Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

The Tax Man


The Tax Man

What comes to mind when you hear the word “church”?

Do you picture a happy place or a somber gathering?  Do you see steeples and stained glass or modern architecture?  Maybe you think of classic hymns sung by a choir or you hear eclectic guitars and drums.  Churches can look, sound, and feel very different whether you’re comparing them from around the world or even from different places in the same town.  We love our habits and traditions and personal style. Sometimes we even let them define who we are.

But what does Jesus see when he looks at the people who make up the church? The answer to that might be found in an encounter that Jesus had with a certain tax collector.

The Issues


I originally shared this message on Halloween.  So there’s a short talk on that subject.  How do you think a Christian ought to handle Halloween?

It was also right before the 2010 elections.  So the rest of the talk is about some of the hot button issues then.  It’s primary time for Republicans, and not far down the road it will be election time again.  How do you decide who to vote for?  Do you use morality, popularity, random selection?  How much does the conduct of your elected leaders matter to you?

Second Advent


I think all the prophecy that pointed to Jesus coming is pretty cool.  I watch movies all the time where there’s some sort of prophecy to be fulfilled, and I remember back when Nostradamus was popular in the media, but the movies are just somebody’s imagination and the Nostradamus stuff is just so random that you really have to stretch to make it fit any real events.  But the prophesies about Jesus are real life!  And there are just so many things that match perfectly with his family line for generations and where he’d be born and how he would die and so much stuff.  So, of course, the natural conclusion is, if the prophecy about his first coming was proven, we can be pretty sure about the prophesy of his second coming.  And that means a lot of people are going to be in big trouble if they’re not ready.  And the Bible is pretty clear that you don’t survive the Judgment of Christ by the skin of your teeth.  It’s an all or nothing thing.

A lot of people do religion with a 51% attitude.  They figure as long as they do a little more good than bad, they’ll be ok.  Or they think that God grades on a curve.  So as long as their morality is slightly above average they’ll be fine.  But Jesus demands perfection.  And people who don’t accept that are in for some sad consequences when Jesus comes back.

Of course most people see religion as jumping through hoops and checking off lists, and they totally miss out on the purpose of living for God.  They miss out that God offers grace so that we can stop living in the past, so we can throw off all that old wicked baggage and start with a clean slate.  It’s like God changing your “F” to an “A” and giving us the Holy Spirit as a tutor to help us keep that “A.”  Plus when you realize how much more enjoyable it is to live a good life and to be motivated by love instead of all the bad junk, then you start living a pure life for the joy of it, and religion becomes a pleasurable opportunity.  You look forward to Christ’s return because you love obeying him, and you can’t wait to share the pleasure of his company.  If you miss that crucial point, religion does nothing but offer hoops to jump through and rules to keep track of, and you wind up being lost in your failures.

Religion without true love for God is a joke.  If you think you can please the Almighty God of Heaven with an impersonal 51% effort or a C+ attitude, I’ve got some really bad news for you.