physical needs like food and water! Check the context here and before Matthew 6:33!)
  4. “If your heart is with your treasures more than with God, then sell what you have, if necessary, and give it to the poor.”     Vs 33,34

 

And it’s in that context that Jesus says, “Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” I don’t think this is just some kind of contract-- I give my possessions; I get the kingdom. It seems more like an understanding way deeper than a good deal. My Father is PLEASED to GIVE me the KINGDOM. If that’s what He has already happily done for me, my response should be at least a reassessment of all that He has blessed me with. Is it all for me to enjoy or all for me to manage for Him and be ready to part with any of it if it would help anyone understand all that the Father has for them too?

 

There’s a lot in this chapter I do not understand. But what I do understand is the great gift God has been pleased to give me, and that fact drives my choices in life.

 

Have a great day grasping what God has been pleased to give you as well,

Pastor Rich

 

Quote for the day:     “I have but one doctrine; I am a great sinner, but I have a great Savior.”    HMS Richards

 

PS        Christ on Demand is back!! Join Amber and her friends for 30 minutes of praise and worship each Tuesday night @ 7:30pm. Because of the snow tonight’s gathering will be on Zoom! https://zoom.us/j/8963565903

PPS      Other small groups are forming almost daily on campus. If you’d like to join a small group contact Chantelle Bravatti or Lauren Richert.

 

PPPS    Enjoy one more snow day!! The best thing is probably to hunker down and stay off the streets so the plows can do their work and we can get back to life.